Tag Archive for traffic fatalities

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

 

Morning Links: US bike and pedestrian deaths up in 2018, Mehta convicted in OC hit-and-run, and e-scooters in the news

Traffic deaths are down slightly in the US.

But only if you’re in a car or truck. Otherwise, it appears to be open season on anyone walking or riding a bike.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, overall traffic deaths declined last year to a three-year low of 36,750.

But preliminary numbers show bicycling deaths were projected to rise a whopping 10%, while pedestrian fatalities are up 4%.

Officials would like to put the blame on distracted drivers, but are having a hard time getting accurate figures. Because — tres shock! — drivers are reluctant to admit they were distracted after killing someone.

No word yet on the actual number of deaths for either group.

But whatever it turns out to be, it’s too damn many.

Photo shows an abandoned bike carcass that someone undoubtedly loved once, left carelessly on the sidewalk.

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I’m told that Medium contributor Pratiti Renee Mehta has been convicted by a jury of her peers in the Costa Mesa hit-and-run that left a 56-year old bike rider with a compound ankle fracture this past March.

She was arrested following numerous tips from the public after police released photos of her black Mercedes following the victim just before running him down.

Prosecutors dropped a charge of assault with a deadly weapon before the case went to trial.

She’ll be formally sentenced on July 17th.

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Today’s common theme is e-scooters.

Lots of e-scooters.

According to a San Francisco op-ed, a bill under consideration in the state legislature would ban liability waivers for scooter providers, opening the companies up to countless lawsuits, frivolous and otherwise.

Someone vandalized dozens of dockless bikes and e-scooters in San Diego’s Ocean Beach with graffiti containing “inappropriate” words, including “Bird sucks.”

A Nashville writer says e-scooters are not the transportation revolution we need.

New York is finally deciding to join the 21st Century with a bill that would finally legalize ebikes, as well as e-scooters.

E-scooter riders face a $600 fine in British Columbia, where the devices fall into a grey area where they’re neither permitted or banned.

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Add one more to our recent collection of WWII bike photos, this time from a sailor stationed in Panama (see the last photo).

And a pretty snappy dresser, too.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for forwarding this one.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on, as a British magazine jokes about using razor wire to stop bicyclists from riding on the sidewalk.

At least, let’s hope they’re joking.

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Local

The Daily News highlights six transportation projects that will transform the San Fernando Valley in coming years. We’ll have to fight to ensure they include bikeways, like many other light rail and BRT (bus rapid transit) projects in the LA area.

Metro will consider first mile/last mile options for the Gold Line at Wednesday’s meeting of the Planning and Programming Committee.

Metro’s Bicycle Education Safety Training (BEST) Program will team with the Pasadena Public Library, LA River Path Project and People for Mobility Justice to present a Bicycle 101 class in Pasadena this Saturday.

 

State

That feeling when good news about a Santa Barbara bike rider turns out to be an ad for the local trauma center.

The leaders of a San Francisco transit workers union say the city is sabotaging its own bikeshare system.

Streetsblog San Francisco congratulates Caltrans for winning an award for creating “another bike and pedestrian hellscape,” complaining the agency has no idea what constitutes safe infrastructure.

A Stockton newspaper recommends exploring the “old pioneer trail” from Old Sacramento to Folsom. And notes that you can easily do all, or part, by bicycle.

 

National

Uh… Seattle spanks Jump and Lime for failing to report complaints about illegally parked dockless ebikes by reducing the number of bikes they’re allowed to deploy on the streets to… 700 more than they do now. That’s going to teach ’em alright.

Apparently having solved the problem of deadly, speeding drivers, Denver is turning its speed guns on bike riders who exceed the city’s 15 mph speed limit on bike paths, threatening $100 tickets for the first offense — whether or not you have a speedometer on your bike.

An 18-year old Wisconsin man is dead after being shot by police in an incident that began with riding a bike without lights after dark; he allegedly dropped his bike and ran, then turned and fired at officers after they used some sort of non-lethal weapons to get him to stop.

Riding 180 miles across Maine — on one wheel.

They get it. Gothamist says no other commute beats the sensory experience of riding a bike.

The NYPD apparently likes bikes without riders more than the ones with one, pausing to rescue a locked bike from a swarm of bees.

Now that’s more like it. A Pennsylvania combination coffee shop and bike shop wins permission to open a taproom, as well. Is it just a coincidence that it’s located in the hometown of Bicycling magazine? Probably not.

A Delaware town says all those wobbly, inexperienced bike riders need to be more courteous.

A Virginia motorcyclist faces a variety of charges after crashing into an eight-year old boy on a bicycle after fleeing from police, who wanted to pull him over for speeding; fortunately, the boy’s injuries were not life-threatening.

 

International

They get it. A Montreal newspaper says it’s time to turn accepted logic that customers arrive by cars and bike lanes are bad for business on its head.

A Nova Scotia bike rider learns the hard way that bicyclists aren’t allowed to ride in the traffic lane if there’s a bike lane on the road, otherwise known as a “must use” law. The same law applies in California, though there are numerous exceptions — including if you’re riding at the speed of traffic.

A Trinidad actor appeared in court for the first time to face charges in the horrific crash that killed two bike riders on the island last year; two other riders survived their injuries.

London residents call for an end to bicycle tours, saying they pose a risk to participants and others. Just wait until they hear about tour buses.

The Guardian’s Peter Walker considers the depressing lessons of the failed flagship bikeway through London’s tony Kensington and Chelsea borough, saying the defeat came after a campaign centered on myths. Including one truly despicable woman who posed as the aunt of a fallen bicyclist to oppose the plan; the victim’s actual sister said blocking the plan was unforgivable.

Here’s another one for your bike bucket list — bikepacking through the Scottish Highlands. I’m in as long as we can add a few Bobby Burns sites somewhere along the way.

More on Irish County Mayo’s wacky plan to improve bicycle safety by requiring bike riders to mount license plates on their bikes.

Cities in the Netherlands have traffic jams, too — they’re just on bicycles.

The Guardian offers photos of 15 of the world’s best bicycling infrastructure projects from the Bicycle Architecture Biennale in Amsterdam. Guess how many of those are in Los Angeles? No, really, go ahead and guess.

Forget bikeshare. A Dutch company wants you to dump your bike in favor of a monthly bicycle subscription service.

The world’s biggest bike maker says Trump’s tariff’s are the final nail in the coffin, as Giant prepares to move manufacturing to Taiwan.

 

Competitive Cycling

Amity Rockwell shares the secrets to eschewing meat, and winning the Dirty Kanza gravel race anyway.

Cyclist considers what Jakob Fuglsang’s victory in the Critérium du Dauphiné means for the upcoming Tour de France.

Australia’s Will Clarke won’t be riding in his inaugural Tour de France after all, after the 34-year old cyclist suffered multiple broken bones in a horrific crash in a Belgian race after leading most of the way.

https://twitter.com/wcsbike/status/1140242280584007680?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1140242280584007680&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.examiner.com.au%2Fstory%2F6220187%2Ftour-hope-gone%2F

 

Finally…

First it was angry drivers, now the deer are out to get us, too. Evidently, there’s no age limit to bike theft.

And no, there is no National SUV Month.

For good reason.

Morning Links: DIY red cup protected bike lanes today, LA traffic deaths up despite Vision Zero, and a busy bike weekend

It’s National Red Cup Project Day. 

So go out and stake out your own protected bike lane by using your favorite brand of plastic red cups to mark your favorite bike lane for just a few bucks.

And knowing LA drivers, for just a few minutes before they run them over anyway.

But still.

Then send me the photos or video, and I’ll post them on here.

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Good piece from the LA Times’ Laura Nelson, who writes that, despite Vision Zero, traffic fatalities are up significantly in Los Angeles; advocates blame inaction by the city and a lack of commitment to improve safety if it means inconveniencing drivers.

I’d say that about sums it up.

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It’s a busy bike weekend in the LA area.

Culver City is looking for volunteers to clean up Ballona Creek on Saturday, presumably including the bike path.

