Tag Archive for Summer of Cycling

OC columnist cites mythical war on cars, the cost of traffic violence, and NYT declares it’s the Summer of Cycling

Welcome back from the long Memorial Day weekend. Now settle in, because we have a lot of ground to cover. 

Photo by Erik Mclean from Pexels — time to gear up for the war on cars!

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No bias here, as a columnist for the Orange County Register goes all in on the mythical war on cars.

Susan Shelley says throw in the towel on climate change, stop building transit oriented development and duplexes and keep allowing parking minimums, because it really doesn’t matter what we do here in California, since the state only accounts for 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Which is kind of a lot for just one state.

And it might, you know, kind of inconvenience someone.

Besides, she insists, transit isn’t practical because that one time she plotted a route to some distant site 43 miles off it was easier just to drive.

Never mind that most people only need to travel a few miles. Or blocks, even.

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This is the cost of traffic violence.

A student at UC Davis remembers her best friend; the 19-year old woman was killed in a collision with a garbage truck driver last week.

Two young women are dead, and 20 people injured, after a speeding 18-year old driver crashed into another car before slamming into a group of pedestrians at an annual Nebraska cruising night; police are convinced it’s just another oopsie and wasn’t intentional.

A 25-year old NFL cornerback is dead, along with the woman he was traveling with, after apparently crashing his speeding car into another vehicle on a Dallas freeway; Jeff Gladney spent two years playing for the Minnesota Vikings before signing with the Arizona Cardinals this year.

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The New York Times has declared this the Summer of Cycling.

Which makes it official, right?

According to the paper,

In addition, there’s a couple stories we mentioned last week.

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Good questions.

Thanks to Grace Peng for the heads-up. 

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A Black-led bike club is raising funds to benefit people affected by the recent Buffalo mass shooting.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

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Evidently, only the top bananas get to ride in the official team pedicab.

Thanks again to Megan Lynch.

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That about sums it up.

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Apparently, e-tandems are nothing new.

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

Police in Boston are looking for a man who slashed the tires on ten bicycles parked at a transit station, for no apparent reason.

No bias here. The New York State Division of Consumer Protection urges everyone to wear a bike helmet, apparently convicted it’s the only thing that could possibly improve bike safety.

Or here, either. A Virginia writer says groups of bike riders are just recreating, while people in cars have important places to go. And it’s their fault if an impatient driver stupidly attempts to pass them all at once.

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

Police in Wheat Ridge, Colorado are blaming a bike rider for a head-on crash between two drivers, claiming one driver swerved to avoid someone on a bike, who left the scene. Even though they haven’t said the bike rider did anything wrong, or explained how they might have caused the crash. 

There’s a special place in hell for the schmuck who slammed his bicycle into a bike-riding 13-year old kid in Long Island, then used it to beat the boy with.

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Local

The Los Angeles River Recreation Zone is officially open for the summer; a local resident says the bike path along the river has been transformed, in a good way.

LA-based Urb-E, maker of the sit-down scooter popular with hip-hop artists a couple years back, has switched gears to join the fight on air pollution and congested streets by refocusing on high-capacity e-cargo bikes. Thanks once more to the prolific Megan Lynch.

Construction has begun on a new streetscape project on Melrose Blvd in West Hollywood’s Design District, including wider sidewalks, shade trees and “bicycle safety improvements,” whatever that means.

Watts-based East Side Riders Bike Club now has its own app to connect users “to the website, swag, rewards, and the ability to track their bike rides.”

 

State 

A public records request reveals San Diego officials went into damage control after the backlash over an advisory bike lane in the Mira Mesa neighborhood, with no more plans to install them anywhere else.

Emeryville mayor John Bauters insists he’s concerned about creating people-oriented spaces, not just bike lanes.

 

National

Build your own DIY ebike for under $500.

After the Portland Bike Index spotted a bike stolen in an armed robbery for sale on OfferUp, they tried to get the police to do something, only to watch that bike and others get sold to unsuspecting buyers, while the cops did nothing (Twitter thread).

