Tag Archive for Transportation Committee

Sunset4All at Transportation Comm today, lawsuit filed over Colorado Blvd BRT, and racing a monorail-riding dino on a foldie

Before we get going, remember to clear your schedule for today’s Transportation Committee meeting at 3 pm.

As we discussed yesterday, the LA City Council committee will consider several bike-related issues, including:

  • Sunset4All’s efforts to build a 2-way protected bike lane on Sunset Blvd;
  • A protected bike lane on Riverside Drive and Stadium Way;
  • Encouraging the newly-legal installation of cameras on Metro buses;
  • Expanding LADOT’s budget and staffing for the Slow Streets program.

You’ll find the full agenda here, along with a link to listen live online and instructions on how to comment.

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No surprise here.

The Eastsider reports a lawsuit has been filed over the recently approved Complete Streets makeover of Colorado Blvd in Eagle Rock to accommodate the planned NoHo to Pasadena bus rapid transit line.

The complaint says, among other things, that the Metro Board of directors violated the state’s open meeting law by failing to follow proper procedures before holding a public meeting on April 28 by teleconference instead of in person. At that meeting, the transit agency’s board approved the rapid-transit bus line between North Hollywood and Pasadena, which would pass through Eagle Rock.

The lead petitioner also accuses Metro of failing to notify him of the meeting. Because apparently, the transportation agency is required to reach out to every single person in the county who might somehow miss the public meeting notice the rest of us seem somehow seemed to find.

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Oh, nothing.

Just a rush hour race between a bike rider on a foldie and a dinosaur on a monorail.

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

A Toronto driver was caught on video nearly causing a crash after driving several blocks along a curb-protected bike lane.

Caught on CP24 chopper this morning. Adelaide Construction. Car driver thinks the bike lane is a car lane and almost causes accident from torontobiking

A British woman says she nearly fell off her bike after a taxi driver ignored No Stopping signs to cut her off pulling into a bike lane.

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

If you’re going to ride your bike pulling a freshly burgled safe on a trailer, maybe try to disguise it just a little.

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Local

Caltrans is finally getting around to protecting the bike lanes on the east side of the recently rebuilt Burbank Blvd Bridge. Yet oddly thinks it’s okay to make pedestrians cross ten lanes of traffic, after removing the sidewalk on the north side of the bridge.

Streets For All lists a number of volunteer opportunities to support candidates endorsed by the LA transportation PAC in the last week before Election Day.

 

State 

A new three-quarter million, 3.7-mile protected bike lane will extend along El Camino Real from San Bruno to Burlingame in the Bay Area’s San Mateo County.

 

National

Treehugger considers how drivers can be allies to people on bikes and other nonmotorized traffic.

Bicycling says bike libraries are growing in popularity, with at least 35 current operating across the US. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

After the overwhelming success of Denver’s ebike rebate program, Colorado will introduce a statewide rebate program based on the city’s. Meanwhile, California’s ebike rebate system still hasn’t gotten its shit together.

In a story that could come from any city, a Houston paper examines the dangers bike riders face from a disconnected bike network, which forces bicyclists into actions that anger drivers for their own safety. And gives motorists permission to take that anger out on them.

Market Watch says South Dakota is the perfect place to use as a home base if you’re planning to ride your bikes all over after you retire. Because you wouldn’t have to, you know, actually live there if you’re always on the road, evidently.

A writer for Streets MN says Minnesota drivers are usually happy to share the road, unless you want to turn left.

More heartbreaking and horrifying details about the Ohio woman who lost a leg when she was attacked by dogs; she fought the dogs off alone for 20 minutes after she was separated from her group and got a flat on her bike, before succumbing to the attack. Sadly, it’s the dogs who are likely to be punished, rather than the owner who let them run loose in the first place.

Momentum says New York’s plan to offer a bounty on drivers blocking bike lanes could be a lifesaver. And help put bike riders’ kids through college.

Heather Graham is one of us, as the actress takes a romantic cruiser bike ride through New York with her boyfriend.

Cycling Weekly revisits the recent Philly Bike Expo, with its focus on diverse bike builders and their bikes.

 

International

Planetizen goes back to the basics to define bike infrastructure, and how to overcome objections to it.

The Guardian offers tips on buying an ebike, as two-thirds of Brits consider biking to work to cut transportation costs.

It takes a major schmuck to steal a bike from an English park ranger after he stopped to help an injured mountain biker.

The head of British Cycling was forced to step down, three weeks after announcing a misguided greenwashing sponsorship by Shell Oil, as well as advising people not ride a bike during the queen’s funeral, which was later rescinded.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz urged climate activists to be more creative and avoid endangering others after a recent protest delayed first responders from getting to a bike rider stuck under a cement mixer.

They get it. A physician in Nepal says the future belongs to bikes — if we can make it safer and more user-adaptable.

Tokyo police are stepping up their crackdown on scofflaw bicyclists.

 

Competitive Cycling

The Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame is accepting nominations for their second class of inductees. Which doesn’t mean they’ll accept second-class inductees.

 

Finally…

Evidently, knighthood is no protection from bike thieves. That feeling when the caste system applies to bikes, too.

And the road to hell may be paved with good intentions, but at least you can ride there (click for the full image).

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

No Steve, it’s not a bike lane to nowhere; drivers yell at LA bike rider; and big Transportation Comm meeting tomorrow

No bias here.

The LA Times’ Steve Lopez writes about a $2 million bike lane to nowhere that the Los Angeles LGBT Center was forced to build by the city’s dysfunctional rules.

Except the short curb cut isn’t a bike lane, and probably never will be.

A short half-block long, it took about 18 months to complete and cost roughly $2 million, and yet it is not marked as a bike lane and does not connect to one.

“It’s a bike lane to nowhere,” said Stephen Burn, general manager of building services at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, which was required to complete and pay for the project as a condition of approval.

Burn apologized for calling it a stupid waste of time and money that delayed the opening of badly needed supportive housing and social services, but no apology was necessary. He said he honestly wanted to pull his hair out at times when dealing with various government agencies, and after he shared the details, I wanted to pull my hair out.

And needless to say, the story is already being used by bike lane opponents.

But longtime advocate Alissa Walker clarifies that, regardless of what Burn was told, the added space was created for cars as the result of a longstanding city policy.

So yes, as Lopez points out, it’s a perfect example of LA’s dysfunctional government in action. But seriously, it’s not our fault this time.

If only Lopez had looked at the lack of safe bike lanes leading up to the new 6th Street Bridge, instead.

Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

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A Redditor complains about the dangers of riding on LA streets. And the anger they experience every time they ride.

I’ve been biking more to get out of the house, exercise, and just enjoy the city. But literally each time I’ve gone into the street a driver has yelled at me!

I try to avoid riding in the streets, but the bike lanes are few and far in between and aren’t that much better. You often have trash cans in the bike lanes, people leaving their car doors open, random debris, and when you don’t have to deal with that you still have cars speeding past you with the closest thing protecting you being a thin line of paint that couldn’t even stop an ant from crossing it! I don’t even have to get into how bumpy and packed the sidewalks can be.

So when I do get in the streets it’s because that is unfortunately the best route. Yet no matter how much I ride on the shoulder, check behind, in front, on the sides, above me, etc… I always have a driver either honking or yelling at me for going too slow.

