Tag Archive for traffic fatalities

Cost of traffic violence — 3 killed in SD crash, air better worldwide in pandemic, and bike quotes to get you riding

This is the cost of traffic violence.

Yesterday’s rains drove even more people than usual living on the streets to a San Diego underpass Sunday night, because they had nowhere else to go to seek shelter from the storm.

They paid for it with their lives the following morning when an allegedly impaired driver plowed onto the sidewalk, killing three people and injuring six others, two critically.

Seventy-one-year old Craig Voss arrested for three counts of vehicular manslaughter, as well as five counts of causing great bodily injury while committing a felony, and one count of felony DUI for driving under the influence of drugs.

Police believe Voss was the subject of a call to 911 shortly before the crash reporting a possibly intoxicated driver.

But at least he remained at the scene and attempted to aid the victims.

Beyond the sheer tragedy of three more innocent victims sacrificed on the alter to motor vehicles, it’s heartbreaking that so many people who’ve already lost everything and have to live without a roof over their heads — for whatever reason — aren’t safe along the streets they’re forced to live on.

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One more sign of the damage done by motor vehicles.

Air quality improved in 84% of country’s worldwide when pandemic lockdowns forced many people to stop driving.

An improvement that will undoubtedly be reversed once businesses open back up and people go back to work.

Especially in places like Los Angeles, where so little was done during the closures to encourage more bike riding, walking and other forms of alternative transportation.

That compares to cities throughout Europe, which are doubling down on their successful efforts to encourage bicycling as a safe form of socially distanced transportation, with 600 miles of “cycle lanes, traffic-calming measures and car-free streets” installed over the last year.

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Parade Magazine, of all sources, dishes up 50 bicycling quotes to inspire you to get out and ride, including these —

“Everyone in their life has his own particular way of expressing life’s purpose – the lawyer his eloquence, the painter his palette, and the man of letters his pen from which the quick words of his story flow. I have my bicycle.” – Gino Bartali

“Cyclists see considerably more of this beautiful world than any other class of citizens. A good bicycle, well applied, will cure most ills this flesh is heir to” – Dr. K.K. Doty

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” Elizabeth West

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The good news is the city continues to improve safety for bicyclists in DTLA.

The bad is it seems to come at the expense of the rest of the city.

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Invest a short 20 seconds of your life to understand the freedom a bike can give someone with a disability.

And how easy it is to take it away.

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I want to be like him when I grow up.

A 77-year old Arizona man turned down his daughter’s offer to take him by car, and rode his bike nearly 50 miles roundtrip to get his Covid vaccine shot.

Although that might be trumped by a much shorter ride from a much older Dutch woman.

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

You’ve got to be kidding. Life is cheap in the UK, where a driver with a history of violence walked without a single lousy day behind bars when a judge gave him a suspended sentence for assaulting a young couple who had stopped to fix a flat, first punching the man before knocking the woman down and stomping on her head. Seriously, what the hell are jails for, then?

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Local

The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee will hold a virtual joint meeting of the Planning and Bikeways Engineering Subcommittees starting at 1 pm this afternoon.

Spectrum News 1 looks at what’s driving pedaling the ebike boom.

 

State

Cooler heads prevail in Santa Barbara, where police reject calls to arrest young bike riders — primarily people of color — for riding bikes and performing stunts on the newly installed bike lane on the city’s State Street pedestrian plaza, with police saying they don’t want to “criminalize children for riding bikes.”

The good guys finally won one for a change, as police busted a pair of burglars who broke into a Larkspur bike shop and temporarily made off with seven bikes worth $29,000, after the owner spotted them inside his store on a live security cam.

Napa’s proposed new general plan envisions making the city’s main streets more walkable and bikeable.

 

National

Planetizen says ending traffic fatalities once and for all isn’t as farfetched as it seems.

That’s more like it. A Nogales AZ man will spend the next seven and a half years behind bars for the hit-and-run death of a bike rider, while he was stoned on meth.

In an unusual move, dozens of volunteers teamed with Houston planning and public works officials to paint a new high-comfort popup bike lane. Maybe that could be a model for Los Angeles to finally end the auto-centric stasis on our streets.

Nine of the 21 candidates for a Queens city council seat took part in a bike ride through the district to examine problems and policies before the upcoming election. For years, the LACBC’s candidate surveys asked people running for city offices if they’d be willing to meet or ride with bicyclists if they were elected; even though most agreed, no one ever asked them to.

If you find yourself riding a bike in New Jersey, keep your hands on the handlebars and your feet on the pedals. And put a damn bell on it.

Biking is booming in the City of Brotherly Love, too.

A Virginia op-ed calls for lowering speed limits to 15 mph to save lives. Although here in Southern California, a 15 mph speed limit means most drivers would still do 25 to 30 mph. But at least that would be an improvement for most drivers, who currently do 35 to 45 in a 25 mph residential zone.

That’s more like it. A North Carolina man got 33 to 49 months behind bars for the November hit-and-run death of a bike rider.

Nice move from bikemaker Subrosa, which gave a new bike to a 15-year old Florida boy whose bicycle was destroyed in a hit-and-run crash; the company teamed with Adventure Cycling to give him the first bike from next year’s line, ensuring it will be a one-of-a-kind bike for the next several months.

Bike riders often spot things drivers don’t. Like a body lying near a Florida bike path, for instance.

 

International

Cyclist celebrates world bicycle speed record holder Denise Mueller-Korenek as Monday’s inspirational woman.

Gates Carbon Drive promotes a half-dozen new bikes using the company’s belt-drive products.

A neurodivergent Saskatoon, Saskatchewan kid will get a $3,500 adaptive bike back, after a bike thief was busted when he listed the unique bike for sale online.

A Mexico City woman is forging her own way in the traditionally male-dominated custom bicycle scene as the owner of the city’s only woman-run bike shop.

Damn straight. An English op-ed calls for trusting the experts when it comes to bicycling and traffic planning.

Germany’s Rose Bikes joined ranks with Commencal, Propain, Santa Cruz and other bike brands in announcing price increases due to rising costs caused by the pandemic.

Apparently, things are pretty much the same everywhere, as drivers continue to park in Philippine bike lanes, with most of the scofflaw vehicles belong to the government.

Remarkably, an Aussie bike rider was able to bounce back up when a dash cam video catches him in a frightening crash while trying to ride across a street.

 

Competitive Cycling

Writing for Red Bull, bike scribe Peter Flax profiles multi-time national champ and L39ion of Los Angeles (pronounced “legion”) founder Justin Williams, and his drive to drag cycling into the age of diversity, kicking and screaming if he has to.

Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar continues to hold the lead after the penultimate stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico race, with Danish cyclist Mads Würtz Schmidt claiming his first WorldTour stage win.

British barrister and time trial specialist Jonathan Parker claims to have shattered the world record for 100 miles, checking in a slant two seconds under two hours and fifty minutes, beating the existing record by eight minutes.

UCI pulled the plug on the season opening Mountain Bike World Cup downhill race after Slovenian health officials urged them to reschedule due to the ongoing pandemic.

A 16-year old Georgia boy’s only goal was to finish the 350-mile Iditarod Trail Invitational fat bike race; instead, he somehow managed to finish third.

 

Finally…

Turn your body into a mini-electric generator when you ride. Another reminder why your bike should sleep indoors, especially during a massive winter storm.

And maybe this will get drivers to give you a little space.

https://twitter.com/svblxyz/status/1371401312177377280

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Apropos of that aforementioned winter storm, I love this image from my home state, where the snow is nearly one corgi deep.

Thanks to Dr. Grace Peng for the laugh.

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

Examining the carnage caused by speeding drivers, the bike boom runs on batteries, and early LA bike cops

Speed kills.

In a column for the LA Times, the paper’s Steve Lopez examines the rising carnage on our streets caused by speeding drivers.

Lopez constructs his story through the lens of the needless deaths of 68-year old Larry Brooks, killed by a driver in $280,000, 200 mph McLaren, and 32-year-old Monique Munoz, whose life was taken by a 17-year old in a $200,000-plus Lamborghini SUV.

Not that you need a high-end super car to speed. Or take an innocent life.

In fact, it seems to be a rising trend.

In the first month of the pandemic last spring, the California Highway Patrol reported that although traffic volume was down 35%, the number of citations for driving in excess of 100 miles an hour had increased by 87% over the same period a year earlier. Between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, 4,851 more CHP citations were issued for speeding at 100 miles an hour or more, a 93% increase over the same period a year earlier.

And too often, the people who pay the price aren’t the ones with their foot glued to the gas pedal. Three years ago, speeding played a role in roughly a third of all crashes resulting in death or serious injury, according to the most recent stats from the CHP.

Not that more timely statistics would help prevent more deaths, or anything.

Then there’s the broken promise of Vision Zero, which was supposed to be well on its way to ending traffic deaths in the City of Angels by now.

Not making more of them.

The Vision Zero campaign, announced by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2015, set an ambitious goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and injuries and making streets safer for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists by 2025. The progress, and the reviews, have not been sterling. In the Arts District, where Larry Brooks was killed, residents have begged for more sidewalks and crosswalks. A $15-million state grant for such improvements has yet to be put to work.

