Tag Archive for traffic fatalities

Die-in driven from news by mass shooting, LA Vision Zero a “totally unfunny self-parody,” and voters say no to De León

Three-hundred-twelve lives needlessly lost to traffic violence.

Most of them bike riders and pedestrians, many lower income, as Los Angeles set a record for the most traffic deaths in at least the last two decades.

Yet almost as heartbreaking as the lives lost to traffic violence in the City of Angels last year was the way Saturday’s die-in at City Hall to protest the deaths was shoved out of the headlines by yet another mass shooting.

The protest, which drew around one hundred participants, appeared to be covered by a number of news outlets.

Yet the only news story that’s been posted online so far came from Fox11.

And even they couldn’t be bothered to identify California Senator Anthony Portantino as the prone bicyclist shown gripping his handlebars in the story’s top photo.

Oops.

When your lead photo shows a state senator participating in a large protest, maybe it would be nice to identify him. Just saying.

 

The brief story attempts to put LA’s unacceptable rate of traffic deaths in perspective.

Yet somehow fails to mention that even one death is one too many.

How does that compare to other cities across the state, or even nationally? LA’s 312 traffic fatalities equate to just over eight deaths per 100,000, nearly twice that of San Francisco (4.5 deaths per 100,000 in 2022), but fewer than San Diego, which saw just less than nine traffic deaths per 100,000 people in 2022. In Cook County, Illinois, home to Chicago, there were roughly 7.8 traffic deaths per 100,000 people in 2022.

It ends with an all-too-brief mention of just what the assembled protestors were demanding.

Protesters organizing Saturday, want the city to do more to help curb traffic deaths in LA. They’re asking Mayor Karen Bass to declare a state of emergency on traffic violence; for more funding for the LA Department of Transportation and initiatives like VisionZero; and the passage of legislation that would allow for automated speed enforcement on dangerous roads.

“Throwing only $50.6 million at road safety issues in a city this big, especially considering how many lives are being lost, is a joke,” SAFE’s report concludes.

All of which was great.

But in addition to failing to identify Portantino, the station also failed to mention that Assembly Transportation Chair Laura Friedman took part, as did CD3 Councilmember Bob Blumenfield.

Not to mention leaders from Streets Are For Everyone, Families For Safe Streets, Streets For All, LA Walks and BikeLA — formerly the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition — among others.

Even then, the story was gone by morning, as LA’s news outlets went with wall-to-wall coverage of the Monterey Park shootings.

Leaving the reaction to the city’s horrendous death toll forgotten on the newsroom floor, just a blip in the weekend news.

I’ll have more tomorrow, after I have a chance to sift through all the many photos I took of the event.

At center is this photo, with the red bandana, is very good boy Max, who joined his owner in playing dead along with everyone else.

The top photo shows Assembly Member Laura Friedman addressing the crowd, flanked by state Sen. Anthony Portantino; behind her are LA Councilmember Bob Blumenfield and Streets For All founder Michael Schneider. 

Correction: Apparently suffering a major brain cramp, I somehow originally misidentified Streets For All’s Michael Schneider in the above caption as Michael MacDonald, evidently mistaking him for a member of the Doobie Brothers. He is, to the best of my knowledge, not a Doobie nor a rock star, but a street safety star instead. My apologies. 

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Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times Letters Editor Paul Thornton introduced responses to LA’s rising toll of traffic violence with a headline calling the city’s Vision Zero failure a “totally unfunny self-parody.”

All along, the city’s primary tool to achieving its Vision Zero goals has been redesigning roads to reduce vehicle speeds and allocate more and safer spaces to cyclists and pedestrians. What we’ve gotten since 2015 are bike lanes removed from street widening projects, quashed “complete street” proposals, a thriving Lincoln Heights street market shut down by the city, and a reopened 6th Street Viaduct used as a drag strip. Something tells me we’ll be much worse off on Vision Zero in 2025 than we were in 2015.

Although naturally, one letter writer felt the need to remind us that streets are for cars, and everyone and everything else doesn’t belong there.

Nope. No bias there.

And while we’re on the subject of letters to the editor of the Los Angeles Times, the expected complaints about ebikes in the paper’s recent article about their supposed invasion of Orange County Beach cities, a Huntington Beach man says what the outrage over ebikes really points out is the lack of safe bike infrastructure.

Well said.

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No surprise here.

The LA Times is reporting that CD14 voters have turned sharply against incumbent Councilmember Kevin de León in the wake of his comments on a racist and otherwise offensive recording that has already led to the resignation of the former council president and one of LA’s most powerful labor leaders.

The turnaround comes just two years after those same voters overwhelmingly installed De León to replace disgraced Jose Huizar, who pled guilty to racketeering last week.

…By a wide margin, voters said De León puts his own political self-interest ahead of the people he represents. Even reliable supporters who voted for him in the past have lost faith, the poll found.

Only 23% of the voters surveyed approved of the job De León is doing, compared with 48% who disapproved, the poll found. Just over half think he should resign, compared with fewer than a quarter who want him to stay in office and 18% who were undecided; 9% did not answer the question.

If a recall were to qualify for the ballot — an effort to qualify one is currently circulating petitions — 58% would support recalling him from office, compared with 25% who would be opposed and 17% undecided, the survey found.

That comes after De León was heard on the leaked recording comparing the Black adopted son of former Councilmember Mike Bonin to a Luis Vuitton purse, and discussed how Latino councilmembers could mute the influence of their Black peers on the council, as well as their constituents.

Yet De León continues to ignore calls to resign, apparently thinking there is some pathway that will allow him to rehabilitate his image before facing the voters again in 2024.

Or sooner, if the recall petitions currently circling in his district qualify for the ballot.

De León had shown promise when it came to supporting bike and safety improvements in his district, including selecting the resident-designed Beautiful Boulevard option for the NoHo to Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit route through Eagle Rock.

But whatever good he promised came to a quick end the moment he was heard on that infamous recording.

It’s time for De León to read the writing on the wall — and in the pages of the Times — and resign.

CD14 deserves a leader who can more effectively represent all the people, including those of us who travel on two wheels.

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This area has long been one of the most unforgiving areas for bicycling in all of the Los Angeles areas.

Although the long-delayed Mark Bixby Memorial Bicycle Pedestrian Path over the new Long Beach International Gateway Bridge, better known as the replacement for the Gerald Desmond Bridge, should help.

Once they finally get around to opening it.

Meanwhile, this video of trying to find a safe route around the Port of Los Angeles plays like a one-man Marx Brothers routine.

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Dr. Grace Peng forward news that an anti-bike lane Redondo Beach councilmember is facing possible loss of his license to practice law after allegedly misappropriating over a half million dollars of client funds.

Proving that corruption allegations extend far beyond LA City Hall.

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

The Chicago Sun-Times probably didn’t mean it when they placed an ad about the warning signs of dementia in a story about a man riding 60 miles across the frozen wintery city to meet with other similar-minded viking bikers. But still.

This is why people keep dying on our streets. A road raging British driver was found not guilty of punching and choking a man riding a bike after claiming self-defense because the bike rider punched his car after the driver “clipped” him.

This is what “clipped” looks like, as an Australian truck driver sideswipes a bike rider, then keeps going, possibly unaware he’d even hit someone.

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

Seriously, if you’re carrying guns and a large amount or narcotics on your bike, make sure the damn thing is up to the vehicle code.

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Local 

Streets For All is calling for more support for the heavy rail option to extend the Metro train system through the Sepulveda Pass, including a Metro station on the UCLA campus, at an in-person meeting on Tuesday and a virtual meeting on Thursday. Bel Air residents are demanding an impractical monorail through the center of the 405 because it wouldn’t, you know, inconvenience the rich people.

VeloNews has more on the nonprofit Bahati Foundation, formed by Compton’s own former national crit champ Rahsaan Bahati to change the lives of underprivileged kids through bikes.

Santa Monica-based Bird is selling their consumer ebike for 60% off right now, marking it down from $2,299 to just $899, including free shipping.

 

State

Twenty people got tickets during Goleta’s latest crackdown on traffic violations that endanger bike riders and pedestrians; unfortunately, there’s no breakdown on whether the tickets went to motorists, bike riders or pedestrian.

 

National

Washington’s governor pitched in on the first day of a new program to teach Seattle kindergartners how to ride a bike.

They get it. The Chicago Sun-Times says that it’s worth trying surveillance cameras and automated ticketing to keep drivers out of bus and bike lanes.

Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale is one of us, as he explains what happened when he fell off his bike and broke his wrist, which combined with Tommy John surgery and a broken finger to cost him most of three seasons.

 

International

Rouler explores the relationship between Italian bikemaker Cinelli and artist and former pro cycling wunderkind Taylor Phinney.

A travel site offers tips on exploring Europe’s over 27,000 miles of bikeways. Which would take the better part of two years if you averaged 50 miles a day. Works for me.

An insurance company issued an urgent warning to British bicyclists about the crumbling state of the country’s roads, as 21% of bike riders suffered pothole-related injuries. Although I imagine what they really mean is 21% of bicycling injuries are related to potholes. But what do I know?

Once again, a driver has claimed multiple victims, as a British driver faces charges for the hit-and-run death of two men who were riding their bikes, before abandoning his car and fleeing on foot. Although even more frightening is how the local weekly paper seems to accept the horrific crash, mentioning it almost in passing.

A history website tells the story of Peter Masters, an Austrian Jew who escaped the Nazis, then returned as a bike-riding British commando during the D-Day invasion.

Horrible story from India, where a 70-year old man was killed when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike, then desperately clung to the drivers hood before he was thrown off and run over when the driver finally hit the brakes.

A New Zealand man’s planned three-day bike ride to babysit his granddaughter took a detour when his ride was interrupted by Cyclone Hale.

 

Competitive Cycling

British pro Simon Yates won an uphill battle to claim the final stage of the Tour Down Under, as Aussie Jay Vine took the GC title to win his first WorldTour race.

Bryan Coquard claimed his first WorldTour stage win in Saturday’s stage four of the Tour Down Under, 11 years after he joined the top pro circuit.

