Tag Archive for traffic violence

Times talks traffic deaths, die-in and Healthy Streets LA; rightwing jock trashes HSLA, speed governors and Sen. Weiner

Stop what you’re doing and sign this petition demanding a public meeting with LA Mayor Karen Bass to hear the dangers we face just walking and biking on the mean streets of Los Angeles.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can.

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Los Angeles Times reporters Rachael Uranga and Libor Jany examined the recent news that traffic deaths outnumbered murders in the City of Angels last year.

In all, 336 people died in crashes in 2023 — more than half of them, 179, were pedestrians. That’s the highest number since the city started keeping statistics more than two decades ago.

Graphics by tomexploresla

Meanwhile, “just” 327 people were murdered in the city last year, a decrease of 17% over 2022.

“This is a deadly city and it’s not being treated with urgency,” said Damian Kevitt, executive director of the advocacy group Streets Are For Everyone. “We need to declare a state of emergency on traffic violence and treat it as the public health crisis that it is…”

Enforcement has fallen and the city’s interest in making streets safer has waned, Kevitt says, adding that then-Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Vision Zero plan that was supposed to eliminate fatalities by 2025 has been largely abandoned.

They go on to mention efforts to pressure city officials to do more to improve traffic safety in Los Angeles.

On Saturday, Kevitt’s group is planning a “die-in” on the steps of City Hall asking officials to take swift action on safety measures such as implementing speed cameras that were approved by the state Legislature last year. A March ballot measure proposed by another advocacy group would force the city to build more protected bike lanes and wider sidewalks.

Here’s the information on tomorrow’s die-in at City Hall. The link in the graphic below isn’t live, but you can learn more and register to attend here.

It’s also a damn good reason to go back up and sign the petition.

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Speaking of the Healthy Streets LA ballot measure, an op-ed from Streets For All founder Michael Schneider stresses why it’s so desperately needed.

When I first started doing this work via Streets for All in 2019, we used to somberly state that a pedestrian is killed once every three days in Los Angeles. Today, that has increased to a pedestrian being killed every two days. Compared with 2015, when 88 pedestrians were killed on L.A. streets, 176 pedestrians were killed last year. Pedestrian deaths have doubled in just eight years, when they’re supposed to be on the decline.

The nation as a whole has seen a rise in recklessness on the road since the pandemic began in 2020, including driving under the influence, distracted driving, excessive speed and road rage. In that time, Los Angeles has become the most dangerous city in the nation in which to walk. Back in 2022, only New York City had deadlier streets for pedestrians. As of the end of 2023, Los Angeles has now eclipsed New York City, and by a lot (176 deaths versus 114). For the first week of 2024, the city experienced nine fatalities from car crashes, including five pedestrians. That means that more than one Angeleno was dying every day because of traffic violence during the first week of January.

He goes on to point out that the city paid out more in liability settlements for people harmed by traffic violence stemming from our deadly streets than it did to prevent it.

Which is something the HSLA measure would change, though far more Vision Zero funding is needed, as well. Let alone Garcetti’s Green New Deal program.

Schneider ends his piece this way.

If a serial killer were on the loose killing more than 300 Angelenos every year, we would launch a citywide hunt to end the spree. With car crashes among the top causes of death for kids in Los Angeles, and with a decades-high number of pedestrians dying, shouldn’t we treat road safety with the same sense of urgency?

It’s definitely worth taking a few minutes to read the whole thing.

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Then there’s this steaming pile of windshield biased, reactionary claptrap.

John Kobylt, yet another angry, indignorant shock jock host for rightwing radio KFI, spouted off for a couple hours about SB 961, the new state bill from San Francisco Senator Scott Weiner.

Or as schoolyard bully Kobylt called Weiner, “that emaciated little worm…trying to destroy the automobile industry and destroy our freedom…”

By limiting cars to allowing drivers to break the law by just ten miles an hour, instead of the usual 20, 50 or even 100 mph, in violation of every speed law in every city and state in the Union?

Seriously?

Yeah, that’s definitely taking our freedom away. Next thing you know, they’ll pass a law against killing people with your car.

Oh wait, they already did.

I only made it a few minutes into the program, when he introduced someone from driver activist group Keep LA Moving to trash LA’s already-approved Mobility Plan 2035, and the Healthy Streets LA ballot initiative that would require merely require the city to keep their damn word.

But if your stomach is stronger than mine, feel free to give it a listen.

Or better yet, just don’t. Your brain will thank you.

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Orange County bike advocate and longtime tandem pilot Mike Wilkerson forwards news of an informal group bike ride in Fullerton on the last Friday of every month.

Which is, like, tonight.

Everyone is invited to a fun ride this Friday evening in Fullerton.

The ride starts at 6:00 pm from the Fullerton Downtown Plaza at 125 E Wilshire Ave. It will be about 16 miles long, all on public streets, some with hills.

This will be a no-drop ride, so come as you are on what ever you ride.

It will be an night time ride. Please bring front and rear lights and wear a helmet.

This ride goes on the last Friday of most months. Put it on your calendar, and enjoy the company of fellow riders along some of Fullerton’s bike-friendly streets!

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It’s now 36 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 30 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law, and counting.

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

Former Tour de France and world champ Cadel Evans called out the “bad attitudes” of Aussie drivers towards bicyclists, after two men riding bikes were seriously injured in deliberate hit-and-runs that were filmed and uploaded to social media.

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Local 

No surprise here, as Streetblog’s Joe Linton calls out Metro for once again ignoring Los Angeles city standards by implementing wider traffic lanes at the forthcoming Wilshire and La Brea Metro station than the city allows, which encourages speeding and otherwise dangerous driving.

Streetsblog also reports a virtual town hall will take place on Thursday to discuss plans to install bike lanes on Hollywood Blvd between Gower Street and Fountain Ave.

A Larchmont paper looks forward to the 50th CicLAvia, scheduled for February 25th on a four-mile stretch of Melrose Ave. However, future open streets events could come less often if Metro cuts funding, as staffers are recommending.

Culver City approved funding to rip out the successful Move Culver City protected bikes lanes and require bike riders to share a lane with public buses, although there is an ongoing CEQA lawsuit to halt the project; the city council also approved plans to install new bike lanes on Culver Blvd and Robertson Blvd.

Burbank police have made an arrest in the hit-and-run that critically injured a 77-year old man riding a bicycle last week; 23-year old Sherman Oaks resident Alexander Saenz reportedly admitted to being behind the wheel. Meanwhile, the victim remains hospitalized in critical condition.

 

State

The Acorn reports on the hundreds of bike riders who turned out in Thousand Oaks to demand the release of the Israeli hostages, on the 100th day the Israel-Hamas war.

An Oildale bike rider was lucky to escape with minor injuries when he was struck by an on-duty Kern County Sheriff’s deputy in a marked patrol car.

Sad news from San Jose, where a man died this week, seven months after he was struck by a driver while riding his bike last June.

Tomorrow night, San Franciscans can enjoy the city’s 3rd Annual Light Up the Night Bike Parade, featuring “hundreds of bicyclists taking a leisurely 2-mile, family-friendly bike ride along JFK Promenade, all aglow with colorful bike lights and fun costumes.”

 

National

A Colorado man says he was lucky to escape with just a few broken vertebrae, along with a broken hip and shoulder, when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver who saw him on the ground in tears, begging for help, and chose to drive off anyway.

 

International

Even the usually auto-centric Daily Mail has a problem with a “daft” motorist blithely driving down a Glasgow bike lane, ignoring all the little bike symbols along the way.

In a bizarre case, a couple men got into a fist fight in an English courtroom after one of the two was convicted of murder for fatally stabbing a man to steal his ebike, while the other man was found guilty of manslaughter and robbery; a third defendant apparently had enough sense to stay out of it.

Czech carmaker Škoda’s We Love Cycling website offers advice on how to keep riding your ebike through the cold and snowy winter months. Or as we call that in LA, somewhere else.

An Indian website lists the best bikes for women in pink. Because all women prefer pink and only like girly bikes, evidently. 

Let’s hope something was lost in translation, as an Indian website reports a young man was killed as he returned home on a bicycle after the birth of his wife.

Here’s one for your bike bucket list, with the 46th edition of the world’s largest timed bike tour taking place in Cape Town, South Africa in March.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling News says pro cycling needs to take a page from Formula 1, and design bikes specifically for speed, with the tech eventually trickling down to the rest of us. You know, like how car alarms and cup holders eventually made their way down from F1 to the rest of us.

The season opening race of Northern California’s 27-year old Grasshopper series will feature a unique mentorship program by professional women’s cyclists for U19 girls.

 

Finally…

The addiction to obese cars. Your next e-cargo bike could be hand-built in Will Shakespeare’s hometown.

And now you, too, can own bikes ridden by Tour de France champ Jonas Vingegaard, Wout van Aert and Marianne Vos.

Though probably not the one Vingegaard rode in the Tour, dammit.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Die-in on the steps of LA City Hall Saturday to mark 337 traffic deaths in Los Angeles last year — including 24 bicyclists

Stop what you’re doing and sign this petition demanding a public meeting with LA Mayor Karen Bass to hear the dangers we face just walking and biking on the mean streets of Los Angeles.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can.

Note: I’ve lost track of who created the image up there on the left, along with the Spanish-language version below. So if anyone knows, hit me up.

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Let’s start with Saturday’s die-in at Los Angeles City Hall to protest our ever-rising rates of traffic violence.

As I mentioned last week, I have another commitment that morning I can’t get out of, so I won’t be able to make it this year. But if you have the morning free, I urge you to attend, and add your voice and body to demand safer streets in the City of Angeles.

I’ll let Streets Are For Everyone, aka SAFE, take it from here. And give it a close read, because there’s a lot of vital information there about just how bad things are on our streets.

Dying-In LA 2024:
Advocates Needed For A Die-In At City Hall, January 27th, 9 am.

