Tag Archive for traffic safety deniers

Morning Links: Taking traffic safety deniers seriously, walking bikes on the Troutdale bridge, and Bruce Lee was one of us

Good to see you back after the long holiday weekend. 

Now grab your coffee and buckle in. We’ve got a lot of territory to cover, and a lot to catch up on.

Today’s photo captures an e-bakfiets used as an expensive marketing gimmick for a perfume pop-up at the Grove, photobombed by a hot and tired corgi.

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Call it a major misfire on this one.

A Sacramento-based reporter for the LA Times appears to take traffic safety deniers at face value, giving them a platform to complain about gas tax funds being used for active transportation.

Two years after state lawmakers boosted the gas tax with a promise to improve California streets, some cities have raised the ire of drivers by spending millions of the new dollars on “road diet” projects that reduce the number and size of lanes for motor vehicles.

Projects have touched off a debate as taxpayer advocates and motorists complain that the higher gas taxes they are paying for smoother trips will actually fund projects that increase traffic congestion.

Especially if those funds go towards reducing excess road capacity for motor vehicles, which increasing overall capacity by installing bike lanes.

Also known as the dreaded — to them — road diet.

Not to mention knee-jerk opposition from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn, which never met a tax they liked.

Gas tax money can legally go to such projects, but that does not mean it should, said David Wolfe, legislative director for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., which opposed the original gas tax increase and supported an unsuccessful statewide ballot measure last year to repeal it.It has since continued to watch and criticize how state and local governments are spending the money.

“When Proposition 6 was on the ballot, all voters heard was money would go to road repair and maintenance,” Wolfe said. “They want roads to be repaired. They don’t want roads to be taken away with their taxpayer dollars.”

Never mind that road diets have been shown to reduce overall crashes by 19% in the Golden State, and as much as 47% elsewhere.

So they’re complaining about using gas tax funds to save their own lives and repair bills.

Smart. Real smart.

Never mind also that $2.27 billion of the gas tax increase went to repair and maintain roads, while $750 million a year was set aside for transit projects.

And a paltry $100 million went to bike and pedestrian projects. Most of which benefit drivers, as well.

But try telling that to angry motorists and traffic safety deniers while they light their torches and sharpen their pitchforks.

“It’s creating gridlock on Venice Boulevard, which is then causing cut-through traffic into our neighborhoods,” said Selena Inouye, board president of the Westside Los Angeles Neighbors Network, a group formed in response to the project…

Inouye, a retired social worker, said having motorists pay higher gas taxes so the money can be used to reduce the capacity of roads is contradictory.

She and her husband are paying more than $4 a gallon for gas at her local service station, she said, a price that has been increased by the state gas tax.

“The money should be used to help with congestion overall, and I don’t think that road diets help congestion. I think they cause congestion,” Inouye said.

Even though no one else seems to be able to find that gridlock they keep complaining about. Or that only 12 cents of that $4-plus for a gallon of gas is due to the gas tax increase.

But those are just facts.

And facts just get in the way when you’re insisting on having yours.

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Malibu Hills resident Chris Willig forwards his observations on the absurd, and possibly illegal, attempts by LA County to force bike riders to walk over the newly reopened Troutdale bridge.

Mulholland Highway had been closed in Cornell for about 6-months since the Woolsey Fire which caused the Troutdale Bridge to melt. The catastrophe has vexed cyclists. They’ve been forced to use a detour of about 6 miles on Kanan Road to go around the closure.  And that route is plagued by increased traffic particularly 1,000’s of heavy debris laden trucks hauling the remains of burned out houses.

A temporary one-lane bridge opened Wednesday afternoon, but the celebration from the cycling community has been short lived. Cyclists have been banned from the main road bed with LA County officials trying to force people to walk their bikes on a pedestrian sidepath. This strange traffic configuration can been seen in the photo (viewing north from the south bank of Triunfo Creek) with all of the signage required to direct traffic. It seems ridiculous since the crossing is now controlled by a traffic light system to allow only oneway passage at a posted 10 MPH. As cyclists using this route are normally in road shoes, walking the 230 feet required seems dangerous. More importantly, if many cyclists take the detour trudging across the bridge as instructed, it is clear traffic will be interrupted by all the dismounting and remounting in the street, especially at the south terminus (pictured).

The safest and most convenient routing for road cyclists would be using exactly the same rules for auto traffic. Ironically, the only change from pre-fire norm would be we’d have to cut our speed in half to accommodate the cars slowed by the new speed limit.

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A ghost bike will be installed for fallen Valencia bicyclist Kori Sue Powers tonight.

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Bruce Lee was one of us.

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

And this time, the other side is armed.

A Boyle Heights bike rider was shot in the arm in an apparent gang shooting Friday night.

San Diego’s boardwalk turned into a shooting gallery when an emotionally troubled man pulled out a rifle after getting into an argument with a bike rider, shooting at him several times — and missing, thankfully. Then tried to order an Uber to make his escape.

After someone in a passing Mercedes shot an Oakland woman in the ass with a pellet gun as she was riding her bike, she waited on the side of the road for the police to show up. Then gave up and went home, and waited another 12 hours before they finally bothered to stop by to take a report.

An Iowa bike rider was lucky to remain upright when a driver internationally swerved onto the shoulder of the roadway to sideswipe him, as a passenger leaned out the window to scream insults. And he’s got the video and a hole in his glove to prove it.

After someone shot an Arkansas bike rider in the leg, he refused to go to the hospital because he was afraid someone would take his antique bike.

A road raging Florida driver is under arrest for shooting a man riding a bicycle — for the crime of riding in the traffic lane, just like he’s supposed to.

A road raging Aussie man was busted for apparently following a bike rider home after a collision, pulling out a rifle and shooting at the rider’s home. Then leaving and coming back to do it again. And again.

Then again, not all the drivers used guns.

Some used weapons weighing a couple tons or more.

A Winnipeg bike rider watched as a semi driver flattened his bike, running over it in a road rage incident; fortunately, the victim had already gotten off to confront the angry driver.

A road raging Australian driver got mad after following a group of bicyclists, then cut in front and brake-checked them before turning into a driveway.

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Then again, it’s not like people on bikes are automatic candidates for sainthood.

A Massachusetts man rode up to a convenience store on his bike, robbed it with a meat clever, and rode away again.

New York police are on the lookout for a bike-riding Bronx thief snatching smartphones from women.

You know we’re making progress when even an Irish mob hitman makes his getaway by bike.

And French authorities are searching for a bike-riding man who planted a nail-filled parcel bomb in Lyon, injuring 13 people.

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Local

No surprise here, as The Eastsider says bridge construction has turned the LA River bike path into an obstacle course.

The LA Times looks at the latest gear and bikes for bikepacking, and examines the utter bliss of bikepacking in the backcountry.

CiclaValley concludes his Best Bike Weekend Ever trilogy with a look back at the recent 626 Golden Streets open streets event.

A Bakersfield man visits LA for the recent Culver City to Venice CicLAvia, and discovers the best part of traveling is the people and animals you meet, while learning that his pug really likes riding a bike.

The LAPD is introducing sand-riding fat tire ebikes and ATVs to Venice Beach in an attempt to stop running over any more people sunbathing on the beach.

Chris Pratt’s six-year old son is one of us, as the actor and fiancé Katherine Schwarzenegger bought him a fat tire bike in Santa Monica.

If you’re a fan of riding a bike without actually going anywhere, head to the Santa Monica pier on Sunday for the annual Pedal on the Pier fundraiser.

Fans of the long-running British soap East Enders will be happy to learn that Patsy Palmer is one of us, as the actress went for a bike ride with her husband in the ‘Bu.

 

State

Three cities in North San Diego County — Encinitas, Solana Beach and Del Mar — will team together for a 500-bike docked e-bikeshare system.

Sad news from Santa Cruz, where a 66-year old man was killed when he was struck by three separate cars while riding his bike on the coast highway.

Great op-ed in the New York Times from a Berkeley man, who considers the “inconvenience” posed by a lifetime of riding bikes as a one-armed black man.

A San Francisco man live-streamed his confrontation with a bike thief who was using a loud power tool to cut a lock and snatch a bike in broad daylight; the thief gave up and walked away after being challenged.

 

National

People for Bikes says inclusiveness is the way to grow the bicycling community.

Your next MIPS helmet could be full of fluid. Or you could wear one that looks like a baseball cap and folds to the size of a water bottle. Meanwhile, Forbes points out the obvious, noting that bike helmets don’t do a lot to protect your face.

Your next fat tire ebike could have three wheels — with two tandem tires in front.

A former Seattle cop and bike rider gets it almost entirely wrong, arguing that motorists automatically have the right-of-way on sharrows. And insisting that road diets and efforts to get more people on bikes are just a leftist plot. Never mind that there’s a pretty good conservative argument for bikes, too.

Great idea. A Seattle program gives bicyclists discounts at over 150 businesses in the city after buying a $5 sticker to put on their helmets.

It takes a major schmuck to steal an adaptive adult tricycle a Phoenix man used as his only form of transportation following a pair of strokes.

The architect behind the proposed Tucson AZ bike ranch across from the entrance to Saguaro National Park explains his plan in the face of local opposition. 

Police have issued an arrest warrant for an Austin TX woman who left the scene after running down a bike rider earlier this year after the victim picked her out of a lineup; apparently thinking she was getting hit on in a singles bar, she gave the victim a fake phone number before driving off. Thanks to Stephen Katz for the heads-up.

Kansas will install a beautiful permanent memorial to honor a fallen bicyclist who was killed in a collision while participating in the annual Trans-Am cross-country bike race last year.

A Kansas teen jumped into swollen flood waters to save the life of a 12-year old boy who was swept away while riding his bicycle.

Five hundred Detroit second graders got new bicycles, thanks to Chevrolet and the NHL’s Red Wings.

A new community garden will honor the victims of the Mardi Gras parade crash in New Orleans, where a drunk driver killed two bike riders and injured seven other people.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole 10-year old autistic Florida boy’s $5,500 adaptive tricycle — and just the opposite for the Good Samaritans who replaced it.

 

International

Mark your calendar for Monday’s World Bicycle Day.

How to be a good citizen of the bike lane.

Bicycling looks back on how bicycles helped defeat the Kaiser and win the war to end all wars. Which sadly didn’t.

A new Canadian study suggests your best protection could be a high-vis vest with a left-pointing arrow to tell drivers to move over to pass. Although that doesn’t replace the need for safe infrastructure.