I’m worried that someone might get really angry with me one day and try and run me off the road…

I’m just frustrated and wish biking in this city was safer. We have the perfect weather to bike in. Why isn’t L.A a bikeable city?

Why, indeed?

Thanks to HowTheWestWS for the heads-up.

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Streets For All is asking you to support for several proposals at Tuesday’s meeting of the LA City Council Transportation Committee.

  • Sunset4All’s efforts to build a 2-way protected bike lane on Sunset Blvd;
  • A protected bike lane on Riverside Drive and Stadium Way;
  • Encouraging the newly-legal installation of cameras on Metro buses;
  • Expanding LADOT’s budget and staffing for the Slow Streets program.

Sunset4All explains how to participate in the meeting.

The Sunset4All item is back on the transportation agenda for this Tuesday (11/1) at 3 PM. If you haven’t voiced your support please write in and or attend the virtual meeting.

Item #3 (22-1072) – Sunset4All To call dial 669-254-5252, meeting code 161 750 5079, #, #, and then hit *9 to raise your hand. Here are Talking PointsIf you’re not able to call in, then use the links below to make public comment on the council file in advance at the buttons below.

Make Public Comment on the Council File

Send an Email to CD 13 to Support the Motion

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the tip.

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When you cast your vote in CD5, maybe consider who actually cares enough to show up.

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Horrible news from Ohio, where a popular local bicyclist lost a leg when she was mauled by dogs.

A reminder that you could end up with more than just a simple bite on the leg from that dog that chases you whenever you ride by.

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A new amphibious ebike claims to be the future. Although I’m not sure how much latent demand there is for a combination ebike, boat and built-in camper.

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

Someone sabotaged a Seattle bike path by spreading screws across it. Although someone else came up with a brilliant way to clean up the mess.

A writer for Daily Kos complains “dumbasses working in public health and espousing concern for future generations fired me over bringing a bicycle into their national meeting” at a Tacoma, Washington convention center.

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

A rideout of up to a couple hundred teens on bikes took over the streets of Boston, before allegedly stealing $350 of merchandise from a 7-11.

Toronto police are looking for a bike-riding suspect who followed a young woman and sexually assaulted her twice after she got off a bus.

If you’re going to rudely shove a wheelie-popping bike rider out of your way, try not to follow the move with a faceplant.

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Local

Save this one for future reference. Streets For All founder Michael Schneider lists the common complaints we’ve all heard from people opposed to bike lanes, and details effective arguments to overcome them.

Patch reports a bike rider was rushed to a trauma center after they were struck by the driver of an RV at PCH and Coastline Drive in Malibu Sunday afternoon.

This is who we share the courtrooms with. A woman received a more than $4 million judgement after she was struck by a driver while walking in a Santa Monica crosswalk four years ago, suffering permanent injuries; the defense shamefully argued she threw herself in front of the car in a suicide attempt — which might have been more credible if the driver was doing more than 25 mph. Thanks to Andrew Goldstein for the link.

 

State 

Carlsbad is focusing on schools and collision hotspots to improve safety for standard bicycle and ebike riders after declaring a local emergency.

This is who we share the road with. A 68-year old woman is fighting for her life after she was run down by a hit-and-run driver while pushing her three-year old grandson in a San Jose crosswalk; the boy is recovering from his injuries. Thanks again to Victor Bale.

Sentencing was postponed for a Fairfield man who was convicted of second-degree murder and hit-and-run in the death of a 52-year-old man riding a bicycle last October; he faces 15 to life on the murder count, and two to four years for fleeing the scene.

Sonoma County is investing half a million in climate resilience funds in building new bikes.

Sad news from Sacramento County, where a woman riding a bike was killed in a collision in North Highlands early Sunday afternoon.

 

National

NBC News reports on the spreading use of speed cams, and the rise of road raging drivers who don’t like getting caught breaking the law.

A diabetic journalist says he lost 40 pounds and brought his blood sugar down to a sub-diabetic level within eight months after taking up bicycling — and has kept it off and under control for the four years since. If only it was that easy for all of us.

A Portland woman says stop telling her to be safe when she rides a bike, and learn how to drive safely around bike riders, instead.

A 68-year old Utah woman could face multiple charges after she ignored a flagger and crashed into two people competing in the cycling portion of the St. George Ironman triathlon, resulting in serious injuries to both; she failed a roadside drug test, and admitted using marijuana before the crash.

The new advisory bike lanes are now open in my bike-friendly Colorado hometown.

Sounds familiar. Oklahoma bike and walking advocates say the city isn’t doing enough to improve safety. Sort of like a certain megalopolis we could name.

A nine-year old Michigan boy is raising the alarm and warning his neighbors after his dream bike was stolen.

That’s more like it. A 65-year old Ohio man was sentenced to a mandatory 14 years behind bars, with the possibility of another four years, for the hit-and-run death of a 13-year old boy; he claimed the damage to his truck was from hitting a mailbox, and that he only ran over the boy’s bike after someone else knocked the kid off it.

NPR looks at the rising rate of ebike battery fires in New York, blaming the problem on the use of refurbished batteries and mismatched chargers.

Philly bike riders turned out for a Día de los Muertos, while calling for safer streets.

HuffPost says Pennsylvania Republicans are taking a bill to permit safer bike lanes hostage in an effort to strip Philadelphia’s progressive DA of his powers.

A Birmingham, Alabama man faces multiple charges for a one-man crime spree that included a fatal shooting, carjacking and a hit-and-run that killed someone on a bicycle — all in just one hour.

 

International

The bike boom isn’t over, even if it’s lost a little steam, as Shimano says demand is still above pre-pandemic levels despite signs things are cooling down.

Vancouver bike riders are calling on the city to reverse plans to remove a bike lane from a park and return the roadway to pass-through commuters, although a planned protest ride was called off due to an atmospheric river.

A London man was somehow able to get his bike back after it was stolen by three muggers in a London park, despite suffering head and face injuries in the attack.

A British cop who co-founded a program to place undercover cops on bikes to catch careless drivers who pass people on bikes too closely now rides to relieve arthritis pain that threatened his career.

A UK safety expect calls it “a bit daft” for bicyclists to ride in the middle of the traffic lane, despite recently changes to the country’s Highway Code allowing them to do just that, when there’s a perfectly good bike lane they could be using. Of course, the problem is that the “perfectly good” bike lane usually isn’t.

Paris may be making great strides in becoming a biking city, but someone should tell the local cops, who are stopping bike riders and insisting they should wear reflective clothing in anticipation of the fall time change.

Writing for Travel + Leisure, a woman suggests that biking through Sicily is the best way to discover small towns, delicious food and local culture.

The rise of bicycle taxis in eastern Zambia is creating business opportunities for young people, while allowing passengers to ride for a fraction of the cost of a regular taxi.

There’s a special place in hell for a Philippine man who faces a charge of “frustrated homicide,” after repeatedly stabbing a neighbor using a knife disguised as a ballpoint pen in a dispute that began with a bicycle blocking his path.

Melbourne, Australia bike riders were left feeling deflated when the local government passed a one-year pause on building bike lanes; The Guardian asks if it’s a bikelash, or just plain old NIMBYism.

 

Competitive Cycling

Danish cyclist Jonas Vingegaard won his second Tour de France of the year, outsprinting his competitors to win the Tour de France Singapore Criterium on Sunday, after winning the three-week Grand Tour earlier this year.

