Tag Archive for Vision Zero

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

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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.

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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.

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

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Good advice for bikes, too.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

18 Los Angeles bike riders killed in 2021 Vision Zero fail, speed cams improve safety, and Sidney Poitier was one of us

It’s worse than we thought.

A lot worse.

Tracking bicycling deaths in Los Angeles last year, it became clear that what I was seeing was clearly a major undercount.

Because the numbers I was seeing were too good to be true, as if LA’s Vision Zero has suddenly started showing results, despite years of just nibbling at the edges of traffic safety.

It’s a problem that has developed over the past few years, as local newspapers and TV stations stopped reporting many bike crashes after the pandemic forced major cutbacks in the newsrooms.

At the same time, the LAPD has taken to telling the public about bike and pedestrian deaths only when there’s a crime involved — and even then too often waiting weeks, if not months, to issue a press release in some parts of the city, particularly in the case of hit-and-runs.

And LADOT has backtracked from their promises to track bike and pedestrian deaths under the Vision Zero program, which has receded to where it seems more like an inconvenience than a priority for the city’s transportation agency.

As a result, I counted just eight people killed riding bicycles in the city last year, a fraction of the 15 to 20 or more deaths that would have been expected in pre-pandemic days.

Sadly, I was right.

According to the Los Angeles Times, that was less than half of the actual total of 18 people killed riding their bikes in the City of Angels in 2021 — a 20% increase over the 15 people killed on bikes in the first year of the pandemic.

The paper points out the ongoing failure of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s underfunded Vision Zero pledge to cut traffic deaths by 20% by 2017 — a target the city didn’t come close to meeting. And the virtual impossibility meeting his commitment to ending traffic deaths in the city entirely by 2025.

According to Los Angeles Police Department data through Dec. 25, 289 people were killed in traffic collisions last year, 21% more than the same period in 2020 and 19% over the same period in 2019. A total of 1,465 people were severely injured, a 30% increase over the same period in 2020. The LAPD defines severely injured as needing to be transported from the collision.

The city’s streets are increasingly dangerous for pedestrians in particular, with 486 being severely injured by motorists — a 35% increase over 2020. Pedestrian deaths rose 6% to 128.

The numbers frustrate transportation advocates, who’ve long argued that Vision Zero — a program to end traffic deaths unveiled in 2015 by Garcetti — is underfunded and given a low priority by the mayor and City Hall leaders.

Then again, that’s what can be expected when our elected leaders quake in fear of getting recalled by angry drivers, and lack the courage to make the hard choices and changes necessary to save lives.

But Garcetti isn’t one to take such criticism lying down.

Garcetti cited the distraction of cellphones as a cause of collisions and said the city has added bike lanes during the pandemic, studied the city’s most dangerous intersections to come up with solutions, and supported a new state law designed to help cities have more control over speed limits.

“But it shows how tough it is,” Garcetti said Thursday.

He pushed back against criticism that he doesn’t mention Vision Zero as frequently as he touts other initiatives. “I speak out all the time,” Garcetti said. “I do on panels, I go out there, internationally, to kind of be part of this movement to make sure that we have more walkable, livable cities.”

So it’s nice to see Garcetti has done what he seems to do best.

Talk and attend conferences.

To be honest, I’ve wracked my brain in recent months, but can’t recall any elected official I’ve voted for and actively supported who has been a greater disappointment than Eric Garcetti. 

He started out great in his first term, before apparently setting his sights on higher office — including the presidency — and appearing to lose interest in the daily work of being the mayor of Los Angeles.

But I can tell you this.

I will not vote for anyone for mayor this year who does not fully commit to making Vision Zero a top priority, and funding it at levels necessary to result in real change. And commit to making the difficult choices and changes we need on our streets to actually reduce deaths and make our streets survivable.

And I won’t support anyone for city council who doesn’t, either.

It’s clear that homelessness will be the primary issue in this year’s campaign. We need to fight to raise traffic safety to a top priority, as well.

Because our lives literally depend on it.

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A new Chicago study shows speed cams really do work. And they really do save lives.

A review of the city’s 162 automated speed cams, which state law allows to be installed only within one-eighth of a mile of a park or school, showed that serious crashes went up in those areas.

But not as much as they did in the city as a whole.

According to Chicago Streetsblog,

  • Fatal or serious injury crashes increased only 2 percent near speed cameras between 2012-13 and 2018-19, as compared to a 21 percent increase citywide. This is similar to the 1 percent and 19 percent findings of last year’s study, which compared 2012-13 with 2017-18.
  • Between 2012-13 and 2018-19, overall crash totals increased 1 percent in the cam locations, compared to a 25 percent increase in all crashes citywide. The figures from last year’s study were 4 percent and 26 percent.
  • Speed-related crashes increased 18 near speed cams between 2012-13 and 2018-19, compared to a 64 percent spike city-wide. Those are smaller increases than were seen in last year’s study: 25 percent and 75 percent.

Two bills under consideration in the state legislature during the past session would have established pilot programs for speed cams here in California.

But both died on the vine, apparently because they would have inconvenienced speeding drivers, which tend to make them mad.

Fortunately, Calbike and SAFE — aka Streets Are For Everyone — say they’ll make getting a bill through the legislature one of their top priorities.

So there may be hope yet.

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Los Angeles Bureau of Streets Services Assistant Director & Chief Sustainability Officer Greg Spotts is one of us.

Which should inspire confidence that he’ll get the job done right.

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Now if all cars were just made like this.

Thanks to Ted Faber for the heads-up. 

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The immortal Sidney Poitier was one of us. So was his friend and fellow 1940s alum of Harlem’s American Negro Theatre.

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I want to be like him when I grow 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. Instead of complaining about the one rude bike rider they encountered, a New Jersey father addresses his complaints to “all the arrogant jerks who ride on New Jersey trails and roadways.” On the other hand, if you’re not an arrogant jerk, his message apparently doesn’t apply to you.

No bias here, either. Two cops were disciplined after Irish officials allowed a dangerous driver to remain on the streets until he killed a man riding a bike, despite 42 — yes, 42 — previous convictions, and being out on bail from three separate courts. But the police commissioner quashed their fines and sanctions.

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

A Montreal bike rider responds to being told to stay in the bike lane by smashing his bike against the driver’s car. Which probably hurt his bike more than it does the car. Seriously, violence is never the answer, as tempting as it is sometimes.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CYcErfYoi8V/?utm_source=ig_embed&ig_rid=310f8a6c-bbd3-4df9-8baa-2b82c601f84b

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Local

Metro Bike is offering a one-month bikeshare pass for just $1.

The director of the LA chapter of the Sierra Club complains that there are no programs in place to encourage customers to ride their bikes to local businesses.

 

State

A California inventor is working on a bike lane sweeper you can pull behind your bike.

Encinitas residents turned out for the city’s Cyclovia open streets event on Sunday, which shut down four letters worth of the Coast Highway to cars, and opened them to people for four hours from D Street to J Street.

Police in Temecula are looking for a pair of burglars who broke into a local bike shop and stole a pair of high-end mountain bikes.

Riverside’s SMART Tire Company has released the second-generation of their airless metal tire prototype, developed in conjunction with NASA in an effort to reduce weight — and the $2,000 price tag — before it goes to market later this year. Although the investors on Shark Tank didn’t approve.

San Luis Obispo kicked a homeless encampment off a local bike path before closing it for the next eight weeks to make improvements along the route.

A San Francisco writer says he won’t be renewing his membership in the de Young Museum and Legion of Honor, thanks to their demands to return “car-free JFK Drive…to a dangerous highway used mostly by shortcut-takers zipping between destinations outside the park.”

 

National

They get it. Wired says if the US is serious about climate change — which remains to be seen — our leaders need to start treating bicycles like replacements for cars, and not toys.

Mashable considers all the ebikes and scooters presented at last week’s CES in Las Vegas — including one with treads and no pedals to get through the snow.

A series of reports about the “the uneasy coexistence of grizzly bears and humans” recounts the horrific tale of a Montana mountain biker who rounded a blind curve and ran directly into a massive grizzly, who did not take to it kindly.

Once again, an ebike battery spontaneously combusted, sparking a four alarm fire in a Bronx apartment building early Saturday. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries, unlike Sunday’s apartment fire sparked by a space heater that killed at least 19 people.

Nearly 40 injured vets took part in the Wounded Warrior Project’s annual ride through the Florida Keys.

 

International

He gets it, too. A British Columbia columnist says yes, he always wears a bike helmet, but bike lanes will do a lot more to improve safety.

A British automotive website looks forward to the upcoming ebikes that are revving their engines.

UK residents laugh at the idea that people could carry their trash to drop-off sites on their bicycles during a garbage strike. Apparently, no one has ever told them about cargo bikes. Or racks. Or baskets. 

National Geographic examines what makes the Isle of Man one of Great Britain’s best places to ride a bike.

Milan is getting serious about bicycling, unveiling a $272 million plan to build an entire 466-mile network of concentric and radial bike paths connecting 80% of the city.

NPR visits Iraq, where women riding bicycles are often seen as promiscuous, though the women see themselves as activists.

A man from Kazakhstan plans to ride 500 miles from Busan to Seoul, South Korea to mark the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

 

Competitive Cycling

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome is targeting a record-tying number five this year, insisting that he’s fully recovered from a near fatal crash two years ago. Even though He Who Must Not Be Named won seven, before he didn’t.

Cycling Weekly considers who has this year’s best looking pro cycling kit.

 

Finally…

Anyone can hold a naked bike ride in the middle of summer, but a January ride takes balls, uh, guts. If you have to steal an ebike, probably not the best idea to take one marked “evidence” from the police impound yard.

And someone get me some ice and a skate, quick.

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

Governors get it wrong on traffic safety, support plan to extend Ballona Creek bike path, and new bike path coming to SGV

It’s the last eight days of the 7th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive

Thanks to Stephen T and Marven N for their generous donations to bring all the best bike news and advocacy to your favorite screen every morning, and help keep the corgi in kibble. 

