Tag Archive for traffic violence

Dana Point murder victim ID’d as OC ER doc, why an OC ghost bike needs to stay, and $800 million for safe streets

Let’s start with a quick update on the horrific events in Dana Point Wednesday afternoon.

The victim of the incident has been identified as 58-year old Michael John Mammone, an emergency physician with Providence Mission Hospital in Laguna Beach.

Mammone was reportedly stopped in the bike lane at the red light on PCH at Crown Valley Parkway, when a Lexus driven by 39-year old Long Beach resident Vanroy Evan Smith slammed into him from behind.

Smith then got out of his car and stabbed Mammone as he lay on the ground; Mammone died at a nearby hospital approximately three hours later.

After stabbing Mammone at least once in the back, Smith pulled out a gun and began shooting, apparently at random. Adding to the bizarre nature of the incident, there are reports that the weapon may have been a BB gun.

So far, investigators have found no link between Smith and Mammone, suggesting that it may have been a road rage attack, or possibly a case of mistaken identity.

Or it may have been completely random, which is even more frightening.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Orange County Sheriff’s Department at 714/288-6740.

You can read more about Smith’s murder of Dr. Mammone here.

Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels.

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Yesterday, longtime Orange County bike advocate Bill Sellin included me in his email response to someone asking about an Irvine ghost bike.

I found his response so moving and insightful, I asked for his permission to share it with you here.

Thanks for reaching out.

I know it was placed shortly after the killing of Barbora Kabatova, 26 years old (July 11 2020) by her close friend(s).

I offered, but did not help place it, and I understand it is actually one of Barbora’s own bicycles.

Kabatova ghost bike photo taken from Facebook page

 

I do not know what Caltrans policy is, but I would be happy to see it in kept in place until Caltrans applies their own ‘Complete Streets’ best practices to call out the Jeffrey Class II bikeway where it is merged across by their freeway entrance, or better yet removes the free-right acceleration lane across the bikeway and makes a 90° intersection to ’square off’ this old style dangerous condition.

Since that fatality nothing has been done to deal with this hazardous condition, where the bike lane turns into a shoulder of the entrance, and even a pedestrian or sidewalk cyclist can be killed by high speed accelerating motorists.

Not even an on-demand warning light for those trying to use the crosswalk, much less a curb bulb-out.

Irvine has not reduced posted or actual speeds on Jeffrey either.

Every time I ride past it I think of Barbora and her death. It’s a good reminder. I am grateful that Caltrans has not removed it for the last 2 1/2 years.

Your resident is correct – it has been out there, motionless, day and night, rain or shine, silent, for over 2 years.

If it were her friend or daughter killed, she might understand it’s value.

If there was a ghost bike located at the site of the other 16 Orange County cyclist who died in 2020, and the 7 in 2021, the 19 in 2022 and 2 already in 2023, the motorists and traffic engineers might take greater steps to slow down and make our roads safer.

We can only hope.

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After so much bad news, we have a little good news to share.

The US Department of Transportation announced the first $800 million of the five year, $5 billion — yes, with a B — Safe Streets and Roads for All Program that was established in the new federal budget.

Fast Company reports that’s just a down payment, with another $1.1 billion to be released later this spring.

California is set to receive $133 million of that, including six large “transformative” projects which will receive a combined $100 million, three of which are in Southern California.

  • Los Angeles County will receive $21 million for Florence-Firestone for All, a Vision Zero plan along corridors with high collision rates.
  • The City of Los Angeles will get $9 million for the La Brea Avenue Complete Streets Project. Or maybe only sort of complete, since it doesn’t include any bicycling infrastructure or improvements.
  • And as we mentioned yesterday, Wildomar is set to receive $2 million for the Sedco Blvd Improvements.

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Somehow I missed the announcement that California Assembly Transportation Chair Laura Friedman is running to replace Adam Schiff in the United States House of Representatives 30th District, as Schiff runs for Diane Feinstein’s US Senate seat.

While we’ll miss her strong advocacy in Sacramento for active transportation, she’ll offer an even stronger voice in DC.

Thanks to Blake Dellinger and Ravener for the heads-up.

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

No bias here. An “avid bicyclist” says a hit-and-run Jersey City councilwoman may have been wrong, but the bike rider she hit doesn’t deserve a $1 million settlement because he’s “everything that serious bikers, like myself, detest.” Like riding in flip flops, for instance.

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Local 

Rides will be free on LA Metro, Metrolink, LADOT and San Bernardino County Transportation Authority buses and trains this Saturday to mark the 6th Annual Transit Equity Day celebrating the birthday of Rosa Park.

Metro is planning to start construction later this year on a “multimodal” widening project on the 605 Freeway, which somehow fails to include any actual multimodal elements.

Registration is now open for the 45th LA Chinatown Firecracker Run/Walk, including 2 and 40-mile bike rides.

 

State

A San Francisco bike messenger worker’s collective strives to straddle the fine line between competing with large businesses, and relying on them for business.

 

National

Apparently, justice delayed isn’t always justice denied. A Las Vegas driver was arrested for DUI ten months after he killed a bike rider while driving 80 mph in a 45 mph zone; he wasn’t arrested at the scene after passing field sobriety tests, but a blood test showed THC, oxycodone and oxymorphone.

Bad enough when Denver drivers run down bike riders, but they don’t have to kill their ghost bikes, too.

NPR looks at efforts to remove a bike lane on Kansas City’s Truman Road, as business owners complain about the loss of parking spaces, as usual. Even though multiple studies show bike lanes are good for business

Four Pittsburgh cops will fight their suspensions in an effort to regain their jobs, 16 months after a man was killed when he was tased ten times in a matter of minutes, for the crime of test-riding an abandoned bicycle that had been left on the sidewalk; no charges have been filed, and prosecutors have still not released video of the incident.

According to Streetsblog, entitled New York drivers have been whining about a lack of parking for over a century. Los Angeles drivers have been whining at least as long, even though DTLA has more parking per acre than any other site on Earth, according to UCLA parking meister Dr. Donald Shoup.

Momentum talks with New York City cargo-biker Michael Palacios, who was intentionally run down by a hit-and-run driver while riding with his massive dog; he was also the person who allegedly went on a axe-wielding rampage at a New York McDonald’s.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a 12-year old Menlo Park NJ boy’s bicycle in a strong-arm robbery.

She gets it. A Philadelphia student says for her low-income, immigrant family, bicycling wasn’t recreation, it was a question of survival. And helped her get a full-ride college scholarship.

This is who we share the road with. After a severed human penis was discovered in the parking lot of an Alabama gas station, investigators said it belonged to a motorcyclist who was killed in a collision with multiple vehicles on a nearby highway, and carried to the station on the grill of a truck; it fell off when the driver parked at the station.

 

International

A professional driver played the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, claiming he killed a Welsh bike rider because the sun was in his eyes; however, it didn’t work this time, because he was found guilty anyway.

Three people, a man and two women, have been arrested in the death of a father and his teenage son who were killed when they were struck by a hit-and-run driver while riding their bikes in the UK last month; another man was arrested when the abandoned car was discovered shorty after the crash. At least one man faces a possible murder charge.

Bicyclists in Cyprus called for the immediate repeal of a new mandatory bike helmet law just hours after it went into effect, as critics called it a step backwards that will make safety worse, not better.

 

Competitive Cycling

France’s first major bike race of the year came to a sudden halt, when a major pile-up forced organizers to cancel stage 2 of the Etoile de Bessèges with less than 15 miles to go.

Cyclist rates the year’s best pro cycling kits.

 

Finally…

Forget the sports drinks, and quaff an alcohol-free beer instead. Why ride out in the hot sun when you can ride a 57-mile long climate-controlled bike path?

And that feeling when you insist your rust-ridden tetanus express just needs a tune-up.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

Bike rider murdered in Dana Point crash & stabbing, and unidentified woman in Mission Hills hospital after bike crash

Let’s get the worst news out of the way first.

If you missed it last night, someone riding a mountain bike in Dana Point was murdered in one worst cases of traffic violence in memory.

