Let’s start with a nascent movement to drive massive trucks and SUVs off the roads.
Or at least rein them in a little.
New York advocacy group Transportation Alternatives has just released a report they call the Megacar Crisis.
Death. Congestion. Costly road repairs.
So what’s the upside of SUVs?
Injuries from crashes involving supersized cars increased in New York City by 91 percent and fatalities are up 75 percent between 2016 and 2019, according to a new report that highlights not only the rising road violence, but also the damage to roadways caused by America’s ongoing obsession with exceptionally large cars and trucks.
They go on to report that, even before electrification added hundred of pounds of vehicle weight, the average weight of passenger vehicles has shot up a half ton in the last 40 years, while the average weight of pickups has increased 24%.
Something you can see with your own eyes, just by looking at the changes in a Ford F150 pickup over the past 20 years. Never mind the ever-increasing Ford F250 and F350 pickups, with their high, flat grills virtually designed to kill.
Then there’s this.
Studies show that for every 1,000-pound increase in vehicle weight, there is a 46-percent increase in motorist fatalities. That gruesome statistic is borne out by the latest report on roadway fatalities: In 2022, as Streetsblog reported, more pedestrians were killed than in any year in more than four decades. And since 2010, there has been a stunning 77-percent increase in pedestrian deaths, rising at a rate more than three times faster than the rest of the traveling public, for whom fatalities increased 25 percent over the same period.
It’s worth taking the time to read the full report.
Because these days, whether you survive a crash — walking, biking or driving — could depend more than ever on just what vehicle hits you.
Which is why America Walks wants you to tell the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, aka NHTSA, that dangerous vehicles shouldn’t receive top safety ratings, whether that danger stems from excessive vehicle size, poor visibility or unrestrained speed capability.
Meanwhile, California Assembly Bill 251 would require the California Transportation Commission to establish a task force to examine the relationship between vehicle weight and injuries to vulnerable road users like bike riders and pedestrians, as well as the damage they do to the roadways.
The bill would also require the task force to study the costs and benefits of charging a weight fee for passenger vehicles. Let’s hope they include pickups that aren’t actively used as work trucks, too.
The Los Angeles Times reviews The Last Rider, which chronicles the career of America’s only remaining Tour de France winner, while focusing on his dramatic come-from-behind win in the ’89 Tour.
Cycling Weekly calls it a timeless tale of perseverance, love and America’s true Tour de France hero.
And frequent contributor David Drexler says it’s inspirational, after seeing it over the weekend.
He adds ore than just a bicycle movie, it’s a real motivational movie for everyone, showing how someone can rise back up from adversity and serious medical problems to become a world champion with focus, discipline and determination.
And an incredibly supportive spouse.
The World Naked Bike Ride rolled through several US city’s over the weekend.
A Milwaukee paper rode along with that city’s naked bike, and reports on what they, um, uncovered.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles hosted two separate versions of the World Naked Bike Ride, and no one seems to have noticed, with both rides going off without a peep in the local media.
And if they were mentioned on social media, I must have missed it.
Which says a lot about the shock value, or lack thereof, of seeing naked people on bicycles in this city.
Congratulations to the team at Streetsblog on another well-deserved LA Press Club Award.
Call it effective marketing.
And while I appreciate the artwork, I don’t think I’d actually want this one on my wall.
The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on rolling.
The Wall Street Journal offers what should be a really helpful article on how to keep your bike from getting stolen. Or at least it would be, if they didn’t hide everything but the first sentence behind the paper’s draconian paywall.
There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole six adaptive bikes specially made for people with disabilities from a Manchester, England park; police recovered four of the bikes, with values up to $16,000, but each had “irreparable damage.”
But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.
Police in San Diego are looking for the bike-riding man who shot another man in the neck after an argument; fortunately, the victim survived in wounds.
It takes a major schmuck to run down a New York mom pushing her toddler son in a stroller, then just ride away on their ebike as if nothing happened. Which serves as yet another reminder that hit-and-run laws are the same for people on bicycles as they are for people in cars. Even though the people in cars have a bad habit of ignoring them.
The Los Angeles Times says mark your calendar for October’s ArroyoFest, which will close down six miles of the 110 Freeway connecting Los Angeles and Pasadena for the first time in 20 years, and open it up for 7 hours to anyone who wants to walk, bike, skate, scoot, roll or run.