So what are your waiting for, already?

Take a moment now to give now via PayPal, or with Zelle to ted @ bikinginla.com.

Any amount, no matter how large or small, is truly and deeply appreciated, more than she or I could ever express.

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You can always count on the Governors Highway Safety Association to get it wrong.

A new report from the group calls for safety advocates to focus on driver behavior, and not just infrastructure, to improve traffic safety.

To their credit, they start out well.

“Emphasizing one approach does not mean we should discount others,” GHSA executive director Jonathan Adkins wrote in the report. He stressed the need for advocates to use a “safe system” approach, one that includes many different approaches, including enforcing existing laws, educating drivers and engineering streets to minimize crashes. The idea is that the system builds redundancy, to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes.

But it quickly goes south from there.

At the same time, though, GHSA cautioned against advocates going overboard in increasingly popular approaches like Vision Zero that stress the importance of changing infrastructure to make streets safer. Those movements have led to the growing popularity of protected bike lanes, pedestrian islands and narrower vehicle lanes, which protect non-motorists and encourage slower vehicle speeds.

That has sometimes led to a “disconnect,” GHSA said, over whether traditional campaigns about driver behavior belong in those new approaches.

The problem is, as the director of Transportation for America points out, 100% of the effort up to now has been on education and enforcement.

You only have to look at the more than 33,000 people killed on US roadways to realize that approach has failed. And will continue to fail.

Closer to home, you just have to walk or bike on LA streets to realize traffic safety eduction too often falls on deaf ears. And enforcement has little or no impact on daily driver behavior, because drivers have little or no fear of getting caught.

The only rule on our streets seems to be do whatever the hell you want as long as you don’t kill anyone.

And if you do, blame the victim.

So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that traffic deaths have remained high in the City of Angels, despite the city’s negligible Vision Zero program.

Yes, traffic safety education and enforcement matter. But enforcement only works if drivers have an actual expectation they will be held accountable when they break the law.

You can stop laughing now.

That just leaves remaking our streets to prevent speeding and other bad behaviors, which a century of experience tells us in the only way we’re ever going to see any real improvement.

Because what we’ve been doing — and what the GHSA calls for — just hasn’t worked.

And won’t.

Because the traffic safety definition of insanity is to keep focusing on education and enforcement, and somehow expect a different result.

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Streets For All needs your vote for a proposal to extend the Ballona Creek bike path to the intersection of Cochran Ave and Venice Blvd in Mid-City Los Angeles, roughly two miles northeast of where it currently stops in Culver City.

Our effort (along with SWA, Culver City Forward, Bike Culver City, and others) to extend the Ballona Creek bike path has been selected as a finalist by Urbanize LA as a top project of 2021. Winning the top spot would increase visibility and momentum to get the project in the ground. They are currently accepting votes from the public – please vote now!

You can cast your vote here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

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Streetsblog reports on six new projects in the San Gabriel Valley, which received a total of $20 million in state parks grants.

That includes $3.285 million for the new Big Dalton Wash Trail and new pocket parks in Baldwin Park.

Here’s what Streetsblog’s Kristopher Fortin had to say about the planned project.

The new Big Dalton Wash Trail Greening Project will add a contiguous bike trail with lighting and four pocket parks on Northern Garvey Avenue, Southern Garvey Avenue, Dalewood Street, and Francisquito Avenue along the trail system. The project includes a new pollinator garden, playground with two shade structures, picnic areas throughout each park with shade structures, three exercise stations, public art at each park and along the trail, pathways, signage, landscaping, and ornamental fencing.

Last year, the city was awarded $2.5 million – from the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Grant Program funded by Proposition 68 – for the 2.8-mile Big Dalton Wash multi-use path, which is planned to extend from Central Avenue to Baldwin Park Boulevard.

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Another satisfied customer.

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Speaking of education, count on bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid to know the full story behind one of my favorite bike posters, with a message that can’t be repeated enough.

The book he’s holding is Reid’s Bike Boom: The Unexpected Resurgence of Cycling, which I highly recommend, along with his first book, Roads Were Not Built for Cars.

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An Illinois paper recommends things every bike rider needs, except most them you actually don’t.

Although some things are essential, like a decent bicycle. Then again, who could pass up a fat tire bike and matching chainsaw?

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Good point.

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

A British driver was sentenced to five years behind bars for leading police on a high-speed chase, driving four times the posted speed limit and narrowly missing bike riders in the process.

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

Los Angeles police are on the lookout for the “Two O’Clock Rock” burglar, who got his name by throwing rocks through the front window of businesses to burglarize them between 2 and 4 am, before making his getaway by bicycle or in an early 2000s Nissan.

………

Local

‘Tis the season. Three hundred third and fourth grade students in Watts got a new bicycle and a basketball, courtesy of longtime community organizer “Sweet” Alice Harris.

Metro is teaming with the LACBC to host a short, family-friendly bike ride to celebrate the Season of Sharing this Sunday; Metro is also hosting a pair of virtual bicycle education classes today and tomorrow.

This is who we share the road with. A West Hollywood driver demonstrated the dangers of converting parking spaces into dining spots, by driving through one on Santa Monica Blvd.

An op-ed from Wesley Reutimann of Active SGV and Topher Mathers of the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition calls out the rising death toll on Pasadena streets, with six people killed and 55 injured while walking in the city in just the last 11 months.

 

State

A 17-year old San Marcos boy suffered what’s described as major injuries when he allegedly ran a red light on his ebike, and t-boned an Amazon delivery van in the intersection. As always, the key is whether any independent witnesses saw him blow through the red, other than the driver he crashed into.

San Diego’s Ride1Up is introducing a new ebike built for two — as long as one person just wants to go along for the ride.

Bike-friendly Davis is attempting to combat rampant bike theft by offering free online bike registration through Bike Index. Then again, anyone can do the same thing right here

Add this one to your bike bucket list. In less than ten years, you should be able to ride a new 600-mile biking and hiking trail through the Eastern Sierra Nevadas; the Lost Sierra Route will connect 15 mountain towns in Northern California and Nevada, from Truckee to Susanville.

 

National

And just like that, Peloton was forced to pull their viral ad suggesting Mr. Big didn’t die in the Sex and the City reboot after all, after two women accused actor Chris Noth of sexual assault.

More ebike news, as Rad Power has introduced the second generation of its low-priced RadRunner e-utility bike.

Phoenix bike advocates call for protected bike lanes on what is euphemistically  called a bike boulevard, where a popular bike ambassador was killed recently; the only bike infrastructure currently on the bike boulevard are some sharrows and Share the Road signs. Meanwhile, a Phoenix weekly calls it a “posthumous step towards justice for the orange-vested downtown ambassador.

‘Tis the season. A worker at a Phoenix grocery store says he feels loved, after a brief conversation with a customer about the sad state of his bicycle led to a two-month crowdfunding campaign to buy him a new one.

This is who we share the road with, part two. A Colorado truck driver was sentenced to a whopping 110 years behind bars for the fiery crash that killed four people, despite his claims that his brakes failed; the judge said his hands were tied by a state law that requires the sentences to run consecutively, rather than concurrently.

Heartbreaking news from Pennsylvania, where a 71-year old man suffered an extreme slow-motion death due to complications from a traumatic brain injury he suffered in a bicycle crash 35 years earlier.

A New York writer says the NYPD is cultivating bike lane chaos by refusing to enforce laws keeping Vespas and mo-peds out.

Cross GoTrax products off your holiday shopping list, after the Better Business Bureau of Virginia gave the ebike, scooter and hoverboard maker an F rating, noting that complaints about defective products were usually ignored, and when they weren’t, they were usually replaced with other defective products.

 

International

Bike Radar examines the subtle differences between ‘cross and gravel bikes.

Bike Europe looks at the state of Eastern and Central Europe’s efforts to reshore bicycle production from China.

Toronto proves cities can make popup bike lanes permanent, voting to keep seven temporary lanes in place. Los Angeles could do the same thing, except it never built any to begin with.

Speaking of Toronto, a ghost wheelchair now honors a beloved woman who was killed when she was struck by the driver of a cement truck.

Five bike routes to explore Amsterdam on your next trip to bike heaven.

Tibetan refugees living in India held a series of cross-country bike rallies calling for a boycott of the February Beijing Winter Olympics.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to get in a wreck, speed up you’re emergency response by getting run down by an ambulance driver. If you can’t find a new ebike, just build one.

And how to sneak out for a bike ride when you’re working the ER.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

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

Metro Bike expands to Hollywood, O’Farrell claims to support bikes, and L39ION of LA quits USA Crit series

Metro has officially gone Hollywood.

A few weeks after we spotted the new Metro Bike hub on the southwest corner of Fuller and Franklin avenues, just a couple blocks from the entrance to Runyon Canyon, Metro has officially unveiled their new bikeshare expansion into Hollywood.

The new hubs make it easier to connect with existing Metro Bike hubs in East Hollywood, Los Feliz and Silver Lake, part of the 220 hubs docking stations in DTLA, Central L.A., Exposition Park and North Hollywood.

The new network opens with a dozen stations centered primarily around Hollywood Blvd, extending down to Sunset and Santa Monica blvds.

  • Franklin and Fuller avenues
  • Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue
  • Highland Avenue and Sunset Boulevard
  • Hawthorne Avenue and Orange Drive
  • McCadden Place and Hollywood Boulevard
  • Cherokee Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard
  • Whitley Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard
  • Ivar Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard
  • Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street
  • Fountain Avenue and Vine Street
  • Yucca Street and Argyle Avenue
  • McCadden Place and Santa Monica Boulevard

The Hollywood bikeshare system should prove popular with tourists, providing an alternative to walking the Walk of Fame, as well as connecting with other popular tourist attractions.

Unfortunately, it comes with a near total lack of bicycling infrastructure in the area, forcing people who don’t know the area to contend with heavy LA traffic.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that goes better than I think it will.