Once again, Colorado authorities solved a hit-and-run by using an emergency alert system similar to an Amber Alert. Both Los Angeles and California have similar hit-and-run alert systems, but they’re seldom, if ever, used.

Austin, Texas bicyclists rode to remember gravel cyclist Moriah “Mo” Wilson, who was allegedly murdered by a jealous lover of pro cyclist Colin Strickland; sponsors have cut ties with Strickland over the killing, even though he appears to have had little involvement in it.

Bad news from Moline, Illinois, where a second victim has died after an alleged drunk driver drove onto a bike path paralleling a highway.

An Illinois judge expands cities’ liability for bike riders, ruling that the presence of bikeshare stations indicate that bikes are supposed to be ridden there.

A DC op-ed calls on physicians to help make bicycling safer by demanding safer infrastructure, saying it’s a public health issue.

The League of American Bicyclists, nee Wheelmen, was founded 142 years ago yesterday in Newport, Rhode Island; the group was instrumental in the fight for better roads before cars came along and drivers stole them all.

The Philadelphia Inquirer looks at the Mexican American lowrider bicycle culture in the city.

 

International

Your next bike could be made from recycled plastic.

Treehugger explains how an e-cargo bike can be life-changing.

After a single mom in British Columbia posted on Facebook that thieves has stolen the bicycle she gave her ten-year old son for his birthday, kindhearted strangers pitched into raise over $900 to buy him a new one.

Scotland’s active transportation minister is accused of spreading confusion by encouraging kids to wear a bike helmet, after saying they have no value for adult riders. On the other hand, at least they have an active transportation minister, unlike some countries I could name.

Seriously? A British minibus driver was told he “could be” facing jail time after he was convicted of deliberately swerving to slam into a bike rider, as his passengers watched. Someone needs to change that “could be” into damn well will be.

A former UK minister proves once again you can carry anything on a bike, as he sets off on a 2,000 mile bike tour of Europe with his trusty cello on an extended rear rack.

Bicycling rates are up 53% in Belgium, but bike theft continues to plague Brussels, even as it drops in the rest of the country.

A Czech company wants you to make tushy imprint and take pictures of it, so they can build a 3D-printed bike saddle custom-made to fit your butt, for a mere $400.

A crowdfunding campaign headed by Copenhagenize author and urban planner Mikael Colville-Andersen is raising funds to supply bicycles and build pop-up bike infrastructure for refugees fleeing the Russian invasion in Lviv, Ukraine; the crowdfunding campaign has raised roughly 1% of the more than $212,000 goal.

Bikeshare comes to Cairo, Egypt for the equivalent of just 54¢ per hour.

They get it. A New Zealand website refutes the myth that bike lanes are bad for business.

 

Competitive Cycling

Pre-race favorite Richard Carapaz held on to the pink leader’s jersey right up to the penultimate stage of the Giro, when he lost it to 26-year old Aussie Jai Hindley. Hindley held on in the final time trial, unlike two years ago when he lost the race in the final stage.

Hindley is the first Australian to win the Giro; a Sydney paper explains everything you need to know about the country’s newest cycling star.

Cycling News offers five moments that defined this year’s Giro.

Three-time world champ Peter Sagan is headed to Kansas this weekend for the 100-mile Unbound Gravel race.

 

Finally…

Now you, too, can own your very own NFT of the world’s first 3D printed bike. When you’re riding with an outstanding warrant, meth and drug paraphernalia on your bike, put a damn light on it.

And why wait for bikes to hit the street before running them down?

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

A successful Wilshire CicLAvia, Give Me 3 moves forward, and who knew drivers run stops signs, too?

The view from the Downtown hub

The view from the Downtown hub

Just a few quick thoughts on Sunday’s CicLAvia.

After all, there’s been more than enough written on the subject to make a review by yours truly truly irrelevant.

But let me offer my congratulations to the folks at CicLAvia for pulling off the most successful event yet.

