Tag Archive for sustainable transportation

Infrastructure bill could cut drunk driving, but keeps US on unsustainable path; and road raging driver hits man on 3rd try

Debate continues over the pros and cons of the new infrastructure bill, which passed the US Senate on Monday with rare bipartisan support.

One big plus was highlighted by the anti-drunk driving advocacy group MADD, which points to provisions that could finally put an end to the deadly scourge.

Or at least put a big dent in it.

The bill directs the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to initiate a rulemaking process and set the final standard within three years for impaired driving safety equipment on all new vehicles. NHTSA will evaluate technologies that may include:

  • Driving performance monitoring systems that monitor the vehicle movement with systems like lane departure warning and attention assist;
  • Driver monitoring systems that monitor the driver’s head and eyes, typically using a camera or other sensors;
  • Alcohol detection systems that use sensors to determine whether a driver is drunk and then prevent the vehicle from moving.

Automakers are then given two to three years to implement the safety standard. New cars equipped with the NHTSA-directed technology could start rolling off the assembly line in 2026-2027.

So now that Congress has proven they can actually work together, maybe they can do something about distracted driving, too.

On the other hand, the National Association of City Transportation Officials, better known as NACTO, is no fan of the measure.

Even as the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that our planet is heading toward an increasingly uninhabitable future, the infrastructure bill passed today by the Senate keeps our nation on an unsafe and unsustainable path. It continues to prioritize building the infrastructure that most contributes to the U.S.’s worst-in-class safety record and extraordinarily high climate emissions: new highways. With transportation as the largest source of U.S. climate emissions, and 80% of those coming from driving, the Senate’s bill goes in the wrong direction, giving a whopping $200 billion in virtually unrestricted funding to this unsustainable mode.

With the bill moving to the House for consideration, there is still a narrow opportunity to rectify the worst aspects of this enormous legislation, reshaping it to address the looming threat of climate change and stem the unconscionable level of death and injuries on American roads, which are the least-safe of all industrialized countries. We urge House leaders to meet this moment and use their leverage to fix what’s painfully wrong with the bill to meet the scale of the climate emergency the world is facing today.

They recommend a series of simple fixes first proposed in the bill that passed the House earlier this year, including a requirement to fix existing roadways before building new ones, and investing more in transit.

Maybe they could also include more funding for non-motorized transportation while they’re at it.

Photo by energepic.com from Pexels.

………

This is who we share the road with.

Apparently, it’s not just people on bicycles at risk from hot tempered drivers, as a road-raging Oakland driver tried three times to run down another man who had the audacity to ask him to slow down.

For anyone unclear on the concept, that’s attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, at a bare minimum.

Let’s just hope the local DA takes it seriously.

………

A new ad from Dutch ebike maker VanMoof suggests a way out of the ever worsening traffic congestion in our cities.

And you can probably guess what that is.

………

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

Evidently, we’re not safe anywhere. Portland bike riders are being warned to watch their backs on an offroad bike path, which is being used as an access road for drivers from a nearby homeless camp.

Then again, people evidently drive in protected cycle tracks in Hong Kong, too.

A Singapore bike rider slammed into a taxi that pulled out directly in front of him, in a crash caught on bike cam video. So naturally, people blamed the guy on two wheels.

………

Local

Once again, the East Side Riders prove they’re much more than a bike club, providing 30 underprivileged kids in the Compton area with $100 for back-to-school shopping, along with a grocery shopping spree, laptop and a haircut. If anyone wants to know my choice to succeed Joe Buscaino in LA CD15, the list starts and ends with East Side Riders founder John Jones III. Thanks to Keith Johnson for the link. 

Metro has finished renovation work on the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station, which includes a full service Mobility Hub with safe bike parking.

 

State

San Diego-based Juiced Bikes has launched a new version of their Cross Current X Step-Through ebike, with an improved price tag reflecting a $500 drop from earlier versions.

A Bakersfield man suffered major injuries when he allegedly rode his bike through a red light, and was struck by a driver. As always, a lot depends on whether there were any independent witnesses other than the driver who saw him go through the light.

San Francisco Streetsblog argues that it’s lobbyists and elected officials marring the public process rather than bike and pedestrian activists, accusing representatives of the de Young museum of engaging in gaslighting in an attempt to “turn J.F.K. back into a de facto freeway through Golden Gate Park.”

Once again, bike riders are heroes, after mountain bikers were credited with reporting and attempting to extinguish last month’s Cascade Fire, helping to restrict the blaze to a few hundred acres; a former lecturer at Santa Clara University and Sonoma State University is suspected of setting a number of fires in the area, including the massive Dixie Fire. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

 

National

USA Today says American cities are failing to meet their climate goals, but there’s still time to turn things around. Does anyone really believe Los Angeles will meet its goal of a 45% reduction in greenhouse gasses in just four more years — especially without a major investment in reducing motor vehicle traffic?

A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows separation works, saying bike paths and protected bike lanes saved lives from speeding drivers during the pandemic, while suggesting last year’s jump in bike deaths would have been even worse without them.

