Tag Archive for traffic enforcement

A bike rider’s rant about bad drivers, rethinking traffic enforcement, and Bonin signs on to LA’s 25×25

Let’s start with an email I received earlier this week, which succinctly  captures what too many of us are feeling these days.

Here’s what Steven had to say.

Pardon my rant, but it’s just infuriating out there! While I agree with you that being seen is VITALLY important. Every “encounter” I have had with a car or truck has been with someone that definitely saw me or had no excuse for not seeing me! I am paranoidedly cautious doing my best to anticipate possible situations. I have lights, steady and blinking, I wear bright, colorful clothes, I ride the bike lane where I can and fully take the lane when there is no bike lane.  I have been ‘right hooked’ so many times I can’t count! So far the worst result of a right hook has been some minor scrapes to my bike and some minor ‘road rash’. (However, I did dent the passenger door of a car once!)  There have been a few that I have yelled at and they responded — the most common was “You were going faster than I thought” or just “Sorry” and one woman unbelievably said “Didn’t you see my turn indicator?” The only time I got sent to the hospital was when I was clipped by a side mirror and thanks be to God, released the same day with some major hematoma! The guy, to his credit, did stop. But he did say that “I thought I had enough room” AND THAT IS ON THE POLICE REPORT!!!! It’s getting to the point that I feel like I should start randomly swing a baseball bat and justify it by saying “Well, I didn’t hit anybody”

And just for completeness, I have been left hooked, brake checked, purposely cut off (both from the left and the right!), and have had things thrown at me. The urge to physically fight back is almost overwhelming!

I know that feeling all too well, when the urge to smash someone’s windshield — if not their face — becomes overwhelming.

It’s a natural, and perfectly understandable, reaction to having your life needlessly threatened.

But not exactly helpful.

I have a mantra I save for such situations, repeating over and over The world will not conform to my expectations, until the rage finally passes.

Because, too often, it won’t.

People will continue drive dangerously, despite my expectations that they should drive in a safe and responsible manner. Yet they will somehow blame me for almost getting killed. Or just for being on the road.

Or maybe the planet.

Meanwhile, bad street designs and poor maintenance can be aggravating at best, life threatening at worst. And too often the latter.

And I can’t do a damn thing about any of that.

All I can do is try to control my own reaction to it, and not let the jerks of the world ruin a good ride.

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Cal Berkeley grad student Ethan Ebinger was honored by the university for his paper on rethinking traffic enforcement, offering a number of interesting proposals challenging current orthodoxy, including —

  • Decriminalize violations unrelated to traffic safety
  • Ban stops of non-vehicular road users
  • Rely on automated technologies
  • Improve data collection of crashes and stops, test for disparities
  • Balance downstream effects
  • Reframe traffic enforcement within Vision Zero
  • Move traffic enforcement operations to the transportation department

Whether or not you agree with him, it’s worth taking a few minutes to read the full paper to challenge your own beliefs, and maybe even start to see it in a whole new way.

https://twitter.com/BerkeleyITS/status/1481730718321446915

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Two down, 13 to go.

Although you can probably add whoever gets elected in CD5, where all of the announced candidates have endorsed the LA 25×25 plan.

LA 25×25 is an “aspirational yet actionable vision” to return 25% of LA’s street space to human uses, rather than motor vehicles, by 2025, and endorsed by a wide range of advocacy and public service groups .

Not surprisingly, while many progressive challengers have signed on to support it, most of the sitting councilmembers up for re-election this year have failed to respond, as have most of the leading candidates for mayor.

CD3’s Bob Blumenfield is a no, as is current city attorney and mayoral candidate Michael Feuer.

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Bike lanes are coming to Yosemite Drive in Eagle Rock.

https://twitter.com/walkeaglerock/status/1479694058087870468

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It looks like the host of SiriusXM’s The Stephanie Miller Show is one of us.

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That feeling when riding a bike is a bad idea because of all the other people out there who don’t.

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Local

Leah Shahum, the founder and executive director of the Vision Zero Network, writes to the LA Times to say Los Angeles, and the entire nation, needs to move past the outdated “Five E’s” approach to Vision Zero, and have the political will to create an effective and equitable Vision Zero effort built on proactive strategies such as designing streets and managing speeds for safety. Let’s hope the mayor reads it while he’s packing for India. Or the new interim mayor, anyway. 

The good news is, Metro Bike is expanding their docked bikeshare system in North Hollywood. The bad, they’ll be shutting NoHo Metro Bike locations down during the upgrade work, starting Monday.

Santa Monica has unveiled new bollard-protected bike lanes on 23rd Street. And for a change, they’re the kind of substantial bollards that might actually keep someone out, as opposed to the flimsy, car-tickler plastic bendy posts usually used in LA.

 

State

This is the cost of traffic violence. The Fresno Bee remembers the much-loved, 61-year old retired high school English teacher who was killed by a truck driver while riding his recumbent Wednesday afternoon.

A San Francisco paper says the debate over the city’s Slow Streets and street closures have become a political minefield.

 

National

Denver demonstrates what a city can do with a little commitment, as they reach the halfway point in a five year, 125-mile bike lane building program, with 73% of city residents now within a quarter mile of a protected bike lane.

A writer for D Magazine applauds the new Vision Zero plan for Dallas, Texas, but questions whether it will actually save lives. Only if the city’s leaders have the political courage to make substantial changes to the streets, unlike the spineless wonders in charge of a certain Left Coast megalopolis we could name.

Northwest Arkansas is upping their offer to recruit tech workers to move to the area, providing recruits with a new bicycle and $10,000 in Bitcoin. Which will probably be $6,000 before you can get around to spending it.

What the hell is wrong with some people? A pair of Chicago gang members face murder charges for fatally shooting a mentally disabled man as he rode his bicycle last May, for no apparent reason; a third man was allegedly involved, but not charged.

 

International

Strava will now show points of interest within the app, including local landmarks, bike shops, cafes, start points and photo spots, as well as to get fresh water or a toilet break.

Treehugger’s Lloyd Alter discusses how to dress for winter ebike rides. You know, for people who live in places where that matters.

Good question. Cycling Weekly writes that 1,100 bicycles are stolen in the UK every day, so why isn’t bike theft a higher priority? I’d like to hear an answer to that one here, as well.

On a related note, a new bike sculpture was installed outside a London train station, made with parts from 45 different bicycles — the average number of bikes stolen in the country every hour.

A judge told a 76-year old Scottish driver to expect a “substantial” prison sentence next month, after he was convicted of killing a popular primary school teacher while attempting to pass two large vehicles at once, hitting the teacher’s bike head-on. Let’s just hope the judge meant what he said.

A news site names a 29-year old woman as the best mountain bike mechanic Lesotho, in case you find your self in need in the mountainous South African country.

 

Finally…

Now we’ll have to worry about getting buzzed by drivers from above, too. More evidence ‘cross is really hard.

And that feeling when your bicycle apparently goes out into the street of its own volition, and gets struck by a car that doesn’t seem to have a driver.

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

Governors get it wrong on traffic safety, support plan to extend Ballona Creek bike path, and new bike path coming to SGV

It’s the last eight days of the 7th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive

Thanks to Stephen T and Marven N for their generous donations to bring all the best bike news and advocacy to your favorite screen every morning, and help keep the corgi in kibble. 

So what are your waiting for, already?

Take a moment now to give now via PayPal, or with Zelle to ted @ bikinginla.com.

Any amount, no matter how large or small, is truly and deeply appreciated, more than she or I could ever express.

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You can always count on the Governors Highway Safety Association to get it wrong.

A new report from the group calls for safety advocates to focus on driver behavior, and not just infrastructure, to improve traffic safety.

To their credit, they start out well.

“Emphasizing one approach does not mean we should discount others,” GHSA executive director Jonathan Adkins wrote in the report. He stressed the need for advocates to use a “safe system” approach, one that includes many different approaches, including enforcing existing laws, educating drivers and engineering streets to minimize crashes. The idea is that the system builds redundancy, to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes.

But it quickly goes south from there.

At the same time, though, GHSA cautioned against advocates going overboard in increasingly popular approaches like Vision Zero that stress the importance of changing infrastructure to make streets safer. Those movements have led to the growing popularity of protected bike lanes, pedestrian islands and narrower vehicle lanes, which protect non-motorists and encourage slower vehicle speeds.