Maybe it was the extended 9 am to 4 pm hours, allowing people to travel the route more leisurely.

It could have been using both sides of a wide boulevard, unlike the recent CicLAvia to the Sea, allowing more space to move. And the limited traffic crossings certainly didn’t hurt, making it possible for even the slowest riders to cover the entire route in an hour or so of actual pedaling.

Meanwhile, the shorter distance encouraged more walking, making this the first one where I’ve seen a significant amount of pedestrians along the entire route.

Evidently, bikes are good for business

Evidently, bikes are good for business

It might have been the iconic theme for an iconic boulevard. Along with the many entertainment and educational options along the route; the woman singing traditional Korean songs in not so traditional Koreatown was a highlight for me.

Call it Gangnam-style from a handful of centuries back.

Then there was the food of every possible description, dispensed from everything from trucks and restaurants to church groups and kids hawking cookies and lemonade.

It could have been the abundance of portapotties, reducing bladder pressure and putting everyone in better mood.

Or maybe it was all of the above, in what felt like the best planned and organized CicLAvia yet. Clearly, organizers have looked at what didn’t work in previous events and made some changes for the better.

I'll believe a car-free Wilshire when I see  unicorn on it

I’ll believe a car-free Wilshire when I see unicorns

One minor criticism is that participants universally ignored signs suggesting slower people should keep to the right, resulting in conflict zones throughout the full length of Wilshire. Which may have been why I saw three riders fall, resulting, thankfully, in relatively minor injuries.

The worst was a woman who lay in the street grabbing her collarbone, causing me to ride a few blocks back to an aid station get medical help.

The others suffered scrapes and road rash, and declined medical help.

Note to everyone: If you have the option for free medical help in an event like this, take advantage of it. Prompt first aid can prevent worse problems later, and the need for avoid more expensive medical attention if further injuries become apparent the next day, as often happens.

A friend writes that she witnessed a bike-bourn hit-and-run, in which a couple on a tandem rode off after knocking down another rider. Witnesses were unable to stop the bike before it disappeared into the crowd, leaving the victim sprawled bloody on the street.

Me taking a picture from Downtown hub; photo by Maraget Wehbi

Me taking a picture from Downtown hub; photo by Maraget Wehbi

Then there’s the schmuck — and I use the term advisedly — who apparently was unwilling to make his way to one of the four crossing points, and gunned his late model Toyota through the barricades at Windsor Ave and across the CicLAvia route, where he hit a cyclist before fleeing the scene.

Fortunately, the rider wasn’t seriously hurt, though badly shaken. (Update: The rider has three fracture vertebrae as well as a mangled bike; having suffered the same injury a few decades back, he likely faces a long road to recovery and a lifetime of back pain.)

Unfortunately, the limited description means the driver will probably get away with it.

But on the off chance they find him, I hope they take away his license. And shove it so far up his ass he’ll need to see a proctologist to buy his next six pack of beer.

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Congratulations to Wolfpack Hustle on pulling off what I’m told was a very successful and popular first-ever Civic Center Criterium on Sunday.

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California’s latest attempt at passing a three-foot passing law is now before the Senate Standing Committee on Transportation and Housing after overwhelmingly passing the state Assembly, just shy of a veto-proof two-thirds majority.

The bill’s sponsor, Inglewood Assemblymember Steven Bradford, has been very smart in answering the unreasonable objections Governor Jerry Brown gave in vetoing the last two attempts to pass a three-foot law.

There should be no rational reason for Brown to veto the law this time around. Although as we’ve seen, rationality isn’t exactly his strong point when it comes to bikes.

There are some strong supporters of bicycling on this committee, including West Valley Sen. Fran Pavley. But it couldn’t hurt to contact committee members to voice your support.

As we’ve seen with the previous attempts to pass this law, nothing is guaranteed in California politics.

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After learning that the rate of cellphone violations are down in California, a writer from the Press-Enterprise conducts his own survey and finds 7.7% of drivers he observed at a Temecula intersection were texting or using handheld phones — slightly higher than state stats.