Sign up here https://mobilize.us/s/0JnZmq to join Streets Are For Everyone, Streets For All, Street Racing Kills, Santa Monica Spoke, and many more to demand that our elected officials prioritize safer streets in 2024. Why? 2023 was a grim year for traffic fatalities, and we need to let City Hall know we have the political will to continue fighting for safe streets. That means starting the year strong by building our movement through community organizing

2023 was a rough year for Los Angeles. 330 victims died from traffic violence in the city, marking a 9% increase over 2022 and a 14% increase since 2021. This is the highest number of traffic fatalities in over 20 years. In addition to that disheartening number, there were increases in injuries and fatalities across multiple categories, including:

  • 176 pedestrians killed in 2023 – a 15% increase since 2022 and a 35% increase since 2021.
  • 24 cyclists killed in 2023 – a 20% increase since 2022 and a 41% increase since 2021.
  • 29 people killed in DUI-related car crashes in 2023 – a 32% increase since 2022 and a 38% increase since 2021. 
  • 105 people killed in hit-and-run crashes in 2023 – a 30% increase since 2022 and a 38% increase since 2021.

The surge in these statistics can be attributed to various factors, including:

  • Faster, quieter, and larger vehicles are killing more pedestrians. 
  • There is a sharp increase in the use of alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs (both legal and illegal) while driving. 
  • Distracted driving in various forms – cell phones being one of the largest sources but also an increase in the prevalence of smart “infotainment” systems in cars. (Instead of using tactile touch for basic functions like adjusting the radio station or temperature, drivers often fiddle with screens, diverting their attention from the road.)
  • A decrease in the enforcement of driving laws for various reasons (worth its own article) results in more people driving recklessly, knowing they are less likely to get caught.

While there is no single solution to all these issues, the fact remains that too many of our elected officials continue to ignore this worsening public health crisis.  

Join us for a crucial call to action as we unite in this collective effort. Real change only occurs when we amplify our voices and make them resoundingly heard.

  • Date: Saturday, 27 Jan 2024
  • Location: Steps of Los Angeles City Hall, 232 N. Spring Street
  • Set-up Time: 9:30 AM (Coffee will be provided)
  • Press Conference: 10 AM to 10:45 AM

Volunteers needed: 330 people are required for part of the die-in visual – one for each person who lost their life in 2023. Please feel free to bring bicycles and skateboards. Volunteers are also needed to stand behind the speakers, holding handmade protest signs demanding safer streets.

Parking: You should ride, walk, or take Metro Line B (exit Civic Center/Grand Park Station) to City Hall as parking is limited.  

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Unfortunately, as bad as those numbers are, they don’t tell the whole story.

According to Crosstown, the actual number of deaths due to traffic violence in Los Angeles last year was 337, as fatalities rose for the third year in a row, climbing 7.3% over 2022.

And the 24 bicyclists killed in the city last year is one more than I was aware of.

It’s also a reminder that Los Angeles is the hit-and-run capital of California, which is the hit-and-run capital of the US.

So maybe reconsider signing that petition, if you haven’t already.

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The latest episode of Bike Talk is now available online.

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I’ve always believed in leaving this world better than you find it. But cleaning the bike lane behind you takes that to a whole new level.

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Nothing like watching someone jerk off a bicycle, in a clear case of taking things just a tad too far in the name of creativity.

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32 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 30 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law, and counting.

Anyone want to bet on whether they’ll make it to the three year mark?

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

Residents of Coventry, England express concerns that a new bike lane will make bicyclists sitting ducks when drivers back into their driveways in front of bikes doing 30 mph — vastly overestimating the speed of most bike riders, while underestimating drivers ability to check their damn mirrors. Unless maybe their real objection is just having a bike lane on “their” street. 

Don’t bother riding your bike to the ‘cross World Cup in Costa Blanca, Spain, but feel free to drive there.

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

A group of male bicyclists were roundly criticized for hogging space with their bikes on a Malaysian women-only train car.

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Local 

A British woman believes riding a bicycle can change the direction of young people’s lives, after her husband, BAFTA-winning film director and Cat 1 racer Jonathan Gales, was killed by an alleged wrong-way drunk driver while crossing the street on a work trip in Los Angeles in 2022.

 

State

If you only found a front wheel when you went to unlock your lime green Diamondback recently, Irvine cops could have your bike.

Thanks to Robert Leone for forwarding the latest construction update on San Diego’s Pershing Bikeway project, which appears to be nearing completion.

A 46-year-old Simi Valley woman was arrested for the hit-and-run that seriously injured a second Simi Valley woman as she walked her bike across a street on January 4th of this year.

A 20-year old Bakersfield man walked with just eight hours of community service after pleading no contest to resisting arrest during a during a bike takeover involving hundreds of bicyclists.

Sad news from Visalia, where a 17-year old girl was killed by a driver while riding salmon on a local street.

A Fresno columnist warns bike riders and pedestrians that your life is only worth a slap on the wrist if a driver runs you down. Which is sadly the same wherever you are in California. 

 

National

Even CNN is asking whether it’s time to get rid of right-on-red.

A writer for Medium celebrates the history and diversity of bicycles. But apparently has no idea what they look like, since all the photos illustrating the story are of motorcycles. 

New York tells bike riders to “Slow your roll, respect the stroll,” in a public service campaign to respect the safety of pedestrians. And here I thought that referred to rolling your eyes at the campaign. Seriously, they couldn’t have given any of the city’s 1,200 ad agencies a crack at it first?

Gothamist looks back on the tenth anniversary of New York’s Vision Zero, and says “the program was indisputably a success — at least in areas where it won the support of elected officials.”

A Wyoming man climbs atop a bicycle mounted on top of an endangered grain elevator, sending a message to “ride the day like a bull.”

 

International

Black Grape singer Shaun Ryder is one of us, telling The Guardian that he’d “be out on my bike right now” if he wasn’t busy talking to them. And no, I’ve never heard of him, either.

Clip-on ebike drive-maker Skarper claims they’ve “condensed an entire ebike into the palm of your hand.” Assuming you have a really, really big hand, anyway.

Road.cc offers “all the tips you need” to keep riding in your 60s and beyond.

New government stats show that seven out of ten people in England never ride a bicycle, as safer roads are seen as key to growing participation, not more bike lanes.

A British coroner says a 41-year old driver was “selfish beyond comprehension” when he killed a 15-year old boy riding a bike, while rushing to meet a woman from a dating app after downing three beers and two glasses of wine.

An Irish cop is finally back on the job, after he was suspended for three years for giving an unclaimed bicycle to an isolated elderly man early in the pandemic. For which he should have gotten a commendation, instead.

A half-dozen bikeable bakeries for your next visit to Shanghai.

A “keen” Kiwi/Aussie bicyclist offers advice on winter bike riding in frigid South Korea. Which probably translates to wherever you ride outside of Southern California this winter. And I’ll take “keen” over “avid” any day. 

A New Zealand landowner donated a section of his property to build a rest area for bike riders traveling the country’s Tasman’s Great Taste Cycle Trail, complete with wifi, ice cream, drinks, coffee, fresh water, sunscreen and bug spray.

 

Competitive Cycling

Welshman Stevie Williams won the general classification title at the Tour Down Under, clinching the final stage in decided fashion by winning a five-rider sprint.

Sad news from the UK, where “cycling legend” Mick Ives has died after a series of heart attacks; the former Moulton draftsman won 81 British Championship Titles and 8 World Masters Cycling Titles, including the World Cup Time Trial Champion at age 65; he was 84.

The Sun looks at the salaries of the highest paid cyclists in the pro peloton. Never mind that the average riders don’t make nearly that much.

 

Finally…

If the bike won’t fit in the cab, just leave it sticking out the open door. Nothing like a little python hunting on your ebike.

And while I’m not a fan of this kind of humor, there is some major schadenfreude to be had from watching someone pull the string on bike thieves.

Literally.

Thanks to Mike Burk for the heads-up. 

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

NYT blames dangerous drivers for spiking road deaths, and LA & Ventura County rides for the release of Israeli hostages

If you haven’t already, stop what you’re doing and sign this petition demanding a public meeting with LA Mayor Karen Bass to listen to the dangers we face just walking and biking on the streets of LA.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can.

Photo by Artyom Kulakov from Pexels.

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Today’s must read is a deep dive from the New York Times into the culture of driving to explain why traffic deaths are once again surging, thanks largely to dangerous drivers.

The relationship between car size and injury rates is still being studied, but early research on the American appetite for horizon-blotting machinery points in precisely the direction you’d expect: The bigger the vehicle, the less visibility it affords, and the more destruction it can wreak. In a report published in November, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit, concluded that S.U.V.s or vans with a hood height greater than 40 inches — standard-issue specs for an American truck in 2023 — are 45 percent more likely to kill pedestrians than smaller cars.

Above all, though, the problem seems to be us — the American public, the American driver. “It’s not an exaggeration to say behavior on the road today is the worst I’ve ever seen,” Capt. Michael Brown, a state police district commander in Michigan, told me. “It’s not just the volume. It’s the variety. There’s impaired driving, which constituted 40 percent of our fatalities last year. There are people going twice the legal limit on surface streets. There’s road rage,” Brown went on. “There’s impatience — right before we started talking, I got an email from a woman who was driving along in traffic and saw some guy fly by her off the roadway, on the shoulder, at 80, 90 miles an hour.” Brown stressed it was rare to receive such a message: “It’s got so bad, so extremely typical,” he said, “that people aren’t going to alert us unless it’s super egregious…”

Then there’s the problem all of us seem to encounter sooner or later, as drivers cut traffic law corners for their convenience, and take their anger out on the most convenient targets.

And aggressive driving, defined by AAA as “tailgating, erratic lane changing or illegal passing,” factors into 56 percent of crashes resulting in a fatality. (Distressingly, this statistic does not cover the tens of thousands of people injured, often critically, by aggressive drivers, or the 550 people shot annually after or during road-rage incidents — or the growing number of pedestrians and cyclists deliberately targeted by incensed motorists.)…

Every year for the past decade and a half, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has published something called the Traffic Safety Culture Index — a kind of State of the Union of American roads. I had thought the 2022 edition was bleak (the headline from AAA’s news release: “Going in Reverse: Dangerous Driving Behaviors Rise”), but the 2023 report was equally grim. Of the 2,500 licensed drivers who responded to the AAA survey, 22 percent admitted to switching lanes at high speeds or tailgating, 25 percent admitted to running a red light, 40 percent admitted to holding an active phone while driving and 50 percent admitted to exceeding posted speed limits by 15 miles per hour or more — all within the last calendar month.

Worse, a sizable number of respondents said they knew that people important to them would somewhat or completely disapprove of much of the behavior. They did it anyway, despite the risk of opprobrium and despite the fact that, as the AAA dryly noted in an accompanying news release, “a motorist’s need for speed consistently fails to deliver shorter travel times. It would take driving 100 miles at 80 m.p.h. instead of 75 m.p.h. to shave just five minutes off a trip.”

