Tag Archive for Vision Zero

Video highlights LA Vision Zero fail, missing OK bike riders murdered, and Times endorses Soto-Martínez in DC13

It’s been seven years since Eric Garcetti signed the Vision Zero declaration, which committed Los Angeles to ending traffic deaths by 2025.

Okay, you can stop laughing now.

It wasn’t long before the city realized just how hard that would be, and how much change it would require, before quickly shoving it far back on the shelf where they hoped no one would notice.

Funny thing is, though, we told them that. The city held a series of public meetings and solicited comments from the public — without bothering to enlist the advocates who had fought for it.

But we showed up anyway.

One of the biggest things people stressed in these meetings was that it would require wholesale changes in how we get around. Something that somehow didn’t make it into the final Vision Zero Action Plan, which instead proposed a policy of nibbling at the edges of the city’s most dangerous corridors, in hopes the combined incremental changes might somehow make a difference.

You can see how well that worked out.

Another thing we stressed was the need for a change in attitude among LA drivers, assuring the city the program would fail unless there was a large scale reeducation campaign informing motorists that they don’t, in fact, own the road, and that even the best drivers are capable of killing and maiming innocent people unless they learned to drive carefully around vulnerable road users.

And to use the long-abused and misused term, to share the road with people on bikes and on foot, making room and giving them a wide berth, rather than running them off the road.

That, too, was ignored.

I mention this because of this video posted by father and Streets For All founder Michael Schneider, as a driver on what should have been a quiet side street threatened to call the police because Schneider had the audacity to ride a cargo bike in the street with his four-year old kid.

https://twitter.com/schneider/status/1582041692110102529

I share it, not because it’s uncommon, but because this sort of crap is all too common.

There are few of us brave enough to mix it up with motor vehicles that haven’t run into drivers like this at one time or another. Sometime literally.

The attitude persists among too many drivers that streets are for cars, and too dangerous for people walking or on bicycles, without grasping the irony that they are the very people who keep that way.

Until that changes — or rather, until our elected leaders care enough about saving human lives to actually do something to make it change — Vision Zero will continue to fail.

And people will keep dying needlessly on our streets.

Photo from LA Streetsblog

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Speaking of Vision Zero, a pair of NACTO executives argue that cities urgently need to fix dangerous arterial streets, which make up just 15 percent of all roads but are responsible for a whopping 67 percent of pedestrian deaths.

And Streets For All is urging you to support a proposal for a pedestrian plaza on deadly Sawtelle Blvd at tonight’s Zoom meeting of the West LA Sawtelle Neighborhood Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee.

Because clearly, it’s up to us to keep pushing for a safer, more livable city for all Angelenos.

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It never seemed like the story of the missing Okmulgee, Oklahoma bike riders was going to end well.

But the real story is so much worse than anything we imagined.

The four friends inexplicably disappeared after setting out for a bike ride Sunday evening. A massive search turned up nothing, until their bodies were found Friday — shot, dismembered and dumped in a local river.

To complicate matters, it turns out the men were killed while committing, or at least planning, a crime. Although just what that crime might have been is unknown at this time.

Cellphone records show they traveled to a pair of salvage yards, five and eleven miles from where their bodies were found. One of which showed “evidence of a violent event” nearby.

Police are looking for a person of interest in the case, who also disappeared Sunday night, and reportedly may be suicidal.

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No, it’s not.

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This effectively makes the case for why slower speeds save lives, showing the difference between roughly 50 mph and 20 mph.

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Inspiring video demonstrating that bikes aren’t just for the able-bodied, as British pro mountain biker James Anderson competes despite suffering from Monoplegia, an acute form of Cerebral Palsy.

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

Police in New York are looking for the bike-riding man accused of two sexual assaults in the East Side and West Village neighborhoods. There’s not a pit in hell deep enough. 

A British mother of four claims she was forced to sell drugs after failing in debt to a drug gang, after she was busted for peddling heroin and coke by bike.

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Local

The Los Angeles Times makes a surprising endorsement, picking challenger Hugo Soto-Martínez over incumbent CD13 Councilmember and acting council president Mitch O’Farrell.

Councilmembers Kevin de León and “Roadkill” Gil Cedillo have been stripped of their committee assignments, as pressure mounts for them to resign in the wake of a racist taped conversation that was leaked last week.

People for Mobility Justice is teaming with Metro to host a free bike tour of East LA taco vendors and bike infrastructure this evening, starting at Mariachi Plaza.

WeHoVille gets the candidates for West Hollywood City Council — or most of them, anyway — on the record for their support, or the lack thereof, for proposed protected bike lanes on deadly Fountain Ave. Too many of whom insist on seeing it from a windshield perspective, preferring to protect parking and high-speed traffic over human lives. 

Metro is hosting a webinar meeting tonight to discuss bike and pedestrian improvements near the planned Sepulveda Blvd G Line — aka Orange Line — station.

Metro has released an interactive map of its Draft Prioritized Active Transportation Network, showing where in LA County the agency thinks it should make multimodal improvements

 

State 

No surprise here, as pedestrians made up 25% of all traffic traffic fatalities in California in 2020, with pedestrian deaths climbing 4% over the previous year.

Carlsbad’s Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream is hosting a fundraiser today for a local firefighter and his 16-month old daughter, after their wife and mother were killed by a driver while riding her ebike with the girl in August.

Sad news from Kern County, where a Bakersfield man was killed riding a bicycle in the city early Saturday morning.

San Francisco is headed for its worst year for traffic deaths and injuries in 15 years, making its goal of zero traffic deaths by 2024 increasingly unlikely; researchers blame inadequate and misdirected police enforcement.

More sad news, as the CHP is searching for the hit-and-run driver who killed a man who was riding a bike in Sacramento just after midnight Sunday; the victim wasn’t carrying ID and hasn’t been identified. Meanwhile, a CHP officer is in critical condition after he was struck by a drunk driver while investigating the crash.

 

National

He gets it. CNN’s Chris Cillizza uses Black Panther’s African utopia of Wakanda as a model to illustrate why it’s time to move our cities beyond the failed and destructive age of car culture.

A mom of twins offers a rave review of her first thousand miles on an e-cargo bike.

Cycling Weekly shares some of the best custom and yet-to-be-released handmade bikes from Portland’s seventh annual Chris King Open House, while Cycling News highlights five bikes from London’s recent Bespoked custom bike show.

The Las Vegas Raiders are adding additional bike racks and planning to stripe bike lanes outside their stadium, in response to demand from fans riding bikes to the games.

Horrible story from Michigan, where a bike rider was killed when he was dragged several blocks underneath a car by a hit-and-run driver.

The New York Civil Liberties Union is arguing a case before the state Supreme Court, demanding that cops and courts treat search and seizure of people on bicycles the same as they do people in cars.

 

International

A new international study shows a bike rider in New York is 25 times more likely to be killed than a similar rider in Vancouver, and faces roughly the same risk as a bicyclist in Auckland or Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, Los Angeles wasn’t included in the study.

This is who we share the road with. A Welsh driver was allegedly using Facebook and Instagram behind the wheel, moments before killing an off-duty police sergeant as she was riding a bicycle; he claims it was his 13-month old son using his phone at the time of the crash.  Sure, let’s go with that.

 

Competitive Cycling

An Irish columnist marks the 10th anniversary of Lance Armstrong’s downfall by arguing that his punishment was “draconian and probably excessive,” but caused by the same “bloody-mindedness” that led to his seven Tour de France wins.

Former Italian great Mario Cipollini was sentenced to three years and a fine of 85,000 euros — the equivalent of nearly $83,750 — after being convicted of domestic abuse and threats against his ex-wife and her current partner.

US national road race champ Kyle Murphy has signed with L39ion of Los Angeles, as the LA-based cycling team apparently looks to compete as a Continental team next year, after dominating the American crit scene.

Zwift is sponsoring the first physical location for the LA Bicycle Academy, a cycling team founded and led by people of color to help young people from underserved communities enter the sport.

 

Finally…

That feeling when the internet has misses the point entirely. Or when your only race fan is a monkey. No, a real one.

And apparently, bicycling fashion has changed just a tad over the years.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Justice for Woon — Banks pleads guilty in fatal hit-and-run, and LA active transport woefully understaffed and underfunded

The good news is, my migraines finally let up after about eleventy-seven hours of sleep the past few days. 

The bad news is, they haven’t gone far. 

It’s been more than a month since one of my many doctors decided the health problems I’ve been suffering since last fall were the result of vestibular migraines, necessitating a complete upending of my diet. 

No caffeine. No chocolate. No artificial sweeteners — not a good thing for a diabetic. No aged cheeses or dried fruits. Or even a number of fresh ones, along with a very long list of other newly verboten foods.

Basically, if I like it, or used it to control my diabetes, I can’t have it. 

But after five weeks of slowly adjusting the new diet, I’m feeling even worse than when I started. 

But let’s try to plow through this anyway, and see how much we can catch up on today. 

And a belated happy Mother’s Day to all you mom’s out there.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.

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It looks like we’ll finally see justice for fallen bicyclist Frederick Frazier, who was run down by a speeding driver in a Mercedes SUV on a South LA street over four long years ago.

And nearly four years since Mariah Kandise Banks was arrested for killing the young man known to everyone as Woon, and injuring Quatrell Stallings, as they rode their bikes near Manchester and Normandie in 2018.

This is what our anonymous courtroom correspondent emailed me Friday afternoon.

On a beautiful sunny day over four years ago, Mariah Kandise Banks ran down Frederick Frazier and left him to die in the arms of a stranger just a few blocks from his home. She was later apprehended and charged with hit and run and vehicular manslaughter.

This afternoon, another gloriously sunny spring day, Banks accepted a plea deal from the DA.

The count of 20001(b)(2), hit and run involving great bodily injury or death, was dropped.

With tears, Banks pleaded no contest to one count of 192(c)(1), vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

For this charge, she was sentenced to four years in state prison, restitution, fines, and three years of parole upon release from incarceration.

She had requested a surrender date in September due to significant childcare obligations, which was denied.

Sentencing will be on August 19th. Woon’s family is expected to present their impact statements on that date.

RIP Woon. Ride in peace.

Banks could have received up to six years, with another four for the felony hit-and-run count that was dropped.