That has sometimes led to a “disconnect,” GHSA said, over whether traditional campaigns about driver behavior belong in those new approaches.

The problem is, as the director of Transportation for America points out, 100% of the effort up to now has been on education and enforcement.

You only have to look at the more than 33,000 people killed on US roadways to realize that approach has failed. And will continue to fail.

Closer to home, you just have to walk or bike on LA streets to realize traffic safety eduction too often falls on deaf ears. And enforcement has little or no impact on daily driver behavior, because drivers have little or no fear of getting caught.

The only rule on our streets seems to be do whatever the hell you want as long as you don’t kill anyone.

And if you do, blame the victim.

So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that traffic deaths have remained high in the City of Angels, despite the city’s negligible Vision Zero program.

Yes, traffic safety education and enforcement matter. But enforcement only works if drivers have an actual expectation they will be held accountable when they break the law.

You can stop laughing now.

That just leaves remaking our streets to prevent speeding and other bad behaviors, which a century of experience tells us in the only way we’re ever going to see any real improvement.

Because what we’ve been doing — and what the GHSA calls for — just hasn’t worked.

And won’t.

Because the traffic safety definition of insanity is to keep focusing on education and enforcement, and somehow expect a different result.

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Streets For All needs your vote for a proposal to extend the Ballona Creek bike path to the intersection of Cochran Ave and Venice Blvd in Mid-City Los Angeles, roughly two miles northeast of where it currently stops in Culver City.

Our effort (along with SWA, Culver City Forward, Bike Culver City, and others) to extend the Ballona Creek bike path has been selected as a finalist by Urbanize LA as a top project of 2021. Winning the top spot would increase visibility and momentum to get the project in the ground. They are currently accepting votes from the public – please vote now!

You can cast your vote here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

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Streetsblog reports on six new projects in the San Gabriel Valley, which received a total of $20 million in state parks grants.

That includes $3.285 million for the new Big Dalton Wash Trail and new pocket parks in Baldwin Park.

Here’s what Streetsblog’s Kristopher Fortin had to say about the planned project.

The new Big Dalton Wash Trail Greening Project will add a contiguous bike trail with lighting and four pocket parks on Northern Garvey Avenue, Southern Garvey Avenue, Dalewood Street, and Francisquito Avenue along the trail system. The project includes a new pollinator garden, playground with two shade structures, picnic areas throughout each park with shade structures, three exercise stations, public art at each park and along the trail, pathways, signage, landscaping, and ornamental fencing.

Last year, the city was awarded $2.5 million – from the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Grant Program funded by Proposition 68 – for the 2.8-mile Big Dalton Wash multi-use path, which is planned to extend from Central Avenue to Baldwin Park Boulevard.

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Another satisfied customer.

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Speaking of education, count on bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid to know the full story behind one of my favorite bike posters, with a message that can’t be repeated enough.

The book he’s holding is Reid’s Bike Boom: The Unexpected Resurgence of Cycling, which I highly recommend, along with his first book, Roads Were Not Built for Cars.

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An Illinois paper recommends things every bike rider needs, except most them you actually don’t.

Although some things are essential, like a decent bicycle. Then again, who could pass up a fat tire bike and matching chainsaw?

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Good point.

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

A British driver was sentenced to five years behind bars for leading police on a high-speed chase, driving four times the posted speed limit and narrowly missing bike riders in the process.

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

Los Angeles police are on the lookout for the “Two O’Clock Rock” burglar, who got his name by throwing rocks through the front window of businesses to burglarize them between 2 and 4 am, before making his getaway by bicycle or in an early 2000s Nissan.

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Local

‘Tis the season. Three hundred third and fourth grade students in Watts got a new bicycle and a basketball, courtesy of longtime community organizer “Sweet” Alice Harris.

Metro is teaming with the LACBC to host a short, family-friendly bike ride to celebrate the Season of Sharing this Sunday; Metro is also hosting a pair of virtual bicycle education classes today and tomorrow.

This is who we share the road with. A West Hollywood driver demonstrated the dangers of converting parking spaces into dining spots, by driving through one on Santa Monica Blvd.

An op-ed from Wesley Reutimann of Active SGV and Topher Mathers of the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition calls out the rising death toll on Pasadena streets, with six people killed and 55 injured while walking in the city in just the last 11 months.

 

State

A 17-year old San Marcos boy suffered what’s described as major injuries when he allegedly ran a red light on his ebike, and t-boned an Amazon delivery van in the intersection. As always, the key is whether any independent witnesses saw him blow through the red, other than the driver he crashed into.

San Diego’s Ride1Up is introducing a new ebike built for two — as long as one person just wants to go along for the ride.

Bike-friendly Davis is attempting to combat rampant bike theft by offering free online bike registration through Bike Index. Then again, anyone can do the same thing right here

Add this one to your bike bucket list. In less than ten years, you should be able to ride a new 600-mile biking and hiking trail through the Eastern Sierra Nevadas; the Lost Sierra Route will connect 15 mountain towns in Northern California and Nevada, from Truckee to Susanville.

 

National

And just like that, Peloton was forced to pull their viral ad suggesting Mr. Big didn’t die in the Sex and the City reboot after all, after two women accused actor Chris Noth of sexual assault.

More ebike news, as Rad Power has introduced the second generation of its low-priced RadRunner e-utility bike.

Phoenix bike advocates call for protected bike lanes on what is euphemistically  called a bike boulevard, where a popular bike ambassador was killed recently; the only bike infrastructure currently on the bike boulevard are some sharrows and Share the Road signs. Meanwhile, a Phoenix weekly calls it a “posthumous step towards justice for the orange-vested downtown ambassador.

‘Tis the season. A worker at a Phoenix grocery store says he feels loved, after a brief conversation with a customer about the sad state of his bicycle led to a two-month crowdfunding campaign to buy him a new one.

This is who we share the road with, part two. A Colorado truck driver was sentenced to a whopping 110 years behind bars for the fiery crash that killed four people, despite his claims that his brakes failed; the judge said his hands were tied by a state law that requires the sentences to run consecutively, rather than concurrently.

Heartbreaking news from Pennsylvania, where a 71-year old man suffered an extreme slow-motion death due to complications from a traumatic brain injury he suffered in a bicycle crash 35 years earlier.

A New York writer says the NYPD is cultivating bike lane chaos by refusing to enforce laws keeping Vespas and mo-peds out.

Cross GoTrax products off your holiday shopping list, after the Better Business Bureau of Virginia gave the ebike, scooter and hoverboard maker an F rating, noting that complaints about defective products were usually ignored, and when they weren’t, they were usually replaced with other defective products.

 

International

Bike Radar examines the subtle differences between ‘cross and gravel bikes.

Bike Europe looks at the state of Eastern and Central Europe’s efforts to reshore bicycle production from China.

Toronto proves cities can make popup bike lanes permanent, voting to keep seven temporary lanes in place. Los Angeles could do the same thing, except it never built any to begin with.

Speaking of Toronto, a ghost wheelchair now honors a beloved woman who was killed when she was struck by the driver of a cement truck.

Five bike routes to explore Amsterdam on your next trip to bike heaven.

Tibetan refugees living in India held a series of cross-country bike rallies calling for a boycott of the February Beijing Winter Olympics.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to get in a wreck, speed up you’re emergency response by getting run down by an ambulance driver. If you can’t find a new ebike, just build one.

And how to sneak out for a bike ride when you’re working the ER.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

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

Calls for investigation into biased sheriff’s bike stops, multiple charges in Texas coal roll crash, and more fed bike funding

Let’s hope they take it seriously this time.

Los Angeles County leaders have called for an investigation into last week’s LA Times investigative report on the harassment bike riders face at the hands of sheriff’s deputies and the back seats of their patrol cars.

And Latino riders in particular.

The paper found that out of 44,000 bicycle stops conducted by LA County sheriff’s deputies, seven out of ten people stopped were Latino, and 85% of bike riders stopped were searched.

According to the paper, they found illegal items in just 8% of the searches — less than one half of one percent.

Never mind the highly questionable legality of those searches.

This is how a sheriff’s spokesperson explained it.

Riding a bike allows criminals “to traverse a neighborhood unnoticed, faster and safer than on foot, and additionally makes it easier to avoid police contact. We are not conducting traffic stops of persons obviously engaged in the use of a bicycle for exercise or amusement,” department spokeswoman Lt. Lorena Rodriguez said in September.