Budgets, bureaucracy, politics and competing priorities have stood in the way of safety improvements such as turn lanes, crosswalks, signage and enforcement throughout the city. But (LADOT General Manager Seleta) Reynolds said progress is being made and her department has identified 450 miles of city streets where more than two-thirds of the fatal and serious collisions have occurred, with improvements there being prioritized.

Except nibbling at the edges of traffic safety wasn’t what we were promised. And won’t bring about the wholesale changes to the city’s traffic grid necessary to make a substantial dent in the rate of traffic deaths.

Let alone end them in the next four years, as the mayor committed to in announcing the plan six years ago.

Or do much to reduce the number of speeding drivers on LA’s over-engineered streets, as evidenced by the LAPD’s own stats.

(LAPD Traffic Division Cmdr. Gerald) Woodyard ran stats for the 12 pandemic months ending Feb. 28 of this year and found that fatal collisions in which speed was a factor increased from 15% to 21% of the total. Of the 253 fatalities, 117 involved pedestrians, and 48 of the victims were identified as “homeless or transient.”

Let’s hope that the state legislature gets serious about eliminating that deadly 85th Percentile Law that allows drivers to set speed limits with their right foot, and legalizing automated speed enforcement to slow them down.

And maybe Los Angeles can spend some of the $1.35 billion it will be getting in the latest Covid stimulus package to fully fund Vision Zero, and stop using that for an excuse for why nothing gets done.

Then our elected leaders will just have to grow a spine. Or at least enough of one to stand up to angry drivers who demand the right to keep going zoom zoom on our streets, unimpeded by anything that might slow them down.

Like a person, for instance.

If not, maybe we can replace them with new leaders who already have one.

Take a few minutes to read the full piece. It’s worth your time to grasp the full cost of drivers who insist on putting the pedal to the metal.

Because let’s face it, you can’t spell “carnage” without “car.”

Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR from Pexels.

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Speed kills, part two.

Two people were killed, and four seriously injured, when a speeding driver lost control on Vineland Ave in North Hollywood, slamming into two other cars and killing a man who had just stepped out of a liquor store; a passenger in one of the cars was the other person killed.

The crash occurred just blocks from the bike lanes on Vineland.

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More proof that much of the current bike boom runs on batteries.

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Actually, it looks like most of those “hats” are helmets on the heads of the LAPD’s first bike cops.

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

It takes a real lowlife to torch a Cambridge, Massachusetts ghost bike.

People are attacking a Welsh bikeshare provider, with an average of two bikes damaged each day over a five-week period; 20 people have been arrested so far for vandalizing the bikes.

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

Jessica Jones star Krysten Ritter complains she almost channeled her rage-filled superhero alter ego when she was rudely hit on by a bike riding man while walking on a sidewalk.

British police bust a 19-year old, bike-riding serial groper accused of attacking 12 woman on a Cambridge bike path.

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Local

Officials conclude that a proposed bike lane on Western Ave in Rancho Palos Verdes won’t have a negative effect on traffic.

 

State

Calbike says it’s time for California to legalize the Safety Stop, which would allow bike riders to legally treat stop signs as yields, as most bike riders — and many drivers — already do. Actually, it was time about 30 years ago; now it’s way past time to get it done.

Encinitas will host a free ebike seminar on the 26th.

No bias here, either. A Santa Barbara letter writer says the new bike lanes on State Street make no sense, and accuses leaders of kowtowing to “the minority bike lobby.”

Sad news from Bakersfield, where a man riding a bicycle was killed in a collision Saturday evening; he was allegedly riding the wrong way when a driver hit him head-on.

Kindhearted members of a Cal Fire crew bought a new bicycle and helmet for an eight-year old Pescadero boy after his were damaged when he was hit by a driver.

No bias here. A Chico State student investigating police bias and racial profiling in campus traffic stops unexpectedly finds himself stopped by three university police officers in a pair of squad cars as he was riding his bike, long after leaving the campus. He was told he somehow looked suspicious because he rode his bike away from the cop he didn’t see, who wasn’t trying to stop him. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

 

National

City Lab examines the irrational growth in the sheer size of pickup trucks, some of which now weigh as much as 3.5 tons, posing a dramatically increased risk to everyone on the road around them. Correction: I originally wrote the pickups weigh up to 7 tons, rather than 3.5. Thanks to Andy Stow for the correction.

Washington state is moving forward with a bill to bar sales tax for ebikes.

Bodycam video appears to show a 17-year old Arizona boy reaching for a gun after fleeing from police on foot, after what originally began as a simple traffic stop for not having a headlight on his bike; he died three weeks after the shooting — and after begging the cop not to let him die. Thanks to BGD Reporters and Rafe Husain for the tip.

A Utah bike rider was stabbed in the arm in a random attack, moments after an attacker robbed another person just to smash their phone on the ground.

PeopleForBikes spends a day with a bike-borne Boulder CO food rescue.

Despite their new found legal status, ebike and scooter riders find themselves banned from New York’s Hudson River Greenway.

Once again, a driver has fled after running down multiple riders; one woman was killed and another seriously injured when they were rear-ended by the heartless, cowardly driver while on a Florida bike club’s annual member appreciation ride.

 

International

A new Cannondale ad campaign is appearing at iconic sites around the world, as the bike boom pushes the company into the mainstream.

Take a single-track excursion on a Mexican mountain bike Mecca built by a Walmart heir.

We already knew Harrison Ford was one of us, as he dons his spandex for a nearly 800-mile ride from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas. Although some people can’t seem to get over his “skintight outfit.”

Canada’s Liberal government is attempting to solve the country’s first mile/last mile problem by allocating a whopping $400 million for bike paths.

Thieves are feasting on bicycles from bike shed in an English housing development certified as secure by the local police department, because of ventilation holes big enough for someone to reach in and unlock the door. Evidently, the police wanted to ensure the bikes got plenty of fresh air when they weren’t in use.

A UK prosthetics experts is back on his bike after becoming his own patient when he lost his right arm in a bicycling collision with a truck driver.

Photographic proof that the British royal family are no strangers to bicycles.

When is a bicycle not a bicycle? When you strap a gasoline engine to it in Ireland.

A man was fatally shot after threatening a Paris bike cop with a knife outside a train station.

Spanish former F1 champ Fernando Alonso will now have to race with two titanium plates patching his fractured jaw after collision while riding his bike last month.

Peshawar becomes the first city in Pakistan to open a bikeshare service.

An Israeli man who once rode 41,000 miles around the world is credited with saving seven lives by donating his organs when he was hit by a bus driver while making an Everesting attempt near Haifa.

South African bike thieves are using pepper spray to knock riders off their bicycles. But at least they haven’t put a stop to the Cape Town edition of the World Naked Bike Ride.

Business is booming for Taiwanese bikemakers, with revenues up as much as 80%, even though delivery times are down.

An Aussie woman thanks a passing driver for saving her daughter’s life when the bikes failed on the girl’s borrowed bicycle, and she crashed into a parked car.

 

Competitive Cycling

Another reminder that there’s no sure thing in bike racing. Slovenian cyclist Primož Roglič lost his firm grip on the Paris-Nice podium by falling twice on the last stage and dislocating his shoulder. Germany’s Max Schachmann made up a 52-second deficit to take the win.

 

Finally…

Evidently, your body is a bicycle. Your next bike could have no crossbar, fork or seat.

And who hasn’t ridden 163 miles just to get a cup of coffee?

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

Wealthy LA-area man accused of shielding son in deadly crash, cargo bikes and dogs, and ride like a bike messenger

Is this who we share the road with?

A Reddit user accused an LA-area millionaire of allegedly using his money and influence to protect his speeding, Lamborghini-driving son from the consequences for killing a woman driving another car on Olympic Blvd in Westwood.

Monique Munoz was killed when a 17 year old, driving a $200,000 Lamborghini at over 100 MPH crashed into her at 5PM. The drivers father, James Khuri, is a millionaire and has been throwing money to get any news coverage of the incident pushed to the back of google and have positive articles of himself populated instead. Meanwhile, following Moniques death Khuri has been posting about his lavish lifestyle on Instagram and deleting and blocking  anything in reference to Monique. It’s been two weeks and no charges have been pressed.#JusticeForMoniqueMunoz

Update: Anyone interested in helping please email DA Gascon to move forward with the case at info@da.lacounty.gov and keep the story alive on socials. #JusticeforMoniqueMunoz

Photo by Sundesh Chaudhary from Pexels.

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Dogs and bikes. What’s not to like?

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How to ride like a bike messenger.

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This is the difference a well-planned bikeway can make.

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

A British woman claimed a bike rider somehow threw himself onto the hood of her car, and flashed a salute as he slid off. Although we can probably guess what kind of salute it was, and how many fingers he used.

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Local

Today is the last day to request a mail-in ballot for the neighborhood council elections in the Hollywood and Mid City areas.

LA street safety PAC Streets For All will host a free virtual happy hour with bike-friendly Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin on Wednesday.

 

State

San Clemente has banned ebikes from the city’s eponymous pier, as well as the city’s beachfront trail.

Sad news from Turlock, where a 44-year old man was killed in a hit-and-run while riding his bike; police are looking for the driver of a gray or charcoal Mercedes sedan with possible front-end or side damage.