Peter Flax offered this heartbreaking account of Woon’s death, and the impact his loss had on his grieving mother, fiancé and infant son, who was born months after he was killed; he didn’t know yet that he was going to be a dad. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

Four years doesn’t begin to seem like enough for the heartless crime and attempted coverup.

But it will have to do.

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I’m not always a fan of CD2 Councilmember Paul Krekorian, who singlehandedly halted the fully funded and shovel-ready lane reductions and bike lanes on Lankershim Blvd through North Hollywood’s Arts District.

But he’s absolutely right in calling the chronic underfunding and understaffing at LADOT “a threat to public safety.”

Well, no shit.

As LAist points out, despite the adoption of Vision Zero seven years ago,

At the same time, the death toll on L.A. streets continues to rise. Within the first 15 weeks of 2022, 95 people were killed in crashes, according to preliminary city data. In the same period last year, the toll was 87.

The number of pedestrians killed by drivers is especially grim — up 53% citywide compared with the same period last year. The greatest share of those victims is in South L.A., where pedestrian deaths more than doubled from this time last year.

And last year was bad; 2021 marked the highest annual death toll in nearly two decades, with nearly 300 people killed in collisions. Roughly half of those victims were killed by drivers while walking or biking. Nearly 1,500 other people were seriously injured in crashes.

Yet shockingly, but unsurprising to any of us who have been paying attention, LADOT is currently working with a 21% vacancy rate — with a whopping 50% in the active transportation and Vision Zero programs.

Not to mention nearly two dozen additional positions that need to be added to meet LA’s active transportation goals.

The agency tried to address those needs by requesting 18 new active transportation positions, as well as two new Vision Zero hires.

Yet Mayor Garcetti, whose dreams of an India ambassadorship have largely gone up in smoke, responded by cutting LA’s transportation budget, while funding just the two Vision Zero hires.

That’s just two more people for a city of nearly 4 million, with 8,500 miles of streets and a rising toll from traffic violence.

Sure. That’ll fix it it.

Although, as the story notes, Vision Zero spending is up slightly over last year, if you squint hard and juggle the numbers just right.

But no matter how you slice it, it’s still just a fraction of the $80 million LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds said five years ago would be necessary to cut traffic deaths a modest 20%.

And a pittance compared to the $270 million New York invested in Vision Zero in 2019 alone.

As others have said, if you want to know a city’s priorities, look at its budget.

And ours says LA just doesn’t care.

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Today is the last day to tell the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration it’s long past time to consider the safety of those outside of cars and trucks in their new vehicle safety tests.

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California’s bicycle omnibus bill — which would allow speed-limited, ped assist ebikes on bike paths statewide, permit bike riders to use leading pedestrian intervals, require drivers to change lanes to pass bike riders, and ban bike licensing requirements — has cleared the state assembly and is moving on to the senate.

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We’ve never had a single ride with the mayor of Los Angeles. But at least you can ride with the mayor of Glendale next Saturday.

Or ride SaMo to Venice with Metro.

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Long Beach offers a very full calendar of Bike Month events.

Meanwhile, Metro offers other events around the LA area.

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They’ve got a point.

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Who needs a drivetrain when you can build your own DIY propeller-driven bicycle?

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

No bias here. Carlsbad CA uses Bike Month to actively discriminate against bicycle, ebike and e-scooter users, banning riders from sidewalks, ditches, sports courts or gyms, as well as requiring them dismount on any trails narrower than five feet or within 50 feet of a pedestrian or someone on horseback.

No bias here, either. Australia’s Daily Mail unleashed a recap of online motorist drivel and dreck, including “calling for cyclists to carry licences, criticising those on bikes for taking up ‘car lanes,’ and claiming that cyclists are ‘more dangerous’ than 4×4 drivers.”

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

Police are looking for a bike-riding gunman who shot a man in DTLA, after riding up to him as he walked on the sidewalk, before riding away.

When a road raging Glasgow driver got out of his car looking for a fight with a man on a bike, he probably wasn’t expecting the whooping he got.

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Local

Streetsblog looks at the installation of a permanent rainbow memorial for Venice hit-and-run victim Prynsess Brazzle, who was killed while riding her bike at the intersection of Pacific and Rose Aves last year. Of course, this being Los Angeles, permanent usually means until it breaks or someone gets tired of it.

Metrolink is offering free rides to anyone with a bicycle during next week’s Bike to Work Week, along with an ebike and rail pass contest package worth $2,500.

 

State 

Newton’s third law of motion applies to politics, too. As Caltrans commits to getting out of the freeway business and refocusing on Complete Streets, the state’s massive 450,000 member building and construction workers union is pushing back.

Sad news from Paso Robles, where a 68-year old man was killed when he rode his bike off the road and ran into a culvert, throwing him off his bike.

 

National

Seriously, who wouldn’t want a solar-powered combination ebike, camper and electric boat? Perfect for riding those flooded freeways if it ever rains here again. 

Barry Morphew, the Colorado man who recently saw murder charges over his missing wife dismissed, says he just wants her to be found. Suzanne Morphew was last seen riding her bike on Mother’s Day two years ago; authorities dropped the charges after claiming they are close to finding her body. Meanwhile, Fox News examines where the case stands now.

Former Olympic gold medalist and world champ Scott Hamilton finished a 444-mile ride to raise funds to fight cancer, 25 years after his last treatment for testicular cancer.

New York is already up to 75 traffic deaths this year, after an NYU student was killed by the driver of a private waste truck.

Bloomberg says ebikes are transforming New York’s transportation future. Which could be happening here in Los Angeles, too, if the city had just bothered to fund active transportation and Vision Zero.

A feel good story turned painful when a Louisiana man was struck by a speeding truck driver, just one day after he been given a new ebike purchased through a crowdfunding campaign.

 

International

Road.cc says the promised benefits of the ebike-replacing SuperWheel sound great, but defy the laws of physics.

A Canadian man lovingly restored his brother’s rusted BMX bicycle, over 35 years after the 15-year old boy was killed in an avalanche.

This deaf, bike-riding London cat is breaking the internet.

A new study from an insurance website ranks the UK’s safest and most dangerous cities for bicycling.

An Afghan man rejected an offer of free plane tickets to ride his bike from Karachi to Mecca for the Hajj pilgrimage, a distance of over 2,800 miles by car.

Add this one to your bike bucket list. Tanzania is now allowing bike riders to ascend Africa’s fifth highest mountain, the nearly 15,000-foot Mount Meru in Arusha National Park.

Sad news from Namibia, where 60-year old rugby legend Gerhard Mans was killed by the driver of an unlicensed BMW while he was riding his bike with a group; he was captain of the country’s first national team after gaining independence.

The closure of Beijing’s subway system due to a Covid surge is leading to a revival of the city’s legendary Bicycle Kingdom.

Authorities in New Zealand are looking for the eco-jerk who destroyed slow growing, 100-year old palms and other native trees to carve an illegal mountain bike trail through a park. Seriously, don’t do that. Ever. Period.

 

Competitive Cycling

A familiar face took the Giro’s 3rd stage on Sunday, as Mark Cavendish claimed his 16th stage win in the Italian Grand Tour, although he has a way to go to catch up with Cipollini’s 42 Giro stage wins; Mathieu van der Poel kept his grip on the leader’s pink jersey.

Yes, this is what pro cycling is like every day. Four-legged fans at the Junior Peace Race in the Czech Republic kicked up their hooves ahead of the advancing peloton, apparently preparing the young riders for spectators on the WorldTour, who often behave like animals.

  

Finally…

How many miles per gallon of gas could your bike get, if by gas you meant beer? Your next bike could cost forty grand and shatter in a crash — if you can find one.

And don’t try to tell us you’ve got bike skills if you can’t do it, too.

https://twitter.com/CoolBikeArt1/status/1523014821964247041

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

LA to audit failed Vision Zero, memorial for Prynsess Brazzle, and guilty plea in drunken Solana Beach hit-and-run

No irony here.

Outgoing CD5 City Councilmember and city attorney candidate Paul Koretz called on Los Angeles to audit the city’s Vision Zero plan, in an effort to determine why traffic deaths continue to rise seven years after it was adopted.

And just three years before traffic deaths were supposed to be a thing of the past.

Yes, that’s the same self-proclaimed environmentalist who has blocked bike lanes and Complete Streets projects in his district, including on Westwood Blvd and Melrose Avenue, since taking office 13 years ago.

Which certainly couldn’t have anything to do with it, right?

According to the story by LAist, the city saw 186 people killed in crashes in 2015, when the plan was adopted, with a jump to 294 last year. And it’s on a pace for over 330 traffic deaths this year.

Los Angeles Walks Executive Director John Li pointed out one glaring problem with the program.

“Structurally, we have a political system that has not had a unified vision of Vision Zero — it’s 15 different approaches to Vision Zero,” Yi told LAist. “How do we give political elected officials the confidence, or the political courage… to get more bike lanes, more bus lanes, flatter sidewalks, [and] slower streets? Because right now, it’s just too politically risky for elected officials and they’re not willing to be a leader on this.”

But honestly, how do you audit something that was never more than the political equivalent of vaporware?

LA’s Vision Zero has never received more than a fraction of the funding required to implement it, let alone the support from the mayor’s office necessary to even make a dent in traffic deaths.

There was no multi-agency task force dedicated to implementing it. No dedicated staff at LADOT, or any other public agency. No one with the power to cut through the red tape and NIMBY objections to reimagine our mean streets.

And no one with the ability to overrule LA’s 15 little kings and queens, who each rule their own fiefdom from their offices at city hall. Each of whom has the power to unilaterally water down or halt any changes to the streets in their districts, just as Koretz has proudly done.

Never mind “Roadkill” Gil Cedillo in CD1, Mitch O’Farrell in CD13, or Paul Krekorian in CD2, each of whom halted major shovel-ready lane reductions and other badly needed traffic safety programs.

Or any of the other councilmembers who, with very few notable exceptions, cowardly hid behind claims of public opinion and the demands of the almighty automobile to avoid making any of the tough choices necessary to make even a modest reduction in traffic deaths.

Let alone put an end to them.

The simple fact is, LA’s Vision Zero has never been more than smoke and mirrors, with a little modest nibbling at the edges so minor no one could complain.

But that was exactly what we warned about when the plan was first adopted, questioning whether Los Angeles elected leaders had the political will and courage necessary for the plan to succeed.

In retrospect, the clear answer is no.

And 300 Angelenos, and all of their friends and loved ones, are now paying the price every year.

Mayor Garcetti signs the Vision Zero order behind his comically huge outdoor desk; photo from Streetsblog LA.

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Speaking of Vision Zero, we live in a city where officials are willing to honor the victims of traffic violence.

But won’t lift a finger to keep them alive.

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A 22-year old San Diego man faces 15 years behind bars for the drunken hit-and-run death of 75-year old Allen Hunter II as he rode his bike on South Coast Highway 101 in Solana Beach last year.

Beau Morgan pled guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run causing death and driving under the influence; he was over twice the legal limit when he turned himself in 45 minutes after the crash.

Once again destroying two lives with one careless act.

Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up.

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

No bias here. San Jose drivers call a proposal to make them change lanes to pass bike riders insane and evil. Then again, so is hiding the story behind a paywall. 

No bias here, either. A Berkeley writer complains that the city’s policies are turning bicycles into a “weapon of civic destruction…damaging neighborhoods, endangering bicyclists and undermining the legitimacy of governance while squandering millions of dollars.” Okay, so some articles would be better hidden behind a paywall. Or under a rock.

Police in Britain are looking for a road-raging driver who head-butted a bike rider after a dispute.

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Local

The LA Times endorses Katy Young Yaroslavsky — longtime LA politician Zev’s daughter-in-law — to replace Paul Koretz in CD5, although they also like Scott Epstein, who has a much better bike safety pedigree.

Plans are in the works for new bus only lanes on Florence Ave in South LA, which would also allow bike riders to use them; however, like other LA bus lanes, they would only be in effect during peak traffic hours.

A South Pasadena website looks back fondly on Sunday’s 626 Golden Streets.

Palmdale will conduct a Complete Streets overhaul of Avenue R, including walkable sidewalks and painted bike lanes.

 

State 

Social media users are understandably up in arms after video of San Diego workers destroying bicycles during a homeless sweep went viral.

A homeless man already on probation for another crime is back behind bars after shoplifting merchandise and stealing a bicycle from an El Cajon Target, then forcibly taking another bicycle in a strong arm robbery.

The Los Osos woman who got out of prison after just two years of her seven-year sentence for the drunken death of a bike-riding San Luis Obispo college student was released early thanks to pre-sentencing credits and a re-entry program; she’s now back behind bars after crashing into several parked cars with a BAC four times the legal limit.

A new bill in the state Assembly would mandate secure bike parking in new residential buildings; AB 2863 would also require the California Building Standards Commission to update its bike parking standards for commercial buildings. Although they should also require building owners to allow tenants and workers to take their bikes inside to their homes and offices.

Calbike is once again asking for your support for the Bicycle Safety Stop Bill, aka Stop As Yield, aka the stop sign portion of the Idaho Stop Law, somehow assuming Gavin Newsom will sign the bill after vetoing it last year.

Streetsblog talks with a San Francisco ER doctor, who says preventable injuries dropped when JFK Drive was closed to drivers, and pleaded with city officials to keep it that way.

 

National

America Walks takes a deeper look at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s call for public comments on how to make motor vehicles safer for pedestrians — and for people on bicycles. You have until Monday to get your comments in.

A writer for Popsugar replaces her car and reduces her carbon footprint with an ebike from women-owned Bluejay.

Seriously? A Utah paper asks if it’s time to get serious about road safety after three pedestrians were killed in a single hour, with four bike riders killed in the state in recent weeks — wait, make that five. The time to get serious was before anyone got killed.

More proof that NIMBYs are the same everywhere, as Houston residents decry plans for a 1.5-mile lane reduction and bike lanes, calling it a disaster that will cause traffic congestion and force drivers into neighborhoods.

Surprisingly, Minnesota has the nation’s longest paved bike trail, running 800 miles along the Mississippi River, as well as a 315-mile path through two national parks and nine state parks.

 

International

A Welsh police official is “hugely supportive” of bike cams, saying police can’t be everywhere but the public can.

That’s more like it. British drivers complain that they could be fined the equivalent of $6,250 for distracted eating behind the wheel, calling it nonsense and daylight robbery. Although everyone else on the road likely likes the idea.

A Melbourne, Australia city councilor says a proposal to remove bike lanes would be economic vandalism.

A Perth, Australia e-scooter rider was killed in a collision with a bike rider when the two crashed on a blind bend; the bike rider was treated for minor injuries.

An Aussie op-ed complains that Sydney’s new bike plan completely ignores half the city.

 

Competitive Cycling

Mark Cavendish insists there’s no rivalry between him and Fabio Jakobsen for a spot on the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team in this year’s Tour de France.

Women’s cycling continues to grow, with plans for a women’s Milan-San Remo next year.

  

Finally…

Your next bike could be the two-wheeled offspring of Formula 1. We may have to put up with angry LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to deal with road-hogging grizzlies.

And that feeling when a bike path is named after a creepy clown, or maybe the other way around.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Riding a bike shouldn’t be so dangerous, a look at LA’s Vision Zero fail, and Garcetti cuts LA’s transportation budget

Happy Earth Day.

Or as Los Angeles officials call it, Friday.

LA’s elected leaders will undoubtedly pontificate and issue all kinds of public statements stressing the importance of protecting the earth and fighting climate change.

But won’t do a damn thing about it.

And if you happen to see outgoing CD5 Councilmember and current candidate for City Controller Paul Koretz, ask him how he can be a self-professed environmentalist while blocking bike lanes in his district.

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He gets it.

In today’s must-read story, a columnist for the New York Times writes that riding a bicycle in the US shouldn’t be this dangerous.

Using the recent death of a 13-year old Mountain View boy as a starting point, Farhad Manjoo writes that the boy was right hooked by a truck driver who reportedly never saw the kind on his bike hidden in his blind spot.

And that Andre Retana and the man who killed him didn’t do anything. But Andre lost his life anyway, thanks to roads designed to prioritize automotive throughput over everything else.

Including human lives.

Manjoo goes on to say this —

The United States is in the midst of a traffic fatality crisis. Nearly 39,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes on American roadways in 2020, the most since 2007. American roads have grown especially dangerous to “nonoccupants” of vehicles — that is, bicyclists and pedestrians. In 2011, 16 percent of traffic deaths were of nonoccupants; in 2020 it was 20 percent. The trends are a major reversal — from the 1970s until the late 2000s, deaths on American roadways of bicyclists, pedestrians and people in cars had steadily declined. There are a number of potential reasons for rising deaths — among them that many more of our cars are big and deadly S.U.V.s, that states keep raising speed limits, that ride-sharing vehicles have made our roads more chaotic, and that people drove much more recklessly during the pandemic. But while many cities, states and the federal government have unveiled plans to mitigate the horror, progress has been elusive.

The intersection of El Camino and Grant Road illustrates a major part of the problem. A big reason our roads are unsafe is because they were designed that way — because, as the advocacy group Smart Growth America puts it, policymakers at nearly every level of government continue to prioritize the speedy movement of vehicles over the safety of everyone else on our streets. And even when the dangers of our bad roads become glaring, officials have limited options for fixing them.

Our roads are deadly because officials will still call the inevitable consequences of this ill-design a tragedy rather than a choice.

It’s more than worth taking a few minutes from your day to read the whole thing.

Go ahead, we’ll wait.

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Call this one another must-read.

LAist’s Ryan Fonseca looks at the failure of LA’s Vision Zero and the city’s mobility plan, citing a lack of funding and political will that has led to a dramatic increase in traffic deaths, rather than eliminating traffic deaths by 2025 as we were promised.

Despite putting both plans in motion more than six years ago, L.A.’s streets are deadlier now than they were then, especially for people walking.

In 2015, 186 people were killed in crashes on city streets. Last year, the death toll was 294, according to city data. Pedestrians make up the largest share of victims, with 132 people killed by drivers while walking last year. That’s up 50% from 2015.

Fed up, a coalition of safety advocates and community groups is working to get a measure on the local ballot this November. The measure would compel the city to follow its mobility plan whenever it repaves a street. That’s rarely happening now, according to the group, called Healthy Streets LA.

Once again, it’s worth a few minutes of your day to read the entire piece.

Because, to paraphrase the NYT’s Manjoo, riding a bike — or walking, or even driving or riding in a car — shouldn’t be this dangerous.

Or deadly.

………

Unfortunately, the mean streets of Los Angeles aren’t likely to get any safer anytime soon, as the mayor’s new budget cuts $14 million from the city’s already underfunded transportation budget, while pumping another $125 million into the LAPD’s bloated $3.2 billion budget.

Things like this are why both the LA Times and I have endorsed Kenneth Mejia for city controller, because he’s already doing the controller’s job of digging into the city’s finances to uncover what’s hidden there.

………

Los Angeles filled in yet another missing chunk of the LA River bike path in the San Fernando Valley, as the city works to complete the entire 72-mile pathway in time for the 2028 LA Olympics.

………

So tell me again how bicyclists don’t ride in the damn bike lane?

………

The estimable Will Campbell offers a video love letter to the little known 4th Avenue bike and pedestrian bridge over the !0 Freeway.

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

More blowback for the coal-rolling Texas car tuner, as bike riders call for a boycott of the shop over the video of a driver enveloping a bicyclist in his truck’s exhaust, which was apparently posted by the shop owner, who somehow feels like he’s the victim the victim in the whole thing. Hint: He’s not.

………

Local

A writer for the LA Times gets four of the five mayoral candidates on the record for their stands on environmental issues, including calls for better bike infrastructure; billionaire Rick Caruso evidently couldn’t be bothered to do more than email it in.

This, too, is the cost of traffic violence. A mountain lion was killed on the busy 405 Freeway just south of the Getty Center early Thursday morning, apparently trying to get across the massive billion dollar car sewer.

Over one hundred people turned out to honor fallen bike rider Andrew Jelmert with a ghost bike ceremony Wednesday night.

 

State 

Calbike credits their advocacy work for California’s 4th place ranking in the Bike League’s roster of bicycle-friendly states.

Costa Mesa opens a new bollard-protected bike lane on Bristol Street, while “enhancing” existing bike lanes on Baker Street. That protected lane is pretty much just separated bike lane marked by green plastid bollards that aren’t going to stop anyone.

La Jolla’s Traffic & Transportation Board unanimously approved plans to repave and restripe the city’s deadly Via Capri to narrow traffic lanes and add buffered bike lanes, after a $1.32 million settlement over a man who was killed when his motorcycle hit one of the street’s many potholes.

Fontana has decided to abandon an undeveloped piece of property the city has owned for 25 years, while vowing to continue the bike races that often start and end there.

Cambria’s Eroica California vintage bike ride returns to San Luis Obispo County next weekend.

 

National

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss says bike companies may not be perfect when it comes to protecting the environment, but they should keep doing what they’re doing.

Low-income resident’s of Corvallis and Eugene, Oregon can get a $1,200 rebate on the purchase of an ebike.

The wives of fallen bicyclists Adam and Matthew Bullard, the Whittier brothers killed while riding near St. George, Utah, thanked tlocal residents for honoring the men with a ghost bike; the city is also moving forward with plans for a permanent memorial near the site.

Indiana University’s legendary Little 500 is set to roll this afternoon; the race was made famous in Breaking Away.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole an adaptive tandem bike belonging to a Missouri special needs kid.

 

International

The City Fix calls out five ways to cut oil and gas use through clean transportation, including building safe bicycling and walking infrastructure, and prioritizing both in transportation budgets. Unlike, say, the budget presented by LA’s mayor this week.

The Belize cycling federation called on all bicyclists to don their team jerseys to ride along with the funeral procession honoring cycling coach and race organizer Edison “Vintage” Usher, who died just days before his 49th birthday when the motorcycle he was riding with another man exploded while on their way to livestream a women’s cross country race.

Canadian mountain bikers call for an apology after an Adidas marketing manager wrote a “willfully ignorant” blog post “steeped in white privilege,” which they say suggests the reason women of color don’t succeed in the sport is due to their own lack of hard work.

The president of a Malaysian road safety research institute says there’s no law banning bike riders from any road in the country, as long as they adhere to basic safety requirements.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews says Dutch pro Mathieu van der Poel may be wiser and more dangerous than ever after bouncing back from a nagging back injury.

Paris-Roubaix really was the Hell of the North for France’s Florian Sénéchal, who claims a spectator doused him with urine during the race. Yet he still managed to finish 13th, despite an earlier crash.

VeloNews offers photos from the first stage of this year’s Redlands Classic.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you just want to go for a buck naked bike ride. Nothing like biking with a goggles and bowtie wearing kitty.

And answering the age old question of why do bicyclists shave their legs?

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Young siblings victims of traffic violence in Sylmar crash, LA traffic violence spikes, and modest bike gains in Beverly Hills

Sadly, traffic violence continues to climb on Los Angeles streets.

The latest news comes as a young brother and sister were run down as they shared a bike in LA’s Sylmar neighborhood.

At last report, the 12-year old boy and his 8-year old sister were both hospitalized in stable condition with serious injuries.

The driver remained at the scene, and as usual, was not charged.

There is something seriously wrong when children can’t ride safely on what should be a quiet neighborhood street.

Just another example of the unhealthy hegemony of cars in the City of Angels.

………

In news that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, traffic injuries and fatalities spiked on Los Angeles streets in the first two months of the year, after climbing last year.

The jump comes nearly seven years after Mayor Eric Garcetti sat at a massive desk plopped down in a Boyle Heights street to sign a proclamation declaring Vision Zero in Los Angeles.

And just three years from the date he promised to end LA traffic deaths once and for all.

Maybe someone should have warned him that it would require actually taking bold action and making the tough decisions to tame traffic and reduce motor vehicle use.

Oh wait, we did.

………

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from Mark Elliot of Better Bike Beverly Hills, who almost single-handedly led a shockingly successful fight to transform the former Biking Black Hole into something far friendlier to people on two wheels. Although there’s still a long way to go. .

Here he offers an update on what he terms modest wins in the city.

Despite the evident disinterest among our City Council majority (3-2) for multimodal mobility, the city has nevertheless notched a couple of modest wins for safer streets in Beverly Hills.

New leadership at the Transportation Division marks a new era. Mobility planning in Beverly Hills effectively cleared two kidney stones with the retirements of Aaron Kunz and Susan Healey Keene last year. Subsequently the mobility function was moved to Public Works from Community Development. Each change represented a big step forward. Daren Grilley and Jessie Holzer now are in charge of the transportation division and each understands the importance of safe streets. They walk the walk too, so to speak, as they both ride.

New commissioners have revitalized the Traffic & Parking Commission. For too long this commission sat idly by as crash injuries increased year-after-year. Commissioners for too long didn’t even ask why traffic enforcement in Beverly Hills took a ten-year holiday. But starting a few years ago, new appointments to the commission changed the dynamic. Now we have a safety-minded commission and a new chair: Sharon Ignarro. She really walks the walk. But hold on, we are hardly out of the woods yet: one of our councilmembers seems intent on defanging this commission. We beat-back that effort last month.

Elliot also calls on the biking and walking communities to support bike-friendly Mayor Robert Wunderlich and Councilmember John Mirisch in their campaigns for re-election to the Beverly Hills City Council.

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Hats off to the Laguna Woods bike rider who joined a couple of elderly men to confront a woman walking through the area wearing a Nazi armband, which is home to a number of Jewish retirees.

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One of our most frequent contributors, Megan Lynch will be a panelist discussing bicycling and accessibility at next month’s CalBike Summit.

………

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

Before you try to intimidate a woman riding a bicycle by revving your engine and honking your horn during a close pass, maybe make sure she’s not a plainclothes cop, first.

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

A British bike rider was threatened with arrest for attempting to jump a closed rail crossing barrier with his bike before finally be turned away, while another greeted cops with a “vigorous hand gesture.”

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Local

Caltrans is looking for your input on the agency’s draft Active Transportation Plan for Los Angeles and Ventura counties by April 5th.

LA Times readers aren’t fans of Governor Newsom’s plan to give rich and poor drivers alike a $400 gas tax rebate, even if they drive an e-car, while screwing anyone who doesn’t own a car. Meanwhile, the plan is criticized for undermining the governors own climate goals. But what’s a little climate emergency when there’s an election to be won by handing out piles of cash to people who don’t need it?

 

State 

Carlsbad imposes a draconian crackdown on ebikes and e-scooters, banning them from “public sidewalks, drainage ditches, culverts, channels, athletic courts or gyms,” as well as requiring riders to walk their bikes within 50 feet of a pedestrian on any trail less than five-feet wide; the city blames bike riders for 70% of all bike collisions, which defies logic.

A San Jose bike rider was lucky to avoid becoming collateral damage in a collision between two drivers, in one of the closest close calls you’re likely to see.

The Bay Area web series Comedians on Bicycles marked their season finale with a slow-motion bicycle race and a donut-eating contest.

A Marin paper says it makes sense to earmark $2.5 million to build bike and pedestrian paths along the SMART commuter rail corridors.

A Chico man learns the hard way thy shall not steal thy neighbor’s bike.

 

National

Rolling Stone gets on the ebike bandwagon, telling readers to fight high gas prices by ditching their cars and getting an ebike.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole the wheel out from under Portland’s Unipiper unicycle-riding flame-throwing bagpiper.

Proving it can be done, Seattle is taking steps to remake a major state highway that cuts through the city, with a $50 million plan to revive the corridor dying from cut-through traffic, and make the seven lane roadway welcoming to people on riding bikes and on foot. Maybe Malibu can take note before LA’s killer highway claims another innocent victim.

An Arizona woman is suing Costco and Phantom bikes for an illegal design using the right brake to stop the front wheel on their ebikes, allegedly losing an eye and suffering other injuries when the brake setup caused her to go over her handlebars.

An Idaho cop says no, you don’t have to yield to bike riders in a crosswalk, but it beats the hell out of hitting them.

Nice way to bury the lede. A Hudson Valley newspaper reports a 69-year old man was charged with wearing earbuds while riding a bike, and failing to signal his turn. Neither of which would have likely come to the attention of the police if he hadn’t been hit by a driver, first.

The New York press is quick to paint bike riders as outrageous scofflaws endangering pedestrians, but it’s just as likely the rider will suffer serious injuries in any collision with someone on foot. The latest case in point is a Harlem ebike rider who was gravely injured when he struck someone crossing the street and flew over his handlebars.

In a major safety improvement, the new protected bike lane on New York’s Brooklyn Bridge has slowed motor vehicle traffic 28%, reducing average speeds just below 20 mph. Although chances are, the drivers using the bridge won’t see that as a win.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette demands an apology from the city police department for the fatal tasing of a Black man who took a bike for a test ride around the block without permission; the victim died after officers tased him multiple times in a matter of minutes.

The Washington Post talks with the Australia native who gained social media acclaim as the Bike Man who singlehandedly slowed a DC truckers convoy protest.

No bias here. Wackadoodle rightwing Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene told a crowd that ”Pete Buttigieg can take his electric vehicles and his bicycle, and he and his husband can stay out of our girls bathrooms. Yup.” Not that they were planning to take their electric cars and bicycles into one.

 

International

Brompton is recalling their new ebike foldies because the mudguard can get caught in the tire.

Travel and Leisure examines the intersection of bike tours and Michelin-starred food.

Treehugger says anecdotal evidence shows high gas prices are leading to booming ebike sales.

Canadian Cycling Magazine celebrates the Oscars with their picks for the best and worst bicycling movies. Although nothing matches the action of an open-handed Will Smith slap delivered to the face of a stunned Chris Rock.

London is facing a bikelash from Conservative councilmembers, who have taken steps to remove popup bike lanes and pedestrianized areas before they had a chance to change transportation behavior; the city’s transportation agency has responded by cutting funding to their districts.

British Olympic cycling hero Sir Chris Hoy says he’s experienced fewer close passes since the county’s new Highway Code went into effect. Although we saw the same thing in California when the three-foot passing law went into effect, but it didn’t last.

Dutch ebike maker Cowboy continues to bring in $81 million in new funding, despite record pandemic and supply chain-related losses.

Great idea. An Indian petrochemical company gave each of its 142 employees an identical new bicycle, and is encouraging them to bike to work at least once a week.

Abu Dhabi says ditch the passenger and wear a helmet if you’re riding a bike, ebike or e-scooter in an emirates bike lane.

 

Competitive Cycling

We may have glimpsed the future of pro cycling, as 21-year old Eritrean cyclist Biniam Girmay just missed the podium with a fifth place finish in the E3 Saxo Bank Classic, in his first full year on the pro tour — then followed it up with first place in Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem, a significant breakthrough for Black African riders. Meanwhile, Wout van Aert came in first in the E3.

https://twitter.com/eurosport/status/1508113176864468992

It says something when the great Marianne Vos says she just wasn’t fast enough to catch 24-year old Italian Elisa Balsamo in the women’s Gent-Wevelgem.

Twenty-three-year old Sergio Higuita captured the Volta a Catalunya after climbing into the lead on Saturday, fending off multiple attacks on Sunday’s final stage.

British pro Lizzy Banks is finally back in the peloton, after losing most of last season to a traumatic brain injury and a major bout with Covid.

Great news from Colombia, where former Tour de France and defending Giro winner Egan Bernal is back on a bike, just two months after a nearly fatal training crash when he slammed into the back of a poorly parked bus.

Kazakhstan pro Alexey Lutsenko will be sidelined for the foreseeable future after breaking his shoulder and collar bone while training in Tenerife.

We’re less than one week away from the world’s biggest little bike race, as men’s and women’s teams were announced for Indiana University’s famed Little 500, made famous in Breaking Away.

 

Finally…

Your next e-cargo bike could fold and glow in the dark. It doesn’t pay to play doctor if you ain’t one.

And don’t ride naked through the woods sporting wood of your own.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

More proof bike lanes reduce traffic congestion, and Caltrans commits to non-Vision Zero Vision Zero by 2050

A new study confirms what we already knew.

Bike lanes reduce congestion.

The Carnegie Mellon University study demonstrates how increasing bicycle and micromobility use can lead to a notable decrease in traffic congestion.

But only if there is sufficient infrastructure in place to support increased ridership.

Meanwhile, a study from the Urban Institute suggests that protected and buffered bike lanes, cycle tracks and offroad paths offer a far better solution than painted bike lanes, let alone sharrows.

Your move, Los Angeles.

………

Caltrans has finally, semi-officially committed to Vision Zero, even if they very carefully avoided using the term.

And even if they gave themselves nearly 30 years to get there, which effective absolves the agency of the need to take immediate action, giving them every opportunity to kick the can down the road.

But it’s a start.

Maybe someday, someone will actually do more than just start.

………

No irony here.

KTown For All co-founder Jane Nguyen was struck by a driver as she was walking in a Koreatown crosswalk (scroll down), while on her way to gather signatures for the Healthy Streets LA ballot measure.

The initiative would improve street safety and transportation by requiring the city to build out the mobility plan as streets are repaved, rather than the current policy of just pretending the plan doesn’t exist.

Nguyen was rushed to the ER by bike rider and corgi owner Kenneth Mejia, who’s running for city controller and has been endorsed by this site.

Fortunately, she wasn’t seriously injured.

And no, I didn’t endorse Mejia just because he rides a bike and has a couple corgis. But it didn’t hurt.

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If you know, or are, a Pasadena public school student, here’s your chance to learn how to fix a bike. And maybe even win a new one.

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Today is the last day to apply for the inaugural Los Angeles City Youth Council. Because it wouldn’t hurt to ensure we have a bike-friendly voices on there.

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But people on bicycles are entitled.

Right?

https://twitter.com/runolgarun/status/1498169046734295040

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Just in case anyone thinks you can’t defend your homeland with a bicycle.

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

A pair of homeless men face charges for beating a Kansas man to death with a metal pipe; at least one of the men was arrested as he rode away on a bicycle afterwards.

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Local

No news it good news, right?

 

State 

San Diego opened a pair of bikeways on Fourth and Fifth Avenues through the Bankers Hill and Hillcrest neighborhoods. Which would have allowed me to safely ride to work when I lived down there. But they only came about three decades too late.

A KPBS roundtable discussion considers what effect the debate over bike lanes will have on San Diego’s climate action plan.

Travel & Leisure recommends REI’s three-day, 113-mile supported bike tour through Joshua Tree National Park, for the low, low price of $1,099 for members. Or for the same price, just get your bike fixed-up, buy a tent and camping gear, and do it yourself.

A writer for the Marin County Bicycle Coalition calls for improving street safety before anyone else gets killed, after a San Francisco pastor was run down from behind while training for a bike ride to Long Beach.

Lodi considers converting an unused railway right-of-way to a rail-to-trail project.

 

National

Road Bike Action wants to talk about your varicose veins. Mine came courtesy of a road raging driver who intentionally slammed into my bike, driving the front cog into my calf.

A new reverse-tricycle ebike from an Oregon bikemaker offers pedal-by-wire, with no direct mechanical connection to the three independent electric motors that power each wheel; the bike also has as a tilting design that allows it to corner like a two-wheeled bike.

Seattle’s Rad Power Bikes considers lowering prices on its most popular models, just months after increasing them due in part to the international bike part shortage.

A Las Vegas bike rider was killed when a bus driver failed to notice the victim was riding to the right of the bus, forcing the rider to cling to the side of the moving bus until he or she lost their grip, and fell into it.

Business owners in Columbus, Ohio and Cambridge, Massachusetts insist on shooting themselves in the foot by fighting plans to remove parking spaces to install bike lanes, even though studies show bike riders spend more than drivers on a monthly basis, and that bike lanes encourage shopping while increasing local sales.

Streetsblog accuses New York officials of a literal coverup after the city did a “fast and shoddy repair” to caved-in pavement on a city street, following the death of a 77-year old man who fell from his bike after hitting the broken pavement; the city had ignored complaints about the problem for nearly three years. Which means the inevitable lawsuit should be a slam dunk.

Kindhearted cops in Coral Springs, Florida gave a young boy a new bicycle, replacing the one he was riding when he was struck by a driver and pinned under the car while on his way to school. Fortunately, he wasn’t badly injured.

Yet another Florida bike rider has been caught on an open draw bridge, as video came to light of a man clinging to the bridge for dear life last November; the news comes after a woman riding a bicycle was killed in a similar incident earlier this month.

 

International

Your next bike could be made from plants.

Brazen bike thieves attempted to use an axel grinder to steal a bicycle in broad daylight on a busy Edinburgh street; fortunately, they were interrupted by people passing by, who guarded it until the owner returned.

Good idea. An Edinburg bike advocacy group has issued an election manifesto calling for creation of a comprehensive network of protected bike lanes and a 30 percent reduction in motor vehicle traffic.

Brompton wants to build a new $134 million factory on an English wetlands, which the company says it will convert to a nature preserve; the factory would employ 1,500 people within five years.

More on the 80-year old British truck driver who killed a 66-year old man who was riding an ebike; court testimony shows he didn’t even brake or take evasive action before slamming into the victim. Once again raising the question of how old is too old to drive, let alone operate a work truck.

A journalist describes his usual bike route as a “Russian Death Valley” after Ukrainian forces beat back an attack by invading forces.

A Turkish paper describes bicycling as a way of life in the country’s central province of Konya, which is home to 351 miles of bike paths.

Around 400 bike riders hit the streets of Hyderabad, India armed with placards calling on drivers to pay more attentions around people on bicycles.

 

Competitive Cycling

He gets it. After winning the Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne race on Sunday, Dutch cyclist Fabio Jacobsen notes that while young men were fighting to win a bike race, other young men were fighting for their country and their lives against overwhelming odds in Ukraine.

Italian pro Matteo Trentin rejected Chris Froome’s call to ban time trial bikes, saying the problem isn’t the type of bicycle being ridden, but the amount of people in cars.

Spanish motorcycle racer Aleix Espargaró says he nearly joined a pro cycling team after taking up the sport following a bad motorbike crash, calling bicycling the worst drug in the world because “the more you go, the more you want.” Although some of us would say that’s why it’s the best drug.

Two-time IRONMAN World Champion Patrick Lange will be out of commission for awhile, after the German triathlete suffered a joint injury in a training fall.

 

Finally…

Now you, too, can have your very own Wu-Tang Clan fixie. If you’re riding your bike with a half gram of fentanyl hidden in your bra, put a damn light on it — the bike that is, not the bra.

And evidently, there’s more than one way to ride around the world — and without breaking a sweatThanks to Steven Hallett for the heads-up.

………

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

Candidate list for June primary, Times’ Abcarian says Vision Zero “impossible,” and PCH claims another victim

Pick your ponies and place your bets.

The Los Angeles City Clerk has posted the latest list of candidates filing for the city’s June primary election.

Like most California elections, not everyone is a serious candidate. But there are some genuine choices hidden among the clowns and wannabes.

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No, Vision Zero is not “impossible.”

LA Times columnist Robin Abcarian writes that eliminating traffic deaths is a worthy, but impossible, goal.

The goal is worthy, but why go out on a limb with a big, bold promise that is so obviously doomed to fail?

In Australia, at least, they call the effort “Toward Zero,” which seems more realistic…

As long as there is traffic, there will be traffic tragedy, especially in a car-centric city like ours, where you cannot drive an inch without seeing distracted drivers holding phones. How many times have you been stuck behind a car at a red light that doesn’t move when the light turns green because the driver in front is poking at a screen? At least while they aren’t moving, they aren’t killing anyone.

The obvious problem with that attitude is the question of just how many deaths are acceptable as the cost of just getting from here to there.

Graphic by tomexploresla

And if that number is anything other than zero, which of your loved ones are you willing to sacrifice to the motor vehicle gods?

Which makes it clear that one is the only acceptable answer.

Abcarian’s right that we may not get there today. But it’s up to all of us to do everything we can to make sure we get there tomorrow.

To her credit, she does identify one of the biggest problems with Vision Zero, with each of the city’s 15 councilmembers free to implement their own vision of how to end traffic deaths, or the lack thereof.

As well as the lack of alignment between the city and county, with Los Angeles aiming for 2025 — just three years from now — while the county aims to end traffic deaths a decade later.

Never mind the other 87 cities that call LA County home.

But the solution to that is to coordinate, not forget it. Then give the city and county transportation agencies the power to override individual councilmembers and supervisors to do what needs to be done to save lives.

Which also serves to shield our elected officials from blame by angry drivers, which is what some of them really care about, anyway.

And while we’re at it, someone please tell Ms. Abcarian the difference between a crash and an accident.

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Southern California’s serial killer highway has claimed yet another victim.

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Pass the word, teens can grab a quick Benjamin from Walk ‘n Rollers for customizing a bicycle.

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Remember, you always need a truck or SUV to go to the hardware store.

………

Sometimes it’s not who we share the road with, but what.

https://twitter.com/WarrenJWells/status/1491487543455465472

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Here’s that great East Side Riders video we weren’t able to embed yesterday.

………

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

Someone in newly bike friendly San Diego clearly doesn’t get it, ruling that no action is necessary for a traffic signal clearly designed to thin the herd by encouraging drivers to turn left through a bike lane while bike riders still have the green. Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

There’s a special place in hell for the couple who flipped off a bike-riding Florida boy as they passed him in their car, then whipped a U-turn and threatened him with a gun when he responded in kind, before proceeding to pistol whip and slap him repeatedly; they were arrested after the boy managed to record video of the couple, along with their car and license plate.

A 67-year old Scottish man was left shaken after a construction worker pelted him with cement when he stopped his bike to ask if they had a permit to block an Edinburgh bike lane with a cement mixer.

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

A thirsty armed robber helped himself to cash and a canned drink from a Houston convenience store before making his getaway on a baby blue bike.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman takes a hard look at mayoral candidate and current Councilmember Joe Buscaino’s motion to crack down on bike chop shops, which could also catch legitimate bike repair in its wide net. Including if you decide to fix your own bicycle outside on a sunny day, if it’s too broadly written.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton checks out the new bike lanes on Yosemite Drive in Eagle Rock.

This is who we share the road with. A Manhattan Beach man claims a driver ran him over in a grocery store parking lot, then backed up and ran over him again, in a dispute over face masks that began inside.

Camilla Cabella is one of us, taking a bikeshare ride through the streets of LA with a “mysterious” friend. Oh, and she likes ice cream, too.

Rihanna showed her generosity Sunday, stopping by the West Los Angeles VA Campus with practical, needed gifts for homeless vets, including bike locks.

 

State

The annual Tour de Palm Springs returns to the Coachella Valle this weekend, with safety measures and law enforcement in place to hopefully keep participants safe, which hasn’t always been the case.

A 55-year old Navy vet is suing Caltrans, Bakersfield and Kern County after he was injured riding his bike into an open manhole on a Bakersfield sidewalk, which was left unmarked by orange cones or other warning devices.

The US Forest Service settled a lawsuit by agreeing to allow ebikes on non-motorized trails in the Tahoe National Forest.

 

National

Yes, please. A quartet of Democratic congressmen urged the president to request full funding for the new Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program in the next budget, which would provide $200 million a year for five years for biking and walking projects.

US ebike sales are on their way to one million units a year in the US, and one billion worldwide.

A new lawsuit accuses Peloton of bullying competitors and entering into sham agreements to secure its market position.

In a case of real life imitating art, actor Bob Odenkirk revealed his near-fatal heart attack came as he was riding an exercise bike on the set of Better Call Saul, which may or may not have been the same make that killed Mr. Big in HBO’s Sex and the City reboot, and nearly killed Mike “Wags” Wagner on Billions.

Talk about Viking biking. Try riding an ice bike across Wisconsin’s frozen Lake Winnebago in 13° weather.

Frightening story from New York, where a man called the NYPD to report a parked truck illegally blocking a bus stop, and immediately started getting death threats from the truck’s owner — even though his call should have been confidential.

 

International

Treehugger recommends their picks for the best bike cargo bags.

Towing your kids in a bike trailer may not be good for their lungs, as a new British study shows the lower position exposes them to more pollution that someone on a bike seat.

No bias here. And no surprise, either, as a new study from the UK shows that drivers and bike riders are treated differently by the press following a crash.

British bicyclists rode to protest a “discriminatory” daytime ban from the Bedford town center, which resulted in 3,200 fines for the equivalent of $107 — including one issued to a man on the second week of his around-the-world bike tour.

Now bike thieves aren’t even waiting until the bikes are assembled. Thieves hijacked 10,000 Shimano ebike parts by gassing the driver at a German service station.

Pakistan’s Associated Press captures a photo of an old man selling bundles of traditional handmade brooms from his bicycle.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai is one of us, riding with a group to check out a new beachfront bike path. And yes, I included that one just so I could use his full title.

 

Competitive Cycling

Black cycling legend Major Taylor’s 119-year old wood-rimmed Peugeot bike is returning for an exhibit at the Indiana State Museum in his Indianapolis home town.

Tadej Pogačar is back on his bike after testing positive for Covid.

We Love Cycling looks at inter-generational cycling dynasties.

In a scene straight out of Breaking Away, a local Colombian kid falls in and holds his own alongside Rigoberto Urán and Tom Dumoulin on a training ride. Except they don’t put a tire pump through his spokes.

 

Finally…

When you’re carrying meth on your bike with several outstanding felony warrants, maybe try not to make your escape through a snow-covered field.

And enough said.

https://twitter.com/schmangee/status/1491506749794361345

………

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

Website wildly exaggerates LA bike deaths, taking a deep dive into LA’s Vision Zero fail, and muscle car driver kills 9

Maybe biking in LA doesn’t suck as much as we thought.

On Friday, we linked to yet another ranking of the best and worst bike-friendly cities in the US.

And to the surprise of almost no one, LA checked in at the very bottom of the bottom, once again being named as the nation’s worst city for bicycling.

But it ain’t necessarily so.

The chart from Tower Electric Bikes shows a bicycling fatality rate of 15.6 per 10,000 residents.

In other words, they say Los Angeles averages 15.6 bicycling deaths per capita for every 10,000 people in the city.

But with a population of nearly 4 million, that works out to 6,162 people killed riding their bicycles every year in the City of Angels.

Which is a little more than seven times the total number of bicyclists killed in the entire US in 2019.

As if the 18 people who needlessly lost their lives riding a bike in the city last year wasn’t bad enough.

Where they got that figure, I have no idea. A footnote on the chart says the stats came from PeopleForBikes annual rankings, but there is no mention of fatality rates on the Los Angeles page, and no reference to that 15.6 per 10,000 figure.

And it doesn’t seem to correlate to any other actual statistics, from any credible source.

So take it with a grain of salt. Or maybe a bag, given just how far off they are from anything close to reality.

Riding here can certainly suck at times, for any number of reasons.

But at least we aren’t that bad yet.

………

LAist takes a deep dive into the failure of LA’s Vision Zero program, with city streets claiming the deadliest traffic toll in two decades last year.

And just how we got in this mess, six years after the mayor signed the program into being, and just three years before Los Angeles traffic deaths were supposed to be a thing of the past.

Okay, you can stop laughing now.

Safety activists believe that work is going far too slowly. Pedestrian and cyclist groups say the city has spent decades prioritizing fast car travel on its streets at the expense of everyone else using the roads — and the rising death toll is the tragic but inevitable result.

“This is not the trajectory of a modern city,” said John Yi, executive director of the pedestrian advocacy group Los Angeles Walks. “The last thing we want is to double down on cars while other cities are reimagining what their streetscapes would be without cars.”

That total of nearly 300 people killed on city streets last year — including 18 people on bicycles and 132 pedestrians — could rise even further as more detailed analysis is done.

Meanwhile, a listing of the city’s most dangerous intersections give us all a roadmap of places to avoid.

Two of which are within a short walk from my own home, let alone a ride.

For pedestrians:

  • Caesar E. Chavez Ave. and Soto St.
  • Avalon Blvd. and Imperial Highway
  • De Soto Ave. and Lassen St.
  • Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave.

For cyclists:

  • Humboldt St. and San Fernando Road
  • Anaheim St. and King Ave.
  • Valley Vista Blvd. and Van Nuys Blvd.
  • La Brea Ave. and Sunset Blvd.

For total collisions:

  • San Pedro St. and Washington Blvd
  • Florence Ave. and Vermont Ave
  • Oxnard St. and Van Nuys Blvd
  • Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave

………

This is who we share the road with.

Absolutely horrible news from Las Vegas, where nine people were killed in a multi-vehicle collision when the driver of a Dodge Challenger ran a red light at high speed, striking five other vehicles in what was called a mass casualty event.

In other words, driving exactly the way the company actively encourages in its ads.

Hopefully, the survivors of those victims will get good lawyers, and sue the hell out of Dodge, not just for making machines capable of mass mayhem, but promoting their use in the most dangerous ways possible.

And if they need a good lawyer, I’m happy to recommend a few.

………

Things are looking up in Eagle Rock, even if you do have to ride in or near the door zone.

………

Note to LADOT — This is what real bollards look like, not those little white car-tickling bendie posts you seem to prefer.

This is also exactly what we need on Hollywood Blvd, particularly at Hollywood & Highland, where the city has done absolutely nothing to protect tourists and pedestrians from motor vehicle terrorists and out-of-control drivers.

More proof that the city has learned absolutely nothing from the automotive attack on the Venice Boardwalk, and the catastrophe at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market.

Let alone dozens of motor-driven attacks in New York, London and other sites around the world.

………

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

Congratulations to the Fort Myers, Florida New-Press on what may be the worst bicycle-related headline in human history; only after reading the story does it turn out the victim had a little help getting killed, rather than just keeling over. 

No bias here. A writer for The Spectator complains about “the ceaseless self-pity of cyclists,” and complains about hulking male bike riders on huge bikes speeding down sidewalks, plowing everyone out of their way. Evidently, there must be a class of bicycles in the UK at least twice the size of regular bikes. Or maybe she hasn’t seen an actual bicycle since the Penny Farthing went out of fashion. 

………

Local

They get it. Following the announcement by CD11 Councilmember Mike Bonin that he won’t run for re-election, the LA Times writes that the current vitriol in politics is driving good people out of public service.

Los Angeles is getting its first ebike cargo delivery service, with package-laden riders spreading out from four hubs throughout the city.

We Like LA takes a walk on the the LA River bike path through Frogtown.

If you found the LA River path blocked by police activity in Long Beach Saturday afternoon, it’s because a man was shot near the bike path around 11:15 am; the victim was hospitalized in critical condition.

New bike lanes could be coming to Western Ave on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, running from San Pedro through Rancho Palos Verdes, Los Angeles, Lomita and Torrance.

 

State

A Seal Beach police lieutenant warns against riding ebikes discourteously, and says bike riders should slow and come to a complete stop at all intersections, unless they have a green light. Which is guaranteed to piss off every driver on the road around them.

A Las Vegas website recommends bicycling amid the breathtaking beauty of Death Valley’s Artist Road.

 

National

Slate talks with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg about the safety crisis on American streets, and what his department plans to do about it.

Salon considers why Peloton has suddenly become television’s latest punching bag.

Texas is fighting to keep the roads deadly, moving to rescind an eight-year old transfer of a state roadway to the city of San Antonio, apparently because the governor doesn’t like plans for a lane reduction to improve safety and livability along the corridor; bike riders call for public outrage over the loss of promised bike lanes along the corridor.

More evidence that we all face the same problems, as advocates push for a better bike network in Western New York, while auto-centric drivers push back hard.

New York Magazine says ebikes are a simple solution to getting cars off the road right now.

 

International

A massive pile of junked bicycles has become a local landmark for London bike riders.

British drivers — and at least some segments of the press — are freaking out over new changes to the country’s Highway Code requiring operators of more dangerous vehicles to take greater care to avoid crashes, while advising bike riders to take the lane and ride two abreast under some circumstances to improve safety.

The Sun warns of an avalanche of lawsuits over the changes, while the Daily Mail insists drivers are powerless to stop bicyclists from riding in the middle of the road. Apparently, they can’t comprehend the difference between riding in the middle of the traffic lane and the middle of the roadway.

Remembering Swedish adventurer Göran Kropp, who rode his bicycle 8,000 miles to Mt. Everest, then climbed the mountain without oxygen.

An Indian man rode over 4,600 miles across the country to raise awareness for road safety, despite being totally blind. He was guided by navigators in cars traveling ahead of and behind his bike.

 

Competitive Cycling

The great Marianne Vos won her eighth world cyclocross women’s title.

Belgium turned tables on the Dutch, sweeping the podium in the men’s U-23 ‘cross championships a year after the Netherlands did the same thing. But the Dutch women held their own, sweeping all three podium spots in the women’s U-23.

The Eritrean cycling team was barred from participating in the Tour of Rwanda because none of the riders have been vaccinated for Covid-19; riders from the country won the race in 2019 and 2020, but no one in Eritrea has been vaccinated yet.

A crowdfunding campaign for Irish champ Imogen Cotter has raised the equivalent of over $25,000, after she was hit head-on by a speeding driver while training in Italy.

Two-time Grand Tour winner Egan Bernal says the damage from a training crash last week was bad enough that there was a 95% chance he would end up a paraplegic.

 

Finally…

That feeling when clown bikes get their own rutted lane. Be on the lookout for a serial size 46 bike shoe thief.

And the image below is supposed to be a leopard; it’s He Who Must Not Be Named who’s a cheetah.

………

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

US DOT almost adopts Vision Zero, bike writer’s horrific tale of online abuse, and LA is America’s worst bike city — again

What if the new infrastructure bill could actually save lives?

That’s the prospect being presented by the US Department of Transportation, which says it’s time to pivot to a focus on reducing traffic deaths.

And that the recently passed bill includes the focus and funding to do it.

If they actually follow through — which is always questionable, as we’ve learned the hard way — it could represent a huge change in direction for the department, from moving cars to protecting human lives.

Here’s what the New York Times had to say on the subject.

In a 38-page report being released on Thursday, the department outlined an approach heavily dependent on working with states and local governments to address things like designing safer roads and reducing alcohol-impaired driving. The department also said it would issue federal guidance and create new programs to carry out the strategy, such as initiating rulemaking to require automatic emergency braking technology in new passenger vehicles.

The report comes as the number of traffic deaths across the country has soared, reversing some of the progress made over the past few decades. Although fewer people were on the road at the beginning of the pandemic, about 38,680 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2020, an increase of about 2,500 from 2019, and deaths surged further in the first half of 2021. Officials have blamed more people speeding recklessly and using alcohol and drugs to cope with pandemic-related stress…

The report is broken down into five objectives: safer people, safer roads, safer vehicles, safer speeds and post-crash care. It calls on states and local governments to support research and develop technology to detect and prevent alcohol- and drug-impaired driving. It also directs the Federal Highway Administration to revise guidance to encourage safer speeds and the use of speed cameras.

Officials pointed to several sources of funding within the bill, including the $6 billion Safe Streets and Roads for All program, to reduce traffic fatalities.

But this may be the single most important sentence in the story.

“The big first here is committing the department to the idea that only zero roadway deaths are acceptable, and then aligning all of our resources around that,” Mr. Buttigieg said.

While that’s not a commitment to a national Vision Zero, it’s damn close.

Of course, the federal government has limited power to force changes on the streets, most of which are controlled by state and local governments.

And the report doesn’t address the design of modern motor vehicles, with much of the increase in traffic deaths appearing to stem from the increase in massive trucks and SUV, with flat grills and high clearances that almost seem designed to kill.

But it’s a start.

If nothing else, it’s a change in attitude and direction. And if it sticks, it could lead to safer and move livable streets — in every sense.

We can hope.

Read more on Wired and the Los Angeles Times.

Photo by Alexas Fotos from Pixabay

………

A writer for leading British bicycling magazine Cycling Weekly shares the horrifying details of the abuse she has had to endure online, simply for being a woman in a male-dominated field.

Michele Arthurs-Brennan writes that the harassment began just four months into her job, when someone took offense to something she’d written, resulting in a daily torrent of sexually aggressive and threatening comments.

Using sexual slurs is a common tactic among a noisy minority of people who take exception to journalism produced by women. Last year, a global survey of 901 journalists found that women are experiencing unprecedented levels of violent and sexual harassment. A quarter had been threatened with sexual violence and death. This abuse, the UN concluded, was intended to “belittle, humiliate, shame, induce fear and ultimately discredit female reporters.” Similarly, Panorama’s recent documentary ‘Why do you hate me?’ uncovered the sexual and violent abuse that affects women in the public eye.

The reports tally with my experience: harassment has left me feeling physically threatened, and the instigator clearly sought to discredit my career. Very little of the abuse targeted my work directly but instead focused on my appearance, my fertility, my husband and our home. The campaign of insults and intimidation went on for close to a year.

Th abuse eventually forced her to move after photos of the home she shared with her husband started to appear online, along with other personal details.

The final onslaught  – published close to a year after the first incident – included two articles targeting not only me but also my husband. These listed our home address with photos of our house, analysis of the parking situation outside, plus screen shots showing routes I used for regular bike rides – alongside false allegations of driving offences based on pieced-together MOT records, false accusations of the use of anonymous online accounts, as well as an entirely fabricated story about my using “feminist extremism as a cover up” to hide my “infertility” and “multiple failed IVF treatments”. The giant red flag of misogyny here is the assumption that a woman would, or indeed should, cover up infertility out of shame.

This content didn’t only affect me in cyberspace. The abuse and false allegations surfaced whenever my name was searched online, alongside our home address, which had some very real repercussions for us, until we moved house.

No one should have to tell you just how wrong this is. And how no one should have to put up with this kind of crap just for doing their job.

Or for any other reason, for that matter.

I’ve with online attacks over the years, including death threats over the road diets and bike lanes in Playa del Rey and Mar Vista, from people who should have know better.

And yes, I reported them to the police.

But I’ve never had to deal with sexual harassment or attacks just for being a man; that seems to be a special online hell reserved just for women, perpetrated by men.

So if you’re tempted to comment on a woman’s body, or make crude comments or threats of any kind, just don’t.

If you wouldn’t say it to a man, don’t say it to a woman.

Or better yet, just don’t say it.

Period.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

………

No surprise here, as a new study once again ranks Los Angeles as the country’s least bike-friendly city, with San Bernardino and Santa Ana not far behind.

This is what the bottom ten looks like, which LA wearing the crap crown once again.

Surprisingly, tiny Colorado ski town Crested Butte, with a population under 1,400, checks in as the country’s most bike-friendly city.

You’d think that repeatedly being crowned the country’s worst bike city by multiple organizations would spur LA city officials into action.

But apparently, you would be wrong.

………

PeopleForBikes will be holding its 2022 Bicycle Leadership Conference in our own backyard in March.

………

Good advice for bikes, too.

………

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

No bias here. A Missouri writer decides ebikes don’t belong on trails, after being safely and more or less politely passed by an older man riding one, which didn’t inconvenience him in the slightest.

No bias here, either. So why the hell do some drivers think killing innocent people is funny?

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

Police in Honolulu are looking for a bike-riding man who pushed over a 78-year old woman for no apparent reason, leaving her facing surgery for serious injuries.

A Florida man faces charges after allegedly stabbing another man in the neck in a dispute over a stolen bike seat before riding away on a bicycle. Repeat after me. No bicycle is worth harming another human being. Let alone a damn seat.

………

Local

Streetsblog has more on Mike Bonin’s decision to retire from the LA city council.

The Kelly Clarkson Show, with Jay Leno guest hosting, honored East Side Riders founders John “Pops” Jones Jr. and John Jones III for their work in the community, ending the segment by donating $5,000 to the group.

Metro offers an update on plans for congestion pricing focusing on four areas, including Downtown Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Housing Department received a $163.3 million state grant to build seven affordable housing projects, with $54.78 million dedicated to transit-related infrastructure, including seven miles of bike and pedestrian “improvements.” Whatever that means.

The LACBC offers tips on how to report blocked bike lanes on social media, and who to tag to — hopefully — get action, including using the hashtag #BikeBlockedLA.

This is who we share the road with. An 84-year old driver tried to turn a Los Feliz restaurant into a drive-thru, slamming his car into the building and injuring two patrons, as well as himself, in the process. Once again raising the question of just how old is too old to drive, and when should driver’s keys be taken away to protect others?

South Pasadena Mayor Michael Cacciotti is one of us, as the local paper says he walks the walk when it comes to the environment, and pedals the talk.

 

State

Caltrans says Complete Streets are coming, eventually.

San Diego installs bike counters in a pair of protected bike lanes, which could dispel the harmful myth that no one uses them.

 

National

A writer for Forbes says flying cars are great, but how about allowing people to ride bikes without fear of being harassed by the cops?

Chicago Streetsblog explores how the city can rank as one of the nation’s worst for bicycling, while simultaneously being a case study for best practices.

A coalition of New York advocacy groups is pushing the state to do something to curb traffic deaths, including passing a crash victim’s bill of rights. Which sounds like a damn good idea.

New York Magazine suggests “actually comfortable, expert-recommended” bicycle saddles.

Things are going the wrong way in New York, as the city suffered the deadliest year since it adopted Vision Zero in 2014, while Brooklyn was the city’s deadliest borough.

A Maryland city ripped out a successful bike lane project after a six-month trial, despite a jump in ridership and a minimal impact on traffic — as well as a drop in crashes and injuries — because some people complained.

 

International

Bike Radar offers a beginner’s guide to shifting gears.

A Toronto columnist complains that a new bike shelter for riders waiting to board the subway is all but useless because it doesn’t include anywhere to lock their bikes.

If you build it, they will come. A new study shows European cities that installed popup bike lanes during the pandemic saw an average 48% jump in bicycling rates. Meanwhile, American cities are busy ripping their popup lanes out, while Los Angeles wasted a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by never building any to begin with.

They get it. Vice says not only should every town have a 20 mph speed limit, but roads should be redesigned so it feels dangerous to go any faster.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An English WWII vet is still riding his bike 100 miles a week, despite celebrating his 100th birthday.

The UK is considering switching from gas taxes and excise duties for motor vehicles, which aren’t paid by drivers of electric vehicles, to a road pricing program that would charge all drivers according to miles driven, in an attempt to improve fairness while reducing traffic congestion.

A British man thanked a jury for acquitting him of using excessive force for killing a suspected burglar by pulling him off his bicycle, then kneeling on the man’s back with his head awkwardly twisted to the side for nine minutes.

They get it, too. New Zealand has seen a 700% increase in ebike use over the past five years, along with an 800% jump in ebike injuries, but officials blame the higher injury rates on increased usage, rather than claiming ebikes are dangerous, as too many others have done.

 

Competitive Cycling

Good news about two-time Grand Tour winner Egan Bernal, who is reportedly alert and in good spirits after suffering critical injuries when he slammed into a bus parked partially in the traffic lane, while training near his Colombian hometown.

The news isn’t as good for Dutch cyclist Amy Pieters, who remains in a coma a month after she was critically injured in a training crash, although she’s breathing on her own and showing increased consciousness.

Still more bad news from the training front, as Irish pro cyclist Imogen Cotter says she’s lucky to be alive after she was struck head-on by a high speed driver who was passing a bicyclist on the other side of the road; she’s hospitalized with a broken arm and leg, along with other injuries.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you’ve got a flat and out of tubes, and Peter Sagan rides to your rescue. The good, the bad and the ugly of this year’s pro team kits.

And if this clip doesn’t make your day, nothing will.

………

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

KCRW fails to confront LA Vision Zero fail, volunteers needed for ballot measure, and El Monte Vision Zero meeting

Someone in the media finally paid attention to LA’s failing and forgotten Vision Zero program.

Unfortunately, the story hits about as hard as I do these days. Which is more of a polite tap than a solid gut punch.

KCRW’s Greater LA took a look at the program, using the tragic death of fallen bicyclist Branden Findley — killed a hit-and-run driver in a stolen vehicle while on his way to the Ride for Black Lives — as an entry point.

The station notes that 294 people needless lost their lives on the mean streets of Los Angeles last year, a 20% increase over the year before. And that traffic deaths have gone up nearly every year since Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the program in 2015.

“Every single one of those numbers is a tragedy,” says LA Department of Transportation General Manager Seleta Reynolds. “If we cannot get people from A to B and guarantee that they are safe, and that when somebody leaves in the morning, they’ll come home safely at night, then we haven’t fulfilled sort of a basic responsibility.”

It’s Reynolds’ responsibility to reduce traffic deaths and injuries in LA, and her most important tool to do that is a program called Vision Zero.

Unfortunately, while the station notes the existence of critics who think the city isn’t moving fast enough, they apparently couldn’t find a single one to put on the air.

I must have been busy that day.

But then they pivot back to marshmallow journalism, allowing LADOT head Seleta Reynolds to wiggle out of the city’s responsibility for the program’s continued failure.

But Seleta Reyolds of LA’s Department of Transportation says Vision Zero is only part of the solution to reducing traffic deaths.

She points to things beyond traffic planners’ control, like America’s continuing love affair with big, heavy vehicles that make it harder for pedestrians and cyclists to survive collisions.

Then there’s the challenge of distracted driving and the development of increasingly sophisticated car infotainment systems that keep motorists’ attention focused on screens instead of the streets.

And that’s the problem.

Despite the pleading of advocates in a series of public meetings, back when public meetings could actually take place in person, the city never really adopted Vision Zero.

Instead, the city launched a toothless facsimile of the program, relying on the Four Es — engineering, education, enforcement, and evaluation — to reduce traffic deaths.

Except Vision Zero is actually predicated on one simple realization — that people will make mistakes, and it is up to government to design our streets so that those mistakes don’t have to become fatal.

They acknowledge as much on the city’s Vision Zero page, if you can find it on LADOT’s Livable Streets website.

Our Guiding Principles

  1. People will make mistakes on the road.
  2. The consequences of these mistakes should not be death or severe injury.
  3. Reducing vehicle speed is fundamental to safer streets.

Nothing there calls for education or enforcement.

That’s because Vision Zero is based on reimagining the physical reality of our streets to protect vulnerable road users, and tame aggressive and careless drivers.

But that costs money, which hasn’t been budgeted — at least not in sufficient amounts to actually make a difference.

And it requires civic leaders who possess the political courage to make the hard choices necessary to save lives. Even if it means inconveniencing drivers by removing traffic lanes or parking spots, which our currant crop of cowards clearly isn’t willing to do.

So we have to be content with excuses, and moving the goal posts.

Of course, these challenges existed when LA launched Vision Zero seven years ago. Although Reynolds acknowledges the city probably won’t meet the program’s goal of eliminating traffic deaths by 2025, she says setting a goal with Vision Zero is still worth it.

“We’ve set a milestone. We’ve set a year. And if we don’t get there, then I hope it will invite a lot of accountability and dialogue and discussion,” says Reynolds.

But once again, Vision Zero isn’t about accountability and dialogue and discussion. It’s about ending traffic deaths.

That, we have failed to do.

And we will continue to fail until Vision Zero finally becomes the city’s one overarching priority for our streets, rather than just one program among many.

Future Indian ambassador Eric Garcetti signs Vision Zero proclamation at his massive outdoor desk. Photo from Streetsblog.

………

Streets For All is looking for volunteers to circulate a petition to qualify a ballot measure calling for safe streets everywhere in LA.

Click here to volunteer.

Speaking of Streets For All, the safe streets Political Action Committee forwarded a few key findings from a recent poll in support of the ballot measure.

51.8% of people surveyed in Los Angeles would be more likely to ride a bike if there was a network of safe bike lanes

53.5% would consider taking the bus more often if it came more frequently and had its own bus-only lane

75% agree we can and should make changes to how we use street space that would improve our city

And a whopping 84% think it’s the responsibility of LA’s mayor and city council to reduce car traffic, clean the air and make our streets and sidewalks safer.

I would have liked to see more specific questions, like whether people would support removing parking spaces or traffic lanes to improve traffic safety and make room for bike lanes.

But it’s a damn good start.

And we’ll look forward to seeing the ballot measure once its released.

………

Vision Zero could soon be making its way to El Monte, starting with tomorrow’s online workshop.

………

This is who we share the road with.

A USC student “did everything right” in crossing the street in a crosswalk, and was run down by a pickup driver anyway, who stepped on the gas and fled like the heartless coward they are.

Just remember that the next time someone tries to tell you bike riders would be safe on the streets if we just obeyed traffic laws.

Because you can clearly obey the letter of the law and do everything right, and still get your ass run over by some jerk.

………

We’ve seen this New Zealand ad before. But it’s definitely worth watching again.

https://twitter.com/_dmoser/status/1485891195293339651

………

Local

No news is good news, right?

 

State

A homeless parolee has been busted for breaking out a window at a Santa Ana bike shop, and making off with a $2,000 bicycle.

Now this is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. After two people were killed while using the bike lanes on San Diego’s Pershing Drive last year, the city responds by speeding up construction of a two-way buffered bike lane and pedestrian walkway to improve safety.

Oakland announces the coming closure of the city’s Covid-inspired Slow Streets program, even though the pandemic isn’t over. And neither is the need for safe neighborhood streets.

 

National

Arch Daily offers a guide to becoming a more bicycle-dependent city.

Singletracks recommends mountain bike tools that pay for themselves in a few uses.

Great idea. Des Moines, Iowa is holding a competition to select artworks to be displayed along the city’s bike paths.

A Minnesota writer refutes the mistaken perception that winter bicyclists are all as white as the snow they ride on.

New York’s popular Five Boro Bike Ride is back on this spring as Covid cases decline.

Curbed reports that ebike batteries are catching fire way too often, while Gotham delivery riders need safe places to recharge them so they don’t.

A North Carolina man will face the death penalty for 1st degree murder for fatally shooting a five-year old boy as he rode his bicycle outside his father’s house; the alleged killer still hasn’t said why.

South Carolina belatedly gets around to considering a bill banning handheld cellphone use while driving. Then again, it’s not like bans in other states have actually stopped drivers from using them.

 

International

Trek’s holiday fundraising efforts for World Bicycle Relief may become an annual tradition for the company, as its low-maintenance Buffalo Bike built for the nonprofit is named Bike of the Year.

Yanko Design looks forward to the bicycle accessory trends of 2022, from airless bike tires and ebike workstations, to a bike helmet with a built-in air filter. Although I’m not sure “trend” is exactly the right word.

The Week recommends their picks for the best ebikes for “effortless engineering,” ranging from the equivalent of $1,343 to $5,804.

An Indian man became an overnight success after seven years of effort when he received the equivalent of $13,000 for 40% of his company on the country’s version of Shark Tank, for modifying and adult tricycle into a low-fi pesticide sprayer for crops.

 

Competitive Cycling

Two-time Grand Tour winner Egan Bernal remains in intensive care recovering from leg and spinal surgeries after suffering extensive injuries when he crashed into a bus that was parked partially blocking the roadway, while he was training in his native Colombia.

 

Finally…

If you’re already a fugitive from justice, maybe it’s not the best idea to ride your bike on the freeway. Jenny from the Block looks pretty in pink on her BMX — even if it is just an ad shoot.

And the next time it feels like you’re about to be run down by the Apocalypse, you may just be right.

………

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

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