French magazine Vélo lists the finalists for the prestigious 2022 Vélo d’Or award, including, for the first time, a separate category for women cyclists. And no Americans made the short list, of course.

Former Paris-Roubaix champ Sonny Colbrelli is reluctantly calling it a career after he collapsed with a heart attack moments after finishing the opening stage of March’s Volta a Catalunya.

Cycling Tips looks back on the legacy of Brian Robinson, whose Tour de France stage wins set the stage for decades of British cycling success.

Dan Martin, the only Irish cyclist to win a stage in all three of Grand Tours, reflects on “crashing for a living, doping, retirement and writing a book through 100 hours of Whatsapp voicenotes.”

 

Finally…

Your next bike could have ABS brakes, for the low, low price of just eleven grand. When witches ride bikes instead of brooms.

And I think I’ve found my next bike.

Or at least the bikemaker, anyway.

Thanks to Norm Bradwell for the tip. 

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

CA doubles driver insurance requirements, state legalizes jaywalking, and Sunset4All goes to council committee Thursday

Let’s start by catching up with a few items sent into us by Oceanside bike lawyer and newly renewed BikinginLA sponsor Richard Duquette.

While we away last week, Governor Newsom signed Assemblymember Laura Friedman’s Bicycle Omnibus Bill, which addresses four separate bike safety and bike law issues:

  • Requires drivers to change lanes to change lanes to pass someone on a bicycle whenever possible;
  • Improves access for ebikes by clarifying where they can and can’t be prohibited;
  • Clarifies that bikes are allowed to use leading pedestrian intervals and other walk signals;
  • Bans mandatory bike licensing laws, though voluntary bike licensing programs are still allowed

Duquette also sends word that Newsom signed SB 1107, which raises the minimum coverage for auto insurance policies once it takes effect in 2025.

  • $30,000 injury or death to one person, up from $15,000
  • $60,000 injury or death to more than one person, up from $30,000
  • $15,000 property damage, up from $5,000

Those amounts increase to $50,000 / $100,000 / $25,000 in 2035

Finally, he sends word that applications to fill Calbike’s vacant Executive Director position are due before midnight on Sunday, October 16th. So if you know someone who would be a good fit, tell ’em to get on it, already.

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A couple more bill signings of note.

Thanks to Gavin Newsom’s signature, it will now be legal to cross the street, after the new law goes into effect on January 1st.

And active transportation and transit projects will continue to be exempt from environmental review requirements for the foreseeable future.

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The Sunset For All compete streets plan is finally getting a hearing at City Hall this Thursday, if only because CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell is feeling his opponent breathing down his neck in the lead-up to next month’s general election.

But whatever the reason for his Road to Damascus turn to support the much-needed plan, we’ll take it.

This is what Sunset For All had to say in a recent email.

Great News:

Sunset4All is up for consideration at the City Council Transportation Committee thisThursday at Noon!  WE NEED YOU TO SUBMIT YOUR SUPPORT TO THE COUNCIL FILE TODAY!

By clicking on the buttons below you will send a message to the city council that Sunset4All should be one of their top priorities.  This is an essential step to achieving a Sunset4All!  Don’t wait!  Send in your public comment TODAY!

Make Public Comment on the Council File

Send an Email to CD 13 to Support the Motion

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Megan Lynch did a little research, and came up with the date and location for this race, too.

Which just happens to be exactly 129 years ago today.

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Seriously? No, I can’t.

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That about sums it up.

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Don’t mind me.

I’m just going to sit here and stare at this for awhile.

Click on the image if it doesn’t fully load.

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

A British nurse was lucky to escape serious injury when she was knocked off her bicycle in a drive-by egging, which she suspects was a social media prank.

Someone in France has definitely had enough of drivers parking in bike lanes.

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

A Studio City man suffered a shattered scapula, collapsed lung and three broken ribs when he was attacked with a pipe by a homeless man who was riding a Door Dash bicycle.

An Illinois State University administrator died four days after he was struck by a bicyclist riding on the sidewalk.

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Local

Baldwin Park has broken ground on a new 2.3-mile bike/walk path along Big Dalton Wash and the San Gabriel River.

Not only was Jason Bateman one of us as a kid, he almost ran over Michael Jackson while riding his bike around Universal Studios.

A man is in stable condition after he was shot in the chest while riding his bike on the Los Angeles River bike path near Long Beach Blvd in Long Beach.

 

State 

The Encinitas Advocate looks at the numbers behind Carlsbad’s bicycling state of emergency, with nearly 250 bicycle-involved crashes since 2019, half involving motorists.

Sad news from Fresno County, where a woman in her 50s was killed when the driver of an Acura supercar veered onto the wrong side of the road on a curve, and hit her bicycle head-on.

A San Francisco website looks back on 30 years of Critical Mass, noting that it has never been anti-car, but rather, pro-bicycle.

The UC Davis student newspaper offers advice on how to ride a bike around campus, noting that you’re better off with a secondhand bike because it’s less likely to get stolen.

 

National

Streetsblog takes a deep dive into roundabouts, explaining that they’re not all the same when it comes to bike safety, with some designs actually increasing the risk to riders.

Forbes talks to “industry experts” to pick the best bicycles for everyone from beginners to pros.

More proof bikes are good for business. Despite fears from business owners that it would kill their businesses, a new protected bike lane on Queens’ Skillman Ave actually resulted in a 12% increase in sales, and a 10% jump in new businesses.

 

International

Over 100 people lit up downtown Toronto with phones, fairy lights and bike lights to demand better rights and safety for people on bicycles.

Forget corking. Scotland allows leaders of bike buses to control red lights using a military-grade encrypted signal until the last riders have passed.

Three-quarters of Brits don’t expect police to even investigate a stolen bicycle. The sad news is, they’re probably right.

Actor Jared Leto is one of us, taking a purple-haired Parisian bikeshare ride with a woman friend.

A German expat explains how the United Arab Emirates got the bicycling bug, 20 years after he opened a bike shop in Dubai.

A full 44% of Swiss bike riders don’t wear bike helmets, which the country only requires for users of fast ebikes.

The Jerusalem Post says riding a bike with friends or through the desert is the perfect way to contemplate self-improvement in the days leading up to Yom Kippur. It’s also one of the best times to ride a bike in Israel, thanks to nearly empty streets on the holiday.

A Malaysian website offers seven ways bicycling is good for your mental health, including as meditation. I’ve used riding as a moving meditation for years, usually until some jerk in a car pulls me out of it.

Over a thousand Philippine bicyclists turned out in matching purple jerseys to call for a switch to renewable energy.

 

Competitive Cycling

Spain’s Enric Mas topped Tadej Pogačar to win the Giro dell’Emilia, in a tuneup for the year’s final Monument.

 

Finally…

Who needs a boat when you can just ride a gigantic water unicycle (thanks to Steven Hallett for the heads-up). Someone tell them you don’t need a massive  flatbed tow truck for a single e-scooter.

And we may have to deal with drivers in massive SUVs, but at least we don’t have to cope with mountain goats on steroids.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Bike bills advance in CA legislature, DIY zebra crosswalks in East Hollywood, and CD11 candidates discuss transportation

A handful of bike and pedestrian bills moved forward in a four hour hearing at the California capital Tuesday.