Rising Dutch ‘cross star Shirin van Anrooij had to sit one out after thieves stole her race bike from the parking lot while she was doing recon on the course in Costa Blanca, Spain.

Zimbabwean mountain biker Pressmore Musundi is aiming to compete in this year’s African Games, despite being born with no toes on either foot, following first and third place finishes in a pair of South Africa’s top mountain bike races.

 

Finally…

If a cop stops you for driving under the influence, try not to bite his finger off trying to get away. And we may have to deal with aggressive LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about leopard attacks.

Usually, anyway.

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Happy Lunar New Year, whatever language you celebrate in! And my sympathy and prayers to all the victims of the Monterey Park shooting and their loved ones. May the new year finally bring an end to both traffic and gun violence. 

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

LA Times fans OC ebike mayhem panic, City Hall die-in this Saturday, and Slate questions efficacy of bike helmets

No bias here.

The Los Angeles Times reports on complaints about ebikes in Orange County, where they face bans and draconian speed limits on and near beach trails.

No, just the complaints.

At least until you reach the bottom of the story, by which time most Times readers have already moved on to Marmaduke.

Instead of reporting objectively, the paper settles for reprinting the long list of complaints from Orange County’s anti-ebike crowd, who seem to consider them the worst tech advance since Elon Musk bought Twitter.

Here’s how the paper frames the story, starting with a longtime Newport Beach resident who compares the local boardwalk to the 405 Freeway.

Three decades ago, Levine moved to what some refer to as the city’s “war zone,” a nickname given not because of crime but for the reputation of summertime rowdiness along the boardwalk, which now includes an abundance of electric bicycles. The strip’s 8 mph speed limit means nothing to some of these people, he said.

He’s watched people get mowed down, dogs hit and too many near misses to count, he said. City leaders for years have studied how to manage the proliferation of e-bikes along the route but have stopped short of banning them.

“What we’re witnessing on the boardwalk is mayhem,” Maureen Cotton, president of the Central Newport Beach Community Assn., told the City Council during a meeting urging officials to address e-bikes last year.

So, let me get this straight.

It’s been a war zone for decades. But ebikes have somehow ruined everything.

Sure, that makes sense.

Then the paper moves on to repeating the same tired and previously discredited stats we’ve been hearing for months from PR staffers at the local hospital trying to fan the flames of an anti-ebike pyre.

During the first 10 months of last year, staffers at Providence Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo documented 198 e-bike injuries. Doctors saw 113 injuries in 2021 and just 34 in 2020, according to data provided by the hospital.

Between January and October of last year, 78 of the 198 people who suffered an injury on an e-bike were not wearing helmets and 99 suffered some type of head injury, data show.

“My feeling about the whole situation with e-bikes is that we got a device a little bit too fast, and the culture is not completely set for it,” said Tetsuya Takeuchi, the trauma medical director at Providence Mission Hospital…

Where to begin.

Evidently, some people who got injured riding ebikes weren’t wearing bike helmets. But most were.

And half of the people who were injured riding an ebike suffered a head injury. Which may or may not have been the 40% who weren’t wearing helmets.

It may come as a shock to the kind and caring people at Providence that some people who ride regular bikes don’t wear helmets, either. And some of them get hurt, too, though not always with head injuries.

Which is just one of the great, inexplicable mysteries of bicycling, that some people who don’t wear bike helmets don’t suffer head injuries, and some who do, do.

Then there’s the exponential increase in ebike injuries. Which just happens to coincide with the exponential increase in ebikes.

That doesn’t mean ebikes are dangerous. Just that a lot of people are using them now.

In fact, I’d consider 198 injuries a relatively small amount, given the untold thousands of Orange County residents who’ve adopted them.

Lastly, let’s consider the question of speed, which has apparently gotten “a little bit too fast.”

Under California law, which has been copied in most states, Class 1 and 2 ebikes, whether ped-assist or throttle-driven, are limited to 20 mph.

Which virtually anyone could top with a decent effort on a decent road bike. Never mind today’s lightweight, technological marvels engineered for every higher speeds.

The bikes, I mean, not the riders. Though some of them have been engineered for speed, too.

Yet somehow, those bikes aren’t considered too fast. And no one has banned 27 speed carbon-fiber bikes or their spandex-clad riders from the boardwalk.

And just wait until the good doctors at Providence learn how fast cars can go, and the damage they cause.

In fact, my stats show 12 people were killed by drivers while riding bikes in Orange County last year, a drop from the obscene 17 killed in 2021.

Ebike riders killed somewhere around zero in Orange County over that same time period, to the best of my knowledge.

So which of these is actually dangerous?

Then there’s the way the paper takes about halfway through the story, after fanning the flames of ebike haters, to even mention that there are different categories of ebikes, and dozens of different types.

And even then, fails to mention that the faster Class 3 ebikes are banned from bike trails that aren’t attached to roadways, beachfront or otherwise.

Or that even people on regular bikes struggle to meet those ridiculously low 8 mph speed limits without falling over.

But once again, no one is seriously suggesting that regular should be banned.

The key, as they finally get around to mentioning just before the end of the story, is behavior.

Someone who is a jerk in a car — or on a skateboard, or with a shopping cart — is just as likely to be a jerk on an ebike.

And a kid who has never been taught to ride a bike safely — electric or otherwise — is going to ride a bike or bike like a, well, kid.

Just what they’re riding doesn’t have a damn thing to do with it.

So let’s put away the torches and pitchforks, and learn to live with all those scary ebike monsters. Because really, they’re not bad, just new and different.

And seriously, LA Times, do better.

Ebike photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels.

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We’ll let Streets For All put things in perspective with their call to participate in the Saturday’s City Hall die-in to protest traffic violence.

If you’re a pedestrian or cyclist in Los Angeles, you’re probably used to hearing about traffic fatalities in our community. But 2022 was a record-breaking year — in the worst way. Last year, there were 309 traffic fatalities in LA, breaking the 300 mark for the first time in more than twenty years. This is a staggering increase of almost 30% from 2020.

These statistics are tragedies in and of themselves, but they’re made even worse by the fact that pedestrians and cyclists are impacted the most by every measure. Cyclist fatalities alone went up 40% between 2020 and 2022.

We can’t keep living like this. Join us on the steps of City Hall on Saturday, January 21st at 9:30am for a die-in protest. It’s time for our electeds to start paying attention.

RSVP for more details

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A writer for Slate examine the limited efficacy of bike helmets, noting that “When it comes to the dangers threatening cyclists, wearing a helmet is like bringing a knife to a gunfight.”

They make the same argument I’ve been making for years — bike helmets are designed to protect against relatively low speed falls, not high impact crashes with motor vehicles.

Which is not to say you shouldn’t wear one.

The overwhelming majority of bicycling injuries result from falls, not crashes. Which is exactly what they’re made for.

I still credit my helmet with saving my grey matter, and possibly my life, during the Infamous Beachfront Bee Incident, and never ride without one.

But they should always be considered the last line of defense when everything else fails.

You’re a lot better off not getting hit by a car and its driver in the first place, rather than count on your helmet to save your life if you do.

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In a related story, the Manhattan Beach Police Department tells teenage bike riders not to be melon heads, as they gleefully smash watermelons as a metaphor for helmet-less bike riders.

Even though watermelons smash much easier that teenage skulls, and most heads aren’t filled with seeds.

And yes, I said most.

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Ted Faber finds a pothole that could be the gaping maw of the gates of Hell.

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This is who we share the road with.

An alleged drunk driver in LA’s Silver Lake neighborhood backs through a crowd of people trying to stop him from getting behind the wheel, then takes off, leaving injured bystanders strewn in his wake.

Thanks to How the West Was Woke for the heads-up. 

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This is who we share the road with, part two.

An South LA man apparently angry about his pending divorce decided to take it out on his wife’s house, and all the cars in the neighborhood.

But sure, tell us again about those OC ebikes.

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San Francisco Bay Area cyclist Nehemiah Brown is asking other people of color to join him in accepting the gift of gravel.

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More proof of our auto centric world, as Irish Tic Tok’ers are shocked to see a man transporting a new flatscreen TV on his bike.

Even if he’s just using it as a cart.

@all_about_rosalilla

Who thinks this TV is making it home in one piece? #fyp #onlyinireland #tiktokireland #irelandtiktok #fypage #nanocelltv #whatsontelly #foryoupage

♬ Crash – The Primitives

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And this video pretty well sums things up, I think.

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

No bias here. Plans for a Manhattan bike lane are being held up by judges who don’t want to give up their cushy curbside parking next to the courthouse, with one court official comparing their efforts to the French attempting to hold back Nazi Germany prior to WWII.

A road raging British driver is on trial for allegedly punching and choking a man riding a bike, after clipping the arm of the victim during a close pass; he blocked the victim’s path and got out of his car when the bike ride slapped it and called him an idiot.

Another road raging British driver gets a lesson in setting the handbrake before going off on a bike rider, who didn’t appear to be doing anything wrong.

 

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

A British runner justifiably blasts schmucks who park on the sidewalk to go mountain biking.

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Local 

Longtime KPCC and LAist reporter Frank Stolze introduces the seven candidates who have qualified so far to run in the race to replace ex-councilmember Nury Martinez in LA’s CD6.

Speaking of Streets For All, Streetsblog reports on their call to transform current-day Mid City car sewer San Vicente Blvd into a linear park.

 

State

Orange County will install a new traffic signal at Oso Parkway and Coto de Caza Drive, just outside Coto de Caza, where eight-year old Bradley Rofer was killed by a pickup driver in September. As usual, the long-needed traffic fix only comes several months after Rofer was killed.

Former NBA great Bill Walton reacts to being harassed by homeless people while riding his bike through Balboa Park by suggesting all the city’s unhoused residents should get rounded up and sent to a camp on a military base — voluntarily, of course. Because that worked so well last time, apparently.

The CHP is looking for the hit-and-run driver who ran down a 22-year old Santa Barbara man riding his bike on PCH (scroll down) north of Ventura early Friday morning; there’s no description on the driver or vehicle, and no word on the condition of the victim.