Councilmember Bob Blumenfield hosts his annual Blumenfield Bike Ride in Reseda Saturday morning.

Long Beach’s popular Beach Streets open streets event takes place on Saturday, as well.

And the ever-popular CicLAvia rolls through the streets of Wilmington on Sunday, with their first event of 2015.

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KCBS-2 looks forward to Monday’s arrival of LA’s first two-way bike lane on Spring Street in DTLA.

Although unlike the photo they use to illustrate the story, it probably won’t be cobbled.

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Kindhearted Santa Clarita sheriff’s deputies surprised a young boy with a new bike after his was stolen; credit the local Bicycle John’s outpost for donating the bike.

Thanks to Nina Moskol, Chairperson of the Santa Clarita Valley Bicycle Coalition for the heads-up.

Speaking of Santa Clarita, the city’s mayor looks forward to next month’s visit by the Amgen Tour of California, while encouraging residents to explore the city by bicycle.

And a columnist for The Signal decries a “relative bloodbath of pedestrian and bicycle accidents” in the area, saying more must be done to improve safety, especially on busy six-lane McBean Parkway.

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Today’s common theme: mountain bikes.

Recently retired football great Rob Gronkowski is one of us; Bicycling offers a little unsolicited advice as he takes up mountain biking.

Congratulations to gun maker Smith & Wesson, whose attempt to enter the mountain bike market ranks 41st on USA Today’s list of the 50 worst product flops of all time.

Finishing our mountain bike trifecta, Outside offers seven tips for beginning mountain bikes, whether or not they answer to Gronkowski.

But wait, there’s more!

The Orange County Register’s David Whiting takes a docent-led mountain bike tour through the volunteer-managed Irvine Ranch Conservancy, which he says most people have never heard of, even though at 40,000 acres it’s nearly as big as Bryce Canyon National Park and even more spectacular.

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Local

Spectrum News 1 is the latest LA news outlet to look at the city’s new program to install permanent memorials to fallen bicyclists.

A former LA city planner states the obvious, suggesting that LA traffic congestion is only going to get worse and that solutions like walking and biking remain woefully underfunded, without the safe infrastructure necessary to make them work. However, he also blames increased density and transit oriented development, as well as reduced parking requirements, calling them frauds, without citing evidence to back it up.

An op-ed in the LA Daily News says California drivers won’t willingly give up their cars.

This is who we share the beach with. A woman tells what it was like to get run over by an LAPD SUV while sunbathing on Venice Beach.

Santa Monica’s Breeze bikeshare program could be on the chopping block due to competition from dockless bikes and e-scooters, as the city faces budget cuts and layoffs under a program to speed payment of its $448 million unfunded pension liability. 

He gets it. An op-ed from the vice chair of the Long Beach Transit board of directors says everyone deserves safe streets.

This is who we share the roads with. A Long Beach bus driver faces charges for sideswiping more than a dozen cars while driving at three times the legal alcohol limit.

Signal Hill police will be cracking down on violations that endanger bike riders and pedestrians net month.

 

State

California’s Complete Streets bill moves forward after passing through the Senate Transportation Committee; SB127 would require Caltrans to consider the safety of all road users on any state-owned road.

That’s more like it. An El Cajon woman driving with a suspended license got three years behind bars for the hit-and-run crash that seriously injured a nine-year old boy who was riding his bike to school.

A San Diego TV station says bike riders and skaters at a new pump track think the park isn’t big enough for both of them.

A 75-year old Indian Wells man was hospitalized with significant injuries after he somehow crashed into the back of a parked city van Thursday morning.

Riverside sheriff’s deputies are still on the lookout for the red light-running hit-and-run driver who killed a 21-year old Eastvale man as he was biking home from work five years ago; deputies originally arrested a man who admitted to driving while “drunk out of his mind” and thought he had hit something that night, but phone records placed him miles from the crash site.

The speeding driver in the Sunnyvale crash who intentionally rammed eight pedestrians and bike riders as they waited at a red light was reportedly suffering from PTSD from his time in the Army; witnesses said they heard him repeatedly moan “Thank you, Jesus” following the crash.

 

National

A tax bill pending in Congress could mean an extra $53 a month in your pocket for commuting by bike.

Fast Company says people only realized just how much they’d miss ebikes after they were taken away.

Breaking a sweat today can provide health benefits up to a decade later.

An Oregon weekly offers its annual bicycling edition, with stories ranging from BMX and gravel grinding to low stress bicycle networks.

Phoenix says what’s a few traffic deaths between friends, bucking the national trend by voting not to adopt a Vision Zero plan.

A new study from an Arizona professor recommends leading bicycle intervals or split LBIs to reduce the risk of collisions with right-turning drivers.

Colorado comedian Wally Wallace discusses the second edition of his bicycle and comedy festival in tiny Trinidad CO, choosing the city of slightly more than 8,000 people because it’s halfway between Los Angeles and Chicago by train.

A Boise, Idaho bike cop is about to log 100,000 miles on his bike.

A Minneapolis transportation columnist says if you want a happy commute, travel by bicycle.

The NYPD is cracking down on red light-running bike riders, after a woman suffered a fractured skull that left her in a coma when she was struck by a food delivery rider who blew through the light. Seriously, unless you live in Idaho or Arkansas, stop for the damn red light, already — especially when pedestrians are present.

A DC website says it’s very charitable to conclude that the cop who hit a bike rider as he rode in a crosswalk actually had the right-of-way, as the local police insist.

Life is cheap in North Carolina, where a speeding driver who killed an 18-year old basketball star while he was riding his bike walked with just 75 days behind bars — and even that was suspended.

A travel writer visiting New Orleans says bikeshare is a surprisingly good way to tour the city.

 

International

Research papers usually tell just half the story about exercise science, since they too often leave women out of the equation, according to a Cycling Weekly writer.

Heartbreaking video from England, where a balance bike-riding three-year old became collateral damage in a road rage dispute between two drivers; remarkably, the truck driver who killed him was cleared of wrongdoing. Evidently, road rage is perfectly legal in the UK, even if it kills an innocent person.

You’ve got to be kidding. Life is cheap in Britain, where a “remorseless” hit-and-run driver walks without a single day behind bars for leaving a triathlete with serious injuries after deliberately cutting in front of her bike — and saying she deserved it, calling it karma, for the crime of delaying his car for a few moments. Let’s wish him well, because karma’s got a nasty way of coming back to bite you in the ass.

Seriously? Japan Today points out the dangers of reckless bicycling, while noting that police blame bike riders for “nearly 100%” of crashes with pedestrians. While we have an obligation to ride safely around people on foot, anyone who’s ever had someone step off a curb or turn around in front of them knows that’s pretty damned unlikely.

The Japanese man whose wife and three-year old daughter were killed when their bike was struck by an 87-year old driver calls attention to elderly people who can no longer drive safely. We’ve got to find a better way to identify unsafe drivers and take the keys out of their hands. Because despite what Elon Musk says, self-driving cars are a long way off.

 

Finally…

When you’re sexually harassed by your e-scooter.  Here’s your chance to tour Winterfell by bike.*

And yes, I would.

In a heartbeat.

*dragons not included

Morning Links: LA traffic deaths going the wrong way, chaos on the streets of LA, and birth of a Long Beach bike lane

Looks like LA’s Vision Zero efforts could use a little more vision.

Or maybe a lot more effort.

According to Curbed, at least 240 people were killed in traffic collisions last year — 57 more than 2015, when Mayor Eric Garcetti called for a 20% reduction in traffic deaths by 2017.

So much for that.

An executive directive issued by the mayor at that time called for a 20 percent reduction in deaths by 2017, with an emphasis on preventing “pedestrian fatalities involving older adults and children.” Traffic deaths rose 38 percent in 2016 and have fallen just 5 percent since then.

The transportation department’s initial count, which does not yet include the final two days of the year, also indicates that 127 pedestrians were killed in crashes in 2018. That’s down slightly from the 135 pedestrian deaths recorded in 2017, but it’s the second-highest total in the last 15 years.