Canadian advice for anyone thinking about dating a hardcore cyclist. Or maybe it’s a warning.

A Canadian man got his hot bike back after someone bought it for $60, not realizing it was stolen; the original owner used it to traverse the length and breadth of Canada. No, literally.

They get it. A Vancouver paper says “no civic bureaucrat or politician should approve a bike lane they wouldn’t feel safe taking their kids for a ride on themselves.”

A Montreal op-ed explains how bike lanes benefit everyone.

While we were busy observing Memorial Day yesterday, Londoners celebrated their first-ever Bike to Work Day.

London is moving to protect bike riders and pedestrians by dropping the speed limit in the central financial district known as the Square Mile to just 15 mph. Your move, LA Mayor Garcetti.

Participants in an organized English ride complain about routing the ride onto a roadway with speed bumps on a steep descent and no warning signs — with predictable results.

Uber wants Brits to Jump.

After a Glasgow woman is killed riding her bike, a man does some soul searching, wondering whether bicycling is worth the risk. And concluding he may keep riding, but can’t recommend it to a friend.

A couple hundred people turned out for an interfaith bike ride to remember the victims of the Christchurch, New Zealand terrorist attacks, led at the start by one of the victims, who also lost his wife, in his new wheelchair.

I sort of want to be like him when I grow up. A Michigan man gave up his comfy retirement to ride his bike across the US, and in countries around the world. And spent New Years Day riding a fat tire bike on the ice and snow of Antarctica. No offense to our southernmost continent, but I’d prefer a more temperate climate. Which Antartica will probably be in a few years, if we all keep burning fossil fuels.

 

Competitive Cycling

Slovenian cyclist Primoz Roglic considers himself lucky to have lost just 40 seconds to Giro race leader Richard Carapaz, despite Sunday’s debacle when he crashed on a too-small bike borrowed from a teammate, because he just happened to have a mechanical when the team race director was relieving himself.

You, too, can be a hard man or woman, and ride the routes of the cobbled spring classics.

Big mistake. The largest promoter in bike racing is slowly backing away from supporting women’s cycling.

Lance says he did what he had to do to win, and he wouldn’t change a thing. Except, you know, maybe like getting caught and all that.

Cycling Tips talks with the inimitable Peter Sagan.

Cycling Weekly remembers the legendary Fausto Coppi, calling him a cycling icon like no other.

And seriously, don’t try to snatch a pro cyclist’s water bottle out of his face, no matter how much you want a souvenir.

 

Finally…

Probably not the best idea to ride a stolen bike to the courthouse to be sentenced for stealing another bike. The next driver to run you off the road might do it from above.

And we may have to worry about LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about bears.

Or, uh…Bigfoot.

Morning Links: Help fund prize money for women cyclists, no Redhook Crit, and getting Vision Zero wrong

The USC Cycling Team needs your help to do the right thing.

The cycling team is hosting its first bike race in six years, and wants to offer equal prize money to both men and women.

Which is the way every race should be run. But usually isn’t.

As a result, they need your help to crowdfund just $1,500 to make up the difference in purses mandated by the sport’s arcane rules.

Here’s how they explain it.

Why are the women paid less? That is an existential question plaguing professional cycling, and it trickles down to amateur and collegiate cycling. There are fewer female riders, fewer female teams and promoters are less likely to provide big money for a race that can potentially only draw 12 women. At most races, if the number of registrants surpasses a given threshold, then the prize money doubles. This is how we first modeled our prize structure.

However, this traditional model misses the point. If women knew that equal prize money were up for grabs, teams would show up in full force.  But many racers, both men and women, often wait until the week before a race to register, especially if they are local and don’t have to plan travel. So, women are checking the registration page in the days leading up to a race, weighing the costs of registering against the possibility of their winnings. Field-contingent prize money holds many back from registering.

The event takes place the first weekend in March, with the Rosena Ranch Circuit Race for collegiate cycling teams on Saturday, March 2nd, and the first ever USC Brackett Grand Prix on Sunday the 3rd.

As of this writing, they’ve raised $271 of the modest $1,500 goal, leaving a gap of just over $1,200.

Which we should be able to help them raise without breaking a sweat. Or maybe someone with slightly deeper pockets would like to sponsor the women’s races.

Because frankly, they race just as hard as the men do.

And deserve every bit as much.

Meanwhile, a bill in the California legislature would require sporting events that take place on state-owned land to provide equal prize money for men and women.

About damn time.

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You can cancel those plans for New York this year.

In a surprising announcement, the Red Hook Criterium has been cancelled for 2019 due to rising costs and insufficient sponsorship funding.

Organizers promise the popular fixed-gear race will be back next year after they reorganize.

Although past experience tells us not to hold our breath, as races that are cancelled over funding too often don’t come back.

Let’s hope that’s not the case this time.

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Huh?

An Alexandria, Virginia woman says Vision Zero isn’t working in the US because people are choosing cars over public transportation.

Which has little, if anything, to do with reducing traffic deaths.

She cites as proof the factually incorrect, traffic safety-denying Wall Street Journal op-ed recently penned by a Los Angeles lawyer.

And dissected and discredited right here.

Meanwhile, the recent spate of op-eds and letters to the editor on the subject is starting to raise questions over whether this is concerted effort to spread misinformation about Vision Zero and road diets across the US.

And we can probably guess who’s behind it.

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Local

Watts-based Grammy award winning rapper Jay Rock is one of us, saying he was supposed to perform on the awards show three years ago, but couldn’t because he was laid up in the hospital following a bike crash.

Long Beach says e-scooters are here to stay, as they decide to expand the pilot program while imposing new fees and regulations on scooter companies.

State

The Voice of San Diego says the city can’t meet its state transportation goals without an entirely new vision dictating major changes in transportation. The same goes for Los Angeles, which will have to make wholesale changes in how people get around as part of its LA version of a Green New Deal. But don’t count on it anytime soon.

That’s more like it. Encinitas voted to lower the speed limit on the northern section of the coast highway to improve safety for bike riders.

A 32-mile Santa Cruz rail-to-trail conversion that’s been in the works for decades finally got underway with work to widen a railway trestle to make room for a bikeway.

The victim of Sunday’s fatal bike crash in Stockton is described as a talented sushi chef who was riding his bike to work after loaning his car to a friend with a new baby; sadly, he never got there.

National

We already knew NASCAR favorite Jimmie Johnson is one of us, as he says he loves the suffering that’s part of long runs and bike rides.

Bicycling tells the heartbreaking tale of a woman who lost her fiancé when he was killed in 2015 competing in just his fifth mountain bike race. And restarted her life by moving to the Colorado town where he died, founding a company to help first responders deal with backcountry bike crashes like the one that took his life.

Riding a tandem can make your riding and your relationship stronger. Or it could end it. Or so I’m told.

More ridiculous jurisdictional issues in Colorado, where the state brings ebike classifications up to the national standards established in California, but leaves the actual regulations up to each community. Which one again means what’s legal in one city could be illegal across the street — without riders ever knowing that they had crossed into a different community, let alone one with different rules.

Common sense wins the day in North Dakota, where legislators overwhelmingly defeated a bill to require bike riders to wear reflective clothing at night. Not that wearing reflective gear is a bad idea, but mandating it is.

A new report from the League of American Bicyclists shows Oklahoma City is the deadliest city in the US for bike commuters.

Lime continues its retrenchment on bikeshare, turning what used to be a fleet of dockless bike into a pile of trash after pulling out of St. Louis.

A Michigan man confessed to the 70 mph, hit-and-run death of a bike rider, after police found his damaged car hidden in a field under a tarp and a sheet of snow.

Nashville is close to approving an ordinance that would lower speed limits from 30 to 25 mph.

A federal judge ruled that Trump’s call to execute the driver who killed eight people in a terrorist attack on a New York bike path did not taint the case, leaving the driver eligible for the death penalty.

DC considers building a three mile bike and pedestrian path along the Potomac.

A DC policy site considers how bikeshare can be made more family friendly.

International

The LA Times says love is in the air when you ride a bicycle in Santiago, Chile.

Canadian Cycling Magazine considers the pros and cons of traveling with your bike as opposed to renting one once you get there.

Nice guy. A Toronto letter writer says if you can afford a bicycle, you can afford to buy a license for it. And if you can’t, you can just walk.

Advocates call for more tolerance between Kiwi bicyclists and drivers; one rider says “just chill out and relax.”

The former world leader in dockless bikeshare continues its rapid decline, as Ofo gets the boot from Singapore after its license was suspended.

Competitive Cycling

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay joins in on a fat tire race through the snowy Rockies in Crested Butte CO, complete with a brief video. As always, the Journal’s usual paywall issues apply.

A top Scottish mountain biker was none too pleased when she had to borrow a bike to compete in Spain, blasting British Airways for losing hers.

Cycling Weekly looks back at the rollercoaster career of the late, great Marco Pantani.

Cycling legend Eddy Merckx won’t be prosecuted on corruption charges by Belgian authorities — not because he didn’t do it, but because the statute of limitations has expired.

Finally…

Finding true love, if not your stolen bikes. Your next ebike could come from General Motors — but only if you live in Europe.

And your next dockless bikeshare bike could have lasers.

But not the kind that will let you singe distracted, angry or aggressive drivers.

Damn it.

Morning Links: Fight over road diets goes national, flooding closes GMR, and Emperor Norton was one of us

Let’s start with an important piece from Streetsblog’s Joe Linton about the efforts of traffic safety deniers Keep LA Moving to take their crackpot anti-road diet fight national.

Advocates, alert: “Keep L.A. Moving,” a small, vindictive group of well-heeled westsiders with little regard for the safety of L.A.’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged residents, is now pushing its disinformation to a national audience – or, at least, attempting to – by rebranding itself as “Keep The U.S. Moving…”

As bicycle advocate Peter Flax has noted, KLAM’s work seems to thrive best in closed-door conservative echo chambers, like Nextdoor and closed Facebook groups. From there, they work to seed aligned broadcast media, including right-wing radio, where their claims are not questioned. When their dubious assertions, for example “[road diets cause] more accidents, more pollution, more gridlock, heavy traffic,” are actually aired in public debate, or studied using actual real world data, they just don’t hold up.

