Phillip Young reports signage at the intersection prohibits making a right turn on a red light when pedestrians or bike riders are present, which drivers routinely ignore. And which should be banned there under all circumstances.
But the crash highlights both the dangers of street crossings on separated bike paths, as well as the inherent risks of allowing people to keep driving long past the age when most driver’s abilities start to decline.
Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up; artwork by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay.
It’s been shown time and again that this is the most effective way to make changes on our streets.
So why doesn’t Los Angeles ever do it?
Paris Mayor @Anne_Hidalgo did the same thing with bike lanes— some pilots to prove they worked, but quickly making them permanent & decisively expanding on them during the pandemic when they were well received. Don’t ask if folks want something that they can’t picture. Show them. pic.twitter.com/zodsNHYVJF
January 10, 2022 /
bikinginla / Comments Off on 18 Los Angeles bike riders killed in 2021 Vision Zero fail, speed cams improve safety, and Sidney Poitier was one of us
It’s worse than we thought.
A lot worse.
Tracking bicycling deaths in Los Angeles last year, it became clear that what I was seeing was clearly a major undercount.
Because the numbers I was seeing were too good to be true, as if LA’s Vision Zero has suddenly started showing results, despite years of just nibbling at the edges of traffic safety.
It’s a problem that has developed over the past few years, as local newspapers and TV stations stopped reporting many bike crashes after the pandemic forced major cutbacks in the newsrooms.
At the same time, the LAPD has taken to telling the public about bike and pedestrian deaths only when there’s a crime involved — and even then too often waiting weeks, if not months, to issue a press release in some parts of the city, particularly in the case of hit-and-runs.
As a result, I counted just eight people killed riding bicycles in the city last year, a fraction of the 15 to 20 or more deaths that would have been expected in pre-pandemic days.
Sadly, I was right.
According to the Los Angeles Times, that was less than half of the actual total of 18 people killed riding their bikes in the City of Angels in 2021 — a 20% increase over the 15 people killed on bikes in the first year of the pandemic.
According to Los Angeles Police Department data through Dec. 25, 289 people were killed in traffic collisions last year, 21% more than the same period in 2020 and 19% over the same period in 2019. A total of 1,465 people were severely injured, a 30% increase over the same period in 2020. The LAPD defines severely injured as needing to be transported from the collision.
The city’s streets are increasingly dangerous for pedestrians in particular, with 486 being severely injured by motorists — a 35% increase over 2020. Pedestrian deaths rose 6% to 128.
The numbers frustrate transportation advocates, who’ve long argued that Vision Zero — a program to end traffic deaths unveiled in 2015 by Garcetti — is underfunded and given a low priority by the mayor and City Hall leaders.
Then again, that’s what can be expected when our elected leaders quake in fear of getting recalled by angry drivers, and lack the courage to make the hard choices and changes necessary to save lives.
But Garcetti isn’t one to take such criticism lying down.
Garcetti cited the distraction of cellphones as a cause of collisions and said the city has added bike lanes during the pandemic, studied the city’s most dangerous intersections to come up with solutions, and supported a new state law designed to help cities have more control over speed limits.
“But it shows how tough it is,” Garcetti said Thursday.
He pushed back against criticism that he doesn’t mention Vision Zero as frequently as he touts other initiatives. “I speak out all the time,” Garcetti said. “I do on panels, I go out there, internationally, to kind of be part of this movement to make sure that we have more walkable, livable cities.”
So it’s nice to see Garcetti has done what he seems to do best.
Talk and attend conferences.
To be honest, I’ve wracked my brain in recent months, but can’t recall any elected official I’ve voted for and actively supported who has been a greater disappointment than Eric Garcetti.
He started out great in his first term, before apparently setting his sights on higher office — including the presidency — and appearing to lose interest in the daily work of being the mayor of Los Angeles.
But I can tell you this.