It’s not a quick read. But it’s worth taking the time to read the whole thing.

Because this is the most detailed examination and best explanation I’ve seen for why things continue to get worse on our streets, despite Vision Zero plans — at least in the cities that have bothered to fund and implement them, unlike a certain SoCal megalopolis I could name.

And this is literally who we share the road with.

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Thanks to Mitchell Guzik for forwarding more information on the LA and Ventura County editions of Sunday’s international series of bike rides calling for the release of hostages from the October 7th Hamas attacks on Israeli settlements, which we mentioned yesterday.

And you can find information on a Dana Point ride on the link to yesterday’s post.

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South Bay Forward offers a Twitter/X thread recounting the carnage on the South Bay section of SoCal’s killer highway.

Click through for the full thread.

Meanwhile, yet another apparent high speed crash on PCH in Malibu left one person with life-threatening injuries.

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22 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 30 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law, and counting.

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

Unintelligible, “barmy” bike lane markings make British bike riders want to go back home and get in bed.

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

A 75-year old New York man died in the hospital, ten days after he was struck by an ebike rider while walking in the Jackson Heights neighborhood. But at least the bike rider did the right thing and remained at the scene following the crash.

A artist in New York’s Greenwich Village used a graphic novel format to illustrate the pain of getting hit by an ebike rider, along with a shoutout to the mayor calling for ebike licensing and registration.

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Local 

SoCal Cycling considers why bicycle crashes happen, and how you can protect yourself.

Alhambra residents will get another month to review the city’s new bike/pedestrian plan, after complaints that it was released just days before it was scheduled for a vote.

 

State

Encinitas approved a new bike safety plan, including protected bike lanes, new striping, signage, and school entrances as the first step in addressing the city’s bicycling state of emergency. Maybe if other SoCal cities would declare a bike and pedestrian safety state of emergency, we might actually get somewhere. Are you listening, Los Angeles Mayor Bass?

The CHP is now offering ebike safety instruction in the San Diego region, as ebike riders present new challenges for the state highway patrol.

Goleta is hosting an Ebike Safety Awareness Week next week, after devoting a single day to the subject last year.

 

National

Yes, you can get in shape riding an ebike.

Three US companies are teaming up to introduce a non-flammable replacement for lithium-ion ebike batteries, which have been blamed for a number of deadly fires around the world.

A Denver man has struggled to find justice after he was struck by four e-scooter riders while riding a bike, after Lime refused to release the names of the people who rented them.

Momentum profiles New York’s Cargo Bike Momma, as part of their efforts to celebrate “cyclists with sass and attitude.”

New York installed K-rails to keep drivers out of bike lanes in the Bronx, but drivers somehow manage to park in them anyway.

A Facebook page memorializes New York food delivery riders who have been killed while working, with over 40 victims just since 2020.

Florida bicyclists have responded to the recent wrong-way crash on the coast highway that injured seven bike riders, two critically, by forming a coalition of ten bike clubs to demand safety improvements. Which is exactly what we need on PCH, where it would make a huge difference if all the bike clubs who regularly ride the killer highway would start demanding a safer roadway.

 

International

Bike Radar offers their choices for the year’s best endurance, race, women’s and entry-level road bikes.

That’s more like it. A British hit-and-run driver has been sentenced to six years and nine months behind bars for downing a bottle of vodka while high on weed, ecstasy and coke prior to killing a 54-year old man riding a bike.

France is now offering residents up to 2,000 euros — the equivalent of nearly $2,200 — on the purchase of a bicycle or ebike; the incentive program also includes refurbished bicycles from a professional dealer. Meanwhile, California’s moribund ebike incentive program continues to be nothing more than vaporware.

Electrek recounts a 2019 Danish study showing just 4.9% of cyclists broke traffic laws when riding on bike paths, increasing to 14% when bike paths were not present; that compares to previous Danish studies showing 66% of drivers broke traffic laws.

More people than ever are riding a New Zealand bike trail, which is also seeing a surge in vandalism and bad behavior, including prohibited motor vehicles.

 

Competitive Cycling

New Zealand’s Ally Wollaston won the first stage of the Women’s Tour Down Under to claim her first WorldTour win; 36-year old Aussie cyclist Matilda Raynolds led much of the race in a breakaway in just her second race at the WorldTour level, before being reeled back in by the peloton — despite riding without the aid of a cycling computer.

Former teammates remembered Melissa Hoskins ahead of the first stage of the Women’s Tour Down Under race, after she was killed falling off the hood of a pickup driven by her husband, pro cyclist Rohan Dennis.

Velo talks with the founder of the relatively rule-less LA Tourist Race.

 

Finally…

Who really needs a wheel hub, anyway? Then again, who needs a bike chain or belt drive, either?

And apparently, hover bikes and self-repairing frames are what you get when you ask AI to predict the year ahead in the bike world.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Newsom plugs budget hole with Active Transportation funds, and Los Angeles traffic deaths jump once again in 2023

My eye is finally better, so let’s catch up on what we’ve missed the past couple days. 

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so please accept my apologies in advance if I don’t acknowledge you for something you sent me.

I’ll try to make up for it next time. 

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If you haven’t already, stop what you’re doing and sign this petition demanding a public meeting with LA Mayor Karen Bass to listen to the dangers we face just walking and biking on the streets of LA.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can.

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No surprise here, as Governor Gavin Newsom proposed filling an unexpected $38 billion budget shortfall in part by taking $200 million from the state’s already underfunded Active Transportation Program.

The governor’s new budget leaves just $850 million in the ATP, but borrows $200 million from future funding to avoid cutting currently budgeted projects.

Calbike says there’s no budget shortfall in the state’s transportation budget, which is stuffed with more money than ever before.

Meanwhile, the Southern California Association of Governments, aka SCAG, proposes spending a whopping $750 billion on traffic projects over the next 20 years.

Their project list included a whole 4,000 miles of bike lanes — which works out to just 200 miles a year, spread out among the seven-county SoCal region.

The rest of the funding will go overwhelmingly towards highway projects to encourage more driving.

Which is exactly what we don’t need to meet the state’s climate goals.

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So much for Vision Zero.

KNBC-4 reports that LAPD figures show traffic deaths outpaced murders in the City of Angels last year.

The city saw 330 traffic deaths in 2023, a significant increase over 2022’s near-record numbers, “particularly fatal hit and runs and fatal pedestrian and bicycle collisions.”

At the same time, violent crime dropped 3.2%, with a total of “just” 327 murders.

The rise in traffic deaths comes as the city’s underfunded and under-implemented Vision Zero program was supposed to end traffic deaths by next year.

Instead, we’re further than ever from that goal, as people continue to die on our streets while our elected leaders do little or nothing about it.

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A series of bike rides in cities around the world this Sunday will mark 100 days since the vicious Hamas attack on Israeli settlements, and the abduction of hundreds of people as hostages.

Rides are said ti be scheduled for Barcelona, Paris, London, Melbourne, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Czech Republic, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, among others, though I can find no record of a Los Angeles ride.

Bicyclists are encouraged to tie yellow ribbons to your bike on Sunday, even it you’re not participating in one of the organized rides.

Ed Rubinstein forwards plans for a solidarity ride in Dana Point.

Unfortunately, the link he sent to the Thousand Oaks ride has expired, and I can’t find any details for that one, either.

This Sunday, January 14, will mark 100 days since the October 7 attacks, and the kidnapping of hundreds.  As you may have heard the Israeli Premier Tech pro cycling team and the Israeli Cycling Federation has joined with Bring Them Home Now to organize bike rides in many cities worldwide calling for the release of the 129 remaining hostages. There is a ride planned in Thousand Oaks, but I am not aware of one in Orange County. So, my wife Leti and I decided to create a local alternative.

If you are not going to the big ride in Thousand Oaks, please join us this Sunday at 9:00 AM in Dana Point Harbor in the parking lot at the corner of Golden Lantern and Dana Point Harbor Drive to show your concern for the hostages.  We will provide yellow ribbons to tie on your bikes as a display of solidarity with the hostages.  Then we will take group photos that I will post on social media with the hashtag: #RideToBringThemHomeNow.  After the photos, there are multiple options for unsupported rides ranging from short 5-mile flat rides within the Harbor, a longer flat ride to San Juan Capistrano to a rolly 35+ mile ride to the north end of Camp Pendleton.

This is a digital word-of-mouth effort. You too are encouraged to let your friends know.  I have no idea about how large of a response I will get, so if you can let me know if you plan to attend.

Meanwhile, untold numbers of bike riders took part in a worldwide rally in support of Palestine last weekend.

………

More than a dozen wannabe bike burglars attempted to use a U-Haul truck to knock down the wall of a DTLA bike shop Saturday morning.

The thieves used the truck in an attempt to repeatedly batter their way into Just Ride L.A., near the corner of South Hill Street and Venice Blvd in the South Park neighborhood.

But despite their efforts, the wall held, saving the store from a loss that likely would have amounted to tens of thousands of dollars.

As it is, they’re looking at a $40,000 loss to replace the gate and repair the damage cause by the truck.

………

Long Beach may have seen Southern California’s first bicycling death of the year, after 43-year old Alecia McCullough was struck by a driver as she was crossing PCH Sunday night — the third death on SoCal’s killer highway in Long Beach this year.

One witness said she appeared to be riding a bicycle. However, there’s no confirmation of that, and no mention of a bike by the police.

………

Metro appears to have chosen Lyft to operate the Metro Bike bikeshare program.

………

21 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 30 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law, and counting.

………

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

The same bone-headed Florida website that somehow condemned “bike herds” in response to an elderly woman hitting a group of bicyclists while driving on the wrong side of the road, is now calling on readers to submit photos of bike riders behaving badly. Meanwhile, the editor goes out of his way to blame the victims of the mass crash, despite conceding that the driver was on the wrong side of the road, and the victims were obeying the law by riding two abreast. Notice also how effectively “bike herds” dehumanizes the victims. 

No bias here. Despite the recent panic over London’s floating bus stops, and reports that 60% of bike riders fail to stop for pedestrians moving to and from them, new leaked government documents show a low risk of bike riders actually hitting someone.