Like climate change deniers, these “Keep Moving” groups deny data-based studies showing that speed kills and that road diets work

Behind all their crackpot assertions is the empowerment of drivers in well-to-do communities. These ideologues push for unfettered driver access at the expense of safety for all road users, particularly those who have the fewest mobility choices available to them and who are most at-risk to harm. The “right” of this handful of disgruntled drivers to speed is costing the lives of tens of thousands of people in the U.S. every year. Unfortunately, this is a double whammy to low-income communities of color, whose residents continue to die at higher rates. And as Rutgers’ Charles Brown points out, minority communities overlooked for road diet safety improvements “receive enforcement” instead.

It’s well worth clicking the link to read all of Linton’s hard-hitting story.

Because these are the people who, so far at least, have succeeded in halting road diets and other vital safety measures in Los Angeles, keeping our streets dangerous and deadly so people like them can continue to drive unimpeded.

At least until LA’s inevitable encroaching gridlock forces them to a full stop.

And if they have their way, everywhere.

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Popular riding route Glendora Mountain Road is closed until further notice due to flooding.

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Robs Muir sends us photographic proof that San Francisco’s beloved Emperor Norton was one of us, too.

Bancroft Library, U.C. Berkeley

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Anyone planning to ride to work this Friday for International Winter Bike to Work Day?

If you want to discuss it with a reporter for the new Spectrum News 1 channel, email Jada Montemarano at jada.montemarano@charter.com.

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Local

Speaking of Spectrum News 1, they offer a nice piece on South LA’s Black Kids on Bikes, which isn’t just for kids. Or African-Americans.

UCLA is offering a week-long, 550-mile bike tour along the California coast to learn firsthand about the impacts of climate change, and possible solutions. Solution #1 — ditch the car, and ride a bike. Thanks to Audrey Kopp for the heads-up.

A Pasadena neighborhood association says the city’s proposed Cordova Street traffic calming project has a lot to like, even if it doesn’t connect with the Gold Line.

The Signal takes a look at Santa Clarita’s new Pace docked bikeshare system.

State

Can you say, duh? A San Diego TV station reports a sharp increase in traffic tickets issued to scooter riders last year — which makes sense, since it was the first full year they were in operation.

Work is almost finished on San Francisco’s newest protected bike lane.

Sonoma officials identify the homeless man who was beaten to death by two other men in a dispute over bicycle; he had served as a mentor to other people who were new to the streets.

Sacramento is the next California city to get e-scooters.

National

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss says chill out about that scary sounding medical study on e-scooter injuries, noting that only 15 of the 249 victims were injured seriously enough to require hospitalization.

Outside examines how energy bars became America’s favorite snack food.

A writer for Fast Company takes a spin in a 300-pound e-trike, and pronounces it the future of urban deliveries.

A driving website calls the micromobility movement part revolution and part gold rush, naming 2018 the Year of the Scooter.

No surprise here. Denver’s docked bikeshare system is losing riders to the convenience of e-scooters.

The mayor of a Chicago suburb threatens to ticket every member of a group ride if they don’t stop for every stop sign. Yes, they are legally required to stop. Even though it would piss off every driver on the street street when they proceed through every intersection one at a time.

Chicago Streetsblog looks back on the life of a bike courier in the 1990s. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the link.

A Massachusetts town wants to become a bicycling city, building on a bike heritage that goes back over 100 years. Although honestly, just about every city and town can say that; it’s what happened in the past 50 or 60 years that matters.

David Drexler forwards a Bloomberg piece about the reasons for a sudden uptick in New York Uber and taxi fares, which ends with “Have you considered biking?”

Great idea. Bike riders in Athens, Georgia can get discounts at participating businesses by attaching a $5 sticker to their helmets.

No bias here. A Georgia college student gets the blame in the local media for hitting a bus with his bike, when he was actually right-hooked as he came off the sidewalk. Yes, he should have slowed or stopped before riding out into the crosswalk, and probably shouldn’t have been on the sidewalk in the first place. But the driver bears responsibility for apparently not noticing him on the sidewalk and pausing to let him cross the street.

International

Cycling Weekly offers 13 inspirational cycling quotes to live your life by. Personally, I like the one from South African Bishop Desmond Tutu.

A British Columbia high school student returned home from an international environmental engineering competition with a bronze medal for her solar-powered e-trike.

A Hamilton, Ontario safety advocate says the city’s Vision Zero plan is a lot of fluff. Not that Los Angeles bike riders and pedestrians can relate that or anything.

This is who we share the roads with. A London motorist suffered serious injuries when a road raging driver intentionally plowed into him as he stood next to his car following a minor collision; no word on whether the other driver was arrested.

A British food delivery rider faces a charge of willful misconduct for a bike crash that left an eight-year old girl with a fractured skull.

Scraping the bottom of the ethical barrel, a driver in the UK faked brain damage to avoid doing jail time for killing a man on a bike while driving at twice the speed limit on the wrong side of the road; he’s now doing six and a half well-deserved years.

London’s Telegraph recommends Dubai’s “surprisingly mountainous” bicycling routes.

Some drivers continue to say bike riders are hard to see. Apparently, so are Australian garbage trucks.

Aussie medical professionals are sounding the alarm about dangerous aggression from motorists directed towards people on bicycles. Or as we call that in Los Angeles, Tuesday. Or any other day, for that matter.

Competitive Cycling

British pro cyclist Scott Auld was lucky to escape with a broken collarbone and various other injuries when he was the victim of a car crash while training in Spain; he was riding on the inside of a double pace line when the rider next to him was clipped by a driver on the wrong side of the road, crashing into him and sending him flying down a ravine.

Finally…

Who needs wheels when you’ve got skis? When you’re semi-royal, love dogs and the press has no idea what a cargo bike is.

And if you’re on parole with outstanding warrants, carrying an illegal weapon and ghost riding another bike along with yours, put a damn light on it — 

Your bike, not the other one.

Or maybe both.

Vision Zero is not a fad — and it’s not making our streets more deadly

A traffic safety denying op-ed in the Wall Street Journal claims both. And couldn’t be more wrong.

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No Morning Links today.

I had planned to take Martin Luther King Jr. Day off, and post some inspirational words to remind us all to treat everyone like our own brothers and sisters, especially in these turbulent times.

But I felt it was necessary to address an op-ed that was inexplicably published in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday, without the apparent benefit of senior editors or fact checkers.

We’ll be back tomorrow with a massive four days worth of links to the latest bike news stories from over the weekend.

Today we’re going to discuss Vision Zero, road diets and traffic safety deniers.

Because sometimes, these people just piss me off.

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Awhile back, I coined the term traffic safety deniers to describe people who reject the well-established science of traffic safety.

Just like climate change deniers reject the established science behind climate change, for no other reason than they choose not to believe it, or the experts in the field, evidence be damned.

Like lawyer and writer Christopher D. LeGras, who penned a virtually fact free, alternative universe op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, claiming that Vision Zero is nothing but a “road diet fad.” And that it’s having the opposite effect of what is intended, by somehow magically increasing the death toll on our streets.

Or I should say former lawyer, since he apparently gave up his membership in the bar to write full time, resulting in a collection of short fiction published by the small LA-based imprint Rare Bird Books.

Unfortunately, his op-ed reads like a work of fiction, as well.

He starts innocently enough, telling the tale of a 65-year old woman who broke her leg falling on the sidewalk in Mar Vista, suffering a compound fracture. And says it took the fire department paramedics ten minutes to get there, even though the station was just five blocks away.

But in which direction, he doesn’t say.

Yet somehow extrapolates that to blame the road diet on Venice Blvd — and every road diet everywhere else — and Vision Zero in general.

Los Angeles, like cities nationwide, is transforming its streets. In July 2017 the city installed a “road diet” on a 0.8-mile stretch of Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista, reducing four lanes to two and adding bike lanes separated from traffic by parking buffers. The project is part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Vision Zero initiative, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities in the city by 2025. Launched in 2015, Vision Zero is the most radical transformation of how people move through Los Angeles since the dawn of the freeway era 75 years ago.

By almost any metric it’s been a disaster. Pedestrian deaths have nearly doubled, from 74 in 2015 to 135 in 2017, the last year for which data are available. After years of improvement, Los Angeles again has the world’s worst traffic, according to the transportation research firm Inrix. Miles of vehicles idling in gridlock have reduced air quality to 1980s levels.

Well, it ain’t necessarily so

Problem is, the road diet on Venice was part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets program. A community driven project that had been in the works since 2015, and had nothing to do with LA’s Vision Zero, which was only announced in August of the same year.

In fact, Vision Zero in Los Angeles was just vaporware until the Vision Zero Action Plan was released in January, 2017 — two years after community groups began work on a Complete Streets makeover of Venice Blvd, and the same year the Mar Vista Great Streets project was installed.

Never mind that the road diet on Venice reduced it from a massive six lanes to a more manageable four, to reduce crossing distances to improve safety for pedestrians and increase livability.

Not two lanes, as LeGras inexplicably claimed.

Then there’s the claim that pedestrian deaths spiked in 2017, two years after Mayor Garcetti announced the Vision Zero program.

But somehow, before any significant work had been done on Vision Zero, because the action plan, and the High Injury Network it’s based upon, weren’t even released until that year.

Not to mention that none of those pedestrians were killed on streets where Vision Zero improvements had already been installed. So rather than being the fault of Vision Zero in some vague, unidentified way, they can be blamed on the dangerous, deadly LA streets that Vision Zero is intended to fix.

Which is about like blaming the vet because your cat got pregnant after he fixed your dog.

And don’t get me started on LeGras’ laughable implication that Vision Zero is somehow responsible for LA’s worsening traffic and air pollution.

Traffic is bad on streets throughout the LA area, including the other 85 or so other cities in LA County that don’t have Vision Zero programs. Let alone on the streets that haven’t seen any Vision Zero improvements at all. Which is most of them.

Oddly, traffic also sucks on most, if not all, LA-area freeways, which have yet to see a single bike lane or road diet.

The reason LA traffic is getting worse is a population that’s growing by an estimated 50,000 a year, with most of the new arrivals bringing cars with them, or buying one as soon as they get here.

Along with countless kids who receive or buy a car as soon as they’re old enough to drive, resulting in four or five cars cramming the driveways of many family homes. When they’re not out helping to cram the streets.

Combine all that with a record number of miles driven in the US last year, as lower gas prices encouraged more people to drive more. Something that’s reflected in dropping ridership on LA Metro, as more people switch from buses and trains to private vehicles — adding to the traffic LeGras complains about.

And no, LA air quality is nowhere near 1980 levels.