Apparently, no one wearing spandex has ever been up to no good.

Not to mention that bicycles allow perfectly law-abiding people to get to work, school and the market.

And for many, it’s the only form of transportation they have. But apparently, just riding a bike somehow makes people of color suspicious in the eyes of sheriff’s deputies.

Thankfully, LA County officials pushed back on Monday, with two county supervisors — Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis — calling for the legalization of sidewalk riding in unincorporated areas, which was used as a pretext for traffic stops in eight percent of the cases.

At the same time, members of the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission asked the department’s inspector general to conduct an investigation into the report, and racial disparities in traffic stops in general. And to look into whether the agency should be conducting traffic stops to begin with.

All of which sounds good.

However, County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is notorious for ignoring efforts by members of the Board of Supervisors, the Oversight Commission and the Inspector General to look into his activities, or that of the department he leads, since his upset election three years ago — to the point of refusing to comply with legitimate subpoenas for information and testimony.

And so far, they’ve been unable, or unwilling, to force him to comply.

The excuse Villanueva has given is that he isn’t subject to their authority, having been elected directly by the people. Even though both county and state law allows for an oversight commission with direct authority over the sheriff.

So don’t hold your breath.

An investigation is definitely called for. But whether it will go anywhere remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, remember that you are under no obligation to let police or sheriff’s deputies search your belongings without a warrant. And they’re not likely to get one based on a simple traffic stop.

They have the right to ask you for identification, although there’s nothing in the law that says you need a driver’s license just to ride a bike.

But whether or not you consent to a search of your bike, pockets, bags or backpack is entirely up to you.

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About damn time.

The district attorney in Waller County, Texas is finally getting around to filing charges, over six weeks after a teenage pickup driver ran down six bicyclists while attempting to blow exhaust smoke into their faces, a violent act known as rolling coal.

The 16-year old driver, who has not been publicly named, is expected to face six counts of felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — one count for each victim, four of whom were hospitalized.

The charge carries a penalty of anywhere from two to 20 years for each count in Texas. However, as a juvenile, he is likely to face far less, unless he is tried as an adult.

Waller police came under intense criticism for failing to initially arrest, or at least ticket, the driver; as the investigation moved forward, it became clear the boy’s parents were influential in the community.

Meanwhile, Texas pickup drivers astutely note that rolling coal is for idiots.

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More on the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure bill, which is currently awaiting Biden’s signature, as we continue to learn just what’s in it.

Bicycling Retailer reports that, in addition to the $11 billion in federal transportation safety funding we previously mentioned, the bill includes additional benefits for people who ride bikes, including Complete Streets and a big boost in the funding pool for bike projects.

The infrastructure bill includes:

  • An increase in funding for the Transportation Alternatives Program by 60%, with subsequent annual increases. The program is the largest source of federal dollars for bike projects like protected bike lanes, trails, and multi-use paths. The funding is currently limited to $850 million annually, and the bill would increase the program to $1.38 billion in 2022 and up to $1.48 billion in 2026.
  • A requirement for all states to develop standards for Complete Streets, a policy and design approach to ensure users of all ages and abilities have safe and convenient access.
  • A vulnerable road user assessment to determine how dangerous roads are for people outside of cars.
  • Inclusion of the model three-class e-bike definitions.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog lists several other “small victories” contained in the bill, including,

  • A new competitive grant program that will provide another $200 million a year to connect active transportation infrastructure to plug gaps in existing networks sand improve access to essential destinations
  • Another $200 million a year for the new Safe Streets for All program, which will fund Vision Zero projects throughout the U.S.
  • A further $200 million a year for the Reconnecting Communities pilot program, which will address the damages caused to BIPOC and low-income communities by the interstate highway system in a number of ways, including projects that promote active modes like pedestrian bridges and highway removals
  • A new requirement for states to devote 15 percent of their Highway Safety Improvement Program dollars to saving vulnerable road users’ lives if vulnerable road users make up 15 percent of their roadway deaths or more — a move that will impact nearly all coastal communities and a handful of upper midwestern states, too
  • A revision of federal crash reporting standards to better capture the causes of the pedestrian death crisis, including new provisions to better incorporate hospital data into federal stats, rather than just police data

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San Diego County’s annual Udo Heinz Memorial Ride will roll out from Carlsbad on November 20th — a week from this coming Saturday.

This year’s ride will honor all fallen bicyclists, which the county has seen far too many of this year.

The ride was founded seven years ago in memory of Heinz, who was killed by an allegedly distracted bus driver while riding in Camp Pendleton in 2013.

Thanks to our latest sponsor, San Diego bike lawyer Richard Duquette, for the link. 

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As we mentioned last week, the Los Angeles City Council’s Public Safety Committee voted to advance a proposal to ban bicycle chop shops on public property, even though chop shops dealing in stolen bicycles are already illegal.

This photo by David Drexler, of a homeless encampment at Venice and Grandview in Mar Vista, shows why it may matter, although it’s not clear from the photo whether that’s on a property belonging to the city.

If your bike disappeared in the area recently, you may be able to find it there.

Or part of it, anyway.

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

You’ve got to be kidding.

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

Police in Michigan busted a bike-riding bank robber as he made his getaway after allegedly hitting two banks in a single day.

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Local

A Cheviot Hills website looks back to the earliest days of bicycling in West Los Angeles over a century ago, as the first generation of two wheelers gave way to more familiar names to Angeleno bicyclists, including local legends Alex Baum and Raymond Fouquet. Thanks to David Huntsman for the heads-up.

Long Beach could soon green light a $1.4 million project to improve traffic signals on deadly Los Coyotes Diagonal, including installation of new detectors for vehicles and bicycles. A good start, but what the street really needs is a road diet and protected bike lanes in both directions.

Authorities have identified the man killed by a gunman in Long Beach last week as a 31-year old father, who was riding his bike home from his studies to become a dental assistance; police believe the shooting was gang related.

 

State

This is the cost of traffic violence. A 13-year old Hemet boy went missing after he ran away from home on his bike two days before Halloween; he was eventually found as a John Doe in a local hospital, after he was struck by a driver just half an hour after leaving home.

A driver plowed into several bike riders near Los Olivos on Sunday, leaving one rider with serious injuries.

That’s more like it. San Jose bike cops will patrol a newly opened section of the Coyote Creek Trail ten hours a day, seven days a week. Something that should be done on at least a frequent basis on every bike trail, everywhere. Especially here in LA. 

Sad news from Stockton, where a 62-year old man was killed in a late night collision while riding his bike.

 

National

Bicycling says it’s time to switch to dry lube, already. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

The New York Times says the popularity of electric bikes doesn’t show any sign of fading, with ebike sales jumping 145% last year, and now outselling all-electric cars by more than two to one.

A Streetsblog op-ed says the revised edition of the MUTCD merely enshrines dangerous policies into law.

Alaska is experiencing a serious shortage of fat bikes and parts.

A Colorado bike rider shares what he learned tackling his first century ride.

Good idea. Link will cut the maximum speed in half for first-time e-scooter users in Hartford, Connecticut to improve safety until they get the hang of it.

Bike ridership on New York’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge nearly doubled over last year after a new two-way protected bike lane opened on the bridge in September.

 

International

Trek puts its money where its mouth is, pledging to match donations to World Bicycle Relief up to $500,000 through the end of the year; the nonprofit works to change lives by donating bicycles to people in need in developing areas.

Road.cc shares “affordable, high-quality” gadgets for bike riders for less than $135.

Interesting idea. A new light developed by a London designer shines a buffer grid onto the street around you, and automatically sends your location to a crowdsourced stress map when drivers get too close anyway.

Birmingham, England is finally getting around to installing bike lanes at an intersection where a young doctor was killed riding her bike four years ago.

British Transport Police are looking for a pair thieves who threatened a man with a weapon and wrested his bicycle away from while on board a train near Glasgow.

A 42-year old mother in the UK will spend the next five years behind bars for fleeing the scene following a drunk and stoned crash that killed a 61-year old man riding a bike; she told police the damage to her car was from hitting a fox. Although there may be a slight difference in size between a little fox and a grown man on a bicycle. 

An Aussie bike rider shares what it’s like to be dive-bombed by a swooping magpie.

 

Competitive Cycling

Fumiyuki Beppu, the first Japanese cyclist to reach racing’s highest level, called it a career after two full decades on the WorldTour.