The news wasn’t any better in San Jose, where an 81-year old man was killed when he was right hooked while riding his bike; the case will be reviewed by the DA’s office to determine if the driver will face charges.

And still more bad news from the Bay Area, where a woman suffered life-threatening injuries when her bike was hit by a van driver in Golden Gate Park. Which raises the eternal question of what the hell are motor vehicles doing in a public park in the first place?

San Francisco Streetsblog calls for keeping a small street next to the city’s new transit center open to people and closed to cars, instead of converting it to an access ramp for a new parking garage.

 

National

Advice on how to keep your bike from being stolen, including using multiple locks, taking your seat with you, and letingt your bike sleep inside whenever possible when not in use. Or you could just make potential thieves vomit all over your bike.

Bicycling says riding a cargo bike is the perfect way to instantly add joy to any outing. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a Yahoo version this time in case bicycling blocks you.

VeloNews offers a new website for women gravel grinders.

A retired army colonel is riding his bike from San Diego to Florida’s St. Augustine Beach to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project; so far he’s raised $12,000 of the $100,000 goal.

A Sitka, Alaska driver learns the hard way that it may not be the best idea to flee the scene after killing a bike rider when you live in a town of less than 10,000 people.

Seattle researchers discover racial disparities in traffic stops and tickets are prevalent throughout the city, including enforcement of the city’s mandatory helmet law.

A Bellingham WA driver questions whether a bike rider belongs in the center of a traffic lane with those funny symbols of a bicycle and some arrows; the local newspaper patiently explains that those things are called sharrows.

Chicago suffered the city’s first bicycling fatality of the year when a woman was killed by an unlicensed driver in an apparent right hook.

Gothamist examines where the candidates for mayor of New York stand on the future of bicycling in the city.

 

International

This is who we share the road with, part 2. A Brazilian motorcyclist clung to a large truck for dear life as the apparently unaware driver carried him 19 miles following a crash that took his wife’s life.

A Kenyan TV station marks International Women’s Day by talking with the bike-riding head of the country’s World Wide Fund for Nature, who founded a public awareness and advocacy campaign calling for safety for everyone, including bike riders and pedestrians, without prejudice, on Kenyan roads.

A Aussie driver faces charges for allegedly killing a 57-year old bicyclist while driving stoned, then ditching a large quantity of illegal narcotics following the crash.

 

Competitive Cycling

America’s first Tour de France winner was a woman.

Former Tour de France competitor Peter Stetina continues his post-pro tour winning ways by capturing Alaska’s 100-mile Gravel Hugger Race.

 

Finally…

Coyotes don’t attack people on bicycles — except, apparently, when they do. What good is karate if it can’t protect your dojo from cars?

And no, this probably isn’t the right message for International Women’s Day.

Or any other day, for that matter.

https://twitter.com/AwesomeCycling/status/1368501816363806722

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

LA brags about modest bike lane mileage, resource guide for traffic violence victims, and Trek sued over WaveCel claims

Los Angeles continues to nibble at the edges of bike safety, as the city touts the installation or improvement of 61 miles of bike lanes in 2020.

That includes nearly 13 miles of new bike lanes on South LA’s Avalon Blvd.

However, it’s important to remember that LADOT measures bike lanes in lane miles, which means that each side of the roadway is counted separately. So that 61 miles really means bike lanes were added or improved on just 30 miles of streets.

That’s a big step up from the ten lane miles installed in the 2017-18 fiscal year, but still just a fraction of the annual totals built during Antonio Villaraigosa’s tenure as mayor — although the city is installing more protected and separated bike lanes now.

However, it still neglects large segments of the city, and makes no attempt to create a connected bike lane network crossing Los Angeles — let alone the three interconnected networks called for in the city’s mobility plan.

Bike lane construction for 2021 is expected to concentrate on Figueroa Blvd in DTLA and Broadway in South LA.

So who knows?

Maybe someday the city will finally get around to building bike lanes where you ride while you’re still young enough to use them.

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Losing a loved one is hard enough under any conditions.

Let alone losing someone you love to traffic violence.

That’s why Southern California Families for Safe Streets, a project of pedestrian advocacy group Los Angeles Walks, is offering a free resource guide for people who have experienced a sudden, unexpected loss.

The guide was prepared by people who have gone through it themselves, including tips on how to turn your grief into effective action.

Let’s hope you never need it.

But roughly 3,500 California families did in 2019. And probably will this year.

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Why wait for local leaders to rip out a bike lane, when you can just turn an offroad bike path into your own personal car lane?

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It’s not new, but this video offers a recumbent tour of a unique California neighborhood where homes have hangers instead of garages, and taxiways in place of streets.

Thanks to the free, daily California Sun newsletter for the link.

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Forget the latest high-end, high-tech wonders. Pink Bike takes a look at what everyday bike riders are riding.

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

Someone has been removing bollards from a protected bike lane in the UK and just tossing them across the surrounding area, creating a hazard for people riding bicycles, as well as others who might trip or drive over them.

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

An Aussie bike rider unloads on a motorist after the car’s passenger threw litter at him. Seriously, don’t do this, kids. Violence is never the answer. Although I may have been known to toss trash back through the driver’s window.

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Local

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition reminds the city — and everyone else — that protected bike lanes improve safety for everyone, not just people on bikes.

 

State

Six women will set out to break three world records on Saturday by riding elliptical bikes up San Diego’s steep Mt. Palomar, with a 5,000 foot elevation gain in just 12.5 miles.

Santa Barbara has embarked on a stunning remake of Los Positas Road to add a 2.6-mile multi-use path connecting to the beach.

 

National

Maybe there’s hope yet. Streetsblog says the victories by Democratic Senate candidates in Georgia opens the way for a long-delayed revamp of the national transportation bill to create greater sustainability, with an emphasis on public transit and active transportation.

A new lawsuit accuses Trek of falsely claiming its Bontrager WaveCel helmets are up to 48 times more effective than traditional foam bike helmets in order to command a higher price.

The Drive recommends their picks for the best ebike conversion kits.

Anyone can build up an existing frame, so learn how to weld your own, instead.

Las Vegas bike advocates are responding to the recent death of five experienced bicyclists at the hands of a meth-using truck driver by pushing for greater safety for people on two wheels, including a call for a presumed liability law that would shift the burden of proof to the person in the more dangerous vehicle.

A Nyack NY bike shop is shutting down after nearly 50 years, after long days due to the pandemic bike boom took all the fun out of it for the owner, and emptied all the shop’s inventory, anyway.

New York suffered its first bicycling death of 2021 when an ebike rider inexplicably rode into the back of a parked SUV, the same day Southern California saw the year’s first first bike rider killed in a Riverside hit-and-run.

Great idea. A New Jersey business district is offering shoppers free twice-weekly delivery by cargo bike.

 

International

Road.cc rates 15 aluminum disk brake bikes, calling them today’s best value bikes.

More evidence of the worldwide bike boom, as London’s bikeshare system saw a record-setting 157% increase in registrations during the pandemic.

Two Irish cousins will spend at least a couple decades behind bars for murdering another man in a case of mistaken identity after falsely accusing him of stealing a bicycle; one man got a life sentence while the other received a minimum of 26 years in prison.

A Dutch university has developed a tool to wirelessly recharge ebikes through the kickstand.

Admitting to mistakes in the early days of the pandemic, Milan’s mayor is committed to changing how people get around the formerly auto-centric city, including plans for 185 miles of new bike lanes, with 21 miles already installed during the initial lockdown.

A horrifying crime, as Indian vigilantes kidnapped 30 women and children because they suspected men in the nomadic tribe of stealing bikes. Although they may have accused them of stealing motorcycles, rather than bicycles, since the Indian press uses the same term for both.

Malaysian bicyclists say new bike riders inspired by the pandemic bike boom are giving the rest of them a bad name.

 

Competitive Cycling

Yes, the pros do care what you say about them. So be nice.

Former doper and current gelati maker Riccardo Riccò just says no to the Covid-19 vaccine, thanks to a newfound concern over what he puts in his body.

 

Finally…

Just what every aspiring fashionista needs — a $27,000 haute couture bicycle. Your lifelong wait for bike shorts with built-in artificial intelligence and stimulating electrodes is finally over.

And if you’re using your bike to burglarize motor vehicles, just put a damn light on it, already.

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

After Pasadena NIMBYs shouted down safety improvements, deadly Orange Grove Blvd claims two more victims

Let’s pause for a moment before we start to remember the victims of two Orange County bicycling collisions just hours apart on Sunday.

Never put it past OC to mark the World Day of Remembrance for victims of traffic violence by adding to them. 

Then wonder what the hell is going on down there, as the county suffers its 15th bicycling death of the year — the same as Los Angeles County, with over three times the population of OC.

And six weeks still to go.

Be careful out there.

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Pasadena learns the cost of doing nothing after NIMBY’s coordinated by anti-road diet pressure group Keep LA Moving literally shouted down plans to install protected bike lanes to improve safety on deadly Orange Grove Blvd.

Peter Flax points the finger directly at Keep LA Moving and its founder, as well as local chapter Keep Pasadena Moving.

Sadly, more people will continue to die until something is finally done to reduce road space and cut traffic speed.