The victim was was riding north in the bike lane on PCH when a driver rammed them from behind, then came back around, got out of his car and stabbed the bike rider as they lay helpless on the ground.

The victim died a few hours later at a nearby hospital; the driver was arrested after being detained by witnesses.

You can read the full story here.

But be forewarned, it contains contains security cam video that clearly shows the crash, though not the stabbing. So you may want to think twice before hitting play.

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Hospital staffers are asking for the public’s help identifying two unknown and unconscious patients in LA County hospitals, including a woman who was injured riding her bike in Mission Hills.

The woman is described being in her late 20s to early 30s, 5 feet 6 inches tall and 153 pounds, with medium-length dark brown hair, brown eyes and a medium skin tone.

She has a tattoo on her right forearm with a red and green heart outlined in black, and the words “One love.”

It’s possible that she may be homeless.

Anyone with information is urged to call Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills at 818/365-8051.

Just one more tragic reminder to always carry some form of ID with you when you ride.

Thanks to Marcello Calicchio for the heads-up. 

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The LA Times looks at California’s plan to boost ebike sales through an equity-based point-of-sale incentive — not a rebate, as we’ve been told.

The paper also notes that many of lower-income residents who could benefit most from the program live in areas with the most dangerous streets.

Yet projects in the city’s mobility plan to alleviate the problems remain on hold, perhaps permanently, with just 3% of the plan build out, over seven years into the 25-year plan.

Meanwhile, San Diego’s KPBS says that city’s bike shops are abuzz about the program. As they should be, since our neighbor to the south is actually doing something to encourage bicycling and protect people on two wheels.

Personally, I’ll get excited when and if they actually roll it out, and without such stringent qualifications that virtually no one actually qualifies.

And if they don’t manage to fuck it up some other way. Which I wouldn’t bet on, given the long delay in rolling it out.

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

More proof you can carry anything on a bicycle, as a British burglar makes off on his bike with a homeowner’s purloined TV.

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Local 

Los Angeles-based women’s all-sizes bikewear brand Machines For Freedom has come to an ignominious end, shut down by parent company Specialized just five years after it was purchased from the brand’s founders; the shutdown leaves a sizable hole in the market for women who don’t fit the bike industry’s usual petite stereotype.

Bike riders participating in this month’s 45th Annual L.A. Chinatown Firecracker Run will have the opportunity to ride through the Pasadena area on a 40-mile ride beginning and ending in Chinatown.

Manhattan Beach will receive a $1 million grant to improve a bike path and close gaps in a bike lane connecting to the beachfront Marvin Braude Bike Trail, one of five South Bay grants contained in December’s federal appropriations bill.

 

State

San Diego will receive a $680,000 US Department of Transportation grant as part of the federal appropriations bill; the funds will help add a “comprehensive speed management plan, a historically disadvantaged community quick build program and slow streets program to the city’s existing Vision Zero Strategy.”

Wildomar received a $2.2 million grant to improve Sedco Blvd by adding bike lanes, improving sidewalks, and installing three roundabouts along a short 0.19-mile segment connecting two planned bicycle corridors.

Santa Maria cops conducted a bait bike operation by hiding a bicycle under a tarp in the back of a pickup parked in a hotel lot; one man is in custody after two men took the bait, then ran away to avoid arrest. Yet that’s something that the LAPD still refuses to do, despite the city’s unacceptable rate of bike thefts, over fears of entrapment accusations. Even though dozens of other California police agencies don’t seem to have a problem with that.

The San Francisco Examiner looks at new California laws that affect bike riders, pedestrians and motorists, including the requirement to change lanes to pass someone on a bicycle when possible.

Tragic news in Tracy, where police shot and wounded a 17-year old Afghan refugee when the boy failed to comply with orders to get off his bicycle; local groups working with the Muslim community questioned why less lethal methods weren’t used, suggesting a likely language barrier kept the boy from understanding the cop’s commands. He’s reportedly recovering in the hospital after undergoing two surgeries.

No bias here. A Marin bike advocate complains about “fighting for scraps to fund bike/ped projects” while the county spends $7.5 million to repave a parking lot.

 

National

Seattle-based Rad Power’s RadWagon 4 e-cargo bike is back on the market, following a recall that affected nearly 30,000 of the company’s bikes.

Separated bike lanes in Flagstaff, Arizona are posing a problem this winter, blocked by snow piled by plowing traffic lanes, and forcing riders to mix it up with drivers in icy streets — even though the city purchased smaller plows just to keep them clear.

No surprise here. Denver’s latest round of 860 ebike rebates were all claimed within 20 minutes of when they became available. Now let’s hope more people actually use them

A Kansas City councilmember calls for a compromise on a contested bike lane, calling for returning one side to parking, while installing a two-way bike lane on the other.

An Iowa paper talks with a then-18-year old man who was one of the few bicyclists to complete the first RAGBRAI 50 years ago.

They get it. An editorial that originally appeared in the paywalled Des Moines Register calls on the legislature to celebrate bicycling in Iowa by committing to safety, starting with passing a ban on distracted driving.

Chicago bike advocates are split on the city’s plan to ticket drivers who block bike lanes, with some calling it a good first step and others saying it doesn’t go far enough. One of the rare cases when both sides are right.

In a very confusing story, a man from Mexico was sentenced to 18-months behind bars for killing a 68-year old bike rider from Paris. Although it makes more sense once you realize they’re both towns in Maine.

A brother from a Louisiana Christian order is planning a 6,000-mile ride to benefit a charity supporting the special needs community, in honor of his nephew with Down Syndrome; he intends to ride up the East Coast from Florida to DC, then across the country to San Francisco.

 

International

Five Canadian mounties face charges for the 2017 death of an Indigenous man who died after he was pepper sprayed while trying to flee on his bicycle.

Over 1,000 people have signed a petition urging officials to rip out a nearly one-year old bike lane on an English road, accusing it of causing congestion. No, too many cars cause congestion; bike lanes help alleviate it by providing a safe alternative to driving.

A British fan site examines how Steven Spielberg pulled off the iconic flying bike scene in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, despite the limited special effects available over 40 years ago.

Aussie TV star Grant Denyer is one of us, crashing into another bicyclist while trying to pop wheelie, just minutes after posting an on-bike selfie.

 

Competitive Cycling

British pro Lizzie Deignan continues to ride through her pregnancy, while planning to return to racing in May following the birth of her second child.

Italian pro Davide Formolo says the streets are no longer safe, following the death of longtime friend and mentor Davide Rebellin, who was killed by a truck driver in November.

 

Finally…

Probably not the best idea to take a leak in front of bike cops on the Las Vegas Strip when you’re also wanted for murder.

And that feeling when a month off alcohol leaves you wondering whether to stay dry or down every drop in the fridge, and what either choice means for your bicycling.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

Bike rider injured in Santa Monica hit-and-run, a call to call it out when passing, and CicLAvia explains new CicLAminis

The good news is, my head did not explode.

Nor did I have it surgically removed, as tempting as it was. 

Thanks to the miracle of modern pharmaceuticals, my head is finally better, if not great, and I’m ready to get back to work. 

So let’s get to it. 

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Let’s start with some troubling news from our longtime friend Dr. Michael Cahn, who shares what he saw in Santa Monica yesterday afternoon.

Ocean Park, close to the intersection with Marguerita Ave, I saw a cyclist down on the middle of the roadway today around 3:20 pm.

The cyclist was conscious and able to move his limbs it seems. A bystander tells me later that according to the victim a car was involved that left the victim in the roadway (hit and run). From what I understood both cyclist and car were going South. A bystander tells me that another driver (going North) identified the fugitive driver as a woman.

The position of the prone cyclist in the middle of the road makes it difficult to reconstruct the event. There is a bike lane on Ocean Avenue. I was walking in the park around that time.

Let’s hope the victim is okay, and the heartless coward who left him bleeding in the street is quickly brought to justice.

Then again, let’s just hope the Santa Monica police take it seriously.

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I want to highlight a comment from Kate Johnson on Wednesday’s post.

Because she’s right.