 

Finally…

An ebike for people who like to pretend they’re on a modern motorcycle. When rumble strips protect the cars, not the other way around.

And that feeling when there’s an SUV parked on your singletrack trail.

https://twitter.com/SarahJ_Berry/status/1457115150583013380?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1457115150583013380%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Froad.cc%2Fcontent%2Fnews%2Fcycling-live-blog-8-november-2021-287627

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

Chief Lunes cyclist dies in Vegas car crash, removing cops from traffic enforcement, and no 15-minute city in LA

My apologies for Friday’s unexcused absence. 

Between my diabetes, neuropathy and whatever the hell else was going on, Thursday was one of the worst nights I’ve had in recent memory.

Just one more reminder that I’m not in charge of my own body any more.

Which is a very hard thing for a formerly dedicated bicyclist to face.

And another reminder to see your doctor, improve your diet, and do whatever it takes to keep your blood sugar under control. 

Because you really don’t want this shit. Especially now

Photo by Sabine van Erp from Pixabay.

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Let’s start with some heartbreaking news.

Many of us got to know Spencer Sims, either directly or through sites like this, following the hit-and-run death of bike rider Frederick “Woon” Frazier in South LA two years ago.

Like Woon, Sims was a member of the Chief Lunes cycling group, and was one of the leaders in the fight for justice for Frazier, as well as his mother and infant child, who was born after his death.

For well over a year afterwards, I got emails from Sims about the status of the case and the next moves in their battle for justice.

Sadly, I won’t be getting any more.

It took awhile to confirm, but Spencer Sims was killed, along with another man, in a single-car collision outside Las Vegas last week, when 19-year old driver lost control and the car they were riding in left the road.

Neither man was wearing a seat belt.

There were apparently no witnesses to the crash; a passerby reported finding the wreckage sometime later. Just a couple more sacrifices to the motor vehicle gods.

Now Woon’s mother will be even more alone and isolated without Sims looking in on her.

And he leaves this world without ever seeing justice for his friend and fellow rider. After a retracted confession and countless delays, Mariah Candice Banks, the woman accused of killing Woon in her high-end SUV, has yet to set foot in a courtroom for anything other than her arraignment.

Her long-delayed prelim is now scheduled for November 4th.

Sims won’t be there; let’s hope he and Woon are riding together somewhere. But maybe some of us can take his place.

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LAist makes the case for why we may not really need police to enforce traffic laws and curb traffic violence, suggesting there are effective alternatives like automated enforcement and self-enforcing street design.

This summer, a group of L.A. City Council members filed a motion calling on the city’s Department of Transportation and legislative officials to work with community members and report back on alternative methods of traffic enforcement, collision investigations and other traffic safety duties currently handled by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Some potential changes that will be explored: replacing LAPD officers with a “transit ambassador program” staffed by unarmed LADOT personnel and/or automated technology to monitor and cite drivers for speeding, illegal turns and other moving violations.

“Such a move would virtually eliminate the LAPD’s role in traffic stops, one of the leading forms of interaction between police and the public,” states the motion, which was filed by L.A. City Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Mike Bonin, Curren Price and Herb Wesson.Breonna

It’s a challenging and thought-provoking read, well worth a few minutes of your time.

Because the current system really isn’t working for anyone.

………

The C40 Cities — a group of 96 cities dedicated to taking action to fight climate change — says the concept of a 15-minute city is rapidly spreading around the world.

That’s the idea that you should be able to walk, bike or take transit to anything you need within 15 minutes of your home or office.

Except here in Los Angeles, of course.

Where the car continues to be king, nothing even slightly resembling a bike network exists anywhere outside of Downtown, and Metro just locked in major service cuts for at least the next year.

Never mind that LA Mayor Eric Garcetti is the current chair of the Metro board. Not to mention chair of C-40 Cities.

Or are we not supposed to notice that?

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

………

This is who we share the roads with, protest edition.

A truck driver floored it after encountering a Breonna Taylor protest in Hollywood, plowing through the crowd and seriously injuring a woman who was standing directly in front of his pickup.

That was followed by the driver of a Prius who forced his way through the crowd before being stopped and attacked with skateboards and bicycles.

A person was injured when a pickup driver plowed through a racial justice protest in Eureka, appearing to strike several people; the regional Coalition for Responsible Transportation condemned the attack.

A Milwaukee woman was injured when a driver accidentally hit her bike as she was riding on the wrong side of the road during a protest.

A Buffalo, New York woman faces charges for intentionally driving through a Bronna Taylor protest, seriously injuring a woman working as a bike marshal,

However, an Orange County woman flipped the script, seriously injuring two people by driving through a conservative, pro-Trump rally; 40-year old Long Beach resident Tatiana Turner was arrested.

………

In a truly sickening action, a Seattle bike cop deliberately rolled his police bicycle over the head of a protestor lying prone in the street.

He was immediately placed on leave after the video surfaced, pending an investigation., while the victim decried the apparent disregard for human life.

Let’s hope this is the last time that cop wears blue.

A little further south in Portland, police threw an Uber delivery rider off his bike and hogtied him, even as he insisted he was just doing his job and had nothing to do with the protests.

………

VeloNews follows along as five riders and a camera crew hope to inspire others with a 1,114-mile journey bikepacking tour exploring the Underground Railroad.

………

Gravel Bike California goes riding in Puerco Canyon, as well as Latino Canyon and the iconic Rock Store.

For those Español challenged like me, that translates to Pig Canyon.

Just so you know.

………

Slow Streets comes to Altadena, where most streets are, anyway.

………

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

A New York woman recounts her recent hit-and-run, describing a deliberate attack by a driver who knew he could get away with it.

Police are looking for a man who jumped off some rocks to attack two bicyclists with a bat as they rode on a paved trail through a Philadelphia park.

A Scottish cyclist reports an elderly “gentleman” tried to run him and another rider off the road, slowing down and swerving into them just after they completed a 31-hour, 560-mile ride. Although that pretty much defies any definition of gentleman I’m familiar with.

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

Long Beach police are looking for a bike-riding gunman who killed another man in an early morning bike-by shooting.

A defense lawyer in Canada’s Northwest Territories argues that his client was too drunk to form the intent necessary for murder, after killing another man following a day of bicycling in a drunken stupor.

………

Local

Metro Bike is shutting down operations on LA’s Westside for a couple months starting today, as the system expands and unifies the Westside and Central bikeshare networks, as well as bringing in the popular ebike service.

Despite the budget cuts, Metro’s new long-range budget included plans to close the long-standing eight-mile gap in the LA River bike path, and provide better bike access to DTLA. Because evidently, those must be the only places anyone would ever want to go on a bicycle.

 

State

SoCal ebike maker Electric Bike Company has opened their first showroom in Huntington Beach.

A San Diego nonprofit is working with local small businesses to train young adults to work in the bicycle industry.

A Ventura man celebrated his miraculous recovery from a near-fatal mountain bike crash by paddle boarding 14 miles back to Channel Islands Harbor Marina from Anacapa Island.

Bay Area bike riders dropped Bike to Work Day and celebrated Bike to Wherever Day last week, instead.

San Francisco finally gets around to opening a carfree route through Golden Gate Park.

Seriously? A woman who was injured riding a Jump scooter in San Francisco has filed a class action suit against several e-scooter companies, including Uber and Segway, because…wait for it…no one warned consumers that scooters don’t have turn signals. No one tell her about bicycles.

 

National

How to access bicycling directions in the latest version of Apple Maps.

The former head of the League of American Bicyclists says it’s time to stop relying on commuter data as the primary measure to make traffic planning decisions, because there’s a lot more to transportation.

America’s only remaining Tour de France winner is back in the bike business with a small line of carbon ebikes that are a far cry from the road bikes he used to be known for.

Minneapolis’ Black-led Major Taylor bike club has been working for two decades to get more people of color on bicycles.

How to navigate your next bike vacation in the Big Apple.

 

International

An op-ed from The Guardian calls for media reporting guidelines for traffic safety, arguing that how stories are reported and the language used contribute to the dangers on our roads and how the law is applied.

He gets it. Another writer for The Guardian says denying a child the joys of riding a bicycle is an abdication of parental responsibility, adding “No video game, Covid-19 lockdown or computer simulation can replace the childhood liberation of being alone on a bicycle.”