Then again, he also seems to confuse normal traffic congestion with gridlock — defined as a situation in which drivers are unable to move in any direction.

If you can get through a traffic light in two or three cycles, or turn in any direction to get out of it, it ain’t gridlock.

It’s traffic.

By my count, that’s six false statements in just two paragraphs. Unfortunately, he didn’t stop there.

Nothing succeeds like the successes of Vision Zero

Like the next paragraph, where he somehow concludes that light rail lines have anything to do with Vision Zero. (Hint: they don’t.)

Or the following one, where he implies that Vision Zero projects in the Big Apple have failed to make significant improvements. Even though, after five years of Vision Zero, and countless road diets and other safety projects, New York traffic fatalities are at their lowest level since motor vehicles took over the streets. And pedestrian deaths are at their lowest level since 1910.

While bicycling fatalities have gone up in New York, that’s more reflective of a massive 150% increase in ridership as more people feel safer on the streets.

And rather than leading to increased traffic congestion, the changes have actually improved traffic flow.

While individual firefighters may complain that bike lanes delay response in emergencies, as LaGras claims, the facts don’t bear that out.

In fact, more fire departments are realizing that safety improvements on the streets reduce the need for dangerous emergency responses. Which means fewer people they have to scrape up off the streets and try to patch back together.

Meanwhile, more enlightened cities are deciding that is better to build fire engines that fit the streets, rather than widen streets to fit the fire engines.

The myth of the Foothill Blvd evacuation disaster

Then there’s this.

During the 2017 La Tuna Fire, the biggest in Los Angeles in half a century, a road diet on Foothill Boulevard the in Sunland-Tujunga neighborhood bottlenecked evacuations. After the fire a neighborhood association voted to go off the road diet. The city ignored the request and instead added another one to La Tuna Canyon Road.

That’s a myth that has been circulating in the anti-road diet, traffic safety denier community for some time.

While the road diet on Foothill has unfairly gotten the blame, the real problem stemmed from the closure of the 210 Freeway further up the road. Traffic backed up from that closure down to, and through, Foothill Blvd — not from Foothill back.

Officials never considered it a serious enough problem to remove the bollards protecting the bike lanes, or to introduce other emergency measures, including contraflow lanes, on Foothill.

I’m told that an engineer involved in the evacuations said that people on Foothill were never in danger. And fire officials said they had no problem getting through.

With or without a road diet, relying on private motor vehicles to evacuate any population center will always be problematic, as cars break down and run out of gas, and fallible human drivers try to squeeze in and turn around without sufficient space to do so.

LeGras is correct, however, that a road diet was implemented on deadly La Tuna Canyon, following the near fatal crash that left Keith Jackson in a coma for three weeks.

One of the few things he got right.

But rather than reducing road space, it merely reduced the amount of traffic lanes in places — leaving exactly the same amount of space available in the event of an emergency as there was before.

He closes this way,

It’s noble to want to make America’s streets as safe as they can be. But government officials shouldn’t impose projects on communities that don’t work, inconvenience residents, hurt businesses and impede emergency responders in the process.

Had he bothered to do the slighted bit of research, he might have discovered that most people like the Complete Streets that result from the implementation of road diets and bike lanes.

And that road diets and bike lanes have proven good for businesses across the US. And Canada, too.

Emergency response times tell the real tale

As for impeding emergency responders, let’s go back to that 65-year old Mar Vista woman with the broken leg.

A ten minute response time in any emergency should be unacceptable. But countless things can take place to delay emergency responders that have nothing to do with road diets.

It took far longer than that for paramedics to arrive when my father-in-law suffered a fatal heart attack. And that was in a residential neighborhood, in the afternoon, before Vision Zero and road diets were a gleam in Eric Garcetti’s eye.

Responders can be delayed by the same sort of traffic congestion you’ll find on any other major street in Los Angeles, with or without road diets or any other form of traffic calming or safety improvements.

Never mind motorists who don’t have the sense to pull to the right like the law requires. Which seems to be the majority of LA drivers these days.

But if there was a significant problem, it would show up in the fire department’s response times. Yet the average response for Mar Vista’s Station 62 is just four seconds slower than the average EMS response for the city as a whole.

Four seconds.

I sincerely hope Renee Khoury’s mother Rebecca recovers completely from her broken leg.

As for Mr. LeGras, it’s probably a good thing he’s not practicing law anymore, if he built his cases on such flimsy, easily disproven evidence.

But I do hope he continues to write.

Judging from this op-ed, he should have a fine future in fiction.

Thanks to Alissa Walker and Felicia G for their help in researching this piece.

Morning Links: Bonin declares Mar Vista a Great Streets success, and LAPD gets it wrong with hi-viz for jaywalkers

It’s the last three days of the 4th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Just three more days to support SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy. It’s easy to donate via PayPal, or through Zelle with the banking app that’s already on your phone, using the email address you’ll find on this link.

Any amount will help, and is truly and deeply appreciated, no matter how large or small. 

We’ll even take the change under your sofa cushions. Or whatever you have left once your holiday shopping is over.

So what are you waiting for, already?

………

It looks like the traffic safety deniers were wrong. And the Mar Vista Great Streets project is here to stay.

Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin released a four-minute video yesterday touting the success of the lane reductions and bike lanes on Venice Blvd in Mar Vista.

Despite the claims of opponents, who seemed to be operating from their own set of alternative facts, the newly configured road has resulted in far fewer serious crashes, while carrying just as much traffic, just as quickly, as it did prior to the new design.

In fact, peak travel times are only 30 seconds slower than before.

But while bicycle counts dropped 16 percent, the number of people walking on the street jumped by a full third over the year before. And Mar Vista business is booming.

So much for the specious claim that no one goes there anymore.

This is what one reader, who forwarded the video to me, had to say.

I’m sure you saw this, but Bonin just sent out a pretty encouraging video on Mar Vista Great Streets.

The 1-year LADOT report is apparently favorable on safety, bike/ped/scooter volumes, and (even) car travel times. (Not sure if the report is out yet.) Seleta Reynolds is recommending that the street configuration (i.e., bike lanes, I think) be made permanent, with Bonin recommending that as well.

They had some big numbers about business activity & business openings being *way* up year-on-year. (My take is this probably has more to do with the macroeconomy than the bike lanes, but it at least proves that bike lanes haven’t “killed” Mar Vista)…

Bonin also announced a bunch of traffic changes to reduce cut-through traffic on the side streets around Venice/Centinela, including some protected left turns and longer right-turn pockets on the arterials, as well as more stop signs on Victoria & Charnock.

I was hoping it’d be an announcement about more protected bike lanes, but after the last couple years, anything that’s not moving backward feels (alas) like a victory.

Unfortunately, the report hasn’t been released, and no word yet on when it will come out. Correction: The report was released the same day as the video; you can read it here. Thanks to Eric B for the heads-up.

And I’m sure whenever it does, opponents will once again deny virtually everything in it, just as they’ve done for the last year since the project was installed. Note: The traffic safety deniers are already hard at work in the comments to the YouTube video.

But maybe, just maybe, we can finally get city officials to start making decisions based on actual facts and real world experience, instead of just listening to whoever screams the loudest.

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An op-ed in the LA Times ridicules the LAPD’s program to give jaywalkers a reflective vest and clip-on lights in lieu of a ticket.

And justifiably so.

It goes on to say defensive walking is not the antidote for the city’s high rate of pedestrian deaths.

Or bike deaths, for that matter. 

Because, while we all need to take practical steps to protect ourselves, the real problem is cars, and the distracted and overly aggressive people in them.

And dressing up like a glow-in-the-dark clown isn’t the answer.

It should also be pointed out that every corner has crosswalk in every direction, painted or not, unless crossing is specifically prohibited with posted signage.

And jaywalking isn’t against the law unless there’s a signalized intersection on both ends of the block.

Too bad the LAPD doesn’t seem to think any of that is worth mentioning.

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Don’t make her beg. Support the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive today.

Local

Mashable promotes sale prices on a pair of bikes from Burbank-based Pure Cycles.

The LA Times examines the practicality of Elon’s Folly, the underground tunnel system he promises will whisk cars at high speeds underneath Los Angeles. Although I’m in favor of anything that would get more cars off the streets, even if that means sending them down into the bowels of the earth.

State

No more $2 bus tours of Camp Pendleton any more, but you can still visit the Marine base by bike — if you plan ahead and apply for a permit in person, in advance.

San Francisco debunks the common argument that protected bike lanes will interfere with fire trucks. And moves forward with another protected lane as a result.

It’s been a deadly year in San Jose.

A Marin newspaper says Mill Valley’s new designation as a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community is well-deserved.

National

The Seattle Times asks if Seattle’s new transportation director can build detente with the the city’s sparing drivers, bike riders, pedestrians and transit users, like he did in DC.

The former sex change capital of the world — and the halfway point by rail between Los Angeles and Chicago — will host the first Southwest Chief Bicycle and Comedy Festival next May, combining a “love of the outdoors, bicycle fetishism and the obligatory live entertainment-and-partying.”

In a battle of letter writers, a Colorado Springs CO bike rider says he doesn’t want the bike lanes the city is forcing on residents, while another rider correctly notes that people on bikes are subsidizing the people in cars (2nd and 3rd letters).

‘Tis the season. A Chicago nonprofit refurbished 50 bicycles for kids in Gary, Indiana, part of the 1,400 bikes they donate in the Chicago area, and up to 8,000 bicycles they send to Latin America and Africa.

Condolences to bicyclists in Adrian MI, who are getting new sharrows and being told it’s infrastructure instead of what they really are, arrows designed to help drivers improve their aim.

Honda is testing a smart intersection system in an Ohio city that warns drivers if a pedestrian or bicyclist — or a red light running driver — is about to cross their path. But only if they have the connected car system installed.

Gothamist says New York bicycling deaths have plunged to a record low as the city built nearly 21 miles of protected bike lanes this year. But Streetsblog says no they didn’t, unless you count five miles of lanes without protection as protected.

Frightening and inspiring story from New Jersey, as the long-time lawyer for the state’s governing body for high school sports makes a miraculous recovery from the nearly fatal bike crash that left him paralyzed, after the riders ahead of him went down on a high-speed group ride.

International

Cycling Weekly presents nine Christmas experiences every cyclist will recognize. Unless, of course, like me, you don’t.

Cycling Tips shares their favorite bikes of 2018, sans price tags, unfortunately. On the other hand, you can get a new and improved Oi bike bell for just $36.