After a cabbie scared the crap out of an English bike rider by passing him just inches away, the local authorities apparently responded to the video by sending the driver a sternly worded letter. On the other hand, that’s more than they’d do here, where video isn’t accepted by the cops for anything less than a felony. 

Someone ripped out nearly all the reflective plastic bollards marking a cycle track in Mysore — or Mysuru — India, for no apparent reason.

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

British TV presenter Alex Phillip blamed “a little shit on a bike” for the attempted mugging that made her drop her phone.

A pair of Swiss tourists were fined $400 and had their bikes confiscated by authorities after mountain biking through one of New Zealand’s most famous heritage trails, where any kind of vehicle is banned, including bicycles.

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Local 

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton makes the case that “it shouldn’t take sustained advocacy pressure (and injury lawsuits) from cyclists to get the city to keep its walk/bike paths in a state of good repair,” as the city belatedly begins repairs on a decrepit section of the LA River bike path.

Linton also visits a new parking-protected bike lane on Variel in Woodland Hills.

The Larchmont Buzz looks forward to next month’s CicLAvia on iconic Melrose Ave, calling CicLAvia “one of the coolest community events ever.” When they’re right, they’re right. 

Pasadena announced the completion of the Cordova Street Complete Streets project, including 1.5 mile buffered bike lanes.

Santa Monica cops will be conducting yet another bicycle and pedestrian safety operation today, ticketing anyone who commits a traffic violation that could put either at risk — even if it’s someone walking or riding a bike who does it. So once again, ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limit line, so you’re not the one who gets written up.

Speaking of Santa Monica, the NBA’s Toronto Raptors took to their bikes for a team building ride along the beach, as the team was in town for games against the Lakers and Clippers; new team member Immanuel Quickley said it was his first time riding a bike.

Long Beach received a $326,000 state grant to promote bike and pedestrian safety projects.

 

State

A bill in the state Senate Transportation Committee would eliminate the need for repetitive and costly traffic studies for bike lanes that have already been studied and approved along the California coast, reducing red tape and speeding construction, at least in theory.

Velo explains how California’s new law allowing bikes to proceed on the walk signal, instead of waiting for a green light, makes biking safer.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever burned down the ghost bike and memorial for Matt Keenan, who was killed by a driver in a head-on collision in San Diego’s Mission Valley in 2021; Keenan’s wife has started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to replace it.

A San Diego doctor, ultra marathoner and triathlete says if ebikes are going to be allowed on the county’s trails, the trails will have to be improved and maintained so others don’t have to jump out of the way.

To the surprise of no one, stolen bikes were offered for sale on OfferUp and Facebook in San Diego, as Bike Index listed 331 bikes stolen in the city last year. Professional thieves often move hot bikes from one city to another, so it’s always possible that a bike stolen in LA could be sold in San Diego. Or Riverside, or anywhere else in Southern California.

Sad news from Carpinteria, where an 80-year old man riding a bike was killed by a driver; naturally, sheriff’s deputies blamed the victim for making an unsafe lane change. Oddly, though, it was the car’s rear windshield that was shattered in the crash.

San Francisco public TV station KQED says the bike lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge has an amazing view, and an uncertain future, after the expiration of the pathway’s four-year pilot program, and calls to return the lane to motor vehicles. Because we all know that cars are more important than people. 

Bike Talk’s Nick Richert talks with San Francisco Streetsblog about the city’s failed Vision Zero program.

The Bay Area’s BART commuter train system finally figured out that people who ride bikes sometimes need to ride trains, too, allowing people to take bikes on most escalators and trains.

 

National

Life is cheap in Colorado, where the driver who killed a 65-year old Minnesota man a third of the way through his lifetime goal of riding the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route got just nine months of work release, and was ordered to pay for a memorial for the victim.

Police in Kansas ask for the public’s help in identifying the victim injured in a collision while riding his bike. Yet another reminder to always carry ID with you when you ride — and preferably something that won’t get stolen if you’re incapacitated. 

A bike-riding Brooklyn man was busted on hate crime charges for throwing a rock at a Jewish man and yelling “Free Palestine!” Seriously, don’t do that. Passions are high enough without making thins worse.

A Baltimore woman brought an ice cream bike, and turned it into a $20,000 a month side hustle.

The Maryland legislature is considering a new bill that would increase the penalty for hitting someone riding in a bike lane to up to two months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Drivers should automatically be at fault for any crash with someone riding legally in a bike lane.

Atlanta announced a new program to give residents up to $2,000 to buy an ebike, depending on income level and type of bike. And chances are, they’ll run out of funding before California’s moribund program ever launches.

A retired Florida cop finished a 147-day, 5,000-mile bike ride from Vancouver to San Diego, then across the US to raise funds for children’s cancer research.

 

International

Momentum lists the top 10 reasons to buy an ebike this year. Unless you’re counting on California’s moribund ebike incentive program, in which case you’re probably screwed. 

A Canadian legal site asks if allowing bike riders to run stop signs would make the roads safer. Except by definition, it’s not running the stop sign if it’s legal to treat it as as a yield, as in the Idaho Stop Law.

Newly released records show Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer — the equivalent of our Treasury Secretary — slashed funding for active transportation after buying into crackpot conspiracy theories about the 15-minute city.

Ireland announced plans to build a nearly 2,200-mile bike network over the next 16 years, which will connect more than 200 cities, towns and villages with over 5,000 residents. That’s the second-best reason, after the whiskey, for a little reverse migration if things continue to devolve here.

Shimano has applied for a patent to use trainable AI to automatically control mountain bike suspensions and dropper seat posts.

 

Competitive Cycling

Ranchers near the mountain town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, say they weren’t informed about the annual SBT GRVL race, and want the number of participants capped — even though race organizers held a series of public forums, and already cap the number of riders who can take part. Apparently, they don’t understand the meaning of “annual,” either. 

Pro-Palestinian protestors delayed the start of the Australian road cycling championships in an effort to target Israel–Premier Tech cyclist Simon Clarke.

 

Finally…

Blue legs and bike shorts on a cold winter’s day. Who needs an ebike when you can have your very own e-snowboard.

And you could have been the proud owner of Pee-wee Herman’s 1953 Schwinn DX Cruiser, not for “a hundred million, trillion, billion dollars,” but for the low, low price of $140,001.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

A call to ban “bike herds” after Florida crash, the American problem of traffic violence, and LA-area bike path news

If you haven’t already, stop what you’re doing and sign this petition demanding a public meeting with LA Mayor Karen Bass to listen to the dangers we face just walking and biking on the streets of LA.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can.

………

Surprisingly, last minute donations are still trickling in for the 9th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive. So thanks to an anonymous donor for their generous gift to keep SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every day!

While the fund drive is officially over, donations of any amount are welcome anytime, for any reason.

………

Unbelievable.

After an elderly Florida woman driving on the wrong side of the road plowed head-on into a group of eight bicyclists, sending seven to the hospital — two still critical — a local news website responds by firmly assigning blame.

On the victims, of course.

Asking if “bike herds should be banned,” they say the crash “raises new questions about whether bicyclists belong on area roads.”

Often a nuisance to drivers as they ride in packs, Florida law does permit these bicyclists to use a roadway when no bike lane exists. But these bike herds rarely ride at the speed of traffic. They often seem to lack any awareness that in a bike-versus-car collision, the car almost always wins.

Although a much better question would be whether elderly drivers who can’t confine themselves to the right side of the roadway should be allowed on them.

And maybe someone could assure them that we are all quite aware that cars are bigger than we are, and they hurt.

Unfortunately, however, the writer, or writers, aren’t done yet.

Now we ask you, our readers: should packs of bicyclists be permitted on area roads? Should they be permitted to interfere with traffic? Are there times of day where bike herds should be outright banned, or conversely, are there times of day where you believe it would be okay for bicyclists to ride on area roads? And this question: does anyone really believe that tight, brightly colored spandex offers any additional safety for these people at all?

They obviously don’t realize that we only form herds for protection from apex predators in motor vehicles.

And the purpose of our tight, brightly colored spandex is to get drivers to check out our butts and massive thighs, so they might actually see us for a change.

But hopefully not from the front, as they hurtle blissfully along on the wrong side of the road.

Seriously, the site’s whole argument makes no more sense than suggesting schools should be banned to prevent mass shootings.

Meanwhile, the local sheriff’s office is responding to the wrong way crash, in which the elderly driver was 100% at fault, by reminding bike riders of their duty to obey traffic laws.

Because evidently, someone, somewhere, once rode a bicycle through a red light, which somehow caused this whole mess.

But still.

………

A CNN op-ed from journalist Jill Filipovic decries the ever-increasing death toll on American streets, arguing that “Like gun deaths, this epidemic of car-related deaths is a particularly American problem.”

One that she blames in part on the ever-increasing size of American motor vehicles. But she takes it several steps further, to look at other factors contributing to the problem.

Growing vehicle size is a big part of the problem. But it’s far from the only problem. America has too-lax road rules and too few spaces where pedestrians are prioritized. American drivers are too often distracted by cell phones (European drivers, who are much more likely to operate manual-transmission cars, are as a result less likely to have a free hand to hold a cell phone). And enforcement of existing laws is weak: In many areas, officers reportedly have been told not to pull drivers over even for breaking the law.

One solution, she says, is increased camera enforcement — like the speed cams that were recently approved for a handful of California cities, including Los Angeles, Glendale and Long Beach.

Along with red light cams, which are currently prohibited in the City of Angels, because drivers didn’t like getting caught breaking the same laws they accuse bike riders of breaking.

Then she adds this, making the same case I’ve been making for some time.

If your license has been suspended several times, or if you’ve been convicted of multiple DUIs, or if you have double-digit numbers of speeding tickets in your name, or if you’ve been involved in multiple crashes that were your fault, you should lose the privilege to drive entirely. And if you have a record of this kind of reckless or dangerous driving and then you hit and injure or kill someone, you should pay an especially steep price.

Yet over and over and over again, people with long records of dangerous driving are allowed back on the road; dangerous drivers often aren’t even punished when they eventually maim or kill someone, or see penalties that amount to little more than a slap on the wrist. It is exceptionally rare for a driver, even one with a history of dangerous driving, to be charged with murder when they kill someone on the road. Killing someone with a car is, in the United States, too often essentially a free pass.

It’s worth reading the whole thing.

Because things will never get better until we get dangerous cars and drivers off the roads.