Velo’s Urbanist Update examines how Santa Monica’s Ocean Ave got a curb-protected bike lane in a single day, thanks to the city’s new concrete extrusion machine.
San Mateo is moving forward with plans to become more bike friendly, including plans for a new bike boulevard and bike lanes.
San Francisco hosts a Women and Nonbinary Bike Ride every other Friday.
The San Francisco Chronicle asks if a popular East Bay bike trail is becoming a hot spot for bike-jackers. Apparently not noticing that it’s been going on for well over a year now.
The price you pay for a kid’s BMX bike at Walmart depends on whether you want purple or black.
A lifelong bike rider and former car critic says he’s sitting out the ebike craze, suggesting it’s just a passing fad. Even though modern ped-assist ebikes have been around for three decades now.
Authorities in Oahu would like you to stay the hell out of the bike lanes if you’re not on two wheels.
Life is cheap in Seattle, where a hit-and-run driver got just 21 months for killing a man riding a bicycle, despite evading capture for a year and a half.
Sad news from Texas, where an 89-year old man was killed in a collision just trying to ride his ebike across the street. Anyone still riding any kind of bike at that age deserves a hell of a lot better.
Ten Cherokee women returned to Oklahoma after completing the 950-mile Remember the Removal Bike Ride; the ride retraced the northern route of the infamous Trail of Tears.
New York City is receiving $25 million in federal emergency funds to build a series of ebike charging stations throughout the city, in an effort to reduce the risk of ebike battery fires. Meanwhile, the New York Daily News says lithium-titanate batteries are better and safer and never explode.
This is who we share the road with. The FBI has arrested a North Carolina man for his one man, year-long racist reign of terror, including running a Black couple’s car off the road with a pickup decked out in Confederate and Trump flags.
Taking a page from the Blues Brothers, a North Carolina pastor is riding his bike across the US on a mission from God.
Why, indeed. A New Orleans TV station asks why bike riders are being killed there at a higher rate than other cities.
A British man is planning to ride the first three stages of this year’s Tour de France to raise money to buy bikes for victims of modern slavery.
A man in the UK probably won’t win father of the year, after abandoning his family on vacation to get a new limited edition version of the iconic Raleigh Chopper bike.
That’s more like it. A British man got seven and a half years behind bars, along with a 10-year ban on driving, for killing a man riding a bike, while he was drunk and high on coke.
Despite recent reports that Italy will force people on bicycles to register and license their bikes, a European website says it ain’t necessarily so.
An Indian man still rides the “priceless” 100-year old British-made Hercules bike he inherited from his father, after his granduncle bought it secondhand.
Discussions of plans to downgrade a pandemic-era protected bike lane in the Philippines to sharrows have ground to a halt, leading to fears of further reductions in bicycling infrastructure.
Chloe Dygert enjoyed her victory in the time trial at the US National Championships so much, she followed it up by edging Coryn Labecki for the women’s road title; meanwhile, 22-year old Quinn Simmons won a shortened men’s race by 37 seconds over second place Tyler Williams. FloBikes offers full standings from both national championship road races.
The Guardian says the death of Swiss cyclist Gino Mäder’s at the Tour de Suisse highlights the dangers of elite level cycling in advance of the Tour de France, which starts on Saturday; Cycling News offers a comprehensive team-by-team preview.
Thirty-eight-year old Chris Froome won’t compete for a record-tying fifth Tour de France title after he was left off the Israel-Premier Tech team for the race.
Velo talks with former Irish national road race champ Imogen Cotter about coming back from a near-death experience after she was hit head-on by a van driver while training last year.
Seven-time ex-Tour de France champ Lance Armstrong, who knows a thing or two about cheating, wonders whether it’s possible to be supportive of the transgender community while questioning the fairness of trans athletes competing in women’s sports, without being labeled a transphobe or a bigot, insisting he’s not afraid to be cancelled. On the other hand, I just want to know if it’s possible to not cancel Lance, while still wishing he’d just go away.
And when you’re riding a stolen ebike, don’t ride salmon.
And maybe don’t threaten to kill the cops with pinky shears, either.
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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.
Oh, and Yevgeny Prigozhin says fuck Putin, too.