No bias here. A British Columbia letter writer says new bike lanes in downtown Victoria have given bike riders a lawbreaking sense of entitlement.

The Evening Standard asks if soaring ebike sales could help London clean the air.

Yes, please. British police plan to use virtual reality to teach dangerous drivers what it feels like to be passed too closely.

BikeBiz says it will take a fresh approach to make the roads safer, as six UK bike and pedestrian advocacy groups band together to get more people riding.

A pair of bike riders are raising funds for charity by biking from London to Tokyo for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, riding over 12,000 miles through 26 countries.

Bikes are being stolen from an English train station because the bike racks are merely bolted to the ground, allowing thieves to simply remove the bolts and walk off with the still-locked bicycle. Which is why you should never use a rack unless it’s embedded in the concrete.

A police union official says separate rules for bikes, ebikes, scooters, mini electric cars and hoverboards are turning bike lanes in the Netherlands into a living hell. Raise your hand if you’d gladly trade the streets you ride for Dutch bikeways, hell or otherwise.

The rich get richer. The Netherlands is investing the equivalent of $390 million to build 15 bicycle freeways and an additional 25,000 bicycle parking spaces to get another 200,000 commuters on two wheels — and paying bike commuters 22¢ a mile to ride to work.

A Palestinian writer calls on the UK to cut ties with what he calls Israel’s oppressive regime, saying he’s being sent to prison for riding a bike during a protest.

No bias here. A Hong Kong letter writer asks who needs bicycles when you can use the city’s speedy, efficient transit system — especially when they annoy people like him.

Competitive Cycling

Forget doping. The way to get a real — and legal — edge in bike racing is supercomputing.

Finally…

Is that a bikeable alley, or an overly realistic trompe l’oeil painting? When your annual bike ride is like a “naked Christmas episode of Doctor Who.”

And if you haven’t signed a pro cycling contract by the time you’re 11-years old, you’re already falling behind.

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Thanks to John C for his generous donation to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive to keep this site coming to your favorite screen every morning! 


Morning Links: Rampart Village NC considers Mobility Bill of Rights and banning Vision Zero tonight

It’s Day 19 of the 4th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive.

Your support keeps SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every day.

Anything you can give helps, and is truly and deeply appreciated, no matter how large or small. 

Donate in just moments via PayPal, or through Zelle using the banking app that’s already on your phone.

………

Call it the good, and the really, really ugly. 

The Rampart Village Neighborhood Council will consider a proposal at tonight’s meeting to embrace a revival of the moribund Cyclists Bill of Rights, now dubbed the Mobility Bill of Rights.  Which was sort-of adopted by the LA city council ten years ago at the behest of the late Bill Rosendahl, then promptly forgotten. 

“10. Discussion and possible Action on – the recommendation from the President to take a position on the Bike Writer’s Coalition (BWC) motion that, Rampart Village Neighborhood Council claims & asserts the aspirational document known as “The Mobility Bill of Rights”; RVNC embraces the public space of our community & the City at-large by proclaiming that “Streets are for People!” “

That’s the good. 

The ugly is the following motion to remove all Vision Zero traffic calming measures — the few that have actually been installed, anyway — and return Los Angeles to its deadly, exclusively auto-centric recent past. 

“11. Discussion and/or Possible Action on – the recommendation from the Executive Committee to take a position on the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Coalition (LANCC) motion that, Rampart Village Neighborhood Council demands that the city enforce the laws & within 30 days of our demand to start the process to remove all Vision Zero traffic calming measures, including but, not limited to the controversial road diets.”

Let’s hope enough people show up to halt this misleading and dangerous motion put forward by the traffic safety deniers behind groups like Keep LA Moving

Thanks to Stephen Box for the heads-up

………

David Drexler forwards a photo of a menorah bike, captured at Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade on the next to last might of Chanukah. 

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Local

Midnight Ridazz host their annual All City Toy Ride this Friday

An LA Times op-ed says yes, you can have free public transit and traffic-free roads, thanks to the miracle of congestion pricing. 

Another Times op-ed takes LA Mayor Eric Garcetti to task for talking the talk on climate change, but failing to walk the walk by failing to acknowledge, let alone address, climbing driving rates. Yet oddly, the authors fail to even mention bicycling

Environmental groups complain about Metro’s exclusively auto-focused plans to mitigate traffic caused by the cancellation of the 710 Freeway extension, with bike and transit improvements left for discussion some unspecified time in the future. Or not

feeder ride will roll out from the Spoke Bicycle Café on Saturday in support of the March for Public Education at LA City Hall. 

date has been set for the next 626 Golden Streets open streets event in the San Gabriel Valley; the new route will pass through South Pasadena, Alhambra and San Gabriel on May 19th. 

State

Caught on video: A San Francisco bicyclist was nearly run down by a police officer using the bike lane he was in as a passing lane to zoom by slower traffic, sans lights and siren. 

This is who we share the roads with. Palo Alto police are looking for a driver who exposed himself to a woman as she rode her bike, masturbating behind the wheel as he stared at her. Let’s hope they find the jerk and lock him away for a long time. Thanks to Robert Leone for the link

Davis considers making changes to its “Claw” curbside trash pickup, which can result in bike lanes blocked with trash when homeowners put it out incorrectly.  

National

A writer for Men’s Health attempts to jump starts his brain to see if it will make him a better cyclist

Pink Bike writes an obituary for the loved and hated Interbike trade show.

NBC News suggests better clothes for active commuters

A Portland paper takes a deep dive into Oregon bike crashes, and ranks the 20 most dangerous cities for bicyclists; bike-friendly Portland is number two. 

four-lane Chicago-area highway could go on a diet to make room for bicycles. 

Chicago’s dwindling bike messengers want the same access to commercial buildings that food delivery riders enjoy

Here’s one problem LA bike riders don’t have. Boston will remove flex posts separating a bike lane from car traffic to make it easier to salt and plow snow and ice on the bridge they’re on.

New York startup is placing expandable pods on a Manhattan street to provide bike riders with a safe and convenient place to park on a subscription basis. 

The New York Times discusses the lack of bikeshare options for people with disabilities; ebikes can help some would-be riders, but even those are in short supply. And adaptive bikes are virtually nonexistent. 

International

A writer for Cycling Tips discovers firsthand what it takes to ride a solo double century

A new report details the problem of police profiling in Toronto, including a black man who was arbitrarily stopped while riding in a bike lane.

UK bike writer Laura Laker questions whether cracking down on bicyclists will really improve safety, concluding that as long as the government listens to the most hysterical voices, rather than the evidence, nothing will change. 

Bighearted British bike riders deliver hundreds of teddy bears to the ICU unit of a local hospital. 

A Spanish carmaker most of us have never heard of promises their new radar system will detect the “telltale signature of bicycles travelling in the same direction” so their cars won’t run you over. 

An education news site looks at the growth of bicycling in BerlinAlthough the story appears to be so badly translated that it might be easier to read in the original German

Here’s a list of roads to avoid if your travels happen to take you to Dubai on Friday. Unless, of course, you plan to participate in what organizers call the biggest cycle challenge in the Middle East.

No bias here. The political editor of a New Zealand newspaper complains about spending tax money to build bikeways he says no one wants and few will ever ride. And that the need for safety for people on bikes pales in comparison to improving safety for the people in cars. No, really.

It’s time for more women to start riding, because Australia’s MAMILs are lonely. 

The King of Thailand led several thousand people in a nationwide Bike for Love and Warmth to celebrate the opening of a month-long fair. 

Competitive Cycling

The Guardian offers an obituary of the late bicycling broadcaster Paul Sherwen; a childhood in Kenya made him the only cyclist in the 70s pro peloton who could speak Swahili. 

Finally…

Riding the famous Chisholm Trail; no, the one in the UK. Maybe you can’t drive safely while on your phone after all. 

And you have a serious problem when your alibi for DUI is claiming you were merely texting, instead.

………

Thanks to Lisa G for her generous donation to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Morning Links: Sneak attack on traffic safety, BAC meets tomorrow, and ebikes benefit people with disabilities

Call it a sneak attack.

Over the weekend, supporters of traffic safety deniers Keep LA Moving tried — and failed — to get the LA Neighborhood Council Coalition on the record supporting a total ban on road diets.

The factually incorrect motion, which traffic safety supporters found out about less than 24 hours earlier, was tabled until next month after it met overwhelming opposition.

Here’s the full text of the motion, in case you want to mark your calendar for the next meeting.

BikinginLA sponsor Josh Cohen wrote a powerful message opposing the ban.

Today’s photo comes with a wish for a Happy Chanukah to all those celebrating this week.

Chanukah Sameach!

………

The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee will hold their regular bi-monthly meeting tomorrow night in the conference room of the Hollywood Neighborhood City Hall, 6501 Fountain Ave.

The committee is the only official voice for bicyclists in city government. Even if elected officials usually just ignore it and hope it goes away.

Click to enlarge

………

Today’s common theme is ebikes.

Or more precisely, the way ebikes and other bikes can benefit people with physical limitations.

Curbed’s Alissa Walker calls ebikes a game changer for people who need them.

And makes a point I’ve been making for some time now.

A 2018 study by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities that surveyed 1,800 e-bike riders found that they bike more often, take longer trips, and make different types of trips than they do on pedal bikes. Plus, not only did more respondents feel safer riding an e-bike than they did riding a pedal bike, the percentage of people who felt safer on an e-bike was even greater when the respondents were women, over 55, or had physical limitations.

“E-bikes are making it possible for more people to ride a bicycle” reads the study, “many of whom are incapable of riding a standard bicycle or don’t feel safe doing so.”people

There are a number of bicyclists, especially roadies, who think ebikes are cheating.

I know, I used to be one of them.

And there many people who think older people and people with handicaps can’t ride bikes.

They’re both wrong.

Because unless you’re racing, bicycling is not a competition. Whether you’re riding for pleasure or transportation, anything that makes it easier to get on a bike is a good thing.

For the person doing the riding, for their community, and for the environment.

And ebikes make it possible for people who otherwise couldn’t ride a bike — because of age, physical condition, the length of their commutes, or any number of other problems — to get out and ride like anyone else. Going further and more confidently than they otherwise could.

Or at all, for that matter.

There’s another quote from the story that sums it up.

E-bikes are not a substitute for safer infrastructure, but they could help move more riders from “Interested but Concerned” to “Enthused and Confident.

And that’s a good thing. For all of us.