I will not vote for anyone for mayor this year who does not fully commit to making Vision Zero a top priority, and funding it at levels necessary to result in real change. And commit to making the difficult choices and changes we need on our streets to actually reduce deaths and make our streets survivable.
And I won’t support anyone for city council who doesn’t, either.
It’s clear that homelessness will be the primary issue in this year’s campaign. We need to fight to raise traffic safety to a top priority, as well.
Because our lives literally depend on it.
A new Chicago study shows speed cams really do work. And they really do save lives.
A review of the city’s 162 automated speed cams, which state law allows to be installed only within one-eighth of a mile of a park or school, showed that serious crashes went up in those areas.
But not as much as they did in the city as a whole.
Fatal or serious injury crashes increased only 2 percent near speed cameras between 2012-13 and 2018-19, as compared to a 21 percent increase citywide. This is similar to the 1 percent and 19 percent findings of last year’s study, which compared 2012-13 with 2017-18.
Between 2012-13 and 2018-19, overall crash totals increased 1 percent in the cam locations, compared to a 25 percent increase in all crashes citywide. The figures from last year’s study were 4 percent and 26 percent.
Speed-related crashes increased 18 near speed cams between 2012-13 and 2018-19, compared to a 64 percent spike city-wide. Those are smaller increases than were seen in last year’s study: 25 percent and 75 percent.
Two bills under consideration in the state legislature during the past session would have established pilot programs for speed cams here in California.
But both died on the vine, apparently because they would have inconvenienced speeding drivers, which tend to make them mad.
Fortunately, Calbike and SAFE — aka Streets Are For Everyone — say they’ll make getting a bill through the legislature one of their top priorities.
So there may be hope yet.
Los Angeles Bureau of Streets Services Assistant Director & Chief Sustainability Officer Greg Spotts is one of us.
Which should inspire confidence that he’ll get the job done right.
No bias here, either. Two cops were disciplined after Irish officials allowed a dangerous driver to remain on the streets until he killed a man riding a bike, despite 42 — yes, 42 — previous convictions, and being out on bail from three separate courts. But the police commissioner quashed their fines and sanctions.
Sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.
A Montreal bike rider responds to being told to stay in the bike lane by smashing his bike against the driver’s car. Which probably hurt his bike more than it does the car. Seriously, violence is never the answer, as tempting as it is sometimes.
However, as we noted yesterday, the configuration of the roadway is still undetermined, after CD14 Councilmember Kevin de León threw a wrench in the resident-driven Beautiful Blvd plan, which would remove a traffic lane in some places, while retaining bike lanes, landscaping, medians and most parking.
De León insisted on studying another option, and gathering still more public input, despite months of public meetings and comments already.
Today, @LorenaSGonzalez inexplicably killed AB 550, a public safety bill that had overwhelming public support, and would have let cities use cameras as a tool to deter dangerous & illegal speeding on streets. This bill would have saved hundreds of lives in California every year.
Despite — or maybe because of — an up to 70% drop in traffic fatalities, roadway deaths declined just 3% in Los Angeles last year, thanks at least in part to a dramatic jump in speeding as empty streets encouraged drivers to use a heavy right foot.
Based on preliminary data reported by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, 238 people died in collisions last year, compared to 246 in 2019 — a decrease of about 3%.
That slight dip pales in comparison to how sharply car travel fell in greater L.A. and beyond in the early months of the pandemic. Schools closed, many workers stopped commuting to their offices, and local and state stay-at-home orders drastically limited the places and activities we could drive to in our cars.
In mid-to-late March 2020, daily vehicle traffic fell as much as 70%. Last April saw traffic volumes decrease by 30% to 50% compared to the start of the year. Daily driving has been increasing since that historic plummet, but still remain below typical levels, according to city traffic data.
And despite a drop last year, bike and pedestrian deaths are still up over the five years since LA adopted Vision Zero in 2015.
Which isn’t the way it’s supposed to work.
The basic philosophy behind Vision Zero is that humans will make mistakes on the road and crashes will happen, but by redesigning streets to reduce speeding and better protect vulnerable road users, those crashes don’t have to cause severe injuries and deaths. But as the data has shown in recent years, L.A.’s current approach is not working…
While fewer people were killed and seriously injured in crashes overall last year, not all L.A. communities experienced less traffic violence. According to preliminary data compiled by LADOT:
The number of pedestrians killed by drivers fell about 12% overall, but increased in some neighborhoods
Slightly fewer cyclists were killed last year (15, compared to 19 in 2019)
The number of motorcyclists killed in crashes jumped about 45%
Motor vehicle occupant deaths were nearly unchanged
Pandemic or not, it’s clear that LADOT’s piecemeal approach to reducing traffic deaths isn’t working.
And it isn’t Vision Zero, by any definition.
The basic philosophy behind Vision Zero is that humans will make mistakes on the road and crashes will happen, but by redesigning streets to reduce speeding and better protect vulnerable road users, those crashes don’t have to cause severe injuries and deaths. But as the data has shown in recent years, L.A.’s current approach is not working.
It’s long past time Los Angeles stopped talking about Vision Zero, and got off its collective ass and did something about it.
Because I’m every bit as tired of writing about fallen bicyclists as you are reading about it. And don’t get me started on all the other people needlessly killed on our streets.
SAFE founder and Executive Director Damian Kevitt, who lost a leg — and nearly his life — to a hit-and-run driver who was never caught, makes a heartfelt plea to fight for SB 733, which would allow automated speed cams in school zones.
Sadly, California is one of the only nine states that expressly forbids speed safety cameras in school zones. This tool has been available since 1987 and is unquestionably effective. Data in cities across the country, such as New York, Seattle, and Chicago, show that speed safety cameras reduce traffic injuries and fatalities and change driver behavior. More importantly, there are already thousands of schools across the country that currently use speed safety cameras to protect kids, teachers, and parents.
The common sense bill, which would only impact people breaking the law and endangering innocent kids and adults, has been severely watered down by Senate Transportation Committee Chair Lena Gonzalez, a Democrat misrepresenting Long Beach, at least in this case.
As currently written after it was butchered in committee, the law would only allow a pilot project in four schools out of more that 20,000 in the state.
As Kevitt writes,
This is an insult to victims of traffic violence and the coalition of support, especially given the immediate problem and widespread, documented effective use of speed safety cameras across the country.
One of the harder things I have had to do is tell victims of traffic violence — who were emotionally prepared to testify in committee — that this lifesaving bill wouldn’t make it through committee due to political forces that are hard to explain. Why would police unions work to fill a bill that so obviously would help save lives? It is heartbreaking.
But we will pick ourselves up and gain strength. The voices of traffic violence will not be silenced. Safety advocates will not accept that denial of the science. Equity groups will demand accountability. And, in the end, we will save lives.
He urges you, and all of us, to call or email Gonzalez’s office to express your outrage, and demand this life-saving tool to protect innocent lives.
Join us the entire month of June for a virtual challenge in place of the LA River Ride. 2020 was supposed to mark 20 years of River Ride, but we had to put our beloved event on hold due to the pandemic. We’re making up for it in 2021 by inviting you to 30 days of riding, walking and running the historic waterways of Los Angeles!
The LA Rivers challenge is all about doing the mileage goal that is best for you. Select the goal that excites you, tests your abilities, or that you can do with your family. There is a distance for everyone to ride, walk or run.
Opening March 15th, registration is just $40, but follow up on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for exclusive discounts. You also have the opportunity to support healthy, sustainable and equitable streets by choosing to fundraise for LACBC while meeting your mileage goals. You can earn great prizes at key fundraising milestones and will qualify for The 2021 LA Rivers Challenge Drawing to win one of our grand prizes TBA! Whatever your contribution, you will be supporting the work of LACBC, as we try to make Los Angeles a safer and more inclusive place to ride, walk and run.
— Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (@lacbc) May 2, 2021
This is who we share the road with, part one.
Man drove onto the curb, sped near 50 people eating at a closed off street, crashed into a planter by a parking structure in Santa Ana, then tried to run away from the scene of the crime – possible DUI. https://t.co/4l2V7YE15n
A woman was released from the hospital late last night after a motorist — angered by "yuppies with dogs" along Logan Boulevard — jumped a curb and rammed her at a birthday picnic after allegedly yelling an anti-Asian comment at her friend, witnesses say https://t.co/Lv0y5dOwNV
Woman was intentionally ran over by the driver of the car on 4/30/21 at 5:15 pm. at the northeast corner of Hinsdale St and Linden Blvd, Brooklyn. Woman is in critical but stable condition. pic.twitter.com/IYXNSJ4s0S
In the first month of the pandemic last spring, the California Highway Patrol reported that although traffic volume was down 35%, the number of citations for driving in excess of 100 miles an hour had increased by 87% over the same period a year earlier. Between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, 4,851 more CHP citations were issued for speeding at 100 miles an hour or more, a 93% increase over the same period a year earlier.
On Sunday, when I wrote about the perils of drivers thinking that light traffic during the pandemic is a license to try out for NASCAR, readers shared their own horror stories about speeding drivers and offered their own solutions. One was automated speed enforcement, which I’d already been looking into.
The way it works is that, if you’re driving over the speed limit in a monitored area, a sensor will read your speed and license plate, and you’ll get a citation in the mail.
The problem, as we’ve noted here before, is that they’re illegal here in the late, great golden state.
Currently, the technology is prohibited in California, but 140 communities in the country have used it with impressive results.
“Washington, D.C., saw a 70% reduction in speeding,” said Seleta Reynolds, general manager of L.A.’s Department of Transportation. “New York saw huge reductions in severe and fatal crashes. That technology is going to save people’s lives for years to come.”
As Lopez notes, that’s thanks in part to pressure from police unions, who have blocked previous attempts to legalize speed cams out of fear it will cost cops jobs, rather than simply freeing more officers to focus on more important things.
There are currently two bills before the state legislature to rectify the situation.
Assembly Bill 550 would legalize speed cams on streets previously recognized as dangerous, as well as in work zones, while Senate Bill 735 would limit the cams to school zones.
Both would require giving hotfooted drivers advance notice through signs indicating they’re entering a speed enforcement zone.
Which is kind of like warning robbers the cops have the place staked out, so they can avoid getting caught.
We need them everywhere drivers speed, rather than just limited locations. And as anyone who’s spent much time on SoCal streets knows, drivers speed everywhere.
But it’s a start.
Let’s hope both pass, or they get merged into a single bill for passage.
And let’s keep on top of it, and keep pressure on our representatives to make sure they do.
This is a perfect example of why you should register your bike.
Even though the thieves took this bike far from the LA area, Bike Index’ free national stolen bike database helped lead to its safe return.
The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.
No bias here. A conservative commentator wants bike riders banned from the streets because someone on a bike complained about people blocking bike lanes, albeit in a rude and obnoxious manner. Seriously, we’ve all had to deal with people blocking bike lanes, but try to make the same point without being a total jerk about it.
Further proof that cyclists should be banned from the roadways
In a tragic irony, a Berkeley bike and pedestrian advocate suffered major injuries when she was struck by a driver while riding with her son on a street where walkers and bike riders are supposed to have priority — and just hours after meeting with city transportation officials on how to improve traffic safety.
The owner of a burger bar in Bath, England claims a new bike lane will batter his business. Because evidently, only people who drive eat hamburgers. And if drivers aren’t willing to walk a little further to do business with his shop, maybe he should try making a better burger.
You know I’m having problems when I can’t even manage to post to say I won’t be posting anything.
On another note, remember that tomorrow is a legal holiday.