And just like the coronavirus, the people concerned about it can’t do much to improve things until everyone else starts to care, too.

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They get it.

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Harry Styles is sort of one of us, posing for Vogue with an antique bicycle while wearing a kilt.

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

Call it a greatest hits of careless passes from just one UK town.

https://twitter.com/northumbriapol/status/1328280503938641922?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1328280503938641922%7Ctwgr%5E&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.itv.com%2Fnews%2Ftyne-tees%2F2020-11-16%2Fpolice-release-shocking-video-to-show-how-dangerous-drivers-put-cyclists-lives-at-risk

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Local

KABC-7 visits the East Side Riders Bike Club, which is working to help kids stay out of gangs by keeping them occupied on their bikes two hours a day.

A number of proposals are on the table to restore the Ballona Wetlands, but only two including expanding bicycle access.

 

State

A seven-mile stretch of Carlsbad Blvd, aka Old Highway 101, will form part of U.S. Bicycle Route 95 running the length of California.

Next year’s Sea Otter Classic is scheduled for May 20th through 23rd in Monterey, after this year’s event was cancelled due to Covid-19.

Sonoma County won’t appeal a $1.3 million judgement for a bike rider who was badly injured after hitting a pothole.

 

National

A writer for Electrek gets the first test ride on Harley Davidson’s new ebikes, while TechRadar finds the prices, starting around $3,400, surprisingly affordable.

And completing today’s Peter Flax trifecta, he visits the Horton Collection, America’s greatest collection of bicycling memorabilia. As usual, you can read it on Yahoo if Bicycling’s site blocks you out.

This is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. Memphis is pushing for ways to improve a deadly intersection after a bike rider was killed and another seriously injured in a crash; both were collateral damage in a collision between two motorists as they were waiting on the red light.

A new ten-mile Vermont mountain bike trail fills a vital gap in a planned network of mountain bike trails crossing the state.

New York Mayor de Blasio dismissed a proposal to remove traffic enforcement duties from the NYPD, saying it would be counterproductive, because Vision Zero requires “a very muscular approach by law enforcement.” Which is actually the opposite of how Vision Zero is supposed to work.

Maybe it’s not too surprising that an increase in bike thefts has followed in the wake of the bike boom, with bike theft up statewide in North Carolina.

 

International

Cyclist relates how ebikes are getting people back into bicycling after years off their bikes.

English bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid talks with shop owners about London’s Low Traffic Neighborhoods, and discovers they’ve gone from opponents to supporters.

The British government continues to promote bicycling as an alternative to driving and transit during the pandemic, with a second round of bike repair vouchers to help people get their bikes in ridable condition.

No surprise here. A new study from the UK shows men are three times more likely than women to drive over 100 mph.

Police officials in a British town say they’ve taken action against drivers on 80% of close pass videos sent to them by bike riders. We need to change the law so that can happen here; currently police in California are unable to use video for traffic violations and misdemeanor infractions.

A 17-year old Irish boy will spend the next seven and a half years behind bars after being convicted of manslaughter for stabbing another boy five times in a dispute over a bicycle. We’ve said it before — no bike is worth a human life, yours or someone else’s. Just let it go.

Berlin may be a cycling city, but it’s still plagued with some of Europe’s worst bike lanes.

A Venezuelan Olympic gold medal fencer is delivering food by bike for Uber Eats in Poland to feed his family as he trains for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

 

Competitive Cycling

America’s last remaining Tour de France winner is just one step away from being one of ten individual athletes to be honored with a Congressional Gold Medal; a bill to do that is on President Trump’s desk waiting for his signature.

Popular former pro Ted King set a new record in winning the 1,017-mile Arkansas High Country endurance race; finishing right behind him was the only woman in the race, who also had a record winning time.

 

Finally…

So who needs a seat post on a tri bike, anyway? Ticketing kids on bikes since at least 1963.

And apparently, even NFL stars toss their bikes in anger.

Not to be confused with tossing your cookies, which is an entirely different thing.

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

LA traffic collisions — and bike deaths — drop dramatically, our debt to Alex Trebek, and Culver City bus/bike lanes

No surprise here.

Traffic collisions dropped nearly 42% in Los Angeles during the pandemic lockdown earlier this year, as many drivers stayed home and off the roads.

What’s more surprising is that’s also reflected in the dramatic drop in bicycling deaths in LA County this year, at less than half of last year’s total — 14 so far this year, compared to 34 for all of last year.

Now if we could just keep it that way, as traffic creeps back up to pre-pandemic levels.

Today’s photo comes courtesy of David Drexler, combining two of my favorite things — bikes and coffee.

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Your periodic reminder that some people can live forever, and still be gone too soon.

And this.

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Here’s your chance to weigh in on proposed bus/bike lanes in Culver City, which is rapidly lapping Los Angeles in the race for safe streets.

Then again, it’s not hard to lap someone who never left the starting gate.

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This is who we share the roads with.

There’s a special place in hell for anyone who could just drive off and leave an 87-year old man to die in the street.

And hopefully, a special place behind bars, for a very long time.

Meanwhile, if they really want to put a dent in street racing, make the impound permanent.

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John McBrearty forwards this short video about his bike club’s annual bike build program for kids at the YMCA.

While the video is a couple years old, he assures me it’s taking place once again this year if you want to get involved.

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We can thank Bart Anderson for forwarding this YouTube version of last month’s BBC report on Europe’s bike boom, which wasn’t previously viewable in the US.

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The Bike League is looking for speakers for their upcoming virtual Bike Summit.

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

Monterey bike riders can breathe a little easier tonight, after the local DA announced a man who threw acid on a bike rider 20 years ago will stay in a mental hospital for the foreseeable future.

A Nevada man is being held on $120,000 bail for allegedly shooting a 14-year girl with a BB gun as she was riding her bike; he faces charges of conspiring to commit child abuse and assault with a deadly weapon.

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Local

Looks like Metro is finally getting it, after moving to open up highway funds so local communities can use the money for bike, pedestrian and transit projects, instead.

The Los Angeles Business Journal examines how LA bike shops are struggling to keep up with increased demand due to the bike boom.

A man faces charges for pepper spraying and robbing someone on the beachfront bike path in Santa Monica at 1:37 in the morning; a second suspect was released to…wait for it…his mommy.

Long Beach receives a $275,000 state grant for bicycle and pedestrian safety education programs.

Streets for All is hosting a virtual happy hour with the founders of CicLAvia tomorrow.

 

State

Fontana police are looking for the driver who fled the scene after rear-ending a bike rider last week.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is keeping up the fight for a safer Market Street after the city tries cutting corners by cancelling plans for a raised bike lane.

 

National

Bicycling considers the best bike trailers to ride with your kids. As usual, you can read it on Yahoo if the Bicycling site blocks you out.

Bicycling’s Selene Yeager offers advice on how to overcome common bike riding fears, like descending wet roads and riding in traffic. Once again, you can read it on Yahoo

A Seattle-area man committed suicide just hours before a jury convicted him of raping and murdering a young woman nearly 50 years ago as she was riding her bike. Speaking of a special place in hell, he’s probably already roasting. 

Remarkably, a Las Vegas driver remained at the scene following a high speed crash that took the life of a man riding his bike, despite some outstanding arrest warrants. Then again, if he’d been arrested sooner, the victim might still be with us.

 

International

The BBC looks at the technological advances in the never-ending war against bike thieves.

Good news for ebike riders, as a new Dutch study shows ebikes are no more dangerous than other bikes. Although another study blames ebikes for the rise in traffic deaths among elderly riders.

Madrid’s El Pais maps out how cities around the world are responding to the coronavirus crisis by expanding their bike networks. Note that LA was not included, despite its grand total of zero popup bike lanes.

Ebikes are encouraging Kiwis to get off the couch and start exercising again.

 

Finally…

It’s one thing to ride a bike cross-country; another to make the trip on a Penny Farthing. If you leave the parking meters next to the curb after installing a protected bike lane, where the hell do they think people will park?

And we’re finally training someone to fill in and write these posts when I can’t.

 

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

Redesigning our cities for people, Metro planner killed in SaMo, and illegal bike dismount signs on Wilshire Blvd

My apologies to anyone who saw a premature draft of today’s page while it was still under construction; I somehow hit the Post button instead of Save. 

Blame a daylong rollercoaster dealing with the literal highs and lows of diabetes.

Photo by Emre Kuzu from Pexels.

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He gets it.

Writing for Forbes, an instructor at a Spanish university says it’s time to redesign our cities around people, not cars.

The message is clear: cars must go, they have made our cities unhealthy and expensive for everyone, and while bicycles and pedestrians are part of the solution, we need to redesign streets for pedestrians and for autonomous vehicles. This needs to be backed up by competitive public transport that is more intelligent and versatile, and powered by real-time data.

Shops on streets that are closed to private cars do not suffer, but quite the opposite. Living in a city without a car is perfectly possible: it is already significantly cheaper to rent a car as often as you need than to own one and have to face expenses such as insurance, parking or taxes. But all these solutions raise a fundamental question about changing our habits, about how we get to work, for example: working from home or flexible hours are increasingly established trends.