 

National

Calvin, of “and Hobbes” fame, faces up to his greatest tormenters, including his bicycle.

Scott is recalling their 2022 Speedster road and gravel bikes due to a defective fork that could break during use.

Nonprofit group Black Girls Do Bike celebrates ten years of changing what the cycling world looks like by “providing welcoming, safe and fun opportunities for women of color to ride bikes.”

The Washington Post examines where cars outnumber drivers, let alone people. Surprisingly, California ain’t one of them.

In a report that should surprise absolutely no one, the Rhodium Group concludes that transportation is the leading source for climate damaging emissions for the sixth year in a row. To which bicycles contributed just this side of zero.

Apparently, not even Congresspeople are safe from traffic violence, as Oregon Representative Suzanne Bonamici and her husband were struck by a driver as they were crossing a Portland street Friday evening. Although CNN somehow manages to get through the entire story without mentioning that there was someone behind the wheel. 

A kindhearted Boise, Idaho group donated over 50 bikes to Ukrainian refugee children in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

This is who we share the country with. Wyoming, the state where even Liz Cheney wasn’t considered conservative enough, continued its race to the bottom when state legislators proposed banning electric vehicles in a childish tantrum to protect the gas and oil industries.

The fight continues over a $12 million Houston road diet and bike lane project, as a county commissioner pushes it forward while a city councilmember works to halt it.

A pair of kindhearted Texas cops surprised a young boy with a new bike, after they fixed the chain on his old beat up bike so he could make it home from school.

Boston readers freak out over a single still photo of a woman on what looks like a bikeshare bike trying to merge onto a local highway, with her shopping bag dangling from her handlebars.

The New Yorker talks with the daredevil behind the city’s infamous bikeshare-riding stunt crew, the Citi Bike Boyz.

A DC proposal would give ebike buyers a $400 tax rebate, with an extra $500 for e-cargo bikes; low-income buyers could get up to $1,200 plus the e-cargo bike bonus.

At least 80 bike riders turned out to honor a pair of Baton Rouge, Louisiana high school cheerleaders who were killed in a collision with a cop at the end of a high speed chase; the cop was arrested and could face charges.

Young Miami bike riders conducted their annual MLK Day Wheels Up Guns Down ride. But somehow, all the local press could focus on was the usual heavy-handed police response, and the 58 felony and 11 misdemeanor arrests — not the hundreds, if not thousands, of peaceful riders and their message of hope. 

 

International

Havana, Cuba is installing their first public bikeshare dock, part of what promises to be a 300 bike fleet.

The former boyfriend of a Welsh woman killed while watching a mountain bike race in 2014 calls for more protection for bike race fans; she had come to see him compete.

Young “demon” ebike riders are accused of turning Amsterdam’s once angelic streets into a living hell, as they ride their souped-up ebikes at the unholdy speed of…24 mph. Which would make them relatively tame by Orange County standards.

India’s bike industry threatens a series of hunger strikes over a new requirement to install reflectors on bicycles; industry officials say the problem isn’t the mandate, but the penalties that would be imposed for failing to comply.

An Indian man was tied to a pole and viciously beaten and stomped after he was accused of stealing a bicycle. Look, I dislike bike thieves as much as anyone, but that’s going too damn far.

The bike boom continues, as Taiwan’s exports of bicycles and bike parts rose 23.11 percent annually to $6.15 billion. Or it could just means that more production is shifting to Taiwan from mainland China.

Gizmodo Australia misses the mark, insisting safety bikes came into widespread use about the same time cars did, and that bikes only enjoyed a few months as king of the roads before they were shoved aside by motor vehicles. Meanwhile, Adventure Journal marvels that bicycles were invented after the much more complex locomotives wereBut as Carlton Reid makes clear in Roads Weren’t Built For Cars, bicycles were widely adopted around the world long before cars ruled the earth. And if you haven’t read it yet, what the hell are you waiting for?

 

Competitive Cycling

Australia’s Grace Brown kicked off the women’s cycling season by out-sprinting Amanda Spratt to win the Santos Tour Down Under, after Alex Manly led following the first two stages.

Sad news from the Netherlands, where 40-year old retired Dutch pro Lieuwe Westra was found dead, after suffering from depression for several years; nicknamed The Beast, Westra won stages at Paris-Nice, the Tour of California and Critérium du Dauphiné, as well as winning the Tour of Denmark and Driedaagse De Panne.

UCI is telling team cars to back off, instead of giving their riders an extra boost during time trials by changing the airflow behind the rider.

Former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman has formally lost his medical license as a result of his involvement in a doping scandal, when he was caught ordering testosterone gel for an unnamed male cyclist.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you try a 30-foot jump on an ebike — and nail it. Maybe it’s time to put this “slightly used” VanMoof out of its misery.

And if you’re going to ride a kid’s Barbie bike across an entire country, always choose a small one.

Country, that is.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

US traffic deaths down slightly, bike deaths up; CA not worst for bike riders; curb protected lanes coming to 7th Street

My apologies. 

I inadvertently posted this post and emailed it to subscribers before I had a chance to finish editing it.

So if you received a mistake-filled draft, I’m sorry for the mistake.

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The Washington Post is reporting that traffic deaths fell slightly in the US in the first nine months of last year.

According to the paper, traffic fatalities were down 0.2 percent compared to the same period last year, a welcome if modest drop after record increases during the pandemic.

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, aka NHTSA, showed nearly 31,800 people were killed in crashes from January through September. That follows increases of 7 percent in 2020 and 10.5 percent in 2021.

However, the news isn’t as good for bike riders and pedestrians. Deaths continued to climb two percent for pedestrians and eight percent for people on bicycles in the first six months of 2022; nine month figures aren’t currently available.

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Hats off to Nebraska, which was named the nation’s safest state for people on bicycles, where just 15 people died in bicycle-related crashes over the past decade, even as the Bike League ranks it the second-least bike friendly state.

Neighboring South Dakota came in second in the NHTSA’s bike safety ranking, while placing fifth from the bottom in the Bike League’s assessment.

Not surprisingly, Florida and Louisiana ranked first and second from the bottom as the nation’s most dangerous states for bike riders.

California was apparently somewhere in the middle, since it doesn’t show up in the top ten states, or the bottom five.

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Work is proceeding on the long-promised curb protected bike lane on 7th Street between Figueroa and San Pedro streets in DTLA, which was one of the conditions for approving construction of the 62-story Wilshire Grand Center.

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LADWP is funding a half-million dollar program to rent out ebikes for up to nine months with a single $20 donation; however, the former Jump bikes used in the Pacoima program can’t be charged at home, and have to be taken to taken in to have the battery swapped.

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

No bias here. A Staten Island columnist complains about efforts to expand Vision Zero and speed cams throughout the state, taking away his God-given right to a) speed, and b) kill people with his car, apparently.

No bias here, either. North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is proposing a daytime ban on bikes at the beach this summer, with bikes prohibited from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. Because apparently, beaches are only for people in cars.

After a German bike rider slammed into the trunk of a turning car after being right hooked, The Sun newspaper tries to stir up controversy by asking who was in the wrong.

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Local 

Let’s give a grateful thank you to Pasadena’s Lin Realty, whose staff built 150 bikes to donate to the city’s Boys and Girls Club.

The recently passed federal budget bill includes $22.6 million in earmarks for coastal cities, with $1 million of that budgeted to the Manhattan Beach Safe Cycling Project, which is intended to provide a safe bike route to the beachfront Marvin Braude Bike Trail by way of Highland and 45th Street.

 

State

The nationwide Black Girls Do Bike organization is celebrating its first ten years with a meetup in San Diego at the end of August, coinciding with the annual Bike the Bay ride. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

A Folsom man is suing the city over dangerous road conditions after he was struck by a turning driver while riding in a bike lane.

 

National

NPR talks with Cycling Savvy bicycle safety instructor John Schubert about how to safely ride a bike in the city.

Momentum Magazine examines three more American cities that have embraced bicycling. And no, Los Angeles is not one of them.

Bike Portland compares advisory lanes in the Oregon city with the ones in Utrecht, the Netherlands, where they originated.

Last year was a bad one for Las Vegas area bike riders and pedestrians, with 14 bicyclists and 72 pedestrians killed in Clark County.

This is what Los Angeles bike riders have to look forward to. An Austin, Texas bike rider recorded a self-driving General Motors’ Cruise robotaxi veering dangerously into a bike lane; fortunately, no one was riding in the bike lane at the time. Waymo is testing its autonomous vehicles in LA in anticipation of rolling out its robotaxi service; no word on whether they’re programed to respond to an extended middle finger. 

Tragic news from Houston, where a man riding in a bike lane with his wife was struck by a motorcyclist traveling at highway speeds on the surface street, killing both men in what a police spokesperson termed a “very avoidable’ crash.

That’s more like it. The Texas Department of Transportation announced plans to invest $250 million in bike and pedestrian projects.

The accused terrorist who killed eight people with a speeding pickup on a Manhattan bike path five years ago reportedly smiled to an FBI agent as he proudly confessed to his murderous rampage.

A Chattanooga, Tennessee woman is suing the local bikeshare provider for nearly $900,000 after she was knocked unconscious when she was thrown from what she says was a defective or poorly maintained bike.

Horrible news from Georgia, where an 11-year old boy was hospitalized after he was attacked by dogs while riding with a friend.

 

International

Good idea. Alberta mounties are using billboards in an effort to find the hit-and-run driver who killed a 45-year old woman riding a bike last July.

English actor Mark Williams is one of us, as the star of the popular Father Brown murder mystery series fell off his bike while filming; fortunately, he only hurt his pride.

Britain’s anti-bike lawyer who calls himself Mr. Loophole shocked visitors to his website by suggesting that drivers make it their New Years resolution to give bike riders more space when passing.

Dublin artists are concerned that plans for a separated bike lane could destroy a 40-year old tradition of an open-air art gallery, since the bikeway would mean they couldn’t park right next to the park fence they use to display their works. Because apparently, it’s impossible to park further away and use a dolly or some other device to transport their paintings another few feet.