E-cargo bikes are already replacing trucks in cities around the world.

Chances are, a 13-year old dog may have visited more countries by bike than you have, traveling through 26 countries on a two-year bike tour of Europe and South America.

Cycling Weekly directs your attention to the best eco-conscious bikewear brands.

Needless to say, Vancouver bike riders aren’t happy about the closure of a popup bike lane through a park, because drivers somehow insisted they needed two lanes each way for their cars. Yes, choosing cars over people in a park.

A bighearted Cambridge University academic replaced a speech therapist’s stolen bike, because they’d helped him so much when he was diagnosed with a severe speech impediment as a child.

An 11-year old English girl rode a tandem 70 miles with her dad to visit all 12 cricket clubs in the North Staffordshire area, raising more than four times her original goal of £500 for cardiac risk assessments for young people; she’s raised the equivalent of over $2,800.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 93-year old British man raced competitively until he was 80, and still rides 150 miles a week.

A bike rider in the UK recorded 14 drivers traveling through a popup bike lane in just 35 minutes. Kind of makes you wonder how many went through it the other 23 hours and 25 minutes.

Forget CicLAvia. The entire city of Paris left their cars at home for one day for the city’s annual carfree day.

Parisian pedestrians find themselves competing for space with bike riders on the city’s busy streets.

France is introducing a new victim-blaming bike safety campaign as bicycling injuries go up with more people taking to the streets on two wheels.

Once again, a bike rider is a hero. An Indian family is alive today because an anonymous bike rider was in the right place at the right time, leaping into action to pull them to safety after their car went off the road and into a natural drain before simply riding away afterwards; sadly, though, he wasn’t able to save the family’s three-year old girl.

Bicycling violations are up as in Japan as bicycling booms during the pandemic.

Malaysian bike riders take issue with a call from the country’s road safety institute to license bicyclists and require numbered plates, saying it would not improve traffic safety.

 

Competitive Cycling

Julian Alaphilippe won the world road championships with a late attack, becoming the first Frenchman to wear the rainbow jersey in over two decades.

Anna van der Breggen continued the Dutch dominance of the women’s road worlds, as the country placed three of the four top finishers; cyclists from the Netherlands have won the event four years in a row. Van de Breggen claimed the time trial title, too.

Last week we mentioned defending champ Chloe Dygert was injured after wiping out during the women’s time trial world championships. Turns out that injury was more gruesome than any of us probably imagined.

 

Finally…

If he really was Lucifer, why would he need to steal a bike? Two hundred miles in 32 hours is pretty good — especially when you’re doing it on your daughter’s little pink girl’s bike.

And evidently, moose don’t like cars any more than people on bikes do.

………

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

G’mar Chatima Tovah!

Morning Links: LA raises speed limits, Vision Zero holds course, and LA River Bike Path reopens in Long Beach

One quick note. Come back after 11:00 this morning for a guest post from Derrick Paul about the planned Vision Zero lane reduction and complete street project on Temple Street. 

And why it hasn’t happened.

………

Los Angeles will be raising speed limits on nearly 100 miles of streets to comply with California’s deadly 85th Percentile Law, which allows drivers to set speed limits by applying their foot to the gas pedal.

Meanwhile, speed limits will decrease somewhat on a little more than 52 miles of streets.

The tradeoff is that police will now be able to use radar to enforce speeds, which they had been banned from doing on nearly 80% of LA streets.

Under the terms of the law, police can’t use radar to enforce the speed limit if a street hasn’t had a speed survey within the last seven years.

Once the survey is conducted, the speed limit must be set at the speed driven by the 15th fastest motorist driving unimpeded in non-rush hour traffic, although the city does have the option to round down slightly.

So in order to make our streets safer, we have to make them faster and more dangerous.

Or just repeal a stupid, outdated and deadly law.

Correction: In my haste last night, I mistakenly wrote that the 85th Percentile Law was based on the average speed of 85% of motorists, ignoring my gut feeling that I was wrong, but too tired to stop and look it up.

And I was right. That I was wrong, that is. 

The following email from Casey Kerrigan clarifies this complicated law better than any other explanation I’ve seen. 

When doing the speed survey the speed limit is based on the 85 percentile not on the average speed of 85% of the cars surveyed.  Note that speed surveys are conduced under the optimal conditions to speed, ie during the day, at a non rush hour time and only the speed of free flowing cars are measures. Free flowing are cars with no traffic ahead of them for at least 5 seconds on a straightaway and unmarked cars are used to house the speed measurement equipment.
This is from the Caltrans guidelines for how to set speed limits which you can find here.
This paragraph is taken from the Caltrans guidelines linked above on page 36.

3.2.6 Calculating 85th Percentile Speed

If 100 vehicle speeds are plotted, the 85th percentile speed is determined by looking at the speed of the 15th vehicle down from the top speed. Fifteen percent of the vehicles are travelling faster than this speed, and eighty five percent are travelling at or below this speed. If less than 100 vehicles are counted, the 85th percentile speed must be determined by calculating 85 percent of the number of vehicles counted and determining the vehicles’ 85th percentile speed. For example if 70 vehicles were counted, 0.85 x 70 = 59.5. The speed of vehicle 60 represents the 85th percentile. Examples are shown in Appendix A on the Speed Zone Survey Sheet examples.

………

Speaking of which, Vision Zero Los Angeles has released their 2018 Action Plan & Progress Report.

The city plans to remain on course with the program, despite a sharp jump in pedestrian deaths, and badly missing Mayor Eric Garcetti’s goal of a 20% reduction in traffic fatalities in 2017.

Of course, that was overly ambitious, since the program is just now gaining its footing and getting its first real funding.

………

The LA River Bike Path has reopened in Long Beach, where it had been closed for construction work, now that a large construction crane has been removed.

However, work vehicles and flaggers will remain on the path, and riders may be required to slow down or walk their bikes through the construction zone.

Thanks to Long Beach Mobility and Healthy Living Programs Officers Michelle Mowery for the heads-up.

………

Rent-a-cops driving on a Chicago bike path lose it when a bike rider complains that they don’t belong on the path. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the link.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bfub83XnlZo/

………

Local

The victim’s missing head was finally found in an LA multi-modal murder.

A UCLA letter writer says scofflaw Bird scooter users are no worse than bike riders, who he can’t recall ever having seen “obey the traffic laws to the letter.” Unlike pedestrians and motorists, who evidently always obey the letter of the law in his eyes.

CiclaValley imagines what a re-imagined, bike-friendly Ventura Blvd could be.

The Pasadena Star News looks at the proposal to reconfigure Orange Grove Blvd into a complete street that welcomes everyone.

 

State

Seven proposed U.S. Bicycle Routes could soon be coming to, and through, California.

Encinitas-based cruiser bike-maker Electra Bicycle Company turns 25.

Cycling Without Age comes to Merced.

A pair of dueling Op-Eds in the Sacramento Bee say a bill to allow mountain bikes in wilderness areas would be good for the backcountry, while another calls it a Trojan horse that would put wheels over wilderness.

 

National

Bike Snob says enough with the helmet shaming, already.

Streetsblog says American cities aren’t making much progress on Vision Zero, except for New York and San Francisco. Although for some reason, they aren’t tracking Los Angeles on their chart.

A Seattle-area man had his bike stolen after he was hit on the head with a pipe. No word on whether he was wearing a helmet, which might have helped. Or not.

Washington is the latest state to approve an ebike classification bill based on the one pioneered in California.

Great idea, as a Washington bike school teams with a woodworking school to teach everything from wrenching to wood frame and wheel building.

Evidently, LA drivers aren’t the only ones who complain about removing traffic lanes from massive streets. Tempe AZ will restripe a roadway to remove bollards protecting a bike lane and add back a third traffic lane in response to motorist complaints.

You’ve got to be kidding. Just days after the Utah house approved an Idaho stop law, a bill that would allow drivers to also treat red lights as stop signs passed a legislative committee. After all, what difference could there possibly be between someone on a 15-pound bike and someone wrapped in two tons of high-speed glass and steel? I mean, other than the bodies the latter would likely leave behind?

Plans for a new bridge on I-10 in Mobile, Alabama will be required to include options for bicycle and pedestrian pathways.

 

International

Cycling Tips offers advice on how to use music to get the best out of your rides. They probably don’t mean singing Hank Williams out loud while you ride, as someone who looks a lot like me may or may not have done on occasion.