………

Meanwhile, a number of people took issue with a Saturday tweet from CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell claiming to support bike infrastructure in his Hollywood-based district.

Like this one from a challenger to O’Farrell in next year’s election.

Then there’s this.

Maybe O’Farrell should try listing some of the bike lanes he claims to have supported in his district, since no one seems to know about them.

Or better yet, he could try moving forward with some of the ones he’s killed before next year’s election, if he wants to get the bike vote.

Like moving those Hollywood Blvd protected bike plans off the master plan and onto the streets, before someone gets killed out there.

And approving the shovel-ready lane reduction on deadly West Temple Street that he killed three years ago, claiming a lack of community engagement, despite overwhelming support for the project.

………

Installing bike lanes when streets are repaved should be the rule, not the exception.

Unfortunately, these only cover a fifth of a mile before dumping riders off onto sharrows.

LADOT should be required to build out bike lanes when any street in the bike plan is repaved, as some other major cities have committed to doing.

Instead, it’s common practice in Los Angeles to repave streets with little or no consideration to people on two wheels, regardless of whether the street is included in the bike plan.

But then, as we were reminded by an LADOT official shortly after the 2010 bike plan was unanimously passed by the city council, it remains merely “aspirational.”

………

This Vision Zero webinar should be interesting.

And here’s a better description.

You’ve seen it before. Commercials with cars doing donuts down dense city streets. PSAs telling pedestrians it’s on them, not drivers, to avoid being hit in a crash. Car culture shows no signs of slowing down, and has a firm grip on how the safe streets movement appears in mainstream media and marketing. Join this panel to hear from experts on just how pervasive this grip is, how we begin to relinquish it, and how to successfully frame and move the needle on Vision Zero through the media and marketing.

It’s part of the virtual 2021 Vision Zero Cities conference beginning Wednesday, intended to explore “the most pressing issues on our streets today. From street design to traffic enforcement, hear from experts and advocates devoted to safe streets and livable cities.”

………

Congratulations to everyone who participated in Saturday’s LAPD Back the Blue Ride. Nice to see the department encouraging officers to ride their bikes.

………

Megan Lynch offers a thread on the sad state of bollards that are supposed to protect people on bicycles in ostensibly bike-friendly Davis.

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This is what bike lane enforcement looks like in a city that actually cares about safety.

To answer the question, yes, I can imagine it.

But I wouldn’t count on it.

It would be easy enough for Los Angeles to put parking enforcement officers on bikes, and charge them with enforcing illegal parking in bike lanes, like this video from Toronto.

Instead, drivers feel free to park in bike lanes throughout the city, with little risk getting a ticket — let alone towed.

And cops are often the worst offenders, especially Downtown.

Thanks to Glenn for the heads-up.

………

A new British ad makes the case that bikes are best for short journeys. And that when more people bike, everyone wins.

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

The debate over whether to allow cars on San Francisco’s Great Highway has devolved into vandalism and threats, as someone keeps vandalizing sensors intended to count road users, while local residents hold signs demanding bike riders get out of their neighborhood. Thanks to Robert Leone for the tip.

A small group of New York residents protested against the city’s Open Streets program — aka Slow Streets — complaining about dangerous bike riders, and apparently feeling they would be safer contending with cars instead.

No bias here. A writer for a car website says the new 18 mph speed limit in Paris is just part of the war on cars, designed to force people out of them.

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

A bike-riding, 44-year old man is under arrest for stabbing a pair of men on New York’s Williamsburg Bridge and a nearby park after arguing with them in separate incidents; both victims are in critical condition.

Police are on the lookout for a Florida man who made his escape by bicycle after dashing out of a smoke shop with $178 worth of purloined cigars and cigarettes.

………

Local

This is the cost of traffic violence. Heartbreaking news from North Hills, where an 18-month old toddler was collateral damage in a hit-and-run collision when one of the cars slammed into a group of people standing by a food cart, where the boy was waiting in a stroller with his grandparents; one other woman was seriously injured. The heartless coward in the other car fled the scene after the crash. Seriously, when the hell will we finally get fed up with sacrificing our kids at the altar of the almighty motor vehicle, and demand safer streets for everyone? It’s long past time for an American Stop de Kindermoord movement. 

Crosstown LA looks at the rise in road road in post-pandemic Los Angeles, too often involving a gun.

Long Beach is looking for volunteers to conduct the city’s bike and pedestrian count. Assuming you can get past the paper’s paywall, anyway.

 

State

This is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. San Diego’s KPBS public radio discusses how the city is ramping up bike infrastructure in response to the dramatic increase in bicycling deaths this year.

Sad news from Merced, where someone riding a bicycle was somehow killed by a driver in some sort of truck, who may or may not have remained at the scene.

A new study from San Jose State University examines attitudes towards bike helmet use and the effects of a possible mandatory helmet law in the state. And yes, you may have answered a survey for this one awhile back.

Bay Area transportation leaders will talk bike safety on the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

She gets it. A bike-riding Sonoma County columnist asks if it’s really that hard to be considerate to bike riders, while noting that the real objection to the recently vetoed Stop as Yield Law is the way bike riders are too often seen as “others,” and somehow less than human.

 

National

Parade Magazine’s Marilyn vos Savant, the columnist with the record-setting IQ, proves she really is a genius by confirming that it’s safer to ride a bicycle with traffic. Although she could have mentioned that it’s also the law everywhere in the US.

A writer for the Atlantic makes the case that the simplest way to make roads safer while reducing police violence is to reduce the amount of cars on the road, while taking traffic enforcement away from cops.

Heartbreaking news from Arizona, where yet another cross-country bike rider was killed when a Portland husband and father was run down by a driver while riding through a remote section of the state. A crowdfunding campaign for his family has raised nearly $64,000 of the updated $75,000 goal. Seriously, people should be able to ride their bikes across the US without taking their lives in their hands.

Tragic news from Iowa, where the body of an 11-year old boy was found in a cornfield, five months after he disappeared while riding his bike; police consider the case “suspicious.”

The Boston Globe examines the debate over expanding bikeways in Providence, Rhode Island, pitting the environment and infrastructure against public safety and traffic concerns, while noting a similar debate over a bike path built in 1983 that’s now wildly popular.

Awful case from New York, where a man walking his bike through a crosswalk was killed by a hit-and-run driver while his wife looked on in horror, just one more death in what is turning out to be a very deadly year for people on bicycles.

More bad news from New York, where a 51-year old man was stabbed to death  by a thief who stole his bicycle; he was apparently a delivery rider for Grubhub.

The New York Post’s decidedly anti-bike columnist continues yelling at kids to get off his lawn, insisting that rerouting the city’s 5th Avenue before the holidays to install bike lanes is madness.

He gets it, too. A New York State bike advocate says bicycles can be part of the state’s green future.

 

International

A travel website recommends eleven “enchanting” places where cars aren’t allowed, including three in the US.

A 14-year old Indian girl was a finalist for Prince William’s Earthshot Prize to inspire innovative idea to fight climate change, with her design for a solar-powered, bike-based mobile ironing cart to press wrinkles out of clothes, to replace the estimated 10 million ironing carts that each burn an average of about 11 pounds of charcoal per day.

The senseless violence continues in South Africa, where a man was shot and killed by a group of robbers who stole his bicycle.

 

Competitive Cycling

In a surprising move, L39ION of Los Angeles has pulled out of the USA Crits series, after the director of the race series was suspended, and implicated in a decade old child pornography case.

L39ION of LA’s announcement was quickly followed by the withdrawal of the Aevolo Cycling team, along with the Boise Twilight Criterium and Tulsa Tough, which announced they would no longer be associated with the series.

USA CRITS Managing Director Scott Morris was “temporarily suspended” by the organization for some sort of unannounced misconduct; Morris had reportedly been arrested for possession of child pornography in Virginia and Georgia in 2007 and 2008, but he apparently bargained the case down to a conviction for theft of computer services.

Conviction or not, there should be no time limit on child pornography, if it can be established that he really possessed it. One strike and you’re out. 

Period.

 

Finally…

Join the Aussie army so you, too, can ride a 50 mph ebike. When is a bike lane not a bike lane? When it’s just road markings.

And lots of people carry their dogs on their bikes.

A cat on a fixie, not so much.

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

Happy LA Bike Month, Los Angeles Vision Zero fail, and Damian Kevitt calls for support for school zone speed cam bill

My apologies for Friday’s unexcused absence. 

Just another of the many and varied joys of diabetes, a cruel disease that can take you from feeling okay to passing out in a matter of minutes, for no apparent reason.

And yet another reminder to get yourself checked if you’re at risk, and do whatever it takes to avoid getting it. Because you don’t want this shit. 

Seriously. 

Today’s photo of irresistible cuteness by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

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Happy Bike Month, Los Angeles.

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Despite — or maybe because of — an up to 70% drop in traffic fatalities, roadway deaths declined just 3% in Los Angeles last year, thanks at least in part to a dramatic jump in speeding as empty streets encouraged drivers to use a heavy right foot.

This is how LAist explained it.

Based on preliminary data reported by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, 238 people died in collisions last year, compared to 246 in 2019 — a decrease of about 3%.

That slight dip pales in comparison to how sharply car travel fell in greater L.A. and beyond in the early months of the pandemic. Schools closed, many workers stopped commuting to their offices, and local and state stay-at-home orders drastically limited the places and activities we could drive to in our cars.

In mid-to-late March 2020, daily vehicle traffic fell as much as 70%. Last April saw traffic volumes decrease by 30% to 50% compared to the start of the year. Daily driving has been increasing since that historic plummet, but still remain below typical levels, according to city traffic data.

And despite a drop last year, bike and pedestrian deaths are still up over the five years since LA adopted Vision Zero in 2015.

Which isn’t the way it’s supposed to work.