An Irish court heard a 54-year old father riding a bicycle was killed by a semi truck driver who attempted to pass him just 20 inches from the victim’s handlebars — or the length of three or four soup spoons, as the prosecutor described it.

Hanoi will mark this month’s Tet lunar new year celebration by rolling out the city’s first bikeshare system.

Chinese bikeshare company Mobike’s Australian branch has gone into liquidation following a second failed attempt to crack the Aussie market, leaving over 1600 bikes worth about $1.3 million abandoned on the streets and in warehouses.

 

Competitive Cycling

The trial continues for two men accused of the masked home invasion robbery of British cycling great Mark Cavendish and his family, as Cavendish describes getting punched by a robber and having a knife held to his throat.

Forty-seven-year old Cat 3 cyclist Noslen Ruiz-Gutierrez received a four-year doping ban (scroll down) after a urine test revealed six — count ’em, 6 — banned substances; Ruiz-Gutierrez argued that his doping didn’t matter because he races for recreation, not competition. Sure, try telling that to the other racers he’s not competing against.

 

Finally…

At last, an ebike designed to move your anvils. And repeat after me — when you’re carrying meth on your bike at 2 am, put a damn light on it, already.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

Still no Koreatown traffic signal after 3 years, Huizar rides 6th Street Bridge, and NHTSA boss calls for Idaho Stop

Good question.

It’s been three full years since a four-year old girl was killed by a left-turning driver while holding her mother’s hand in a Koreatown crosswalk.

Now LAist wants to know why nothing has been done to install the new traffic signal Koreatown residents were promised in response to Alessa Fajardo’s death as she was walking to school.

Alessa’s death highlighted a series of failures: by the driver who killed her and — more significantly — by the city of L.A., which long knew of dangerous conditions at the intersection where she was killed, but did not add (some) safety improvements until after her death…

But three years after Alessa was killed — and more than 30 months since LADOT recommended the signals be upgraded (with 4-way left turn signals) to make the intersection safer — the improvements have not yet been made.

Adding insult to literal injury, the driver apparently skipped town after initially stopping. There’s been an outstanding warrant for Indira Marrero since she failed to appear in court two years ago — despite the relative slap on the wrist of a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge.

Photo by Pixabay.

………

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from disgraced CD14 Councilmember Jose Huizar, who left office under the cloud of racketeering and bribery charges.

Apparently emboldened by the controversy swirling around successor Kevin De León, Huizar popped up yesterday to subtly remind everyone of one of his more popular accomplishments, even though it wasn’t completed until long after he was gone.

Like Huizar, De León refuses to resign despite repeated calls to step down.

Although as shameful as De León’s conduct has been, at least he doesn’t face decades behind bars for his actions, or the lack thereof.

………

She gets it.

The acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, aka NHTSA, is calling for approving the Idaho Stop Law.

She argues that data shows the law, which allows bicyclists to treat stop signs as yields and red lights as stops signs, provides additional safety benefits to people on bicycles.

It’s already in effect in a handful of cities and states, while a modified version known as Stop as Yield — which does not allow for treating red lights as stop signs — is law in several others.

Although not California, where Governor Newsom vetoed it — twice.

………

Today’s common theme is cops behaving badly.

A Canadian mountie faces charges for hitting a bike-riding suspect with his patrol car, after two men on a bicycles were seen making off with a large metal safe on a dolly.

And a 22-year old Aukland, New Zealand cop pled guilty to the off-duty death of a bike-riding man, while driving at well over twice the legal alcohol limit.

………

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

A white Illinois woman walked with probation after being allowed to plead down a felony hate crime charge to a single count of misdemeanor battery, for confronting three Black men riding their bikes along Lake Michigan, insisting their skin color meant they couldn’t be there without a permit.

Anger is growing in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a road raging driver was caught on security cam driving up on a sidewalk to hit a bike rider; both the driver and the victim left the scene afterwards. Always stick around to talk to the police after any assault, vehicular or otherwise.

A Toronto bike rider was lucky to escape from a road raging driver who swerved into him, before getting out of his truck to attack him. Laws may be different in Canada, but LAPD officers have told me that simply exiting a vehicle to confront someone is enough to subject a driver to assault charges.

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

Police in Springfield, Missouri are looking for a bike-riding woman and her companion, after they ignored No Trespassing signs to steal an 80 to 100-pound bench.

………

Local

Pasadena has received a $36,500 site grant to improve bike and pedestrian safety.

 

State 

Orange County sheriff’s deputies will host a pair of free, all-ages ebike safety classes in Rancho Santa Margarita over the next two months.

Santa Barbara is removing the green bike lane markings from the center of the State Street Promenade. The bike lanes were intended to separate bike riders and pedestrians, but were ignored by people walking; now bicyclists and pedestrians will be expected to share the carfree street.

Tragic news from Fresno, where someone riding a bicycle was killed in a collision near the Fresno State University campus.

Apparently missing the point of a quick-build bike lane, San Francisco business owners are calling for more study and complaining about a loss of parking, even though the idea behind quick-build lanes is to try them out to see if they work.

Great idea. A resident-led rapid response group is working to call attention to traffic violence in Oakland, quickly organizing protests following deadly collisions.

 

National

Lifehacker offers advice on how to ride your bike in the rain.

Thrillist talks to the “experts” for a list of 16 bicycling essentials every new rider should own. None of which are actually essential.

A Tacoma, Washington bike drive bought in 370 bicycles to be refurbished and donated to people in need.

Fast Company looks at Denver’s wildly successful and popular $4.1 million ebike rebate program.

An Oklahoma man was sentenced to life in prison for the random drive-by shooting that killed a man riding a bicycle; he reportedly killed a stranger just to impress members of a street gang.

An Ohio man wants his coke possession charge separated from charges for the hit-and-run death of a 13-year old boy riding a bicycle, arguing that the drug bust came the next day — even though he was on his way to buy it when he killed the kid.

A Martha’s Vineyard letter writer complains about the two-week closure of a bike path for a three-day music festival, arguing that families and children are routed onto deadly roadways instead.

Lonely Planet says yes, it is possible to be a tourist in New York on a bicycle.

New York is offering a paltry $5,000 reward for the hit-and-run driver who killed a 13-year old boy, who leaped in front of his sister to push her out of the way as they walked in a bike lane.

 

International

Road.cc’s Near Miss of the Day isn’t, after a bike rider’s bikecam catches a van driver actually sideswiping him.

In a major setback for Vancouver bike riders, the city plans to rip out a contentious bike lane through a city park, so cut-through drivers can resume zooming through after being banned during the pandemic.

The conservative Times of London makes a dramatic U-turn by concluding that two-wheels are good, just nine months after demanding licenses and liability insurance for people on bikes. Although they still think cargo bikes annoy drivers.

American Anne Sacoolas pled guilty to a reduced charge of causing death by careless driving in the 2019 head-on, wrong-way driving death of a 19-year old British motorcyclist outside an RAF airbase known to house American spies, where her husband had worked. Sacoolas was able to use her husband’s diplomatic immunity to flee the country; it’s unlikely she will return to the UK for sentencing.

Brussels, Belgium now bans motorists from driving through the city center if that’s not their final destination.

We Love Cycling offers advice on how to cross European borders on a bicycle.

 

Competitive Cycling

Ireland is making a bid to host the start of the Tour de France, possibly as early as 2026.

 

Finally…

That feeling when your new ebike could literally explode. Or when The Cannibal spent twice as long wearing yellow as Britain’s latest prime minister spent in office.

And why tote a bulky tent and sleeping bag on your next bike tour, when you can peddle your very own solar-powered ebike camper van for the low, low price of ten grand?

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

1st quarter traffic deaths jump again, proof pickups and SUVs cause more deaths, and holding killer drivers accountable

No, it’s not your imagination.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported yesterday that more people have died on American streets in the first quarter of this year than any year in the past two decades.

Early NHTSA estimates show 9,560 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes through the end of March, a seven percent increase over last year, which saw the highest number of traffic deaths in 16 years.

In other words, we are going the wrong way, at an ever-increasing pace.

There’s a wide range of likely reasons, ranging from speeding and distracted drivers to trucks and SUVs with high, flat grills designed to kill.

None of which are beyond our ability to solve today.

We only need to get enough people to care enough about the lives of innocent victims to demand change.

But so far, that, too, has been beyond our reach.

………

On a related note, Ontario, Canada safety advocates say they have the numbers to prove pickups and SUVs cause more deaths, and have written the province’s chief coroner to request an investigation.

One of the studies, from 2021, estimates 8,131 pedestrians between 2000 and 2019 could have survived if they were struck by sedans instead of SUVs or trucks.

Another study, published in the Journal of Safety Research in June, found that while SUVs and trucks made up just 26.1 per cent of pedestrian and cyclist collisions, they accounted for 44.1 per cent of fatalities.  That study also suggested that because of their larger size, SUVs and trucks are more likely to hit vulnerable road users in the chest or head than a sedan.

Maybe they could write a few letters to US officials while they’re at it.

………

A writer for Outside takes a deep dive into the aftermath of a tragic New York bicycling collision that took the life of a young woman, to examine why drivers are so seldom held accountable for killing another person.

And what can be done about it.

As part of the story, he looks back to the magazine’s groundbreaking Cycling Deaths project, which attempted to document every bicycling traffic death in 2020, recording nearly 700 fatalities.

In most of the stories we gathered information on, there were no consequences for the driver or even scrutiny of their behavior. Law enforcement rarely issued a ticket to drivers who killed cyclists. Criminal charges for the crash itself were even less common, often occurring only when a driver was intoxicated. It was hard not to read through each case and wonder: Is that the way things should be? Does driving that results in someone’s death cross the legal threshold for punishment that infrequently?