Long time rider here, used to letting others know that I am coming up behind them (“Coming up behind you, passing on your left.”) and noticing that very few riders are doing that now. I can’t count the number of times I have been surprised by faster moving cyclists who pass without notice — they are trusting that I will stay in my lane, I suppose. Can’t we reintroduce this very simple way to avoid clashes? Please, people, call out “On your left!” before you pass someone, no matter if they are riding or walking!

 

If you’re not familiar with the practice, it’s longtime bike etiquette to announce when you’re passing someone.

I always do it, unless I can give the other persons at least the same three-foot margin I expect from motorists, and too often don’t get.

Her wording is also good. I find “passing on your left” is far more effective than the more common “on your left,” which can confuse people. And informing them you’re coming from behind can’t hurt.

So give it a shot on your next ride.

You might be surprised how much more pleasant it makes it for everyone.

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CicLAvia explains the new pedestrian-oriented CicLAminis scheduled for Watts and North Hollywood in May and September, respectively.

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Streets For All is hosting a public debate with five of the seven candidates who have qualified for the April special election to replace former Councilmember Nury Martinez in CD6; an eighth candidate is running a write-in campaign.

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Walk Bike Long Beach is hosting a ten-mile community bike ride tomorrow, with plans to ride north from downtown through Wrigley to Steelcraft and back.

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Both Metro Los Angeles and Metrolink are offering free transit on Saturday, February 4th — one week from tomorrow — in honor of Transit Equity Day and the birthday of civil rights icon Rosa Parks. Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up. 

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

Tell me again about those entitled cyclists. Streetsblog reports that LA’s entitled drivers have dismantled the modest Vision Zero improvements on the connector road between Silver Lake Boulevard and Temple Street in Historic Filipinotown, where missing bollards have created a DIY slip lane, and the crosswalk is completely worn off. Thanks to Keith Johnson for the tip.

No bias here. A New York City councilmember has introduced a bill to ban ebikes and e-scooters until “they are registered, insured, licensed, and safe to operate, charge and store.” Never mind that cars and their operators are registered, insured and licensed, and they’re still a hell of a lot more dangerous than any ebike. 

An Irish judge cut a woman’s nearly $22,000 judgement against the country’s Motor Insurance Bureau for their failure to identify a hit-and-run driver by 20% because she wasn’t wearing a bike helmet. Even though most helmets wouldn’t have prevented the concussion she suffered. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you. 

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

A Washington state man was arrested for robbing Home Depot at knifepoint, then leading police on a two hour bicycle chase, which included a bike and wardrobe change in a failed effort to throw them off his trail.

Life is cheap in New Hampshire, where a man was acquitted of killing a pedestrian after allegedly blowing through a red light, and not having a working rear brake; like many drivers, he claimed the victim darted out from between parked cars, and he just didn’t see him in time.

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Local 

This is who we share the road with. The LAPD has arrested 31-year old Taylor Lee Harris, accusing him of being the speeding driver who fled the scene on foot after the crash that killed a 13-year old boy and his 18-month old brother in South LA earlier this month.

The Los Angeles City Council Public Works Committee voted unanimously to end the bizarre practice of forcing developers to build brief street widenings in front of their buildings, on the off chance the street gets widened some day. And which end up being mistakenly blamed on, you guessed it, us.

BikeLA, the former LACBC, looks back at Saturday’s die-in at City Hall, while making the case for safer streets in the City of Angels; they also introduce their new YouTube channel, which doesn’t seem to have any active videos at the moment.

After graduating from high school, a Los Angeles teenager spent 527 days riding his bike from Alaska to Argentina along the Pan-American Highway; now he plans to ship his bike home and backpack back home from Argentina to LA with his girlfriend.

 

State

Well, that will solve the problem. Carlsbad is asking everyone, but especially young ebike riders, to make a public pledge to do their part to be safe on the streets. Thanks to Phillip Young for the link.

Sad news from eastern San Diego County, where someone riding a bicycle found a 55-year old man fatally injured in a motorcycle crash in the Anza-Borrego desert; the victim died despite efforts to revive him at the scene.

Palm Springs Life offers an insiders guide to the Coachella Valley bicycling scene ahead of the upcoming Tour de Palm Springs.

An Agoura Hills letter writer calls for approval of the city’s bike plan, saying that as a driver, better bike lanes would make her more comfortable sharing the road with bike riders.

The Carpinteria Creek Bike Path will remain closed for now due to debris and structural damage from the recent rains.

A Santa Barbara letter writer calls for approval of a proposed bike path next to Modoc Road, where he was struck by a driver five years ago; the person who hit him played the universal Get Out Of Jail Free card by claiming he just didn’t see him because of the glare on his windshield.

The family of a Fresno university professor who was killed in a head-on collision with an Acura NSX while riding her bike last year is alleging in a lawsuit that the driver was racing, not one, not two, but four other drivers in a pair of Porsche 911s, a Lamborghini and a Ferrari at the time of the crash. There’s no word on whether the driver was charged, but if this is true, all five drivers should be charged with vehicular homicide, at the very least.

San Francisco Streetsblog asks how many broken limbs, life-altering injuries, and deaths is a parking spot worth, as an Alameda NIMBY sues block a Complete Streets project to preserve streetside parking.

 

National

CyclingSavvy discusses what the hell you should do at a stop sign. And no, they say coming to a full stop and putting your foot down usually isn’t it.

Bicycling examines the ongoing debate over bike helmets in the bicycling community. Once again, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

Oregon’s proposed ebike rebate bill will get its first committee hearing next week; the current proposal calls for an instant rebate of up to $1,200 for a standard ebikes and $1,700 for a cargo bike.

Popular Seattle ebike brand Rad Power says mistakes were made, but they’re all better now that they have a new CEO.

Surly’s popular Big Dummy longtail cargo bike is getting some upgrades for its final year of production in 2023.

Heartbreaking story from Indiana, where a pet rescue used social media to find a new home for an orphaned Labrador retriever, after her owner was killed in a collision while riding his bike.

Accused terrorist Sayfullo Saipov was convicted of a long list of charges in the 2017 Halloween Day vehicular attack on a Manhattan bike path that killed eight people and seriously injured several others; Saipov will face a second phase to determine whether he will be executed. Although personally, I think life without parole in SuperMax is a far harsher punishment than death, which just seems like the easy way out.

He gets it. A Philadelphia man argues that penalties for hit-and-run won’t be stiff enough until they equal the the minimum sentences for homicide or manslaughter, saying he’ll never be the same after he was a victim himself.

No surprise here, as a DC website says a study shows ebike subsidies are more effective than subsidies for electric cars.

A 74-year old man who used his bike as his only form of transportation was killed in an Annapolis, Maryland hit-and-run, directly next to the site of a planned bike path; the side path was funded three years ago, but hasn’t even gotten out of the planning stage yet; sadly, he paid the price for the city’s slow pace.

A North Carolina man will spend up to 13 years behind bars after he was convicted of using his car as a weapon to kill a man riding a bicycle, after a dispute at a gaming establishment.

Tragic news from Georgia, where a bike rider whose injuries led to five other people getting hurt has died, two weeks after the other people ran out into the road to protect and pray for him when he was struck by a driver, then he was struck again by a second motorist, along with all five people surrounding him.

 

International

The Guardian looks at the rise of the 15 minute city, which is quickly gaining ground in urban planning circles. I live in a one hour city here in Hollywood, where I can walk to get most things I need, but have to spend an hour on the bus just to see the doctor. 

Bike Radar explains how building an electric motor into a cargo bike designed to carry heavy loads increases its usefulness. The magazine also offers advice on how to tell when your chain needs to be replaced, and how to prevent it. Hint: When it keeps dropping every time you shift, no matter how you adjust it, sort of like mine does these days.

Shimano has patented a wireless system to recharge electronic components while you ride.

Jalopnik points out that Amsterdam’s new $65 million underwater bicycle garage isn’t even the biggest in The Netherlands.

Leading Dutch ebike maker VanMoof nearly went belly up when it ran out of money to pay its bills at the end of last year.