The basic philosophy behind Vision Zero is that humans will make mistakes on the road and crashes will happen, but by redesigning streets to reduce speeding and better protect vulnerable road users, those crashes don’t have to cause severe injuries and deaths. But as the data has shown in recent years, L.A.’s current approach is not working…

While fewer people were killed and seriously injured in crashes overall last year, not all L.A. communities experienced less traffic violence. According to preliminary data compiled by LADOT:

  • The number of pedestrians killed by drivers fell about 12% overall, but increased in some neighborhoods
  • Slightly fewer cyclists were killed last year (15, compared to 19 in 2019)
  • The number of motorcyclists killed in crashes jumped about 45%
  • Motor vehicle occupant deaths were nearly unchanged

Pandemic or not, it’s clear that LADOT’s piecemeal approach to reducing traffic deaths isn’t working.

And it isn’t Vision Zero, by any definition.

The basic philosophy behind Vision Zero is that humans will make mistakes on the road and crashes will happen, but by redesigning streets to reduce speeding and better protect vulnerable road users, those crashes don’t have to cause severe injuries and deaths. But as the data has shown in recent years, L.A.’s current approach is not working.

It’s long past time Los Angeles stopped talking about Vision Zero, and got off its collective ass and did something about it.

Because I’m every bit as tired of writing about fallen bicyclists as you are reading about it. And don’t get me started on all the other people needlessly killed on our streets.

For any doubters out there, yes, ending traffic deaths is possible. If — and only if — we have the political will to make it happen.

Speaking of LAist, just like their parent public radio station KPCC, they survive on public donations.

So open that wallet if you can spare a few bucks

………

SAFE founder and Executive Director Damian Kevitt, who lost a leg — and nearly his life — to a hit-and-run driver who was never caught, makes a heartfelt plea to fight for SB 733, which would allow automated speed cams in school zones.

Sadly, California is one of the only nine states that expressly forbids speed safety cameras in school zones. This tool has been available since 1987 and is unquestionably effective. Data in cities across the country, such as New York, Seattle, and Chicago, show that speed safety cameras reduce traffic injuries and fatalities and change driver behavior. More importantly, there are already thousands of schools across the country that currently use speed safety cameras to protect kids, teachers, and parents.

The common sense bill, which would only impact people breaking the law and endangering innocent kids and adults, has been severely watered down by Senate Transportation Committee Chair Lena Gonzalez, a Democrat misrepresenting Long Beach, at least in this case.

As currently written after it was butchered in committee, the law would only allow a pilot project in four schools out of more that 20,000 in the state.

As Kevitt writes,

This is an insult to victims of traffic violence and the coalition of support, especially given the immediate problem and widespread, documented effective use of speed safety cameras across the country.

One of the harder things I have had to do is tell victims of traffic violence — who were emotionally prepared to testify in committee — that this lifesaving bill wouldn’t make it through committee due to political forces that are hard to explain. Why would police unions work to fill a bill that so obviously would help save lives? It is heartbreaking.

But we will pick ourselves up and gain strength. The voices of traffic violence will not be silenced. Safety advocates will not accept that denial of the science. Equity groups will demand accountability. And, in the end, we will save lives.

He urges you, and all of us, to call or email Gonzalez’s office to express your outrage, and demand this life-saving tool to protect innocent lives.

Here’s that link again for her contact information, and sample scripts you can follow.

I’m planning to do it later today. I hope you’ll join me

………

I’ve been remiss in not mentioning the LACBC’s virtual LA Rivers Challenge, which replaces their popular LA River Ride, as the world still struggles to shake off the pandemic.

Join us the entire month of June for a virtual challenge in place of the LA River Ride. 2020 was supposed to mark 20 years of River Ride, but we had to put our beloved event on hold due to the pandemic. We’re making up for it in 2021 by inviting you to 30 days of riding, walking and running the historic waterways of Los Angeles!

The LA Rivers challenge is all about doing the mileage goal that is best for you. Select the goal that excites you, tests your abilities, or that you can do with your family. There is a distance for everyone to ride, walk or run.

Opening March 15th, registration is just $40, but follow up on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for exclusive discounts. You also have the opportunity to support healthy, sustainable and equitable streets by choosing to fundraise for LACBC while meeting your mileage goals. You can earn great prizes at key fundraising milestones and will qualify for The 2021 LA Rivers Challenge Drawing to win one of our grand prizes TBA! Whatever your contribution, you will be supporting the work of LACBC, as we try to make Los Angeles a safer and more inclusive place to ride, walk and run.

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

Part two.

Part three.

It’s no surprise that we can’t manage to do anything about man shootings, when we still can’t even do anything about stopping people from using their car as a multi-ton weapon of mass destruction.

………

While we’re on the subject, there’s good news from Maryland, where bike cam video was used to convict a driver for an aggressive punishment pass.

We need to change the law here in California, where police are currently prohibited from ticketing drivers or charging them with misdemeanors unless they actually witness the infraction.

And no, witnessing it on video doesn’t count, for some strange reason.

………

GCN offers advice on how to find good riding routes when you’re new to the area.

And GCN considers one of bicycling’s most vital questions, and one of the last remaining forms of legal doping.

………

I’m all in.

Seriously, we could use this right here in Los Angeles.

And right now.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the heads-up.

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A sharp-eyed Megan Lynch spotted LAFD bike paramedics on the red carpet of last week’s Academy Awards.

And thanks to Vyki Englert for spotting the LAFD logo on their panniers.

………

Nothing sexier than someone on a bike.

Okay, maybe the right someone.

………

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

Someone sabotaged a beginners bike trail in Scotland with obstacles including tree branches, and fence posts with rusted razor wire, which could seriously injure an unsuspecting rider. Or worse.

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

A murder suspect accused of killing his wife has ridden his bike over 3,000 miles around Denver, despite being on house arrest — and posted it to Strava.

A British man was lucky to walk with a suspended sentence after he was busted with the equivalent of over $2,700 worth of amphetamines when police stopped him as he rode his bicycle with a bloody face; no word on how his face got that way.

………

Local

State Assemblymember Richard Bloom announces his candidacy for County Supervisor, basing his run in part on a 20-year record of advocating for a transit, bike and pedestrian-friendly Westside.

That’s more like it. Pasadena is considering four north-south corridors for bicycle boulevards.

A teenage mountain biker was airlifted from the Santa Monica Mountains after suffering painful wrist and shoulder injuries on Sunday.

A young boy celebrated his eleventh birthday Saturday with a 111-mile ride along the beach bike path from Santa Monica to Palos Verdes and back until he completed a century plus an 11-mile victory lap. When I was eleven, I was happy to ride around the block by myself.

Clearly, Long Beach isn’t afraid of road diets, proposing a lane reduction and bike path for a 1.4-mile section of Spring Street. Unlike a certain megalopolis to the north.

 

State

A 38-year old man in El Cajon suffered serious lower body injuries when he was struck by a driver moments after getting off his bicycle.

San Diego’s SANDAG has received a $12 million grant to complete a seven-mile segment of the Inland Rail Trail from San Marcos to Vista.

Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom take their eight-month old daughter for a ride through Santa Barbara on their massive ebikes.

Apparently, San Jose leaders aren’t afraid of road diets either, or LA’s seemingly inevitable angry driver backlash to them.

You know you’ve got a serious safety problem when two disabled people are killed crossing the same San Jose intersection in a single month.

Why pro cyclists like to train in Sonoma County. Surprisingly, it’s not the wine. Or maybe not just the wine. 

A Redding man calls it a life-changing moment when he wins a new ebike.

 

National

Cycling News considers the best ebikes for under two grand.

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss offers advice on how to not get your bike stolen.

A British website highlights “four epic cycling adventures that showcase the incredible landscapes of the USA,” starting with a ride down the Left Coast from Seattle to San Diego. My brother did that one just a couple years ago — along with riding to the Northwest from Western Colorado, and back again to Colorado from San Diego.

The American Southwest experienced a bigger bike boom than anywhere else in the world, including Europe and the rest of the US.

It takes a real schmuck to steal $20,000 worth of bicycles from a Dallas Boy Scout camp.

A Texas man is suing a sporting goods store after a bike fell off an upper display rack and landed on his head. Which is not funny at all, except that it is.

A Minnesota town is repurposing an old abandoned bridge over the Mississippi as a bike and pedestrian bridge, 40 years after it was closed to cars.

Celebrate Bike Month with a visit to Ohio’s Bicycle Museum of America, where over 800 bikes are on display, dating back to an an 1816 draisienne invented by Karl Drais that they credit as the first true bicycle. Although not everyone agrees. You can read that second link on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you, which it probably will unless you’re a subscriber.

New York mayoral hopeful Eric Adams pledges to build another 300 miles of protected bike lanes in the city during his first four years, if he’s elected, an annual rate nearly three times the 28 miles installed last year. Let’s get the candidates for mayor in next year’s LA election to make a similar pledge. And hold them to it.

A crowdfunding page raised $75,000 for a New York delivery worker who was killed when driver went into the bike lane to pass another car, hit the scooter the victim was riding, then went on to hit two parked cars and slam into an outdoor restaurant.

Two men with the same name are fighting back against a cease and desist order from the City of New York to remove their unpermitted dockless ebikes from the streets.

New York police stopped a salmon cyclist, and discovered they had nabbed a hate crime suspect responsible for a rash of anti-Jewish vandalism.

A Florida driver faces charges for intentionally driving off the road to run over a man she knew who was riding a bicycle.

 

International

Your next Subaru could be a single-speed mountain bike. If you live in Canada, that is.

This is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. A deadly Montreal underpass where a woman was killed riding her bike seven years ago now has a bike path with a concrete barrier to protect riders from passing drivers. And the ghost bike that was installed in her honor was removed Sunday to be transferred to a museum, where it will highlight the dangers on the streets.

Former Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams is one of us, as she goes for a London bike ride in a see-through top while filming a new six-part bio-series based on a memoir from Sex Pistols bassist Steve Jones. Sorry guys, they blurred that part out.

A Scottish bicyclist was forced to abandon his attempt to set a new record for the greatest distant ridden in a single week, after suffering a knee injury on the fourth day.

Those e-cargo bike front wheel skids may soon be a thing of the past, as Italian brake maker BluBrake introduces the world’s first ABS, aka anti-lock braking system, designed for electric cargo bikes. Thanks to Thomas Riebs for the tip.

She gets it. Germany’s first professor of bicycle traffic management says cars should give up space to make room for people on bicycles.

Ebike and electric scooter riders will now have to pass a theory test before they’re allowed to ride in Singapore, starting next month.

She gets it. The widow of a Kiwi bicyclist says a single mistake shouldn’t cost someone their life, while opposing jail for the truck driver who killed him.

 

Competitive Cycling

According to Cycling News, 21-year old Belgian cyclist Remco Evenepoel stands suspended between stardom and superstardom since breaking his pelvis at Il Lombardia last August.

Cycling News also examines the omertà in women’s pro cycling, where virtually no one is talking about the shameful poverty wages — or no wages at all — paid to riders below the WorldTour level.

Cyclist talks to pro cyclists about their less-than-favorable reaction to UCI’s new safety rules.

The popular Over the Hump mountain bike race series will make a comeback at Irvine Lake on July 20th.

 

Finally…

That feeling when your ebike has a sidecar. That feeling when the bike lane is blocked by a city bus, whose driver is busy having sex onboard.

And if you’re riding your bike after dark while carrying two bags of meth, put a damn light on it, already.

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Thanks to Matthew R for his monthly donation to help keep this site coming your way every day; your support is always welcome and appreciated, no matter how large or small. 

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

And get vaccinated, already.

Former NTSB official says no deaths should be the only goal, legalize crossing the street, and building the 15 minute city

She gets it.

A former acting chair and board member of the NTSB says we know how to prevent traffic deaths.

And the only rational goal should be zero.

Sometimes I arrived at the scene of a business jet or helicopter crash, other times it was a train derailment, once it was a cargo ship lost in a hurricane — always, it involved a tragic loss of life. But despite the terrible toll of motor vehicle deaths on our nation, I never launched to the scene of a traffic crash. Why? Perhaps because the NTSB only has the capacity to investigate a handful of vehicle crashes each year. Perhaps because there weren’t any crashes classified as major disasters when I was on duty. But in 2019, more than 36,000 deaths were recorded on U.S. roads, so an average of nearly 700 traffic deaths occurred every week I was on duty.

Yet our nation doesn’t think of a traffic crash as a disaster, since deaths typically occur one or two at a time. Many of us don’t believe that every road death is preventable. As a nation, we haven’t yet decided that we can protect everyone, including the most vulnerable among us who use our streets and highways — people who are younger or older, people who are walking or biking, people with disabilities. We accept tens of thousands of deaths on our roads every year as simply unavoidable “accidents,” even though we have proven solutions to prevent them.

It’s worth a few minutes to read.

Because she’s right. There’s no acceptable number of traffic deaths.

And it’s long past time we did something about it.

………

Los Angeles Walks is joining with partners across the state on Monday for a national discussion about jaywalking and efforts to decriminalize it.

Like their sponsorship of AB 1238, aka the Freedom to Walk Act, which would get rid of California’s jaywalking law, which is too often used to target people of color.

You can register for the webinar here.

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Streets For All hosts what promises to be a fascinating discussion with the creator of the Paris 15 Minute City Plan on May 11th.

The plan, which is currently being implemented in Paris, promises to put everything you need within a 15-minute walk, bike or transit ride, anywhere in the city.

The LA transportation PAC is also asking for you to take a stand in support for a proposal to make Calfornia’s Slow Streets permanent by emailing the Assembly Committee on Local Government by this coming Wednesday.

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Give credit where credit is due.

Unless you’re LADOT, evidently.

………

Bike Talk discusses the bible of traffic engineers this Friday, which is undergoing its first revision in a decade.

………

A periodic reminder that bicycle are mobility devices.

And bike lanes help older and disabled people get around, without having to rely on a car.

https://twitter.com/AmericanFietser/status/1387647840109879297

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Hats off to a kindhearted Cambridge MA cop, who took a few moments out of his day for an impromptu bike ride with a little boy.

https://twitter.com/CambridgePolice/status/1387107364986363906?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1387107364986363906%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwhdh.com%2Fnews%2Fleft-a-lifetime-impression-cambridge-police-officer-goes-on-bike-ride-with-4-year-old%2F

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

A British bicyclist had to call off a fundraising ride across the country after a group of jerks men pushed him off his bike around the hallway point. Which makes the real victims the cancer charity he was raising funds for, and the people they could have helped.

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

Police in Ontario, Canada are looking for a bike rider who fled the scene after crashing his bike into a trash bin, while towing a trailer filled with 31 pounds of cannabis. And a guitar.

A bike-riding British thief uses his head to balance the spa he just stole.

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Local

No news is good news, right?

 

State

San Diego opens a new South Bay campground and bike park. But not together, unfortunately.

A Bakersfield bike path could be underwater through today, thanks to a water line break.

Speaking of Bakersfield, the city will kick off Bike Month with a solidarity ride this Saturday.

Trek CEO John Burke penned a heartfelt ode to his penpal Joe Shami, the 86-year old Legend of Mount Diablo, who was killed in a collision with a driver on yet another ride up the mountain earlier this month.

Bay Area transportation officials marked the beginning of Bike Month by announcing nine Bike Champion of the Year winners, honoring one person from each county in the Bay region for their commitment to bicycling.

The rich get richer. The Sacramento region is planning a bike freeway network connecting area cities, which could require an another 300 miles of trails in addition to the 450 miles already on the ground.

 

National

The Associated Press says give mom an ebike this year.

Outside says it’s time for a federal ebike tax credit.

AARP takes a look a look at bicycling over 55, including what to look for in a new bike, bikes for people with mobility issues, how to be safer on your bike, and eight of the nation’s top rail trails, including the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail.

Pop Sugar recommends ten padded bike shorts to make your ride — and presumably, your wallet — more comfortable.

Bicycling considers how to advocate for and protect the trails you ride this summer. As usual, you can read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you. And they probably will.

Even Honolulu is building a protected bike lane network.

The newest edition of Oregon’s state bicycling manual gets rid of labels in favor of more inclusive people-first language.

In a common lament across the country, Omaha, Nebraska has more bikeshare bikes than ever. Just not enough safe places to ride them.

They get it. A new survey shows Pittsburgh residents overwhelmingly support bike lanes, walking routes and reduced speed limits. And think traffic injuries are a major problem. Maybe someday someone will finally get around to asking Angelenos those same questions, so our elected leaders might finally see that the car-first crowd is just a very loud minority.

New York has sent a cease and desist order to a new rival to the city’s Citi Bike bikeshare system, saying the privately run dockless bikeshare isn’t authorized to do business in the city.

A New Jersey DJ pleads with lightless and scofflaw bicyclists to stay safe.

In an overly familiar story, DC traffic deaths continue to climb while Vision Zero funding is stuck in limbo.

Camila Cabello is one of us, as she goes for a bike ride through the streets of Miami.

 

International

Road.cc offers 14 tips on how to make your bike more comfortable. I’m a big fan of padded gloves, new bar tape and better insoles myself.

He gets it. A writer for Innovation Origins says we need more and better bike paths, not more helmet laws.

This is who we share the road with. A newlywed English teenager gets a well-deserved year behind bars for stealing a crate of eggs, then driving his car while friends threw the eggs out the window at passing people and cars, permanently blinding a motorcycle rider in his right eye with a direct hit. He took the fall for his friends, refusing to name who actually tossed the eggs.

Princess Di’s “shame” mixte bike sold for the equivalent of over $61,000, which the palace forced her to sell before her ill-fated marriage to Prince Chuck; the bike went for more than twice the presale estimate.

Add this to your bike bucket list, with eleven “of the best and most beautiful places” to ride your bike in Scotland.

Rouleur looks at the 18k gold framed bike famed Italian bikemaker Ernesto Colnago made for Pope — now Saint — John Paul II.

Heartbreaking story from India, where an elderly man was forced to carry his dead wife’s body on his bicycle for hours after villagers blocked him from the local crematorium for fear of Covid-19, even though there was no confirmation she ever had the disease.

 

Finally…

That feeling when God tells you to start a weekly bike night at the local skatepark.

And let’s consign “savages” to the racist dustbin of history. Even in reference to some truly despicable bike thieves.

Oh, and it’s “thief,” not “thieve.”

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

And get vaccinated, already.

Death of DC bike advocate reveals LA safety failures, LADOT bike count up 22%, and arrested for Biking While Black

Thanks to everyone for all the kind words following my surgery earlier this month. 

My fumble fingers are finally functional again, even though the swollen new Frankenhand they’re attached to is still almost, sort of, not really, kind of back to normal.

But it’ll get there. And nearly two weeks after surgery, the pain is already better than it was before, so there’s that.

Meanwhile, we have a lot to catch up on.

It will take a few days to catch up on all the bike news we missed, but I’ll make sure we don’t miss out on anything important. 

So let’s get started on the first installment. 

And my apologies for the near-total lack of credits today; with one exception forwarded by multiple people yesterday, I lost track of who sent what to my attention during my extended downtime, which is going to be a problem until we get caught up. 

Photo by Eva Elijas from Pexels.

……..

Heartbreaking news from DC, where a longtime bike advocate was killed in a collision, just hours after tweeting about the dangers on the city’s streets.

Here’s how the Washington Post described it.

(Jim) Pagels was struck in a horrific chain-reaction crash along Massachusetts Avenue NW, about a mile from his home on Capitol Hill, his family said. The avid rider and self-described urbanist who was in his second year of a doctorate program in economics, died at a hospital.

Pagels’s sister, Laura Menendez, described her brother as funny, smart and passionate about many things — pursuing his postgraduate studies, playing tennis and board games, and traveling by bike.

“He had a good heart,” Menendez said. “And he was such a huge advocate for bike safety.”

The paper also quotes a friend of Pagels.

“He was so excited about working in that urban space,” said Finn Vigeland, a close friend who met Pagels while the two worked on the Columbia Daily Spectator. “He was well aware of the dangers of cycling . . . but he loved biking, and he wanted everyone to bike. He wanted everyone to feel like this was the best way to get around D.C…

I hope our city leaders hear about Jim and understand the life that was so senselessly taken away on Friday. He cared so deeply about the injustices that led to his death, and he would want us to be furious about it,” Vigeland said. “I hope that knowing that this was something Jim was working so hard to change might prompt people to take bolder action.”

Let’s hope city leaders get the message here, too.

Before it’s too late for someone else.

Meanwhile, a writer for the LA Times took the death of his friend and former college classmate personally.

And used the tragedy as a springboard to call for safer streets, and talk with Michael Schneider, founder of LA street safety PAC Streets For All.

It doesn’t take long for their conversation to get to the heart of the problems on our streets.

ME: Six years ago, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti set a goal of zero traffic-related deaths by 2025, part of the global Vision Zero initiative. So far, we’re not on track to meet that goal. My colleague Steve Lopez recently reported that 238 people died in car crashes in Los Angeles last year — only a tiny decrease from 2019 despite significantly reduced traffic due to COVID-19, and just 8% less than the first full year Garcetti’s policy was in effect. What is going on?

SCHNEIDER: Our city is very good at plans and goals and not very good at implementation. Can you imagine if you were a heart surgeon and people were coming in for heart surgery, and no one would let you operate? Vision Zero is a laudable goal, but until we have a City Council and a mayor who will spend the political capital to make the tough decisions and deal with NIMBY blowback to make changes to our streets, it’s never going to happen…

ME: Where has Mayor Garcetti been on safe streets?

SCHNEIDER: Absent. He says all the right stuff, and he hires great people, like Seleta Reynolds. He will never risk his neck at all for a bike lane or a bus lane.

But I think we’re on the cusp of some exciting changes, especially because the city of Los Angeles has now aligned their elections with federal elections, and the turnout is so much larger and so much more progressive. I think we are on the cusp of truly having different political leadership, where a guy like Paul Koretz, who’s termed out, couldn’t win in 2022 and beyond. And where someone like Nithya Raman, who had making the city more bikeable in her campaign messaging, can defeat an incumbent.

Then there was this about the recent failed attempt to make iconic Melrose Ave safer and more livable for everyone.

ME: Talking about blowback, I read the post you wrote about the proposed “Uplift Melrose” project, which would have added protected bike lanes, wider sidewalks and shaded seating areas along a 1.3-mile stretch of Melrose Avenue. There was broad support from local businesses, but City Councilmember Paul Koretz effectively killed the proposal. Why is it so difficult politically to get changes like these approved?

SCHNEIDER: Opponents typically say the following: If you remove parking or reduce car capacity in any way, how are people going to shop or get to businesses? You’re going to kill business. They also ask, “Why would we invest in this when no one uses the bike lanes anyway?” People cite anecdotes of driving by bike lanes and seeing them empty.

If we had a beautiful six-lane paved highway that only went for one mile and then became a dirt road with potholes, how many cars would take that road? That is the equivalent of what we ask people to do when they bike around Los Angeles. If we had a network of protected bike lanes, you would see a ton of people using them. One piece of evidence is CicLAvia. Those events bring out tens of thousands of people to ride their bikes on closed streets.

What happened to Uplift Melrose was egregious even by L.A. standards. Koretz basically became a puppet for mostly white, wealthy homeowners who couldn’t see themselves riding a bike or a bus.

Pagels’ death serves as a tragic reminder of what can happen to anyone on the streets — even though the risk to any one of us at any particular time is infinitesimally small.

But if anything ever happens to me when I’m riding a bicycle, I want you to politicize the hell out of it.

Take what’s left of my body to the city council and dump it on the dais, if you have to.

Metaphorically speaking, of course. Or literally, for that matter.

And if it happens on a street marked for safety improvements in city’s mobility plan, I hope those lawyers up there on the right will join together to sue the hell out of the city for failing to keep their commitment to safer streets.

Or maybe just sue over LA’s failed and forgotten Vision Zero plan to force the cowards we foolishly elected to lead us to the changes we so desperately need on our streets.

………

LADOT has finally release the results of the city’s biennial walk and bike count, which for years has been done on a volunteer basis by the LACBC and later, LA Walks.

Which is something they should have been doing all along.

The result was a 22% increase in bicycle rates from the last count — in 2017.

And yes, they are just now releasing data collected that was collected two years ago, for reasons known only to them.

It also shows how easy it is to boost bicycling with a little decent infrastructure, with a 73% jump in ridership as a result of the protected and separated bike lanes on the MyFigueroa project.

MyFig also resulted the city’s most heavily-trafficked pedestrian corridor, even above the tourist-clogged sidewalks of Hollywood Blvd.

And it points to how Los Angeles can increase the far too low rate of women riding bikes on city streets.

While the report found that women make up 40 percent of pedestrians on weekdays and 44 percent on weekends, women made up just 14 percent of cyclists.  However, the report also indicated a 120 percent increase in female riders on streets improved with dedicated bike paths.

In other words, all they have to do is what the city already committed to in the 2010 bike plan, and the mobility plan that subsumed it.

Not to mention LA’s nearly forgotten Vision Zero and the mayor’s Green New Deal.

………

What the hell.

I’m not sure where this video is from; I can’t make out the the police patches or or the name on the patrol cars.

But something looks seriously wrong about a bunch of while cops taking a young black man into custody for the crime of…wait for it…

…riding a bicycle without lights or licenses.

In the middle of the day, no less.

And while some cities require bikes to be registered, I don’t know any place where police have the authority to seize private property over a handful of minor infractions.

Which would be illegal as hell if they tried to seize someone’s car for an expired license or failing to signal a turn.

Let alone not having their headlights on in broad daylight.

Unfortunately, there’s a term for crap like this — Biking While Black.

And regardless of their motivation, it makes the cops look racist AF.

Thanks to Jon, Megan Lynch and Stacey Kline for the heads-up. 

And if anyone knows where this happened, let me know so I’ll never make the mistake of going there.

Update: Thanks to Al Williams for identifying this as Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Which I will make a point of never visiting. 

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If you live or ride in Beverly Hills, the city needs to hear from you at today’s city council meeting, where councilmembers will consider the city’s proposed Complete Streets plan.

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When is a bike lane not a bike lane?

When it’s free parking for a tire shop.

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

A Texas bike rider bike rider was hospitalized with a brain bleed and facial fractures when he was run down by a drunk driver — while riding on an ostensibly carfree bike path.

Singaporean actor Tay Ping Hui says he’s got nothing against bicyclists, despite complaining when a small group of riders merged onto the roadway ahead of him. Because apparently, it’s asking too much to slow down or change lanes to drive safely around them.

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

No bias here, either. A Singapore motorcyclist calls for banning bicycles from the roads after watching one — count ’em, one — scofflaw bicyclist weaving through traffic. Meanwhile, the website somehow feels the need to point out that 34 bike riders were ticketed for breaking the law over the weekend. Makes you wonder how many motorcyclists got tickets the same weekend. Let alone drivers. But sure, blame everyone on bicycles.

………

Local

LA Magazine highlights “cool” bike accessories to keep you riding in style. Too bad they forgot to feature that mirrored helmet in the main photo. Because who wouldn’t want to look like a human disco ball?

LA Taco takes a look at nine kinds of bad drivers you’ll meet on the streets of Los Angeles — and they include kids on scooters in that.

Keep an extra eye open if you’re riding the Arroyo Bike Path through Arroyo Seco Park, where a man walking on the pathway was shot several times by couple men who approached him around dusk Sunday evening.

A proposal for protected bike lanes on Pasadena’s North Lake Ave would keep 98% of the current parking on the street.

LA County Sheriff’s Deputies made a spectacular rescue of a mountain biker who went off the side of the road on Mt. Wilson; the victim was hanging head-first over a sheer cliff, clinging to the rock face like a cat, suspended by a thin cord around his ankle.

Former Lakers star Kobe Bryant was one of us, starting his bike rides at 4:30 am and not coming home until the sun was at its peak.

 

State

A bill currently under consideration in the state legislature would increase the penalties for a fatal hit-and-run from 2 to 4 years to 3 to 6. It’s already been watered down from the original proposal, which would have doubled the penalties for hit-and-run that result in death or permanent serious injury.

Calbike wants your support for the proposed Safety Stop Bill, which would allow bike riders to treat stop signs as yields. Which is exactly what many riders safely do right now. And far too many drivers do unsafely.

AB117, the bill that would create a $10 million fund to help lower income Californians buy ebikes, passed its first test in the Assembly Transportation Committee.

Meanwhile, AB 43 unanimously passed the Assembly Transportation Committee with no opposition; the bill would retain the deadly 85th Percentile Law, but allow cities to consider factors other than drivers’ right feet in setting speed limits, such as the location as well as pedestrian and bicycle safety.

California is joining a nationwide movement to prioritize safety over speed. The question is whether the shift is real, or if the legislature will simply pass a few feel good bills before forgetting all about it and moving on to other matters, as too often happens.

Credit old school police work. Riverside police finally busted the hit-and-run driver who killed 52-year old Brian Sabel two years ago, arresting 34-year old Menifee resident Steven Allen Watson Jr. for the crime, despite the apparent lack of any witnesses or evidence at the time of the crash.

Bay Area bike riders may want to ride with a partner or group around Grizzly Peak Boulevard in the hills above Berkeley, where a number of solo riders have been robbed by armed bike jackers; at least five riders have been run off the road and robbed at gunpoint or knifepoint since late March.

A San Francisco ER physician calls for keeping the city’s Safe Streets, saying they’ve helped empty his emergency room.

A San Francisco woman celebrates seven years of living carfree after switching to an ebike when her car was totaled by an uninsured driver; she claims she’s saved over $50,000 over that period.

 

National

Of course she gets it. Former New York DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan teams with her Streetfight co-auther to call for cities to hold onto the street space reclaimed for people during the pandemic, saying surrendering our cities to cars would be a historic blunder.

My hometown university has now joined the Vision Zero club. Which isn’t too surprising, considering it’s surrounded by one of the nation’s most bike-friendly communities. Even though it didn’t get that way until long after I left, of course.

Apparently writing with all seriousness, a New Hampshire medical worker and self-described cyclist says he worked with a state legislator on a bill that would require bicyclists to ride salmon, but the bill died when he couldn’t get time off work to attend the hearing. Because evidently, riding a bike in New Hampshire just isn’t dangerous enough already.

A Massachusetts man got his fat tire bike back two months after it was stolen, when he recognized it being ridden by a burglary suspect on a TV news story about a break-in.

The Big Apple is getting a belated start on the micromobility revolution, as the city finally gets its first e-scooters.

 

International

In a story that’s scary as hell, a writer for Bike Radar examines whether lane-keeping technology poses a risk to bike riders, after he had to wrestle a car for control to avoid running down a bike rider sharing the same lane.

T3 considers what you get with a high-end road bike that you don’t with a cheap one. Or put another way, is an expensive bike really worth 20 times more than a low-end bike?

A pair of Vancouver business owners are taking their case to the British Columbia Supreme Court to fight the re-installation of a protected bike lane through a park, arguing the decision to swap a traffic lane for a bikeway wasn’t “reasonable, rational or logical.” Seriously. It’s in a park.

There’s a special place in hell for the jerk who stole an ebike from a disabled 13-year old English girl.

A pregnant British driver will spend the next 30 months behind bars for killing an 80-year old triathlete while chatting with her sister on WhatsApp; no word on whether her baby will spend the first years of its life in prison with her.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a 26-year old driver got a lousy 35 months in jail for intentionally running down a 13-year old boy riding his bike after getting into an argument with the kid in a park, and following him for 20 minutes before using his car as a weapon to attack him.

Scottish cyclist Josh Quigley is on his second day of a world record attempt for the greatest distance ridden on a bicycle in a single week, attempting to ride 320 miles a day in an 80-mile loop through the Scottish countryside; he’s aiming for Aussie pro Jack Thompson’s record of 2,177 miles, despite suffering multiple broken bones in a crash three months ago.

France is now allowing drivers to trade their old, smog-belching cars for a nearly $3,000 grant to buy a new ebike.

Last year was even a bad year for bike riders in the Netherlands, with the highest number of bicycling deaths in the past 25 years.

This is who we share the road with. A Kiwi driver is filmed blissfully driving on the right side of the road — which is the wrong side Down Under adjacent — until confronted head-on by a large truck. If your first thought was that it was probably just an American tourist confused about what side to drive on, join the club.

 

Competitive Cycling

Dutch legend Marianne Vos outsprinted the competition to win the one-day Amstel Gold Race on Sunday; Belgian Wout van Aert took the men’s race by a nose in a photo finish.

More proof cycling hasn’t kicked its doping habit yet, after 52-year old California masters racer Vahe Aivazian was banned for four years for testing positive for not one, not two, but ten different banned drugs. But the era of doping is over, right?

 

Finally…

That feeling when your personal traffic bypass bridge turns out to be a pedestrian walkway. That feeling when you’re an elected official with no idea what Bicycle Day is all about.

And who needs to pick a bike lock when you can just blow it up with a hand grenade?

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

Examining the carnage caused by speeding drivers, the bike boom runs on batteries, and early LA bike cops

Speed kills.

In a column for the LA Times, the paper’s Steve Lopez examines the rising carnage on our streets caused by speeding drivers.

Lopez constructs his story through the lens of the needless deaths of 68-year old Larry Brooks, killed by a driver in $280,000, 200 mph McLaren, and 32-year-old Monique Munoz, whose life was taken by a 17-year old in a $200,000-plus Lamborghini SUV.

Not that you need a high-end super car to speed. Or take an innocent life.

In fact, it seems to be a rising trend.

In the first month of the pandemic last spring, the California Highway Patrol reported that although traffic volume was down 35%, the number of citations for driving in excess of 100 miles an hour had increased by 87% over the same period a year earlier. Between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, 4,851 more CHP citations were issued for speeding at 100 miles an hour or more, a 93% increase over the same period a year earlier.

And too often, the people who pay the price aren’t the ones with their foot glued to the gas pedal. Three years ago, speeding played a role in roughly a third of all crashes resulting in death or serious injury, according to the most recent stats from the CHP.

Not that more timely statistics would help prevent more deaths, or anything.

Then there’s the broken promise of Vision Zero, which was supposed to be well on its way to ending traffic deaths in the City of Angels by now.

Not making more of them.

The Vision Zero campaign, announced by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2015, set an ambitious goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and injuries and making streets safer for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists by 2025. The progress, and the reviews, have not been sterling. In the Arts District, where Larry Brooks was killed, residents have begged for more sidewalks and crosswalks. A $15-million state grant for such improvements has yet to be put to work.

Budgets, bureaucracy, politics and competing priorities have stood in the way of safety improvements such as turn lanes, crosswalks, signage and enforcement throughout the city. But (LADOT General Manager Seleta) Reynolds said progress is being made and her department has identified 450 miles of city streets where more than two-thirds of the fatal and serious collisions have occurred, with improvements there being prioritized.

Except nibbling at the edges of traffic safety wasn’t what we were promised. And won’t bring about the wholesale changes to the city’s traffic grid necessary to make a substantial dent in the rate of traffic deaths.

Let alone end them in the next four years, as the mayor committed to in announcing the plan six years ago.

Or do much to reduce the number of speeding drivers on LA’s over-engineered streets, as evidenced by the LAPD’s own stats.

(LAPD Traffic Division Cmdr. Gerald) Woodyard ran stats for the 12 pandemic months ending Feb. 28 of this year and found that fatal collisions in which speed was a factor increased from 15% to 21% of the total. Of the 253 fatalities, 117 involved pedestrians, and 48 of the victims were identified as “homeless or transient.”

Let’s hope that the state legislature gets serious about eliminating that deadly 85th Percentile Law that allows drivers to set speed limits with their right foot, and legalizing automated speed enforcement to slow them down.

And maybe Los Angeles can spend some of the $1.35 billion it will be getting in the latest Covid stimulus package to fully fund Vision Zero, and stop using that for an excuse for why nothing gets done.

Then our elected leaders will just have to grow a spine. Or at least enough of one to stand up to angry drivers who demand the right to keep going zoom zoom on our streets, unimpeded by anything that might slow them down.

Like a person, for instance.

If not, maybe we can replace them with new leaders who already have one.

Take a few minutes to read the full piece. It’s worth your time to grasp the full cost of drivers who insist on putting the pedal to the metal.

Because let’s face it, you can’t spell “carnage” without “car.”

Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR from Pexels.

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Speed kills, part two.

Two people were killed, and four seriously injured, when a speeding driver lost control on Vineland Ave in North Hollywood, slamming into two other cars and killing a man who had just stepped out of a liquor store; a passenger in one of the cars was the other person killed.

The crash occurred just blocks from the bike lanes on Vineland.

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More proof that much of the current bike boom runs on batteries.

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Actually, it looks like most of those “hats” are helmets on the heads of the LAPD’s first bike cops.

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

It takes a real lowlife to torch a Cambridge, Massachusetts ghost bike.

People are attacking a Welsh bikeshare provider, with an average of two bikes damaged each day over a five-week period; 20 people have been arrested so far for vandalizing the bikes.

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

Jessica Jones star Krysten Ritter complains she almost channeled her rage-filled superhero alter ego when she was rudely hit on by a bike riding man while walking on a sidewalk.

British police bust a 19-year old, bike-riding serial groper accused of attacking 12 woman on a Cambridge bike path.

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Local

Officials conclude that a proposed bike lane on Western Ave in Rancho Palos Verdes won’t have a negative effect on traffic.

 

State

Calbike says it’s time for California to legalize the Safety Stop, which would allow bike riders to legally treat stop signs as yields, as most bike riders — and many drivers — already do. Actually, it was time about 30 years ago; now it’s way past time to get it done.

Encinitas will host a free ebike seminar on the 26th.

No bias here, either. A Santa Barbara letter writer says the new bike lanes on State Street make no sense, and accuses leaders of kowtowing to “the minority bike lobby.”

Sad news from Bakersfield, where a man riding a bicycle was killed in a collision Saturday evening; he was allegedly riding the wrong way when a driver hit him head-on.

Kindhearted members of a Cal Fire crew bought a new bicycle and helmet for an eight-year old Pescadero boy after his were damaged when he was hit by a driver.

No bias here. A Chico State student investigating police bias and racial profiling in campus traffic stops unexpectedly finds himself stopped by three university police officers in a pair of squad cars as he was riding his bike, long after leaving the campus. He was told he somehow looked suspicious because he rode his bike away from the cop he didn’t see, who wasn’t trying to stop him. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

 

National

City Lab examines the irrational growth in the sheer size of pickup trucks, some of which now weigh as much as 3.5 tons, posing a dramatically increased risk to everyone on the road around them. Correction: I originally wrote the pickups weigh up to 7 tons, rather than 3.5. Thanks to Andy Stow for the correction.

Washington state is moving forward with a bill to bar sales tax for ebikes.

Bodycam video appears to show a 17-year old Arizona boy reaching for a gun after fleeing from police on foot, after what originally began as a simple traffic stop for not having a headlight on his bike; he died three weeks after the shooting — and after begging the cop not to let him die. Thanks to BGD Reporters and Rafe Husain for the tip.

A Utah bike rider was stabbed in the arm in a random attack, moments after an attacker robbed another person just to smash their phone on the ground.

PeopleForBikes spends a day with a bike-borne Boulder CO food rescue.

Despite their new found legal status, ebike and scooter riders find themselves banned from New York’s Hudson River Greenway.

Once again, a driver has fled after running down multiple riders; one woman was killed and another seriously injured when they were rear-ended by the heartless, cowardly driver while on a Florida bike club’s annual member appreciation ride.

 

International

A new Cannondale ad campaign is appearing at iconic sites around the world, as the bike boom pushes the company into the mainstream.

Take a single-track excursion on a Mexican mountain bike Mecca built by a Walmart heir.

We already knew Harrison Ford was one of us, as he dons his spandex for a nearly 800-mile ride from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas. Although some people can’t seem to get over his “skintight outfit.”

Canada’s Liberal government is attempting to solve the country’s first mile/last mile problem by allocating a whopping $400 million for bike paths.

Thieves are feasting on bicycles from bike shed in an English housing development certified as secure by the local police department, because of ventilation holes big enough for someone to reach in and unlock the door. Evidently, the police wanted to ensure the bikes got plenty of fresh air when they weren’t in use.

A UK prosthetics experts is back on his bike after becoming his own patient when he lost his right arm in a bicycling collision with a truck driver.

Photographic proof that the British royal family are no strangers to bicycles.

When is a bicycle not a bicycle? When you strap a gasoline engine to it in Ireland.

A man was fatally shot after threatening a Paris bike cop with a knife outside a train station.

Spanish former F1 champ Fernando Alonso will now have to race with two titanium plates patching his fractured jaw after collision while riding his bike last month.

Peshawar becomes the first city in Pakistan to open a bikeshare service.

An Israeli man who once rode 41,000 miles around the world is credited with saving seven lives by donating his organs when he was hit by a bus driver while making an Everesting attempt near Haifa.

South African bike thieves are using pepper spray to knock riders off their bicycles. But at least they haven’t put a stop to the Cape Town edition of the World Naked Bike Ride.

Business is booming for Taiwanese bikemakers, with revenues up as much as 80%, even though delivery times are down.

An Aussie woman thanks a passing driver for saving her daughter’s life when the bikes failed on the girl’s borrowed bicycle, and she crashed into a parked car.

 

Competitive Cycling

Another reminder that there’s no sure thing in bike racing. Slovenian cyclist Primož Roglič lost his firm grip on the Paris-Nice podium by falling twice on the last stage and dislocating his shoulder. Germany’s Max Schachmann made up a 52-second deficit to take the win.

 

Finally…

Evidently, your body is a bicycle. Your next bike could have no crossbar, fork or seat.

And who hasn’t ridden 163 miles just to get a cup of coffee?

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

US traffic deaths up despite — or because of — coronavirus, LA’s last lonely Jump Bike, and NC ballot deadline tomorrow

If you thought the streets were more dangerous last year, you’re right.

According to an estimate from the nonprofit National Safety Council, traffic fatalities jumped 8% across the US last year.

Around 42,060 people lost their lives, an increase of more that 3,200 people who didn’t make it home to their loved ones, despite a decrease in overall miles traveled due to the pandemic.

Last year’s deaths were the most since 2007 when 43,945 people were killed in vehicle crashes. In addition, the safety council estimates that 4.8 million people were injured in crashes last year.

Federal data shows that Americans drove 13% fewer miles last year, or roughly 2.8 trillion miles, said Ken Kolosh, the safety council’s manager of statistics. Yet the number of deaths rose at an alarming rate, he said.

But all those empty streets just left room for dangerous speeding and aggressive drivers to do their worst.

And even though traffic is now getting close to pre-coronavirus levels, the bad behavior on the roads is continuing, authorities say.

“It’s kind of terrifying what were seeing on our roads,” said Michael Hanson, director of the Minnesota Public Safety Department’s Office of Traffic Safety. “We’re seeing a huge increase in the amount of risk-taking behavior.”

This estimate should serve as a wakeup call to cities and states around the US that merely paying lip service to Vision Zero isn’t enough.

And yes, that includes Los Angeles, where virtually nothing has been done to implement the program since it was announced with great fanfare in 2015.

We’ve already badly missed the initial benchmark to reduce traffic fatalities 20% by 2017. And we will inevitably miss the mayor’s promise to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025.

As if.

The simple fact is, people will continue to die on the streets in Los Angeles, and throughout the US, until we finally decide that one more death is just one too many.

And that innocent blood on the street is too high a price to pay for the simple act of getting from here to there.

Then do something about it.

Photo of LA’s last Jump Bike by David Drexler.

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David Drexler finds the last, lonely Jump bike on LA’s Westside, still leaning against a lamppost on the south side of Westchester Parkway across from LAX.

He notes that the police and city must think it still belongs to the defunct Jump, and that apparently no one in LA thinks it’s worth stealing.

The popular red bikes were taken off the streets when Uber gave up on the dockless ebikes after mismanaging them into the ground.

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Streets For All sends word that tomorrow is the last day to request a mail-in ballot for the following neighborhood council races.

This Tuesday is the final day to request a mail-in ballot for neighborhood council elections in Region 5. These regions include: Central Hollywood, East Hollywood, Greater Wilshire, Hollywood Hills West, Mid City West and P.I.C.O.

Speaking of neighborhood councils, Streets For All adds their endorsements for the Central Hollywood NC to those announced for other areas last week.

And if you live, work, attend school or shop in the Mid City West area of LA, the area’s neighborhood council will consider the proposed Venice Blvd For All Complete Streets project at today’s virtual meeting; you can comment during the meeting, or send your comments in advance by email.

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Once again, Bike Index’ free bicycle registration and stolen bike database proves that sometimes you get a lot more than you pay for — this time with the assistance of the LAPD.

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Hopefully California will be next.

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Start your Monday with an eight minute snowy stunt biking break.

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

Which includes the seemingly intractable battle between bike riders and equestrians, as a horse group in the UK accuses bike riders of going too fast and being abusive to man and beast alike.

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

A bike-riding man faces a murder charge for shooting a Milwaukee driver to death in a road rage dispute, which began when the bike rider punched the man for complaining that he had to swerve to avoid the salmon cyclist.

It takes a major schmuck to deliberately kick a five-year old kid off his bicycle in a New York park.

Unbelievable. A Belgian court fined a bike rider the equivalent a lousy $1.19 for intentionally kneeing a little girl as he passed on a snowy trail, in an attack that caused well-deserved outrage around the world.

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Local

LAist wants to introduce you to David McNeill, the man behind the newly completed 13-mile Park to Playa Trail.

Culver City-based Walk N Rollers is raising funds for a volunteer bike repair hub for kids in need; so far, they’ve raised just under $1,000 of the $10,000 goal.

Coldplay frontman Chris Martin is one of us, taking a scenic ride through the ‘Bu on his Rocky Mountain mountain bike.

 

State

A half dozen “sculptural” bike racks were installed in Oildale, Bakersfield’s neglected neighbor and birthplace of the late, great Merle Haggard, with designs ranging from a coffee cup and electric guitar, to a figure of a racing cyclist and a whimsically-shaped man on a bike.

Streetsblog SF says it’s time to stop painting bike lanes with green paint that wears off, and starting paving them with colored asphalt like the Dutch.

Wheelie-popping teens celebrate the Bike Life every day by riding around the old Santa Rosa courthouse.

One positive to come out of 2018’s Carr Fire is a new and improved 10 Bridges Trail, which was reduced to a one bridge trail after the fire took out the other nine bridges; Redding bicyclists are already riding it, even though the official completion is still months away.

 

National

Don’t hold your breath about getting the ‘bent parts you need anytime soon. Unless you’re standing near me and not wearing a mask, that is, in which case, by all means, hold it until I leave or you pass out, whichever comes first. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Ebike prices are on their way up, thanks to the expiration of a tariff exemption, as well as bikemakers phasing out promotional pricing.

Las Vegas police bust an alleged drunken hit-and-run driver shortly after the rear-end crash that took the life of a 60-year old bike rider.

This is who we share the road with. A Milwaukee man pled guilty to a hit-and-run crash that killed two young sisters and injured their ten year old cousin, after speeding down a bike lane past cars other drivers stopped at a red light as the girls crossed in a crosswalk. He’ll be sentenced later this year.

A candidate for Manhattan DA calls for treating traffic violence like the epidemic it is.

A Miami cop speeding with red lights and siren killed a bicyclist riding with a group of cyclists last month, yet over a week later, no information has been released.

 

International

Road.cc recommends the tools you should have on hand for basic bike repairs.

Cyclist is celebrating Women’s History Month by highlighting a full month of inspirational women in the bike world.

Scotland signs on to a national Vision Zero plan, pledging to eliminate traffic deaths by 2050. And LA will probably still be struggling to meet their 2025 pledge.

Bicycles become a tool of protest as the head of an Indian political party leads a ride in support of fellow politician targeted by a government vendetta.

A Kenyan website talks with the founder of a Nairobi bike club about riding safely in the country.

That’s one way to do it. A new study shows a reduction in Japanese bike and pedestrian injuries when it snows — because people switch to warmer modes of transport.

A Specialized vice president tells the company’s Asian suppliers to step-up production, insisting there’s millions of dollars to be made once the Covid-19 pandemic is finally over.

Who needs drive-in restaurants when you can ride up to the bike-rack tables at a Manila restaurant and dine on your saddle?

 

Competitive Cycling

Irish pro Sam Bennet apparently finds taking the first stage of Paris-Nice nice, but Aussie pro Richie Porte didn’t make it to the finish line.

No surprise here, as Dutch ‘cross meister Mathieu van der Poel out-sprinted notable roadies to win on the gravel roads of the should be-Monument Strade Bianche.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to ride off with an $11,000 bike, turn off the damn GPS first. That feeling when your delivery ebike goes up in spontaneous flames.

And that feeling when you discover the rusted, jerry-rigged bicycle you’re working on once belonged to Mohandas K. Gandhi.

Yes, that Gandhi.

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

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