Meanwhile, a Boulder CO newspaper talks with a bike shop owner who says he used to be dismissive of ebikes, until he realized their benefits for people with physical limitations.

A British survey shows 72 percent of disabled bicyclists use their bikes as mobility aids, but half of respondents are afraid of being seen riding them for fear of losing their benefits.

And more than a quarter of the disabled commutes in Cambridge, England are made by bike.

………

Speaking of electric mobility devices, apparently they’re a wise choice. And not just limited to humans anymore.

https://twitter.com/therourke/status/1068875942473404422

………

Sad news, as longtime Tour de France commentator Paul Sherwen died unexpectedly at his home in Uganda; no cause of death was announced.

He was 62.

………

It’s Day 11 of the 4th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive.

Your generosity helps keep SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every day, from around the corner and around the world.

Anything you can give helps. And is truly and deeply appreciated.

Thanks to Adrienne G and Alan C for their generous donations to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

………

Local

By all accounts, yesterday’s Heart of LA CicLAvia was another successful event. But it comes just days after the organization was sued by a woman who suffered a brain injury when a careless rider clipped her wheel.

A sports tech website talks with LA-based former pro Phil Gaimon about the tech he uses and life as a YouTube star.

 

State

A San Diego bike rider suffered life-threatening injuries when he was struck by a driver, who claimed he never saw the victim until he was in front of him. Unfortunately, that’s not too surprising; let’s hope investigators get a warrant for the driver’s phone.

 

National

Bicycling offers advice on how to buy a women’s bike, and their recommendations for the best bike in 11 different categories.

The Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Walmart talks about his passion for mountain biking, saying he’s learned some of his best business lessons from the saddle. Something I can relate to; I often did my best work while riding my bike.

It may be a few years since their last basketball title, but the University of Kentucky can celebrate a national championship as the nation’s most Bicycle Friendly University.

A pair of New York bike advocates and engineers say they’ve figured out the exact optimal traffic signal timing to improve safety for everyone and ensure the highest number of green lights for both drivers and people on bikes.

A Virginia landscaper had the truck towed to be repaired and ordered employees to say a worker had hit a deer, instead of the bike rider he’d hit in a work truck and left to die on the side of the road.

 

International

An Op-Ed on Calgary website says traffic laws must reflect the new transport options, including dockless e-bikes. Meanwhile, the Calgary bike boom goes on, even in the winter months, after the city built out a network of protected bike lanes.

Sidewalk riding is a complicated issue, according to an Ontario, Canada letter writer in part because of poorly designed bike lanes and the people who drive in them.

The Guardian looks at who is behind the effort to have one of London’s most popular cycle superhighways ripped out, pointing the finger at a property company, and truck and taxi drivers.

A British man rode 3,200 miles from LA to New York in just 34 days — arriving at the airport half an hour before his flight back home.

A new paper by an English researcher argues that yes, drivers really do pass bicyclists who wear bike helmets closer than they do bare headed riders.

Brit mountain biking legend Hans Rey was the victim of bike thieves, who took eight bicycles, including custom bikes and bikes that aren’t currently available in the country.

Thanks to a new Dutch bike rack design, your bike could power the city.

Madrid bans cars built before 2000, and diesel vehicles built before 2006, from driving in the city center to battle air pollution. Los Angeles will need to do the same for the entire county if we’re going to meet pollution, let alone climate change, goals.

Malta’s prime minister suggests widening the roads to make more room for all road users, while creating preference lanes for bikes, buses and electronic cars.

Tel Aviv is building a 68-mile network of bike trails in an effort to become the Amsterdam of the Mideast.

After the first of the year, you’ll need a special driver’s license to operate an ebike in Israel.

More grist for the climate change mill, as a New Zealand study shows that bike lanes and pathways do, in fact, coax people out of their cars, resulting decreased emissions.

Australian football legend James Hird suffered a broken leg when his bike was hit by a driver.

 

Competitive Cycling

Anyone can win a bike race; the Eurosport website recounts the cycling world’s most spectacular flops of 2018.

Aussie cyclist Mark Renshaw will miss a number of events Down Under after he suffered a fractured pelvis when a driver when through a stop sign.

Cycling Tips talks with women’s cycling legend Marianne Vos about getting her grove back this year.

A roadie discovers he can do more than he thought, completing a 78-mile gravel race despite fears caused by a recent runaway heart rate.

 

Finally…

No, seriously. If you’re riding a bike with crack and purple heroin, put a damn light on it, already. Call it Waze for bikes.

And yes, Vladimir Putin is one of us.

Morning Links: More Venice Blvd disinformation, study says road diets save lives, and East Side Riders video

Sometimes I don’t even know where to start.

In his latest column, the Mar Vista Community Council’s self-appointed traffic planner/dermatologist Kenneth Alpern says it’s time to stop all the lies and abuse on Venice Blvd.

Which I assume means he won’t be writing anymore.

Especially since he doesn’t seem to have a problem co-opting the #TimesUp movement for something that has nothing to do with sexual harassment.

Never mind that he’s the one who’s been dishing out abuse towards anyone who disagrees with him, particularly Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Mike Bonin.

Then again, that comes with their jobs.

But it doesn’t — or at least shouldn’t — be part of the job description for LADOT Principal Project Coordinator Nat Gale, who has been subjected to repeated accusations and character assassination at Alpern’s hands.

Simply because, like the other traffic safety deniers who’ve been fighting the Mar Vista Great Streets project for the past year, Alpern chooses not to accept the established science behind road diets and protected bike lanes.

They also reject out-of-hand any stats that come from LADOT. Not because they have any credible evidence to refute them, but simply because the facts don’t align with their pre-established biases.

So let’s look at just a few of the inaccuracies in his latest screed.

Because it would be rude to call them lies, even though that’s what they are.

So …TIME’S UP! Enough of listening to the hundreds of taxpaying citizens, and overwhelming majority of the community, have their good will and patience and collective voice snuffed out because of a few activists who believe in crushing the voices, safety, and quality of life of that overwhelming majority (which includes the overwhelming number of bicyclists who do NOT support this project).

Seriously, show me one survey that supports his argument that the overwhelming majority of the community opposes the road diet on Venice Blvd. Especially since public opinion at his own community council meetings has been evenly split on the subject.

And never mind that he has absolutely zero basis to claim that most bicyclists, let alone an overwhelming majority, don’t support the project. I’ve personally heard from a few bike riders who oppose the project, compared to dozens who support it.

TIME’S UP! Enough of the false LIE that half of the community wants the Venice Blvd. Road Diet, when at best only 10-20% want it and everyone else hates it, and wants it reversed NOW.

To the best of my knowledge, there has been no survey of the general public to determine how many support or oppose the project. If he has any valid stats to back up his claim, let him produce it.

TIME’S UP! Enough of the constant and daily accidents and near-accidents that endanger motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists, including and especially children!

Again, if he has valid stats to back up his claim, let’s see them. Otherwise, let’s wait until LADOT releases the actual, factual stats at the end of the full year of the pilot project, which concludes this week.

And I have to wonder just how many people have been killed or injured as a result of those constant near-accidents.

TIME’S UP! Enough of a reconfiguration that was not done in compliance with ADA/disability community laws and legal requirements!

If any of that is true, the city would be required to make any necessary changes to bring the project into compliance. And probably subject to numerous lawsuits already.

TIME’S UP! Enough of a reconfiguration that shredded over a decade of community input for what was supposed to be a beautification effort on Mar Vista, and which was (despite the LIES to the contrary) imposed in the dead of night without ANY true input or debate!

We’ll let Streetsblog’s Damien Newton refute that.

Bonin and a band of neighborhood and business advocates have used the Great Streets Plan for Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista (roughly between the 405 and Lincoln Boulevard) as a sort of Livable Streets master class to educate people about what a street can be if it is reimagined as something new. The presentation of the image boards showing the various Great Street options at both the “usual suspect” locations (Farmers’ Markets, the Mar Vista Community Council, and Mar Vista Chamber of Commerce) and high schools, libraries, coffee shops, and markets allowed a wider range of stakeholders to weigh in on the proposed changes.

That was written nearly three years ago. And a full 21 months before the road diet was installed.

You would think that a community council member like Alpern would know what’s going on in his own community. But evidently, you’d be wrong.

Then again, you’d also think Alpern would know what the hell is going on with his own community council, since LADOT lists 12 community events where the project was discussed prior to installation — including two years of attending the Mar Vista Community Council’s Great Streets Ad Hoc Committee meetings.

TIME’S UP! The number of bicyclists using the “protected” (but with lots of blind intersections) bike lane is very small, while both commuters and bicyclists avoiding Venice Blvd. in Downtown Mar Vista is very high, and stop pretending it’s otherwise!

So show us the bike counts. Or any other factual basis for this claim.

Then again, if commuters are avoiding the street, why do traffic safety deniers continue to claim it suffers from soul crushing congestion?

As Yogi Berra famously said, “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”

Of course, the question is why Alpern and Restore Venice Blvd’s Selena Inouye are using such false and unsupported claims to demand the removal of the road diet before the official stats for the project have even been released.

For some reason, they seem to be unable to wait a few more weeks for the stats to be compiled.

Possibly because they suspect the real statistics won’t support their claims. And want to poison the waters before LADOT can tell us what’s really going on.

So let me be clear.

If the facts back them up, and the road diet has actually made the street less safe for bicyclists and pedestrians, I will be the first to demand changes.

Even if that means acceding to their wishes, and restoring the boulevard to its original dangerous and destructive configuration.

But I suspect they won’t.

And I suspect they suspect that, too.

………

A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety examines the rapid increase in pedestrian deaths in the US, which have gone up 40% more than other traffic deaths in recent years.

However, it’s unlikely that Ken Alpern or the rest of the Restore Venice Blvd/Keep LA Moving crowd will like their conclusions.

Pedestrian fatalities have increased precipitously since reaching their lowest point in 2009. To have the largest effect in halting the escalation in pedestrian fatalities, countermeasures should be implemented where the rise in fatalities has been greatest. Specifically, transportation agencies can concentrate efforts on improving urban arterials, which represented nearly two thirds of the increase in fatalities during 2009–2016 and on which about half of pedestrian fatalities occurred in 2016.

And…

Transportation agencies can improve urban arterials by investing in proven countermeasures, such as road diets, median crossing islands, pedestrian hybrid beacons, and automated speed enforcement. Better road lighting and vehicle headlights could improve pedestrian visibility at night.