Toronto rejects a staff recommendation to remove lanes from a major street, and keep it six lanes and dangerous instead.

Caught on video: British police use bike cam video to prosecute a 50 mph punishment pass, resulting in the equivalent of a $365 fine. A much better punishment would be to make the driver stand in the roadway while someone else does it to him.

The Irish government will introduce a safe passing law mandating that drivers pass bicyclists with the rough equivalent of three feet on roads with a speed limit below 31 mph, and five feet above that.

Eat and bike your way across Italy with Top Chef contestants.

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war bikes is all too real, as Aussie bicyclists find thumbtacks spread across at least four popular riding routes. Far from a harmless prank, something like that can cause serious injuries — or worse — if a flat causes a rider to fall. And should be prosecuted as such.

The government of Queensland, Australia, has introduced a presumed liability bill, which would presume that the operator of the more dangerous vehicle has a greater responsibility to avoid crashes, and would be considered at fault in a collision; the head of the local auto club calls it a divisive bill that pits motorists against cyclists. Actually, motorists have done that themselves for decades.

 

Finally…

Your WiFi depends on a Hollywood bombshell who escaped Nazis and an unhappy marriage on a bicycle. It’s golf balls over bikes on the beach.

And can a serial burglar really be a bad guy if he rides a bike and leaves the homes neat and tidy?

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Thanks to View-Speed for their generous contribution to help keep BikinginLA coming your way every day. Click here if you’d like to donate to help support this site

 

Morning Links: SaMo approves bike share, SMPD targets bike & ped safety, and a blast from the BikinginLA past

Let’s start with a quick blast from the past.

It came up in conversation on Tuesday, when the subject turned to the needless divisions between bike riders based on what we ride or wear.

This is how I addressed the topic a couple years ago, in a post called The terrible tyranny of two-wheel tribal wear.

The bottom line is, clothes don’t make the bike rider.

It doesn’t matter who you are, how you ride, what you ride, where you ride, or what you wear. Especially not what you wear.

The only thing that really matters that you ride.

The rest is just details.

It’s not a bad piece, if I say so myself. And maybe worth a second look if you’ve got a few extra minutes.

……..

It came too late to make the news, but word is the Santa Monica city council voted to go forward with a 500-bicycle bike share program, making it the first in the LA area.

And hats off to the Santa Monica Police Department, which will fairly target violations that can lead to bike and pedestrian collisions this Friday.

They deserve congratulations, because unlike previous safety efforts that unfairly focused on bicyclists or pedestrians, this one will look equally at violations by drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.

And yes, as we all know, motor vehicles pose the greatest risk.

But police are required to enforce the law equally, rather than targeting one group while ignoring the rest.

Nice to see they get it.

……..

No page to link to yet. But mark your calendar for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s 2nd Annual Open House on December 4th at LACBC world headquarters, 634 S. Spring Street in DTLA.

And while we’re on the subject, the LACBC is hosting a Basic Biking Skills class for coalition members on Saturday, November 22nd. A good reason to join if you haven’t already.

……..

Local

Bike thefts are on the rise in Huntington Beach. And pretty much everywhere else, as well.

Student run Tommy’s Bike Shop is gaining momentum at traditionally less than bike friendly USC.

KABC-7 looks at Ride 2 Recovery, a great program that uses bicycling to help bring wounded vets all the way back home.

 

State

San Diego has to address the concerns of the city’s bike-loving residents if it plans to meet ambitious goals to increase bike commuting by 2035.

A San Diego bike manufacturer makes Oprah’s list of Favorite Things, which is pretty much the next best thing to being anointed by God.

Caltrain is looking for new members for its Bicycle Advisory Committee.

Nothing like getting into a bike collision on the way to an interview with a San Francisco paper to discuss your new album.

 

National

This is what can happen when you ride in extreme weather, as a Portland cyclist is hit by a falling tree; fortunately, she’s expected to survive.

If you’re going to steal a bike, probably not the best idea to try to make your getaway through a group of Spokane ROTC cadets.

Louisville KY plans to build 100 miles of bike boulevards.

In response to the city’s panic over speeding cyclists, New York officials propose banning hand-held cell phone use by bicyclists, which should cut the city’s traffic death toll by roughly zero.

No bias here. A Florida TV station blames a teenage bike rider for a sideswipe collision with a driver when the kid’s pedal — yes, pedal — allegedly hit the car, rather than blaming the driver for passing too close. And they freak out over riding his bike safely and legally a whole 30 inches inside the traffic lane. Or at least it would have been safe if the driver hadn’t been violating the state’s three-foot passing law.

Palm Beach officials seriously think Share the Road signs will make bicycling safer. There’s a first for everything.

Thanks to an alert — and caring — bike rider, a Florida Marine gets his missing ring back.

 

International

A Toronto writer goes into histrionics over the supposed wasted space of bike lanes in the winter when no sensible person would ride a bike; clearly, these people would beg to differ.

A British study shows drivers pass bikes more safely on roads without center lines; not too surprising that motorists will give more space when they don’t feel constrained by lane markings.

London Cyclist offers advice on riding safely around potholes — something every LA bike rider should know, considering the decrepit quality of our deteriorating streets.

‘Tis the season. A UK charity is looking for bike riding Santas.

Apparently, I’m not the only one with concerns about that new solar panel bike path in the Netherlands, which will only generate enough power for three households when it’s fully built out.

 

Finally…

Congratulations to the newly married Chris Froome. If Cadel Evans and Oakley have their way, your next bike could have a truly bizarre set of handlebars. Or you could end up with an e-bike that weighs less than 11 pounds and folds down to fit in your backpack.

 

Beverly Hills tells bicyclists to drop dead; LAPD to focus — finally — on traffic violations this year

Screw bike riders.

That was the message sent last night by notoriously bike-unfriendly Beverly Hills in refusing to incorporate bike lanes in next year’s planned reconstruction of Santa Monica Blvd.

Even though the reconstruction gives the city a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fix one of the region’s most congested and dysfunctionally incomplete streets.

And even though it could be done for pennies on the dollar during the massive reconstruction project.

And even though it would connect the bike lanes that currently exist on the boulevard on either side of the city, completing the gap that exists between bike lanes in West Hollywood and Century City.

And even though Beverly Hills traffic already makes it the most dangerous city of its size in the state of California.

Oddly, several of the city’s council members expressed their concern for the safety of cyclists before voting to ignore their needs.

We’ll let Better Bike’s Mark Elliot, who led the seemingly Sisyphean fight in this over-privileged Mayberry tell the whole disturbing and dystopian tale.

The question is, what can we do going forward?

Personally, I think it’s long past time for a worldwide boycott of the Biking Black Hole, where the dollars of those on bikes seem to be valued far below those who arrive in Bentleys and luxury SUVs.

Maybe they’ll wake up if they start seeing hotel cancellations, as domestic and foreign bike riders choose to spend their money somewhere else. Or when the annual Gran Fondo gets moved to out of Beverly Hills because cyclists refuse to support a city that refuses to support us.

Or maybe the answer is to take a page from their own playbook, where seemingly endless lawsuits have attempted to derail the planned subway-sort-of-to-the-sea.

I don’t know if there are legal grounds to sue Beverly Hills for its hard-hearted failure to find room for bike riders on the rebuilt street, even if it does seem to conflict with the state’s requirement to consider complete streets in any road construction project. Or to accommodate all road users on streets that belong to more than just motor vehicle operators.

Maybe there’s a lawyer out there who’d like answer those questions.

But if nothing else, a lawsuit might delay their plans just enough to make it easier to compromise with bike supporters than fight.

It wouldn’t be cheap.

But that’s one Kickstarter I’d be happy to contribute to.

……….

More on last night’s breaking news that the extremely popular Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race has been cancelled, at least for this year.

And the way these things seem to go, possibly forever.

The finger is being pointed at a fear of liability in a notoriously risk-averse city. But as noted last night, I suspect there’s more going on behind the scenes than we may yet be aware of.

Like maybe a wealthy marathon operator upset about those damn bikes piggybacking on their event. Especially when they’re not getting the profits.

Meanwhile, word is some riders intend to crash the route anyway.

……….

The LA City Council celebrated the city’s first Complete Streets Day on Wednesday.

Which seems odd, since so many council members seem to be actively opposing complete streets on Westwood Blvd, north and south Figueroa, and Lankershim Blvd, as well as a new and improved bike-friendly 4th Street.