Two-time defending champion Emirates Team New Zealand has once again hired a pair of bicyclists to power hydraulics as they prepare to compete in next year’s America’s Cup in Barcelona.

 

Competitive Cycling

Thirty-three-year old cycling savant Peter Sagan says this will be his last year in the road cycling peloton, as he plans to retire at the end of the season to focus on mountain biking at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In a story that American cycling fans should be able to relate to, Columbian cycling has hit hard times after the glory years of Bernal, Quintana and Lopez. But at least their hard times don’t stem from eight Tour de France titles getting yanked due to doping. 

Merced’s Hincapie Gran Fondo gravel race has postponed until next year because damage from the recent rains mean the course won’t be ready in time for the planned March date.

 

Finally…

As if SUVs are dangerous enough, now they come armored, armed and electrified. And even the Army says put a damn light on your bike, already.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oops.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

All of which was great.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

………

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

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

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

Nope. No bias there.

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

Well said.

………

No surprise here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

………

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

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

Once they finally get around to opening it.

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

https://twitter.com/EntitledCycling/status/1616589984206839808

………

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

Proving that corruption allegations extend far beyond LA City Hall.

………

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

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

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

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

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

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

………

Local 

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

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

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

 

State

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

 

National

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Competitive Cycling

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

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

Usually, anyway.

………

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

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

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

No bias here.

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

No, just the complaints.

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, let me get this straight.

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

Sure, that makes sense.

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

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

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

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

Where to begin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So which of these is actually dangerous?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And seriously, LA Times, do better.

Ebike photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels.

………

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

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

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

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

RSVP for more details

………

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

………

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

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

And yes, I said most.

………

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

………

This is who we share the road with.

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

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

………

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

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

But sure, tell us again about those OC ebikes.

………

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

………

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

Even if he’s just using it as a cart.

@all_about_rosalilla

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

♬ Crash – The Primitives

………

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

………

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

………

Local 

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

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

 

State

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

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

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

 

National

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Competitive Cycling

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

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

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

Country, that is.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

Study shows bike injuries down, CicLAvia comes to Sherman Way, and NYC safety advocate killed by uninsurable driver

Before we start, I need to correct yesterday’s story. 

A comment from Dawn made it clear that I had miscategorized a story about her father’s August death in Irvine. 

After correcting it and adding it back into the totals for OC, that made 17 people killed riding their bikes in the county last year, and 82 in Southern California. 

Here are the corrected totals for Orange County. 

Orange County

  • 2022 – 17
  • 2021 – 7
  • 2020 – 14
  • 2019 – 13

My apologies for the mistake. 

………

A new study from the Medical University of South Carolina mixes apples and oranges to conclude that bicycling injuries are decreasing, despite an increase in ridership.

Except the study period, which showed a 1/3 drop in bicycling injuries, ran from 2012 to 2021, while the jump in ridership they cited came from 2000 to 2014 — including a dozen years before the study period.

Never mind that the increase in ridership stemmed from “public bicycle utilization,” which sounds suspiciously like they may be referring to bikeshare use, which exploded because of the exponential growth of bikeshare programs as they spread across the US.

Not necessarily because more people were riding bicycles.

However, they at least have to wisdom to conclude that the reason for the decrease is outside the scope of the current study. But then shoot themselves in the foot by speculating that at least part of the reason could be due to the increase in indoor cycling.

And yes, that could have something to do with it. But only because indoor cycling and outdoor bicycling are two entirely different things, with one presenting far less risk of falling off your bike or getting struck by a carless or distracted driver.

Unless maybe you live on the 405.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay.

………

CicLAvia announced LA’s first open streets event of 2025, unveiling a map for a five-mile route along Sherman Way in the San Fernando Valley on the last Sunday in February.

It’s just the first of what’s planned to be eight CicLAvias throughout the Los Angeles area this year.

………

Heartbreaking news from New York, where 85-year old author and safety advocate Norman Fruchter was killed by a reckless driver who backed over him at high speed, then hit him a second time going forward.

His death came 25 years after his wife, renowned health researcher and practitioner Rachel Fruchter, was killed riding a bike in New York’s Prospect Park.

Fruchter had responded to his wife’s needless death by becoming one of the city’s leading bike and pedestrian safety advocates, and was a driving force behind the eventual ban on cars in the park.

In a tragic irony, both Norman and Rachel Fruchter were killed by drivers considered uninsurable due to their bad driving records. And both killers were allowed to walk without charges by the NYPD.

Just two more examples of authorities keeping dangerous drivers on the road until it’s too late.

And even then, letting them off to kill again.

………

Streets For All is hosting a family friendly Westside bike meetup in Culver City on the 22nd.

………

I followed the years long fight over this road diet. So it’s nice to see the NIMBYs were wrong.

Again.

https://twitter.com/WarrenJWells/status/1610859560268632064

………

An Indian boy was caught on video carefully tying his little sister’s legs to his bike frame to keep her from falling off.

………

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

No bias here. A San Luis Obispo writer whines that it’s just too hard to drive if you have to safely change lanes to avoid killing someone on a bicycle, let alone watch out for people crossing the street so you don’t kill them, either.

A corner-cutting driver nearly hit a Welsh bicyclist head on as he patiently waited to make a left turn. So naturally, the car’s passenger gets out to yell at the bike rider that he was going to cause a crash.

No bias here, either. Bike riders in Malta will now be required to wear a helmet in an effort to reduce head injuries, while e-scooter riders will be required to wear a helmet and hi-viz. Never mind that at least some of the reduction in injuries from mandatory helmet laws has been shown to stem from reducing  bicycling rates. And don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer in wearing a helmet, and never ride without one. But mandating helmet use is counterproductive, reducing bicycling rates while leading to over-policing of low income residents and people of color.

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

More on the Kiwi ebike-riding man who repeatedly kicked a paralyzed handcyclist in the face, apparently simply for the crime of overtaking him. Seriously, there’s not a pit in hell deep enough.

………

Local 

Streets For All founder Michael Schneider urges Los Angeles to stop wasting space and money by imposing parking minimums, calling it counterproductive to building desperately needed housing and fighting climate change.

Go SGV is offering ebikes for longterm rental, with prices starting at just $49 a month for students and $69 monthly for other renters, and e-cargo bikes starting at $129 a month.

 

State

Brea-based Aventon announced permanent price cuts up to 20% off its entire current ebike line, in anticipation of new 2023 models.

Encinitas will host the city’s Cyclovia open streets event on South Coast Highway 101 from 10 am to 2 pm this Sunday; the rain predicted for Los Angeles isn’t expected to extend that far south, so you should be in for good riding.

A Santa Rosa paper explains California’s new law requiring drivers to change lanes when possible to pass a bike rider. Which the SLO writer above seems to think is just too darn hard. 

 

National

A higher education website questions whether college e-scooter bans is an over-reaction, blaming infrastructure built for cars for at least part of the problem. And yes, it is. 

The Consumer Products Safety Commission announced a recall of 9,000 Salsa and Whisky carbon handlebars, which can crack near the brake/shift levers.

Someone who apparently doesn’t understand the meaning of ghost bikes is placing white-painted kids bikes with plastic doves on the handlebars at intersections throughout Portland, making the city’s bicycling community mistakenly fear there’s been a rash of children killed riding their bikes in recent weeks.

He gets it. A Kansas City op-ed writer says the city’s new bike lanes aren’t just for “serious” bicyclists. In fact, it’s the so-called serious bicyclists who need them least; bike lanes serve to encourage reluctant riders to feel safer and give bicycling a try. 

Once again, a bike rider is a hero, if a wounded one this time, as a Chicago man riding a bicycle was shot in the elbow when he tried to stop a thief from breaking into a car. No word on whether he was successful at stopping the thief, or if he sacrificed his elbow in vain.

A Michigan state agency has ruled a pair of Black Detroit judges were in the wrong when they blamed racism for a dispute with a bike rental shop, and says they shouldn’t have identified themselves as judges to the shop workers and the police. Needless to say, the judges disagree, even though they ended up with a 100% discount.

