Tag Archive for sexual harassment

Carlsbad GOP candidate gets proposed ebike bill all wrong, sexist anti-bike bias, and the high cost of traffic violence

No bias here.

A Republican candidate for the California Assembly from Carlsbad takes aim at a proposal to provide a tax rebate for part of the purchase price on a new ebike.

The proposal, AB 117, is supported by current Assembley Member Tasha Boerner Horvath, whom she hopes to unseat.

At a price-point anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000, they are a noteworthy investment, but should the government be subsidizing these purchases without accountability? Absolutely not. Yet Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath wants to spend unlimited amounts of money to do just that.

Maybe someone should tell her about the massive rebates the state already gives to people who buy electric cars.

But rudeness, rather than money, seems to be her chief objection.

Worse, many of us have witnessed near collisions between e-bikes or e-scooters and vehicles. Personally, I have been almost struck while crossing the street in a crosswalk, and many people have observed near-catastrophes on a daily basis.

So, from her point of view, we should make it harder to buy ebikes, because someone almost struck her while riding one.

Because apparently, no one on a regular bicycle — or a scooter, skateboard, roller skates or running shoes — would ever do such a dastardly deed.

And she’s evidently never experienced the way rude, aggressive and/or inattentive drivers treat people in crosswalks, either.

But the most frightening part, from her bizarre perspective, is that the bill would provide up to $10 million in state tax rebates. Never mind that California currently has an $85 billion — yes billion, with a b — tax surplus.

Which, by my English major math calculations, works out to less than 0.012% of that surplus.

Now the state government wants to fund incentives for purchasing electric bicycles — atop significant out-of-control spending already happening at the state level.

Think I’m kidding? One of Boerner Horvath’s latest bills — Assembly Bill 177 — states that the purpose of her newest taxpayer-funded program is to “fund…incentives for purchasing electric bicycles” under the guise of an “air quality improvement program.”

But wait, there’s more!

Despite Horvath’s empty virtue signaling to the environmentalists, the government should not be incentivizing us to purchase electric bicycles when they are already affordable and available. That’s the job of Lime, Bird, and other companies in the San Diego region. Plus, those companies are held accountable by the cities in which they operate — not by nameless bureaucrats in Sacramento.

Maybe $1,500 to $4,000 — or a lot more, actually — is affordable to her. But it’s a major stretch for many of the constituents she hopes to represent.

And she apparently has no idea what Lime, Bird and other e-scooter providers actually do.

Or what bikeshare is, for that matter.

Then she trots out the usual bike hater screeds.

This legislation is a disaster in the making. Beyond the notion that this isn’t the role of government, there are no safety precautions, no spending limits, and no licensing requirements. Above all, there is no accountability to determine the efficacy of the program or its reduction in air pollution.

So, she wants to license ebike riders. Or maybe all bike riders.

Never mind that California already regulates ebikes into three distinct classes, with increasing levels of safety restrictions and requirements.

And did we mention that $10 million spending limit?

As for reducing air pollution, she’s got a point. Everyone knows the paltry electricity consumed by a little ebike, and its burrito eating rider, would create far more emissions than your average massive gas-guzzling SUV.

Right?

Let’s hope that, contrary to her wishes, AB 117 does see the light of day.

And the very confused and uninformed 

Ebike photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels.

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Then again, they’re blaming ebikes in New York, too.

On the other hand, Cycling Savvy discusses ebike etiquette so you won’t be one of those few ebike-riding jerks justifiably complains about.

As opposed to the overwhelming majority who aren’t.

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You owe it to yourself to take a few minutes to read this hard-hitting op-ed from a New Zealand environmental sociologist and bike rider.

When white men start using a bike, I often think they experience a sort of status shock. They see what marginalisation feels like: the dehumanisation, the fear, the threat of violence. If you ride a bike and you belong to another group who already lives with this threat, there is a familiarity to it all…

Being a cyclist often reminds me of being a woman. If someone hurts me it’s my fault because I didn’t wear the right thing, I didn’t defer to them and “know my place”, and I didn’t just smile and put up with their abuse. Power imbalances foster bullying.