Permanently.

Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

………

Thanks to Joel Falter for forwarding news that the annual maintenance work on the Ballona Creek Bike Path will begin today, with intermittent closures this week that could affect your ride or commute.

You can find a full work schedule on the Culver City website.

………

Now that nearby freeway work is nearing completion, the city is finally getting around to fixing the north end of the LA River bike path. And hopefully, connecting it to new segments in the San Fernando Valley.

https://twitter.com/EntitledCycling/status/1743001554138050647

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I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been tempted to crawl over — or through — vehicles whose drivers carelessly block the crosswalk to enjoy their God-given right to turn right on red.

………

The camera aspect appears to make this look even more extreme, as if it’s not extreme enough.

Thanks to Mike Burk for the forward. 

https://twitter.com/mikeburk/status/1743918919138816270

………

19 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 30 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law, and counting.

………

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

LA-based former pro cyclist Phil Gaimon warned “sane motorists” about “homicidal maniacs on the road” who threaten the safety of vulnerable road users, after a driver responded to the innocuous post below showing Gaimon and friends riding past crawling I-5 traffic — on the shoulder, no less — warning that he would “turn the wheel to the right and ram you” in the same situation. If he actually said he “would,” rather than he’d like to, that constitutes a threat under California law, and should be reported to the police to get that fool off the road before he kills someone.

GCN talks with bicycling historian and journalist Peter Norton about the roots of road rage directed from drivers towards people on bicycles, driven in part by street designs that tell drivers the roads were made for them. Thanks to Steven Hallett for the link. 

No bias here. A Madison, Wisconsin letter writer insists that bike riders need to pay for their own infrastructure, apparently unaware of who actually pays for local streets, or that bike riders cause a minute fraction of the damage to roadway surfaces that drivers do, and we pay the same taxes as anyone else.

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

Leaked traffic data shows that only 40% of London bike riders actually stop for pedestrians as required at the city’s floating bus stops, where people have to cross a bike lane to get it.

………

Local 

This is who we share the road with. Speeds clearly haven’t declined on PCH, as a speeding Malibu driver slammed head-on into three other cars at over 100 mph, then escaped after bugging out through the brush on the nearby hillside.

An unidentified Hermosa Beach bike shop was the victim of a holiday week smash and grab, after someone broke out a window to make off with a high-end bike. Thanks to Jim Lyle for forwarding the story.

Metro Bike is hosting a bikeshare community ride along the Expo Line Bike Path on January 20th. But shouldn’t the path be renamed the E Line Bike Path now, since the Expo Line doesn’t officially exist anymore?

 

State

No news is good news, right?

 

National

Chicago Streetsblog pats itself on the back for convincing a local business to stop illegally telling bike riders they can’t park there.

A Florida man argues that he is a victim of political and social manipulation of physical and circumstantial evidence, insisting that he had a legal and constitutional right to fatally shoot a bicycle-riding man during a confrontation, part of which he live streamed from his motorcycle; he’s been behind bars awaiting trail for nearly four and a half years, largely because he keeps firing his defense attorneys.

The only form of life lower than a hit-and-run driver is someone who’d flee the scene after hitting a Florida paraplegic riding a handcycle. Schmuck.

 

International

Road.cc looks at the history of the bizarre, A-framed, belt-drive Strida foldie, calling it one of the most unusual city bikes ever made. Which is an understatement. 

Costa Rica is dealing with a sharp rise in traffic deaths over the past year, as more Costa Ricans drive like Americans.

So it begins. A Toronto letter writer draws from the standard “But this isn’t Amsterdam” playbook to argue that the city will never be a bicycling paradise like Paris. (Scroll down. No, keep scrolling.)

A woman with no previous interest in bicycling decided to ride 340 miles from her home in Wales to the Eiffel Tower to honor her bike-riding father, after he died following a short battle with brain cancer.

I’m not sure if we mentioned this one from last month, as The Guardian takes a look back at the four-year history of London’s Black Unity Bike Ride, born out of Covid restrictions and a fight for racial justice; there’s a podcast version of the story if you’d rather listen than read. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up. 

Irish police were criticized for confusing messaging that mixed the legal requirement to have lights on a bike with advice not to wear dark clothing, which isn’t required. But others applauded the cops for ticketing a lightless rider in dark clothes.

The attacks on commercial shipping by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea could be leading to another round of shortages of bike parts, just as the industry is recovering from the pandemic-era shortages.

A Singapore man explains how he turned his love of bicycles into a fulfilling career running a bike repair shop, despite dropping out of school at 15 — including a stint sharpening his skills in the US.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cyclists participating in Australian women’s road cycling championship paused for a moment of silence to honor Olympic gold medal track cyclist Melissa Hoskins, who was killed when she reportedly fell off the hood of the pickup driven by her husband, two-time world time trial champ and Tour de France stage winner Rohan Dennis; Hoskins was remembered as a “beacon of strength” and “a freewheeling spirit.”

 

Finally…

If you think pro cycling is hard, try building a Millennium Falcon out of Legos. Prepare for your next road-raging driver with new bullet-resistant ebike batteries.

And probably not the best idea to kick the cop who tells you to get off your bike in a no riding zone.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

77-year old Florida driver hits 8 bicyclists head-on, WeHo adopts Vision Zero, and bicyclist injured in Simi Valley hit-and-run

If you haven’t already, stop what you’re doing and sign this petition demanding a public meeting with LA Mayor Karen Bass to listen to the dangers we face just walking and biking on the streets of LA.

Then share the petition — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay.

………

It’s happened again.

Once again, a driver has plowed into a group of bicyclists, this time in Gulf Stream, Florida, on the state’s Atlantic coast.

According to multiple sources, a 77-year old woman drove onto the wrong side of the road and plowed into a group of eight bicyclists riding in a paceline, sending seven victims to the hospital — including one 46-year old man with injuries that were described as “incapacitating.”

The victims included the driver, as well as six people on bikes; three of whom were described as “severely injured,” though their injuries weren’t considered life-threatening.

Police said all the bike riders were wearing helmets, none of which are designed to protect against a head-on crash at 35 mph.

A woman who was riding with the group said she was lucky to escape with some bruises and a large cut on her leg, along with an injury to her arm from the car’s side mirror.

The collision occurred on the state’s famed A1A coast highway, leaving a crash scene witnesses described as “horrific”.

Descriptions of the dangers bike riders face there make it sound like an East Coast version of Southern California’s killer Pacific Coast Highway.

I understand there’s a bike cam video of the crashing circulating around. But from what I’ve heard, I wouldn’t recommend watching it.

Some things are hard to unsee.

And never mind the ongoing conversation of how old is too old to drive. Although hitting a group of bike riders head-on while driving on the wrong side of the road might suggest might be.

………

Good news from West Hollywood, where Senior Planner David Fenn forwards news that the City Council unanimously adopted WeHo’s first Vision Zero plan at their last meeting before Christmas

And they didn’t stop there, asking city staff “to investigate additional safety strategies like identifying promising locations for roundabouts, reducing landscaping height at crosswalks to improve pedestrian visibility and the orientation of pedestrian push buttons to drivers.”

So maybe they’re serious about actually doing something to reduce traffic deaths, unlike a certain megalopolis I could name.

West Hollywood staff members will return to Council with an addendum to the plan which includes these suggestions in the next few months.

You can view a YouTube recording of the meeting, with the Vision Zero discussion from 3:20:49 to 3:46:05.

Fenn also forwards news that WeHo is studying first and last mile connections for pedestrians and bicyclists for the future Metro K (Crenshaw) Line Northern Extension. A survey has been posted online to offer your feedback and suggestions.

My best suggestion is to speed up construction, which isn’t scheduled to begin until 2041, with completion set for 2047 to 2049 — too damn long to wait for a line that will finally connect all of Metro’s existing rail lines.

Especially since Metro never seems to meet their completion dates.

………

Someone riding a bicycle suffered major injuries in a Simi Valley hit-and-run yesterday.

According to a notice from the Simi Valley Police Department, the victim, who wasn’t publicly identified, was riding north across Los Angeles Ave west of Stearns Street when they were struck by a vehicle traveling east on Los Angeles around 7:50 pm.

A witness described the suspect vehicle as a late 1990’s to early 2000’s gold Toyota sedan, with probable significant damage to the front or right front side.

I’d say that sounds like my wife’s old car, but it was totaled by a distracted driver just before Christmas.

Anyone with information is urged to call Simi Valley PD Traffic Collision Investigator Martinez at 805/583-6224 or email AMartinez@simivalley.org.

Let’s hope the victim has a fast and full recovery. And they find the heartless coward who did it.

Thanks to Linda Righetti for the heads-up.

………

Ralph Durham forwards photos from a recent trip to Milan, featuring a protected bike lane we can only envy.

Photos by Ralph Durham

……..

I think I found your summer read, due out in June.

………

16 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 30 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law, and counting.

………

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

A 57-year old Belfast, Ireland grandmother was injured when two young boys pelted her with golf balls as she rode her bike home from work.

Road.cc updates their 2016 article on the 10 most hysterical anti-cycling headlines in the notorious Daily Mail tabloid, this time listing “20 of the most hysterical Daily Mail anti-cycling headlines” — including the classic “Lunacy, blight, and the scourge of lycra louts.”

………

Local 

It seems it’s a small world for tragedies, too. Less than six years after Fredrick “Woon” Frazier was killed in a South LA hit-and-run,  26-year old Miah Ladelle Banks was fatally shot at a New Year’s Eve party at a DTLA warehouse, along with another person; Banks was the sister of Woon’s convicted killer, Mariah Kandise Banks.

Streetsblog recommends getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city by peddling your bike around the San Gabriel Valley’s Santa Fe Dam. Or maybe pedaling a pedal boat.

 

State

A Carlsbad woman escaped with a slap on the wrist for killing 35-year old Christine Embree as she rode an ebike with her 18-month old daughter, who was miraculously unscathed; 43-year old Lindsay Turmelle was sentenced to 90 days in county jail and 90 days home vacation confinement, after pleading guilty to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter. Then again, she did say she’s really, really sorry, so there’s that.

A 13-year old San Diego girl suffered a critical head injury when she fell off her bike crossing a Pacific Beach intersection; she wasn’t wearing a helmet, despite state law requiring a helmet for anyone under 18 riding a bicycle. The sad thing is that this sort of fall is exactly what bike helmets were designed to protect against. Not crashes with drivers at 50 mph. 