More interesting, however, was his secondary observation that two-thirds of the drivers failed to stop for the stop signs.

Based accusations from motorists, I would have sworn only bike riders do that.

Pot, meet kettle.

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Speaking of anti-bike bias, so much for the L.A. Newspaper Group’s self-proclaimed Summer of Cycling being a good thing, as the owners of the Daily News, Daily Breeze, Press Telegram, et al, once again trot out the tired cliché of licensing cyclists and requiring insurance for bike riders.

As usually happens when the press chums for angry drivers, the results will inevitably skew towards requiring licensing for bike riders, if only because there are far more motorists than there are bicyclists. Never mind that this question reads like a classic push poll designed to draw a negative response.

So once again, for their benefit and that of anyone else unclear on the concept, like most bicyclists, I have a drivers license, which means we’ve already passed the same test as anyone else on the road — and probably have a better knowledge of traffic law than most, since we too frequently have to defend our right just to be on the road.

And despite what the papers suggest, my automotive insurance covers me for liability when I ride, as well as covering medical expenses resulting from a collision with an uninsured motorist or a solo fall.

Just like pretty much every American bike rider over the age of 16.

So get over it, already.

And before they claim to cover the subject, they need to reach out to the people and groups who are fighting for the rights of cyclists every day.

Not the angry drivers who don’t have a clue about the rights of cyclists, or how to ride a bike safely on the streets of Southern California.

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Congratulations to our friends at LA Streetsblog, winners of two L.A. Press Club awards Sunday night.

Well deserved.

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Former LADOT Bike Blogger and current Calbike board member Chris Kidd updates his comprehensive listing of state sidewalk riding laws, including percentages of where it’s legal in each county.

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Looks like we’re all invited to the official inauguration ceremony for our new mayor this Sunday evening. LADOT ranks the 50 most dangerous intersections for pedestrians; something tells me they’re not much safer for anyone else. Beverly Hills begins work on the city’s first bike lanes; needless to say, they’re only being installed on a trial basis. A writer raises questions about plans to improve bicycling on Redondo Beach’s Harbor Drive. A SoCal cyclist sets a new national one-hour record at the Home Depot Center Velodrome in Carson. A Valencia woman faces charges for a hit-and-run that seriously injured a cyclist. San Diego prosecutors decide on misdemeanor charges for the driver responsible for killing cyclist Charles Gilbreth — despite recklessly passing a bus — and blame fallen cyclist David Ortiz, at least in part, for his own death.

Bikes Belong looks to reinvent itself. A smart new Maine bill redefines traffic to include bikes, bans right hooks and removes the restriction to ride to the right. NYPD is — finally — starting to take traffic fatalities seriously; thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up. A New York columnist offers his take on the city’s new bike share program; Gothamist says that all you got? A Virginia cyclist is hit by a stray bullet when a man can’t manage to load his gun without firing it. A Texas woman leaps off her bike at the last second to avoid getting run over by a cement truck. New Orleans gets bike lanes on iconic Esplanade Ave. One hundred nineteen years ago yesterday, a Jewish mother of three successfully set out from Boston to bike around the world.

A bike-hating Toronto writer changes his tune after just  two hours on two wheels. A Winnipeg writer offers a tongue-in-cheek look at six ways a cyclist with a death wish can become a hood ornament; decent advice, but somehow, not so funny. Bikes now make up as much as a quarter of London’s rush hour traffic. Tips for the bike curious. Even in the Netherlands, childhood bike riding is down as more parents drive their kids to school. A look back at 150 years of bicycling in Copenhagen. Evidently, you need nine lives to ride a bike.

Finally, I don’t even know what to say here, as a Swiss man sexually assaults a bicycle after puncturing both tires; presumably so it couldn’t get away, I guess. And if you’re carrying a sunglass case full of meth on your bike at 1 am, put a damn light on it, already.

The bike, that is, not the meth.

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