I’m sure Councilmembers Koretz, Cedillo, Price and LaBonge wholeheartedly support complete streets.

As long as they’re in someone else’s district.

……….

For years, bike and pedestrian advocates have called on police to increase enforcement of traffic laws in an attempt to rein in the wild west mentality on our streets, where too many drivers feel entitled to do anything they damn well please — too often to the detriment of those they share those streets with.

Finally, LAPD Chief Beck is in agreement, declaring this the “year of traffic” with stepped-up enforcement of traffic regulations, including a crackdown on hit-and-runs.

While that’s good news for cyclists who have share the road with dangerous drivers, remember the knife cuts both ways.

Representatives of the department have often said they are required to enforce the law equally. Which means if they see you go through a red light or stop sign, you’re likely to get a ticket, just like a driver would for the same offense.

……….

Writing for Flying Pigeon, Rick Risemberg fears support for bicycling is backsliding under the Garcetti administration — echoing exactly what I’ve been thinking for the past several months.

Shockingly, the Weekly discovers a group of cyclists who like to get high and ride. Who could have ever imagined?

Bike safety is an issue around USC, as a cyclist is injured in a collision near campus.

Bikable streets spread further east as Pomona approves the city’s first bike and pedestrian plan.

The 84-year old Newport Beach driver who killed cyclist Debra Deem — claiming he just didn’t see her — entered a not guilty plea to a single count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. If convicted, he faces just one year in jail; Deem’s sister doesn’t think that’s enough.

Plans call for extending an Orange County protected bikeway.

You can contribute to help Riverside cyclist Travis Freeman recover from a serious cycling injury.

This simple bar chart clearly illustrates the relative affordability of protected bike lanes. And as long as we’re talking charts, this one from the UK kind of puts the relative risk posed by cyclists in perspective.

You could own Pee-wee’s bike, some assembly required.

It’s sad to think a bike advocacy group is going out of business after 40 years when bicycling is finally on the rise.

In what seems like at least a minor miracle, Brooklyn police begin ticketing drivers who park in bike lanes.

A Florida man waves at a motorist, who responds by plowing into him and fleeing the scene.

In what may be one of the most intentionally offensive public safety spots I’ve seen, Britain’s Top Gear attempts to teach cyclists the difference between red and green. While we all need to observe traffic signals, very few cycling fatalities are the result of riders blowing through red lights; far more often, it’s a driver who fails to stop and kills an innocent victim. So for the boys at Top Gear — and I say this from the bottom of my heart — fuck you. No, seriously.

A UK bike rider is the victim of an anti-bike terrorist attack when someone strings a rope across a walkway at neck level. Oddly, despite Top Gear’s insistence, there is nothing to suggest that she ran a red light before nearly being decapitated.

Finally, South African cyclists face charges in the road rage attack against a van driver. No matter how angry you are or how justified you feel, always — always — resist the temptation to resort to violence, as hard as it may be sometimes.

Which is not to say I’m an angel; I’ve called drivers every name in the book, including some I’ve made up on the spot.

Then again, they aren’t always the problem.

Boorish behavior by bicyclists could lead to a CHP crackdown in the Santa Monica Mountains

There’s no excuse for boorish bike behavior.

Especially when it could lead to a crackdown on every cyclist in the Santa Monica Mountains.

A conversation last week with Leland Tang, Public Information Officer for the CHP’s West Valley Area, revealed that they’re planning to start ticketing cyclists for riding violations throughout the area.

All they’re waiting for on is funding to put extra officers in the field.

And to give bike riders one last chance to clean up their act.

According to Tang, the CHP has been getting a large number of complaints about group rides that refuse to play nice by failing to ride single file, not letting motorists pass, riding on both sides of the roadway and not allowing drivers to exit their driveways.

Never mind that I disagree strongly with the CHP on whether it’s legal to ride two abreast.

It’s not mentioned at all in the California Vehicle Code, and it’s a standard precept of common law that anything that is not expressly forbidden is permissible under the law. Not to mention that riding two abreast is safer under many conditions that require riders to take the lane, such as avoiding road debris on the right shoulder or riding on roads with a substandard lane width where lanes are too narrow to safely share with a motor vehicle.

The LAPD considers it legal to ride two abreast anytime a rider has to take the lane, or other situations where the riders aren’t blocking traffic, such as riding in the right lane of a four lane roadway where drivers could use the other lane to go around.

The CHP, however, interprets CVC 21202, the law requiring cyclists to ride as close to the right as practicable, as banning riding abreast, reasoning that the rider on the left is not as close to the right as he or she should be.

Or as a friend of mine put it recently, “Your honor, I couldn’t ride any closer to the right. There was another bike there.”

However, that’s a discussion I’ve had with the CHP for some time now, and not one I expect to win outside of a courtroom.

On the other hand, there’s no excuse for riding on both sides of the road, especially on blind curves where drivers coming from opposite direction may not be able to see you. Or continuing to block the roadway and preventing drivers from passing when it’s safe to do so.

And it’s only common courtesy to allow other road users to enter or exit their own driveways if it doesn’t interfere with your own safety, or the other riders with you.

Cyclists at the back of the pack should be on the lookout for cars coming up from behind, and call out for the riders ahead to fall into single file if it’s safe for the vehicle to pass. Or signal to the driver to wait if it’s not, then waive them around at the first opportunity.

We don’t make any friends by needlessly blocking the road or inconveniencing the others on it.

Admittedly, I’m only hearing half the story, coming from the people pissed off enough to call to complain. And filtered through the views of the Highway Patrol officers who have to take those calls and deal with that anger.

But it’s clear that more courtesy is called for from all sides.

However, I’m told that the overwhelming majority of complaints stem from a single weekly ride. Fairly or not, a Sunday morning ride over Decker Canyon draws more calls than every other weekend ride combined — as much as 90% of the complaint calls against cyclists in the area, according to Tang.

In fact, Tang himself has sat on the side of the road and watched them go by, riding three, four or more abreast and blocking both sides of the roadway. Which is neither legal nor justified under any circumstances.

He assures me they don’t really want to crack down on cyclists. The CHP would much rather apply their limited resources other places, where they can deal with more dangerous violations by more dangerous violators.

But the sheer number of complaints stemming from this one ride dictate that they will soon have to do something.

And if they do, it won’t just be the boorish behavior of a single group ride that draws their attention. But rather, a crackdown on any violations by any cyclists, anywhere in their jurisdiction.

Which means you could get a ticket simply because someone else refuses to straighten up and ride right.

So if you know anyone on that Sunday Decker Canyon ride, let them know they’re about to face a hard, and undoubtedly unpleasant look from law enforcement.

And because of them, so are you.

One more quick note. A recent complaint to the CHP involved riders swearing at a driver and throwing objects at his car as he passed. I think we all recognize that as a common reaction to a too close pass by a dangerous or threatening driver. But thanks to the veto pen of our governor, a dangerously close pass remains legal, while hitting a car or throwing something at it is not. It may seem justified, but you’re the one who’s likely to face legal action if you get caught.

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Another bike rider has been shot in South L.A. The shooting occurred when a suspect on foot fired at the rider late Saturday evening near 92nd and Vermont, leaving the victim in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds.

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Bike Radar offers a look at some of the more interesting bikes at this weekend’s North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Denver. Bike Biz offers a full list of the winners, while Velo News wonders what it all means. And now there’s no need to get off your bike after pedaling to the slopes.

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I hear Saturday’s first-ever ‘80s Bike Prom sponsored by the LACBC was a huge hit; with luck, that may mean there will be a next one. CICLE’s Wild West Chatsworth Community Bike Ride seems to have been a big success, as well. The NELA and Occidental College Bicycle Art Show opens this Thursday, which is the same day Santa Monica College celebrates the official Grand Opening of their new bike corral. Santa Monica sets a March 16th workshop for the planned Santa Monica Michigan Avenue Greenway project. Redondo Beach considers a major redesign of the area around Hermosa Ave and Harbor Drive, including a two-way cycle track. If you can’t lose weight despite all the miles you put in on the saddle, try trading your electrolytified sugar pop for a handful of dates.