Vallejo cleared out a homeless encampment, at the threat of arresting any holdouts, in order to begin work on a bike path.

 

National

Momentum recommends seven US cities offering “bike-friendly destinations for sunshine and two-wheeled good times” — which we could all use about now — including San Francisco, Santa Monica and San Diego on the Left Coast. Although hoping for sunshine in San Francisco in the middle of the winter may be asking too much.

Velo predicts five ebike trends they expect to see in the coming year, from more electric cargo bikes to tighter regulations.

A new law allows Oregon drivers to pass bicyclists in a no-passing zone, as long as they stay five mph below the posted speed limit and there are no on-coming vehicles. Similar provisions have been vetoed multiple times by California governors, for reasons only they and their CHP Wormtongues understand. 

Chicago has finally completed work on the city’s long-promised Dickens Ave Neighborhood Greenway, including the city’s first bike-friendly traffic diverter, after nearly five years of NIMBY opposition.

After legendary carmaker Lee Iacocca saved Detroit’s Chrysler, he became an early ebike entrepreneur.

A New York Times podcast considers why so many more pedestrians are getting killed on our streets, as other rich nations have surpassed American in protecting pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. Which is the first and last time they even mention bikes, even though our death rates are climbing, too. Thanks to David Wolfberg for the link.

Something funny is going on with a Richmond, Virginia bike shop, where the owner disappeared after the store shut down abruptly, leaving dozens of customers without the bikes they paid for, while giant bikemaker Giant is suing the shop for nearly $150,000 in unpaid bills; a notice on the shop’s Facebook page promises it will reopen later this month, and everyone will get their bikes. But I wouldn’t hold your breath.

 

International

Very few people biked to work when Canberra, Australia opened its first bike path 50 years ago; the city now boasts 370 bike paths covering over 600 miles, and is considered the country’s bicycling capital.

 

Competitive Cycling

LA’s Williams brothers may still be brothers, but they’re no longer teammates, as younger brother Corey left the L39ION of Los Angeles cycling team he co-founded to decamp for the Miami Blazers team started by Williams Racing Development, which he also co-founded along with brother and former US cit champ Justin.

 

Finally…

Maybe you can’t run away with the circus, but you can ride there. Or where it used to be, anyway.

And actor Will Smith gives a new bike to a man who rode his bicycle across Africa to go to college.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Sacramento boy fatally shot after winning bike race, memorials for Aussie cyclist Melissa Hopkins, and US ebike incentives

Well, that was unexpected.

Thanks to Robert H for a surprising January donation to last month’s 9th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Even though the fund drive is officially over, donations of any amount are always welcome and appreciated. And help keep all the best bike news and advocacy coming your way every day.

………

14 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch in the fall, as promised; 30 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law.

………

A tragic story got even worse yesterday, when news broke that the killing of a Sacramento boy may have resulted from winning a bike race.

Ten-year old Keith “KJ” Frierson was riding the bike he got for Christmas when he was shot by another ten-year old boy, who allegedly found the gun in his father’s truck when he went to get his dad a pack of cigarettes.

Frierson’s mother alleged the other boy shot him after losing an impromptu bike race to the victim.

The alleged killer’s father, 53-year-old Arkete Davis, had the gun — which was allegedly stolen — despite being prohibited from possessing one as a convicted felon.

He reportedly dumped the gun in a trash can after the shooting to hide his son’s involvement.

The alleged shooter has been charged with murder; his identity has been withheld because of his age.

His father faces a host of charges, including illegal possession of a firearm, criminal storage of a gun, carrying a loaded weapon in a car, child endangerment and acting as an accessory after the fact.

………

The family of Olympic cyclist Melissa Hoskins announced her funeral will be held in her hometown of Perth, Australia, along with a memorial service in Adelaide after the Tour Down Under.

Her husband, former two-time world time trial champ Rohan Dennis, has been charged in the crash that killed her as she reportedly clung to the hood of their pickup while attempting to open the door.

Why she was on the hood has yet to be explained.

………

GCN offers a state-by-state guide to ebike incentive programs throughout the US, including California’s currently moribund program.

The site also alludes to a regional ebike incentive program currently operating in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. But if that exists, I’m not aware of it.

Meanwhile, a San Francisco man has teamed with a local bike shop to lower the barriers to ebike ownership by launching a new subscription service.

The program, called Friiway, allows ebike-curious people to try quality Stromer or Riese & Müller ebike for several months.

Maybe by then, the state’s incentive program will finally launch.

………

If you haven’t already, sign the petition demanding a public meeting with LA Mayor Karen Bass to listen to the dangers we all face just walking and biking on the streets of LA, as well as the city’s ongoing failure to actually care enough to do anything about it.

Then please share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can.

………

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

Seriously?  A Florida TV station reports two people were killed last week because of ebikes, then describes how both ebike riders were struck by drivers, including one in a hit-and-run. But somehow, ebikes — not cars or the people in them — are the problem.

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

An Illinois man faces drug charges after he was run down from behind while riding his bike without a light after dark, then attempted to bury the prescription pills, meth and syringes he was carrying under a nearby tree.

“Gangsters” on bicycles pelted an Indian shop with rocks after arguing with the shopkeeper, despite shaking hands after the dispute.

………

Local 

This is who we share the road with. A 21-year od woman was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon for attempting to ram her car through security barriers blocking access to the Pasadena Rose Parade on New Year’s Day; police say she was suffering from a mental health issue, and credit the barriers with saving the lives of nearby parade spectators.

 

State

Hats off to Hoodline for breaking the shocking news that California bike riders are required to adhere to traffic laws, just like drivers. And yes, that was sarcasm. 

Bike lanes have now been added to Santa Barbara’s increasingly popular State Street Promenade.

Sad news from Fremont, where someone riding a bicycle was killed in a collision with a commuter train.

 

National

A writer for Outside says bikes aren’t always the answer to life’s tragedies. But they help.

Bicycling offers expert advice on how to become a better bicyclist, according to experts. Read it on AOL if the magazine blocks you.

Cycling News says the new 2024 Trek Emonda may have been spotted in the wild.

A Minneapolis man has pled guilty to a single count of criminal vehicular homicide for killing a bike-riding Minnesota priest in 2021, but no word on whether he reached a plea deal or what his sentence might be.

Alexandria, Virginia is launching an ebike incentive program, while a bill to establish a statewide program has been introduced in the legislature. Meanwhile, California’s ebike incentive program remains moribund.

 

International

Toronto’s fire chief offered advice on how to avoid fires sparked by lithium-ion batteries after an ebike battery caught fire in a crowded subway on Sunday, filling the train with smoke.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 87-year old British man is riding and walking 100 miles on a 100-year old military bicycle, complete with decommissioned rifle and grenade, to raise funds for the hospital that saved his eyesight. Although I could maybe pass on the weaponry.

CNN recommends riding the Trans Dinarica Cycle Route, which follows quiet asphalt roads, forest trails and bike paths nearly 2,500-miles through all eight countries of the Western Balkans.

India’s most successful triathlete has established a foundation to provide bicycles to underprivileged girls, to give them freedom, fitness and access to education.

The Philippine government has committed one billion pesos to building new bike lanes. Which isn’t quite as impressive as it sounds, since that’s equal to about $18 million. But still.

 

Finally…

A pair of pedals on the floor does not a mini bike make, let alone a mini-bike.

And that feeling when a lawyer referral site reports a bicyclist was killed, but the bike turns out to be a motorcycle.

And the victim was a mule.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

CNN looks at Malibu’s killer highway, Illinois makes bikes 2nd class citizens, and LA tops 300 murders and traffic deaths

Just 6 days left in the 9th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Sadly, no one donated yesterday to keep SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every day. 

So don’t let that happen again! Take just a moment and give now!

………

Days left to launch the California ebike incentive program this fall as promised: 2

………

If you haven’t already, sign and share the petition demanding a public meeting with LA Mayor Karen Bass to listen to the dangers we face just walking and biking on the streets of LA, and city’s ongoing failure to build the safer, more livable transportation system they promised.

………

We made the national news, for all the wrong reasons.

CNN reported on LA County’s killer highway, the four Pepperdine students killed by a speeding driver earlier this year, and the 58 people killed along PCH in Malibu in just the last 13 years.

“I should have been there and I usually would be there,” (Pepperdine senior Bridget) Thompson said. “I can just picture them in the car on the way there. I know they were listening to music and I know they were singing along.”

The girls parked and were walking along the Pacific Coast Highway when prosecutors say a BMW going 104 miles per hour slammed into several parked cars before hitting and killing Niamh Rolston, Peyton Stewart, Asha Weir and Deslyn Williams – all Pepperdine seniors…

Thompson is now among those demanding safety changes along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. She helped dedicate a memorial on the scenic highway, which stretches the California coastline, featuring 58 white tires — one for each of the lives lost on the road in Malibu since 2010.

It’s a heartbreaking story, but a necessary one.

Maybe a little national humiliation is what we need to finally get some long-needed changes made.

Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

………

The Illinois Supreme Court reaffirmed a horrific ruling that officially makes bike riders 2nd class citizens on the streets.

The court ruled that cities aren’t responsible for injuries to bike riders from poorly maintained roads that don’t have bicycle infrastructure, reasoning that bicycles are allowed to use such roadways, but aren’t the intended users.

Apparently, drivers are.

Not only does the ruling absolve cities of responsibility to maintain safe streets, it also provides a disincentive to build the infrastructure that would make them liable.

And makes it clear that we’re nothing more than guests anywhere else.

………

More information on the Colorado hit-and-run crash we mentioned yesterday.

The driver of one Ford Mustang was passing another on a sweeping mountain curve, and slammed headfirst into three bicyclists traveling in the opposite direction.

The driver fled the scene, then he and his passenger abandoned the car a short distance later with the airbags deployed. The driver of the other car attempted to give chase after checking on the victims, but crashed into a guardrail.

It seems almost miraculous that only one of the victims was seriously injured. A second rider suffered major road rash after flying over the car, while the third rode into a ditch to avoid the crash.

………

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

Portland finished ripping out a bike lane that had allegedly been installed by mistake, after the initial work to remove it had been halted by protestors blocking the trucks.