It’s hard to say what it will be like in this extremely effed-up year, but three-day holidays usually mean an increase in traffic the afternoon before as people get off work early to get a jump on the weekend — often after stopping for a drink.
Those who still have jobs, anyway.
So just be careful if you’re riding this afternoon.
Use a little extra caution, ride defensively and watch out for careless drivers. Because they won’t be watching for you.
“Bicycles are not likely to lead to reduced passenger car travel speed, despite their differences in performance capabilities,” says the study, conducted in Portland, Oregon, on roads without bicycle lanes.
“Bicycles do not reduce passenger car speeds by more than 1 mph,” add the study authors concluding that cyclists are not guilty of “negatively affecting travel speed or creating congestion.”
That negligible delay also means the common argument that bicycles cause increased auto emissions by delaying traffic is just so much smoke.
“A general concern of motorists [concerning] the presence of bicycles on roads without bicycle lanes is that they will impede motor vehicles because of their differing performance characteristics, which may serve to increase congestion and vehicle emissions,” explained the study, finding that a 1 mph differential in speed caused by the presence of cyclist would not cause congestion.
And by not being a cause of congestion, cyclists’ presence on roads is not a cause of increased emissions from motorists, either.
It also means that the common motorist maneuver of speeding up to pass someone on a bike, then cutting back in front of them — referred to here as MGIF, or “must get in front” — is just a needless waste of effort that increases danger for everyone on the road.
So the next time you have an impatient driver on your ass, keep your finger holstered. And tell them to just take a breath and get over it, already.
Looks like Calbike is finally endorsing speed cams.
The law invented the concept of officer discretion so white drivers could get fewer speeding tickets. If we want to have fair and equitable policing, we’ll have to get over our hatred for speed cameras.https://t.co/vMwcIoQWXt
A San Diego pediatrician is back riding his bike a month after he had titanium rods attached to his spine, after fracturing three vertebrae when he stepped in to protect a security guard who was being attacked by a patient at La Mesa’s Sharp Grossmont Hospital.
The Daily Breezerecounts the story of deadly Vista Del Mar, including the failed 2017 attempt to install a road diet, which was ripped out when drivers insisted on their God-given right to go zoom zoom even if it keeps killing people.
A San Diego woman suffered severe head trauma when a driver leaving a parking lot smashed into her bike as she rode on the sidewalk. Yet another example of why riding a bicycle on the sidewalk isn’t as safe as most people think.
Indicating a total misunderstanding of what speed limits are for, a Santa Rosa-area letter writer says drivers should be required to drive the speed limit, and bike riders should get the hell out of the way so they don’t slow down the more important people in cars. Just like drivers, bicyclists are required to pull over when safe to do so if there are five or more vehicles stuck behind them and unable to pass; the law does not apply if there are two or more lanes in each direction, or if the people can safely pass them.
An op-ed in the New York Daily News says sure, bikes are all fine and good, but the city’s Belmont neighborhood needs its parking. Unlike, say, every other neighborhood that says the same thing, until they find out they’re actually better off with more bikes and fewer cars.
According to Linton, the plan “takes a lot of words and charts to say very little” and rather than listing specific actions to be taken, merely lists “40 key corridors where something unspecified might happen.”
Evidently, committee chair Mike Bonin agreed, pressing LADOT and LAPD to come back in 60 days to report on implantation, citations for the five leading violations that contribute to traffic fatalities, and a “no profiling” pledge.
Speaking of Vision Zero, page 38 of the Action Plan says the city will “consider” legislation to allow automated speed enforcement.
If LA is serious about eliminating traffic deaths, which seems questionable given the lack of specificity in the plan, they will work with SoCal representatives in the state legislature to ensure that Los Angeles is included in any pilot program.
The city can’t afford to hire enough cops to provide round-the-clock patrols of all 6,500 miles of streets within its jurisdiction. And without adequate speed enforcement, Vision Zero will fail.