Of course, that will only work if our council members have the courage to ignore the traffic safety deniers to make those changes.

And automated speed enforcement, aka speed cameras, are currently illegal in California. Which is something that has to change.

Thanks to Peter Flax for the heads-up.

………

Great new video about how South LA’s East Side Riders Bike Club is using bikes to make a positive difference in the community, and maybe even break the color barrier in Olympic and pro cycling.

And about founder John Jones III, who pays most of the expenses out of his own pocket.

Seriously, take a few minutes to watch it. It may be the best four minutes of your day.

………

CiclaValley informs us that the new 7th Street semi-protected bike lanes are proving popular as parking spots for Uber drivers.

………

This is who we share the roads with.

Parody Twitter account @realJohnBoehner forwards video of a British woman calmly removing a barricade, then driving through hundreds of runners taking part in a half marathon.

………

Local

A Hispanic man in his 20s was shot and killed while riding his bike in South LA early yesterday morning; police said there was no initial indication the killing was gang related.

CicLAvia is hosting a community meeting in Panorama City tomorrow to discuss plans for the June 24th open streets event in the north San Fernando Valley.

Pasadena police will be cracking down on traffic violations that endanger bicyclists and pedestrians this Friday and Saturday, even if they only endanger themselves. You know the drill, ride to the letter of the law until you’re outside their jurisdiction. Thanks to Megan Lynch and The Preven Report for the tip.

Bike friendly Santa Monica continues to show Los Angeles how it’s done, as the city planning commission approves plans for a protected bike lane on 17th Street; their only complaint was that federal funding requirements mean it won’t be completed until 2021.

Now the Santa Clarita Cycling Bear sculpture makes a little more sense, as the local paper explains more about it. Although I’m very disappointed that the bear isn’t actually riding a bike.

 

State

San Diego is attempting to put a permanent stop to a DIY pump track in Ocean Beach by building housing on property that was originally deeded as a park for the children of San Diego.

San Luis Obispo County bicyclists celebrate the completion of a road safety project that began in 1974.

There’s a special place in hell for the driver who crashed into a four-year old girl as she rode her bicycle in Stockton last week, then drove off and left her bleeding in the street.

A Redding driver complains about closing a little-used street to improve safety for a bike path because it will inconvenience him personally, and because he seldom sees a bike rider using it. Remarkable how many drivers take the time to perform bike counts while they zoom by. And how rarely bike riders happen to go by at that exact moment.

 

National

Marketplace discusses whether Uber is disrupting itself by moving into bikeshare.

A governing website explains why Seattle paid $3.8 million to build a one-mile bike lane, while the city’s protected bike lanes will cost $12 million per mile — four times the national average. And it ain’t because they paid too much for paint.

Meanwhile, a Seattle website says the war on pedestrians is already underway, because ebikes are now allowed on sidewalks. Maybe they could cite the number of pedestrians killed by bicycles, electric or otherwise, and contrast that with the number killed by motor vehicles each year, and determine which one really poses a problem.

Streetsblog Denver wonders why the local alternative weekly is pedaling anti-bike propaganda.

A Houston sports writer offers ten tips for bicyclists and motorists on how to share the roads with each other, and pathways with pedestrians. Bizarrely, it’s apparently legal to park on a dedicated bike path in the Texas city.

A Texas writer says safer streets will result in more people on bikes.

Work on Detroit’s rapidly expanding bike lane network could go on hold as bike riders complain about poor design and a lack of maintenance on the city’s first protected bike lane.

The road raging driver caught on video deliberately running down a cyclist on Tennessee’s Natchez Trace Parkway has copped a plea to significantly reduced charges that will result in just 10 months behind bars and three years probation. The conviction is credited to the crash being caught on bike cam, which put the lie to the driver’s ever-changing excuses. Thanks to Victor Bale for the tip.

Delaware bike riders complain about a lack of safety, even on back roads.

A Miami commissioner holds a “Dead Serious” meeting to reduce bicycling deaths.

 

International

Toronto residents are still waiting after a newspaper declared it the Year of the Bicycle. In 1975.

A study of 13 European cities reveals London is next to last in air quality, behind only Moscow, and is one of the most dangerous cities to walk or bike. The former may have a lot to do with the latter.

Sad news from the UK, where a bike rider who was killed in a collision with a truck was still setting records at 86 years old, and belonged to the same bike club he founded just after after WWII.

Horrifying story from Australia, where one of the country’s top masters racers died of ovarian cancer after falling under the influence of a self-described healer, who claimed to have cured cancer in hundreds of others.

Caught on video: A Kiwi bicyclist captures a bus driver, who didn’t know the law, nearly merging into him. Followed by another doing the same thing.

In a story that could have been written nearly anywhere, an Aussie writer bemoans the rise of the entitled motorist.

 

Competitive Cycling

It’s split results for Britain’s Yates brothers, as Adam Yates missed the Amgen Tour of California podium by two seconds, while his twin brother Simon continues to lead the Giro. And no, that’s not a spoiler, since the Giro had a rest day on Monday.

Bicycling looks at a day in the life of a bike mechanic.

Outside profiles the incredible Marianne Vos, calling her the greatest cyclist you’ve never heard of. Unless of course you have, in which case she may just be a greatest cyclist, period.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could cost less than 2,000 rupees, which works out to around 30 bucks. Co-existance on the roads is easier when bicyclists follow the rules they’d follow as drivers, if only drivers actually followed them.

And this is why dogs should always wear helmets when they mountain bike.

Thanks to LA bike lawyer and BikinginLA sponsor Cohen Law Partners for the link.

 

Morning Links: Driver arrested in South LA hit-and-run, and fake news from Venice Blvd traffic safety denier

Before we start, don’t miss Doug Moore’s open letter to the LA city council if you didn’t read it yesterday.

You’ll also find instructions at the end on how to submit your own letter to the council if you can’t join us to #CrashCityHall this Friday.

Or even if you can.

These are the gifts we’ll have for the mayor and city councilmembers on Friday. Think they’ll get the message?

………

You can run, but you can’t always hide.

The Chief Lunes bike ride reports that the hit-and-run driver who killed Frederick “Woon” Frazier in South LA last month has finally been arrested.

In addition, charges are pending for her two passengers, who encouraged her to flee and helped in the coverup that followed.

We’ll let them tell the story.

Let’s hope his family gets the justice they deserve.

Thanks to Sean Meredith for the heads-up.

………

No bias here.

Writing on City Watch, where facts go to die, Selena Inouye, the “chief grassroots organizer” for Restore Venice Blvd, calls the Mar Vista Great Streets project an “epic fail.”

She demands that Mayor Eric Garcetti and Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin keep their promise to remove the road diet if the data shows it’s not working after a year.

Even though that year won’t be up for another week. And the data for that full year probably hasn’t even been compiled, let alone released yet.

Not that any decent traffic safety denier would let an inconvenient little fact like that get in the way.

Instead, she relies on — and distorts — the stats released at the six-month point to make her case, noting that collisions and injury collisions both went up.

Although what she presents as a dramatic increase, the city says was statistically insignificant.

In fact, there were just two — yes, two — more minor injury collisions during the first six months of the trial period than in the same six months the year before.

And let’s not forget that the purpose of the often misconstrued Vision Zero is not to prevent collisions, but to keep those collisions from resulting in serious injuries or death.

Which, based strictly on the data she’s using, the Venice road diet seems have done pretty well.

Or that any major change, to any street, is likely to result in an increase in collisions until drivers get used to it.

Then there’s her bizarre — and demonstrably false — statement that the $91 million devoted to street safety improvements in the mayor’s budget will be spent on road diets.

While Garcetti had initially stated that the budget for Vision Zero would increase to $91 million, he later corrected himself to say that figure referred to the city’s entire street safety improvement program.

Improvements to Vision Zero’s High Injury Network would only get a boost to a relatively paltry $37 million. With none of that specifically budgeted for road diets.

And with the way the city council has been cowed by the angry drivers Restore Venice Blvd and Keep LA Moving purport to represent, there’s not much chance of any many road diets getting installed in the near future.

Then there’s her claim that reducing the number of traffic lanes by one-third on Venice has resulted in gridlock, reflected by a nearly one-third drop in vehicles per day.

Yes, according to her, a substantial drop in vehicle in vehicle usage somehow managed to cause the entire street to become so congested that movement in any direction is impossible.

Or maybe she just doesn’t understand what gridlock means.

Never mind that those same six month figures show that average driver speeds remained unchanged from before the road diet. Yet miraculously, drivers still managed to exceed the speed limit, despite being unable to move at all.

But why let a little thing like facts get in the way?

Although I’d seriously like to know what kind of a person quotes herself in her own opinion piece.

Clearly, when you want to get the quote right, you go right to the source.

Unless you are the source, then you can write whatever the hell you want.

………

Caltrans is looking for applicants for its new California Walk and Bike Technical Advisory Committee to help guide staff decisions about walking and biking design and policies.

Thanks to Marvin Davis for the tip.

………

Metro offers their take on Bike Week activities.

MetroLink is hosting a Twitter party in honor of Bike Week tonight.

Tomorrow night is the worldwide observance of the Ride of Silence, with local RoS rides in the San Fernando Valley, the Rose Bowl, the Conejo Valley, and Orange County. My goal is to one day have a Ride of Silence that goes straight down Wilshire Blvd from Santa Monica to DTLA.

And it turns out that this isn’t just Bike Week, it’s also Infrastructure Week. Or as Treehugger suggests, let’s make it Bike Infrastructure Week.

Please.

………

Local

Los Angeles finally broke ground on the long-promised bike, foot and equestrian bridge over the LA River, connecting Atwater Village to Griffith Park and the LA River bike path.

Mar Vista bike co-op Bikerowave is hosting a bicycle travel meet-up on June 17th, along with bike maintenance workshops this Saturday and May 27th.

When marketing your lightweight German ebike, always include a photo from the Santa Monica Expo Line station.

Best wishes to Santa Monica Next editor Jason Islas, who is scooting off to work for Bird.

 

State

Two guided bike rides will be held Sunday in honor of Grossmont College political science professor Brian Jennings, who was killed in a collision with a sleeping driver last month.

A bicyclist was seriously injured in a collision in Palm Desert yesterday morning; as usual, no information is available.

VeloNews looks at how the Montecito cycling community is coping with loss following the recent fires and mudslides.

A local paper offers ten reasons why you should ride your bike in Sonoma.

 

National

Bicycling says hill yes!