So, avoid them if you can, the dehumanising stereotypes. All the comparisons to vermin this past fortnight on conservative radio and social media – cockroaches, rats, lice, etc –  have been way out of line. Even the fixation with lycra. It’s something male sports cyclists usually wear. The obsession with men wearing tight revealing clothing in public so often veers into an obviously homophobic place. Just don’t.

Seriously, read the whole thing.

Because it probably matters more than you think.

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This is the cost of traffic violence.

Bystanders had to lift a pickup off an 11-year old boy, after an alleged drunk driver ran the kid down while he was riding in a crosswalk, then continued on dragging the boy underneath his truck for a “considerable distance,” leaving him with life-threatening injuries.

One of the top dog handlers missed out on this year’s Westminster Dog Show after his van was rear-ended in Laramie, Wyoming while driving ten canine competitors cross-country to the show; he ended up in the hospital, but fortunately, the dogs were uninjured. Which goes to show how much safer cars could be if everyone inside just rode in the human equivalent of a dog crate.

Speaking of Wyoming — Wyoming, Delaware in this case — a 74-year old man was killed in a collision when he was run down by a driver while mowing his lawn when a driver lost control of her SUV, pinning him underneath.  Naturally, no charges have been filed yet, because it was just an oopsie.

A Canadian woman complains that the drunken hit-and-run driver who fatally rear-ended her 27-year old son as he rode his bicycle could be out of prison in just one and a half years, despite a BAC over twice the legal limit after an admitted 13 drinks that day prior to getting behind the wheel — leaving a hole in her family that can never be filled.

In another form of violence due to motor vehicles, the grave of Robert Meacham, who rose from slavery to Florida state senator and helped establish the state’s public school system, is likely buried unmarked and unremembered under a Tampa parking lot, along with the bodies of hundreds of other Black people.

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Sarah Silverman is one of us now.

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GCN dives into the endless debate over roadies versus gravel bikes (gravelies?).

They also consider whether Shimano’s integrated shifters and brake levers were the greatest bike innovation of all time.

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

A road raging woman from an undisclosed location got out of her car to demand a young bike-riding woman give her “everything” in compensation for an invisible scratch to her apparently very expensive car.

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Local

Streets For All wants you to call on the city council’s Transportation Committee to support walking, bicycling, and micromobility and maximizing traffic signal priority for the Expo Line, as part of the LA’s Green New Deal, which could finally be getting long overdue traction.

A year ago, LA Times readers were asked to envision life post-pandemic, but only one lonely response addressed how nice life was with fewer cars on the streets. The simple fact is, if we go back to life as normal pre-pandemic, with cars maintaining hegemony over our streets, we will have failed. And looking outside, it appears we already have.

 

State

Two armed Orange County men were busted after blocking the path of a pair of Garden Grove bike riders with their car, robbing the woman of her bike, pack and cellphone while her male companion bravely rode away; police seized six guns from their home, was well as gun parts.

Family-owned Hesperia bike shop Hi-Desert Bikes is shuttering in August after 30 years in business, sending its owner into an unplanned early retirement.

 

National

If you still long for the little red wagon of your youth, Radio Flyer is riding to the rescue with a pair of fat tire ebikes.

Streetsblog marks Pride Week by examining how the design and planning needs of LGBTQ+ can make public spaces more inclusive.

Livestrong recommends this years best bike locks, starting at just $14.99.

An Anchorage paper says bicycling is a great way to visit different Alaskan towns, while finishing your ride with a local brew.

The Las Vegas bicycling community joined family members in remembering the five bike riders killed by a meth-fueled truck driver, six months after the fatal crash.

The popular bike repair website written by the late Sheldon Brown could be in jeopardy, as the Boston bike shop where he worked, which maintains the site, is shutting down.

More on the custom handmade bicycle President Biden got on the cheap for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson from Philadelphia’s Bilenky Cycle Works at a steep presidential discount, and in record time. And no, he didn’t get a Wikipedia printout in returnThanks to k_david for the link.

Kindhearted members of a West Virginia police community group bought a new bicycle for a young boy, after the Spider-man bike he got for Christmas was stolen off his porch.

Kindhearted New Orleans cops dug into their own pockets to buy a new bike for a nine-year old boy, after his was stolen when he was pushed off it by a group of older boys.