In a truly bizarre case, a Michigan sheriff is asking a killer hit-and-run driver who confessed in an anonymous letter to come forward, 31-years after killing a 24-year old man whose body and bicycle were found in a flooded ditch a full month after the crash.

Life is cheap in Indiana, where a driver will spend just two years behind bars for killing a bike rider last April, followed by three years of work release.

New York advocates are pushing the governor to expand New York City’s Vision Zero program statewide, even though NYC’s program has only resulted in an 18% drop over ten years. But at least that’s better than traffic death rates going up, like they have in LA’s Vision Zero program

A DC letter writer says bike lanes are “for the potential benefit of the few to the detriment of the many;” insisting the city will never be Amsterdam. Then again, Amsterdam wasn’t Amsterdam until people had the will to encourage bike use and discourage driving. Which any city, anywhere can do.

Florida’s famous one-legged Black bicyclist suffered a broken neck and partial paralysis when he was struck by an SUV driver while riding to work the week before Christmas; fortunately, Leo Rodgers — aka The Black Flamingo — has started to regain feeling below the waist. A crowdfunding campaign has raised nearly $74,000 of the $130,000 goal for his recovery and medical care.

 

International

A Banff, Alberta city councilor is proposing speed limits for ebikes on city trails.

A new Dutch study shows half of likely ebike buyers would question their purchase if they were faced with a mandatory bike helmet requirement, and nearly a quarter would stop riding altogether. And yes, that’s in the Netherlands, which is arguably the world’s most bicycling obsessed country. Or maybe normalized is a better word. 

An Indian bicyclist describes his attempt to set a new Guinness record for riding between two towns 300 miles apart, with 23,000 feet of elevation gain in between.

A half-dozen dockless bikeshare operators are betting on success in Sydney, Australia, despite the country’s reputation as a sometimes watery graveyard for bikeshare.

 

Competitive Cycling

Trial continues for the men accused of robbing British cycling champ Mark Cavendish, as the court heard testimony about the late-night home invasion at knifepoint.

American pro cyclist Gavin Mannion unwillingly called it a career after 12 years, after failing to receive a contract to ride this year.

The popular Belgian Waffle Rides are taking over North America, with new rides expanding to Mexico and Canada.

 

Finally…

That feeling when your new e-cargo bike for working professionals is priced out of the reach of much of your target market. Or when you’re riding from Maine to Florida on one wheel — in the middle of winter.

And this is the kind of parking minimums we like to see.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

Bad year for SoCal bike deaths, urban roads get deadlier, and Transportation Comm’s new vice chair is one of us

Last year was another terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year for SoCal bike riders.

But at least it was better than the year before.

Maybe.

According to our latest count, at least 82* people lost their lives while riding a bicycle in the seven county Southern California region last year, just two less than the previous year.

Although that figure is likely an undercount; I’ve heard of a half dozen or more deaths this year that I wasn’t able to officially confirm, but which undoubtedly happened.

It’s also the same number of SoCal bicycling deaths reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 2019, the last year before the pandemic, when 81 SoCal riders also lost their lives.

The total for last year reflects the 26 bike riders I counted killed in Los Angeles County last year, which again is likely a dramatic undercount.

A total of 35 bike riders lost their lives in LA County in 2021, which was over twice the total of 17 that I had counted; I also counted 15 in 2020, compared to 27 reported by the NHTSA.

Which suggests that the local media is failing to report a number of bicycling deaths in the Los Angeles area, for whatever reason.

I also counted 14 bicycling deaths in the City of Los Angeles last year, which is in line with verified totals of 18 and 15 in 2021 and 2020.

Further afield, San Diego County suffered 12 deaths last year, which was a significant improvement over 17 in the previous year, though much higher than the 7 and 8 people killed riding bikes in the county in 2020 and 2019, respectively.

Meanwhile, Orange County appeared to have their worst year in recent memory, with 17 people killed* riding bikes last year, compared to just 7 in 2021, 15 in 2020, and 13 in 2019.

Although it is important to note that only the totals for 2020 and 2019 have been verified by the NHTSA; 2021 data isn’t currently available through their website.

Riverside and San Bernardino Counties also showed increases last year, with 11 bicycling deaths in Riverside County, and 10 in San Bernardino County. Ventura County suffered 4 deaths — half the previous year’s total — while Imperial County recorded none for the third year in a row.

Here’s a quick recap of bicycling deaths for each of the seven counties.

Los Angeles County

  • 2022 – 26
  • 2021 – 35
  • 2020 – 27
  • 2019 – 38

Orange County

  • 2022 – 17
  • 2021 – 7
  • 2020 – 14
  • 2019 – 13

San Diego County

  • 2022 – 12
  • 2021 – 17
  • 2020 – 7
  • 2019 – 8

Riverside County

  • 2022 – 11
  • 2021 – 9
  • 2020 – 8
  • 2019 – 5

San Bernardino County

  • 2022 – 10
  • 2021 – 7
  • 2020 – 6
  • 2019 – 7

Imperial County

  • 2022 – 0
  • 2021 – 0
  • 2020 – 0
  • 2019 – 6

Ventura County

  • 2022 – 4
  • 2021 – 8
  • 2020 – 4
  • 2019 – 4

Source: 2021-2022 BikinginLA, except 2021 LA County data from Los Angeles Times; 2019-2020 NHTSA FARS data

While compiling records of this sort is necessary to bring about desperately needed changes to our streets, it also reduces human tragedy and loss to a statistic.

So if you want to see the people behind these numbers who we’ve so needlessly lost, start here and just keep scrolling.

Photo by Ted McDonald from Pixabay.

Correction: A comment from Dawn made it clear that I had miscategorized a story about her father’s August death in Irvine. 

*After correcting the error and adding it back into the totals for OC, that made 17 people killed riding their bikes in the county last year, and 82 in Southern California, instead of 16 and 81, respectively, as I had originally written.

My apologies for the mistake. 

………

On a related subject, rural areas are becoming safer, while urban environments are growing ever deadlier.

And the photo at the bottom of this thread goes a long way towards explaining why.

https://twitter.com/WarrenJWells/status/1610779366476353538

https://twitter.com/WarrenJWells/status/1610843949924777984

………

Promising news about the new LA City Council Transportation Committee members we mentioned yesterday, at least two of whom have taken bike tours with the new BikeLA (formerly the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, or LACBC).

Meanwhile, new CD11 Councilmember and Committee Vice Chair Traci Park is one of us, as well.

Now if she just votes that way, we should be in good shape.

………

Transportation PAC Streets For All is hosting their next virtual happy hour next Wednesday, featuring my councilmember, CD4’s Nithya Raman.

………

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

A former contestant on the UK’s version of The Apprentice criticizes plans for traffic filters on Oxford streets, saying you won’t be able to drive more than 15 minutes in any direction — and somehow manages to get the whole thing wrong.

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

A British Columbia man faces charges for stealing a truck and using it to smash through a gate, then hoping on a bicycle to make his escape after the truck was disabled in the crash. Which raises a lot of questions, like whether the fact that he wasn’t charged with stealing the bike means he just happened to have it with him in case he needed to pedal away from the crime scene.

There’s a special place in hell for the Kiwi ebike rider who faces charges for repeatedly kicking a wheelchair-bound handcyclist in the head for no apparent reason, unless he was upset that she could go faster than he could on his ebike. Which is a ridiculous reason to do something so horrific.

………

Local 

Protected bike lanes are usually intended to improve safety, but Burbank residents wanted the new quarter-mile protected bike lane on Leland Way in order to halt graffiti and drag racing.

A travel magazine recommends touring West Hollywood by ebike, but apparently can’t distinguish between WeHo and nearby Beverly Hills.

 

State

No news is good news, right?

 

National

Even an automotive website questions whether the newest generation of electric SUVs are too big, too heavy and too fast. Depends on whether the goal is to get from here to there, or to send as many people as possible to the promised land.

Forbes looks at five trends this year that could impact the future of transportation. Although the modest state and local tax rebates for ebikes pale in comparison to the massive federal benefits for electric car buyers.