And nearly as many bike riders were killed in the City of Angels last year — 21 — as all the traffic deaths of any kind in San Francisco, where they actually take Vision Zero seriously.

The mayor’s office argues, contrary to the widespread perception that little or nothing has been done to implement Vision Zero, that the city has made over 1,000 safety improvements over the past three years.

Which works out to just 333 a year.

But even if we accept that total, 1,000 improvements in a city the size of Los Angeles makes a drop in the bucket look like a tidal wave.

And those improvements have represented a form of timid incrementalism. None have been the kind of bold, wholesale changes the city would need to meet that failed 2017 reduction of just 20%.

Let alone put the city on the road to actually eliminating traffic deaths by 2025.

Which ain’t gonna happen.

But still, it’s cute the city still pretends that zero traffic deaths by 2025 is possible, as if closing our eyes, crossing our fingers and wishing really hard will make it happen.

Actually ending traffic deaths will takes major changes to the streets to slow traffic, encourage active transportation and get people out of their cars.

Let alone the political courage to actually make it happen.

One other quick note on the piece.

I’m told new LACBC Executive Director Eli Akira Kaufman was quoted accurately in the piece, but misspoke.

Kaufman says building community support for road diets and other measures will take time, though he argues that making the city safer is about more than individual projects.

“Infrastructure doesn’t save lives; culture does,” he says, arguing that it’s important for people to consider the safety of others when moving around the city.

What he really meant to say, my sources tell me, was that infrastructure alone doesn’t save lives.

As the story notes, both Kaufman and the LACBC both remain firmly in the pro-infrastructure camp.

But he’s right.

If Vision Zero is ever going to have a significant impact in this city — let alone actually end traffic deaths — we have to change the culture that cars are king on the streets of Los Angeles.

And everyone else needs to get the hell out of the way.

Photo by Clifford Phillips.

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A Canadian writer offers a somewhat happier perspective on LA traffic.

…Forget the “war on the car.” In Los Angeles, every conceivable form of transportation is competing against the other.

It’s chaotic. It’s messy. It’s beautiful. It’s brilliant. It is, in short, California.

Works for me.

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Long Beach captures the birth of a bike lane.

Thanks to USC Cycling for the heads-up.

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Local

Curbed offers what they term the ultimate guide to Dodgers Stadium, including advice to ditch the car and ride a bike.

Bicyclists confront the Pasadena city council, blaming the city manager for reconfiguring the long-time Rose Bowl loop and the injuries one rider suffered as a result.

Speaking of Pasadena, KCBS-2 lists the Rose City’s four best bike shops.

State

The 20th anniversary Sharon’s Ride rolls around San Diego’s Mission Bay this Sunday to raise funds for the Epilepsy Foundation.

An Indian Wells bicyclist is in critical condition after reportedly crashing into the rear of a stationary minivan; no word on how or why the crash happened. Thanks to John McBrearty for the tip.

Berkeley struggles to match its neighbor across the bay, as San Francisco moves forward with Vision Zero. Although San Francisco isn’t getting it exactly right, either.

Evidently, the local homeowner’s association isn’t a fan of the handmade bike jump track built by a 12-year old Danville boy.

A Sacramento pedestrian suffered major injuries in a crash with a rider on a motorized bicycle.

Los Angeles NIMBYs could take lessons from a Sacramento preservation group, which somehow opposes removing abandoned railroad tracks and a burned-out bridge to install a five mile bike path.

Vacaville police use Facebook to reunite a two-year old with her lost tricycle.

National

Outside looks at the best bike shops in the US. But can’t seem to find one in Southern California.

Peloton pinkie swears not to use any more songs without permission.

Your next tube could be lighter, stronger — and butyl.

An Oregon bill would make it clear that bike lanes continue through an intersection, whether or not it’s actually painted.

Seattle chooses parking over safety, rejecting long planned bike lanes on a dangerous street; a local TV station looks at the bitter politics of bike lanes and parking. That last story could run in just about any US city, including Los Angeles. Okay, especially Los Angeles.

A local radio station says despite being named America’s best bike city, Seattle will never be a bicycling city, because of too any hills and too much rain.

Spokane shows an uncommon degree of common sense, suspending the city’s bike helmet requirement for dockless bikeshare and e-scooter users, since few people walk around with helmets 24/7.

Utah legalizes lane filtering for motorcyclists, allowing riders to split lanes when traffic is stopped on roads with a speed limit of 45 mph or less. The story doesn’t mention whether that would extend to people on bicycles.

A Denver woman expands a popular bike and coffee shop into the space next door to open a tandem bike-themed bar.

A Colorado op-ed suggests when you’re the mayor, you can get away with hitting a bike rider after an illegal U-turn. Especially if the victim is homeless. Thanks to Frank Lehnerz for the link.

Now that’s more like it. An Iowa woman will spend the next five years behind bars for intentionally ramming her car into a woman riding a bicycle, then getting out of her car and repeatedly punching her; she accused the woman of sleeping with her baby daddy.

Scary story from Texas, where a woman nearly lost a finger when the chain came off her ebike, and engine engaged while she was trying to put it back on; fortunately, a Good Samaritan came to her aid.

Baltimore prepares to approve new rules for dockless e-scooters, after removing a provision that called for jail time for rule breakers.

A kindhearted stranger reached out to buy a new bike for a mobility-challenged Louisiana man after his was stolen. But what will he do with it now that police have recovered his original bike from a scrap yard?

International

A new Canadian study confirms what we’ve already seen — people who live close to high-quality bike and pedestrian infrastructure are more likely to get the recommended level of physical activity, and to be in better health.

Eddie Redmayne is one of us, riding through London’s Notting Hill neighborhood.

A British bicyclist is planning to ride 3,300 miles across the US to raise funds and awareness for the Diana Award, after bonding with Princes Harry and Andrew when he lost his own mother in a car crash at 17.

Unlike most cities, Paris actually does something about bike theft, installing a series of locked shelters throughout the city.

Competitive Cycling

Disturbing story from a British Paralympian who endured years of vulva pain and swelling from rubbing against poorly designed saddles when she rides.

An Argentine cyclist faces a four year ban for being just the latest to get busted for doping with EPO. Seriously, if the era of doping over, why do so many dopers keep getting caught?

Finally…

Even the Car Talk guys hated cars. Bikes hardly ever burst into flames, though ebike batteries are changing that.

And your next Colnago could run on batteries.

But hopefully, not burst into flames.

Morning Links: Killer SUVs blamed for rise in traffic deaths, and road raging Brit driver blames victim for crash

So much for the myth of the texting pedestrian.

The Detroit Free Press says it’s not people walking while distracted that’s responsible for the 46% jump in pedestrian fatalities in recent years.

Or even the huge increase in distracted driving.

It’s the popularity of SUVs.

Or more precisely, the design of the popular vehicles, which have higher, flatter grills than cars that knock people forward and down to the pavement, rather than onto the hood of a car.

And making it more likely that the victim will be run over by the driver who hit them, or other vehicles on the road.

To make matters worse, federal safety regulators have known about the danger for years, but buried the news while people continued to die.

The same undoubtedly holds true for collisions with people on bicycles, which could help explain the rise in bike deaths, as well.

………

Or it could be due to people like this.

After a British driver hits a bike rider with his wing mirror, he and his passenger get out to scream at the victim, blaming him for hitting their van.

Which would be pretty much impossible, since the driver was passing him and clearly failed to give a safe passing distance.

Although I suppose it is possible that the victim might have suddenly started riding in reverse, and swerved out of his lane to hit the van. Though you’d think that might have show up on the video.

But still.

No driver would lie about something like that.

Right?

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton questions how Metro’s Bus and Bike Only Lanes can be improved, especially on Sunset Blvd leading to Dodger Stadium, where Michael MacDonald was ordered out of the lane by an LAPD officer despite signs saying bikes are permitted.

CiclaValley goes riding in the new South Figueroa bike lane, and finds parked cabs and other cars.

