Tag Archive for semantics

WeHo approves Fountain protected bike lanes, debate over cyclist semantics, and running over bikes in bike-friendly Davis

Just two more days to one of the biggest, most momentous days of the year!

No, not Black Friday. It’s the official start of the 8th Annual BikinginLA holiday fund drive!

We’ll be off tomorrow, so have a great Thanksgiving, whether you spend it with loved ones or alone on your bike. And find something to be thankful for. 

Besides, you know, this site. 

Then come back on Friday to witness me beg, plead, cajole and grovel for your support.  

And stay safe out there. I want to see you back here again when the weekend is over. 


In a surprising decision, the West Hollywood City Council voted unanimously to install a pilot protected bike lane project on Fountain Ave, overcoming fierce opposition to the proposal.

Mayor Lauren Meister summed up her reason for voting yes, even though city staffers haven’t explained where the cars displaced from parking on the apartment-dense street are supposed to go.

“My goal is to make Fountain just safer, period — for pedestrians, making the sidewalks wider and and making it so that cars aren’t speeding through and going over the curves and actually going into people’s yards,” Meister said.

The proposal, which became a key issue in the city’s recent election campaign, would require the removal of a traffic lane in each direction, as well as reconstructing sidewalks along the street, which are not ADA compliant.

The street currently features some of the area’s most uncomfortable sharrows, which are seldom used by anyone but the most confident bicyclists in the face of frequently speeding traffic.

The unanimous approval bodes well for the pilot program withstanding efforts to overturn it when two new, more moderate, councilmembers take their seats in the coming weeks.


A lengthy Twitter thread revives the debate over the word cyclist.

It’s something I try not to use, as you may have noticed, preferring bike riders, bicyclists or people on bicycles.

But only because so many people read into to it far more than the word actually conveys, which is merely someone who rides a bicycle.

To some, it means bike racers; to others, it’s anyone who wears spandex. And to others still, it refers to people on fixies, or some other bike world niche.

Then there are people don’t like the word because they feel it labels them in some way, when riding a bike is just something they do, rather than something they are.

I can see all of that, and none of it.

The simple fact is we are all cyclists when we ride a bike, and not once we get off. Just as someone is a driver when they’re behind the wheel, and a pedestrian when they get out; no one calls them drivers when they’re home or in the office.

So go ahead and use the word if you’re comfortable with it, or don’t if you aren’t.

Thanks to Tim Rutt for the link.


Streets For All is hosting a fundraising holiday party next month.


A Davis motorist drove through a line of picketing teaching assistants striking for higher pay and better conditions on UC campuses, driving off with a bicycle still stuck under their car.

Cops off Campus everyone. Good Lovely people!!
byu/accountforperson inUCDavis

But to UC Davis grad student Megan Lynch, it’s yet another example of why the city isn’t the bike paradise its made out to be.



Now you, too, can drive an even faster and more powerful high-end e-car, for the low, low price of a hundred bucks a month.

Yet somehow, your ebike remains capped by law at 20 or 28 mph, depending on class.

Thanks to How The West Was Saved for the heads-up.


The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going. 

Oxford, England makes an extremely wrongheaded choice to remove bike racks to make rood for a Christmas market, apparently assuming that no one would want to avoid traffic by biking there.

No bias here. Britain’s “eco-warrior” bike riders are facing threats from motorists, both online and on the streets.

Sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

An English woman in her 80s was seriously injured when she was struck by an apparent self-riding hit-and-run bicycle, since there’s no mention of anyone on it.

There’s a special place in hell for the bike-riding man who assaulted an elderly walker-using woman in the UK, stealing her purse containing the equivalent of nearly $1,200 in cash.



Politico says Councilmember Kevin de León is still standing, despite repeated demands for him to resign in the wake of a racist and otherwise offensive recording; he continues to draw his $218,000 salary despite not showing up to work since the outcry began.