It’s very hard to find comprehensive data on penalties issued after car crashes, but among the safe-streets advocates and legal experts I talked to, it’s generally taken as a matter of course that people who kill cyclists while driving—even recklessly, even illegally—are rarely held legally accountable for their actions. The big picture, those observers say, is that drivers are offered a kind of impunity that doesn’t exist in just about any other situation where a human kills another human. “The judicial system is applying laws in a way that results in widespread injustice to victims of traffic violence,” says Gregory Shill, a law professor at the University of Iowa. “I would go beyond courts—a common root of all this is that we have a high social acceptance of traffic deaths.”

As the story points out, drivers should automatically lose their license if they kill another person, but seldom do.

As Traffic author Tom Vanderbilt put it, a drivers license is too easy to get, and too hard to lose

If I had my way, killer drivers would be sentenced to work-release, required to serve in emergency rooms and morgues during the day to tend to the victims of traffic violence, before returning to their cells at night.

Although the courts would probably consider that cruel and unusual punishment to subject them to that kind of emotional and psychological torment.

Unlike, say, their victims and their loved ones, who have to suffer that pain for the rest of their lives.

………

This is who we share the city with, unfortunately.

Maybe they’re care more if it was 58. Or 59.

………

Time’s running out to score a great deal on a vintage bike, and support a good cause in the process.

………

Yes, your morning commute can be green, and actually make you happy.

Even in chilly Minnesota.

………

Remember this the next time you have to lock your bike up to a banged-up wheel-bender rack.

Thanks to Glenn Crider for the heads-up. 

………

GCN wants to help you improve your average speed on your bike.

………

Our German correspondent Ralph Durham forwards a photo of race walkers at the European Championships in Munich, where he’s working as a volunteer.

And points out that even they have to cope with race motos. Although the slower pace probably means they pose less risk to the racers.

………

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

That’s more like it. An Idaho driver has been sentenced to 12 years behind bars, with three years fixed, for chasing bike-riding kids through a public park with his pickup, then running over one boy’s bike after he jumped off. But it’s okay, because he’s really, really sorry. No, really.

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

LAPD officers shot a bike-riding young man waving a machete after he refused orders to drop the knife and allegedly advance on officers; no word on his condition.

Elderly London residents say they’ve stopped walking on a roadway that was closed as part of the city’s Low Traffic Neighborhood, the equivalent of a Slow Street in the US, out of fear of red light-running bicyclists and confusion over who has the right-of-way.

………

Local

The Eastsider reports city officials will make the temporary closure of Griffith Park Drive through Griffith Park permanent, after a traffic study showed the closure eliminated cut-through commuter traffic without increasing traffic on Zoo Drive (scroll down).

LADOT is bringing protected bike lanes and bus islands to a one-mile stretch of Central Ave in Watts.

 

State 

A California firm is working with Toshiba to improve the chemistry of ebike batteries to reduce charging times and the risk of battery fires.

A coalition of San Diego advocacy groups have endorsed Alternative D for the planned reconstruction of Park Blvd through Balboa Park, which calls for eliminating parking and installing bus lanes and a separated bike lane.

He gets it. A spokesperson for the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition says the problem isn’t that ebikes are unsafe, it’s a wakeup call to how unsafe the roads are.

Anson Williams, the 72-year old actor who played Potsie in Happy Days back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, is running for mayor of Ojai on a platform that includes expansion of bike paths and trails. He’s got my vote.

This is who we share the road with. A UC Santa Barbara cop was busted for a drunken hit-and-run in Solvang earlier this month; fortunately, his only victim was a parked minivan. Thanks to Ted Faber for the link.

A San Jose homeowner says he’s spent $30,000 to construct reinforced barriers to stop out-of-control drivers, after 23 drivers have slammed into his home since the 680 freeway opened 50 years ago.

 

National

Next City offers more on the recent NACTO report suggesting that bike laws aren’t keeping bike riders safe, while leading to over-policing of people of color.

Cycling Tips offers a beginner’s guide to what matters most in selecting entry-level road and gravel bikes.

More than 2,100 Denver residents have received ebike rebate vouchers up to $1,700 since the program began in April; most putting their ebikes to good use, with around half riding them on a daily basis. On the other hand, California’s fully funded ebike rebate program remains in limbo, apparently awaiting a chilly day in hell. 

Congratulations to Nebraska, which is no longer the nation’s least bike-friendly state; that dishonor now goes to Wyoming, which is unfriendly to bikes and Cheneys, apparently.

Chicago Magazine talks with Christina Whitehouse, the founder of Bike Lane Uprising, an app allowing bike riders to log the location and submit photos of vehicles illegally parked in bike lanes.

No bias here. Chicago cops responded to a protest over drivers running red lights by changing the traffic signal to green for a full five minutes, stranding everyone waiting to cross the street.

A kindhearted Pittsburgh cop bought a new bike and helmet for an eight-year old girl, after firefighters weren’t able to save her bike from a fire at her grandmother’s house.

TMZ offers more information on the death of Ironman triathlete and Norristown PA cop Brian Kozera, who allegedly ran a stop sign on his bike and crashed into the side of a pickup, before being run over by the truck’s rear wheels. As always, the question is whether there were any independent witnesses to the crash, or if investigators are relying on the word of the driver.

 

International

If you’re looking for a new business opportunity, you could do worse than a solar-powered food ebike.

They get it. Calgary, Alberta is installing a bike lane to remove excess road space and slow speeding drivers.

Pilot protected bike lanes on one of Toronto’s busiest streets saw up to a 193% jump in ridership over a single year, while resulting in a less than one minute delay in motor vehicle traffic.

A seven-year old British boy became one of the youngest people to ride from Paris to London after his father was killed in an industrial accident, raising the equivalent of over $42,000 for bereaved children on the 200-mile journey.

The Guardian’s Peter Walker says a proposal to requite license plates on bicycles in the UK makes bicyclists the latest target in the culture wars. The proposed regulations are reminiscent of North Korea, where people are required to pass a bicycle proficiency test and display a metal license plate on their bikes; that country also bans women from riding bikes.

 

Competitive Cycling

For nearly two decades, we’ve been supposed to pretend Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis never won the Tour de France. Now we’re supposed to pretend Nairo Quintana didn’t have a top ten finish in the Tour last year, after UCI stripped him of 6th place for using the prohibited painkiller tramadol; Quintana denies ever using it, of course.

Ramona High School graduate Gwendalyn Gibson, class of 2017, became the only American to win a World Cup mountain bike race this year, after taking first in a West Virginia race last month.

In case you missed it yesterday, NPR offers a good look at gravel racing, and the sport’s emphasis on diversity and inclusion. Thanks to Lionel Mares for the reminder.

This week’s 2022 Para-Cycling Road World Championships somehow slipped under the radar, even as the US is making a good showing.

 

Finally…

Evidently, bike mechanics hate triathletes — and not just because they wear speedos, evidently. That feeling when American tourists have no idea why there are so many bicycles parked at European train stations; thanks to Erik Griswold for the tip.

And now you, too, can have your very own DIY beer stabilization system to avoid spilling your suds as you ride around Burning Man.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Wisconsin tragedy mars World Day of Remembrance, Move Culver City opens, and a peckish wheel pecking parrot

This is the cost of traffic violence.

It was heartbreaking to learn that, on the World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Victims, five people were killed and over 40 injured when a driver plowed through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

It almost doesn’t matter why.

As I write this, there’s no word on whether this was a terrorist attack, some other intentional act of vengeance, or just another everyday traffic “oopsie.”

Because, even under the best of circumstance, with the best of intentions, people operating cars can turn deadly in an instant.

36,096 dead in 2019, the last year on record. An average of 99 people a day.

Every day, without end.

Graphic by tomexploresla

What happened in Waukesha was unusually horrific. And will undoubtedly become even more heartrending when we learn more about the victims, dead and alive.

So far, all we know for sure is that a Catholic priest was one of the victims, along with some Catholic school kids who were apparently watching the parade.

Both before and after the news broke, I scoured Google and Twitter for any remarks from any Los Angeles official, city or county, commemorating the World Day of Remembrance, without luck.

I can’t say no one said anything. But if they did, I couldn’t find it.

Which says as much as anything else about the sad state of LA streets, and LA government. As well as elected officials who promised change when they needed our votes, but turned their backs on the people of Los Angeles once they got into office.

Because traffic violence effects all of us.

Sadly, things like this will continue, here in Los Angeles and throughout the country. Whether it takes the form of mass casualty events like Waukesha yesterday or the San Monica farmer’s market nearly 20 years ago.

Not to mention Kalamazoo, Las Vegas, Show Low, Waller County or Liberty County, just to name a few.

Let alone the the constant trickle of traffic deaths and injuries too ordinary to make the news.

And nothing will change until enough American’s finally say “enough!”, like the Dutch did 50 years ago.

Because clearly, this is one issue where our leaders don’t have the courage or political will to lead.

Which leaves it up to us.

That means you. And yes, me.

………

At least he gets it, anyway.

………

Culver City opened the Move Culver City project on Saturday, with quick build bus and bike lanes on three streets in the downtown area.

https://twitter.com/streetsforall/status/1462170796487368707

https://twitter.com/sydneykamlager/status/1462186471293472775

As to why things like this don’t happen in Los Angeles, our risk-averse department of transportation would first have to study the proposed project for months, and continue to water it down until they’re sure they’re not taking any chances and won’t run the risk of offending anyone.

Then the city would hold a series of meetings where the usual assortment of NIMBY homeowners and angry drivers would scream about how it would inconvenience them a little, after which our elected officials would promise to change everything they screamed about.

Then the plan would make its way into the circular file, while the city makes a few minor safety improvements, and declare the problem solved.

But other than that, there’s no reason why it can’t happen here.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the video tweet.

………

When is a bike lane not a bike lane?

https://twitter.com/EntitledCycling/status/1462124642081017859

………

When I saw this Instagram post over the weekend, I assumed the parrot was just examining the damage.

Au contraire, mon frère.

………

This is, by far, my favorite photo of the weekend.

And the guy on the bike doesn’t have to be slow; those little buggers are fast.

………

This one is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

………

Steve Martin is one of us. Or was, anyway.

………

This Harley ebike video made me laugh more than I did the rest of the day. Or maybe the entire weekend.