Someone should mention that part about business thriving on streets that are closed to cars to the business owners on Broadway, who could be looking at exactly that in the near future.

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Sad news from Santa Monica, where Metro Transportation Planner Daniel Chuong was killed when he was struck by a driver while training with his brother for the LA Marathon.

It’s long past time to stop traffic violence in Southern California.

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Signs telling bicyclists to walk their bikes have popped up along the subway construction zones on Wilshire Blvd.

However, the signs do not appear to be compliant with the California MUTCD manual — the state’s official traffic sign guide — and not legally enforceable.

Although I could be wrong on that.

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Apparently, the bike lanes on Jefferson have been closed for sewer pipe work for the next year.

And as usual, there doesn’t seem to be any accommodation for bike riders.

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It looks like the Culver Blvd pathway is closed for construction work, as well. But at least this should reopen in a better version soon.

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Talk about burying the lede.

A Stanton woman suffered serious, but non-life-threatening injuries when she was struck by a hit-and-run driver while pulling a trailer on her bike.

However, the OC Register mentions that the driver fled the scene almost as an aside, before finally getting to a description of the suspect vehicle near the end of the story.

There’s also video from the scene showing the aftermath of the crash. But be warned, it’s tough to watch. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link.

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Bike talks mountain bikes, including how to fly like Superman, how to dial in drops, how to ride a step downhow to ride rollers, how to ride turns and berms, and how to do a back flip.

And an English filmmaker looks at what happens when a mountain bike race shuts down and the trail is converted to a new singletrack course.

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Long Beach expats the Path Less Pedaled take a short ride on an LA gravel rollercoaster.

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

A London driver walked with a warning despite repeatedly brake checking a bike rider — in a bike lane, no less.

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

A Washington credit card thief was busted when he showed up at a hospital with a leg injury, after he was hit by a driver while attempting to make his getaway by bicycle.

A Florida driver asks if bicyclists are allowed to ride salmon in bike lanes, after she nearly hits a wrong way rider who yelled at her and smacked her hood.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton says Magnolia Blvd, Broadway, and traffic signal pre-emption are three early tests for Mayor Garcetti’s Climate Directive.

Streets for All has echoed Bike the Vote LA in endorsing Loraine Lundquist in LA’s 12th Council District and Sarah Kate Levy in CD4.

The Bieb took his fat tire ebike out for a spin on the mean streets of Beverly Hills, after first shaving off that cheesy mustache.

Bike thieves made off with a pair of high-end road bikes with electronic shifting from an unlocked Pasadena garage. Let that be a lesson, kids — don’t leave your garage or your bikes unlocked any longer than necessary. Thanks to TJ Knight for the heads-up. 

On the other hand, Santa Monica bike thefts have reached their lowest level in five years.

Long Beach police shot and killed an armed man who refused to cooperate after police ordered him to stop his bicycle, allegedly pointing his gun at them.

 

State

Santa Barbara will conduct a road diet on De la Vina Street, narrowing it to a single one-way traffic lane, along with a bike lane.

A Beaumont bike rider suffered serious injuries Monday morning when he or she was hit by a driver, who actually stuck around and waited for the police, for a change.

A Porterville man faces charges for literally running from police when they tried to pull his bicycle over while he was riding stoned, and illegally loading real bullets into a replica BB gun, which he wasn’t allowed to own as a convicted felon.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a $4,000 ‘bent that an autistic Fresno man used as his only form of transportation.

 

National

The Week argues that the real promise of the electric vehicle revolution lies with ebikes, rather than electric cars.

Americans are addicted to their cars.

Clearly, you can do that on a bike, especially on one like this. Whatever you’re trying to do.

Rapper Jeezy is one of us, going for a Valentine’s Day bike ride with girlfriend Jeannie Mai on the back.

A Missoula, Montana man wants to thank the two women who came to his aid when he broke his leg riding in the snow. And get his bike back from the one who promised to hold it for him, but apparently gave him a fake address for where he could pick it up.

An Oklahoma couple is planning to set a new Guinness world record for the longest ebike ride, traveling 20,000 unsupported miles across 48 states. Get back to me when they actually do it. Because it’s easy to make plans, much harder to actually do it. As I’ve learned the hard way. 

Columbia, Missouri is apparently following the Los Angeles model for Vision Zero, with traffic deaths and serious injuries on the increase four years after adopting the safety plan.

If you build it, they will come. Which apparently works just as well for an Illinois bake shop located across from a popular bike path as it does for anything else.

Seriously? A self-proclaimed bicycle rider blames bike lanes for all that traffic congestion in Pittsburgh, which apparently didn’t exist before they were painted. And compares bike lanes to dogs marking their territory.

A Massachusetts man now owns the same bike shop where he worked as a bike-obsessed teenager.

New York Streetsblog argues that a new survey shows America’s mayors know cars are killing people and ruining our cities, but don’t have the courage to do anything about it.

Closing a section of a busy New York street to cars in favor of a busway is literally saving lives.

Kindhearted cops in Richmond VA gave a new bike and helmet to a woman who was hit by a car while riding, after learning her bike was her only form of transportation.

Evidently, they take distracted driving seriously in Georgia, where a driver faces a vehicular homicide charge for killing a bike rider when he looked down at his coffee cup.

An Orlando, Florida writer confesses to blowing through stop signs while riding a bicycle on a trail dedicated to non-motorized transportation, where bike riders should get priority, but don’t. Each of the past two nights, I’ve watched drivers blow through the stop signs on my block without even slowing down. But let a bike rider do the same thing at 10 – 15 mph, instead of 30 or more, and people get apoplectic.

This is who we share the roads with. A Florida man confessed to intentionally running down a Vietnam veteran, who the killer described as “an old man with a cane,” just because he was curious about what it’s like to kill someone.

 

International

They get it, too. A writer for Rouleur says the one thing all bicyclist have in common, regardless of ability, is how vulnerable we are on the roads. And concludes that the culture, and the laws, have to change.

Mark your calendar for the World Naked Bike Ride in London this June. But pack some clothes anyway.

A London bike rider gets ordered off his bike while riding on a shared-use path after a cop ignores the signage and decides it’s for pedestrians only.

As Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo runs for re-election with a promise of bike lanes on every street, Parisians continue to ride their bikes, even after a disruptive transit strike has ended.

A Pakistani delivery driver working in Dubai faces six months in jail followed by a fast deportation for sexually harassing a customer by kissing her wrist and cheek when he tried to drop off the bicycle she ordered for her husband.

A South African ultra-endurance cyclist has made a remarkable comeback from a solo crash that nearly took his life, but couldn’t stop him.

A Kiwi town gets a new hot pink, car-shaped bike corral.

New Zealand bicyclists demand better infrastructure following a recent bicycling fatality, arguing that paint isn’t protection.

Yet another new study, this time from New Zealand, shows that biking to work can reduce your risk of dying and could extend your life.

A social media backlash erupted after a Formula 1 racing driver unveiled his relationship with an Aussie women’s cyclist, just three months after divorcing his ex-wife.

File this one under you’ve got to be kidding. Melbourne residents are calling for bikes to be banned from shared paths because riders are exceeding the ridiculously low 6.2 mph speed limit. I’m not sure my bike can even go that slow without falling over. Or maybe it can, and I can’t.

Apparently, running over an elderly Singapore bike rider felt just like driving over a plastic bottle to the truck driver who killed him.

 

Competitive Cycling

Dutch pro Tom Dumoulin’s return to racing following a knee injury last June is on hold due to parasites in his gut.

Adults over 50 are invited to compete in the Pasadena Senior Games, which includes cycling as well as a number of other sports. Although it’s not clear from the article whether you have to be a Pasadena resident.

 

Finally…

Pedaling a party bike through a winter bomb cyclone doesn’t look like much of a party. Who needs wheels to join a group ride when wings will do just fine.

And evidently, the San Francisco Chronicle has been reading my Twitter feed.

 

LA blames Vision Zero fail on texting drivers, anti-bike bias on Bay Area bridge, and Arroyo Seco repairs underway

The Los Angeles Times pretty well sums up LA’s Vision Zero failure in two short paragraphs.

Last year, 244 people were killed in traffic collisions on city streets, a decrease of 0.8% compared to 2018, according to preliminary figures from the city. The victims included 134 people who were walking and 19 people biking.

The data may change slightly with additional analysis, officials said. But the early figures suggest another year of lackluster progress for Vision Zero, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s initiative to eliminate traffic deaths on city streets by 2025.

That’s two more bicycling deaths than I showed in my records. Which isn’t too surprising, since too many fatal crashes never make the news.

But instead of placing blame on the city’s insistence at nibbling on the edges of traffic safety, rather than making the wholesale changes to LA streets that define a true Vision Zero program, the city insists on pointing the finger at texting drivers.

Which is a major problem, of course.

But Vision Zero is supposed to be about accepting that people will always make mistakes behind the wheel — like texting, for instance. And designing roadways in such a way that those mistakes don’t become fatalities.

According to the story,

The Transportation Department made more changes to streets in L.A. in 2019 than in the prior two years combined, said spokeswoman Connie Llanos. Those 1,529 modifications to crosswalks, traffic signals, intersections and other elements of the street are designed to improve the safety of the street.

Yet none of those modifications included a single road diet or protected intersection.

Or, to the best of my recollection, a single new protected bike lane.

Rather than making simple changes to intersections, the city needs to take aim at changing the city’s car culture, said John Yi, the executive director of Los Angeles Walks, a pedestrian advocacy group.

If zero deaths is really the city’s goal, “we need to have a visionary plan that matches the scope of that goal,” Yi said. “We have failed to do that.”

There is every argument for making those kinds of wholesale changes to the streets, from saving lives to reducing traffic congestion and fighting climate change.

And only one reason not to — city leadership that fears angry voters, and lacks the political will to do what they know must be done if this city, and the people in it, are to survive and prosper.

As exemplified in the mayor’s action in unceremoniously ripping out the Playa del Rey road diets and bikes lanes less than a month after they went in, before they had a chance to prove themselves and drivers could adjust to the changes.

Yet they were elected, not to follow the will of those who scream the loudest, but to actually lead their constituents by making the hard choices to do the right thing, and build a city that works for all of us.

Not just impatient drivers. Or wealthy homeowners.

And not one that continues to kill too many of it’s most vulnerable road users.

Photo by Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush from Pexels.

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Just in case anyone wants to argue that Vision Zero doesn’t work, Helsinki, Finland didn’t have single pedestrian death last year, following a slow decline from a high of 60 in 1970.

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He gets it.

Then again, Peter Flax always does.

This time, the former editor-in-chief of Bicycling and near-daily bike commuter goes on a polite rant over a recent highly biased article blaming bike lanes on the Bay Area’s Richmond–San Raphael Bridge for making poor, suffering teachers late for work.

Not, say, all those other drivers on the bridge.

This is how efforts to build safe and convenient places for cyclists are demonized—as something that screws up the lives of motorists struggling to get somewhere important. This is how American car culture operates in 2020, when record numbers of cyclists are killed by drivers and efforts to do something about it are viewed as impractical and an attack on the driving public’s way of life.

Swan’s story is better reported than its clickbait headline might suggest, but upon close examination it reads like inadvertent propaganda. Though she name-checks the real problems plaguing miserable commuters, the central premise of her piece lends credibility to the absurd idea that the basic needs of embattled, working-class commuters are being trampled upon by people riding bikes…

He goes on to point the finger where it really belongs.

Let’s be frank. The congestion on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (and roadways in every U.S. city) can really suck. But it doesn’t suck because of cyclists or bike lanes. The traffic sucks because of sprawl and cheap gas and Americans’ love of cars. The traffic sucks because cities and states don’t put enough effort into housing, carpooling, telecommuting, micromobility, and financial tools like congestion pricing (in which motorists pay a modest surcharge to use roads at busy times, a tactic that has decreased traffic in European cities). These systemic problems—less suited to cranky populist headlines—are the real cause of traffic.

As with anything Flax writes, it’s a good read.

But more to the point, it’s an important one. Because we face this same sort of seemingly innocuous bias on a daily basis, with drivers failing to the real traffic problem is facing them back in the mirror.

And it’s not caused by bikes, bike lanes, or the people who use them.

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Repairs are finally underway on a storm damaged section of the Arroyo Seco Bike Path.

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The LA Daily News is hosting another candidate forum in CD12 on the 17th.

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The 2020 Regional Bike Summit kicks off today, hosted by the San Diego Bike Coalition. The mayor of Encinitas, in North San Diego County, will be taking part.

Then again, so should every other mayor in the area.

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A beautiful handmade lowrider bike takes first place in a bent wood competition.

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

Edinburgh, Scotland police are looking for a sidewalk-riding “bike thug” who got off his bike and beat a total stranger for no apparent reason, sending him to the hospital with facial injuries.

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Local

Congratulations to Sunset For All, after the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council voted to support protected bike lanes on dangerous Sunset Blvd.

Voice your opposition to plans to widen deadly Magnolia Blvd — one of the city’s Vision Zero High Injury Network streets — next Monday at the North Hollywood Neighborhood Council meeting

 

State

Uber’s self-driving cars are on their way back to California, three years after the company got its hand slapped by the DMV for unleashing them in San Francisco without permits.

As we noted earlier, San Diego’s popular Ocean Beach bike path will be closed for construction work for the remainder of this month.

Nice gesture by a Santa Maria man, who returned a Kobe Bryant jersey that belonged to a fallen teenage bike rider to the boy’s mother nearly 13 years after he was killed in a collision; the boy had left it at the man’s apartment shortly before his death.

The Vallejo police union blames the victim after a cop is cleared in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager who fled a traffic stop.

A new San Francisco report contradicts the usual narrative from motorists, finding that drivers were responsible for two-thirds of collisions with pedestrians in the city last year.

Lime Bike wants to make a comeback in the Bay Area, despite pulling out of other cities in favor of e-scooter rentals.

Plans are underway to link 15 towns in Sierra, Plumas, Lassen and Butte County with more than 300 miles of new motorized and non-motorized trail bike trails in the Lost Sierra region.

 

National

The New York Times says new digital data streams are driving new approaches to transportation, using LA’s data-sharing requirement for e-scooters and dockless bikeshare as a prime example.

On the topic of bikes going nowhere, Flywheel cops to ripping off Peloton’s patented streaming technology.

Specialized has a new e-mountain bike for you, if you’re willing to fork out $6,500 — or $16,500 for the carbon model.

Life is cheap in Washington, where a man walked with time served after copping a plea to vehicular homicide for fatally right-hooking a 75-year old bike rider while driving stoned, despite a commitment to never drive after using medical cannabis for a bad neck. Evidently, DUI and homicide is just no big deal up there.

This is why I love the bicycling community. When the owner of a Cincinnati mom-and-pop bike shop had to go to the hospital, ten bike mechanics from other shops offered to fill in for him. And a crowdfunding page raised over $9,000 since Sunday night — nearly double the modest $5,000 goal.

Chicago Streetsblog says the city needs a Rapid Response Team, arguing that inaction in the wake of tragic crashes is unacceptable. Which is exactly what I argued for before and after Los Angeles announced its Vision Zero program; every death should be immediately investigated by a multi-disciplinary team to determine contributory causes and prevent another one.

Speaking of the Windy City, the Department of DIY struck once again, spray painting bike lane markings at a Chicago intersection where a woman was killed, after the city failed to maintain them.

New York City could soon require side guards on large trucks to prevent bike riders and pedestrians from being pulled underneath. These should be mandatory everywhere, for reasons that should be obvious.

Pennsylvania votes to allow protected bike and pedestrian lanes on state roadways.

A DC website questions whether “war on cars” is a useful term, after a WaPo reporter insists the district is waging one. Probably not, considering only one side is dying, and it ain’t the people in motor vehicles.

A local website discovers that some people actually like an Alexandrian VA road diet that’s being maligned by very vocal opponents.

 

International

Treehugger confronts the recurring myth that fuel for a bike rider causes as much CO2 emissions as someone in car. Short answer, no. Longer answer, hell no.

They get it. A column in Cycling Industry News says if the bike industry wants to draw new customers, people need to feel safe riding their bikes. Which is the best argument for why bikemakers and bike shops should get involved in local advocacy. But few do.

Even the Cayman Islands need better bike lanes.

Bicycling offers five tips from the world’s coldest bike ride, Canada’s Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra, to help keep you warm here in frigid Southern California.

Saskatoon, Canada, could soon remove a requirement for bicyclists to ride in bike lanes, arguing that faster riders should be allowed to ride in traffic lanes if they feel more comfortable.

Great Britain is debating whether to allow e-scooters in the country, where they are currently banned; a Swedish professor argues that cities should embrace them.

One place you can cross off your bike bucket list — the mean streets of Gaborone, Botswana, where bicycles are unwanted and unwelcome, along with the people who ride them.

A teenage Aussie driver faces multiple charges for killing two men out for their usual early morning bike ride while driving on the wrong side of the road.

 

Competitive Cycling

The San Diego Union-Tribune says USA Cycling CEO Rob DeMartini is taking the organization in bold new directions after years as an afterthought, as the sport went its own way without its help or oversight.

VeloNews says they already miss the Amgen Tour of California, which was cancelled this year after a 14-year run.

 

Finally…

If one shade of bikeshare doesn’t work, just keep going through the colors until one catches on. If you’re going to steal a bikeshare bike, at least be casual about it.

And world famous bike rider LeBron James wants to get you on a bicycle; rumor has it he also plays basketball or something.

 

Morning Links: Study cites bogus jump in e-scooter injuries, KCRW talks Vision Zero fail, and Danny MacAskil hits the gym

Bullshit.

An alarming new UC San Francisco study shows a very disturbing jump in e-scooter injuries, citing a 222% increase from 2014 to 2018.

Worse, nationwide hospital admissions from e-scooter injuries went up a whopping 365% over the same period.

According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel,

“It is a rising public health concern that needs attention,” said Nikan K. Namiri, 22, a medical student at the UCSF School of Medicine and first author of the study, published in Wednesday’s issue of JAMA Surgery. “Injuries and hospitalizations have risen significantly.”

Just one problem.

Everyone who remembers riding an e-scooter in 2014 please raise your hand.

Anyone?

That’s because the first e-scooters didn’t hit the streets mid-2017.

So yeah, if you include those two and a half years when they didn’t even exist, there probably has been a huge increase in injuries.

Something the study’s authors almost acknowledge.

The rise in injuries — from 6 per 100,000 Americans in 2014 to 19 per 100,000 in 2018 — could simply reflect scooters’ growing popularity, Namiri said. Scooters can be unlocked for $1 with a smartphone app, and then costs just 15 cents per minute to ride.

It’s entirely predictable that injuries would increase along with ridership.

In fact, according to a NACTO study, Americans took 38.5 million trips on e-scooters as the industry expanded to around 100 cities in 2018, the first year they were widely available.

So why did the study’s authors go back five years, when there’s really only one year of data?

Good question.

The authors also decry the lack of helmet use.

In 2018, California loosened safety regulation for scooters, removing the helmet requirement for riders over the age of 18.  Scooter rental company Bird, which backed the legislation and lobbied for the change, noted that adult bicyclists are not required to wear helmets – and that more people would ride scooters if helmets weren’t mandated.

“That is not helpful,” said responded Namiri. “People over 18 experience the highest number of injuries. Not wearing a helmet poses a health risk.”

It makes perfect sense that most head injuries would be suffered by people over 18, considering that California requires scooter users to be over the age of 16 and have a driver’s license.

Because there are a hell of a lot more scooter users from 18 up than there are in the two-year age range from 16-17, even if some users are under age.

Then there’s this from the Sentinel story.

According to news reports, at least two Californians have been killed while riding scooters. A 53-year-old man died in San Diego after he lost control and hit a tree. A 41-year-old man died in Santa Monica when he fell off a scooter and was hit by a car.

Never mind that the Santa Monica victim was riding a sit-down mobility scooter when he fell off and was struck by a hit-and-run driver.

Not exactly the sort of e-scooter that’s booming in popularity.

Finally, there’s this, again from the Sentinel.

Meanwhile, the tension between scooter transit and safety is playing out on many city streets. Pedestrians are frustrated by the clutter of abandoned scooters in sidewalks, street corners and doorways, as well as near-miss collisions when riders zip down crowded sidewalks. Cyclists are angered by the addition of motorized traffic to bike lanes. Scooter riders say the real problem is cars — and America’s outmoded transportation infrastructure, with not enough room for everybody.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m not the least bit bothered by sharing a bike lane with e-scooters, any more than I am ebikes, skateboards or people in wheelchairs.

And it’s not just scooter users who think the real problem is America’s over-reliance on cars and a shortage of decent infrastructure for anyone who’s not surrounded by a couple tons of glass and steel.

Don’t get me wrong.

E-scooter injuries are a legitimate problem, and people have been killed using them in cities throughout the US. We need valid studies to asses how e-scooters fit into the transportation matrix, and what needs to be done to make the streets safe for everyone.

But what we don’t need is junk science and scare tactics masquerading as legitimate research intended to shape public policy.

………

Boy, does she get it.

KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis talks with LA Curbed editor Alissa Walker about why Los Angeles continues struggling to cut traffic deaths, despite the city’s Vision Zero program.

Why has LA struggled so much? Alissa Walker of Curbed LA points to two factors: the slow implementation of strategies that have been recommended by LA’s Department of Transportation; and resistance from public officials. LA City Councilmember Gil Cedillo has said he won’t have any road diets in his district. Councilmember John Lee is trying to take out a bike lane in his district in the Valley.

Invest seven minutes of your day and give it a listen.

………

Scottish stunt cyclist Danny MacAskil works out at the gym.

His way, of course.

………

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

San Francisco’s notorious driving advocate and his attorney are back and attempting to block plans for a new bike lane, after their farcical suit halted the city’s bike plan for several years.

………

Local

Good news and bad news from Long Beach, where the city council approved spending $127,000 to study an 8.3-mile bikeway along Orange Ave; the bad news is they want to expand parking in the city, including painting over red curbs. Not exactly the best way to increase safety and fight climate change.

 

State

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a new ebike from a San Diego man with Parkinson’s just hours after he received it.

San Diego’s Planning Commissioner releases video of the hit-and-run crash that nearly killed her as she walked out of a restaurant, saying she’ll be in pain the rest of her life.

A Palm Spring bike rider escaped without serious injuries when he was hit by a driver at N Gene Autry Trail & E Tachevah Drive yesterday evening.

Speaking of a special place in hell, that applies even more to the heartless coward who fled the scene after running down a 93-year old man riding a bike in Goleta; fortunately, he only suffered moderate injuries.

Tragic news from Fresno, where a man was killed in a 1 am hit-and-run while riding his bike on Wednesday; the driver claimed he fled because he he was “threatened by another group of bicyclists” after the crash.

Visit your San Mateo branch library to check out a few books and a bicycle.

A Modesto man and woman were injured when a hit-and-run driver smashed into the bicycle and homemade trailer they were riding; he suffered serious injuries on the bike, while she suffered minor injuries riding in the trailer. Note to CBS Sacramento — The trailer may have been makeshift, but the bike probably wasn’t.

A Lodi man learned the hard way to obey traffic laws when riding his bike while carrying heroin and a flare gun converted to fire shotgun shells.

 

National

Singletracks offers ten arguments to try to convince someone you need a new mountain bike. Add one more — as midlife crises go, it’s pretty tame.

Seriously, who doesn’t want good cup of coffee with your new bike?

Who knew he had a sense of humor? Not only is Justin Bieber one of us, his Insta feed is full of images of him falling off his bike. Sort of.

Motley Fool says Peloton stocks can go a long way even with the company selling indoor bikes for two grand.

Forget the skis and snowboards. Just take your fat bike on your next winter trip to Tahoe.

Phoenix police fatally shot a man who led two officers on a chase on his bicycle, attempting to wrestle away the man’s gun before he fired a shot during the struggle, and was shot in return.

Dang. The owner of my favorite Denver bike shop is selling the business to his managers and retiring. I know damn well Alan Fine wouldn’t remember me from when I lived there, but that was one hell of a shop he had back then.

Apparently, Omaha, Nebraska’s only bike corral was removed on a whim, with no stats or study to support the decision to replace it with a single parking space.

A 17-year old Allen TX bike rider was lucky to escape without serious injuries when he was shot in the arm and leg from a passing car in an apparent random attack; an SUV was also struck by the gunfire, muddying the question of who was the intended target.

A writer for Chicago’s Streetsblog says it’s time to stop coddling drivers, and build a citywide protected bike lane network. Which applies equally well right here in Los Angeles,. If not more.

Nice story from Indianapolis, where two bighearted cops bought a new bike for a little girl after learning she didn’t get anything for Christmas because her parents couldn’t afford to buy gifts this year.

An Indiana cop was allegedly speeding and texting when she crashed into a woman riding her bicycle one five years ago; the case is just now going to the jury.

New York’s governor is calling for the legalization of throttle-controlled ebikes for delivery workers, saying it’s a social justice issue. Never mind that he just vetoed a bill to do exactly that.

A New Jersey man got a well-deserved 19 years behind bars after he was busted with the bicycle he stole from a special needs man — then threatened the victim with a hammer after spotting him with the bike a month later.

Maybe there’s hope for LA yet. After suffering the humiliation of being named the nation’s worst bike city, Memphis TN has added 270 miles of bike lanes in the last ten years. Unfortunately, Los Angeles city officials couldn’t seem to care less that the city is the current holder of that dubious title.

Now that’s more like it. A Louisiana man was sentenced to eight years behind bars for killing a man riding a bike while driving drunk and stoned. Although I always wonder if a white driver would have gotten a lighter sentence for the same crime.

 

International

Bicycling harks back to the unlamented days of Cycle Chic, with a look at how five people developed their signature bicycle fashion.

Road.cc considers that not everyone can, or wants to, spend several thousand on a new bicycle by naming their Bike of the Year for under £1000 — the equivalent of $1,3000. The winning bike sells for less than $700, while one of the runner-ups retails for just $520.

Seriously, what kind of schmuck steals 30 bicycles from a Kiwi bike co-op dedicated to refurbishing bikes to get more people riding — including a handmade mini-Penny Farthing made from recycled parts?

A New Zealand bike rider was seriously injured when he was somehow run over by another bicyclist; there may or may not have been a car involved.

Apparently suffering from a bad case of windshield bias, a Kiwi columnist says she’s got nothing against bicyclists — except that bike tourists should be banned from highways, so they won’t inconvenience people like her.

An Aussie bike rider got a whopping $915 ticket for riding on a sidewalk, not stopping for a red light and failing to wear a helmet, which is required Down Under. The good news is, that’s only $615 US.

An American bicyclist visits Japan, and raves about the people, the riding, and roads like poetry.

A Chinese website says that despite the growing popularity of bicycling in the country, there are significant roadblocks to overcome before it can reclaim its title as the Bicycle Kingdom.

 

Competitive Cycling

He’s back. Longtime team owner and manager Bjarn Riis is the new manager and co-owner of NTT Pro Cycling; Riis is also a former pro cyclist and the winner of the 1996 Tour de France.

The final two wildcard teams are announced, completing the lineup for this year’s Tour de France.

Time to start training to be America’s first Gran Fondo National champ.

 

Finally…

Probably not the best idea to fight bike theft by setting up your own DIY vigilante bait bike on the front lawn. Save the squirrels from scofflaw bicyclists — and corgis.

And forget ebikes. Now you, too, can build your very own steam-powered steampunk bicycle.

 

Morning Links: LA Vision Zero fail, bike & pedestrian deaths up in US — and LA, and possible bike death in Palm Springs

Good story from LAist about two pedestrian deaths that occurred within two hours last week.

And by extension, the city’s meager efforts at implementing Vision Zero.

Both victims, including a four-year old girl killed just 50 feet from her preschool, died on streets that are part of the city’s High Injury Network.

While overall traffic deaths are down in three of the four LAPD traffic divisions, pedestrian and bicycling deaths continue to make up 60% of all road deaths in the City of Los Angeles.

And in that fourth division, in West LA, traffic deaths are up a whopping 75%.

Not that the city isn’t doing anything about it.

According to L.A. Department of Transportation spokesman Colin Sweeney, the city has been picking up the pace on safety improvements.

“In 2019 alone, we introduced over 700 improvements to increase visibility of crosswalks — more than 2017 and 2018 combined,” Sweeney told LAist, adding that 77 speed feedback signs and “dozens of traffic signal and street design improvements” have also been installed.

But despite those efforts, preliminary traffic collision data from the Los Angeles Police Department shows that, with roughly 10 weeks left in 2019, the number of people seriously injured and killed by vehicles while walking L.A. streets this year is keeping pace with 2018’s figures.

If you want to observe a wasted effort in action, just stand next to one of those traffic feedback signs, and count how many people observe the speed limit. And how many drivers actually slow down.

Chances are, you’ll have more than enough fingers left over to let the city know what you really think about it.

Not surprisingly, LADOT was quick to demonstrate how little the city seems to understand what the hell Vision Zero even is.

When we asked LADOT about the increase, spokesman Colin Sweeney cited the improvement work the department had completed this year and added that while the city can re-engineer roadways, the other component to safer streets is safer behavior by motorists.

“Drivers need to realize the responsibility they take when they get behind the wheel,” he said. “That means avoiding distractions and slowing down on surface streets which are a shared public space — even 5 mph slower can save a life.”

Except Vision Zero is about reimagining the streets so human error does not result in deaths.

It’s not about eduction. It’s not, as the city often insists, about enforcement.

And it’s not about drivers taking responsibility, as nice as that would be.

It’s about re-imagining the damn streets themselves, so no one dies when they don’t.

And on that count, the city is failing miserably.

………

Then again, the same pattern is holding true across the US, where overall traffic deaths are down 2.4%, according to the Washington Post.

Traffic fatalities fell for the second-straight year in 2018, the agency said, and the downward trend continues, with traffic deaths down 3.4 percent in the first six months of this year…

There also were fewer fatalities resulting from speeding and alcohol-impaired drivers. Additionally, there was a 10 percent reduction in the number of children killed in crashes.

That’s the good news. As long as you get around safely wrapped in a couple tons of glass and steel.

But while overall traffic fatalities were down, more pedestrians and bicyclists were killed on U.S. roads last year, accounting for nearly 20 percent of all traffic deaths.

According to NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System data, 6,283 pedestrians and 857 people on bikes or similar nonmotorized vehicles were killed in 2018, increases of 3.4 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively. Federal officials said the rises were concentrated in urban areas.

Maybe someday we’ll have elected leaders who care enough to make the hard choices to put human lives over the convenience of motorists.

Let alone actually take steps to protect the planet.

But it hasn’t happened yet.

Not in the US. Not in California.

And not in Los Angeles.

………

Sad news from Palm Springs, where a man was killed in a Palm Springs hit-and-run Monday night.

People who live in the area say the victim was riding a bicycle, but there’s no mention of that in the story, and no confirmation yet through other sources.

Hopefully we’ll get more information soon.

Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

………

Just a quick, non-sponsored reminder that there is a nationwide roadside assistance program for people on bicycles, too.

………

Metro Bike is waiving the standard fee for unlocking their ebikes through Halloween.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes is all too real.

A British man is under arrest for pulling up next to a bike rider in a car, and fatally stabbing him as he rode his bike. Police are looking for two other men who ran away from the crime scene, and say the attack did not appear to be random.

………

Local

You could soon find yourself riding streets of plastic.

Congratulations to the Long Beach/Los Angeles metro area, on being recognized for having the worst air quality in the US. And yes, that’s sarcasm.

The latest SGV Connect podcast talks with the leaders of Calbike at their recent summit in Los Angeles.

The LA City Council Transportation Committee will discuss bikeway maintenance at today’s 1 pm meeting, as part of a long agenda.

Whittier beautifies a parking lot on the 4.6-mile Greenway Trail, a year before a 2.6-mile extension is scheduled to open.

CiclaValley and company go riding at Crystal Lake.

 

State

Ride 2 Recovery is raising funds for former motocross champ Micky Dymond, who suffered a severe brain injury and a number of other injuries in a solo fall while riding a time trial bike in Orange County; the group has raised over $13,000 of the $100,000 goal for the uninsured victim.

A 74-year old San Diego driver hit a man who riding his bike legally, and what should have been safely, in the bike lane, then just kept going because he thought he hit the curb. Which is prima facie evidence that maybe he shouldn’t be behind the wheel.

A group of five former Navy SEALs will embark on a 1,000-mile bike ride down the East Coast to raise funds for the VIP Neuro Rehabilitation Center in San Diego.

Morro Bay police are looking for the hit-and-run driver that left a bicyclist lying on the side of the road with critical injuries; police say he did everything right. But got hit anyway.

A Cotati man was seriously injured in a crash near Rohnert Park when a driver hit his bike. Naturally, the CHP didn’t hesitate to blame the victim.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever burgled a San Jose bike co-op serving homeless people twice in just four days.

 

National

A website for lovers of four wheel drive vehicles says if you enjoy taking one offroad, you probably already enjoy mountain biking, too.

Speaking of which, Singletracks lists five examples of trail etiquette that apply in the real world, too.

Americans took over 84 million bikeshare and e-scooter rides last year.

The NAACP calls the forcible arrest of a black Oregon State University student for riding salmon an attack on her civil rights.

The Houston Chronicle offers more on the 27-year old man killed in a collision after he pushed his fiancé off her bike just before the crash, sacrificing his own life to save hers.

A resident of a small Iowa town insists the city has been recruiting Chicago “thugs” to get funding for low income housing. And offers as proof backpack-wearing people riding BMX bikes at 2:30 am. Which just happens to be half an hour after the bars close, when employees who don’t have cars would be making their way home from work. Just saying.

A Missouri nonprofit has refurbished and given away 500 bicycles over the past few years, including one they dropped off just in time for a homeless man to get to a job interview.

A Wisconsin bike rider is suing after he was seriously injured when he hit a steel cable that came off a fence and was lying across the roadway.

The Chicago Tribune rates the best bicycle inner tubes.

An Akron, Ohio man was lucky to escape with his life when an armed thief jumped out of the bushes and demanded his valuables, pedaling away as the thief repeatedly fired at him.

A Toledo, Ohio recycling plant recovered a 1962 bicycle license that somehow became embedded in concrete that someone brought in to be crushed. Let’s hope the rest of the bike wasn’t in there, too. Or the rider, for that matter.

New York residents say the city will have to take “their” parking spaces out of their cold, dead fingers.

Comedian Billy Crystal barely avoided getting knocked down by an out-of-control food delivery rider who landed at his feet as he was filming his new movie in New York.

After someone steals a New Jersey convenience store manager’s unlocked bike, kindhearted customers pitch in to give him a new one, along with $600 cash.

The bike-riding woman who gained international fame for flipping off President Trump’s motorcade, and got fired as a result, is now running for county supervisor in Virginia.

 

International

Cycling News ranks the best steel frame bikes.

Strava users are angry the popular app is dropping support for Bluetooth and ANT+ devices.

Firefighters from Mexico City and Phoenix AZ recovered the body of a Mexican bike rider, who drowned after falling through a six-foot wide sinkhole in a Hermosillo street.

An English man who received a double lung transplant is riding 300 miles from London to Paris to raise the equivalent of over $25,000 for the hospital that performed the operation.

British police investigators are headed to the US to interview the wife of an American diplomat — or possibly spy — who killed a 19-year old motorcyclist, then claimed diplomatic immunity to flee the country.

Life is cheap in Northern Ireland, where a driver got just one year behind bars for plowing into a group of bicyclists, killing one man and seriously injuring another.

An Irish writer wonders why bike riders and pedestrians can’t just get along.

Five people crossed Australia’s 370-mile wide Simpson Desert on fat bikes, 80 years after it was crossed for the first time, without bikes.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling Weekly rates the WorldTour teams on their success this part year; Deceuninck-Quick-Step topped the rankings, while Dimension Data might want to take up another sport.

Transgender Masters track champ Rachel McKinnon defends her right to compete — and win — in women’s cycling, while fending off criticism from other cyclists, as well as Donald Trump Jr.

 

Finally…

Skip the energy gels, and pass the French fries. Ride the future today.

And when in Rome, don’t trash the ebikes.

 

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