SAFE, aka Streets Are For Everyone, wants to know what street safety campaigns and advocacy efforts are important to you.

About damn time. The Hollywood Reporter says it’s time to reopen the case in the 12-year old murder of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, which was bizarrely pinned on a destitute, bike-riding Black man who allegedly killed himself as police attempted to take him into custody in a Hollywood flophouse; Beverly Hills police accused Harold Smith of shooting Chasen as she drove home from a premier.

South LA received a $60 million grant to fund bikeshare, and provide free Metro passes for students.



The San Diego Association of Governments, aka SANDAG, wants to give you a ped-assist ebike in exchange for a commitment to ride a minimum of 100 miles a month. Or as I used to call that back when I could still do it, Tuesday.

A San Diego resident who “has spent a lot of time, energy and thought on transportation issues” apparently attempts to prove singer Harry Nilsson’s contention that a point in every direction is the same as no point at all, confusingly complaining about the cost and lack of use of expensive bikeway projects, while pointing out the limited safety of some and the lack of an effective network to make them viable.

Completing our San Diego trifecta, the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition and Families for Safe Streets held a vigil for traffic victims, as the city’s mayor promised to prioritize safety over speed.

San Francisco proposes making a number of the city’s Slow Streets permanent.



Streetsblog wants to know why there are so many memorials to the victims of wars, but not for the ongoing battle on our streets.

Electrek insists that switching to an ebike means getting more exercise, not less.

Portland’s ebike-based bikeshare system set a new record with over half a million users this year, topping the previous record by more than 100,000.

Heartbreaking news from Arizona, where a four-year old boy was killed by a driver while riding his bike just blocks from his home — and on a street with just a 10 mph speed limit.

This one hits a little too close to home, as an ebike rider in my bike-friendly Colorado hometown was seriously injured when he was left-crossed by the driver of an SUV — on the street that I grew up on, no less, just blocks from my childhood home.

That’s more like it. New York’s transportation commissioner says the city is moving towards a carfree future, and suggests thinking twice before getting a car.

A newspaper in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley examines why the area is a mecca for bicyclists.

DC is facing a lawsuit under the Americans With Disabilities Act, as two handicapped women allege that new protected bike lanes make it harder for them to find parking and safely exit their vehicles. Thanks to Victor Bale for the tip. 

Speaking of DC, probably not the best idea for the newly elected head of a neighborhood commission to give the finger to bike lane opponents. Even if most of us may want to at times.

It takes a major schmuck to slam into a bike-riding, 12-year old Florida boy and flee the scene without even slowing down, leaving the kid lying in the street with serious injuries. There’s video of the crash after the link, but be warned that it’s hard to watch.



Treehugger offers a beginners tutorial on Vision Zero, which oddly only works when cities actually do something about it.

Montreal bike riders respond to a driver parking in a bike lane for “just two minutes” to get his lunch, by parking their bikes in the traffic lane for the same amount of time.

Now you, too, can work in the bike industry, as CEO of British Cycling, the country’s governing body for bike racing and all things bike.

A woman in the UK explains what it’s like to get hit by a speeding SUV, and why so many drivers, like the one who ran her down, don’t stop after a crash.

Tokyo allowed participants in a charity ride to ride their bikes on the city’s iconic Rainbow Bridge for the first time since it opened 29 years ago.


Competitive Cycling

It’s looking like the 2024 Tour de France will kick off in Italy, home to the Giro d’Italia.

No surprise here, as the primary goal of two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar is winning it a third time, after this year’s second place finish.



That feeling when your carbon frame bike is covered almost entirely in 24 karat gold. Or when beef-eating bicyclists are accused of being worse for the climate than cars.

And bemoaning blatant Belfast bike lane blocking.


Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

You’re a cyclist. Get over it.

A Toronto writer, citing a recent article on PubliCola, says we need fewer cyclists. And more people who ride bikes.