Streetsblog reports the bills all passed in the bike-friendly Assembly Transportation Committee, most by large margins.

The measures include:

  • AB 1713 reprises last year’s Stop As Yield bill vetoed by Gavin Newsom
  • AB 2147 would legalize jaywalking under most circumstances, also vetoed by Newton last year
  • AB 2264 requires pedestrian lead intervals when traffic lights are replaced
  • AB 2336 would authorize a limited test of speed cams in six California cities
  • AB 1909, the Omnibus Bike Bill, makes several tweaks to state law, including requiring drivers to change lanes to pass a bike rider, when possible.

The bills now move on to other committees, where they are likely to find a less friendly reception.

Meanwhile, San Jose’s mayor was one of the primary speakers pushing for the speed cam bill.

Photo from Ekaterina Bolovtsova on Pexels.

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The Department of DIY has struck again, this time painting some very professional looking crosswalks in East Hollywood when the city wouldn’t.

Now if we can just get them to do a few bike lanes.

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Streets For All posted video of Tuesday’s virtual forum for the candidates running to replace Mike Bonin in Westside’s CD11.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog posted an illuminating recap of their answers to whether they would re-install the safety improvements in Vista Del Mar that were ripped out after pass-through drivers got out their pitchforks and torches.

And I know who I’d be voting for if I lived in the district.

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Metro is hosting a pair of virtual public meetings this week.

First up is this evening’s Community Meeting for LA Metro’s Active Transportation Strategic Plan (ATSP) Update, which Streetsblog’s Joe Linton notes they periodically update before putting it back on the shelf to gather dust.

Next is Friday’s meeting to discuss the agency’s proposed Street Safety Policy, which appears to follow the recent trend of not using the term Vision Zero to describe Vision Zero plans.

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

No bias here. Get hit by a lawbreaking driver, and get a bill from the insurance company.

 

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

A Charlotte NC couple complain they were attacked by a gang of teenage bike riders after the driver “just kind of beeped the horn,” and were further traumatized when the cops said there was no point in pressing charges because it happens all the time.

A hearing impaired Singapore woman says a bike rider slapped and verbally abused her when she failed to give way when he rang his bike bell. Contrary to popular opinion in some quarters, a bike bell or “on your left” are both polite warnings, not commands meaning “get the eff out of my way.

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Local

The LACBC is teaming with Metro to offer an in-person class in bicycling street skills in Commerce City tomorrow.

She gets it. CD 5 council candidate Katy Yaroslavsky, daughter-in-law of longtime LA politician Zev Yarolslavsky, says LA should be one of “the greatest bike cities in the world,” but isn’t because people don’t feel safe on the streets.

An LA mom uses her bike to bounce back from a sudden, tragic loss.

 

State 

Streetsblog offers some alternatives to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposal to give gas tax rebates to wealthy drivers who don’t need them, which would only encourage them to keep wasting gas.

The Press-Enterprise provides a primer on the use of ebikes and e-scooters, for anyone who hasn’t been paying attention up to this point.

More on Carlsbad’s crackdown on ebikes in the beachfront city, after collisions involving ebikes jumped from 39 in 2020 to 63 last year. Which likely corresponds with the jump in ebike usage over the last year. And just wait until someone tells them about cars.

 

National

A Chinese man is biking across the US to call attention to the fight for democracy in Hong Kong.

CleanTechnica says the US should offer ebike rebates to help starve Putin out of Ukraine.

Cycling Tips says put some foam inserts in the tires on your gravel bike.

Iowa City, Iowa reminds drivers not to park in bike lanes. Which shouldn’t need a reminder, but evidently does.

Country star Dierks Bentley is one of us, riding a mountain bike century through the Tennessee hills in a relatively balmy 40 degrees.

A Staten Island teen will spend the next four years behind bars after stealing a car, crashing into a bike rider, and leading police on a wild chase; the man on the bike suffered a broken nose and several other injuries, but wasn’t seriously hurt.

A recommendation for bicycle and e-scooter parking and ebike charging stations on the ground floor of a coming Coral Gables, Florida mobility station ran into opposition from the mayor, who is insisting on ground floor retail to offset some of the construction costs.

 

International

Bike Radar offers the “ultimate” beginners guide to buying a bicycle this year.

Rouleur provides a masterclass in the “structural, neurological and psychological repercussions” of bicycling injuries.

A British man credits his survival from a heart attack while riding to a pair of quick-thinking friends and a nearby defibrillator.

I want to be like her when I grow up. A Bollywood star’s 83-year old mother gets back on her bike after 25 years. Although maybe without the two and a half decade layoff.

Singapore actress Jaime Teo is one of us, breaking her collarbone trying to pass a large group of bicyclists on her bike when she bumped another rider.

 

Competitive Cycling

British bike hero and former Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins says keep using time trial bikes on the road, but get rid of all the distractions.

 

Finally…

The Mounties not only got their man, they crashed into him. That feeling when you get run over by a Key West tourist trolley.

And don’t brag about your bike skills until you can ride no hands while balancing a bundle of banana leaves on your head.

https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cbj-wl9AcgV/?utm_source=ig_embed&ig_rid=c9ffcf18-bbbb-4418-b12c-c666aec61815

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Only bike mechanic in US Congress retires, Beemer-blocking bollards, and Metro reconsiders bikeshare today

It’s Day 7 of the 7th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Thanks to Glenn C and Erick H for their generous donations to help keep SoCal’s best bike news and advocacy coming your way every day.

Don’t wait. Give now via PayPal, or with Zelle to ted @ bikinginla.com.

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

So what are you waiting for?

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Leadership of the US House Transportation Committee will be changing hands, as one of the chamber’s most bike-friendly members retires.

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This is who we share the road with.

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

No bias here. Once again, a bicycle rider has been killed by a seemingly sentient truck, which apparently operated without having anyone behind the wheel. Or maybe a Kentucky TV station just forgot to mention them.

London’s transportation department is forced to pull an ad calling for greater understanding on the streets amid accusations of victim blaming by bike riders, after a driver and a bicyclist metaphorically kiss and make up when the former nearly kills the latter.

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Local

The Source offers a preview of today’s Metro Board Meeting, focusing on policing contracts for Metro trains and buses; among the “also on the agenda” items is a motion to develop plans to improve the Metro Bike bikeshare program.

Los Angeles awards 14 community grants for beautification projects, including a proposal to landscape the LA River bike path along the river’s headwaters.

 

State

Berkeley ends its 4.2-mile Slow Streets program, apparently concluding people no longer need safe and healthy places to walk and ride.

A Redding man suffered major injuries when he was struck by an SUV, after multiple witnesses reported he was riding recklessly, weaving around vehicles and riding his bike on the wrong side of the road.

 

National

A Las Vegas sports business website says the best way to explore Utah’s Zion National Park is by bicycle.

Forbes profiles the 25-year old founders of Phoenix-based, sub-$1,000 direct-to-consumer brand Lectric eBikes.

Scottish bicyclist Josh Quigley returns to Texas to resume his around-the-world journey, two years after he was nearly killed when a driver ran him down fro behind.

If you’re visiting Milwaukee this weekend, look out for hundreds of bike-riding Santas. And yes, they’re all the real Santa. So get over it, kid.

New York unveils a glossy new transportation plan, with a city commitment to building 250 miles of protected bike lanes over the next five years — and hopes that it can somehow come up with the money to pay for it. On the other hand, how many miles of protected bike lanes has Los Angeles committed to over the same time period — with or without current funding?

LA’s Tamika Butler, Justin Williams and Peter Flax discuss the need for another Major Taylor moment in the final episode of the Chasing History video series, about the founding of the first cycling team at a Historically Black College or University, representing North Carolina’s St. Augustine’s University.

Kindhearted Jacksonville, Florida deputies replaced a young girl’s bicycle after it was mangled when a pursuit suspect came to a stop on top of it on her front lawn.

An arrest has been made in the murder of a 14-year old Palm Beach, Florida boy who disappeared while riding his bike; more information should be available later today.

 

International

Banff, Alberta wants to help residents reduce their carbon footprint with a proposed new ebike rebate program.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A 76-year old woman in London, Ontario collided with another driver after allegedly running a red light, and slammed into a group of ten people walking on the sidewalk, eight of them children; one young girl was killed. And all the driver appeared to care about was whether she was going to be arrested. Let’s hope so.

Even a former Welsh rugby star can be the victim of a bike thief.

This is why people keep dying on the streets. A speeding British driver who killed a motorcyclist walked with no jail time after the judge concluded he was already punishing himself. Seriously? Remind me to use that excuse if I ever shoot someone.

The four largest cities in the Netherlands are asking the country’s parliament to improve safety by lowering the speed limit to 30 kph, the equivalent of 18 mph.

A woman in the Ivory Coast is using an exercise bike to produce artisanal chocolate from locally sourced cocoa beans.

The South African mountain kingdom of Lesotho is slowly building a mountain biking culture, following the introduction of the six-day Lesotho Sky mountain bike race a decade ago.

Endgadget says a new Chinese-made ebike is more like a computer on wheels, even if some of the promised feature are still vaporware.

 

Competitive Cycling

An all-female group of cyclists will represent athletes on the board of USA Cycling, with the selection of Cari Higgins, Meredith Miller and Maddie Godby joining current board member Alison Tetrick; VeloNews talks with Godby about her new role.

Another round of track racing at the Velo Sports Center in Carson this weekend. Thanks to David Huntsman for the heads-up.

 

Finally…

Note to DOTs — when you install new bike lanes, take down the signs allowing parking first. Your next ebike could have a corkscrew downtube.

And Mathieu van der Poel and his Alpecin-Fenix teammates demonstrate their lack of acting skills in a sponsor video described as “cringeworthy.

………

 

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

 

 

Council committee vote on semi-Complete Streets, bike stabbings in San Diego, and remembrance for victims of traffic violence

About damn time.

The Los Angeles City Council’s Transportation Committee will vote tomorrow to transform Culver Blvd and Highland Ave — and to a lessor degree, La Brea Ave — into the Complete Streets.

In other words, turn them into the somewhat less auto-centric streets they should have been to begin with, but aren’t.

All three would get desperately needed pedestrian and accessibility improvements, but only Culver and Highland would get the bike lanes they all need.

Which would still leave La Brea a somewhat safer, but still incomplete Complete Street.

But it’s a start.

Streets For All points out the La Brea proposal also leaves out the bus lane called for on the corridor in the 2035 Mobility Plan, which would be an exceptionally shortsighted surrender to private cars.

Never mind that bike riders would be allowed to use the bus lanes, if they exist.

Streets For All also directs our attention to proposals to redesign streets to prevent street racing, and reduce illegal eardrum-shattering exhaust noise.

Yes, please.

Update: According to Streets For All’s Michael Schneider, there are currently no plans for bike lanes in the so-called Complete Streets plan, and that the references to “bikeway striping” may simply be a reference to sharrows.

And as we all know, sharrows are nothing more than an attempt to thin the herd, with arrows to help drivers improve their aim. 

Both Highland and La Brea are scheduled for bike lanes in the 2010 bike plan, although they’re reduced to Tier 3 in the mobility plan, which means they’re less likely to be built by 2035. 

Meanwhile, Culver Blvd calls for a bike path, which is apparently a reference to the existing, not-so-safe pathway that runs down the median. 

Maybe we need to let the council know tomorrow that sharrows aren’t good enough, and we want the bike lanes they promised us by unanimous vote. 

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San Diego police are looking for a heavyset White man with a shaved head who allegedly stabbed a homeless man in a dispute over a bicycle in the city’s Midway district.

Fortunately, the victim’s injuries were not considered life threatening.

No word on what exactly they were arguing about.

Meanwhile, another man was repeatedly stabbed by a pair of attackers in the city’s Logan Heights neighborhood; he was also expected to survive.

No reason was given for that attack.

We’ve said it many times before, but it’s worth saying again — No bicycle is ever worth a human life.

Just give it up before risking your life, if that’s what it takes. Or before risking anyone else’s.

Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up.

………

Faith for Safer Street and Streets Are For Everyone will host a memorial for the victims of traffic violence in South LA at the end of this month; RSVP here.

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Now that’s more like it.

A little good news from NextDoor, for a change, as a Good Samaritan offers up her own bicycle to a stranger in need.

https://twitter.com/kjaggi/status/1427084759201550336

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Nothing like photobombing a couple’s wedding photos in the middle of a bike race.

………

Local

CicLAvia made a comeback on historic Avalon Blvd in Wilmington on Sunday, after missing all of last year due to the pandemic.

 

State

Calbike urges you to email your state senator to support AB 122, aka the Bicycle Safety Stop Bill, which would allow bike riders to treat stop signs as yields. Which most of bike riders safely do anyway, legal or not.

San Diego’s National City plans to convert an existing overpass into a protected bike lane and place for people to hang out. But whether it’s a good idea to expose bike riders and pedestrians to the exhaust and noise of an overhead freeway remains to be seen.

San Diego will pay out $1.75 million to a man who was seriously injured when his bicycle hit a patch of buckled pavement in Carmel Valley; he’ll also get additional settlements from a landscape contractor and a tree contractor, for a total of $2.8 million.

You’ve got to be kidding. A proposed extension of Bakersfield’s Kern River bike path could be sent back to the drawing board because it’s “incompatible” with the golf course it’s supposed to go around, since bike riders might get hit by balls or sneak onto the course. Evidently, they’ve never heard of fences in the San Joaquin Valley.

Speaking of Bakersfield, there’s a special place in hell for whoever fled the scene after crashing into a ten-year old kid riding his bike.

Sad news from San Luis Obispo, where a bike-riding, 23-year old Cal Poly grad student died six days after a 17-year old hit-and-run driver left him bleeding in the street

She gets it. The editor of a Monterey weekly says yes, cars occupy a unique place in American culture. But the reality is they’re bad for us.

 

National

A new study refutes the popular belief that bike lanes lead to displacement and gentrification.

Popular Science recommends their picks for the best bike helmets for any age rider.

Rapha’s Lael Wilcox is attempting to break the record for the Tour Divide by riding the 2,745-mile offroad route from Canada to Mexico in less than 14 days to beat the existing time of 13 days, 22 hours and 51 minutes. My brother is currently riding the same route, after turning south Saturday after riding up to the Canadian border. Although he expects to take just a tad longer. (Update: Wilcox posted on Instagram that she is abandoning the attempt due to poor air quality from all the wildfires; thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.) 

Sad news from Arkansas, where a man was killed when he was rear-ended by a driver after moving his bike over to make way for a truck, and his riding companion injured in an apparent attempt to bail out of the way.

A nine-year old Colorado girl finished a 4,000-mile ride across the US riding stoker on the back of a tandem with her father upfront, finishing in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Chicago speed cams brought in $11 million in fines in just the first two months after they were readjusted to ticket any driver doing more than six miles over the speed limit, resulting in 300,000 speeding tickets. And yet, these proven traffic cameras remain illegal in California, where they are somehow seen as unfair to people needlessly breaking the law.

A writer for New York Streetsblog argues it’s time for muscle car makers to stop marketing them as vehicles for mayhem. And yes, he’s looking at you, Dodge. Although these days, virtually every carmaker is selling virtually every car as a high performance vehicle, and showing them being driven the same way.

 

International

NPR explores the history of Mexico City by canoe and bicycle.

The husband of the deputy chief of staff to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is fighting for his life after he was struck by a truck driver while riding his bike in London’s Primrose Hill.

A Welsh university student shattered the women’s Everesting record, making 72 ascents up an 18% grade to equal the mountain’s 29,029 feet of climbing; 21-year old Illi Gardner beat the existing record by nearly 20 minutes.

Here’s a few more rides to add to your bike bucket list, with a handful of scenic on and offroad trails in Wales. Unless maybe you’d prefer a vacation to the “coastal cycling paradise” of Japan’s Setouchi district.

A pair of English cops are credited with rushing to the rescue of a bike rider who collapsed in the middle of the road, and potentially saving his life with a chocolate bar and orange juice after realizing he was having a diabetic episode.

After two bikes were stolen from a British man, he went to Facebook to find a replacement — and found his own bikes for sale; a 31-year old man is now in custody for the thefts.

It turns out there was a second rider who finished the Tour de France route on his own this year, as Australia’s Jack Thompson rode the entire route averaging two stages per day. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you. 

You probably haven’t ridden your bike often enough if a Japanese bird makes its home in the basket.

 

Competitive Cycling

Slovokia’s Primož Roglič put on the Vuelta’s red leader’s jersey on Saturday, and held on to it by a scant four seconds over Alex Aranburu by narrowly avoiding a mass crash in Sunday’s sprint finish.

Cycling News offers a full-length interview with four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome following his dramatic comeback from a nearly career-ending crash at the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné.

Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten took control of the four-stage Ladies Tour of Norway with a powerful ride on Saturday, claiming the title a day later.

Recently retired American cyclist Tejay van Garderen will take the helm of the EF Education-Nippo cycling team as sports director next year.

South Africa’s Willie Smit offers uncensored, inside views of the pro peloton.

 

Finally…

That feeling when your modernistic new ebike looks like the Mark of Zorro. Or when your tea is worth its weight in bike balls.

And meet the future militants of the bike brigades.

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

LA bike crashes drop 90% in September, and Glendale’s Laura Friedman heads state Assembly Transportation Committee

It’s Day 18 of the 6th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Thanks to Robert R and John M for their generous donations to help bring you all the best bike news and advocacy, from around the corner and around the world. 

So don’t wait. Take a few moments to give to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive right now!

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Call it a Chrismakah miracle.

Crosstown reports that LA had just ten percent of the usual number of bicycle collisions in September, dropping from 185 last year to just 18 this year — even though bike use jumped 52% after the pandemic shutdown earlier this year.

And through November, bike-involved crashes are down 70% compared to last year, from 1,655 in 2019 to 496 this year.

That’s reflected in a corresponding drop in bicycling fatalities, with 16 deaths in LA County this year, according to my stats, compared to 34 for all of 2019.

I can’t explain it, because traffic in the city is back to pre-pandemic levels. And it’s not like there’s been a sudden jump in bike lanes or Complete Streets, temporary or otherwise.

I’m stumped.

So how do you explain the unexplained decrease?

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Maybe there’s hope for California after all.

According to Streetsblog California, Burbank/Glendale Assembly Member Laura Friedman has been given the reins of the state assembly’s Transportation Committee.

The former Glendale city councilmember has long been a supporter of safer streets and reducing the use of private motor vehicles, while encouraging biking, walking and transit use.

And she has tried, so far unsuccessfully, to reform California’s deadly 85th Percentile Law, which allows drivers to set speed limits with their right foot.

Here’s how Streetsblog put it.

As a freshman Assemblymember, during the fierce and sometimes off-topic arguments about S.B. 1, Friedman spoke up against an argument that all money raised from gas taxes should go for road expansion to solve congestion. “We know that adding capacity does not decrease congestion,” she said. “Getting people out of their cars decreases congestion…”

Friedman also worked to find a way to allow cities to lower speed limits, a job that turned out to be much more complex than it should be. She succeeded in creating a Zero Fatalities Task Force to discuss the topic. The Task Force issued a report last year that recommended what Friedman had been saying: that the state should change the way it sets speed limits.

Now that she’s chairing the committee, maybe — just maybe — we’ll start to see a little more progress here in the late, great golden state.

We can hope.

………

Here’s your chance to work in the wonderful world of bicycles.

A San Francisco ice cream company is looking for sales people to blast tunes and peddle their frozen treats from e-cargo bikes.

The Marin County Bicycle Coalition is looking for a full-time policy and planning director.

Unless maybe you’d rather move to Yellowstone adjacent Jackson Hole, Wyoming to head Mountain Bike the Tetons.

And if you’ve ever been to the Tetons, then yes, you would.

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Former presidential candidate and Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg is one of us.

And no, I don’t get it either, even though I like the guy.

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Time for your Tuesday mountain bike break.

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

A Singapore woman is looking for the hit-and-run bike rider who nearly slammed into her as she rode her bike with her husband on a park bike path, causing her to lose control and knock herself cold.

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Local

UCLA law professor emeritus Paul Bergman is one of us, frequently making the nearly 30-mile commute from his Pasadena home to campus by bicycle; he’ll be leading a free Zoom class to explain what really happens in a courtroom.

If you’ve got any extra cash lying around after donating to our holiday fund drive, Streetsblog is doing a little end-of-year fundraising, too.

 

State

This is who we share the road with. Residents along Oakland’s 8th Street are demanding traffic calming measures to stop drivers from slamming into their houses.

Burlingame has adopted a shiny new bike and pedestrian plan. Although as we’ve learned in LA, a bike plan doesn’t mean a thing if it never gets built.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A 41-year old Morgan Hill man was killed when he was hit by not one, but two hit-and-run drivers while trying to cross the street. Thanks to Robert Leone for the link.

A San Francisco cop is accused of injuring two people riding bikes after running a red light. Thanks to Dr. Metro BlueLine for the heads-up.

Ebikes could soon be allowed on fire roads on Marin County’s popular Mt. Tam.

 

National

Bicycling wants to teach you how to bomb down descents like a pro. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the Bicycling site blocks you out.

Body building legend and former six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates is one of us, after dislocating his shoulder hitting an oil slick while biking with his wife. 

Um, okay. A Forth Worth man faces murder charges for chasing down a bike rider he accused of stealing a shotgun from his car — the car he stole, that is — then driving off laughing after fatally shooting the other man.

Ocean City, Maryland wants to build a beachfront bike path to get bicyclists off the dangerous coast highway. Although experience shows a beach path is likely to quickly become crowded with pedestrians and slower riders, forcing faster and more experienced bike riders back onto the highway.

 

International

A pair of Canadian researchers say expanding bike lane networks during Covid-19 can lead to more inclusive cities.

It looks like London’s bikeshare system isn’t going anywhere, after all.

A sports site profiles British bicyclist Mike Hall, who set a new record by riding around the world in just 91 days — an average of 200 miles a day.

Here’s one more for your bike bucket list — biking along Russia’s scenic Volga River. Yes, that Volga River.

Israel’s Supreme Court rules that ped-assist ebikes are not motor vehicles, as long as they aren’t strictly throttle controlled.

The New York Times says bikes are booming in Manilla, too.

 

Competitive Cycling

Italy’s anti-doping investigators cracked down hard on former pro Riccardo Riccò, hitting the admitted doper with a lifetime cycling ban long after he retired to open an ice cream shop — and while he was already serving a 12-year ban. Does that mean he can’t peddle ice cream from his cargo bike anymore?

Cyclist imagines what today’s racing bikes would be like if there were no UCI rules.

The Guardian looks back at the 125-year old Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic bike race.

 

Finally…

Why settle for a bike path when you can have an outdoor art gallery, too? That feeling when Google’s street view apparently decides your bike seat is obscene.

And that feeling when your bike ride gets an ostrich escort.

[Cape Point National Park][RSA] Credits go to Daniel’s ass from CyclistsWithCameras

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

Herding cyclists, and L.A.’s proposed first-of-its kind anti-harassment ordinance

Evidently, at least one driver took lessons from a Corgi.

I knew I’d seen that technique before.

But it took me awhile to put my finger on just where I’d seen it until it finally dawned on me.

When I lived in Denver a few decades back, I shared a house with a good friend of mine, who showed up one day with a Welsh Corgi he’d just adopted from the pound. And it didn’t take long to realize that it was his herding instincts were fully intact.

The dog, not my friend.

First he tried to herd my roommate’s cats, with limited success.

But we came to appreciate his skills when my friend hosted a party for his co-workers. When we let the dog outside to play with the dozen or so children in the backyard, he stood for a moment watching them scatter throughout the yard. Then he quickly set out to bring order to the chaos.

He started by running rapidly around the yard, drawing ever smaller circles around the kids. We watched in amazement as he guided them into a group; if any child tried to stray from his impromptu herd, he nosed in front and gently guided them back into the pack.

And that, in effect, is exactly what a driver tried to do to me on Saturday as I rode home from Tour de Fat.

I’d taken my place firmly in the center of the lane on a busy Koreatown street, where a line of parked cars made it too narrow to safely share. And I was riding at the same speed as the cars ahead of me, which meant that I could legally ride anywhere I wanted on the road.

But clearly, the law — and common sense — just isn’t good enough for some people.

The woman behind me evidently decided that I didn’t belong there. Or maybe, just didn’t belong in front of her.

So she pulled into the left lane as if she was going to pass, even though the backed-up traffic meant there wasn’t anywhere to go.

Then she slowly started nosing her humongous older Lincoln over into the exact space I was occupying. Just like that Corgi did in forcing the children to go where he wanted, she deliberately angled her car to move me out of the way, until she finally left me with no choice but to surrender my place on the road by braking and dropping behind her, or get hit.

I chose the latter.

She didn’t seem to acting in anger. In fact, she never once looked my way during the entire process. She just seemed to think that she belonged in there, and I didn’t.

I probably should have taken her license number and reported it. Or better yet, pulled out my cell phone and snapped a quick photo of it.

But I was too stunned to think that quickly.

In three decades of riding, I’ve pissed off more than a few drivers by taking the lane. I’ve been yelled and honked at, passed too close and had things thrown at me. But I never once encountered a driver who simply wouldn’t allow me to ride in the lane, and was willing to use her car as a wedge to force me out of it.

Until now.

Of course, even if I had reported her, there’s nothing the police could have done except take a report.

Without any physical evidence — like my blood on her car — an officer would have had to actually see her do it to take any action. Otherwise, it’s my word against hers.

But that may change soon.

This afternoon, the L.A. City Council’s Transportation Committee will take up a proposed bicycle anti-harassment ordinance that goes far beyond any similar law anywhere in the country.

Instead of making harassment of cyclists a crime, it would make it a civil offense. Which means you’d be able to file a case yourself, rather than rely on the actions of the police and the DA or City Attorney. And because it would be heard in civil court, where the burden of proof is much lower, it would only require the agreement of a majority of jurors, rather than the unanimous verdict required in a criminal case.

You also wouldn’t need physical evidence or an officer to witness the infraction to file charges. Video of the incident or statements from people who witnessed it could be enough to win your case.

And it would include a provision for lawyers fees if you win your case, so it would be easier to get an attorney to represent you in a matter that might not otherwise be worth their time and expertise.

More importantly, though, it would finally give cyclist the ability to defend ourselves on the streets. And take action on our own against dangerous, threatening and aggressive drivers, without resorting to a U-lock or risking a violent confrontation.

Even just the existence of the law could be enough to change driver’s behavior on the streets, once they realize that they could finally be held accountable for their actions.

It wouldn’t have helped me in my encounter with the woman who tried to herd me off the road. I was riding alone, with no potential witnesses and no way to document the event as it happened. And  I escaped with no injuries or damage to my bike.

Then again, if she knew she could face a civil case, she might not have tried it to begin with.

The hearing takes place today at 2pm in room 1010 of Downtown’s City Hall. I know it’s short notice, but every voice that can be there to support this measure will help. If you can’t make it, you should be able to listen to the session live on the city’s website, or download it later.

And there will be another — and potentially more important — hearing on Monday in front of the far less bike-friendly Public Safety Committee, at a session that still hasn’t made the city’s calendar even though it’s just five days away.

Maybe they just don’t want to give us any advance notice.

.………

With eight mountain stages and three time trials, next year’s Giro looks near-impossible. Italian cyclist Peitrio Cucchioli will challenge the UCI biological passport that got him banned. Lance says there will be no riding in Aspen today.

.………

Streetsblog looks at this Friday’s Critical Mass. LACBC sponsors its second Ed Magos Ride for Justice to attend the sentencing of the driver who fled the scene after hitting him and left him lying in the street; more cyclists in the courtroom could effect the sentence the judge imposes. C.I.C.L.E. invites cyclists to a Bike Parking Party on Saturday to support the installation of the city’s first bike corral. The Daily News finally discovers the tragic death of Danny Marin, reporting on a nighttime ride in his honor. The Examined Spoke looks at the state of bicycling after 40 years of Vehicular Cycling, while the Daily Trojan says L.A.’s bike co-ops show the city’s cycling scene has finally hit adolescence. San Francisco may be challenging Portland for bike-friendliness.

In light of the recent stolen bike alert on here, 10 things you can do to get your bike back. An $8 million settlement for a cyclist paralyzed when his tire got caught on bridge gates. Motorists and cyclists “will obey traffic rules when they have no other choice and ignore them when they can.” Living in the Bike Lane looks at belt-drive bikes. A look at the debate between vehicular and segregated cyclists. New Colorado road signs instruct cyclists to ride single file on curves so motorists can pass, even though passing on curves isn’t safe or legal, while OKC cyclists get new signs saying they can — and should — use the full lane. Mad City cyclists are told to get off the sidewalk. A Louisiana consultant recommends a Mississippi levee bikeway from Baton Rouge to New Orleans. Can bikes and buses co-exist? Specialized will give a kid a free bike for every 1,000 “likes” on their Facebook page; nothing like a little manipulative marketing for a good cause.

A bike-hating Canadian website wants to get rid of bike lanes, but doesn’t want cyclists on the sidewalk, either — and equates cycling with aggressive panhandling. Stay in the right London hotel, and you, too, can ride a Boris Bike. In L.A., biking has it’s challenges, but at least it’s legal; in Iran, it’s not for women. Shanghai’s Forever bike brand attempts to spark a rebirth of the city’s bike culture.

Finally, why pump air into your tires when you can steal it from parked cars? Or maybe get it from the ones who harass you when they’re stopped at red lights if you’re fast. And brave.

Looking at the big picture

Call it the curse of an inquisitive mind.

Instead of just enjoying the moment, I have a habit of trying to figure out the big picture, and put it all in perspective.

Take last Friday’s Transportation Committee meeting, for instance. In retrospect, it feels like a watershed moment. But where, exactly, is that water flowing?

Some of it sprang from the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights, as the committee members voted to send it to the full City Council, with their recommendation for approval — although they did ask the City Attorney’s office to review it, as they should. Even though the odds of the lawyers keeping their hands off it are comparable to Barack Obama asking George W. Bush to stay on as ambassador to Iraq.

Ain’t gonna happen.

Then there was the unexpected support that cyclists received from the members of the committee. Or at least, unexpected to me, anyway.

Maybe people who had been more involved in this process had some inkling of the support we were about to receive. But based on my previous experiences with city hall, I was surprised, shocked, stunned and stupefied. And those are just the S’s.

In fact, the only thing more shocking was the audience.

A quick look around the room revealed an unexpectedly large turnout of riders, of nearly every possible description.

Old riders and young riders. Slow riders. Bicycle commuters. Fat tire fans and fixie fanatics. Roadies, off-roaders and racers. And everyone in between. About as disparate a group of two-wheelers as you’ll find anywhere, and all united, for once, in demanding their right to the roads of this fair city.

Except, for once, we didn’t have to. Which was probably the most shocking thing of all.

So what does it all mean?

It means we have friends at city hall. Or at the very least, people who understand the value of bicycling in reducing traffic congestion and smog, and are willing to support us in making this a more rideable — and livable — city.

Then again, as the Times’ Steve Hymon suggests, it’s not unusual for politicians to say they support something, as long as they don’t actually have to do anything. And the Cyclist’s Bill of Rights will be nothing more than a lot of pretty words until the city actually turns those concepts into concrete action.

It means that we all owe a big round of thanks to the people who started this process, back when the chances of success were every bit as infinitesimal as that of a black man becoming president, so that the latecomers — like me, for instance — could enjoy the fruits of their success. And take some small pride in jumping on the bandwagon before it crosses the finish line.

And it means I was wrong.

Because despite what Enci had to say following the good doctor’s Mandeville Canyon brake check, I really didn’t believe this city had a bicycling community. That unfortunate incident marked my introduction to the local cycling community; Friday’s meeting offered proof that it really exists as more than just a series of ships that pass in the bikeway.

It’s one thing for cyclists to unite in outrage when someone deliberately assaults our fellow riders — and forces us to confront that fact that it could have been any of us. But it’s quite another for such a widely varied group to come together and sit through a typically bureaucratic committee meeting in support of their rights as riders.

However, as Stephen Box’s latest post makes clear, we still have a long way to go.  It’s clear that the L.A. Department of Transportation’s Bikeway’s Department isn’t exactly on our side, whether due to an abundance of caution or outright opposition to cyclists on the roads. And as we’ve seen, there’s a large segment of the driving public of that doesn’t exactly welcome our presence on the road, either.

So yes, we won this round, and we should feel good about it. But we have a lot more work to do to turn that Bill of Rights into concrete action that ensures our place on the road, as well as the safety of every rider.

Because no one should ever have to risk their life — or sacrifice their rights — just to ride a bike.

And arriving home safely is the most important right of all.

 

San Diego cyclists are up in arms when a ghost bike is removed earlier than promised. As long as we’re talking about L.A.’s getaways, turns out it is possible to do Santa Barbara without a car. Streetsblog L.A.’s Damien Newton interviews C.I.C.L.E.’s new Exec Director. LACBC gets into the t-shirt biz. Lance’s comeback helps kill next year’s Tour de Georgia, while N.Y. cyclists complain police are writing tickets for using the bike lane. An Altadena weather cam catches what looks an awful lot like a UFO. And finally, this is why we live in L.A.

For once, I shut up and let someone else talk

Ever since last Friday’s Transportation Committee meeting, I’ve been filtering my own thoughts in preparation of discussing the subject today.

But then Damien Newton of Streetsblog Los Angeles added a comment to my initial post on the subject. And since not everyone clicks the link to read the comments, I thought for once, I’d just shut up and let someone else do the talking.

So take it away, Damien:

It was pretty awesome to see us pack a board room like that…a hundred cyclists, ready to take part in the process…Unfortunately, we’ll still see a lot of setbacks before we get the kind of changes we want to see, and I hope the enthusiasm stays high.

In the meantime, I wrote up a draft letter on bike licensing that people should feel free to use if they want to get City Council to take up this issue. Rosendahl, LaBonge and Parks all seemed ready to go…

councilmember.greuel@lacity.org, councilmember.alarcon@lacity.org, councilmember.parks@lacity.org, councilmember.rosendahl@lacity.org, Councilmember.labonge@lacity.org,


Dear Member of the City Council XXX,

As a committed cyclist, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for respect and concern you showed at last Friday’s committee hearing on bicycling, bicycling infrastructure, and bicyclists rights. During the sometimes heated hearing, you continued to listen to our concerns and questions.

While it is not going to be easy to recreate Los Angeles as a cycling haven, there is one thing that can be done quickly and that is placing a moratorium on the bicycle licensing program. Whether a mandatory program is necessary is a conversation that can’t occur until cyclists are not being harassed for not having a sticker license that is difficult to obtain and not being distributed by the LAPD as they are required to.

Unfortunately, as you saw on Friday, the LAPD doesn’t seem interested in suspending their uneven enforcement of bike licensing even after being confronted on the program several times by Council Members LaBonge, Parks and Rosendahl at last week’s hearing. To that end, we are asking that you not let go of this issue and that you quickly introduce a motion to suspend the program. We understand that Councilman Rosendahl will not be at tomorrow’s hearing, but that doesn’t mean you cannot take action.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to working with you in the future on other bike-related issues.

Sincerely,

X

Just copy, paste and send. Or if you prefer, use Damien’s email as a template, and put it in your own words. But as one who has been an active rabble-rouser over the years, I can tell you that letters and emails like this really do make a difference.

I’ll be back with my own thoughts soon. In the meantime, you can read a recap of the meeting from Stephen Box of the Bike Writer’s Collective — creators of the Cyclist’s Bill of Rights (and a big thanks to all of you for your efforts). Or you can listen to Enci’s recording of the meeting here. 

Note: I’m waiving copyright for this post, in case anyone wants to repost Damien’s letter — and I’m sure it would be okay with him, as well. Right, Damien?

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