A look at the e-bike revolution at the Terranea Resort. A 68-year old man died of an apparent heart attack in Corona del Mar Sunday morning; police originally though he’d been in a bike wreck. San Diego cyclists get their first ciclovia. The principal of a Vallejo school died Friday of injuries suffered in a hit-and-run while riding in a bike lane on February 13th. A San Ramon attorney has yet to set foot in a courtroom nine months after he was arrested for the hit-and-run death of a cyclist. A Vallejo father campaigns against unlicensed drivers two years after his son was killed. A cyclist was killed on the coast highway in Northern California Sunday afternoon.

An Albuquerque cyclist wants thank the rider who helped rescue him when he passed out and severely injured himself. Still no justice for an Indiana cyclist after 2-1/2 years. South Bend considers their own three-foot passing law. According to the Boston Globe, disregard for the safety of cyclists has reached pathological levels among some drivers. A Mississippi newspaper publisher says education and common sense beat requiring helmet use. Explaining the concept of complete streets to the nation’s deadliest state for cyclists and pedestrians.

London’s deadly cycling zone proves fatal for 14 women and no men; all but one were victims of buses or large trucks. A UK cyclist suffers a broken arm in a road rage incident. A Scot cyclist for 53-years explains that riding single file isn’t always the safest option; something we need to convince the CHP. Town Mouse goes biking in Copenhagen. Belgium’s one-day Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne classic is called on account of snow; weather has often played a role in bike racing. Temecula resident Sarah Hammer won her second gold medal at this year’s track cycling world championships in Minsk, and the sixth of her career. An Indian environmentalist is riding across the country on a seatless bicycle, averaging over 60 miles a day to spread his message. Aussie cyclists are fighting back against road rage with helmet cams. A Sydney man throws everything but the kitchen sink — including a bicycle — at the police outside his fifth floor apartment. Over half of Queenslanders think bike riders should be licensed, though a slight majority think motorists are at a fault in disputes with riders. A Kiwi cyclist is lucky to be alive after being rear-ended at over 60 mph.

Finally, you do not want to get run over in Montana.

Trust me.

Bike plan moves forward, police crackdown in OC, Box and bikes profiled in LA Weekly

First the big news, as the joint Transportation and Planning and Land Use Management votes to move forward with the draft bike plan, with a five year plan for implementation.

While that’s great news for city cyclists, it also means no for now to the proposed South Venice Beach bike path extension.

The debate was dominated by discussion over whether to allow bikes on city trails currently used by hikers and equestrians — something that safely occurs around the world, yet according to the local horse crowd, would lead to inevitable disaster here in L.A.

While there’s an obvious need for people to use trails safely and courteously, and observe the rights of other users, public parks and trails belong to everyone and shouldn’t be set aside for any single group. Or exclude any single group of users.

The committee voted to have the Planning Department negotiate language between both types of riders; however, anything that doesn’t find a way to accommodate all users would be a failure.

Meanwhile, the plan will now go to the full committee for final approval before going to the Mayor for his signature; all indications are Villaraigosa will sign off on the plan.

You can still follow yesterday’s live coverage of the meeting from L.A. Streetsblog, LACBC and Christopher Kidd of LADOT Bike Blog by clicking here.

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New York cyclists have been justifiably up in arms the last few weeks over the NYPD’s efforts to crack down on lawbreaking cyclists, while ignoring more dangerous violations by drivers.

Now a similar move is underway here as the Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and Costa Mesa police departments are banding together to conduct a “specialized Bicycle Safety Enforcement Operation” on the 19th and 24th of this month.

Despite the title, the press release promises officers will address traffic violations by cyclists and other vehicle operators that could “lead to bicycle vs. vehicle collisions, injuries and fatalities.”

The goal of the program is to educate the public about the safe and lawful use of bicycles, as well as the safe and lawful use of vehicles that share the roadway with bicycles. Prevention is a key component of the program, which centers on the traffic laws that can prevent bicycle riders from becoming injured to killed due to illegal use or reckless behavior by bicyclists and vehicles. In addition, the Police Departments involved may be required to enforce obvious violations to the City’s Municipal Code to maintain safe operations.

I don’t have any problem with enforcing traffic violations by cyclists; frankly, I’ve seen some cyclists who should be ticketed, if not thrown into leg irons. However, I would expect — and all cyclists have every right to expect — that unlike the situation in New York, the crackdown will address violations by drivers as well as cyclists.

And it should take into account which violators pose the greater risk to others.

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Neon Tommy Editor-at-Large Hillel Aron offers an in-depth profile of CD4 City Council Candidate Stephen Box and the history of L.A. bike activism in this week’s L.A. Weekly.

As the article notes, it’s almost impossible to unseat a sitting council member in L.A.; even the most unpopular usually cruise to victory over seemingly more worthy opponents once special interest money starts pouring in. Despite that, there’s a growing sense that Box may have a real shot at forcing incumbent Tom LaBonge into a runoff next month.

LaBonge has long supported cycling, though not always in the way cyclists would prefer; if he were smart, he’d move to strengthen his support of bicycling to undercut Box’s strongest base of support. Instead, he seems to be focused on shoring up support from the anti-bike crowd, as many cyclists see him, rightly or wrongly, as an obstacle in the way of many bicycling issues.

And it’s hard to take the other candidate in the race, Tomas O’Grady, seriously when he ignores questions from the city’s leading newspaper.

You have your own chance to evaluate the candidates tonight when the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council hosts a candidate’s forum at Silver Lake Community Church, 2930 Hyperion Ave. Or you can meet Stephen Box at an open house from 2 to 4 pm this Sunday at 3311 Lowry Road in Los Angeles.

Box has also received an endorsement from MobileFoodNews; not to surprising since LaBonge has been seen as an opponent of L.A.’s popular food trucks.

One other note — the writer of the Weekly article gave me every opportunity to attack other bicycle advocates and advocacy groups; I chose not to do that. It’s my firm belief than anyone working to support cycling in Los Angles deserves my support and gratitude, whether or not I happen agree with them. I’m saddened that not everyone feels the same way.

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If you’re looking for a good ride this weekend, consider the Tour de Palm Springs, with rides ranging from 5 to 100 miles. A little further down the road, the Santa Clarita Century rolls on April 2nd offering a full century, half century, 25-mile and family rides.

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CicLAvia has received a $25,000 grant from the California Endowment. Meanwhile, GOOD is throwing a fundraising party to benefit CicLAvia on Saturday, March 5th; tickets range from $20 to $500.

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The newly unveiled draft plans for South Figueroa range from good to wow, though Josef Bray-Ali says they could use some polishing; then again, there are more important things than signing in for a meeting. L.A. will soon get its first bike corral in Highland Park. Rick Risemberg, who appears to be everywhere these days, writes about taking part in last weekend’s LA Brewery Ride with Flying Pigeon. Cool Claremont bike racks. Long Beach replaces a mandatory bike licensing law with voluntary registration through the National Bike Registry.

A popular retired Bakersfield educator died of a heart attack while riding with friends. A three-year old Visalia girl is killed when she’s backed over by a neighbor’s pickup while riding on the sidewalk. San Francisco police have refused to take reports or issue citations for collisions involving cyclists unless an ambulance is called; so not matter what a driver does, if they don’t seriously injure a rider, they walk. Shameful. Matt Ruscigno rides from San Louis Obispo to L.A. in a single day — while sick. This year’s Amgen Tour of California won’t tour California exclusively.

J. Edgar Hoover on a bike, sort of. It’s not the same as an Idaho Stop Law, but Oregon considers lowering the fines for cyclists who roll through stop signs. Somehow I missed this; Dr. Matthew Burke, the orthopedic surgeon, U.S. Army Major and Iraq war vet critically injured by aggressive driver while on a group ride last October, passed away over the weekend after 4 months in a coma; the driver is charged with reckless homicide.

Yet another London cyclist is killed by a large truck, this time a 28-year old art curator. More bikes than cars expected to cross London’s bridges during morning rush hour in 2011. Irish physicians urge the passage of a mandatory helmet law, even though you’re over six times more likely to die walking on the sidewalk. Europe already has the kind of airport bike lanes John McCain wants to kill. Looks like rising star Taylor Phinney will compete in the Tour of Oman after all. South African cyclist Michael Dean Pepper is banned for three years for a failed drug test; sometimes I think we should just ban everyone for two years and start over.

Well, that’s one more problem we don’t face in L.A. — a South African cyclist survives after using his bike to fight off a leopard attack; evidence suggests that the animal had just escaped from a snare and was fighting for its life, as well.

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