I understand that it’s the fashion these days to ridicule those who have the audacity to wear spandex and ride their bikes for recreation rather than transportation. And that those who ride casually, or in street clothes, or to and from work or the local market, feel a need to say “I’m not one of those people.”

As if your attire, style of riding and/or choice of bike didn’t say that already.

Although when exactly a concern about health and fitness, as well as athletic performance and just plain fun, became a bad thing, is beyond me.

But seriously.

No one benefits from getting caught up in a question of semantics.

A cyclist is simply someone who rides a cycle — in this case, short for bicycle, though those who ride motorcycles are also often referred to the same way. It’s meaning is no different from bicyclist, bike rider, rider, velo jockey, spokes person or yes, someone who rides a bike.

It doesn’t imply anything about the rider’s manner of dress, or purpose for or style of riding. It doesn’t mean you’re a racer, a Lance Armstrong wannabe or a lycra lout any more than it means that you do or don’t ride your bike to work everyday or around the block every other Sunday.

It doesn’t suggest that bicycling is the central aspect of your life anymore than describing all those people stuck in traffic on the freeway as drivers or motorists suggests that their lives revolve around their cars.

Even I spend more time writing about bicycling than I actually do in the saddle, dammit. Yet my life still revolves around my family and work far more than both of those combined.

And the only ones who benefit from drawing arbitrary distinctions between cyclists — excuse me, people who ride bikes — are the bike haters who would like nothing better than to dilute our strength by pitting one type of rider against another.

So face it.

You’re a cyclist. And a rider. And a hundred other equally apt ways of describing someone moves from Point A to Point B by two non-motorized wheels.

If you don’t like it, call yourself anything you damn well please.

But please. Seriously.

Get over it, already.


More on the LAPD’s Critical Mass Takedown —

Both Streetsblog and LAist offer great wrap-ups on Tuesday night’s discussion at the BAC meeting in Hollywood, which included a surprise appearance by Chief Beck. Streetsblog offers a first person account from a witness who almost became part of the story. The Times says four officers have been relieved of duty pending an internal review, while Treehugger says Critical Mass may be on its way out.

And a founding member of Midnight Ridazz says group night rides will end when we have adequate infrastructure in place to allow cyclists to ride safely anytime.


The attorney representing Patrick Roraff, the 18-year old driver accused of killing pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado while street racing, claims his client didn’t do it and wasn’t racing, and it was just all a “tragic accident.” Then again, that exactly what he’s getting paid to say.

Note to all readers: I know a lot of you are angry about this case; personally, I’m mad as hell. But threatening the accused killer and his family does far more harm than good. If you feel a need to do something, demand that the District Attorney file felony homicide charges against the suspect. And let the legal system do its job.


A Burbank pedestrian questions why the city spends thousands to encourage cyclists to come to town, then treats them like dog droppings when they do; preaching to the choir, bro. Bike racks appear at the new TraJoes at Hollywood & Vine. The Board of Public Works proposes tearing down a historic bridge to make room for cyclists and pedestrians; haven’t they ever heard of a road diet? The Santa Monica Spoke forms a steering committee to guide the group. A mountain bike-hating Bay Area trail advocate is arrested for slashing at two riders with a hacksaw. Stats alone don’t tell the full story of women and bikes. The fact is, most drivers don’t actually want to run over us. Taking biking back to when it was fun. Trek unveils what may be the most aero bike ever made. One point five meters, s’il vous plais. The best solution to riding in the door zone would be to eliminate it. It’s hard to stop parking in the bike lane when it’s the police who are doing it. Back on two wheels, but afraid to ride. Evidently, it’s not a joke after all — bike racing authorities launch an investigation into charges of “mechanical doping.”

Finally, a writer shuttling a Porsche from SF to LA complains about traffic on PCH being so slow, he resorted to frightening RV drivers off the road and writing his review on his Blackberry while he drove.

Honestly, I don’t even know where to start.