A Florida artist makes a statement for inclusion in bicycling with a 215-foot Ocala mural depicting bike riders of all ages, genders, nationalities and abilities.

 

International

Vancouver bike riders shed their clothes for the city’s first post-pandemic edition of the World Naked Bike Ride. And in New Orleans, tooAt least, we can hope it’s post-pandemic, despite rising overseas variants and a high level of unvaxxed people in the US and Canada.

They kinda get it. An editorial in Toronto’s Globe & Mail unexpectedly emerged from behind the paper’s paywall, asking — and attempting to answer — what if cities were designed for the safety of people, instead of the convenience of cars. Although cities could go way beyond Vision Zero, and consider designing them for the convenience of people, as well. 

An Oxford, England writer complains that the way the media reports on crashes involving bike riders, including use of the word accident, just fuels the conflict between bicyclists and motorists.

A heartbroken English mother called on parents to pay more attention to their bike-riding children, after her 12-year old son was killed by a driver the first time he rode his bike on the streets, while being watched by her estranged husband.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for forwarding this survey gathering responses from disabled bike riders in the UK; if you live or ride in the UK with a disability, or care for someone who does, they want to hear from you.

Advocates in Lagos, Nigeria are calling for more robust provisions. policies and affordability for non-motorized transportation, including walking and bicycling.

Bike riders in Jakarta are calling for a bicycle revolution in Indonesia’s capital city, as the governor calls for building 310 miles of bike lanes, as well as a $56,000 monument to bicycling in the city’s main thoroughfare.

An Aussie writer says riding a bicycle is sweet freedom, even if it might kill her. And it lets her eat more of her wife’s cakes.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bike racing returned to Tulsa, Oklahoma for the first time since the pandemic reared its ugly head, only to face near total domination from our hometown L39ion of Los Angles, which took all three men’s podium spots and the top two women’s spots at the Tulsa Arts District Crit. And swept the top spot on all three individual race titles and omniums on Sunday.

Congratulations to Colorado’s Riley Amos, who became the first American man to win a U23 World Cup mountain bike race.

Cycling Weekly writes that new unions for both men’s and women’s pro cyclists could be about to change the shape of top level bike racing.

 

Finally…

Your next bikepacking campsite could be a portable treehouse trailer towed behind your bike. And probably not the best idea to ride a children’s bike along the crowded train platform you’re supposed to be guarding.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

And get vaccinated, already.

Morning Links: Bike riding pervs and hit-and-run bike riders, LA stands in for NYC bikeshare, and cops in bike lanes

Today’s common theme is bike-riding sexual predators, and hit-and-run bike riders.

Sheriff’s deputies in Woodside CA are searching for a bike rider who grabbed a girl’s ass as she walked on a high school campus Monday night. Thanks to Robert Leone for the heads-up. And no, there’s no effing excuse for that, ever.

A bike-riding Hungarian man will spend a well-deserved four years in a UK prison for groping 21 women as he rode by over a 13-week period.

Meanwhile, British police bust a hit-and-run bike rider after a collision with a 70-year old woman crossing the street that left the victim with what police describe as life-changing injuries.

And police in another English town are investigating a crash between a bike rider and a pedestrian that left the victim with a serious head injury.

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Either Downtown Los Angeles is once again standing in for New York, or New York bikeshare Citi Bike has decided to give LA’s Metro Bike a run for its money.

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LA cops just insist on parking in bike lanes.

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I want to be like him when I grow up.

An 82-year old Englishman is back on his mountain bike after beating cancer.

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Stop whatever you’re doing, and take two minutes to watch former BMX pro Matt Row rip through a Welsh mountain bike trail as if he was still riding a stunt bike.

It may just be the best thing you see today.

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Local

Los Angeles County dropped plans to ban e-scooters from the streets in unincorporated areas after discovering it wouldn’t stand up in court, ordering staff to draw up plans by March to regulate scooters instead.

I’m not a fan of Santa Clarita’s Head’s Up traffic safety campaign, but it may be working; traffic collisions are projected to drop 14% in the city last year.

As we enter our third consecutive day of rain, a floating bike might come in handy for SoCal bicyclists right about now. Just a suggestion.