The former head of the US Postal team says Greg LeMond is obsessed with Lance Armstrong, which is why he’s so focused on possible motor doping. Maybe so, but he was right about Lance’s doping when no one else wanted to believe it, myself included.
A writer for Bike Portland asks if the city’s lack of gated communities has contributed to its success as a bicycling community. On the other hand, LA’s relative lack of gated communities hasn’t exactly made it a bicyclist’s paradise.
A trio of Colorado counties are about to finalize a 670 acre land swap with the US Bureau of Land Management to open up more land for mountain biking.
This is why people continue to die on our streets. A British bus company responsible for killing a bike rider earlier this week had been the subject of numerous complaints, yet the company director insists cyclists have to take responsibility for collisions. Because you can’t actually expect drivers to operate their buses safely. Right?
Caught on video too: A Brit cyclist unleashes a foul mouthed tirade at a bus driver following a far too close pass to avoid a pedestrian. Considering the language I’ve directed towards various motorists over the years — all well-deserved, of course — I’m the last one to judge anyone’s choice of words.
The Traffic Safety Coalition is asking you to sign a letter today urging Gov. Brown to approve the bill before it dies on his desk in a pocket veto at the end of the month.
After all, a cyclist who runs a red light might get himself killed. But a red light-running driver could kill you. Or someone you love.
I’ll let them explain.
The Traffic Safety Coalition, a national not-for-profit grassroots organization with a chapter in California, is encouraging biking advocates to sign a letter to Governor Brown in support of Senate Bill 1303 (“SB 1303”), legislation that has passed both chambers of the California legislature and is currently awaiting his signature before the end of the month. If the Governor does not sign the bill within the next 5 days, the legislation is vetoed and will not become law.
SB 1303 reforms the use of traffic safety cameras (more commonly known as “red light cameras”) to encourage a focus on safety as a reason to use cameras rather than other motives. The letter can be viewed and signed on the Coalition’s website at www.trafficsafetycoalition.com/caletter.
As you will read in the letter, for a number of reasons SB 1303 is a step in the right direction for the dozens of communities across the state that use traffic safety cameras to effectively and efficiently enforce our most basic traffic safety law – red means stop. The bill does a few things:
It requires communities to make decisions about the placement of cameras for the right reasons – i.e., for safety reasons only and not for purposes of generating revenue.
It makes it easier for people to get cleared of wrongful tickets
It promotes transparency and public awareness by implementing strict signage requirements requiring the posting of signs alerting drivers of photo enforcement technology within 200 feet of an intersection
As municipalities across California continue to struggle with budget cuts, enforcement of basic traffic safety laws often must take a back seat to serious crimes and other community safety matters. Through photo enforcement, local law enforcement has a tool that can help ensure traffic safety while law officers spend their time on more pressing matters – and the numbers prove photo enforcement is effective.
More than 50 communities in California currently use traffic safety cameras to make their roads safer. For example, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, fatal red light running crashes are down 62% in San Diego, 55% in Bakersfield, 53% in Sacramento, 44% in Santa Ana, and 34% in Long Beach. All of these are well above the 24% average reduction in fatal red light running crashes in 14 of the largest cities in the U.S. using cameras. In fact, studies show that between 2004 and 2008 over 150 lives were saved in those cities thanks to cameras, and a startling 800 more lives could have been saved had every large city in the U.S. been using them.
The Traffic Safety Coalition is proud to work to support this technology with more than two dozen bike and pedestrian advocacy organizations across the country. Our partners include the Alliance for Biking and Walking, Ride of Silence, California Bicycle Coalition and California Walks. In addition to supporting the use of safety cameras, the Coalition has worked with its partners to support 3-foot passing legislation and Complete Streets bills.
The effective use of safety cameras isn’t just a matter of catching drivers who break the law. It’s also about deterring the illegal and dangerous behavior that puts cyclists at risk every day. On your bike, you aren’t protected by a steel shell when someone runs a red light. Consider signing the letter to urge Governor Brown to do the right thing and help keep California roads safe for everyone.