A writer for Adventure Journal geeks out over an 1880s ad for a Penny Farthing from Boston’s Columbia Bicycle Company. Then again, he’s not the only one geeking out, since I have a version of that ad on a t-shirt.

House Beautiful recommends the best bike storage racks for your home or apartment.

Singletracks considers the ethics of editing trails to preserve them or remove hazards.

Digital Journal addresses one of the burning questions of our time — how to take your dog with you when you ride your bike.

My friends at West Seattle Blog managed to scoop the local news media about hit-and-run and vehicular homicide charges against an alleged killer driver who fled the scene after running down a 63-year old man riding his ebike home from work.

An Arizona man has made a remarkable recovery following the crash in a Show Low, Arizona master’s race that killed one man and seriously injured several riders; 37-year old Shawn Michael Chock was quietly sentenced to 26-1/2 years behind bars for second-degree murder and felony aggravated assault.

Denver announced the return of the city’s highly popular ebike rebate program at the end of this month, although at a reduced level, with $300 vouchers for buyers or regular ebikes, and $500 for e-cargo bikes.

North Carolina’s Department of Transportation is giving away bike helmets to organizations to give away to people who need them.

St. Petersburg, Florida, is remaking a dangerous residential boulevard with barriers at four intersections, forcing motorists to turn while allowing pedestrians and bike riders to pass through, and effectively turning it into a bicycle boulevard, even if they don’t use the term.

A kindhearted Florida man spends his days refurbishing and assembling bicycles so children in need can get to school, and adults can ride to work.

 

International

Calgary bicycle advocates are calling for safer bike infrastructure, after reports of snow and ice clogging bikeways and creating a hazard for riders. Here in SoCal, our snow and ice comes in liquid form, but still creates hazards on days like this. So be careful out there. 

Bike Portland goes riding in London. Which I deeply regret I didn’t get a chance to do when my wife and I visited earlier this century.

British foldie maker Brompton will begin sourcing more parts from other countries, over fears that tensions between China and Taiwan could result in supply chain disruptions.

If you’re already wanted on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear, maybe illegally riding your bike on a pair of UK highways isn’t the best idea.

The newly crowned world darts champ credits a broken hip suffered in a bicycle crash when he was 15 year old with setting him on the path to pointed greatness.

The Guardian follows along as an Australian woman attempts to set a new record by riding 2,500 miles in 13 days.

No surprise here, as a new Aussie study shows the biggest barrier to biking is a fear of cars. Personally, I’m not afraid of cars. But the people driving them scare the shit out of me.

 

Competitive Cycling

Four time Tour de France champ Chris Froome will finally get a chance to go for five after his Israel Premier Tech team got one of two wildcard invitations to the race, with the other going to Norway’s Uno-X.

A ‘cross fan captures the chaos after Ryan Cortjens crashed at the Superprestige Diegem, and apparently forgot to get the hell out of the way.

 

Finally…

Now you, too, can build your very own DIY 6-passenger, throttle-controlled ebike. That feeling when no one wants to steal you bike, even if you want them to.

And who says you need two wheels to mountain bike?

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

Screens impair drivers more than alcohol or drugs, famed LA cougar victim of traffic violence, and snow gravel biking above LA

Just five days left in the 8th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Time is running out to show your love for this site, and help keep SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every day. 

So let’s all thank John M, Thomas K and John C for doing their part to keep this site coming to your favorite screen today, and every day. 

Now it’s your turn. 

Your support is very needed, so don’t wait. Take a moment to donate right now via PayPal or Zelle, before you forget!

Every contribution, no matter how large or small, is truly and deeply appreciated. 

It’s okay. We’ll wait. 

No, seriously, she’s going to keep staring until you give something.

………

A writer for Streetsblog suggests there’s a lot more to impaired driving than driving under the influence, noting that drivers using Apple CarPlay’s touchscreen are five times more impaired than someone who is legally drunk.

Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released what seems, at first, to be a shocking statistic: a sample of more than 7,000 road users who were killed or injured in car crashes across America, 56 percent of them tested positive for impairing substances when they arrived at the hospital…

To be abundantly clear: none of this is to say that impaired driving, and especially drunk driving, isn’t extraordinarily dangerous. A motorist’s odds of getting into a car crash double at a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.05, which is the legal limit only in Utah, and they roughly triple at 0.08, the limit in most other states. The universe of potential effects from the universe of impairing substances a U.S. driver might consume include decreased muscle coordination, distorted perceptions, increased risk taking, and so much more. The correct number of drinks, or pills, or other delivery mechanisms for impairing substances that a driver should take before she gets behind the wheel is always zero.

A lot of those deadly effects, though, are also present in people who are sleep-deprived, or stressed, or fiddling with a NHTSA-approved “infotainment” screen embedded in the dashboard of their car — and in some cases, those effects can be as bad or worse than knocking back a couple of beers. One UK study found that using Apple’s CarPlay system slowed drivers’ reaction times nearly five times as much as driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 — but CarPlay is legal on U.S. vehicles, even as U.S. regulators spend millions on anti-distracted driving campaigns to politely request drivers not use it.

It’s definitely worth taking a few minutes to read the whole story. And maybe change your mind on who and what poses the biggest risks on the roads.

………

It turns out LA’s celebrity mountain lion P-22 was a victim of traffic violence, suffering from a fractured skull, an eye injury, herniated organs and a torn diaphragm, all apparently the result of being struck by a motorist.

He was put down on Saturday after being captured due to concerns over his health.

………

Evidently, you don’t have to ride far to find snow above LA right now.

………

Good question from Reddit.

I hate driving in Los Angeles. from LosAngeles

Thanks to How the West WS for the heads-up. 

………

This brief UK thread may be the best bike Twitter exchange this year.

https://twitter.com/clovereater/status/1604847830618849281

………

Bikepacking offers advice on how to secure your bike on a bikepacking trip.

………

‘Tis the season.

A National City, California group plans on giving out 200 bicycles and a thousand toys on Christmas morning, continuing a 50-year tradition.

Touching story from West Jordan, Utah, where the family of a 13-year old boy killed by a drunk driver while riding his bike earlier this year were given a huge Harry Potter-themed Christmas tree that had been designed in his honor and sold to benefit a local children’s hospital; the buyer bought it just to give it back to them.

A Texas law firm donate 140 bicycles to local kids in their second annual bike giveaway, saying it reminds them of how much they enjoyed riding bicycles as kids.

The kindhearted owner of a Cicero, Illinois bike shop is fixing up old bikes, and placing them outside for anyone who wants one to simply take it, no questions asked.

A Michigan girl whose heart is definitely in the right place collected cans all year to buy 50 bicycles to donate to local kids.

Twenty-eight kids at at Bloomington, Indiana Boys & Girls Club got new bicycles in a Christmas tradition funded by a local attorney.

Kindhearted students at a Tupelo, Mississippi high school built bikes to give to local kids in need, as part of an annual Christmas bike giveaway.

A Hilton Head, South Carolina real estate agent donated 300 bicycles and helmets for local kids and teens for the 25th consecutive year.

A Georgia sheriff’s department teamed with a local bike shop to donate 13 bikes to local kids who might not otherwise get one. Then again, they also gave away a couple mini-motorized Ford Broncos, because its never too early to instill some motor mania in the kids.

………

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

No bias here. A San Diego letter writer insists that local residents just aren’t interested in riding bikes and protected bike lanes go unused, wasting money and road space. Although another letter writer insists on patience, comparing bike lanes to the centuries-long delay before indoor toilets gained popularity. Let’s hope it doesn’t take quite that long.

Edmonton, Alberta is ripping out a new bike lane because local residents preferred restoring curbside parking to keeping bike riders safe.

A Scottish judge allowed a road raging hit-and-run driver to walk without a single day behind bars for intentionally swerving into a bike rider, leaving the bike riding man seriously injured with multiple fractures, and sentencing the driver to an overnight curfew, instead. Just one more example of authorities keeping a dangerous driver on the streets.