State

No bias here. After a bike rider was struck by a Costa Mesa cop, the Daily Pilot questions whether the rider had “safety gear” or lights, but doesn’t question the driver’s actions in any way — or even mention one. Meanwhile, a new study points out six ways the media is still blaming the victims.

Mission Viejo will host a bike rodeo and workshop for the city’s Bikeway Master Plan on January 26th.

An op-ed from an Orange County healthcare consultant says better health is as easy as riding a bike.

Del Mar will be hosting the inaugural CABDA West bicycle expo this week, with 1,150 attendees from 410 bike shops.

The family of a fallen bicyclist calls for changes on the Fresno street where he was killed, blaming a lack of bike lanes and street lights for his death. Thanks to Frank Lehnerz for the tip.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo says he learned the hard way that SUVs don’t bend, as he returns to city hall two weeks after broadsiding one in a New Year’s bike crash. Thanks to Patt Morrison for the link.

San Jose transportation columnist Mr.Roadshow explains the what and why behind all those different bike markings on the street.

National

An engineering website says the only correct number of traffic deaths is zero.

Wired asks if advocates are selling out by going to work for tech companies as they move into the bike world. If you can call companies like Uber, Lyft and Lime tech companies.

Bike commuting appeared to spike in Seattle this week in the Emerald City’s version of Carmageddon, as the seaside Alaskan Way Viaduct was shut down, three weeks before the tunnel replacing it is set to open.

A new Seattle study shows that only 20% of dockless bikeshare riders wear helmets despite the city’s mandatory helmet law, compared to 90% of riders using their own bikes.

A bighearted Wyoming man has given away over 7,000 bicycles in the last two years; he started the Lauralynn Project after giving an extra bike to a woman who had one stolen, then bought two more for her kids.

Dallas plans to increase the amount of bike lanes in the city to accommodate new dockless bikeshare, ebikes and e-scooters.

An Ohio driver pled guilty to vehicular manslaughter in the death of a bike rider, even though he claimed the sun was in his eyes. Which is usually a Get Out of Jail Free excuse for most motorists, even though it shouldn’t be.

A 34-year old Tennessee woman dropped 160 pounds by getting on her bike after her father died from a heart attack.

A New York state woman faces charges after lying to the police; she allegedly struck a ten-year old boy with her car, then walked up to police officers investigating the crash and told them the driver fled in another direction.

Life is cheap in New York, where a garbage truck driver who killed a bike-riding Australian tourist walked with just a $1,000 fine despite drinking beer before driving, after prosecutors couldn’t prove he was drunk.

Talk about not getting it. A Virginia letter writer says Vision Zero is just a plot to increase congestion and force more cars off the street.

Heartbreaking story. Bicycling asks who has the right to remove a ghost bike, as a Virginia property owner ignores a mother’s pain and removes the ghost bike honoring her daughter, even though it wasn’t on his property.

A Florida newspaper compares bicycling versus running, and concludes that running burns more calories, but bicycling is safer. They also note that Men’s Health says you can expect to crash on your bike just once every 900,000 miles. Which means I’m way above average.

International

The Sierra Club profiles a woman who got back on a bike for the first time in 12 years after leaving Iran for Canada, and has no intention of getting off.

Good piece from a BC planning student, who says we can do a lot more to improve safety on our streets — starting with dumping the big trucks and SUVs.

Caught on video: This is how easy it is for British bike thieves to steal a $5,000 ebike.

Bike Europe calls for action to fight a plan to require liability insurance to ride an ebike on the continent.

Here’s one for your mountain bike bucket list — shredding the trails of Italy’s South Sardinia.

The town of Karditsa has become one Greece’s most bike friendly cities, with one bicycle for every two residents.

Two men from Nepal were arrested in Tokyo after getting drunk, stealing a bicycle and placing it on a set of train tracks, where it was run over, damaging the train and delaying morning commuters. Must have seemed like a good idea at the time.

A Singaporean bike rider and the truck driver who rammed him off the in a viral road rage video last month are both facing serious charges as a result of the clash.

The South China Morning Post says blockchain can save what’s left of the dockless bikeshare industry following the collapse of Chinese bikeshare providers.

Competitive Cycling

Good news from Italy, where 18-year old junior cyclist Samuele Manfredi has come out of a medically induced coma, a month after he was run over by a driver while on a training ride.