Seriously, this might just be the best 8 minutes and 39 seconds of your day.

………

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

Sentencing was delayed in the case of the Las Vegas minivan driver whose passenger fell to his death after leaning out the window to push a woman off her bicycle, killing her as well, because someone in the detention center forgot to bring him to the courtroom to be sentenced.

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

The man dubbed LA’s “Western Bandit” was convicted on two counts of murder, as well as shooting at several other people, in a bike-born crime spree; the DA said every pedal stoke on the way to commit his crimes counted as premeditation.

A bike-riding burglar was busted by LA County sheriff’s deputies while riding away after he was allegedly caught on security cam breaking into a La Canada Flintridge home on Friday.

A Ventura man has pled guilty to being the man on a bicycle who sexually assaulted a woman walking on a bike path, as well as flashing a woman who was walking with her grandson while riding his bike (scroll down).

………

Local

An unhoused Black man complains about the original headline of a recent LA Times column about a man reclaiming his stolen bikes from a bike chop shop in a Mar Vista homeless camp, accusing them of doxing the homeless encampment.

A West Covina man was found shot to death along the LA River bike path Friday morning; no word on whether he was riding a bike, or was there for some other reason.

 

State

An estimated 600 people were expected to turn out for the first Oxnard Peace Ride on Saturday to promote bicycle safety and awareness of gun violence.

Palo Alto’s long-gestating bike and pedestrian bridge over Highway 101 isn’t mythical anymore.

A Bay Area bike rider was caught on video weaving unsafely in the fast lanes on the Bay Bridge; a bike lane extends across the eastern span, while bikes are banned from the rest.

 

National

WaPo looks at the US Bicycle Route System, which has expanded by nearly 3,000 miles in the West and Midwest.

Your next ebike could come complete with a built-in laptop stand. Unfortunately, it’s not designed so you can work while you ride, or I could write this while cruising under the moon.

A Maui councilmember says it’s time to rein in the popular bike tours that race down the island’s Haleakala volcano, while a letter writer calls the tours a disaster waiting to happen.

A Seattle woman got 28 months behind bars for operating a sophisticated embezzlement scheme that bilked over $150,000 from the unnamed high-end mountain bike company where she worked as an accountant and bookkeeper.

A former prosecutor said Nevada state troopers missed obvious signs truck driver Jordan Barson was high on meth at the time of the crash that killed five bicyclists outside Las Vegas.

A Colorado bike mechanic is raising the alarm about planned obsolescence in the bike industry, as more manufacturers are making low-end, unfixable and disposable bicycles designed to only last a few years.

San Antonio’s bikeshare system is going all in on ebikes.

The Texas A&M student newspaper argues that the state should adopt the Idaho Stop Law, aka Stop as Yield. Which California’s governor foolishly vetoed last month.

Massachusetts bike riders mark the World Day of Remembrance by calling on the legislature to pass bicycle safety bills, including a bill to require side guards and other safety devices on large trucks.

Connecticut Magazine looks at the history 50-year history of Cannondale, which began business in 1971 hawking a bike trailer called The Bugger.

Durham, North Carolina is fighting traffic congestion and climate change by offering people who work downtown the free use of an ebike, along with a helmet and free maintenance. Thanks again to Keith Johnson for the heads-up.

Despite earlier reports that a Palm Beach, Florida boy had apparently died falling off his bike, the death of the 14-year old victim has now been ruled a homicide; he disappeared after going out for a bike ride last week.

 

International

A writer for Cycling Tips recommends ten products that inspired him to say “Take my money, please!”

Clearly, traffic violence isn’t just the US, as a hit-and-run driver knocked four English teenagers off their bikes; fortunately, no one was seriously hurt.

Good luck fixing the bicycle shortage anytime soon, as a British bikemaker calls the current supply chain issues plaguing his company an “absolute clusterfuck.”

The Irish Times complains about the lack of oversight and quantifiable costs for the country’s bike to work program, which allows employers to provide workers with a tax-free bike and accessories to be repaid through salary deductions, and unfairly benefits most the high-income workers who need it the least.

A 72-year old Limerick, Ireland man “miraculously” got his 40-year old vintage stolen bike back through the power of social media. My original 1981 Trek is exactly that old, and covered in dust until I have the money to restore it. But I’d hardly call it vintage yet.

The rich get richer, as bike riders in The Hague now have a new, museum-like bike parking garage with space for 8,000 bicycles, directly across from a busy railway station.

A former “passionate” Indian bicyclist says he’s given up riding since a longtime friend ended up in the ICU after he was hit by a speeding driver while riding his bike; now he only recommends offroad mountain biking and using a trainer indoors.

NIMBYs keep telling us that bike lanes hinder handicapped people. But a Wellington, New Zealand bike network would benefit a bike-riding mother with multiple sclerosis, who discovered she can bike easier than she can walk, and tows her service dog in a trailer behind her.

 

Competitive Cycling

Mark Cavendish had to abandon the Six Days of Ghent after a hard fall, withdrawing in fourth place on the final day. Kenny De Ketele and Robbe Ghys ended taking the overall classification. Meanwhile Cavendish says he knew he had it in him to get back on top this year, after his own team thought he was washed up.

A local website offers photos from Saturday’s El Tour de Tucson.

We’re lucky to have this great facility here in Los Angeles. Well, Carson anyway.

https://twitter.com/LAVeloRacing/status/1462517848702480387

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could be a Croatian Porsche. Inside the mind of a pedestrian when someone on bike says “On your left.”

And wait for the guy on the bike, who wisely beats a hasty retreat facing a barrage of snowballs.

………

A special thanks to frequent contributor Robert L for his generous donation to kick off this year’s 7th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive four days early! So save your nickels and dimes, because the corgi’s getting ready for her closeup, and we’ll be begging for them to keep her in kibble later this week.

………

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

DTLA hit-and-run driver abandoned stolen car, US traffic deaths spike in 2021, and $1,500 federal ebike tax credit back in bill

More information on yesterday’s hit-and-run in Downtown Los Angeles.

The victim was riding an e-scooter against traffic when she was struck by the driver of a Chevy Spark; the impact threw her onto the sidewalk where she landed head-first.

She was hospitalized in the intensive care unit with severe head trauma, but is expected to survive.

And confirming yesterday’s speculation, the LAPD reports the car was stolen, which explains why the hit-and-run driver fled on foot while leaving the car behind.

An LAPD press release offered this description of the suspect.

The driver who fled was described as a 20- to 25-year-old man, 5 feet, 6 inches to 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighing between 150 and 175 pounds with a tattoo of unknown writing on the right side of his chest. He was last seen wearing gray pants with a possible camouflage pattern.

Anyone with information is urged to contact LAPD Central Traffic Investigator Diaz at 213/833-3713, or email 36160@lapd.online. Calls made during non-business hours or on weekends can be made to 877/527-3247.

As always, there is a standing $25,000 reward for any hit-and-run resulting in serious injury in the City of Los Angeles.

Suspect photo from LAPD press release.

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Is anyone really surprised that US traffic deaths are up nearly 20% in the first six months of this year?

According to the press release below, that’s the largest six-month increase ever recorded, and the most deaths in the first six months of any year since 2006.

Meanwhile, a new AAA study shows fewer American drivers are running red lights or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, contradicting fears that stoned driving would spike as more states legalize cannabis.

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At last, there’s a little good news out of Washington, as the latest version of the federal infrastructure bill restores the original $1,500 ebike tax credit, which had been cut to just $750 in a House committee.

The credit would cover 30% of the purchase price of ebikes costing up to $5,000, with a declining percentage above that for bikes up to eight grand.

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The East Side Riders are combining a little Halloween fun with Vision Zero advocacy this Sunday.

There’s also an unrelated ride later in the day for nighttime Halloween partiers.

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Speaking of the East Side Riders, if anyone wonders why I’m such a longtime fan of the bike club, and founder John Jones III, all you have to do is watch this.

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Nice to see the L39ion of Los Angeles cycling team looking beyond bike racing to give back to the community, as they attempt to raise $200,000 to get more kids on bikes, and more bikes in schools.

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Fun video from Phil Gaimon, as he goes riding where the deer and the antelope — and moose and bear — play in Wyoming’s Grand Tetons National Park, which remains one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

And yes, I’ve gone swimming in that lake he finds.

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Now we have to worry about getting buzzed from above, too.

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

No bias here. An Encinitas paper continues attempting to blame the victim in the city’s largest legal settlement, as someone who didn’t see the crash insists she was invisible to the driver who hit her bike because of her alleged lack of lights and dark clothing.

Kansas City bike lanes are facing a governmental bikelash, as a city councilmember wants control over what lanes get built — or possibly removed — in her district, despite the city’s previously passed Complete Streets policy.

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

A man on the British Island of Jersey demands action after an ebike rider knocked his 14-year old grandson off his bicycle while passing on a narrow bike path, then left him lying there with a broken wrist while insisting he was too busy to stop.

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Local

Metro’s Regional Connector is expected to open next summer, along with a 700-foot esplanade compete with 40-foot wide walkway and bidirectional bike path.

Shockingly, Los Angeles is among the 25 American cities on track to surpass climate goals set in the 2015 Paris Agreement by 2025, even without doing anything to reduce motor vehicle traffic.

 

State

Streetsblog reports the common theme in the recent California Active Transportation Symposium was the need for planners to actually listen to the bike riders and pedestrians their project will affect. Let’s hope they heard that, because they too often don’t hear us. 

Redlands installs sharrows on a narrow street, even though studies show they’re actually worse than doing nothing.

A 19-year old Davis woman was critically injured when a driver allegedly ran a red light and slammed into her bicycle.

 

National

Consumer Reports offers tips on getting a good bike fit.

An automotive website says Trek’s new 28 mph Domain+ is more like a motorcycle with pedals than an ebike.

Singletracks says you’ve got to stop and smell the ancient ferns along your way.

Seattle’s Rad Power is now the $329 million behemoth of the ebike world, after the company’s latest round of financing brought in an additional $154 million, passing VanMoof as the best-funded ebike brand.