Life is cheap in Oregon, where the local DA determines that a FedEx driver didn’t commit a crime when he killed a bike rider by failing to yield, because he wasn’t drunk or distracted at the time. So go ahead and turn in front of that person on the bike; the worst you’ll get is a traffic ticket.

The local paper says Spokane WA has come a long way in the last decade, but still has a long way to go to be safe and inviting for people on bikes.

Sadly, bike theft is nothing new, as this Arkansas story shows.

An Indiana endurance cyclist talks about how her riding season ended when an aggressive driver tried to pass her on the left as she and a riding companion were trying to make a left turn, after already claiming the left turn lane.

More proof bike riders just can’t win. A Massachusetts bus driver calls the police because a bike rider was tying up traffic trying to save a turtle in the roadway.

A Brooklyn driver gets three to nine years for the drunken, high-speed crash that killed a teenager riding his bike; the driver was at twice the legal limit after drinking all day, and doing 80 miles an hour on a surface street when he hit the victim head on. You have to really fuck up to get nine years behind bars, and make it seem like it’s not enough.

A viral video shows a Philadelphia driver appearing to run down a cyclist from behind in a bike lane, apparently on purpose. Although the police question the validity of the video, in part because the rider doesn’t seem to have any hands.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A Florida woman calls for an end to distracted driving after the March crash that killed her husband; remarkably, she asked that the driver not be prosecuted, because living with what he did was punishment enough.

The head of a Florida rehab facility calls for Complete Streets so his clinic will get fewer customers.

Continuing our Florida traffic safety trifecta, a woman wins her decade-plus fight for red light cameras in the state. Los Angeles cancelled its red light camera program, caving to drivers who claimed it increased the risk of collisions when drivers jammed on their brakes to stop. Because they couldn’t, you know, just drive at a safe speed that would allow them to stop for red lights, or anything.

 

International

The CBC offers six reasons to ride a bike.

Bicyclists hope that the century-old traffic laws in Nova Scotia, Canada, will be rewritten with them in mind, for once.

The BBC, with its keen grasp of the obvious, says cheap dockless bikeshare bikes are flooding the world. Although that’s not exactly how they say it, being British and all.

A Chinese website asks if the country’s polluted cities can leave the car behind.

 

Competitive Cycling

No bias here, either. A writer for the Press-Telegram says the Long Beach start of the Amgen Tour of California on Sunday ruined Mother’s Day business for local restaurants. Or maybe some local restaurants. Or maybe having the race there was good for business after all. Seriously, there may be a good story about the effect the race had on local businesses, for better or worse, but this wasn’t it.

Cycling Weekly features highlights from stage one of the AToC, while the Long Beach Post offers photos of Sunday’s race. But sadly, none showing the countless mothers staying away from empty restaurants in droves.

Thousands turned out to see the riders off on yesterday’s Ventura start, which was won by a rookie rider on the WorldTour who may be destined for great things.

Now you, too, can own a bike ridden by the Rally Cycling team in the Tour of California, while you raise funds for the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation.

And yes, there is still another race going on over in Italy.

 

Finally…

What kind of grownup attitude is saying if you break the law, I will too? So there. No, seriously, if you want safer streets, just stick a seat post up your ass.

And sometimes you just need the right motivation to set an even faster record.

Like making it to the royal wedding on time.

Morning Links: LA Times Op-Ed objects to O’Farrell tweet and compares traffic safety denying drivers to the NRA

Evidently, I may have started something.

A few weeks ago, I responded to Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell’s tweet about gun control by suggesting he focus on street safety instead, which he could actually do something about.

Especially since he had just announced he was killing plans for the long-planned Temple Street road diet.

I was surprised when O’Farrell responded.

And shocked when that response turned out to be “Nice try.”

And I wasn’t the only one, as dozens of people responded with varying degrees of disappointment and outrage at the cavalier attitude reflected in O’Farrell’s dismissive two-word answer.

Now Michael MacDonald, who you may be more familiar with as topomodesto, has written a hard-hitting Op-Ed for the LA Times, inspired by that exchange.

When it comes to standing up to the gun lobby, Los Angeles’ leaders are rightly all-in. Our city has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, and a recent bill by L.A. City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell would boycott companies that do business with the National Rifle Association. As the United States coalesces around the courageous teenage survivors of gun violence in Parkland, Chicago and Ferguson to challenge the NRA’s political clout, L.A.’s elected officials are uniting our city in solidarity.

When it comes to fighting traffic violence, however, these same leaders can’t seem to find the same political moxie.

He goes on to compare the actions of the small group of traffic safety deniers, which seem to have too many on the city council cowed in fear, with the actions of the NRA.

In both gun-violence and traffic-violence policy, the battleground is science and data. The NRA and its supporters oppose any efforts to study gun violence in a way that would inform policy making, blocking federal funding for gun violence research for over 20 years.

L.A.’s anti-traffic-safety lobby, meanwhile, vocally questions the accuracy of data collected on traffic injuries and deaths. One federally classified “proven safety countermeasure” in particular has become a target for their obfuscation: the street safety reconfigurations known as “road diets.”…

And yet — invoking a distinctly Trump-like paranoia and embrace of alternative facts — anti-safety activists routinely contend that these national studies are wrong: that road diets make streets more dangerous and are part of a nefarious plot of social engineering “meant to force citizens of L.A. into public transit under the guise of safety,” as one Playa del Rey resident declared on Twitter.

It’s well worth taking a few minutes to read, because MacDonald couldn’t have done a better job of identifying the problem. Or the solution.

And because Mitch O’Farrell is just the latest in what’s becoming a long list of LA councilmembers putting angry drivers ahead of human lives and livability.

You can find a more legible version of that tweet exchange at LA Streetsblog.

………

Toronto removes speed signs intended slow drivers down after getting complaints that they slow drivers down.

Proof that Los Angeles isn’t the only city that tosses both logic and Vision Zero out the window when drivers object.

………

Local

Now you, too, can become an LAPD bike cop.

Turmoil on the Westchester Neighborhood Council, as six members quit in a dispute over whether to boot two other members, including an opponent of the Playa del Rey road diets who hasn’t bothered to attend a meeting in the last six months.

You still have time to weigh in with your thoughts on how LA County should remake Rosemead Blvd into a complete street.

 

State

San Diego’s mayor drops plans for nine miles of curb-protected bike lanes, which would have caused years of delay and more than doubled the cost compared to using plastic bollards and parking-protected lanes.

Life is cheap in Bakersfield, where a wealthy vintner from a prominent family was sentenced to just 90 days in jail for killing a bike-riding mother of five while driving at over twice the legal alcohol limit. Prosecutors blamed the victim for having drugs in her system, and not wearing bright clothing or riding in a crosswalk — neither of which are required for bicyclists. Thanks to Jefferey Fylling for the heads-up.

 

National

Somehow we missed this one earlier this year, as an Oregon man is the only person in the state with a disabled parking permit for a bicycle. Thanks to Eric Rogers for the link.

Outside asks what’s going on with Niner, which was recently acquired in bankruptcy by the owner of Huffy; the mountain bikes will continue to be made in my hometown, at least for now.

A Colorado legal expert examines the question of just how far to the right you should ride. Most of which applies here in California, although we still have the outdated requirement to ride as far to the right as practicable, rather than Colorado’s more progressive statute.

It takes a major lowlife to steal the bicycles residents of a San Antonio TX rehab center use to get to work; fortunately, kindhearted locals helped replace them.

A new study from the University of Arkansas confirms what you’ve already been told dozens of times — you need to drink before you’re thirsty when you ride.

This is why people keep dying on our streets: Illinois police arrest a drunk driver who passed out at a gas station with an open bottle of Crown Royal after trying to fill her car with kerosene; she has six previous DUIs in six states, and was driving without a license. Some people will never stop driving until we start taking cars from drunk and stoned drivers, instead of just their licenses. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the heads-up.

A Massachusetts Op-Ed says a cyclist killed in a collision with a truck was a safe and careful rider, and wouldn’t have swerved in front of a massive truck without signaling, despite what the local victim-blaming DA claims.

Toyota teams with New York’s Priority Bicycles to build what they call the world’s safest bicycle by incorporating safety sensors and other features found on a Camry.

As usual, a plan to improve safety on a Philadelphia bike lane brings out people who say it doesn’t go far enough, and others who think it goes too far.

This is the cost of traffic violence: Pro wrestling Hall of Famer “Luscious” Johnny Valiant was killed in a collision with a truck driver while crossing a Pennsylvania street.

The bike-riding woman who gained worldwide fame for flipping off President Trump’s motorcade explains why she’s suing after getting fired for doing it.

A Charleston SC newspaper wonders why it’s so hard to get a bike lane on the bridge across the Ashley River, a debate that’s gone on since at least 1933.

A local newspaper remembers the black bike shop owner who prospered in a small Alabama town in the first half of the last century, despite being the son of former slaves.

 

International

A group of Calgary students have developed a bizarre new triangular bike gearing system to keep your drive chain from freezing and corroding during winter riding.

Bicyclists in Quebec argue that a proposed dramatic increase in fines for bicycling violations will simply keep people from riding.

A London website wonders why there are so few black and Asian bike riders in the city.

Even in the Netherlands, kids need more practice riding their bikes to avoid being clumsy, unsafe cyclists.

Italian bike riders are fighting to reclaim their space on the street in a country with almost no infrastructure for bicycles.

Horrifying news from Majorca, Spain, as a Porsche driver plowed into a group of nine cyclists, critically injuring one rider; the driver failed a roadside drug test.

The Evening Standard says the booming growth of Chinese dockless bikeshare is emblematic of the rapidly changing Chinese economy.

 

Competitive Cycling

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay says you can have Tiger Woods and the Masters; he’ll be watching Paris-Roubaix this weekend, aka the Hell of the North.

Cycling Tips relates the sad tale of two-time Paris-Roubaix champ Charles Crupelandt, which reads like a Greek tragedy.

The LA Times profiles next month’s Amgen Tour of California, which starts in Long Beach May 13th — for the men, that is; the women have to settle for three stages in Central California.

Eleven things not to do on your first crit.

 

Finally…

Who needs a bike cam when you can just have your drone follow you everywhere? It may look like a bike, but you probably wouldn’t want to ride it.

And introducing five-time Tour de France champ Bernard Renault, the greatest cyclist you’ve never heard of.

……….

A special thanks to John H and an anonymous donor for their generous contributions to the unofficial BikinginLA dead computer replacement campaign

 

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