………

………

Local 

Metro continues to flush money down the induced demand toilet by approving a zombie project to widen the 57 and 60 freeway interchange at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, despite the damage it will do the the climate; the project was originally conceived to serve a proposed football stadium that was never built.

Urbanize LA wants you to vote for LA’s biggest transportation story of 2022.

Apparently, it’s not just bikes, as Crosstown LA warns that e-scooter thefts are on the rise, too.

 

State

Yes please. A state committee calls for ending pretext stops by police, which have long been used to harass bike riders while fishing for criminal violations.

The Lightning Velo Cycling Club will host a pair of holiday lights bike tours in Rossmore on Thursday and Friday. (Scroll down)

San Francisco advocates used artificial intelligence to quantify how many bike riders used a local Slow Street, and saving it from being returned to drivers.

 

National

Bike shops across the country are coping with a post-pandemic glut of bikes, parts and accessories that were ordered during the bike boom, but delivered long after sales have tapered off. Which means it might be a great time to get great deal at your favorite local bike shop, who would undoubtedly appreciate the business. Thanks to Victor Bale for the link. 

Road Bike Rider explains the term “hold your line,” which you’re likely to hear on any group ride or road race. Someone once wanted to fight me because I failed to hold my line on a corner when I was a) riding alone, and b) riding despite a broken arm; the dispute only ended when I used my good arm to threaten to put an air pump through his spokes.

Seattle is replacing the car-tickler plastic bendie posts on a downtown protected bike lane with actual concrete barriers to keep drivers from parking in them, but leaving out a known conflict zone. (Scroll down. No, keep scrolling.)

The Washington Post examines Denver’s ebike rebate program, suggesting it could be a national model to cut emissions and traffic congestion. Then again, it could have been California serving as a national model, if the state’s fully funded $10 million ebike rebate hadn’t suffered a years-long failure to launch.

A Cleveland bike shop has been in business since 1883.

New York’s iconic 5th Avenue is about to get a Complete Streets makeover, transforming the car-choked boulevard into a safer, human scale “pedestrian-centered area that also prioritizes mass transit and cyclists.Maybe we can talk our new mayor into doing the same thing with Wilshire Blvd. Thanks again to Victor Bale. 

A Harlem magazine offers tips on how to pick a new bike. Which actually make sense for a change, even if they are a little simplistic. 

Philadelphia is closing in 30 miles of protected bike lanes. No mention of whether those are centerline miles or lane miles; the latter counts bike lanes on both sides of the road separately, effectively doubling the actual miles of protected roadway. 

A DC site celebrates a decade of getting their Christmas tree home by bike.

She gets it. The vice mayor of Manassas, Virginia says streets have to be remade to protect all road users, and it’s up to all of us to improve traffic safety.

 

International

Canadian Cycling Magazine questions whether a cop parked in a bike lane in front of a Toronto hospital was on an emergency call, or just getting coffee.

Czech carmaker Škoda’s We Love Cycling offers a short list of very practical gifts to keep your family bicycling.

Power may be out in most of Ukraine, thanks to Russian bombing of civilian infrastructure, but residents of Kiev are keeping the Christmas lights on at a train station through sheer pedal power and determination.

A Manilla writer calls for converting the city’s pandemic-era popup bike lanes into motorcycle lanes, because they aren’t safe enough for bicyclists to use.

 

Finally…

Turn your bicycle into a winter-friendly snowbike. Why it matters if your frame has a stiffie. Or is one.

And that feeling when you spend a month’s salary on a new bike, then disappear without a trace while riding it around the world.

………

Happy Chanukah to everyone celebrating today.

Chag Urim Sameach!

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

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

No, it’s not your imagination.

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

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

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

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

None of which are beyond our ability to solve today.

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

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

………

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

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

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

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

………

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

And what can be done about it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

………

This is who we share the city with, unfortunately.

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

………

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

………

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

Even in chilly Minnesota.

………

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

Thanks to Glenn Crider for the heads-up. 

………

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

………

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

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

………

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

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

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

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

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

………

Local

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

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

 

State 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

National

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

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

 

Competitive Cycling

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

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

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

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

More high-speed carnage on dangerous LA streets, Streets For All tallies LA traffic violence, and Rivendell reparations fail

This is the cost of traffic violence, as the carnage continues on Los Angeles streets.

Just one day after a driver traveling at an estimated 80 to 100 miles per hour ran a red light and plowed into cars crossing the busy intersection of La Brea and Slauson, killing six innocent people, a well-known actress apparently copied the act.

Except Anne Heche plowed into a home in a fiery Mar Vista crash.

According to TMZ, Heche had apparently crashed into a pair of apartment building garages in the area, doing relatively minor damage to each, and may have been fleeing paparazzi and people trying to halt her as she sped up Walgrove Ave.

Security video shows her traveling at an extreme rate of speed.

Any bike rider or pedestrian unfortunate enough to be in her way would have been killed instantly.

Instead, she apparently lost control and slammed into a home less than a block from an elementary school, narrowly missing the homeowner inside.

The home and its contents were a total loss.

Heche herself somehow survived, despite suffering critical burns; as in the Windsor Hills crash, she was reportedly too badly injured and treated with too many medications to conduct a valid test for drug or alcohol use.

Although a sharp-eyed person points out what appears to be an open pint of alcohol next to the gear shift in one of the TMZ photos.

Heche reportedly faces a long and painful recovery from her injuries.

We’re only lucky that she didn’t take anyone else with her.

And once again, the crash points out the abject failure of LA’s chronically underfunded — and under-cared about — Vision Zero program, as well as the failure of the city to carry through with the transportation reforms promised in the mobility plan, in the seven years since either was approved.

Simply put, speeds like those in either crash should not be possible on surface streets. And the city should make every effort to ensure things like this can’t happen.

Let alone don’t.

Clearly, though, not everyone agrees. Take this comment in response to Friday’s post about the Windsor Hills crash.

Please.

Wow, this is one of the worst articles on this subject ever written. The ideas are without merit and the ignorance is almost frightening. I’d recommend not quitting your day job.

Never mind that this is my day job. But that, too, is who we share the road with.

Photo by Artyom Kulakov from Pexels.

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There’s no question that LA Times columnist Steve Lopez gets it, as he examines the horrifying carnage on our streets.

“People have their necks broken, they burn to death and suffer unrecoverable injuries. The onus for care drops into the laps of firefighters and paramedics … and even those guys, with all their equipment and training, can’t do anything,” (UCLA ER physician Dr. Mark) Morocco said…

It’s terrifyingly common in Los Angeles, and getting behind the wheel, or going for a walk or a bike ride, is a game of roulette.

Meanwhile, letter writers to the Times say the crash shows the city is desperate for safer streets.

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Important Twitter thread from Streets For All examining the full cost of traffic violence throughout Los Angeles, and in each individual council district, since Vision Zero and the mobility plan were adopted in 2015.

The charts also include the amount of mobility plan implementation, miles of bus and bike lanes, and how many people in the district signed the Healthy Streets LA petition to require implementation of the mobility plan when streets are resurfaced, which the organization accurately describes as massive citywide support.

https://twitter.com/streetsforall/status/1556068900584173573?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1556068900584173573%7Ctwgr%5Ee095348799edebb4e575fd8dded0c55af291669a%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fbikinginla.com%2Fwp-admin%2Fpost.php%3Fpost%3D50133action%3Dedit

You can find a downloadable pdf of the full report for each council district here.

Take a moment to check out your own district, then look at some of the others, like the 55 bike riders and pedestrians killed in Mitch O’Farrell’s CD13 in Hollywood, the 82 killed in Curren Price’s CD9, or the horrifying 105 dead in Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s CD8 in South LA.

Never mind that just one traffic death is one too many.

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Great piece from Outside, about custom bikemaker Rivendell Bicycle Works’ well intentioned, but ultimately doomed, effort to offer a 45% discount to Black customers as a form of reparations for the long history of racism in a the bike industry.

“The American bicycle industry has been racist, often overtly racist, since 1878,” the company wrote in the release. “Rivendell has been obliviously—not ‘obviously’—racist most of the time since 1994. We say this not to scold the industry, not to be publicly humble, not to scold other bicycle businesses, and not to be uncharacteristically on trend. It’s just true.”

Rivendell’s nine staff members were on board to launch the Black Reparations Pricing, or BRP. The company would not increase prices on other frames and would dedicate 10 percent of its inventory to BRP for customers who identified as Black. “We’re committed to it, and will not cave at the first heat,” said the company statement. “As for how it’ll affect business, we’ll just see. If we go broke because those who use the flag or God as an invisibility cloak for their white nationalism stop patronizing us we’ll…move on…”

The inequality started in the first bike boom of the 1890s, when cycling lessons and clubs were only available to white people, and bikes were priced out of reach for all but the most elite. The exclusion continued through the next century in ways that had a chilling effect on who rides and where—like a 1971 law in Washington, DC, that required costly bike licenses, which stopped many impoverished Black people from riding as commuters, or a 1987 bike ban in Midtown Manhattan, through which Wall Street executives sought to bar mostly Black and brown bike messengers from their lobbies and avenues, even while those same executives flocked to the mountain bike trails around their summer cabins upstate. A recent Los Angeles Times investigation reviewed 44,000 bike stops by police and found that they disproportionately targeted poorer communities with large nonwhite populations.

Unfortunately, the backlash was swift and severe.

Once Rivendell’s program hit the national media, Petersen began to receive threats by phone and email. Worried about his safety, he installed video cameras around the store. The company’s phones rang repeatedly with calls from alt-right podcasters, and their Yelp, Google, and social media sites were flooded with negative comments and one-star reviews. “Quit the political commentary BS & focus on bikes,” wrote one commenter on Instagram. “Those people, the majority of them, had never bought anything from us. They probably don’t even ride bikes,” says Will Keating, Rivendell’s general manager. “It’s like they just saw something that infuriated them on the internet and had to take the next step.” The program was shut down on the advice of Rivendell’s lawyers. “The whole thing—it was a grand plan that fizzled out,” says Petersen. “We were afraid for our physical well-being. It was really ugly around here. We were all miserable.”

“From a strictly legal perspective, we’ve been handcuffed,” Petersen wrote in a blog announcing the end of the reparations program.

It’s a good piece, and well worth taking a few minutes to read the whole thing.

Because it clearly demonstrates the difficulty in trying to do the right thing, in a country so sharply divided along political and racial lines.

And it raises questions of how much more we could and should be doing to right historical wrongs that continue to manifest in the present.

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A rally will take place at Los Angeles City Hall this morning to protest the new ordinance criminalizing open air bike chop shops.

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Turns out that one of the most common aggressive maneuvers practiced by California drivers is against the law.

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On a happier note, it looks like Charlize Theron is one of us.

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Of course Marge Simpson is one of us.

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

A Pennsylvania man faces charges for getting out of his pickup to beat and strangle a man riding a bicycle, after crashing into the victim and knocking him into a pole.

Sometimes you turn to the cops for help after a road rage attack, only to discover it was a cop who did it; meanwhile, another Toronto cop crashed into a bike rider in a bike lane, later claiming the sun was in his eyes.

Police in the UK initially refused to take action after a woman deliberately drove her Range Rover into a bike rider, who called their response “victim-blaming twaddle.”

No bias here. A London writer proclaims the war on cars is a war on women. Which it wouldn’t be, even if it was real.

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

Great Britain’s transport minister is proposing a bill to reign in a “selfish minority of bike riders” by creating a bicycling equivalent to the country’s death by dangerous driving law, with a penalty up to life in prison.

A man on a bicycle is blamed for stealing a New Zealand statue of Ernest Rutherford, known as the father of nuclear physics, by rocking the statue back and forth for half an hour until it snapped off its base.

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Local

The LA Times reports on the parents of a 12-year old Pacific Palisades girl who are suing Rad Power Bikes alleging a defective design caused their daughter’s death.

The LACBC is giving donated bikes away to people in need through its Bike Match program.

 

State 

Streetsblog reports on a recent webinar explaining how to fight for bike lanes where you live.

Seriously? A Coronado newspaper says ebikes may be the future, but questions whether they’re a hazard on the island’s roadways.

Camarillo letter writers say the city needs to make itself bike-friendly now, not five years from now when a new bike path is scheduled to open.

A pair of 14-year old Camarillo boys were injured, one seriously, when they were run down on their bikes by a 68-year old driver at the Camarillo outlet mall.

The LA Times says the best SoCal bike trail is the Ojai Valley Trail, describing it as an “incredibly scenic path (running) 15 miles from the Ventura shoreline to the charming town of Ojai.”

Kindhearted cops in Arroyo Grande got a new bike for a 15-year old boy after the one he rode to his summer job was stolen.

A 23-year old man was arrested for robbing a Palo Alto bike shop near Stanford University, after the shop’s workers refused to buy an ebike he’d brought in.

A rideout took over the eastbound lanes of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge on Saturday, as the CHP did their best to herd them onto a bike path.

A San Francisco bike hater belatedly becomes the Bike Guy after rediscovering riding in middle age.

 

National

A new study explains why most people never forget how to ride a bike, no matter how long it has been.

Bikeshare can play a role in helping older Americans age in place.

US Weekly considers the best ebikes for women of any height.

Still more traffic violence in New Mexico, where an alleged drunk driver without a valid license barreled through a Gallup parade celebrating Native American culture, injuring at least 15 people, including two cops who tried to stop him.

He gets it. A columnist for the Minnesota Post explains why driving is bad for America, saying other than extending our ability to move at high speed, it comes at the cost of almost every other kind of action.

More mass carnage, as five Minnesota bike riders were injured when they were run down from behind by a driver, who plowed into the group of seven bike-riding kids led by one adult; fortunately, none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

Sad news from Ohio, where an Ohio State University student died of a “heart-related medical issue” just two miles from the end of a 102-mile fundraising ride.

Good news from Nashville, where Gospel singer Amy Grant is reportedly improving every day, after she was knocked unconscious for over ten minutes in a fall off her bicycle.

A New York ebike rider was the victim of a strong-arm robbery when he was punched in the head by a stranger who stole his bike in Central Park Saturday afternoon.

New York Magazine reports on their picks for the best bike helmets, while the New York Times picks the best handlebar bags.

The Washington Post examines the inevitable ebike bikelash, saying everyone loves ebikes, except for some who share the road, or the bike lane, or the sidewalk, with them.

Over 100 South Florida kids rode their bikes to call for an end to gun violence.

Life is cheap in Florida, where a man walked without a single day behind bars — or even being charged with a crime — for killing a bike-riding man when he somehow veered off the road last year.

 

International

We Love Cycling offers tips on how to go the beach with your bike.

A Calgary, Alberta man is back to gravel racing, ‘cross and mountain biking, using an adaptive bike he built himself, 20 years after he broke his back snowboarding.

An Ottawa, Canada organization is giving mom’s a taste of freedom by teaching women to ride a bike

Life is cheap in the UK, where a speeding, stoned and distracted driver gets less than two years for killing a newly married man riding a bicycle.

After he was pulled off his bicycle and beaten by men shouting anti-gay slurs, an Amsterdam man is angered by the lack of resource to mount a police response.

A writer learns the hard way not to joke about unhinged bicyclists in Amsterdam, especially if you weren’t born in the Netherlands.

Ukraine’s elderly bicyclists defy the military violence surrounding them, refusing to flee or give in to the chaos.

 

Competitive Cycling

Shades of a two-wheeled Eddie the Eagle. A 48-year old man representing Ghana in the Commonwealth Games finished 47th out of 54 competitors in the time trial, which was won by Australia’s Rohan Dennis; Chris Symonds keeps in shape by riding a hybrid bike to his job as a doorkeeper at Britain’s Houses of Parliament, where he keeps his bike safe by parking it at the House of Lords. Thanks to Jon for the heads-up.

 

Finally…

That feeling when your bike tire turns invisible. Or when the road symbols suggest it’s a bike lane for dogs.

And maybe it’s just me, but it looks like he could use a larger frame.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

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