Zion National Park opened a new 10-mile mountain bike trail developed through a public-private partnership in an effort to spread the impact on the popular park.

It takes a special kind of schmuck to run down an eight-year old Utah kid on a bicycle, then leave him lying in the street without calling for help; fortunately, he wasn’t seriously injured.

The family of a six-year old Michigan boy have filed a $4 million lawsuit against their neighbors, alleging that one of the men shot him when he went to get his bike off the neighbor’s lawn earlier this year.

Harlem World Magazine looks back at the New York neighborhood’s 1896 Bicycle Parade, which was sponsored by the Evening Telegram newspaper.

The NYPD reported closing nearly half of complaints about cars illegally parked in bike lanes in less than 15 minutes, and a quarter of the complaints in less that five minutes — an “implausibly fast” rate that critics say is proof they’re closing the files without responding. In other words, they just don’t care about blocked bike lanes, or the safety of people who use them. Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

New York has a long way to go to encourage multimodal commutes, with a decided lack of safe bike parking near transit stations. You know they have a problem when the city is compared unfavorably to Los Angeles.

Streetsblog asks why every street doesn’t have a bike lane, after a new report from the New York Department of Transportation shows that painted bike lanes improve safety by 32%, while protected bike lanes cut the risk of injury up to 60%.

The body discovered at the New Jersey HQ of Jamis Bikes we mentioned yesterday belonged to a 43-year old mother who had worked for the company for 20 years; she was allegedly murdered in a hammer attack by a 24-year old coworker who stole her credits cards, then later turned himself into the police.

Atlanta bike cops busted a murder suspect who had been on the run for eight days after he was spotted on a local pathway.

 

International

The BBC looks back at Major Taylor, bicycling’s first Black superstar, and questions why he’s still largely unknown outside of the bike community.

London police are asking anyone who lost a bike recently to contact them after they recovered 20 hot bikes and frames when they busted an alleged bicycle fence. I’ll be happy to take one of the Bromptons if nobody claims ’em.

A Welsh government minister says the country needs to stop the “us vs them” mentality on the streets to improve safety for people on bicycles, astutely adding that some drivers have behavior problems.

Pink Bike explores France’s secret bike parks.

 

Competitive Cycling

The first ever Into The Lion’s Den bike race founded by L39ion of LA’s Williams brothers will roll through the streets of Sacramento tomorrow, with a unique format where teams will represent their home cities.

Italian cyclist Nicola Bagioli is retiring at the ripe old age of 26 to devote his time to making soapstone pottery.

 

Finally…

That feeling when there’s nowhere to park your bike at the world climate conference. Now you, too, can own your very own bespoke bamboo bicycle for the equivalent of just $668.

And why just wear headphones when you can take your piano with you?

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

Columnist who wrote about bus bike theft leaves LA, the massive cost of traffic violence, and restoring your faith humanity

LA Times City Beat columnist Nita Lelyveld penned her final piece for the paper, which included a reminder of one of my favorites.

In a story from nine years ago, she told how two strangers on a bus became close friends when one rescued the other man’s bicycle from a would-be thief.

A story that started right here a few months earlier.

She also told my own story of taking in a homeless man’s corgi so he could get back on his feet. Which literally saved his life when he saw the outpouring of love and support that resulted, much of it from readers of this site.

Along with a followup from earlier this year, relating how my wife and I had become friends with the now formerly homeless man, and the new puppy that filled the hole in our lives after our own corgi died.

To be honest, I’m not sure I would have trusted anyone else with the story.

Nita’s moving on to Portland, Maine, where she’ll be the new city editor for the Portland Press Herald.

Their gain, LA’s loss.

Photo by Maria Orlova from Pexels.

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Sometimes, I don’t even know what to say.

So just let these numbers sink in: 112,519 people who weren’t in cars — mostly pedestrians and people on bicycles — have been killed by drivers since 9/11.

And nearly 2 million — yes, million — American traffic deaths since 1975, which would make it equivalent to the 5th largest city in the US.

Somehow, we have to make our fellow Americans care enough to finally do something about it.

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I’m usually not one for surveys, but I might make an exception this time.

PeopleForBikes wants your opinion on what it’s like to ride a bike where you live for their 2022 City Ratings, and promise it will only take five minutes of your time.

Anyone who does will be entered to win prizes, including this Schwinn Orange Krate bike.

From PeopleForBikes

Then again, the fewer people who respond, the better my chance of winning the bike I wanted as a kid, but never got.

So forget I said anything.

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This is who we share the road with.

Phil Gaimon posted video this morning of the aftermath of a road rage incident in Boulder, Colorado. Although it’s not clear if the driver severely beat the victim, or ran him down with his car, then got out to look at him.

The good news is, the driver has been identified, and may yet be held accountable for his crimes.

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As usual, drivers make the best case for protected bike lanes.

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Let’s interrupt the usual news with a few stories to help restore your faith in humanity.

A nurse on Hawaii’s Big Island discovered it takes a village to recover a stolen bicycle — in less than a day, even — while reminding everyone to get vaccinated.

Bighearted Texas cops used donations from local businesses to give a new bike, helmet, lock and lights to a man formerly homeless man who had been walking 14 miles round trip to get to his job in another town.

Kindhearted Oklahoma cops dug into their own pockets to buy a new bike for a special needs man, after the bicycle he used as his primary means of transportation was stolen.

Firefighters in Waukesha, Wisconsin opened their own wallets to buy a used bicycle for a man whose bike was destroyed in a collision with a driver, after learning it was his only means of transportation.

An anonymous Good Samaritan surprised a Virginia girl with a new bicycle, leaving it on her porch with an unsigned note a month after hers was stolen.

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Clean transportation nonprofit Calstart is looking for a new director of innovative mobility.

https://twitter.com/ryanschuchard/status/1430362551301206020

Although even after reading the job description, I’m still have no idea what that means.

But something tells me I’m probably not qualified, anyway.

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

A road raging Aussie driver drove over a bicycle and took off with a bicyclist clinging to the hood of his car, in a confrontation that began when a group of bike riders complained about the driver swerving into them; the driver can be heard on the video saying “I will fucking destroy you, I’ve got money mate.” And there’s nothing scarier than an angry driver with money, right?

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

A bike-riding parolee was busted for “terrorizing” a Venice community by slashing car tires with a folding knife and shattering a window in the west LA neighborhood with a brick.

A man was permanently banned from a Washington Walmart after entering the closed store on his bike, riding around the store pocketing drinks and candy bars before threatening security guards with a meat cleaver.

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Local

Los Angeles CD4 Councilmember Nithya Raman appeared to throw long-standing plans for a 4th Street Neighborhood Greenway under the bus in a meeting with Larchmont area homeowners, agreeing to oppose proposals for bike and pedestrian traffic signals on 4th and Highland, and 4th and Rossmore. Even though they would benefit local residents as much as anyone else, without causing any harm.

Metro Bike is offering two weeks free for any passholders who refer a friend.

Simon Cowell is still one of us, taking his ebike for a ride through the ‘Bu, a year after shattering his back crashing an electric motorcycle. Which the press still insists on calling an ebike.

 

State

Paso Robles is looking for public input for a planned bicycle pump track, to be designed by the same firm that built the skate park for the Tokyo Olympics.

Drivers were outraged by the estimated 5,000 people on bicycles who turned out for the 5th annual Santa Cruz Ride Out and “clogged traffic for hours.” In other words, kind of like drivers do all by themselves multiple times a day.

 

National

Bicycling makes their picks for the best ebikes of 2021 — including LA-based Aventon — with prices starting at just $999 and going up. Way up. I can’t find this one on Yahoo, so you’re on your own if Bicycling blocks you.

A father and daughter duo rode their antique Penny Farthings across the US from San Francisco to Boston, covering 3,314 miles in 57 days. Then turned around and rode across the US from north to south, for a total of 6,100 miles.

Forbes reviews the new book by the guy who took a New York bikeshare bike on a ride across the US in search of a new home, before settling on — and in — Tusla OK.

Heartbreaking news from Wisconsin, where an 88-year old man was killed by a driver while trying to make a left turn on his bicycle. Anyone who makes it to that age deserves better, damn it — and safer streets to ride on. Never mind that it takes the local paper until the penultimate paragraph to mention that the pickup that hit him even had a driver.

Chicago Streetsblog tells the sad story of protected bike lane proposals killed by parking pushback. Something tells me Los Angeles could produce an even greater tearjerker.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A 70-year old retired creative writing professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and former Alaska Writer Laureate was killed in a Maine bicycling collision last week.

 

International

After a Toronto councilmember had her own bicycle stolen, some unsympathetic residents blamed her for supporting shelters for the homeless, accusing them of taking her bike.

A pair of British men are on trial for murder in the death of a young father, after he accused one of them of stealing the other man’s bicycle to buy more drugs; the alleged killer swears he didn’t mean to harm the victim, despite repeatedly punching him and stomping on his head. I’d hate to see what he’d do if he did mean to hurt someone.

Welsh residents complain about plans for a “national standard” BMX track over fears that it will add to traffic congestion. More proof that NIMBYs are the same everywhere.

 

Competitive Cycling

It’s starting to look like the only thing that could keep two-time defending Vuelta champ Primož Roglič from the red leader’s jersey is falling off his bike. Which is exactly what happened yesterday.

Tragic news from Spain, where ultra-distance cyclist Ana Orenz was competing in the unsupported, nearly 2,00-mile Transiberica race when she suffered “devastating” injuries after crashing into a wild boar during a high-speed descent; Orenz suffered a broken neck and spinal injuries, as well as severe head trauma, and lay alone in the roadway unable to move for two hours before she was found. A crowdfunding page has raised nearly $41,000 of the $58,700 goal.

 

Finally…

Who needs a Bookmobile when you’ve got a cargo bike? Now you, too, can have your very own Louis Vuitton bicycle, complete with awkward hand brakes that look chic but will probably kill you, for the low, low price of $27,000.

And it takes a pretty smart dog to be this knowledgable when it comes to doping.