Tern’s commitment to plow 1% of their sales back into social and environmental causes resulted in splitting $45,000 between World Bicycle Relief, PeopleForBikes, and Trips for Kids. Now if every bike and accessory maker would do that, we might make some real progress for a change.

That one-of-a-kind Harley-Davidson chopper ebike styled after the classic Schwinn Apple Krate could have been yours for a mere $14,200.

Bicycling declares the once ubiquitous aluminum frame road bikes with mechanical shifting and rim brakes officially dead. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

Evidently, a “miscellaneous accident” is a thing in Hawaii.

A Portland writer celebrates biking with dogs in tow, including her own Dalmatian.

Rapidly rising Covid counts in my Colorado hometown, driven by the virulent Delta variant, has led to cancellation of the original Tour de Fat celebration, which was apparently the only one scheduled in the US this year.

A Denver magazine offers tips on how to power up hills like Colorado’s Sepp Kuss, the first American to win a stage in the Tour de France in over a decade.

A Colorado man confesses that he used bikepacking to escape from depression and anxiety, but let it turn into a tool for his own self-destruction. Once again, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

A Kansas woman faces a second-degree murder count for the hit-and-run death of a bike-riding 16-year old girl over the weekend; she’s also charged with DUI, hit-and-run and tampering with evidence.

An unused bikeshare dock on a New Orleans street was turned into a guerrilla artwork to protest the death of a Black man at the hands of Louisiana State police, in what some see as a prequel the murder of George Floyd.

 

International

An Edmonton, Alberta cop is on trial for assaulting a member of the Cree First Nation by needlessly driving his knee into the man’s back while he was already restrained by another officer, in what began as a simple traffic stop for not having a bike bell. One more argument for eliminating bike bell laws and other similar requirements, which are too often used as an excuse to target people of color.

A Toronto bike rider thanks the strangers who rushed to help him when he was struck by a driver pulling out of an alley.

London’s Independent looks at the city’s edition of Black Girls Do Bike, part of a loosely affiliated international organization dedicated to breaking down barriers that keep Black women from bicycling.

A British TV host credits her helmet with saving her skull when she was struck by a driver in the UK equivalent of a right hook. But instead of blaming the driver, her husband got rid of her bicycle.

You’ve got to be kidding. After BBC broadcaster Jeremy Vine posted a video of bicyclists riding side-by-side to argue that it’s safer and less inconvenient to drivers if bicyclists ride abreast, the founder of a motorist rights group called him a “cycling zealot” and accused Vine of breaking the Beeb’s rules by “politicizing” the roadways. Then again, “motorist rights group” pretty much tells you everything you need to know about him.

 

Competitive Cycling

Twenty-three-year old Portuguese cyclist João Almeida made a late attack to take a slim lead on day two of the Tour of Poland.

New Zealand Olympic cyclist Eddie Dawkins called for accountability from the country’s cycling and sports authorities after the suspected suicide of fellow Olympic cyclist Olivia Podmore, who died suddenly at just 24 years old.

Tragic news from New Hampshire, where a 33-year-old Rhode Island scientist was killed when he suddenly veered off the course of the Concord Criterium; Evan Barr-Beare had a 45-second lead on the rest of the peloton in the final lap when he apparently suffered some sort of medical emergency and lost control of his bike.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could be a life-size Hot Wheels. If you’re going to risk up to 20 years behind bars for knocking a man off his bicycle, at least make sure he’s got more than five bucks on him.

And seriously, don’t tempt fate by parking in a bike lane.

Thanks to Ted Faber for forwarding the video.

………

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

LA’s Gaimon sets Everesting record, Ryu flips on sustainable transportation, and BOLO alert for Downs adaptive bike

He did it.

LA-based former pro cyclist Phil Gaimon set a new world record for Everesting, riding the height of Mount Everest in less than eight hours.

Riding on LA’s steep Mountaingate Drive, Gaimon climbed a total of 29,029 feet in a time of 7:52:12, shaving 33 minutes off the previous record.

It took him over 60 laps, and nearly 100 miles of riding distance to do it.

Not to mention finishing with a little vomit in his beard. Which is a detail I’m sure none of us really needed.

Gaimon explains below he he picked the road for his record setting attempt.

Meanwhile, the LA Times reveals this isn’t the first time that road has been the scene of a hillclimb. Even if you do have to go back 35 years.

Photo by Raniery Costa Pelissari from Pexels.

………

CD4 Councilmember David Ryu must be feeling the heat as he runs for reelection in a tight race with challenger Nithya Raman.

Or else he’s had a sudden change of heart after four years of fighting road diets, bike lanes and any other kind of mobility improvements in the district.

Personally, I’d bet on the former.

But either way, it’s good to see him finally come around.

………

There’s a special place in hell for the three people who stole a custom-made adaptive bike from a 15-year old Sherman Oaks boy with Down syndrome.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

………

Mountain biker Ben Travis takes full advantage of his one outing allowed under the UK’s coronavirus lockdown, with some pretty cool stunts on the empty streets, plazas and freight yards of his Scottish hometown.

Unless you’d rather watch Belgian mountain biker Thomas Genon prove that bikes can fly.

………

Moses Sumney goes for a relaxing bike ride on his latest video.

With no hands, even.

Usher says hold my beer, not only riding through Los Feliz with no hands, while holding his not-so-little dog.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on.

A Reddit user posted video of a jerk in a pickup rolling coal, forcing them to ride through a thick fog of black exhaust; no word on where that happened, unfortunately. Thanks to Michael for the tip.

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

Or in this case, a kid, as Alabama police tracked down bike-riding boy in connection with a series of arson fires.

And a Washington man is behind bars after allegedly using a meat cleaver to rob people while riding his bike.

………

Local

You still can’t ride a bike at the beach in LA County, but as of today, you can ride your bike on a closed-to-cars Rose Bowl Loop in Pasadena; social distancing required, with masks in parking lots and high density areas, and no group rides allowed.

Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson is one of us, riding through Los Angeles with his longtime girlfriend.

For fans of The Bachelor, Peter Weber and Kelley Flanagan went for a casual tandem ride through the streets of LA. For the rest of us, carry on.

 

State

There won’t be any Bike to Work Day in San Diego this Thursday, after the San Diego Association of Governments, aka SANDAG, cancelled this year’s event due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Never mind that there are hardly any jobs left to bike to these days, anyway.

San Diego is taking advantage of the light traffic by repaving a three-mile section of North Harbor Drive leading to the airport, including new buffered bike lanes.

A San Raphael homeowner collared the thief who tried to steal a bike from his garage, chasing him down and holding him in a headlock until police arrived.

The Humboldt County Planning Commission approved a $1.5 million, Class 1 multi-use path paralleling State Route 255 through the tiny town of Manila, answering a decades-long call to improve safety for people on bicycles.

 

National

The New York Times says the coronavirus crisis presents a unique opportunity to reimagine our cities, creating more and better public spaces to weather this pandemic and provide greater opportunity for decades to come. Scroll slowly through the initial graphic for the full effect.

WaPo says the coronavirus isn’t the only crisis America faces right now, as speeding drivers have taken over the country’s empty roadways. Thanks to Misha Dworsky for the link.

Nice piece from Cycling Tips, as a father discovers that life rolls on even now, when his young daughter learns to ride a bike for the first time.

A new study shows distracted pedestrians aren’t the problem drivers think they are. But distracted drivers are.

Specialized has released a new transport ebike they promise is 40% lighter than traditional ebikes.

Lifehacker offers tips on how to tune your bike, while the Chicago Tribune recommends their favorite road tires.

A writer for Chicago Streetsblog says the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery illustrates the problem with calling for open streets, because they aren’t always safe for people of color, even without cars on them.

A Chicago woman pens an open letter to the hit-and-run scumbag driver who ran down her bike and left her sprawled in the street.

An Illinois town shelves plans to require helmets for bike riders, skateboarders and skaters, saying it’s not the right time because of the pandemic. It’s never the right time, because helmet laws have been repeatedly shown to depress bicycling rates, rather than improving safety.

A St. Paul MN writer maps the top gaps in the city’s bikeway network. You couldn’t do the same thing here in Los Angeles, because what passes for our nominal network is more gaps than bikeways.

Nice move from the maker of Minnesota’s Honeycomb cereal, which is donating 600 bicycles to tweens and teens in foster care.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for that new ebike from General Motors; the Detroit automaker pulled the plug after a trial European release last year.

 

International

A Mexican bikemaker is in hot water after attempting to skirt the country’s lockdown rules by hiding over 350 employees at its Mexico City factory.

The Guardian calls for more space on the roads for pedestrians and people on bicycles, saying we need room to move around safely, not a culture war.

Road.cc picks the year’s best touring bikes, starting at the equivalent of under $700.

York, England wants to become the UK’s first zero-emissions city center, with only bikes and electric vehicles allowed.

It takes a real pair of jerks to refuse to get out of the way of a little girl riding her bike on a British trail — then swear and kick her bike after she falls off.

Paris is installing 31 miles of bike lanes in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus on public transit. Meanwhile, a New York writer begs bike-friendly Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo to come be his mayor instead of the current occupant of Gotham’s city hall. Maybe she could come take over for LA’s ostensible climate mayor, instead.

French bike part maker Mavic is struggling under France’s version of bankruptcy.

Germany sees a big jump in ebike sales after the country’s bike shops are allowed to reopen.

Voice of America reports on Rome’s efforts to build more bike lanes to steer residents away from transit during the pandemic.

Italy will pay 70% of the cost of a new bicycle or e-scooter during the coronavirus crisis, up to the equivalent of $540.

The former elections commissioner of the Philippines says it’s time to promote a cycling culture in the country to improve public health during the coronavirus crisis.

 

Finally…

Evidently, your bike shorts are going to be trendy for awhile.

And it’s scary as hell when I agree with LA’s conservative shock jocks for the first time.

This must be what the Upside Down feels like.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

%d bloggers like this: