Tag Archive for Venice Blvd

Arrest made in Redondo Beach hit-and-run, and Venice Blvd protected bike lane extension approved — and delayed

Maybe it’s a secret.

LA County Sheriff’s deputies made an arrest in the hit-and-run that left a 15-year old Redondo Beach boy with severe road rash, after the driver dragged the teen and his bike under his truck last month.

But they’re not telling us who the suspect is, or giving any details about him.

The driver was arrested after the deputies spotted the truck in Rolling Hills Estates on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, he’s likely to face just two years behind bars due to California’s overly lenient hit-and-run laws.

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LADOT told the Mar Vista Community Council that the new extension of the Venice Blvd protected bike lanes and bus lanes will be moving forward.

Sort of.

Mar Vista Voice offers a detailed thread capturing the highlights — or lowlights — of the meeting, including the power of local NIMBYs to delay, if not halt, vital safety projects.

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The world reached a tragic milestone this week — and one to which the US contributes more than its share.

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Meet LA’s cute little bike lane mini sweeper.

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

Four men have been arrested in the stabbing death of a 21-year old man in a London suburb; the men ran the victim down with their car and knocked him off his bike when he rode off after colliding with them.

A London bus driver lost his appeal to keep his job after he was fired for dangerously swerving onto the wrong side of the road to pass a bicyclist he thought was delaying him, then brake checked the bike rider, forcing him to ride up on the curb to avoid plowing into the bus.

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Local

You can look forward to bike lockers and bike racks at many stations when Metro’s K Line, aka Crenshaw Line, opens this Friday.

Streetsblog gives a rave review to GoSGV, the new monthly ebike rental program from ActiveSGV and the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.

More on the groundbreaking for Baldwin Park’s first urban bike and pedestrian path; the $1.15-million commuter bikeway will take you to Kaiser Permanente and the In-N-Out HQ.

 

State 

The Huntington Beach City Council voted unanimously to approve construction of a half-million dollar bicycle boulevard on Utica Ave.

Goleta approved the $28.3 million San Jose Creek bike and pedestrian path connecting the downtown area with the beach and bike path on the other side of the 101 Freeway; the plan moves forward after languishing on the books for over 30 years.

Berkeley will reconsider previously approved protected bike lanes on Hopkins Street in North Berkeley, after learning it will require the removal of twice as many parking spaces as previously estimated. Because as we all know, places to store cars when they aren’t being used are far more important than protecting human lives — let alone giving an economic boost to local businesses

Unbelievable. A San Mateo County woman is dead after a truck driver slammed into her bicycle while driving on the wrong side of the road last month, because he was working on just two hours sleep and driving with a puppy on his lap; he veered onto the wrong side of the road when the puppy fell off and he bent over to pick it up. He faces a well-deserved charge of felony vehicular manslaughter.

 

National

A car site tries out Audi’s Cellular Vehicle-To-Everything (C-V2X) safety system to alert drivers to the presence of bicycles, and the other way around. Although it only works if both the bike rider and the driver have it installed.

A writer for Forbes says Rad Power’s RadRunner Plus electric utility bike is the best ebike for college students. Never mind that he admits he hasn’t tried the other bikes, owns two Rad Power bikes already, and his son rides one on his California campus. So, totally objective, then.

Speaking of Rad Power, the ebike maker faces another lawsuit after one of their bikes allegedly “malfunctioned and failed catastrophically,” causing a fire that damaged a Pennsylvania man’s home and car.

They get it. A New York website says we need ebike incentives, not bans.

 

International

After spending four years riding around the world, a man discovers that travel isn’t about the destination.

Good question. A Toronto paper wants to know why there are still thousands of ring-style bike racks on the streets, even though the city has known for more than a decade that they’re subject to theft; after the current rate, they’ll finally replace the last one sometime between 2041 and 2050. Canadian law may vary, however, knowing about the problem and failing to fix it could means the city can be held liable if a bike is stolen from one.

A European site questions why bicycles have remained largely unchanged for 150 years, despite the a number of “demonstrably superior” designs.

A Scottish teenager set a new record by riding to 76 of the country’s castles, covering 480 miles in six days.

Britain’s active transportation nonprofit Sustrans calls on the country’s new government to make protected bike lanes on school routes an urgent priority.

Go truffle hunting by bicycle on Tuscany’s fabled Strade Bianchi gravel roads, while staying at an 800-year old wine estate.

We Love Cycling, the bike-focused website from Czech carmaker Škoda, takes a look at some of the lesser known bike-related world records. Maybe we should all take a crack at the world’s highest bunny hop; I’m pretty sure I can clear at least an inch. Maybe two.

Israeli medics treated 2,741 people for bicycling injuries over Yom Kippur, when people traditionally take advantage of the empty streets to ride their bikes.

A comprehensive review of existing literature by an Australian university on the reasons why people don’t ride bikes points the finger at “fear of motorist aggression” and poor quality and badly maintained bike lanes. Other reasons include a lack of bike education, mandatory helmet laws, and overly hilly bikeways.

 

Competitive Cycling

The high-tech National Cycling League will offer a $1 million dollar purse, in addition to prize money for individual crits in Miami, Atlanta, Denver and DC.

Here’s your chance to become a fully supported endurance cyclist. Three people will be selected for the Ultra Distance Scholarship, each of whom will receive a custom Stayer Cycles bike, full Albion bike kit and nine months of training support from Velogi Cycle Coaching in preparation to compete in next year’s Pan Celtic Race.

This is the crap women’s cyclists have to deal with. After Dutch pro Lorena Wiebes rode to victory in Belgium’s Binche-Chimay-Binche, she had to contend with an overly handsy and persistent race official, despite making it clear she was uncomfortable having his hands on her body.

 

Finally…

Where else can you go for a bike-friendly drag brunch in DTLA? Your next aluminum-frame ebike could be assembled at home using an ancient Chinese woodworking technique.

And that feeling when a 90-year old man chases a thief down and beats the crap out of him for stealing his wallet, after the man got in by claiming he fell off his bike.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Redondo Beach teen dragged by hit-and-run driver, callous Mar Vista council member, and 3rd ST protected bike lanes

Whatever the hell illness I’ve been dealing with appears to have broken finally, so let’s ease back into things by catching up on a few stories we’ve missed, along with today’s news. 

And please forgive me for not keeping track of who sent me links this time. Under the circumstances, I was happy just to keep track of my meals.

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While we were gone, Redondo Beach police were searching for the hit-and-run driver who ran over a 15-year old boy riding an ebike, dragging the boy and his bike underneath for half a block.

When the kid somehow managed to free himself from under the truck, he demanded that the driver stop his truck and get out.

Instead the jerk — which is the mildest term we can use here — backed up his pickup, freeing the boy’s bicycle, before zooming off.

Thankfully, the victim wasn’t seriously injured, though he did suffer severe road rash.

Let’s hope the driver is feeling his pain.

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This is why people keep dying on our streets.

An elected member of the Mar Vista Community Council explains why she opposes extending the Venice Blvd protected bike lanes and bus lanes.

And no, she doesn’t just sound callous.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog discovers newly protected bike lanes on Venice Blvd in the opposite direction, in front of the Helms Bakery complex.

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The new half-mile long 3rd Street protected bike lane through DTLA is a thing now.

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The East Side Riders Bike Club continues to give back by feeding the community on a weekly basis.

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The Los Angeles Times offers a guide for the bike-curious, starting with what they describe as eight breezy bike trails that will teach you about LA as you ride.

As long as you take a very expansive view of what’s LA, that is.

Not so forgivable is their framing of a story on “nine bike clubs to cruise LA with” for people who are afraid to ride alone. Not all of which are actually clubs.

And none of which require joining out of fear; you can also participate if you want to give back to the community, or just enjoy riding with like-minded people.

Seriously, they should know better.

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The governor finally signed Assemblymember Laura Friedman’s parking reform bill, no thanks to our “climate mayor.”

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The US men’s soccer team is one of us.

Or 28 of us, anyway.

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

Infuriating story from Redlands, where doctor and semi-pro cyclist Kyle Cooper was seriously injured in an apparent hit-and-run. Yet the local cops refused to believe him, somehow convinced it was just an “oopsie.”

A 28-year old Michigan woman faces charges for attacking a 19-year old man with a machete for no apparent reason as he rode his bike to work; fortunately, the victim survived his wounds.

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

Police in San Diego are looking for gunman who escaped by bicycle after shooting a 35-year old man in an aqueduct near westbound state Route 94; the victim was expected to survive, despite multiple gunshot wounds.

An English e-scooter rider faces charges for allegedly threatening a van driver with a meat cleaver for passing too closely.

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Local

Talk about throwing your life away. Twenty-three-year old Long Beach driver Carlo Navarro was sentenced to a very well-deserved 25 to life for wiping out an entire family; Navarro was convicted on three counts of murder for killing a mother, father and young child in a drunken, high-speed crash as they walked home from Trick-or-Treating on Halloween three years earlier.

Streets For All is hosting a meet-and-greet in Venice tomorrow night with Eric Darling, who is running to replace Mike Bonin in CD11.

Metro is hosting a virtual meeting tomorrow evening to discuss extending the LA River Bike Path through DTLA, as well as a virtual and in-person meeting on Saturday.

Pasadena approved 19 projects to replace the now-cancelled $230 million Gold Line grade separation, including a number of active transportation projects.

 

State 

Governor Newsom has signed a bill giving pedestrians priority at traffic lights by requiring leading pedestrian intervals; the recently signed Bicycle Omnibus Bill extends them to bicyclists, as well.

A 22-year old man got a well-deserved nine years behind bars for the drunken hit-and-run crash that killed 75-year old Allen Hunter II in Solano Beach last year; Lucas Beau Morgans had a BAC over twice the legal limit when he was arrested an hour and a half after the fatal crash.

Sad news from Sunnyvale, where a man riding a bicycle was killed in a collision Monday evening.

Oakland announced plans for a 16-mile protected greenway, providing the first walkable, bikeable path from Oakland’s Lake Merritt to the South Hayward BART station.

 

National

A new book examines how suburban vigilantes and NIMBYs took over in the latter part of the last century. Hint: It’s not just suburban NIMBYs and vigilantes.

Something is seriously wrong when an award-winning children’s book about a homemade bicycle assembled from scraps is banned thanks to thin-skinned cops.

A mother argues that rather than being dangerous, riding a bike on the road is one of the best things she does with her kids.

Pink Bike offers a guide to your dream job in the bike industry, with 17 high-level bike jobs that are open right now.

Seattle-based Rad Power Bikes is asking owners to park their RadWagon 4 bikes over fears the tires could pop while you’re riding. Which is probably a bad thing.

Ruth Orkin, the then 29-year old daughter of silent film star Mary Ruby, took the first unposed, color photograph to appear on a magazine cover — after riding her bicycle to New York when she was just 17.

A 71-year old New York man is using his megaphone — literally — to demand “Tour de France guys” in Central Park slow down. Never mind that he’s been convicted of election fraud.

Bicycling examines the nation’s most dangerous road for bicyclists, running eastward from Queens in New York State. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A Boston money manager still rides his bike to work at 95-years old.

 

International

Cycling Weekly talks with a sports psychologist about how to overcome the six most common bicycling fears. Yet somehow, they don’t even mention my biggest fear — getting run down by a distracted driver.

Bike riders in London, Ontario call for safer streets after a student was killed in a hit-and-run, saying it feels like life or death on the roads.

A British driver faces charges for the alleged stoned-driving death of a popular club cyclist participating in a time trial.

Thirty-year old Scottish twin brothers will stand trial for murdering a 63-year old man taking part in a fundraising ride; the men allegedly beat the victim to death after crashing into him while driving drunk.

Runners may have the bulls, but bike riders in Pamplona, Spain had to overcome the hills.

Taking a cue from Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival, Italy’s Bianchi goes electric. And yes, you have to be pretty damn old to get that reference.

 

Competitive Cycling

UCI announced a second Super Worlds, with all cycling events — including road, track, BMX, mountain bike and paracycling — taking place in the same week in Haute-Savoie, France, four years after next year’s Super Worlds in Glasgow.

This year’s Worlds were marked with drama when race favorite Mathieu van der Poel abandoned during the race, later revealing that he’d been arrested after confronting teenagers who repeatedly knocked on his door the night before the race, keeping him up all night. He was fined the equivalent of nearly $1,000 after being convicted on common assault.

 

Finally…

What if cities had driving and non-driving sections? Sure, you may be champion of the world, but your socks are too damn long.

And that feeling when you can buy a state-of-the-art hubless ebike for less than a concert ticket.

With free shipping, too.

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A belated l’shanah tovah to everyone celebrating this week!

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Embarrassed to be seen on an ebike, support for Venice Blvd bike lanes, and Sierra Club backs faux-environmentalist

A quick update before we get started. 

My brother has made it to Kansas a week into his latest cross-country bike ride.

So far, things are running smoothly, despite temperatures in the high 90s. 

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No bias here.

A writer for The Atlantic, who clearly doesn’t get it, says ebikes are monstrosities that need to develop an identity of their own, distinct from bicycles and motorbikes.

Never mind that ebikes open up this wild and wonderful world of bicycling we so love to countless people who couldn’t ride a bike before, or would love to ride one again.

Not to mention countless more who use them as a simple and efficient way to get to work or school. Or do their shopping without having to break out the family SUV.

Or own one, even.

But writer Ian Bogost doesn’t see it that way.

But I’ve been trying to live with one, and brother, I’ve got some bad news. These things are freaks. Portraying e-bikes as a simple, obvious, and inevitable evolution of transportation (or even of bicycling) doesn’t fully explain these strange contraptions. The Venicsame was said of Segways, and then of Bird scooters, and both flamed out spectacularly…

Perhaps my e-bike ambivalence comes in part from the bike’s strange social status. An e-bike isn’t cheap—the least expensive ones are about $1,000, and they go up to $5,000 or more. But the symbolic value one receives in exchange is minimal. Spending five large on a conventional bike would get you a status symbol—you’d come off as a cyclist for sure. For that matter, spending that dough on a Vespa would infuse you with an Aperol-tinged Italianate cool. You’d want to be seen arriving on your moped. But I don’t want anybody seeing me on my e-bike. It’s just kind of embarrassing.

Seriously.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but who honestly gives a rat’s rear about the social cachet of your bicycle, unless you are in fact dropping way too much on a high-end roadie designed to make you faster than your little legs and limited skills would otherwise allow?

You know, kind of like an ebike.

But wait, as they say in informercials, there’s more!

Currently, e-bikes are trapped in the weird smear between pathetic, loser bicycles and pitiable, low-end motorbikes. Especially in America, where bike infrastructure is far less developed than in the small, flat nations of Northern Europe that cycling advocates like to exalt as a model, e-bikes have become kind of a nuisance. Walking the streets of New York City, it now feels just as likely that you might get mowed down by an e-bike as a taxicab. Elsewhere, the narrow protected lanes and greenway trails built for human-powered bikes—already littered with stroller-pushers and joggers—don’t quite scale to the new swiftness of e-bikes. The pathways and roads themselves, perhaps already unsafe at bike speed due to uneven pavement and poor maintenance, feel even more dangerous on a not-quite-motorcycle.

So, no one wants ebikes and there’s no market for them, yet they’re as ubiquitous as taxicabs on New York sidewalks.

Sure, that makes sense.

Never mind that ebikes already outsell electric cars and plug-in hybrids combined in the US.

That would seem to refute the argument that there’s no clear market for them. Let alone that anyone other than him is embarrassed to ride one.

Maybe someone could just tell Mr. Bogost that 2012 called, and wants its hot take back.

Then again, maybe he wouldn’t feel so embarrassed if he was riding Mercedes new $5,800 Formula E-inspired ebike.

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The proposal to expand the protected bike lanes and bus lanes on Venice Blvd seemed to enjoy overwhelming support at yesterday’s virtual meeting, as well as on community surveys.

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Leave it to our local Sierra Club to get it wrong.

As someone who grew up in Colorado, I’d long seen the Sierra Club as a protector of the native environment.

But it didn’t take long after moving to Los Angeles to realize that the LA/Orange County chapter was mired in form of environmental conservatism unbecoming of local politics. And unwilling to upset the automotive hegemony and single-family home applecart to actually advocate for the change we need to save our city.

Let alone the planet.

Which leads to their endorsement of everyone’s favorite faux-environmentalist and termed-out councilmember, who apparently never met a bike lane he liked, or a NIMBY he didn’t.

My old friend Dr. Michael Cahn seems to sum up the sad situation pretty well.

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Hats off to the East Side Riders for working to bring an ebike lending library to the South LA area.

Even if a certain writer for The Atlantic would be embarrassed to be seen on one.

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Beautiful cover art by the late, great French illustrator Jean-Jacques Sempé.

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More proof you can move anything by bike. Even if it looks like the dog is doing the steering.

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

Yet another cord has been strung over a Madison, Wisconsin bike path where it could clothesline an unsuspecting rider; one victim has already been seriously injured crashing into one.

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

A Welsh cabbie has been sentenced to two years behind bars for deliberately running over a road raging bike rider who slapped the hood of his car and called him a fat fuck in a dispute over the man’s driving.

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Local

What took so long? Ever since a speeding driver blew through a red light and killed five people in Windsor Hills, along with a pregnant woman’s unborn baby, I’ve wondered when they would get around to claiming she wasn’t conscious leading up to the crash.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton expounds on yesterday’s comment about the Ventura Blvd bike lane plans, questioning why the city is touting it as a bike safety proposal instead of the parking plan it really is.

 

State 

For the second year in a row, Governor Gavin Newsom killed a bill that would have allowed bike riders to treat stop signs as yields; this time he only had to announce plans to veto the bill to get it pulled by its sponsor. Never mind that it’s safely in use in an ever-growing number of cities and states. Maybe we’ll have to call getting ticketed for rolling a stop “getting Gavined.”

Calbike is looking for a full-time executive director, as well as a part-time individual giving manager. Let me know when that last position gets filled; I know a few individuals I’d be happy to give them.

Carlsbad literally put its money where its figurative mouth is, voting to allocate $2 million to confront a bike safety emergency, after bicycle and ebike injuries doubled over the previous year, and two ebike riders were killed there just one week apart; the funding includes half a million dollars to hire four additional traffic enforcement cops. Thanks to Oceanside bike lawyer and BikinginLA sponsor Richard Duquette for the heads-up; the way things our going in San Diego and Orange counties lately, they need a good bike lawyer down there. Or maybe an army of them.

 

National

Cycling Weekly offers a guide to smooth and efficient shifting, and announces their picks for the best bike bells. Wake me when somebody makes a bike bell that sounds like an old submarine klaxon.

ZDNet suggests where to hide an AirTag on your bike so thieves won’t find it. Apparently assuming that bike thieves don’t know how to Google.

A VeloNews podcast talks with mountain bike icon Gary Fisher, who has remained a force in the bike industry through two cultural revolutions.

An Orem, Utah elementary school is raising funds to teach kindergarten kids how to ride bikes, through the All Kids Bike program.

While LA bike riders struggle to get to SoFi Stadium, Houston is building a bike path to get riders safely to and from the NFL’s NRG Stadium; the city hopes to conclude work in time for the annual rodeo and livestock show in March.

A Minnesota bike rider explores John Prine’s “jungles of East St. Paul.” And makes it look pretty damn good in the process.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A Michigan woman was killed by a hit-and-run driver, just moments after she ran out of her house to aid a bike rider who had just been killed by another motorist.

New York is considering an ebike rebate program that could slash prices 50%, up to a retail cost of $2,200.

The husband of an American diplomat killed riding her bike in Maryland has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support; a crowdfunding campaign has raised nearly $180,000 in just two days to advocate for safer bikeways, more than tripling the original goal.

 

International

The Guardian considers how our language has been colonized by cars, while wondering whether we really want to see the world from a windshield perspective.

Seriously? The Sun questions who was in the right, after a driver plows into a rider practicing stunts on his BMX bike in the middle of a dark street. Is all of the above an option?

No need to cork intersections anymore, with a new device that will let you control the traffic signal for up to 45 seconds at a time.

Road.cc wants to know who drained the color out of road bike tires, and why.

No irony here. A mayoral candidate in Winnipeg, Manitoba had his own bicycle stolen, just 85 minutes after announcing a plan to eliminate bike theft.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a British paramedic’s bike while he was busy saving lives; the victim was riding his bike to save money after the birth of his daughter.

Bike Radar offers ten “weird and wonderful mountain bike throwbacks” from this year’s Malverns Classic in the UK.

 

Competitive Cycling

Aussie Kaden Groves won his first Grand Tour stage in Wednesday’s 11th stage of the Vuelta, while Remco Evenepoel maintained his grip the red leader’s jersey.

Cycling Weekly examines Irish pro Sam Bennett’s return to his winning ways in the opening weekend of the Vuelta.

Over 1,800 riders are expected to turn out for the tenth anniversary of The Rebecca’s Private Idaho gravel race, founded by former cycling great and Idaho native Rebecca Rusch.

 

Finally…

We may have to deal with distracted LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to ride highways smothered in Alfredo sauce. That feeling when Google Maps directs you to bike lanes that don’t exist.

And with hair like that, who needs a helmet?

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Venice bike lane Zoom meeting tonight, Ventura Blvd bike lane plan fails smell test, and cars “social and environmental curse”

We mentioned it yesterday.

But it’s worth repeating, as Kent Strumpell reminds us about tonight’s virtual meeting to discuss expanding the bus lanes and protected bike lanes on Venice Blvd in Mar Vista.

Super important!  Virtual meeting for Venice Blvd. bikeway/busway expansion.  The Venice Blvd. Safety and Mobility Project, Wednesday 6:30. Zoom registration and link: https://ladot.lacity.org/venicersvp.

The city needs to see strong support to move this project forward.  It could be transformative, creating LA’s first crosstown protected bikeway.

The plan would expand the bike lanes from National Blvd in the east, to Lincoln Blvd in the west, and provide the Westside’s first safe bike commuter route.

You can learn more from Streetsblog’s report.

Meanwhile, a writer for Patch explains the need for the project, which would serve nearly 47,000 people who live within five minutes of the deadly street.

Venice Boulevard is a part of the City of Los Angeles’s High Injury Network due to a disproportionate number of traffic collisions, according to a statement from LADOT. From 2012 to 2022 there have been 1,203 collisions and 25% of them have involved pedestrians or bicyclists, which is higher than average for Los Angeles. In that same time frame, there have been 58 people who were killed or severely injured in collisions on Venice Boulevard, according to the statement.

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Maybe the news about bike lanes on Ventura Blvd isn’t as good as it seemed.

A couple comments from Lionel Mares and Joe Linton paint the changes in a different light, describing them parking improvements to encourage more driving, instead of safer bikeways to get people out of their cars.

Let’s hear from Mares first.

I am glad that Ventura Blvd in the San Fernando Valley is getting a ‘Bike Lane’, but the traffic road design by LADOT is awful! The bike lane should be moved closer to the curb (by the sidewalk), and NOT in-between moving cars and parked vehicles!! The LADOT rendering (design) is awful!!

Even Streets For All can agree to this!

I have advocated for and demanded city officials and to Michael Schneider that we need better representation in the San Fernando Valley! We want better and safer Bike Lanes!! I can’t take it anymore! The silence is complicit! We demand better and safer streets for all people including bicyclists!

Linton explains the situation further.

Reimagine Ventura (in CD3, Blumenfield) is a half-mile project that is about adding more car parking – it does a road diet then allocates former car travel lane space to diagonal car parking. It “includes bike lanes” but only in the sense that it just keeps existing unprotected bike lanes. It came out of a parking study that analyzed protected bike lanes, then recommended against them.

Clearly, this isn’t the kind of “improvement” we need.

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There may be hope yet.

A writer for The Guardian says we’ve reached peak car, and that private motor vehicles — and not just the gas-fueled ones — are thankfully on their way out.

Now if someone will just tell LA’s elected leaders.

The worldwide love affair with the car, which promised consumers convenience, status and freedom, is over. The reality from Hotan to Hull and Lagos to Lahore is that the car is now a social and environmental curse, disconnecting people, eroding public space, fracturing local economies, and generating sprawl and urban decay. With UK temperatures hitting highs of 40C this summer, this reality has become impossible to ignore. Instead of the prospect of speed and cheap mobility, consumers now get soaring costs, climate breakdown and air pollution, the devastation of nature, mounting debt, personal danger and ill health, and the most serious energy crisis in 30 years…

From here on, it looks like death by 1,000 breakdowns for the private car. Just as the coach and horse were pushed out by automobiles 120 years ago, so the car is being steadily evicted from world cities by the authorities or by public revulsion. As thousands of jubilee street parties showed, car-free streets are popular, and the surest and best way to save money, improve health and make cities quieter and more livable. A recent report from the Centre for London shows how low-traffic neighbourhoods, introduced widely during the pandemic to encourage walking and cycling, reduce car use and make roads safer. Wales has slashed the default speed limit on residential roads from 30mph to 20mph.

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Yes, there’s a smarter way to shop with a bike.

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The last time I checked, the willful destruction of private property was a crime.

Regardless of who does it, or why.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

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

Vandals took a sledgehammer to bikeshare ebikes in Tulsa, Oklahoma, knocking ten percent of the bikeshare fleet out of commission.

Madison, Wisconsin bicyclists were warned someone is planting booby traps on a busy commuter bike path, after a 52-year old bike rider was clotheslined by an HDMI cable strung across the bikeway at neck height; the cord was replaced two more times after he removed it. This should be charged as attempted murder at the very least, if and when the jerk responsible is caught.

No bias here. A British driver complains about a “militant,” and “self-important” bike rider, because she did the right thing by taking to the center of the lane when she felt unsafe.

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

A 37-year old Visalia, California man was convicted of four counts of premeditated attempted murder for setting a fire at the home of his ex-girlfriend and their two children, as well as her new boyfriend; he rode his BMX bike both to and from the home to set the arson fire. 

Friends mourn the 44-year old Singapore immigrant who was killed in a collision with a hit-and-run bicyclist in New York earlier thus month.

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Local

Los Angeles County supervisors have ordered unspecified “immediate steps” to slow speeding drivers at La Brea and Slauson, nearly a month after a red light-running driver traveling at an estimated 90 mph killed five people, as well as an infant just two weeks from full term. The supervisors also called for changes in California law to allow automated speed cams, which they could have backed before the bills died in committee during the last two legislative sessions.

Smart Cities looks at the opportunity of LA residents to vote on the Healthy Streets LA ballot proposal in 2024, after the city council declined to adopt it outright, and placed it on the ballot, instead.

A letter writer in The LA Times suggests connecting the Ballona Creek bikeway to the Los Angeles River bike path to create a network of bicycle superhighways, while another complains that cars don’t just go away when streets are closed. Actually, studies show they do, because traffic on nearby streets usually show only marginal increases when roadways or bridges are closed to cars.

 

State 

Sad news from Santa Rosa, where the 52-year old chef of a Mexican restaurant was killed when he crashed into a car-blocking bollard while on a casual bike ride with ten co-workers on a local bike path. Just one more example of a protective measure intended to keep people on bicycles safe actually putting them in greater danger.

Predictably, bicyclists in San Mateo County are complaining that recent road resurfacings using chip-seal are increasing the risk to bike riders, while making some rural roads virtually unridable.

Streetsblog calls on San Francisco voters to keep JFK Drive carfree, after city officials recently made the temporary pandemic closure permanent.

A 31-year old Fairfield man faces 15 to life after a Solano County jury found him guilty of second degree murder and hit-and-run causing injury or death for the drunken, high-speed crash that killed a 52-year-old man riding a bicycle last fall; Nadhir Muftah Ghuzi has been held without bail since his arrest.

UC Davis police are investigating the recent incidents of racist and anti-semitic banners being hung from a bike overpass on the campus.

 

National

Streetsblog considers how to design better cities for the “unseen” bicyclists.

British bike parking and infrastructure company Cyclehoop is launching in the US.

CNN likes the Rad Runner 2, calling it the e-utility bike for everyone.

A Utah thief was caught on security cam video smashing a vehicle through the front of a bike shop, and making off with 50 grand worth of ebikes.

Nice move from nonprofit group Operation Get Out, which gave a new bicycle to every elementary school kid in Uvalde, Texas; the group gave away 800 bicycles, along with helmets, locks, tubes and hundreds of stuffed animals.

Sad news from Chicago, where an unlicensed driver allegedly ran a stop sign, killing a 55-year old man riding a bicycle on Saturday. And yet people somehow complain about scofflaw bike riders, who usually don’t pose a risk to anyone but themselves.

Following the death of a State Department diplomat while riding her bike near DC last week, Fox News reports that two women who worked for the department were killed in collisions on their bikes in just over a month; both were in their 40s.

 

International

Canadian Cycling Magazine writes about the absurd heights people go to so they can drive their massively oversized trucks, which threaten the lives of everyone else on the road.

You’ve got to be kidding. The BBC has spanked radio host Jeremy Vine for breaching the network’s impartiality rules by voicing his support for London’s Low Traffic Neighborhoods, the equivalent of American Slow Streets.

 

Competitive Cycling

Belgium’s Remco Evenepoel dominated the individual time trial in Tuesday’s stage ten of the Vuelta, gaining another 48 seconds on three-time defending champ Primož Roglič, who looks like he won’t need to worry about defending again next year.

Britain’s Simon Yates was forced to abandon the race after getting infected with Covid-19, the first contender to withdraw due to the virus.

Everything you always wanted to know about the Vuelta a España’s red leader’s jersey but were afraid to ask, including that the maillot rojo was only adopted 12 years ago.

Bummer to take a wrong turn in the Vuelta time trial.

VeloNews reports on the global mourning over fallen Kenyon pro cyclist Suleiman “Sule” Kangangi, who died after a high speed fall during the Vermont Overland gravel race at just 33 years old; Kangangi was called a giant for blazing a trail for African cyclists.

Cycling Weekly looks at the newly formed National Cycling League, questioning whether the competitive crit teams represent the future of cycling, or just another gimmick. We’ll see if they actually begin racing next year, which remains questionable.

A paratriathlete relates how he took his cycling to the next level after losing a leg to cancer in college. For a change, you can read it on AOL if Bicycling blocks you. And yes, AOL is still a thing, evidently. 

 

Finally…

That feeling when your ebike is your favorite photography accessory. But who needs an ebike when you’ve got a jet-powered tricycle?

And that feeling when you tour the world on a tall bike with a rescue dog you just met along the way.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

LA Council considers Healthy Streets tomorrow, carfree living in LA ain’t so pretty, and Venice bike lane extension

As we mentioned yesterday, the Los Angeles City Council is scheduled to consider the Healthy Streets LA ballot proposition at Wednesday’s meeting.

After the proposition qualified for the ballot, it opened a 20 day window for the council to adopt it as written, or place it on the 2024 ballot for a vote by the city.

Aside from the usual opposition that comes with any proposed changes to LA streets, some advocates have come out against the measure because it doesn’t include a focus on equity or schedule for how the plan will be rolled out.

But that’s not the purpose of the proposal. It’s really a very simple measure — all it does is require Los Angeles to build out the city mobility plan, which they’ve already approved, whenever a street included in the plan is resurfaced.

That’s it.

It’s up to the city to determine when streets get resurfaced, and how to bring equity into the process.

So the best option is for the council to adopt the Healthy Streets LA proposition as written, then adopt a separate plan to fairly and equitably roll it out, especially in lower income communities that are too often ignored.

Unfortunately, I probably won’t be able to make it. I’m still having major health problems that keep me close to home, especially at night in the mornings until my meds kick in.

But I’m begging you, if you can clear your schedule Wednesday morning, go make your voice heard to demand that the city keep its word, and give us the safe, livable streets they promised.

And if you can’t, then email your council member today, before the day is over. That’s what I’ll be doing.

Here is what Streets For All said about it in a recent email.

IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS WEDNESDAY AND WE NEED YOU TO COME IN PERSON!

After a year and a half, it all comes down to THIS WEDNESDAY. The City Council has item #20 on its agenda to consider adopting Healthy Streets LA now, or send it to the 2024 ballot.

The City Council no longer takes remote comments, and we need you to show up in person Wednesday at 10am at LA City Hall (200 N. Spring St. Room 340) and make public comment asking them to take Option #1, and adopt Healthy Streets LA. Here are some talking points you can use. We suggest timing yourself to make sure you can say everything you want to say in 1 minute.

We’re almost there, and we need all hands on deck. See you there!

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

RSVP AND TELL US YOU’LL BE THERE

VIEW TALKING POINTS

………

It’s not always pleasant to see yourself through someone else’s eyes.

Especially the view isn’t always pretty.

An Indian writer working with the LA Times on a journalism fellowship discovers just how difficult it is to survive in Los Angeles without a car, where the taxis are expensive and transit unreliable, and bike lanes start and stop with no coherent reason.

And you can’t even go through a Del Taco drive through without one, even when the walkup window is closed.

………

This is the cost of traffic violence.

A Florida driver killed five people in their late teens and early twenties when he drove the wrong way on a freeway at 4:30 am.

The 30-year old driver, who was the only one who survived the crash, hasn’t had a valid driver’s license since his was revoked after getting caught doing 109 mph.

Yet he continued to drive anyway, racking up traffic violations that include speeding, running red lights and failing to yield at an intersection, despite being described by a former girlfriend as psychotic and obsessive.

Just one more example of authorities allowing a dangerous driver to stay on the roads until he killed someone.

Or five someones.

Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up. 

………

Streetsblog says work is underway to extend the parking protected bike lane on Venice Blvd.

………

Buena Park has started work on what will be the longest bike lanes in the city when they’re finished.

………

I’m not sure I’d call this a rickshaw. It seems more like a side-by-side tandem to me.

Although I did have to read the tweet to figure out that wasn’t Peter Pan sitting next to Peter Fonda.

………

A YouTuber converted his old mountain bike to an ebike, in order to tow his solar-powered camper trailer complete with rechargeable battery.

………

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

A road raging pickup driver disrupted a Portland open streets event by driving onto the route, screaming obscenities at volunteers and participants, and even flashing a gun at one point. Police say they are investigating.

Once again, cops bend over backwards to exonerate one of their own, after a Lincoln, Nebraska cop right hooked a 15-year old kid crossing the street on his bike with the walk signal; the police insist the kid somehow crashed into the side of the police cruiser as the officer was turning. Something smells like bullshit here, which isn’t hard to find in Nebraska.

British lawyer “Mr. Loophole” wants bike riders who kill pedestrians to face life imprisonment, even though drivers usually get off with a slap on the wrist, if that. And even though it hardly ever happens, while drivers kill people every day.

Cycling Weekly has more information about the Spanish driver who plowed into a group of eight bicyclists, killing a couple of 67 and 72-year old men and seriously injuring three others; the driver was captured ten hours after fleeing the crash. He’s under investigation for murder, after witnesses say he suddenly changed lanes and sped up before hitting the bike riders.

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

A Phoenix man faces charges for shooting and killing another man in a dispute over a stolen bicycle; he confessed to the killing when police arrested him, but swore he actually stole the bike from someone else.

………

Local

This is who we share the road with. The LA Times takes a deep dive into deadly street takeovers and side shows, which authorities describe as a scene of lawlessness “bordering on a riot;” six people have already been killed in street takeovers this year.

The WeHo Times provides photos from Sunday’s Meet the Hollywoods CicLAvia, while My News LA offers a brief wrap-up.

The sheriff’s department will conduct a traffic safety operation in Santa Clarita from 2 pm to 8 pm today, focusing on violations that put bike riders and pedestrians at risk, regardless of who commits them. You know the drill. Ride to the letter of the law until you leave the area, so you’re not the one who gets ticketed.

 

State 

California is still trying to get its shit together regarding the fully funded ebike rebate program that was supposed to be up and running by now; the California Air Resources team will hold a virtual public workshop tomorrow to discuss issues like participant income eligibility, what types of ebikes should be covered by the program, and what kinds of retailers should participate.

San Diego’s popular Bike the Bay rolls this Sunday, providing your annual opportunity to ride the city’s iconic Coronado Bridge. Thanks to Robert Leone for the heads-up.

KTLA-5 offers an update on the 14-year old boy who was run down by a 68-year old driver while riding bikes with a friend in the parking lot of the Camarillo Premium Outlets; his mother reports he suffered an extensive brain injury, as well as a collapsed lung, cracked sternum, fractured vertebrae and serious road rash. A crowdfunding campaign has raised over $20,000 of the $50,000 goal.

Thanks again to Robert Leone for catching us up on a couple stories we missed recently:

Richmond is planning to revive its moribund e-bikeshare system a month after Bolt bolted, and left hundreds of abandoned ebikes on the streets.

 

National

Runner’s World recommends the best bike helmets for “comfortable, breezy protection.”

Highway-choked Houston is slowly inching away from its auto-centric reputation with a series of multimodal infrastructure projects. Maybe they could show LA officials how to do it.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a “priceless” bike that belonged to a Minnesota man who recently died of a brain tumor; before his death he passed the bike onto his son because he wanted the boy to enjoy riding like he did.

This, too, is the cost of traffic violence. Pioneering heart researcher Jeffrey Robbins, PhD was killed when a teenage driver attempted to pass him as he was making a left turn on his bike to enter an Ohio bike trail. But it’s okay, because the cops say it was just an “oopsie.”

Unbelievable. Indianapolis has removed concrete bollards along a protected bike lane, and replaced them with flimsy car-tickler plastic bendy posts, because it was just to hard to maintain the concrete barriers after drivers hit them. So better to let drivers crash into the soft people on bicycles instead, apparently.

Ebikes are getting more Maine residents out of their cars, and could help the state meet its climate goals. Which is a pretty good indication that their climate goals aren’t ambitious enough.

Boston residents are working together to cope with a month-long shutdown of a pair of commuter rail lines, including mapping bike routes and organizing bike buses for beginning riders.

DC installed a new traffic signal to address years of complaints about a dangerous intersection, nine days too late to save the life of a woman riding a bike who was right hooked by a garbage truck driver.

This is the cost of traffic violence, too. An 11-year old Florida boy was killed when a pickup driver towing a boat swerved up on the sidewalk to avoid a crash, where the boy was riding his bike.

Sad commentary from a Florida website, which says ghost bikes are becoming all-too-familiar roadside memorials on Miami’s Rickebacker Causeway.

 

International

Yes, cars really are out to get us, one way or another. Vancouver bike riders are demanding a safe route after a bike path was closed when the roof of a parking lot collapsed, blocking the bikeway.

Calgary residents complain about new bike lanes intended to slow speeding drivers, as some worry they won’t be safe because…wait for it…scofflaw drivers will break the law.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a hit-and-run driver walked without a single day behind bars for leaving a bike rider with a broken pelvis.

A British bike rider completed the grueling, 2,500-mile Transcontinental race across Europe riding a Brompton foldie.

That’s more like it. France will pay you up to the equivalent of nearly four grand to swap your smelly, polluting car for a clean running ebike, or $400 to buy an ebike without a car trade, and Paris will give up up to $500 to buy an ebike or foldie.

This is who we share the road with. A 20-year old American service member is under house arrest inside the Aviano Air Base in northern Italy after killing a 15-year old boy while driving at four times the legal alcohol limit.

Cycling Tips considers why Australian roads became proportionately more dangerous during the pandemic.

 

Competitive Cycling

The real Vuelta starts today, when the peloton returns to Spain with a harrowing uphill finish.

Semi-retired LA pro cyclist Phil Gaimon now owns the course record for Maine’s prestigious Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, while notching his fourth win in the event; San Jose’s Courtney Nelson also set a course record while winning the women’s event.

 

Finally…

Once again, if you’re carrying meth on your bike, put a damn light on it, already. Congratulations, your kid is now some Tesla driver’s crash test dummy.

And this is how you avoid close passes.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Windshield-biased Ocean Beach victim blaming, PCH project back on Malibu agenda, and unsafe Venice bike lanes

This is who we share the road with.

In a truly awful piece, a writer in San Diego’s Ocean Beach neighborhood complains that bike advocates are lying about this years rash of bicycling deaths to foist an anti-car agenda on the car-driving public.

He has the shameless audacity to go through each death one by one, pointing out how the victims were, or could have been, at fault, but from his windshield-biased perspective.

Never mind that he’s relying on newspaper accounts for his information, which as we’ve seen, too often don’t contain the salient facts and leave far too many blanks to fill.

And all too often, are based on police reports, which can, and usually do, reflect the officer’s windshield bias, and a basic lack of training when it comes to bike laws.

I had intended to open today’s post with a lengthy rant dissecting his arguments. But soon discovered that Peter Flax had beaten me to the punch.

Writing for Medium, Flax took the writer — and the bike-unfriendly OB Rag, which published the shameful piece — to task for the obvious victim blaming.

Obvious to anyone but the author, anyway.

The central premise of Page’s story is that bike advocates and city leader in San Diego have dishonestly tried to leverage the spate of riders being killed there to get more bike lanes built — “to further the cycling agenda” as he puts it. In his argument, the connection between people dying and the need for better riding infrastructure is mostly fictious and totally overblown. And then to prove his hypothesis, Page does some light googling and sets out to demonstrate that nearly all the cycling deaths that have occurred in San Diego were likely the riders’ own fault. It’s an eye-opening exercise in victim blaming.

Above all, the story is inhumane and recklessly presumptive. Imagine thinking that you could spend an hour on Google, read a handful of day-one news stories, and then feel equipped to pronounce that strangers in your community have been killed because of their own errors or bad judgment. Imagine being an editor or publisher and thinking you want to publish that kind of a hot take on your site.

Then Flax did something remarkable.

He reached out to the man who penned that awful piece, and held a non-judgmental online discussion — nonjudgmental on his side, anyway — on why he wrote it.

Here’s just a brief sample of the conversation.

In your story, you state quite firmly that five of these deaths were the fault of the cyclists, and that several made “poor choices” and several more died in circumstances where blame cannot be assigned. This adds up to nearly all the deaths in San Diego. Can you see how many people felt like you were engaged in victim blaming?

I did not blame any victims. I recounted that the news stories on five of these clearly showed the cyclist was at fault, that was not me making a decision based on the facts. The facts in five more do not say who was at fault, not a conclusion I came to. I have responded to several comments asking for a specific instance of victim blaming in my article. Nothing.

It’s not victim blaming these folks are upset about. They are upset because I had the temerity to challenge the cycling narrative to the public by debunking their claim about what these 12 deaths meant. My target was dishonesty.

Unfortunately, the conversation accomplished exactly what you’d expect, with the author unbudging in his unbridled victim blaming, and accusations of some subversive cyclist agenda.

But you have to give Flax credit.

That could not have been an easy conversation to have. And he went out of his way to understand the other man, and to be fair.

But this kind of attitude is, sadly, all too common.

One where we are seen, not as ordinary people simply trying to stay safe on the streets, but as wild-eyed activists pushing a radical anti-car agenda to force the unwilling car-driving public onto bicycles.

When the truth is, we’re just trying to get from here to there in one piece.

And too often, failing.

Photo from the bike path in Santa Monica, which will have to stand in for Ocean Beach.  

………

Malibu’s continually rescheduled discussion of a plan to widen the shoulder on a two-mile section of PCH, instead of building bike lanes, which will presumably put bike riders in the door zone — unless maybe they won’t — is back on the agenda for tomorrow night.

Unless it gets postponed once again.

Here’s the notice from Streets For All

Ask the City of Malibu to add safe, protected bike lanes to PCH

There is a special Planning Commission Meeting (RESCHEDULED) in Malibu this Wednesday at 630pm where they are going to discuss approving a plan to widen the shoulder on 2 miles of Pacific Coast Highway between Webb Way and Puerto Canyon Road to add MORE parking.

Their proposal really only benefits cars and puts people on bikes in the “door zone.” We need them to do better – it’s time for Caltrans and Malibu to add protected bike lanes to PCH.

EMAIL THE MALIBU PLANNING COMMISSION BY TUESDAY (9.7)

Maybe the ‘Bu is just hoping we’ll all stop paying attention if they postpone it enough times.

Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen.

………

The author of this tweet sent it to my attention to point out a dangerous condition on the bike lanes on Venice Blvd.

To be honest, it’s hard for me to get too worked up about this simply because it’s been going on for so long.

Whether’s it’s RVs, illegally parked semis and construction trucks, or some other obstacle, the Venice bike lanes are frequently blocked in one place or another from one end to another, and have been for years.

Enforcement doesn’t seem to do any good. Ticketing or towing drivers for parking illegally only seems to work in the moment, until they come back a day or two later.

If not the same day.

The only solution I can see is to install protected bike lanes from Downtown to the coast. And preferably designed so drivers won’t just park in it anyway, like the LAPD and delivery drivers already do in DTLA.

Which should have been done already.

………

Sunset4All held a successful celebration of LA’s first public/private partnership to transform one of the city’s most dangerous streets.

………

Join Tern and New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie for a Reddit chat on the two-wheeled future of transportation.

………

Here’s your reminder that the annual worldwide Fancy Women Bike Ride will roll later this month.

Unfortunately, I haven’t heard anything about rides planned for Los Angeles, or anywhere in Southern California.

So let me know if you’re planning anything here.

………

A Scottish driver escaped a close call when a bicycle fell off the rack of another car on the highway, and lodge in his windshield.

Maybe there really is a war on cars, and the bikes are finally striking back.

………

GCN says you’re probably killing your ebike, if you have one. So stop it, already.

Meanwhile, a writer for Treehugger says she gets so many questions, she feels like a celebrity when she rides her ebike. And recommends getting one “a million times over.”

………

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

Nothing like an LA driver intent on sending a message. Or worse.

https://twitter.com/EntitledCycling/status/1434327524004163588

Evidently, there’s no such thing as a carfree event where drivers are concerned. Like the schmuck who decided to weave his car around participants in Chicago’s Bike the Drive on Sunday.

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

Probably not the best idea to repeatedly fire an antique gun for no apparent reason while riding along an Iowa bike path.

A New York State man is under arrest after using his bicycle as a weapon when police attempted to take him in on a couple outstanding warrants, before pulling a knife on them after a foot chase.

A Virginia bike rider refused to exchange information and demanded money from a driver after a minor collision; the driver wisely called the police instead, and the man on the bike rode off before they arrived.

………

Local

This is who we share the road with. A 22-year old Los Angeles man is dead following a road rage confrontation after a minor fender bender. He chased the other driver when she left the scene, then was thrown to the street after somehow ending up on her hood during a second confrontation.

Streets For All is hosting another virtual happy hour a week from tomorrow, with special guest LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds. Which makes it the perfect opportunity to ask why the bike plan is still just “aspirational,” and why Vision Zero and the city’s Green New Deal seem to have been pushed so far onto the back burner they’re in danger of falling off entirely.

Mark your calendar for the Los Angeles edition of the World Naked Bike Ride on September 18th, where you can go as bare as you dare except for your face, which will need a mask.

 

State

Police in La Jolla busted a suspected serial burglar and bike thief who had been raiding back yards and garages for months; he’s now being held on $300,000 bond.

After talking with other people who’d done it, a San Francisco writer decides to try riding a bike up the area’s steepest hill, with grades as stiff as 30%

A pair of looters were arrested for stealing bicycles from South Lake Tahoe homes after the town was evacuated because of the Caldor Fire.

Oops. A Chico man was busted after police stopped him riding a $5,000 mountain bike, then searched his home and found several stolen bike frames and parts, along with a few grams of meth.

 

National

Your next bike helmet could come loaded with an augmented reality and artificial intelligence-enhanced heads-up display, complete with a 360-degree camera.

After walking away from his IT job, a Portland man is devoting himself full-time to cleaning up the city’s pathways, collecting trash in a trailer towed behind his bike.

Reno bike advocates are up in arms after the city calls for a $100,000 study to reroute a planned bike lane, because the casinos complained that they don’t want one in front of their businesses. Apparently failing to grasp that bike riders are used to gambling, since we have to do it on a daily basis.

Nice gesture from Denver Bronco’s general manager, the rest of the front office and the coaching staff, as they built 75 bicycles for underprivileged second grade students at a local elementary school in honor of former Bronco’s coach Greg Knapp, who was killed in a Bay Area bicycling collision in July.

Kansas police insist they’ve got the right man now, after arresting a motorist for shooting and killing a man, apparently to steal his bicycle, after they’d both visited the same business; another man was cleared of the crime after being arrested earlier, but was still being held on outstanding warrants.

Sometimes, the sound of gunfire is just a bike tire popping in an Arkansas Walmart.

A Cincinnati student newspaper calls for keeping a popup bike lane that was installed in a weekend for just fifty grand.

A Connecticut congressman is riding his bike across the state to promote all the state has to offer. Which apparently isn’t much, since his ride will be just a hair over 91 miles. 

A New York man was rescued after spending anywhere from two to eight hours trapped down a shaft in the Queens woods when he somehow fell down it during a bike ride through the park.

New Yorkers are criticized for risking the lives of bicycle delivery riders, who somehow stayed on the job despite the incredible risks posed by the recent Hurricane Ida.

Sad news from New Jersey, where nationally recognized cyclist and triathlete Arland Macasieb was fighting for his life after being run down by the driver of a classic ’59 Corvette as he was riding his bike across a freeway onramp; Macasieb is also a repeat national trial champ and national record holder in the Philippines.

A Philadelphia magazine profiles North Philly’s Bilenky Cycle Works and their high-end, handmade bicycles.

 

International

The shortage of bicycles and parts fueled by the pandemic bike boom is now expected to last through the end of next year.

Credit the Romans with the first Low Traffic Neighborhoods — or Slow Streets, as we call them on this side of the Atlantic.

He gets it. A British writer says there are no winners in the debate over cars versus bikes.

Inspiring story from a 14-year old English boy who was told he could never ride a bicycle due to his autism and hydrocephalus, and not only learned to ride, but raised the equivalent of nearly $14,000 for his scout troop by riding 1,000 mile across the length of the UK. And had to overcome the theft of his bike just days before he started.

What does it say about our streets that there’s even a need for a $1,000 German made backpack that becomes a full torso airbag in the event of a crash?

BMW wants to put you on a ped-assist ebike with a whopping 186-mile range — and a top speed of 37 mph, which would appear to make it illegal under California law. And would require a driver’s license and motorcycle helmet even if it’s not.

Gee, it’s such a relief to know there’s no suspicion of foul play in the death of a Singapore man who was dragged more than 100 feet under a bus, after he allegedly ran a red light on his bicycle and was right hooked by the driver, who claims he never saw him.

Speaking of Singapore, a woman had a far too close call when she fell off her bike and nearly landed in the path of a large truck. Although all the commenters seemed to care about is that the group of bicyclists she was with wasn’t supposed to be on that highway to begin with.

Still in Singapore, a bike delivery rider says why bother with handlebars, and builds an AI chip that can steer his bike for him.

 

Competitive Cycling

To the surprise of no one, Primož Roglič won the Vuelta by a whopping margin of 4 minutes and 42 seconds, after taking four stages in the process.

Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez apologized for giving up and quitting in the middle of the penultimate Vuelta stage, after falling off a possible podium finish when he was dropped in an attack, slipping from third to sixth before abandoning.

Pez Cycling News shares their final rant from, and about, the Vuelta.

For reasons known only to them, media outlets across the US suddenly decided to share a 2013 CNN piece offering fast facts about Lance Armstrong, as if the seven-time ex-Tour de France winner was somehow once again relevant. Which he’s not.

Sad news from Spain, where a competitor in a Córdoba mountain bike race was found dead a short distance off the road after going missing during the race; the cause of his death was unknown.

 

Finally…

You don’t have to wear spandex when you ride, but try not to look like the Michelin man. If you’re carrying a baggie full of crack on your bike — and have an outstanding warrant for murder — put a damn light on it, already.

And if drivers keep blocking the bike lane, just move it to the other side of the street to keep them out.

Right?

………

L’shanah tovah to everyone celebrating 5782 today!

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

91-year old actor killed on Venice Blvd, LA Times endorses Ryu in CD4, trash cans in bike lanes, and bike videos

Is this really the Los Angeles traffic safety deniers want?

According to the LA Times, 91-year old actor Orson Bean was killed crossing dangerous Venice Blvd near the Pacific Resident Theatre Friday night when he was struck by first one, then another, driver.

The longtime television star was crossing to the theater, where his wife was volunteering as an usher.

“Many of us do this, including the audience,” (theater publicist Judith) Borne said. “The crosswalk is out of the way. Many people … just cross” the lanes.

And there’s the problem.

The street is designed to maximize traffic flow, with pedestrians expected to walk at least a full block in either direction to use a crosswalk to cross the wide, four-lane street.

Except people usually won’t do that.

Most people tend to take the most direct and convenient route. Which in Bean’s case, meant crossing without a crosswalk.

And no, that’s not jaywalking.

Under California law, every intersection has a crosswalk, whether or not it’s marked on the pavement.

Which is often what it means when the police say, as they did in this case, that someone was crossing outside a marked crosswalk.

However, it’s also perfectly legal to cross in the middle of the block, as long as it’s not controlled by a traffic signal on both ends; in this case, the only traffic signal is on Oakwood Ave on the east end of the block.

What’s missing from the street are the safe, convenient crosswalks, and narrowed streets at intersections to slow speeds and reduce crossing distances, that advocates have long been calling for.

And which are exactly the sort of safety improvements that groups like Keep LA Moving and Restore Venice Blvd have been fighting, in an attempt to prioritize the convenience of drivers over the lives and safety of human beings.

If something like this had been in place on every block, rather than just some parallel painted lines where they pose the least inconvenience to drivers, Orson Bean might have lived to see his 92nd birthday.

And if that’s not a tragic waste, I don’t know what is.

Bean deserved better. So do the rest of us.

………

The LA Times endorsed incumbent David Ryu for re-election in my council district, despite the presence of two candidates with better safety and planning credentials in Sarah Kate Levy and Nithya Raman.

Even though, like our current president, Ryu apparently likes to take credit for work done by the previous office holder.

He is also responsible for blocking a desperately needed, shovel-ready road diet and bike lanes on 6th Street between Fairfax and La Brea, despite the support of the local neighborhood council, because it would have inconvenienced drivers who use the narrow street as a bypass for busy Wilshire Blvd.

Both Levy and Raman have been endorsed by Bike the Vote LA. And either would be a better choice in next month’s election.

However, the Times did at least endorse Loraine Lundquist in CD12.

………

If you have any questions about your vote in the March 3rd election, Bike the Vote LA will help answer them tonight.

………

Yes, placing trash cans in a bike lane is illegal under state law. But good luck trying to find someone to enforce it.

………

Let’s hope LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, the new world climate mayor, understands French.

Then again, you don’t need to read it to get this one from the current Paris mayor and previous climate mayor.

https://twitter.com/Anne_Hidalgo/status/1225776654213144577

………

Like Volvo’s misguided glow-in-the-dark spray paint, Ford thinks we’ll all be better off with happy face emojis and turn signals on our jackets. Instead of, say, building safer trucks and SUVs that aren’t designed to kill on impact.

https://twitter.com/FordEu/status/1225364514289352704

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How about a little music for your next ride?

And yes, the lyrics seem to sum it up pretty well. Just don’t wear earbuds in both ears.

………

Looks like someone is fed up with cops parking in bike lanes.

Although, while I appreciate the anger, the wording on that one seems to go a little too.

Thanks to Erik Griswold and W Corylus for the heads-up.

………

As Horace Greeley might have said, “go left, young man.”

………

A new video suggests maybe Los Angeles doesn’t suck for cycling, after all.

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

Police in the UK are looking for a driver who intentionally knocked a teenage boy off his bike. Note to Southern Daily Echo: The car didn’t “nudge” the victim’s tire, the driver did using his car as a weapon.

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

After leading a Washington deputy on a slow speed chase when he refused to pull over for a traffic stop, a Minnesota man threw his bicycle at the officer, took a fighting stance, and said he was baddest man in the world and was going to beat the cop up, then threatened to burn the cop’s home down and kill him after the deputy tased him. But other than that, he seems like a perfect ambassador for the sport, right?

………

Local

The San Francisco bike rider who was convicted for killing a pedestrian in a crosswalk while allegedly racing through the streets trying to claim a Strava KOM is now running attack ads against George Gascón, the DA who charged him, as Gascón runs for the same post in Los Angeles. Which seems like a damn good reason to vote for Gascón, if you ask me.

LAist examines the push to reform the deadly 85th Percentile Law and lower speed limits to safer levels in the City of Angels. Although maybe the City of Angeles could just stop making so many of them.

CicLAvia points out some of the high points on historic Central Avenue through South Central, Florence-Firestone and Watts, site of the next CicLAvia on February 23rd. Meanwhile, an op-ed in the Times discusses the importance of the area once known as the Eastside to the black community. Which explains how the East Side Riders got their name, even though they’re nowhere near East LA.

Classy move by Duarte, which renamed a bike and pedestrian path in the city for the San Gabriel Valley’s first African American council member and mayor, and his wife.

Tonight’s Malibu City Council meeting will include discussion of proposed bike and pedestrian paths to improve safety on Civic Center Way, along with the possibility of adding a traffic lane.

 

State

Baby steps. The first state bill in response to a recent study criticizing the outdated and deadly 85th Percentile Law would merely extend the time between required traffic surveys, while creating a statewide traffic safety program to monitor pedestrian and bicycle crashes. Meanwhile, speed surveys have finally been completed on all LA streets, allowing full speed enforcement for the first time in several years.

Evidently, Cleveland isn’t the only place where rivers catch on fire; Riverside firefighters were mopping up the remains of a 64-acre blaze that ignited on the Santa Ana River bottom, forcing the closure of the bike path that parallels the river.

The thoroughly discredited concept of bike licenses and registration once again rears its ugly head in San Francisco, thanks to a candidate for city supervisor. Most people who call for it are really far less interested in licensing than they are in just getting bikes off the streets.

It only took one day for bike ridership to boom on San Francisco’s newly carfree Market Street.

A Bay Area bike rider describes how he gladly broke the law by riding an ebike on a trail through the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

A trio of Marin mountain bikers face prosecution for building an illegal trail though an open space reserve, allegedly causing $72,000 in damage.

 

National

Harley Davidson’s new $30,000 electric motorcycle could face unexpected competition from more modest ebikes.

Finally, someone gets around to the really important stuff, as the Chicago Tribune examines what to look for in a dog bike trailer and offers their picks.

The VP of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy says America will need bicycling and walking included to pass a major transportation bill.

Tragic news, as the president of the Utah-based Children’s Miracle Network of hospitals was killed in a bicycling crash; unfortunately, there’s no word on where or how the crash occurred.

A British tabloid gets it right, saying the breathtaking views of Colorado’s Crested Butte is best seen from the seat of a mountain bike.

A kindhearted Colorado man is using his spare time to turn “junk into jewels’ by refurbishing bicycles to give to homeless people.

An Iowa woman wants to know why her husband was killed in a violent fall when the experienced bicyclist was wearing a helmet and riding uphill. And why police discount evidence that he may have been clipped by a passing driver.

Actress Selma Blair bought a $2,000 mobility bike for a Massachusetts stroke victim when the woman couldn’t afford to get it herself.

An Alabama man lay dying in a ditch for over an hour after his bike was struck by a hit-and-run driver who didn’t call 911. And neither did a state legislator or the local police chief, who both knew about the crash but didn’t bother to call for medical help.

The Montgomery, Alabama Bicycle Club will host a bike ride from Selma-to-Montgomery later this month, following in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King on his historic march.

Nothing to worry about in this Orlando, Florida neighborhood, where an eleven-year old neighborhood watch captain patrols the streets by bicycle.

Newly released bodycam video shows a Florida cop tasing a teenage bike rider for the crime of popping wheelies last year; the cop was censured for his actions.

 

International

They’re some of us, too. The Spanish language edition of GQ looks at the bikes preferred by Barack Obama, Brad Pitt, Jude Law, Justin Timberlake and Matt Damon; the first two were also Oscar winners last night.

In a case of life sort of imitating art, an unidentified Reddit user says she stopped speaking to her fiancé when he bought her a Peloton bike, after pleading with him not to get her one.

A Kiwi woman is bicycling 1,250 miles across the length of Mexico, accompanied by a man riding from Alaska to Argentina.

A British Columbia lawyer warns that a switch to no-fault insurance in the province could harm bike riders involved in crashes.

Saskatoon, Canada considers axing a must-use requirement for bike lanes, allowing bicyclists to ride in traffic lanes and make left turns, almost like real people.

An Englishman offers advice on how to ride a unicycle 21,000 miles around the world in three years, which is exactly how he did it. Step one: Don’t fall off.

It takes a real schmuck to steal a Scottish doctor’s bicycle as she was making a house call to visit an elderly patient.

Who says bike riders aren’t tough? A 72-year old British man got back on his bike and rode nine miles home after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver — despite suffering four broken ribs, a fractured hip and a head injury.

A Tunisian woman rode her bike to the Saudi Arabian holy city of Mecca, becoming the first woman to make the pilgrimage by bike; she was allowed into the city, even though she wasn’t accompanied by a male guardian on the 53-day journey, as required by Saudi law.

The former chief-of-staff for Guyana’s defense forces was arrested for a crash that killed a well-known bicyclist; the retired rear admiral failed a roadside Breathalyzer test.

 

Competitive Cycling

Riders in the Netherlands pick an appropriate time to hold the Dutch Headwind Cycling Championships, with no drop bars allowed, as Winter Storm Ciara pummels Europe.

VeloNews discusses why American bike racing needed the late, great Amgen Tour of California; the race is on the sort of one-year hiatus from which most bike races and other events never seem to return.

 

Finally…

If you insist on riding inside, skip the two-grand Peloton and build your own DIY version. Your next Lyft driver could be a 15-time Grammy winner.

And if dinosaurs had just worn helmets and hi-viz, they might still be here today.

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Thanks to Domus Press for a very generous and unexpected donation to help keep this site coming your way every day. Donations are always welcome, in any amount and for any reason. 

 

New hope for Venice Blvd, entitled drivers and anti-bike bias, and an antidote for overly aggressive car ads

There may be hope for Venice Blvd yet.

Recently formed political advocacy group Streets For All has unveiled a new website to promote — or maybe fight for — a Complete Street plan that goes far beyond the limited lane reduction and parking protected bike lanes in Mar Vista.

The group is demanding that the city live up to the promises it made in approving the city’s mobility plan, Vision Zero and Green New Deal Sustainability Plan, and implement dedicated bus lanes, protected mobility lanes and pedestrian improvements to create a safer, cleaner, and more livable Venice Blvd for everyone.

It’s a worthwhile goal.

Venice is one of the few streets that runs from DTLA all the way to the coast, making it a prime thoroughfare for anyone needing to cross the city.

It also cuts through countless neighborhoods along the way that could experience new life and improved safety for the people living nearby.

And it could — and should — provide safe and affordable mobility options for people who don’t own cars, or who choose not to drive. for whatever reasons.

But the most important thing is, all they’re asking for is what the city already promised to do.

Isn’t it time we held our elected leaders to their word?

………

No bias here.

An entitled Antioch driver says his car should somehow have priority over all those entitled bicyclists who ruined his recreational drive along the coast.

………

No bias here, either.

A Missouri writer complains that the traffic statistics bike advocates cite are just lies, and that the Complete Streets that don’t even exist in his little town cause road rage.

No, seriously.

And he goes on to blame people on bicycles for causing the injuries suffered by pedestrians.

But then concludes this way.

I hope that I’ve dispelled some concerns and encouraged others to give bicycle riding a try. Perhaps we’ll meet soon. I’ll ring my bell!

Um, sure.

I feel much better now.

………

And definitely no bias here.

A writer for a right wing Central California site goes on a tirade about bike lanes and Compete Streets, saying gas tax money is being “stolen” for bike and transit projects.

Even though that’s exactly what the state said they’d be used for.

And accusing governor Newsom of using road diets to force “California residents to reach back to the 19th Century when bicycles and trains were the only transportation, other than horses and wagons.”

Damn. That sounds wonderful.

She’s on to us, comrades.

………

That’s more like it. Or maybe not.

A Belgian bike thief got a well deserved three year sentence after a judge ruled the theft was an ecological crime, because it forced the victim to use a less-clean form of transportation.

But don’t expect him to serve that sentence anytime soon.

He’s already been sentenced to a total of nine years for a massive rap sheet that includes 44 arrests with 17 convictions.

But he hasn’t spent a single day behind bars.

Yet.

………

Curbed’s Alissa Walker takes car makers to task for relying on ads that portray their cars, trucks and SUVs being driven recklessly on the same streets where people keep dying.

But here’s an antidote to those heavy footed, over aggressive Super Bowl ads.

………

Blink and you’ll miss it.

Hidden in plain sight in Jeep’s Groundhog Day Super Bowl ad was the official reveal of their upcoming 750-watt ebike. Or maybe it’s actually twice that powerful, capable of literally ripping a bike chain to shreds.

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Can’t find the carbon fiber mountain bike frame you want? Just build your own.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes is all too real.

An Iowa woman got a whopping 40 years behind bars — yes, four zero — for killing a man riding a bicycle in a Cedar Rapids parking lot while driving at twice the legal blood alcohol level; she claimed she was only trying to run over his bicycle, but he just happened to be on it at the time.

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

A New Mexico man was busted after riding his bike up to an undercover cop posing as a prostitute, then asking if he could pay her later because he wouldn’t have the money until Friday. Then finally agreed to pay her with the hamburger he was carrying.

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Local

Curbed says the proposed makeover of Hollywood Blvd would be a big improvement, but hardly radical compared to San Francisco closing Market Street to cars.

Selena Gomez used to be one of us, but now she’s unloading the bikes she used to ride with ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber.

A writer for the New Yorker apparently thinks you can see the air in LA most days, and just breathing here feels like smoking three cigarettes — let alone riding a bike. Maybe I’ve been privileged living on the Westside most of my time in LA, but in 30 year as an Angeleno, I can count the times I’ve experienced that on one hand with most most of the fingers closed, not counting nearby wildfires. 

Burbank is making traffic improvements around three schools to create safe routes for students who walk or bike to school. Unfortunately, though, those improvements don’t appear to include bike lanes.

 

State

San Diego’s Ocean Beach Bike Path will be closed for construction work most of this month, starting today.

The owner of The Bikesmith in San Diego’s Pacific Beach neighborhood has been wrenching bikes for 50 years, earning the sobriquet Bikesmith Bob. Correction: Somehow Pacific was autocorrected to Pacificas last night. This bike shop is in Pacific Beach, as Robert Leone pointed out.

The annual Tour de Palm Springs rolls this Sunday, bringing riders from 46 states and four countries to the roads of the Coachella Valley.

Speaking of the Coachella Valley, the planned CV Link bike path around the valley continues to move forward, thanks to a $29 million state grant; however, the once 50-mile trail has shrunk to just 40.

Streetsblog says San Francisco’s 28-year old Critical Mass movement deserves credit for banning cars from Market Street, with one of the founders saying the rides made it possible for the “tepid, wimpy bike coalition people to do their thing.” Ouch. Especially considering the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is one of the country’s most successful and progressive advocacy groups.

 

National

CNN suggests Lyft should be doing well, but it keeps shooting itself in the foot.

Life is cheap in Washington, where a possibly impaired driver walks with a ridiculous two days behind bars after copping a plea to vehicular homicide in the death of a 75-year old bike rider — about 14 months and 28 days less than the typical minimum sentence. He claimed he didn’t know his medication could cause impairment, despite being on it for the past four years.

Denver officially shutters its docked bikeshare system after ten years, but looks forward to exploring other forms of micromobility.

A solo bike crash last year left a nationally recognized spinal surgeon in Houston a quadriplegic, after he caught his front wheel while riding in a park and went over the handlebars. It’s a sad commentary on our society that even someone like him needs to crowdfund money for the things not covered by insurance.

A Good Samaritan bought new bikes for two Texas boys after theirs were stolen outside their school; the local police also pitched in some new locks.

Illustrating the difficulty in keeping dangerous drivers off the roads, a Milwaukee driver confessed to the hit-and-run death of a bike rider — even though he’s never held a driver’s license.

No bike helmet requirement for Indiana kids, after a state legislator backed off on his proposal because his peers in the legislature considered it too intrusive.

Data from Atlanta’s pop-up protected bike lane experiment confirms that sharing road space benefits everyone.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a backpack from a Baton Rouge bike rider after he was killed by a pair of street racing brothers.

A New Orleans carnival krewe teams with a local neighborhood to call attention to bike and pedestrians safety, eleven months after an extremely drunk driver plowed into a group of bike riders near a Mardi Gras parade at 80 mph, killing two; Tashoni Toney will serve 90 years hard labor after pleading guilty in the crash.

This is why you don’t just toss old tires away. A Florida manatee has been spotted once again after having a bicycle tire stuck around him for at least a month.

 

International

A Toronto writer goes on an anti-Vision Zero rampage, insisting it was created by leftists to drive traffic down to turtle-like speeds and force drivers out of their cars.

A former British soldier set a new Paralympic hour record nine years after losing a leg when he was run over by a tank.

A driver in the UK got eight weeks behind bars for calling a bicyclist wearing a pink jersey “gay boy” and spitting on him; that was his big mistake since authorities traced his DNA through the sample he deposited on the victim. Unfortunately, the original article is hidden behind a paywall, so scroll down Road.cc’s page for the story.

A writer for the Guardian predicts an epic disaster if Great Britain allows e-scooters to infest the country, both for pedestrians and the people riding them. The scooters, not the pedestrians.

You might want to rethink that dream of bicycling the Emerald Isle. Bicycling fatalities have risen an average of 8% a year over the last decade, four times the rate of the next-worse European countries, France and the Netherlands.

Paris provides a prime lesson in what a real climate mayor would do to reinvent a city before it hosts the Olympic Games. Or even just let it live up to its potential.

How about a family bike tour along the Danube from Vienna to Budapest?

 

Competitive Cycling

Those proclamations that the era of doping is over might be just a tad premature. Danish and Norwegian media are reporting that Jakob Fuglsang, the world’s number two ranked cyclist, has been spotted training with Lance’s alleged doping doc Michele Ferrari, who has been banned for life from working with athletes due to his involvement in Armstrong’s US Postal Service team doping scandal.

Bicycling offers five takeaways from this year’s Cyclocross World Championships — including a surprising medal for the US in the women’s U-23 race.

Spanish cyclist Mikel Landa became just the latest pro to have a run-in with a car bumper while training, after he and a riding parter were both run down by a hit-and-run driver last week; fortunately, neither was seriously injured.

Three time men’s ‘cross champ Mathieiu van der Poel faces a tough choice between mountain biking and competing in the Grand Tours.

Columbian cyclist Egan Bernal is going to have some nasty road rash after wiping out rounding a bend on a high-speed descent during the country’s national championships.

 

Finally…

If you’re carrying meth and a pipe on your bike and riding with an outstanding warrant, put some damn reflectors on it, at least. Same goes for carrying heroin and a loaded gun, with a warrant from another state.

And your next ebike could look like a vintage motorcycle.

But why would you want it to?

………

Ride safe out there. If this wind gets any stronger, we may have to change the name of this site to BikinginOz.

And I don’t mean Australia.

 

Morning Links: Mar Vista dermatologist reads minds, cool surfaces make people hot, and Film LA blocks DTLA bike lane

A Mar Vista dermatologist and self-appointed traffic planning expert is back, suggesting that anyone who supports road diets spins and distorts the facts to support their hidden agenda.

And that we only want those poor motorists to suffer.

Right.

Somehow, he professes to know that anyone who complains about “white, rich, noncaring (sic) motorists” are themselves very rich and use their cars more than most. And are white, though he says that shouldn’t matter.

Which begs the question of how he managed to check the bank accounts of everyone on the other side of the debate. Let alone their odometers.

Or why he brought up race if it doesn’t matter.

On the other hand, he does get a few things right.

1) Transportation isn’t social engineering, but rather a search for a better way (or ways) to get from Point A to Point B.

2) Ideology and wishful thinking have no business being prioritized over engineering when it comes to the laws of physics, environmental science, and safety.

Which, oddly, is exactly the opposite of the approach he’s previously taken in criticizing city engineers and planners who he disagree with, based on his extensive knowledge of, uh, dermatology.

He’s also right about this.

3) Being pro-train, pro-bus, pro-van/carpool, pro-bicycle or pro-pedestrian is NOT the same as being anti-motorist…and vice versa. We should all have reasonable access to all forms of transportation.

This from someone who’s fought for two years to have the protected bike lanes on Venice Blvd through Mar Vista removed, and the street restored to six lanes.

Apparently, reasonable access means drivers get as much space as they want, and people on bikes get whatever’s left. And anyone on foot would have to return to scrambling to cross a raging six lane river of cars — including the elderly who formerly struggled to get across.

He goes on to complain about road diets affecting emergency response times. Yet average response times for the Mar Vista fire station, which is right next to the road diet on Venice Blvd, averages just 30 seconds more than the citywide average.

Granted, every second counts. But that hardly seems like the emergency apocalypse opponents make it out to be

Finally, there’s this odd statement.

5) We didn’t, as a community, fight and pay for the Expo Line and other lines only to have service drop–we’ve proudly paid a heap of money for better rail transit, and we deserve nothing but the best for our blood, sweat, tears, and money). And we definitely didn’t pay for bike lanes to be implemented OVER bus and rail projects and service, only as a nice and necessary supplement.

Can anyone seriously make the claim that bike lanes, in Mar Vista or anywhere else, had anything to do with the highly unpopular service cut on the Expo Line, which have affected train users with bicycles as much as anyone else?

And to the best of my knowledge, there were never any plans for bus lanes on Venice — or anywhere else where bike lanes took precedence over bus lanes. Which the NIMBYs and entitled drivers would probably fight just like they’ve fought bike lanes.

All this leads up to tomrrow’s “National Conference” sponsored by traffic safety denier pressure group Keep LA Moving at the Mar Vista cafe, which must be the only national transportation conference small enough to fit in a local restaurant.

Apparently, it’s open to anyone.

So it would be a real shame if some road diet and bike lane supporters decided to show up.

Photo of Venice Blvd in Mar Vista by Joni Yung.

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LA’s experiment with cool road surfaces may be failing, after researchers discovered an unexpected effect.

While the light colored street toppings succeeded in cooling the street, it made everyone around them hotter as the sun’s heat was reflected back into the surrounding air.

………

A bike rider in DTLA encounters an apparent film shoot without any of the required warning or safety cones.

But while it may look like a guerrilla shoot, the video shows what appears to be couple of hi-viz vested cops standing around.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

………

A Maine company has developed a three-wheeled, pedal-less “bike” that enables people with mobility issues and disabilities to walk around recreationally.

………

Local

The Metro Bike bikeshare has expanded into Thai Town and East Hollywood. Hopefully, that means Hollywood itself won’t be far behind.

The Los Feliz Ledger looks at the new bike and pedestrian bridge nearing completion over the Los Angeles River, saying it’s changing the face of Atwater Village.

The Beib is one of us, riding the streets of Los Angeles on a fat tire ebike and learning to ride a unicycle.

SoCal Cycling looks forward to this Sunday’s Heart of LA CicLAvia celebrating the 100th birthday of UCLA.

 

State

This is who we share the roads with. A 29-year old Orange County woman could be 80 by the time she gets out of prison, after being convicted of three counts of 2nd degree murder for the drunken crash that killed three teenagers and seriously injured a fourth; she was over three times the legal alcohol limit an hour after the crash.

New Anaheim Ducks coach Dallas Eakins is one of us. And tougher than most, competing in the grueling, high altitude Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race ten times.

A Leucadia columnist decries the ruination of her fair city, in part by a planned Complete Streets project that would add (gasp!) bike lanes to the Coast Highway.

A San Diego grand jury blames the city for how it handled the e-scooter rollout.

Salinas will hold a ciclovía this weekend, too.

Work is finally beginning on installing a barrier-protected bicycle and pedestrian lane on the Bay Area’s Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, even as a study continues to turn it into an additional traffic lane, instead.

Bighearted Modesto teachers dug into their own pockets to buy a new bike for a student after his was stolen.

 

National

The Guardian takes a deep dive into why American streets are deadlier than ever for people on foot, even as cars continue to get safer for the people in them. And they’re not that that great for people on bicycles, either.

A writer for Popular Science explains how she went from barely riding a bicycle to finishing a 545-mile AIDS/LifeCycle ride in one year. And the stuff she recommends to do it.

Hunters are worried that ebikes will give too many people too much access to the wilderness. Ebike riders should be worried that hunters might mistake them for a deer.

Your next ebike could tell you when speeding drivers coming up from behind get too close.

Streetsblog takes issue with the $90 ticket issued to an Idaho bike rider by a windshield-biased cop for running a red light, even though she was hit from behind by a driver who admitted not even seeing her. She said she stopped at the light before proceeding through the intersection, which is legal in Idaho.

Fargo, North Dakota’s 75-year old Bike Man has died, after fixing and giving away thousands of bicycles to children and families.

A Denver woman is getting used to walking after she had two bicycles stolen within one month of moving to the city.

One of Denver’s best bike mechanics is a 33-year old woman.

A Dallas man admits to fatally shooting a 59-year old man in a shopping center parking lot and stealing his bicycle.

Streetsblog Chicago reads Peter Flax’s recent interview with Effective Cycling author John Forester, and calls him a dinosaur still pushing a discredited anti-bikeway credo.

The man whose dogs killed a nine-year old Detroit girl as she rode her bicycle near her home will face a 2nd degree murder charge, as well as charges of involuntary manslaughter and having dangerous animals causing death.

Good question. A student newspaper at Boston’s Northeastern University asks whether bike theft is avoidable, or if it’s just inevitable.

An Alexandria VA letter writer takes issue with the stereotype of supporters of a planned road diet as a secret cabal of spandex-clad liberals from outside the city. Which should be very familiar to anyone who’s attended a public traffic safety meeting in Los Angeles.

A New Orleans man continues to ride his bike, 24-years after receiving a double lung transplant to treat his cystic fibrosis.

 

International

Road.cc ranks the best rear tail lights, not all of which will be available on the side of the Atlantic. And the best bicycling movies, most of which should be.

Members of the Canadian ski team are stunned by the mountain biking death of ski cross racer Mikayla Martin.

Canadian Cycling Magazine offers tips on how to give your bike a fast clean up after a messy ride.

A European bike biz site says Trump’s tariffs are causing chaos in the North American bike market.

A British rider discovers things have changed since he last rode a bike in the ’80s, after he takes delivery of a new ebike.

Amsterdam is trying to reduce car usage by eliminating 10,000 parking spaces, and encouraging people to use bicycles or transit instead.

Belgian officials are concerned about a “worrying” trend, after setting a new record for bicycling fatalities in the first half of the year.

 

Competitive Cycling

The oldest continually held mountain bike race started as a contest to see whether horses or mountain bikes were faster.

A former bike racer rode Zwift indoors to ride her way back to competition after five years of motherhood.

A Belgian cyclist is really, really sorry he punched another rider following a crash near the finish of a German bike race. Although it was really just a slap to the helmet; I’ve seen kittens hit harder than that.

Slovenian cyclist Matej Mohoric suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung when some idiot decided to run with — and in — the peloton as it neared the finish line in the Tour of Croatia.

 

Finally…

Who needs two wheels when you can ride eight feet over one? Before you try to reclaim your stolen bike, make sure the thief doesn’t have a machete.

And if you’re going to confront a driver in a road rage dispute, make sure to take the orange tip off your toy gun before threatening anyone with it.

Or better yet, just don’t.

Period.

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

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

………

No Morning Links today.

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

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

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

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

Because sometimes, these people just piss me off.

………

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

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

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

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

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

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

But in which direction, he doesn’t say.

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

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

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

Well, it ain’t necessarily so

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

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

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

Not two lanes, as LeGras inexplicably claimed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s traffic.

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

Nothing succeeds like the successes of Vision Zero

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The myth of the Foothill Blvd evacuation disaster

Then there’s this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One of the few things he got right.

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

He closes this way,

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

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

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

Emergency response times tell the real tale

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

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

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

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

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

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

Four seconds.

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

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

But I do hope he continues to write.

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

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

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