The Australian Broadcast Network says descending at over 60 mph remains one of cycling’s greatest tests of nerve.

Outside writes that pros won’t ruin gravel racing. Probably.

Finally…

Probably not the best idea to punch a bike thief if he didn’t really steal your bike. Riding your bike without handlebars is now officially reckless.

And how to tell when you’re wheelie bad.

Monday morning meditations from a muddled mind — hit-and-runs, Bob Filner and podium girls

Sometimes there’s just too much swirling around my head to focus on any one thing. And not enough coffee in all the Starbucks in all of LA to clarify things.

Which is exactly where I am this morning.

A day when I can breath a sign of relief that my morning search for bike news didn’t turn up any major bad news for SoCal cyclists. Although the word from other places near and far isn’t nearly as good.

And you’d think that an old man using a walker would be able to cross a damn LA street without getting run down by some jackass who doesn’t have the basic human decency to stop his or her goddamn car after killing another human being.

Drivers continue to flee the scene of collisions because current law means even if they do get caught, they’re better off getting charged for hit-and-run than DUI, or may not have a valid license and insurance for whatever reason.

Then again, some drivers just bet that they can get away with it.

And usually do.

Not to mention we seem to live in a society that has lost sight of the value of human life.

And all of those things have to change before anything else will.

Then again, it would help if the press took the matter more seriously. Or at least cared enough to dig a little deeper and get the story right.

As for insurance, there was a proposal several years back to include basic state-run liability coverage for every motorist in the cost of gas. Whenever you paid at the pump, a fee would be added to ensure that every victim of every collision would be protected from every driver.

Which means you’d never again have to worry how you’re going to pay your mounting medical bills after some driver ran you into the ground.

Needless to say, it didn’t go anywhere, for any number of reasons, valid and otherwise. Not the least of which was that bad drivers would pay the same rate as good ones, even though they could receive supplemental billing to make up for a lack of driving ability. Never mind that the state should be focused on getting bad drivers off the streets.

Plus some provision would have to be made for electric and hybrid vehicles. And state run auto insurance sounded a lot like communism to some people.

Then there’s the news from our neighbor to the south that scumbag Mayor Bob Filner is stepping down at the end of this week.

Political leaders have long felt entitled to do anything they damn well pleased when it came to sexual behavior. Mostly because no one held them accountable for much of American history.

Though you’d think the long line of embarrassed elected leaders stretching from Gary Hart through Bill Clinton and onto New York’s Anthony Weiner would convince them to keep their damn zippers closed in inappropriate situations.

All of which would appear to have little to do with bicycling.

Except Weiner had tried, with varying success, to reposition himself as a bike-friendly candidate after earlier threatening to tear out New York’s bike lanes. And appeared to be winning some support before the latest round of sexting revelations.

And San Diego has been making great strides under Filner’s leadership to reverse decades of benign — and sometimes, not so benign — neglect of bicyclists.

Which may, or may not, continue under the next administration that replaces him.

Thanks, Bob.

No, really.

At least there’s better news from my home state, where a new generation of bike racers took center stage. Colorado’s Tejay van Garderen took first place and Peter Sagan won four of the seven stages, while Christian Vande Velde called it a career at yet another successful USA Pro Challenge.

Even though the race continues to allow women just token participation, while demonstrating that the best way for a woman to get on a racing podium is to put on a tight dress and kiss the winner when the race is over.

And if any local bike shops are thinking about using podium girls at any races you might sponsor, don’t.

Just don’t.

And yes, I’m talking to you.

Think of the message you send women riders — and your potential customers — when you treat them like trophies instead of handing them one.

And the mixed message you send more than counteracts any good will you might earn by sponsoring women’s races.

Keep sponsoring competitions for both sexes. But drop the podium girls, already.

After all, it’s hard enough for women riders to get the respect they deserve — let alone compete on equal terms with male riders — when you treat them with as much respect as Bob Filner might.

Don’t get me wrong.

I enjoy looking at an attractive woman as much as any man.

But what really makes a woman attractive, to me at least, is knowing she could drop me on a steep uphill ride anytime she damn well feels like it.

Now that’s hot.

Almost as hot as watching a woman receive a hard-earned prize for outracing the world’s best riders, instead of just being one.

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