They get it. Velo says ebike licenses won’t make the streets any safer, and rider regulation won’t stop the 7,500 pedestrians killed by cars each year.

………

………

Local 

Yay, us. Los Angeles has topped both 300 murders and 300 deaths from traffic violence for the second year in a row.

No word yet on whether West Hollywood adopted its Vision Zero plan last night.

Santa Monica is considering a ballot measure for next November to tax parking garages to pay for transportation projects, including Vision Zero.

Redondo Beach has completed work on its portion of the new Diamond Street Bike and Pedestrian Path, after Torrance bailed on building its part of the pathway connecting the two cities.

 

State

Sad news from San Jose, where the Bay Area’s Mr. Roadshow died Sunday after a long battle with a degenerative muscle and nerve disease; prior to the paper’s draconian paywall, I often linked to his stories when he got it right, or to criticize when he missed the mark. Gary Richards was 72.

A Streetsblog op-ed says the contentious centerline protected bike lane on San Francisco’s Valencia Street could lead to a more pedestrianized, safer street that allows commerce to flourish — if cooler heads prevail, which seems unlikely.

 

National

Electrek lists their most popular ebike news stories of 2023.

Police in Goodyear, Arizona recommended that the driver who plowed into a group bike ride, injuring 19 people and killing two, face just eight misdemeanor charges after the local DA had rejected the case.

A Michigan man faces a murder charge for fatally stabbing another man in a fight that began over a bicycle. We’ve said it before — no bike is worth a human life. Just walk away. 

He’s a Harvard administrator and amateur bike mechanic.

A man in the Bronx is still waiting for the ebike he ordered from Amazon, which was never delivered over a month later.

A kindhearted former Trek staffer is collecting and refurbishing bicycles to donate to people in Ghana and New Jersey, as well as homeless people in California.

An Alabama district court judge gave her former bailiff, now a college president, the new ebike she won in a raffle, to replace the bike that was stolen on his first day working for her.

 

International

‘Tis the season. Momentum offers a “Bikemas” guide to the best-selling bicycling gifts this holiday season.

A Canadian bike lawyer provides a guide to avoid getting doored, and what to do if you do.

Britain’s Bike Project is changing lives by donating refurbished bicycles to refugees.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is planning to charge owners of massive SUVs triple the normal parking fee in the central city, and double in other parts of the city in an effort to tax them off the streets.

Sad news from Swaziland, where award-winning travel photographer Steve Walton died after breaking his back in a fall off a narrow footbridge while riding his bike during an October safari; he was 69.

Here’s another one for your bike bucket list — a “magical ride” island hopping over bridges in the Indonesian city of Batam.

 

Competitive Cycling

Top triathletes are renting bikes to compete in the world championships, after the financial failure of a shipping company left many riders rides in limbo.

Orange Factory Racing is pulling out of mountain biking after 30 years.

Pez Cycling News considers what the shutdown of GCN+ and the shift of bike racing coverage to Max — formerly HBO — will mean for US cycling fans.

 

Finally…

When you’re riding your bike despite several outstanding warrants, put a damn light on it, already. Your next tandem ebike could have three wheels — all in a straight line.

And your next bike trailer could be amphibious.

Even if your bike isn’t.

………

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Sleeping driver charged in death of 17-year old Team USA cyclist, and proportion of bike traffic deaths rising worldwide

We’re nearing the end of the 9th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive — just ten days left to support SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy!

Thanks to Kiersten S, Phaedrus L, Rob K, Ian D and James B for their generous donations to keep all the best bike news coming your way every day. And help keep the corgi in kibble.

So don’t wait.

Drop what you’re doing, and give now!

………

Days left to launch the California ebike incentive program as promised this fall: 7

………

If you haven’t already, take just a moment to sign the petion demanding a public forum with LA Mayor Karen Bass to listen to the dangers we face just walking or riding a bike in the City of Angels.

Then spread it to everyone you know, and ask them to sign, too. Because it’s long past time to take traffic violence seriously, and stop the needless carnage on our streets.

And if you’re one of the 139 people who’ve already signed it, thank you!

………

Maybe Magnus White will see justice, after all.

The 23-year old driver who killed 17-year old US National Team cyclist Magnus White has been charged with vehicular homicide, six months after the Boulder, Colorado crash.

White was on a training ride, just weeks before he was scheduled to compete in the junior mountain bike worlds in Scotland, when Yeva Smilianska allegedly fell asleep before slamming her car into his bike.

According to Denver’s 9News,

Investigators came to this conclusion after interviewing Smilianska and people she knew, and by reviewing cell phone data, according to the affidavit. They also interviewed several people who had witnessed the crash or the aftermath, including another bicyclist who was riding behind White. That bicyclist also talked to the suspect on the scene, the affidavit says.

Police found a text Smilianska sent about 20 minutes before the crash. It read, “I’m falling asleep. So I’m going home.”

There was no indication that Smilianska was intoxicated, according to the affidavit.

Smilianska reportedly told investigators her steering malfunctioned, but admitted she hadn’t seen White, or another cyclist riding with him, prior to the crash.

And yes, you are legally required to be awake and alert when you operate a motor vehicle. Not to mention actually pay attention to others on the road with you.

She was released on $10,000 bond.

………

The World Health Organization appealed to countries to improve safety for bicyclists, saying the proportion of bicyclists killed on the roads is rising, even as worldwide traffic deaths decline.

According to the WHO, despite a 16% decline in overall traffic fatalities per 1,000 people over the last decade, the proportion of bike riders among road deaths worldwide rose slightly, from 5% to 6%.

………

The long and twisted tale of an Oregon DEA agent who killed a 53-year old woman in a collision as she rode her bike home from work gets another chapter, after a judge moved the trial to federal court.

That could allow the agent to claim immunity, arguing that he was performing his duties as an agent at the time of the crash.

The case was revived in August, after the Salem, Oregon paper accused the local police of a coverup in the case, apparently failing to conduct an investigation of the crash as a professional courtesy to the agent.

………

‘Tis the season.

A Texas men’s group will give away over 500 bikes and electric scooters this weekend, in an event open to all kids.

Members of a South Florida Boys and Girls Club got the gift of freedom through a bike giveaway sponsored by a local car dealer.

Road.cc offers a gift guide for the pernickety pedaler in your life, while they insist the Raleigh Chopper remains the best holiday gift for kids everywhere. Today I learned that pernickety really is a word, while meaning the same thing as persnickety.

………

Gabriel Wibmer presents five minutes and 41 seconds of singletrack gravel mania.

To mention some confused cows.

………

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

In what the Times of India calls “another example of rampant hooliganism,” a man was knocked off his bicycle by an idiot hanging all the way out of a motorized rickshaw.

No bias here. A New Zealand website says bike riders are causing problems on a new $17 million shared coastal pathway — then cites a pedestrian who says she was almost struck by someone on a bicycle, who she didn’t see riding towards her. So she wasn’t paying attention, yet it’s somehow the bike rider’s fault. Got it. 

………

………

Local 

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton visits Pasadena’s one and a half-mile long Cordova Street Complete Streets project.

 

State

Calbike highlights ebike training resources currently available online.

The rich get richer, as San Diego received a $2.25 million federal grant to improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians with a pair of projects.

Palo Alto wants to preserve parking and traffic lanes on University Ave, while adding bike lanes and wider sidewalks, and transforming the thoroughfare to make it more vibrant. They also want to preserve the cake they just ate.

San Francisco’s transportation agency raised the possibility of installing protected bike lanes in place of the highly unpopular centerline bike lane on Valencia Street, which appears to be almost universally hated by people on every side of the debate.

A San Francisco writer says zero traffic deaths was an unrealistic goal for the city, and now they should focus on what actually works. Which is a fundamental misunderstanding of Vision Zero, which is the process of implementing safety measures to move towards zero traffic deaths, not the goal itself. 

 

National

A new US House report could result in higher prices for bicycles and bike parts, recommending restricting or banning some Chinese-made goods from the US.

Popular Science offers advice on how to fly with your bike.

An Oregon judge ruled a lawsuit against Portland can move forward, charging the city failed to comply with a 1971 law requiring a minimum investment in bicycling and walking infrastructure in tandem with major road projects.

Around a dozen people took to their bikes to call for expanding Medicaid in Kansas. Then again, given the population of Kansas, that’s a big turnout.

A popular New Hampshire bike shop was born when the owner was fired from his restaurant job 15 years ago.

Tragic news from Brooklyn, where stand-up comedian Kenny DeForest died Wednesday, five days after he was struck by a driver while riding his bicycle; the Missouri native has appeared on Comedy Central, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and The Late Late Show with James Corden, as well as HBO’s “Crashing,” and released his second comedy special in August.

New York unveiled a new 10-foot wide protected bike lane on 10th Ave, which a deputy mayor said would make life easier for people on bicycle, especially delivery workers. The city also announced plans for an 11-foot wide bike lane on 11th Ave, and 12-foot wide one on 12th Ave. And just wait until they get to 104th Street. 

Philadelphia got a $16 million federal grant to improve safety on the city’s High Injury Network.

An 80-year old former Florida councilmember got a lousy traffic ticket for killing a woman riding a bicycle, after claiming he somehow couldn’t see the woman riding across the street directly in front of him. And once again raising the question of how old is too old to drive. 

Police in Florida are looking for the driver who fled on foot after driving past traffic cops working security, and crashing into a competitor riding in an Ironman triathlon.

 

International

Life is cheap in British Columbia, where a truck driver walked without a day behind bars for killing a 28-year old man riding a bicycle; he got a lousy $1,150 fine for fatally right hooking the victim while turning from the center lane, rather than the right turn lane.

Quebec City, Quebec announced plans for the city’s first vélocité corridor, or bicycle superhighway.

A university in Nairobi, Kenya offers a “life-changing” bicycle leasing program just inside its front gates, giving students greater mobility in the traffic-choked city.

Police in Japan are resorting to yelling at bike riders who are wearing earbuds, as they struggle to differentiate between ear pieces that block outside noises and those that allow them to filter through.

 

Competitive Cycling

America’s most famous ex-Tour de France winner refuses to go away, explaining how he beat drug tests for so many years.

 

Finally…

That’s probably not Bill Gates riding that chopper bike. Your next e-cargo bike could be a scooter.

And a pizza delivery bike to boldly go where no pizza bike has gone before.

………

………

Chag sameach!