The LA Lakers signed a pretty good bike rider to a four year contract. Someone should tell LeBron he needs to start reading BikinginLA now that he’s one of us.

This is what the lower LA River could look like if and when restoration efforts are completed.

They get it. A South Pasadena paper explains what sharrows are, and notes that bike riders have the same rights on any street, with or without those funny markings on the street.

 

State

No shit. The first-ever joint meeting between the California Air Resources Board and the California Transportation Commission ends with an agreement that people in the state have to drive less. But not, unfortunately, on how to make that happen.

Bicyclists say a stalled bike lane on San Francisco’s Embarcadero could have prevented a collision that left a pedicab driver critically injured.

A father falls in with his young daughter to ride with NFL star Marshawn Lynch and his cousin Josh Johnson as they bring the joy of riding bikes to over a thousand kids in Oakland, with professional BMX riders acting as ride marshals.

 

National

Bloomberg says e-scooters are changing the landscape of urban transport.

Las Vegas has earned a Silver level Bicycle Friendly Community status, in part because of road diets that have created space for bike lanes. Yet oddly, you don’t hear of Vegas residents rising up to fight them, right wing shock jocks railing against them, or city councilmembers cancelling them in fear of angry drivers.

A local writer discusses the joys of riding a bicycle around Las Cruces, New Mexico. All of which apply virtually anywhere, including here in Los Angeles.

The brother of a hit-and-run driver who killed a Texas bike rider was busted for aiding in the coverup afterwards, even though police have been unable to find the driver or his car. Thanks to Stephen Katz for the heads-up.

Yes, Black Girls Do Bike, even in Milwaukee.

A bike rider was injured in a collision with a garbage truck in New York’s Central Park, even though cars were banned from it two days earlier.

Challenged by city leaders to show why it needs a minimum width requirement for streets that has been blocking protected bike lanes, Baltimore’s fire department responds by making a video with one of their largest trucks showing it doesn’t fit in the lane. Not that it would ever actually be sent to a narrow street like that, according to a city councilmember.

Tragic news from Baton Rouge LA, where a city councilmember and long-time community advocate was killed when he and his riding partner were run down from behind by a 21-year old SUV driver, who was arrested on several charges, including negligent homicide; the other rider was hospitalized in serious condition. Bicyclists gathered last night for a ride of silence to honor the victim.

A Georgia driver ran down a pair of bicyclists from behind, injuring a mother and killing her 18-year old daughter.

 

International

Road.cc considers the whys and wheres of buying a bespoke bicycle.

Great idea. A network of six hundred bike owners have banded together to fight bike theft in Edmonton, Canada.

Sounding like bike riders in Los Angeles — and most other places — bicyclists in Winnipeg complain about gaps and odd designs in the city’s bike network; 75% of city residents say separated bike lanes are a good thing.

Toronto has seen a 1,500% increase in bicycling in the city’s urban core after bike lanes were installed in 2013, jumping from a few hundred to over 6,000 a day.

Good question. An Oxford, England columnist wants to know why bicyclists are always seen as the bad guys.

You’ve got to be kidding. A road raging Scottish driver was fined the equivalent of less than $1,000 for deliberately forcing a bike rider off the road after he was stuck behind a group of riders; he also lost his driver’s license for two years.

Cute piece from a writer in the UK, who wants to know why bicyclists aren’t accepted as normal people, as he wakes up “at the crack of dawn to slide into (his) tight-fitting lycra mankini.”

Over half of British drivers are unaware of the country’s safe passing distance. The government has announced the equivalent of $1.32 million to crack down on unsafe passing, though the Guardian says the country needs to significantly boost funding to reap the benefits of the current bike boom.

Nice gesture. America’s only remaining Tour de France winner joins with two Holocaust survivors and a few hundred other people to bike 55 miles from Auschwitz-Birkenau to a Jewish cultural center in Poland.

A Philippine writer goes bicycling and beer drinking in Berlin.

A Moroccan man is making his Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca by bicycle, traveling over 18,000 miles and through every city in Morocco to promote peace.

Seventy Saudi bicyclists will join the 500-mile Global Biking Initiative, riding from Gutenberg, Sweden to Hamburg, Germany to raise funds for charity.

 

Competitive Cycling

The Guardian talks with Fabian Cancellara, who says he wants to inspire people to get on their bikes.

Four time Tour de France winner Chris Froome has been disinvited from this year’s race, though a final decision won’t be known until later this week. Which may not matter, since he was just cleared of doping charges, despite a failed drug test.

Former women’s road cyclist Allison Tetrick tells the story of how she rebounded from a serious traumatic brain injury to winning this year’s Dirty Kanza 200-mile gravel race.

 

Finally…

The grudge race of the century — or maybe just the week — ends with a drop and a cookie. When you need an all-terrain vehicle to tow your surfboard, but still want to ride a bike.

And she’s still bringing home cycling medals at age 77.

Morning Links: South LA safer streets meeting moved to tomorrow, and this is who we share the roads with

On a personal note, today marks the 10th anniversary of BikinginLA, which started with a single blog post complaining about the sad state of bicycling in Los Angeles. 

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Thank you for ten years of reading, and allowing me to do what I love.

And what I can to help make biking in LA just a little safer and more enjoyable for all of us.

………

That public meeting to discuss safer streets in South LA has been moved to tomorrow night, rather than tonight as we mentioned yesterday.

The change in date seem suspicious, since it’s now scheduled for the same time as the march and press conference to demand justice for fallen cyclist and hit-and-run victim Frederick “Woon” Frazier.

However, I’ve been assured by Councilmember Marqueece Harris- Dawson’s office that the original date was a typo, and the meeting was always scheduled for Thursday.

But still.

………

This is who we share the roads with.

An unidentified Twitter user responded to getting cut off by a bike rider by pulling alongside the rider, and pushing him off his bike from a moving car.

He seems very proud of himself, pinning the tweet even though it’s evidence of a crime.

Hopefully this tweet will be removed by the time you read this, since it would appear to violate their terms of service.

Let alone an admission of guilt.

………

Local

CiclaValley offers before and after video from a repaving project on Forest Lawn Drive, suggesting the new improvements left bicyclists worse off than before, with a bike lane that narrows to less than a foot in some place.

A webinar will be held to discuss the proposed Hollywood Community Plan, which includes proposed bikeways, from 5:30 to 6:30 pm tomorrow.

Also tomorrow, LA County Commissioner Hilda Solis will host a public meeting to discuss how to make Eastside streets more accessible for pedestrians, bicyclists, buses, and rail users.

The coming Taylor Yard bike and pedestrian bridge is up for an international design award at the World Architecture Festival.

Burbank state assemblywoman Laura Friedman discusses why safe speed limits matter.

 

State

A Fresno couple on a tandem were seriously injured when their wheel disintegrated after hitting a pothole while they were descending at 47 mph.

Lime makes its data-based case for why their e-scooters belong in San Francisco, noting that 60% of users said their ride replaced a car trip.

 

National

Vice offers a list of five things cities can do right now to reduce cyclist deaths. Make that four, since the bicycle-to-vehicle sensor systems they mentioned aren’t available yet.

Save this list of bike-friendly Tucson cafes for the next time you’re riding through town.

Heartbreaking story from Iowa, where a 79-year old woman walking on a bike path with her son was killed in a collision with a speeding bicyclist; the police declined to investigate, and the riders didn’t identify themselves. If that happened anywhere else, it would be considered a fatal hit-and-run.

Oops. Ohio police call off a search for a bike rider who was reportedly struck by a truck on a highway, knocked over a guardrail and into a waterway, when the bike’s owner came back and said the bike had merely fallen off his truck.

A Dallas magazine asks if the city will ever favor neighborhoods over freeways, saying it falls further behind world cities with every mile of asphalt.

Life is cheap in New York, where police refuse to pursue charges against a killer hit-and-run driver, who somehow claimed she had no idea she hit anyone — despite crashing into a mother and daughter with enough force to kill the little girl.

Bicycles ruled DC back in the ’90s. The 1890s.

New Orleans police throw the book at a lightless salmon cyclist who went out for a pack of cigarettes at 4 am, apparently writing up violations for everything they could think of and resulting in a whopping $920 in fines.

 

International

Mounties in British Columbia are on the lookout for a bike rider who sprayed a dog with a chemical irritant after arguing with the dog’s owner.

Police in Edmonton, Canada swarm an intersection to issue warnings when drivers can’t seem to figure out what No Right on Red signs next to bike lanes mean.

A Toronto newspaper spends an hour watching traffic bike and motor vehicle traffic at an intersection, observing 609 traffic infractions and noting that most went through incorrectly, on two wheels or four.

A new study shows that the Mini-Holland bikeways installed in London’s outer boroughs have succeeded in boosting bicycling and walking rates.

Manchester, England begins work on a $661 million plan to install 74 miles of Amsterdam-style segregated cycle lanes crisscrossing the city. Yet the Daily Mail can only envision traffic chaos.

A UK paper looks at British cycling champ Victoria Pendleton, and the bikes she’s designed for the Halfords retail chain.

Caught on video: A group of men described by the local newspaper as “thugs” chased down a pair of 12-year British bike riders, and stole a new mountain bike one of the boys had received as a birthday present just one day earlier.

This is why people continue to die in the UK, as a killer driver walks with just community service after running down a pedestrian while doing 70 mph in a 40 mph zone.

Police in Jerusalem can’t seem to decide if people can or can’t ride their bikes on a street that’s been closed to cars, some telling people they can ride on the sidewalk, and others saying they have to ride in the street. And ticketing riders for both.

An Aussie advocacy group complains about a report linking 15 bicycle and pedestrian deaths to headphone use, noting that studies have shown “bike riders using headphones at a reasonable volume hear much more outside noise than a car driver, even when that car driver has no music playing.”

 

Competitive Cycling

Sad news, as German world sprint and Olympic champion Kristina Vogel is in intensive care after colliding with another rider while training at a velodrome.

 

Finally…

Maybe your bike really is a work of art. Evidently they couldn’t figure out how to install Swedes, so they settled for poles.

And a Los Angeles-based company claims to be the leader in incorporating AI technology into bicycles.

Which will inevitably lead to something like this.

 

Morning Links: LA’s hit-and-run epidemic, LA Mobility Plan could save lives, and Metro Bike may reduce fares

It looks like the press has finally noticed what’s happening on our streets.

In a piece for the Los Angeles Daily News, Josh Cain writes about the carnage of recent weeks.

The increase in bicycle deaths came despite what police officials said at the meeting was an across-the-board drop in serious traffic collisions in the city so far this year — fatal collisions and crashes resulting in serious injuries were down 10 percent, Moore said. Fatal vehicle-on-pedestrian crashes were also down significantly, falling 25 percent.

There were 18 cyclists killed in Los Angeles for all of 2017, and police officials said after the fatal collisions in April, the city appeared to be on track to match that total again…

Los Angeles statistics collected as part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative to eliminate traffic deaths showed that while all deaths from traffic collisions over the last three years, cyclist deaths continued to rise. In the San Fernando Valley, there were just three cyclist deaths in 2015, while last year there were eight.

In case you’re wondering, this is why I’m going to City Hall on the 18th, to demand our elected leaders have the courage to do the right thing.

It’s time to call the city council on their inaction on Vision Zero, and their repeated capitulations to traffic safety deniers in shelving vital lane reductions and other street safety projects.

And doing little more than talking about doing something to halt hit-and-run, while bicyclists and pedestrians — and even motorists — continue to suffer the consequences of their inaction.

………

Speaking of which, if you can’t join me on the 18th — or even if you can — feel free to send a letter demanding for safer streets for you, me and everyone else. Just email your letter to me by Wednesday, May 16th to ted at bikinginla dot com.

I’ll print them out and include them with the packages we’re giving each councilmember and the mayor, containing copies of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing.

A couple quick tips if you plan to write a letter.

  • If you can, try to work in the theme of our protest by asking them to have the courage to do the right thing.
  • Mention what council districts you live, work or ride in.
  • Stress that safer streets benefit everyone, whether on bikes, on foot or in cars.
  • Feel free to (politely) express whatever anger or fear you may be feeling
  • Demand they take immediate action to protect us all

………

A new study from the LA County Department of Health concludes that if Los Angeles actually built out the city’s Mobility Plan 2035 — which seems highly unlikely at this point — it could prevent up to 4,600 cases of cardiovascular disease each year, while saving over $160 million per year in health costs.

Which is just one more reason city leaders need to do the right thing. And one less reason to wonder what that is.

………

Metro is recommending much needed rate changes to its Bike Metro bikeshare program that would finally make renting a bike a single time cost the same as a bus ride for 30 minutes or less.

………

CBS Sunday Morning looks at Manny Silva, Compton’s Godfather of lowrider bikes.

………

The #1 phrase that belongs on the bicycling scrapheap of history: “In a crash between a bike and a car, the car is going to win every time.”

Seriously, there is absolutely no one who rides a bike — and pretty much no one on earth — who doesn’t already know that.

And it’s not a question of who wins.

It’s someone’s life.

………

Local

Bike the Vote LA is hosting a 2018 June Primary Ballot Party next Wednesday to discuss options for the upcoming election.

Reseda residents say the LA River bike path has become a campsite for the homeless and IV drug users in the community.

Culver City lists their Bike Month events, while a Pasadena website looks at the upcoming Bike Week events in that city.

The South Pasadena Police Department will be conducting stepped-up bike and pedestrian safety operations throughout this month. You know the drill — ride to the letter of the law until you’re outside their jurisdiction. You don’t want to celebrate Bike Month with a traffic ticket.

Bike SGV is hosting their first-ever bird watching ride this Saturday.

The long-awaited Arroyo Seco Pedestrian and Bicycle Trail is nearing completion, if they can just figure out how to keep people using it from getting hit with golf balls.

 

State

The Orange County Register maps where Southern California’s deadly crashes occur in a sea of blood red dots.

San Diego’s three-year old Vision Zero program is focusing on 15 deadly intersections to improve safety.

A San Francisco writer says she has good reason not to ride her bike right now, but she’s not ready to put it into storage.

The Press Democrat looks at custom bike builders in Sonoma County.

Sacramento installs its first parking-protected bike lanes in the downtown area.

Our own Phil Gaimon goes riding in Yosemite.

 

National

President Trump once again criticized former Secretary of State John Kerry for breaking his leg while riding his bike, saying you don’t enter a bike race at 73, and you’d never see him (Trump) in a bike race. Except Kerry was only 71 at the time of the crash, he was just out for a bike ride with full security during a break in tense negotiations, not competing in a race, and more than a few people older than that still race. And at least Kerry can ride a bike.

Gear Junkie looks at surprises in People for Bikes’ new list of the nation’s most bike friendly cities; meanwhile, Cheyenne WY ranked near the bottom, scoring just 1.2 out of a possible 5 points. Which just goes to prove that not much has changed since I tried to ride there decades ago, and vowed never to do it again.

A CEO in the energy field says Houston streets remain dangerous because the city doesn’t have the same sort of safety culture found in private industry, and that department heads should be fired if they can’t solve the problem.

There’s a special place in hell for the red light-running driver who struck an Illinois bike rider with her car, then got out to pick up her license plate before driving off and leaving him bleeding in the street.

Pittsburg cycling icon and two-time RAAM champ Danny Chew competed in his first marathon as a handcyclist, 20 months after he was paralyzed in a bicycling crash.

New York bicyclists get a little divine protection at the annual Blessing of the Bicycles; LA’s will take place at Good Samaritan Hospital on May 15th.

New York announces plans to put bike lanes on six bridges crossing the Harlem River, making the already bike-friendly city that much safer for everyone.

The New York Post starts by saying construction delays are turning a New York bike path into an obstacle course, then naturally have to blame people “biking out here like maniacs, like they’re in the Tour de France.”

Filmmaker Casey Neistat records a video telling the NYPD to focus on fixing problem streets instead of cracking down on bicyclists.

 

International

The body of a missing German bicyclist was found near the base of a 600 foot cliff, a day after his Polish riding companion was found nearby; both deaths are believed to be accidental.

They get it. Eighty-six percent of Victoria, British Columbia residents support more bikeways as an investment in the future, whether they ride bikes or not.

A Manitoba tribal chief is calling for safety improvements on the unpaved highway where three boys were killed while walking and riding their bikes.

This is why people keep dying on our streets. Prosecutors in Halifax, Canada drop charges of failing to yield to a vehicle against a driver who injured a bike rider, after concluding that a bicycle isn’t a vehicle because it doesn’t have a motor. Which basically gives drivers permission to do anything they want to anyone who isn’t in a car.

A London man was hospitalized in critical condition after a collision with a man riding a bike near a busy tube station. A reminder to always use caution around pedestrians, because they’re the only ones more vulnerable than we are. And they don’t always use caution around us.

Scouting Scotland’s ancient refuge huts for hikers and bikepackers.

Paris is demanding emergency action after a disastrous change in management companies for the city’s famed Vélib’ bikeshare system has left much of it inoperable.

Add this one to your bike bucket list — spending a week riding along the coast of Northern Italy.

 

Competitive Cycling

Outside explains how you can watch all the top bike races for less than $200 a year.

Chris Froome entered the Giro already banged up after crashing while scouting the Jerusalem time trial course; an Israeli billionaire bike lover is sponsoring the race to get more people in the country on bikes.

A Turkish rider was forced to withdraw from the new Israel-based cycling team in the face of death threats following Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

A 20-year old student at Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, Georgia is now a double U.S. Collegiate Cycling champ, after winning the road championship to go with the mountain biking title she won last fall.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 70-year old Kiwi cyclist keeps a deathbed promise to his friend to compete in race around a New Zealand mountain and finishes second, despite saying he’s not a racer; his friend had won the same race over 60 years earlier.

Once again, a pro cyclist has been injured in a crash with a race moto, as British hill climb champ Joscelin Lowden suffered a broken clavicle after crashing with a security bike. Maybe someday, race organizers will finally figure out that motor vehicles don’t belong in the damn peloton.

Then again, it’s not just the cyclists who are at risk from race vehicles.

 

Finally…

Why not tri bamboo? Your next tires could be 3D printed, not pumped.

And hi-viz may not be the best choice if you don’t want to be noticed — like a mob assassin, for instance.

 

Morning Links: LA Vision Zero turns two, US traffic deaths are up, and close calls in LA bike commuting

Say happy birthday to LA’s Vision Zero program.

It’s been two years since Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that Los Angeles was finally getting around to doing something about traffic fatalities.

Although not much has actually been accomplished in that time, as traffic deaths fell 6% last year after spiking in 2016.

Meanwhile, some of what was has already been ripped out at the behest of angry drivers who insist that the road does, in fact, belong to them.

And don’t seem to care who has to die as a result.

Hopefully, that will change now that the city has finally provided some funding, dedicating $27 million for the program.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton seems to have summed up the current status of Vision Zero in the City of Angels.

Some critics are quick to blame L.A.’s Vision Zero programs for the unhealthy trend. Playa Del Rey road diet critics cite their own documentation showing a doubling of “accidents” since Vision Zero safety improvements were implemented. (If true, this would argue for more traffic calming, though that is not the conclusion they come to.)

The actual reasons for the alarming trend appears to have more to do with increased driving, low gas prices, a strong economy, and a lack of political will to take Vision Zero seriously. The program was barely funded for the first two years, until council leadership recently shepherded $27 million for the current fiscal year which just began on July 1. On top of the paucity of funding, several councilmembers have actively blocked safety improvements in their districts.

The simple fact is, we will never cut traffic deaths in Los Angeles without the political will to make it happen.

And that seems to be sadly lacking, both in the mayor’s office, and in far too many council districts.

………

Speaking of Vision Zero — or in this case, zero vision — US traffic deaths have topped 40,000 for the second year in a row.

………

LA Cyclist captures a couple of close calls on yesterday’s bike commute from Burbank to Culver City.

He calls it a typical commute.

Even though people keep telling us that no one will even ride a few miles to get to work, let alone through a handful of cities.

And especially not in LA’s unbearable winter weather.

Right?

………

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from author and bike lawyer Bob Mionske, who writes about the obstacles to justice for bicyclists.

…If you ask the motoring public, you will likely hear that scofflaw cyclists create their own problems by choosing to ride in the street.

Convincing a driver that a lack of vigilance could potentially take someone’s life is a difficult task. After all, most drivers overestimate their driving ability — particularly when it comes to using a device at the same time. Worst of all, most of us don’t have the discipline to put our devices down when we get behind the wheel. No group is more vulnerable to this lack of discipline than a human on a bicycle. And as a roadie, you probably face the risk of being hit more than anyone else based on the hours you spend weekly on a bike in traffic…

It’s a good read, and should give you a lot to think about.

………

Local

An Op-Ed in the LA Times makes the case for accepting Bird scooters as part of the city’s transportation network. Although while people on bikes still die far too often on our streets, saying bicycling is “often lethal” is an extreme exaggeration. Last year, LA County saw one bicycling fatality per 357,000 residents; the City of LA was even safer, with one death per 442,000 residents.

KCRW looks at the new bike and pedestrian Red Car Bridge planned for the LA River.

 

State

Galt, California is starting work on a $5 million Safe Routes to School project, including two miles of sidewalks and dedicated bike lanes. Not bad for a town of just 23,000. And no, I never heard of it before either.

 

National

Peter Flax interviews Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss in a clash of bike writing titans.

An Oregon newspaper calls on the state to scrap the $15 tax on new bike sales, even as lawmakers consider broadening it.

The Utah house has overwhelmingly approved a modified version of the Idaho Stop Law, which now moves to the state Senate.

Iowa decides that instead of fixing the roads, they’ll just make bike riders wear hi-viz on roads with speed limits above 45 mph. But only in groups of 500 or less; apparently, they think drivers may actually  see over 500 people riding bicycles.

A Chicago website profiles the woman responsible for ghost bikes in the Windy City.

The New York Times illustrates — literally — why self-driving cars can’t save cities.

Sad news from New Orleans, where 32-year old Muhiyidin d’Baha, a well-known leader in the Black Lives Matter movement, died after he was shot in the leg in an apparent robbery while riding his bike; he rode another six blocks before collapsing in the street.

An Orlando street will go on a four-week road diet to judge its effectiveness and reaction of the public before any permanent changes are made. Although a single month seems like a very short amount of time to give it a reasonable test.

 

International

How to avoid a flat.

A new Canadian study suggests that good bicycling infrastructure encourages winter bike riding. Which would be even more true here in sunny Los Angeles, if we actually had some.

A writer for the Guardian complains about “over-entitled” cyclists and their abandoned dockless bikeshare bikes clogging UK sidewalks.

It’s a well-deserved 16-months behind bars for a British driver caught on camera intentionally running down a man on a bike.

Tehran’s Car-free Tuesdays is losing momentum after 117 weeks due to a lack of safe streets and infrastructure.

Frightening dispatch from Australia, where a 72-year old man describes how he played dead after he was shot by an attacker, apparently at random, as he rode a gas-powered motorized bike on a bike path.

Australia has slapped an unexpected 5% tariff on ebikes — and is considering a similar tariff on premium bikes and frame sets — after a local bike maker complained, in a country where native bike makers make up just 1% of the market.

A New Zealand woman has restarted an off-road race series for kids that had been founded by her husband, two years after he died from a heart attack while riding.

 

Finally…

Cracking down scofflaw bicyclists and moped riders in the world’s most bike-friendly country.

And the best day ever is the one where you get back on your bike after an injury.

Especially a 21-day coma caused by a failed stunt.

 

Morning Links: Ryu keeps 6th Street auto-centric & dangerous, bike-riding heroes, and the war on bikes goes on

Just a quick reminder that tonight is the LACBC’s annual open house at their headquarters in DTLA. It’s free for members, and always a good time for a good cause. And a chance to meet some of the people helping lead the fight for a safer, more bikeable Los Angeles.

………

In news that shouldn’t surprise anyone, Councilmember David Ryu has blocked plans for a road diet on 6th Street, bowing to the desires of pass-through drivers over the safety requests from the local neighborhood council.

Even though Ryu has always claimed he’d let local residents guide his decisions.

However, reports from people involved in the long and unsuccessful fight for a safer 6th suggested that he had long ago decided against the road diet, and that the recent public hearing and online poll were just a political fig leaf to give Ryu cover to go against the wishes of local residents.

Just as Gil Cedillo had conducted a number of sham public meetings before announcing his foregone decision to halt the shovel-ready road diet on North Figueroa that had been approved by his predecessor.

Consider this from Streetsblog’s story following Ryu’s public announcement yesterday morning.

Ryu hosted a meeting in October which featured inaccurate presentation boards. Meeting attendees were requested to fill out a survey that did not include the two options presented, nor the road diet plan as designed by LADOT and disseminated by MCWCC. Though the survey did not mention the road diet, according to Ryu, the survey results showed that only “Roughly 37 percent expressed support for a proposed road diet.”

Misleadingly, Ryu’s statement, and his website’s summary of survey results, relate that the survey found “Nearly 85 percent of respondents stated that a car is their primary mode of transportation,” though that question was not asked. Ryu’s survey asked respondents to “check all that apply” on a list of transportation modes that they use on 6th Street, so it is not mathematically possible to derive a valid percentage for car usage, much less whether a car is a respondent’s primary mode of transportation.

Instead, Ryu is going forward with his own dangerously auto-centric plan that residents fear will actually increase speeds on the street, while he downplays the dangers of speeding drivers — let alone the risk posed by drivers adhering to the already too-high speed limit.

Never mind that speed is a factor in virtually all traffic fatalities, since crashes at slower speeds are far more survivable than higher speeds.

You can read the full text of Ryu’s announcement here, along with Mid City West Community Council Chair Scott Epstein’s response.

I’ll leave you with this comment I received from one local resident.

I live on Hauser and 6th and can’t say how disappointed I am in the councilman. His half measure doesn’t even address the goal he says is the most important. His goal of adding turn lanes doesn’t extend past Burnside, leaving the site of a fatal crash on Cochran unaddressed.

I’ve been vocal about my support of the road diet and have felt dismissed and disregarded throughout. I’m incredibly disappointed in his lack of foresight, especially as he toots his own horn for adding dockless bike share with nowhere safe to ride them. It’s disgraceful the utter lack of infrastructure in our district, and ignorant of the issues facing our densifying city.

Thanks to Danila and Tyler for the heads-up.

………

Once again, bike riders are heroes. Or make that twice.

A Greenfield CA cyclist trained in CPR saves the life of a man who collapsed on the side of the road.

A bike rider not only fishes a puppy out of a Vietnamese river, he uses his water bottle as a makeshift ventilator to get the dog breathing again.

………

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

A British bike rider was injured when two men on a passing scooter pushed him off his bicycle and into traffic.

A legendary Scottish rugby player was pelted with eggs from a passing car as he rode his bike in Glasgow.

………

This is the cost of traffic violence.

A world famous biologist and conservation scientist was killed in a collision while riding his bicycle in Cambridge, England.

A respected former Brown University engineering professor and real estate developer was killed in a Manhattan crash when he allegedly rode through a red light.

………

‘Tis the season.

Members of the San Diego Los Angeles Chargers surprised students and staff at a Carson elementary school by giving new bicycles to nearly 150 kids, after originally showing up to give bikes to just five essay contest winners.

An Arizona program plans to give 116 kids  “better than new” refurbished bicycles this Christmas.

………

It’s Day 14 of the 3rd Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive.

You can help keep SoCal’s best bike news coming your way with just a few clicks by using PayPal. Or by using the Zelle app that is probably already in the banking app on your smartphone; send your contribution to ted @ bikinginla dot com (remove the spaces and format as a standard email address).

Any donation, in any amount, is truly and deeply appreciated.

As an added bonus, frequent contributor Megan Lynch will provide a free download of her CD Songs the Brothers Warner Taught Me to anyone who makes a contribution during the fund drive. If you’ve already contributed and would like a copy, just email me at the address above and I’ll forward it to her.

Thanks to Bryan Z, Jonathan P, and Dennis E for their generous donations to help support this site. It means a lot to me, especially on a day when we went dark.

………

Local

As long as we’re discussing wrong-headed decisions by LA councilmembers, this one by Paul Koretz asking to have dangerous sidewalks removed from the prioritization for Vision Zero sets a new standard for dangerously low safety standards.

Downtown News says construction for the My Figueroa project is blocking parking spaces on 11th Street, and killing local businesses.

Walk Eagle Rock reports that three different dockless bikeshare providers — LimeBike, Ofo and Spin — can now be found on decidedly bike-unfriendly North Figueroa in Highland Park. Meanwhile, dockless bikeshare is driving bike ridership trends up in some cities across the US. Let’s hope that happens here and forces the city council to take notice.

 

State

The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition will host an ‘80s themed Joy Ride to celebrate the organization’s 30th anniversary.

No bias here. San Luis Obispo’s anti-bike columnist creates the new religion of “Bikeology,” which he says rhymes with “Scientology,” as he insists the city council’s 11th Commandment is “Thou shalt bike!” Works for me.

A Los Altos columnist addresses the objections to a proposed Idaho Stop law in California.

Bike theft is nothing new. Stealing a San Francisco bike repair van may be.

A compromise with the San Francisco Fire Department means the parking spaces for a parking-protected bike lane planned for Market Street will be converted to a white loading zones instead.

When you see a homeless person on a $3,000 bike, there’s a good possibility it’s not his.

 

National

The National Complete Streets Coalition says no street is complete unless equity is taken into account.

Who needs a tent when you can travel with your very own bicycle camper?

The Seattle Times profiles the city’s chief traffic engineer and his efforts to reduce congestion and improve safety in the city.

A Colorado bike rider is dead because a driver couldn’t manage to keep her eyes on the road while turning off her car’s sound system. If you can’t perform a function while keeping your eyes on the road and at least one hand on the wheel, don’t do it. Period.

A 7-year old boy in Vicksburg MS gets a new bike as a reward, after the mayor sees him stop and put his hand over his heart when a funeral procession passed.

Caught on video: Florida police are looking for a man on a bicycle who shot at an officer who tried to pull him over for not having a taillight.

A Florida man has been arrested for the hit-and-run that killed a woman, who had been rescued from Hurricane Irma weeks earlier, while she was riding her bike last week.

 

International

Dockless bikeshare provider Obike is the latest company to suffer a data breach, exposing user information online for at least two weeks.

Seriously? A British Columbia man faces just a slap on the wrist for killing a bike rider when he crossed onto the wrong side of the road and slammed his car into five cyclists riding single file in the opposite direction.

A Toronto bike lane is a bike lane except when it’s hearse parking. Meanwhile, a Toronto man got his stolen $3,000 mountain bike back after he discovered it on Facebook 8,500 miles away in the Philippines Thanks to Norm Bradwell for the links.

Also from Toronto — and also courtesy of Bradwell — comes news that bicycling rates are surging in some neighborhoods, with up to 34% of people living in the downtown area reporting they commute by bike.

A new study from the UK suggests that the health risks from pollution outweighs the benefits of exercise along smoggy streets for people over 60. Meanwhile, another report says watching bicycling on virtual reality headsets could make people 40% more likely to take up bicycling.

It takes a real schmuck to steal the bicycle an English firefighter used to respond to emergency calls.

A Dublin, Ireland bike rider died following a collision with a pedestrian on a bike path. A tragic reminder that collisions between pedestrians and bike riders can be just as dangerous for the people on two wheels as the ones on two feet.

Two Northern Irish brothers got busted for selling $146,000 worth of bicycles on eBay that were stolen from a local bike store warehouse.

A British writer living in Denmark says there’s no need to rush to the gym when you can just run your kids to daycare in a cargo bike.

The Guardian asks if the famed Paris Vélib’ bikeshare system is already out of date.

An LA native discovers a deep connection with Israel from the seat of her bike.

Five battalions of Borneo soldiers are riding 614 miles on a good will tour to introduce the newly formed Border Guards.

 

Competitive Cycling

Irish cyclist Sam Bennett is rapidly becoming one of the fasted sprinters in the peloton, after choosing cycling over soccer at an early age.

UCI says after further review, Peter Sagan didn’t intentionally elbow Mark Cavendish after all, which led to his disqualification from the Tour de France; Peter Flax offers his own dramatization of those crucial 15 seconds.

VeloNews looks at next year’s pro team kits.

Phil Gaimon isn’t the only ex-pro chasing KOMs, as former Bora-Argon 18 rider Bartosz Huzarski is the new king of a Himalayan mountain.

After retiring as a cyclist, Britain’s five-time Olympic champ Bradley Wiggins is taking a crack at the country’s Olympic rowing team.

Join the Air Force, ride a bike.

 

Finally…

What every BMX rider dreams of — a $3,200 haute couture bike. Your next cycling jersey could be seven recycled plastic bottles.

And we may have to deal with impatient drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about getting trampled by wild elephants.

………

On a personal note, thank you to everyone who reached out to me yesterday for their kind words and support. You really lifted my spirits on a day when I felt like I’d let you down for not writing anything.

 

Morning Links: Marin driver arrested for swerving into 4 cyclists, and traffic deaths up in US, including bicyclists

Call it attempted murder.

In just the latest horrifying attack on the streets, four cyclists participating in the Jensie Gran Fondo of Marin were injured when a driver allegedly swerved his truck into them.

The pickup driver fled the scene after smashing into them from behind, in an attack that witnesses described as intentional.

One of the riders is in stable condition after suffering major injuries; the other three were not seriously injured.

It’s probably not what any of them expected when they signed up to ride with cycling legend Jens Voigt.

Police later arrested 21-year old Novato resident Aaron Michael Paff, an off-duty maintenance worker for the Marin Municipal Water District.

He was taken into custody roughly 12 hours after the attack, and released on $50,000 bond. There was no word on possible charges as of Sunday night.

However, this should be a case of assault with a deadly weapon, at the bare minimum.

Dr. Christopher Thompson got five years in state prison for a similar assault, in which he intentionally brake-checked a pair of riders on Mandeville Canyon Road in 2008.

Photo of suspect vehicle from CHP. Thanks to everyone who let me know about this case.

………

It shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that our streets are getting even deadlier.

In the latest report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic fatalities shot up another 5.6% in the US last year, coming on the heels of an 8.4% increase the year before.

According to the report, there was an increase in almost every category, from pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists, to DUIs and day versus night crashes.

A total of 37,461 people were killed on American streets last year, up from 35,485 the year before.

Four hundred ninety-two pedestrians lost their lives, the highest figure since 1990. And 840 bicyclists were killed, a 1.3% increase and the most since 1991.

It’s worth noting, especially in light of the next item, that an average of over 102 people died in crashes in the US every day — dwarfing the 58 killed in Las Vegas last week.

But no one is holding vigils. No one is sending thoughts and prayers.

And hardly anyone even seems to notice.

Or care.

………

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson has written a hard-hitting piece comparing gun violence with the violence on our streets.

In the first instance, Americans have decided that mass shootings are a reasonable and acceptable cost of being able to easily and legally obtain weapons of virtually any kind. In the second, Californians have decided that individual killings of cyclists are a reasonable and acceptable cost for being able to drive as fast as possible to get where they want to go.

Whether or not you agree with his premise, it’s worth the read. Because this is a conversation our country will have to have sooner or later.

And it’s already a lot later than it should be.

………

A Belgian cyclist is lucky to walk away after flipping over a barrier at the Giro di Lombardia, as Vincenzo Nibali takes his 50th career win.

………

Local

An LA company presents its vision for a four-mile section of the LA River, calling it the LA River Gateway.

One letter writer in the LA Times asks if drivers who object to bike lanes have a better solution, while another says traffic has always been bad in Playa del Rey, and it’s not the bike lanes’ fault.

 

State

New bicycle wayfinding signs go up in Highland.

The Southern California Association of Governments has approved nearly $10 million in funding for active transportation projects in the Coachella Valley.

Ventura County approves construction of bike lanes along Potrero Road near Lake Sherwood.

Sad news from Arroyo Grande, where a woman was killed while riding her bike on the popular Corbett Canyon Road; the driver played a variation of the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, claiming he couldn’t see her because the sun was in his eyes. Even though admitting something like that should be a confession, not an alibi. Thanks to Jeffrey Fylling for the heads-up.

A drunk San Francisco salmon cyclist was responsible for one of the 13 crashes involving GM’s driverless cars when he crashed into the car’s bumper after its human operator had stopped the vehicle.

 

National

A Spokane WA woman is considering a civil suit after a bike rider plowed into her on a multi-use trial; the rider yelled “hot pizza” as a warning, somehow thinking that would make her get out of his way. Pedestrians are unpredictable. So slow the f*** down around them and pass carefully. It’s not that hard.

Dozens of wounded vets joined 71-year old former president George W. Bush on his annual Warrior 100K mountain bike ride.

A driver in Austin TX says he only drove drunk, ran down a cyclist and fled the scene because there was a two-hour wait for a cab.

A Montana man is working to send bikes to Central America to be converted to pedal-powered machines.

An Indiana man rode 2,800 miles from Portland, Oregon to his home state, despite suffering from epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

Facing 35 years in prison for the drunken hit-and-run death of a bicyclist, a Kentucky driver tries to withdraw his guilty plea, saying it wasn’t fair because the crash wasn’t intentional. And the drinking — and getting behind the wheel afterwards — was probably an accident, too.

Over one thousand bicyclists turned out to ride with actor Patrick Dempsey at his annual fundraiser ride in Maine.

A New York man died a week after he was attacked with a hammer by five teenagers who were trying to steal his bike. We’ve said it many times before — no bicycle is worth your life, so just let it go.

A New York woman has died a month after she was struck by a drunk, unlicensed driver who plowed into several bicyclists who were on a fundraising ride. As I recall, there were allegation that this crash may have been intentional, as well.

A homeless man in Florida has been ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial in the stabbing death of a man who was riding his bike from Connecticut to Miami to propose to his girlfriend.

 

International

A Toronto columnist asks if there’s a war on cars in the city, why are drivers the only ones racking up a body count? It’s a question we should be asking here, and every city where drivers claim ownership of the streets. Which is pretty much everywhere. Thanks to Norm Bradwell for the link.

No bias here. Britain’s Daily Mail offers a breathless headline saying two pedestrians are killed or maimed by bicyclists every week. Then in smaller type mentions that there’s no information on who was at fault, and that it still amounts to less than 1% of pedestrian injuries each year on British roads.

Caught on video: A road raging London driver loses it because a bike rider had the audacity to be in front of him.

A London priest is urging his parishioners to pray to stop a bikeway from being installed in front of the church, claiming it would do more harm that the German Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain.

Caught on video too: A British man learns why you don’t ride under crossing gates.

A man in the UK rode his bike 450 miles through France and Great Britain to deliver a petition to the prime minister’s office to cancel Brexit.

A new Scottish study shows riding a bike on bad roads for as little as 16 minutes is enough to cause nerve damage in the hands and arms. Which means that most LA bike riders could have trouble just picking up a pencil.

An Australian state supreme court justice is one of us, too.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could be a boat. Any band can travel by bike between gigs, but how many perform along the way?

And if you’re going to suffer a heart attack while riding, do it in front of a restaurant full of medical professionals.

 

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