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

LA traffic deaths up while bike deaths spike, 19-year old San Pedro bike rider missing, and murder charge in AZ attack

No surprise here.

LAist reports that traffic deaths are up in Los Angeles for the first six months of this year, compared to last year’s already too high death total, with someone killed on the mean streets of LA an average of every 30 hours.

And it’s not just the people in the big, dangerous machines paying the price.

According to the site, serious pedestrian injuries are up 45%, while serious bicycling injuries climbed 34%. And bicycling deaths are up a whopping 40%.

It should also come as no surprise that hit-and-run deaths are up 25%.

In other words, we’re not exactly on track to meet Indian Ambassador Eric Garcetti’s — oops, I mean Mayor Garcetti’s — goal of eliminating traffic deaths in the City of Angels in the next three years.

Never mind all those safer streets we were promised as part of the mayor’s Green New Deal, which will now be up to whoever takes his place — thanks to Garcetti’s remarkably consistent failure to follow through on those promises.

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Authorities are searching for a 19-year old man who was last seen riding his bicycle in San Pedro Monday morning.

Jankell Hernan Aguilar is described as 5’6″ tall and 150 pounds, with “wavy black hair, a thin black beard along his jawline and brown eyes.”

Anyone with information is urged to call the LASD Missing Persons Unit at 323/890-5500.

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As expected, prosecutors in Arizona have amended the charges against pickup driver Shawn Michael Chock to add a felony murder count.

Chock is the driver who allegedly aimed his truck at a group of bicyclists participating in a senior’s race in Show Low on June 19th, intentionally slamming his truck into ten people; 58-year old Jeremy Barrett died nearly a month later.

Chock was shot by police after standoff behind a hardware store, but has recovered from his injuries, and remains jailed on half a million dollars bail.

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Make that $190 now.

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There’s a newly completed 13-mile trail leading from Kenneth Hahn to the coast.

Which doesn’t do a lot of good if you can’t get there safely.

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Sadly, it doesn’t take long for most Vision Zero programs to turn into empty promises when elected leaders lack the political will to follow through.

And Los Angeles is the poster child for those failed efforts.

So yes, it’s great that a federal Vision Zero bill has been introduced in Congress.

Let’s just hope it’s more than empty words this time.

Meanwhile, a second bill was introduced by Senators Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey to improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians.

The Vulnerable Road Users Safety Act implements National Transportation Safety Board recommendations, while directing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Highway Administration to —

  • Develop and update performance standards for visibility enhancement systems (i.e. for blindspot detection), connected vehicle technology, and vehicle headlamp systems
  • Establish standards for vehicle bumpers
  • Establish performance standards for automated pedestrian detection systems like automatic braking sensors
  • Include separated bike lanes and intersection safety treatments in the FHWA’s Every Day Counts initiatives and Proven Safety Countermeasures program
  • Improve and coordinate information collection to share, combine and publish detailed crash data allowing policy makers and governments to make data informed decisions

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

Toronto bike riders are “annoyed” that drivers are pushing planters into bike lanes to create illegal parking spaces, blocking the bike lanes they were intended to protect. Annoyed seems pretty mild under the circumstances; more like pissed off and endangered.

Three British bike riders were collateral damage when a suspected drunk driver made an ill-advised pass, crashing into another driver before his car was pushed into a group of bicyclists; all three victims were hospitalized, with one suffering life-threatening injuries.

You’ve got to be kidding. A driver in the UK gets annoyed at following a bike rider, and responds with a close pass and a brake check, followed by a punishment pass for good measure. And all he gets is a stern talking to from the cops.

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Local

Streets For All is hosting another Zoom happy hour at 5 pm on August 11th, featuring Burbank Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, who has been fighting for safer streets as chair of the Transportation Committee.

NPR picks up the sordid tale of the $200,000 in out-of-network medical debt that buried LA’s Phil Gaimon when a major track cycling crash ended his efforts to make the US Olympic team, even though he had insurance coverage. And even they agree he got hosed.

Outside calls Catalina Island a hidden gem for gravel biking.

 

State

Encinitas residents are accusing the mayor and councilmembers of cronyism in approving an $11 million settlement for a local bike advocate who was severely injured when she was run down from behind riding on sharrows. Something tells me she’d be happy to give all of it back if it meant not having to deal with the pain and lasting injuries.

Squatters took over a historic Baptist church in El Cajon during the pandemic lockdown, using it for a chop shop for stolen bikes.

 

National

Trek finally figures out that helping more people ride means more sales for them, starting a nonprofit foundation to help build bicycling infrastructure and mountain bike trails. And outlines the steps they’re taking to improve sustainability.

Conde Nast Traveler talks with author Jennifer Weiner about how she got hooked on solo bikepacking on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail.

This is what it looks like when a Seattle cop right hooks a man on a bicycle.

Great idea. A Colorado bike shop is offering a 10% discount to anyone who picks up at least ten pieces of trash off a bike trail.

North Dakota bike riders can celebrate this Sunday by legally rolling stop signs, when a new Idaho Stop Law goes into effect allowing riders to treat stops as yields.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 95-year old man is taking part in the nearly 500-mile RAGBRAI, the eighth time he’s taken part in the popular ride across Iowa.

An Iowa town remembers a 2008 EF-5 that devastated the region with a sculpture of a tornado made entirely of bicycles.

Houston bike riders call on the city to get more aggressive in implementing Vision Zero to meet the 2030 deadline.

After suffering the embarrassment of a group of white cops filmed arresting a Black bike rider for not having a bicycle license, Perth Amboy, New Jersey is eliminating their bicycle registration requirement. But it’s still illegal to “practice any trick or fancy riding.” Because we all know how damaging “fancy riding” is to the fragile fabric of society.

Seriously? An Orlando urologist says men should maybe cut back on their time in the saddle if they’re trying to have a baby — and not spend more that two hours on a bike regardless. If I’d thought riding my bike would have provided birth control in my single days, I would ridden a lot more than I did. And I rode a hell of a lot.

 

International

An Ontario woman says you don’t have to be skinny to ride a bike.

Toronto is installing centerline speed bumps extending into intersections to keep drivers from dangerously cutting corners.

A London man will spend the next two years behind bars for jumping a red light and slamming into a 72-year old man crossing in a crosswalk, who later died; the Albanian bike rider turned himself in after initially fleeing because he was in the UK illegally.

About damn time. Great Britain is revising the country’s Highway Code to give pedestrians and people on bicycles priority over motor vehicles on the streets, although it still has to be approved by Parliament. Now do it on this side of the ocean.

UK Prime Minister’s Boris Johnson tells local governments to leave bike lanes in place for at least a year, or face a cut in funding.

An Irish bike advocacy group demands immediate action in response to a 13% jump in traffic deaths so far this year. Let’s hope their government listens better that ours does.

Organizers have called off a planned 124-mile Aussie charity ride, after concluding that the “appalling standard” of Tasmanian drivers, combined with “poor road infrastructure” and drivers’ “hatred towards cyclists” made it too dangerous for people on two wheels.

In a brutal irony, an Australian bike rider was killed in a collision moments after he ignored a police attempt to stop him for riding without lights or a helmet, which is required in the country.

A writer for Cycling Tips truly captures the beauty of bicycling with a moving piece recalling a ride through Australian woods to heal from the pandemic year and the death of his father from cancer — but not until his father got to meet his new grandson for the first time.

 

Competitive Cycling

Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic upgraded his 2017 world time trial silver medal with gold in the same event at the Tokyo Olympics.

A German official was sent packing after using a racial slur in urging Nikias Arndt to catch up to cyclists from Algeria and Eritrea in the men’s time trial; German cycling federation sports director Patrick Moster’s comment was picked up on camera and broadcast across the nation.

Dutch cycling great Annemiek van Vleuten finally got her Olympic gold in the time trial, days after mistakenly celebrating what she thought was a win in the road race.

Forget the Olympics. The race to watch this Saturday is the eight-year old Telluride 100 mountain bike race, sanctioned by UCI for the first time.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you’re falsely labeled a “brutal bike thief” on social media for picking up the bike your neighbor was donating for underprivileged children. Do home runs count for more if they nearly hit a bike rider outside the park?

And maybe they could have worded this headline just a little better.

Unless the bicyclists were charged with murder, too.

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

Update: Cyclocross legend Laurence Malone killed Monday in head-on crash while driving near Lancaster CA

Note: This story has been rewritten to reflect details that have changed significantly since it was written Tuesday night.

More devastating news, as cyclocross legend Laurence Malone was killed in a collision near Lancaster on Monday

The tragic news was announced by the US Bicycling Hall of Fame, which said only that Lawrence was killed in a collision, leading to significant confusion and rumors.

Despite initial reports that he was riding his bike, Laurence, who was inducted into the hall four years ago, was killed in a head-on crash with a semi driver while driving his car on Highway 138 west of Lancaster.

Cyclocross Magazine had originally said Malone wasn’t carrying an ID or cellphone, and the only identification he had with him was his hall of fame badge.

However, in a detailed update to the quickly evolving story, the magazine explains that Malone’s wallet was actually hidden in the crumpled wreckage of his car.

Malone typically kept his wallet under the driver’s seat, according to Price, but kept a few meaningful momentos on his dashboard, including his letter from cycling legend George Mount welcoming him into the 2017 class for the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame.

This letter was the form of identification authorities could easily retrieve from the wreckage. They contacted the Hall of Fame, and George Mount set about trying to reach Malone’s next of kin.

Malone was the first person to win the US men’s national cyclocross title after it was revived in 1970, and just the fifth since the race began in 1963; the women’s race didn’t begin until 1975.

He went on to win the title a remarkable five consecutive times, still the record for the most wins.

Malone was reportedly on his way back from Ojai to his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

He is the second noted cyclist to die in two days, after master’s age group national road champ Gwen Inglis was killed by an alleged stoned driver in Lakewood, Colorado on Sunday.

Photo by Aidan Nguyen from Pexels.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Laurence Malone and all his loved ones. 

Thanks to David Huntsman for the heads-up.

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