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

NTSB calls for speed limiting tech, World Day of Remembrance, and LA Times calls for fast-tracking non-freeway projects

Time to start scrounging under your cushion for lost nickels and dimes, because we’re just five days away from the official kickoff of the Ninth Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

That means we’re also just five days away from my annual Eff Black Friday campaign, in which I urge you to skip the stores, save your money and get out on a bike ride, instead. 

And if you want to donate some of the money you save by not shopping, be my guest.

Then visit your favorite local bike shop the next day for Small Business Saturday, to help ensure they’ll still be there the next time you need something. 

………

About damn time.

Fast Company is reporting that the National Transportation Safety Board, aka NTSB, is calling for speed limiting technology to be installed on all new cars in an effort to reduce the needless carnage on our streets.

The idea is to use geolocation to give drivers an audible warning when they’re going too fast, or make it harder, but not impossible, to press down on the gas pedal when they exceed the posted speed limit.

I vote for the latter.

Because that might have saved the lives of four young women on PCH last month, allegedly murdered by a driver doing 104 mph in a 45 mph zone. Along with countless others killed on American streets, whether on two feet, two wheels or four.

Speeding is now a factor in almost a third of the crash deaths in the U.S. The traditional approaches to reducing that toll all have significant limitations. Police can issue tickets to individual drivers, but law enforcement can hardly be in all places at all times. Automatic speed cameras, which allow police to mail citations directly to vehicle owners, are more effective; but many states, such as New Jersey and Texas, have banned their use (and they’re far from ubiquitous even where they’re allowed). Another partial solution would be to reconfigure dangerously fast roads with narrower lanes and additional intersections that naturally lead drivers to slow down, but doing so nationwide would be prohibitively expensive—and it would do little to combat reckless speeding on highways and interstates that facilitate car traffic at speeds of 45 to 85 mph…

NTSB’s proposed solution: Adopting Intelligent Speed Assist (ISA), a modern and techier version of the speed governors that Cincinnati considered a century ago. Rather than preventing a vehicle from ever exceeding a given threshold, ISA uses geolocation to automatically reflect the legal limit on a given street or highway. “Passive” ISAs issue audible or haptic alerts to drivers who exceed the top programmed speed, hopefully compelling them to slow down. “Active” ISAs intervene in the car’s mechanics, often by requiring the driver to apply extra force on the accelerator. ISAs can be set to kick in a few miles above the posted speed limit, giving drivers the ability to go faster when, for instance, passing a vehicle in the slow lane.

In the EU—where residents are several times less likely to die in a crash than in the U.S.—regulators are requiring that ISA be installed on new cars as of next year. But no similar effort is afoot in the United States (the federal government did propose requiring them on heavy trucks, a move that has faced stiff opposition from some truckers).

Let’s hope federal regulators take their recommendation seriously.

Because it can’t happen soon enough.

………

Speaking of federal regulators, it starts at the top.

Fortunately, the Biden administration’s Transportation Secretary seems to get it, as Pete Buttigieg marked the World Day of Remembrance for the victims of traffic violence by calling for safer streets to get cities down to zero traffic deaths.

Including more protected bus and bike lanes.

For a change, the World Day of Remembrance got a lot of attention in the media.

Starting with a moving and dramatic display in Malibu, where volunteers installed 58 white car tires to commemorate the 58 people killed on PCH in the beachfront city since 2010.

Just in case you ever wondered why I call it LA County’s killer highway. Although it’s not much better in Orange County, either.

The World Day of Remembrance was also marked in San Diego, Fresno, Knoxville, Philadelphia, Portland, Charlotte and Houston, among many others.

Maybe one day we can remember those we’ve lost to traffic violence, without worrying about adding more names to the list.

………

Good question.

After the mad-dash rush to repair the fire damage to the 10 Freeway that disrupted traffic for just over a week, the Los Angeles Times asks why more transportation projects can’t be fast tracked the same way.

So, why can’t more transportation projects get the speedy treatment? Although the work being done on the 10 Freeway is a model of expediency, other important transportation repair jobs have taken far longer to complete.

Take for example the rail line used by Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner and Metrolink between Orange and San Diego counties. It’s the second busiest passenger route in the country, but was out of service for six months from late 2022 to early 2023 after a landslide and coastal erosion undermined the tracks.

It’s taken a year in some cases to repair storm-damaged bike paths in Los Angeles, leaving those routes closed to riders and forcing them onto busy streets, notedMichael Schneider, founder of the road safety advocacy group Streets for All.

Meanwhile, a letter writer says the freeway closure is an opportunity for more people to try public transit, and to invest in bus lanes and a quick-build bike network.

Unfortunately, Los Angeles only seems to know how to quick builds when it comes to freeways.

………

Evidently, they take murder seriously down in Texas.

A Texas jury sentenced former international fugitive Kaitlin Armstrong to a whopping 90 years behind bars for fatally shooting gravel champ Moriah “Mo” Wilson in Austin, Texas last year.

However, she will be eligible for parole in just a third of that time.

Armstrong was convicted of killing Wilson in a jealous rage, because she considered her a rival for the affections of her former boyfriend, pro cyclist Colin Strickland.

………

While we endure the seemingly endless wait for California’s ebike incentive program, the nonprofit program chosen to administer it offers safety advice for ebike riders, though with a glaring omission.

Sign up for email announcements here for when and if they finally get it going.

Speaking of which, Electrek says all the sales currently underway make this the best time ever to buy an ebike, while CBS News lists all the best early Black Friday sales on ebikes.

None of which you can take advantage of if you’re waiting for California’s program to launch.

And waiting. And waiting.

………

It’s almost always faster to ride a bike in city traffic for relatively short distances.

When I used to ride my bike from Westwood to DTLA for Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition — now BikeLA — board meetings, I found I could bike the roughly ten mile distance as fast or faster than I could drive it.

And have a hell of of lot more fun doing it.

Thanks to Zachary Rynew for the heads-up.

………

I’ve never been a Dierks Bentley fan.

But anyone who carries his kid on a cargo bike is okay in my book.

………

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

The Port of San Diego says you’re not welcome on the city’s Embarcadero if you ride an ebike, e-scooter or a pedicab. Although something tells me they’re setting themselves up for a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

No bias here. A Wisconsin website says they drove Milwaukee’s new advisory bike lane and barely survived, calling it a game of automotive Frogger. Because evidently, drivers haven’t learned anything from the previous hundred-plus years of sharing narrow streets.

………

Local 

Speaking of BikeLA, the nonprofit bike advocacy group is downsizing due to limited funds, announcing “a temporary reduction in staff and operating expenses.”

Hip-hop legend MC Lyte says her best Sundays in LA include renting a bike and going for tacos at the beach. Both of which I can wholeheartedly endorse.

 

State

A San Francisco city supervisor led an informal delegation of VIPs on a damp bike rider marking the last day of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

At least two of the nearly two hundred triathletes whose bikes are impounded due to a shipping dispute live in the Bay Area; their hi-end trim bikes could be auctioned off for pennies on the dollar, and they won’t receive a dime. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

 

National

Romper names the year’s best balance bike to unlock the joy of bicycling for your toddler.

The Seattle Times considers how the Pacific Northwest became the nation’s ‘cross capital.

A Las Vegas public bus driver faces charges for running a red light and killing a man riding a bicycle while apparently driving drunk on the job.

There’s a special place in hell for the Flagstaff, Arizona tow truck driver who ran a red light and killed a woman participating in a bike party ride, and injured several others; he reached a plea agreement after the investigation into the crash also turned up evidence he sexually exploited a minor.

New York’s fire commissioner says lithium-ion ebike batteries are a ticking time bomb.

Police in New York suspect a headless body that washed up onshore at Rockaway Beach could be an Irish filmmaker who disappeared on a bike ride two weeks earlier; despite the condition of the body, they don’t suspect foul play, suggesting he drowned and his body was dismembered by sharp rocks and fish. FYI, stop the page from loading before the popup to get around the paywall.

The Daily Mail seems to be suitably appalled by New York’s Bike Kill Brooklyn block party, featuring “‘freaks’ with mutant bicycles, scantily clad women and bizarre costumes,” along with Victorian unicycle jousting.

They get it, sort of. A Chattanooga, Tennessee newspaper applauds a road diet currently underway, saying safer streets and more bike lanes will benefit everyone — although the same site complains that bike lane construction is adding to the chaos on city streets.

A bystander was the innocent victim of an Atlanta shooting that began with a dispute over a bicycle. Yet another reminder that no bike is worth a human life. 

 

International

A columnist for Cycling Weekly argues that pre-internet local bike shops weren’t as good as you remember.

A kindhearted Saskatoon, Saskatchewan doctor is trying to donate more than 800 bicycles to African communities in need.

Who says you can’t carry big things on a bike? Road.cc says tradespeople like electricians, plumbers and gardeners are increasingly turning to cargo bikes to transport their goods and tools, while a London man borrowed a cargo bike to transport a big chest of drawers across the city, and had a blast in the process.

The BBC reports a spike in violent bikejackings has left some Londoners afraid to ride their bikes.

Belgian ebike maker Cowboy says they expect to become profitable next year, even as some competitors are swirling the drain.

A German bikemaker introduced what Road.cc calls the most unusual road bike of the year, which ignores UCI regs to ditche the seat post, incorporating it into the extremely compact frame.

Once he’s caught, an Indian truck driver will face a murder charge for the high-speed hit-and-run that killed one man riding a bicycle, and injured a woman and her son on another bike.

Times of Israel profiles a presumed hostage who disappeared after driving to meet friends for a bike ride near the border with Gaza; his car was later found shot up and abandoned.

Italian extreme cyclist Omar Di Felice is attempting a solo bike ride across the entire continent of Antarctica.

 

Competitive Cycling

Velo says Columbian cyclist Rigoberto Urán’s recent performance at the Gran Fondo of Colombia is a reminder that the pros are way, way faster than you and me.

Twenty-six-year old New Zealand mountain bike champ Kate Weatherly is being forced out of the sport by new UCI regulations banning trans cyclists who transitioned after reaching puberty from competing in women’s cycling.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could be made for bikepacking, but look like a Penny Farthing drawn by a drunk who’s never seen one. We might have to dodge dodgy LA drivers, but at least we don’t usually have to worry about hit-and-run golf cart drivers.

And Rosalyn was one of us.

May she rest in peace, after a lifetime of service.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin