Car vs. bike: New study says it’s probably not your fault

December 16, 2009

There’s been an epidemic of serious — and tragic — SoCal hit-and-run collisions lately.

Along with a rush to blame dangerous, law-breaking cyclists for nearly every impact and close call.

Talk about blaming the victim.

That’s why I was fascinated by a recent government sponsored study from Britain, which reached the surprising conclusion that drivers are responsible for the overwhelming majority of serious bicycle collisions. And that only a tiny percentage result from cyclists running red lights or stop signs — despite what you may have read.

Or at least, surprising to many who spend more time behind the wheel than on them.

Conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory for the UK’s Department of Transport, the study found that only 2% of collisions resulting in serious injury were caused, at least in part, by cyclists running red lights and stop signs.

Two percent.

Another 2% resulted from failing to use lights after dark; wearing dark clothing at night was cited as a potential cause in just 2.5% of crashes. In fact, a full 78% of all serious cycling accidents — those resulting in serious injury or death — occurred during daylight hours; 80% were on dry roads in good weather conditions.

So while ninja cyclists may be twice as dangerous as red light runners, even they pale in significance compared to those motoring down the street in their hulking, smoke-belching mechanical behemoths.

According to an article in the Guardian’s bike blog, the study found drivers solely responsible in 60% to 75% of all crashes involving adult riders, and cyclists at fault in just 17% to 25%.

In other words, a driver is three times as likely to be at fault in a cycling collision. And bear in mind that those figures are based on an analysis of official police reports — which are highly unlikely to be biased in favor of cyclists.

While the recent study of cycling collisions from Fort Collins, Colorado, found that broadside collisions were the most common form of cycling accidents, this study concluded that many riders’ greatest fear is justified.

Over 25% percent of urban riders were struck from behind, while 40% of collisions that didn’t occur at an intersection were strike-from-behind collisions. Not surprisingly, in most accidents the cyclist was struck by the front of the vehicle.

And just 3% of serious collisions happened in bike lanes.

Read into that whatever you will.

A few other key points:

  • 83% of serious cycling injuries involved a collision with another vehicle.
  • In cases when drivers were at least partially at fault, 56% failed to “look properly” — in other words, failed to see a cyclist who should have been visible — while 17% turned in a poor manner and another 17% were cited as careless, reckless or in a hurry.
  • When cyclists were found at least partially at fault, 43% failed to look properly, while 20% were entering the street from the sidewalk.
  • Cyclists were more likely to be injured on week days than weekends, and during both morning and evening commute times (6 am – 9 am; 3 pm – 6 pm).
  • Almost two-thirds of serious injuries occurred at or near intersections
  • The severity of injuries increased with the posted speed limit.

That last point brings up the findings of another recent study published in the medical journal BMJ.

Researchers found that reducing the speed limit to 20 mph in certain sections of London resulted in a 41.9% drop in serious injuries and fatalities, including a 17% drop for accidents involving cyclists. And interestingly, the rate of injury did not go up for neighboring streets where the speed limit was not reduced; in fact, it dropped 8% — suggesting that lowering the speed limit may cause people to drive more safely throughout the surrounding area.

Just more proof that passing the Safe Streets Bill, which would have ended California’s absurdist practice of automatically raising speed limits on streets where most drivers speed, isn’t just a good idea.

It’s absolutely necessary.

Of course, some might argue that the UK isn’t the US, and London isn’t L.A. — although the large number of Brit expats in this city offers a reasonable argument to the contrary. And Britain’s largest cycling organization has objected to the TRL’s conclusion that universal helmet use would save 10 to 15 lives in the UK each year.

But conflicts between drivers and cyclists seem to be a worldwide phenomenon, and aside from driving on the wrong side of the road, British drivers — and cyclists — don’t seem to be much different from those in America.

And that’s not always a good thing.

You can download a free PDF of the TRL study by clicking here; registration is required.

……..

Police release photos of a ballsy bike riding bandit who struck across the street from the new LAPD headquarters; maybe he didn’t know what that shiny new building was. Advice on defusing road rage through non-violence. Santa rides a bike throughout Los Angeles this year. LACBC celebrates a successful year of Car-Free Fridays with a Holiday Breakfast Ride this Friday. A Streetsblog reader offers a great suggestion to address cycling safety. A driver who killed an Anchorage, AK cyclist over a year ago while high on drugs is finally charged; evidently, justice delayed ≠ justice denied. Why not turn highways into bikeways? Just because you’re paranoid, that doesn’t mean they’re not out to get your bike. MIT cyclists get separated bike lanes. Evidently, the Safe Routes to School program really is working to keep children safer. Common causes of bike crashes and how to avoid them. Lance’s new carbon belt-drive single-speed bike. Finally, why is it socially acceptable to threaten cyclists? Why, indeed.


Update on tragedy: North Hollywood hit-and-run victim dies

December 15, 2009

According to the LAPD, the cyclist injured early this month in a North Hollywood hit-and-run has died.

And the driver who left his broken body laying in the street as he fled the scene is now wanted for murder.

In an assault that reportedly left an experienced police detective outraged, Robert Painter was struck by a dark green or black Jeep Grand Cherokee at approximately 5:10 pm on December 2nd, while riding his bike in the crosswalk where Archwood Street crossed Laurel Canyon Boulevard. According to the LAPD, the impact “launched Painter off his bike into the air,” resulting in severe injuries; the suspect immediately fled without rendering aid.

Paramedics transported painter, a Canadian citizen living in North Hollywood, to a local hospital, where he died from his injuries this past Saturday, December 12 — 10 days after he was struck.

From the LAPD blog:

The driver of the car is described as a male Hispanic 30 to 35 years old with dark hair and dark clothes.  There was also a female passenger who was described as possibly wearing a red coat.  The suspect’s car is said to have collision damage on the front end of the driver’s side.  The suspect’s car was last seen entering an Arco gas station at the intersection of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Van Owen Street a block north of where the collision occurred.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact Valley Traffic Division Detectives Doug Larkin at (818) 644-8036 or Detective William Bustos at 818-644-8020.  During off-hours, calls may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at1-877-LAPD-24-7 (527-3247).  Callers may also text “Crimes” with a cell phone or log on to http://www.lapdonline.org and click on Web tips. When using a cell phone, all messages should begin with “LAPD.”  Tipsters may remain anonymous.

The cycling community has tens of thousands more eyes on the street than the police, so keep an eye open when you ride. If you see a vehicle that matches the description, don’t try to stop it; call the police and let them do their job.

And let’s put this son-of-a-bitch behind bars where he belongs.


Santa Clarita hit-and-run killer was high on meth, coke, grass and booze; now faces trial

December 14, 2009

After Marco Valencia plowed into a group of cyclists on Bouquet Canyon Road last July, he wanted a Sheriff’s Deputy to kill him.

The local Santa Clarita Valley newspaper quotes L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeffrey Burrow as testifying that “He told me to shoot him, that his life was over.”

Unfortunately for the riders he hit, the request came a little too late.

By the time Valencia was apprehended after a short chase, Joseph Novotny already lay dead or dying and four other cyclists were injured, two seriously.

L.A. County Deputy District Attorney John Allen Ramseyer accused Valencia of exhibiting a “willful, wanton disregard for human life.” According to Ramseyer, he had a blood alcohol level of .18 — over twice the legal limit of .08 — as well as methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana in his system at the time of his arrest.

Despite being under age at the time of his arrest, Valencia already had two prior DUI convictions when he appeared before Superior Court Judge Harvey Giss at the San Fernando Courthouse on Thursday. According to the Signal, Giss determined that there was enough evidence to try Valencia on “13 criminal counts, including murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run and several DUI charges.”

Giss set bail at $1.3 million, with Valencia’s next court appearance scheduled for Christmas Eve.

Somehow, I don’t think he’ll find anything good in his stocking this year — or for the next few decades, for that matter.

And Novotny’s family will have an empty seat at their holiday table this year.

And every year that follows.

………

A reminder that cyclists aren’t the only vulnerable street users at risk from hit-and-run drivers. Miguel Penayo tried to escape from the scene of a traffic collision in Bell last night after apparently feeling threatened by a group of men, driving directly at them and striking one man. He then struck and killed another man who was leaving a Starbucks — an innocent victim who had nothing to do with the preceding incident — dragging his body beneath the car for “some distance,” according to L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.

……..

For all you Dutch bike and cargo bike fans, Flying Pigeon will soon stock Nihola Cigar Cargo Bikes. Streetsblog offers a bike-focused calendar for the upcoming week. The new plan for the Whittier Narrows calls for more bikeways and bike friendly streets. Stunt cyclist Danny Makaskill demonstrates the skills you need to navigate rush hour traffic in Los Angeles. Charleston, SC looks to calm the conflict between cyclists and drivers. The New York Times magazine endorses the bicycle highway. Missouri considers building a hanging bike bridge over the Mississippi River. Philadelphia cyclists declare victory over the city’s first experiment with a road diet. Among the reasons not to bike to work, you could die — of course, the same argument could be made for not getting out of bed in the morning. Cheap helmets help, but fit matters, too. With the rise in cycling, expect bad press to get worse before it gets better. A UK “thug” is sentenced for killing a man in an argument over borrowing his bike. Apparently, drunk cycling is legal in New Zealand, but I wouldn’t count on it. Philippines cyclists ride for women’s rights. A Brit TV host had his “willy cut ‘half off’” in a childhood biking accident. The rash of bike thefts spreads to Oxford — yet somehow, becomes a reason to crack down on reckless riders. After 75 years, the debate over UK bike lanes goes on…and on…and on… Finally, an OP piece in car-centric L.A.’s leading paper calls on Angelenos to change their thinking and not view streets as exclusively for cars; it didn’t take long for the usual sniping about “traffic laws are for cyclists, too,” to start. Or for someone to suggest it’s all a commie plot.


Bike counts, toy rides, another near-fatal OC hit-and-run

December 11, 2009

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

Donald Murphy of Irvine was critically injured in yet another hit-and-run around 6 am Wednesday while riding in the northbound bike lane on Jamboree Road near the intersection with Ford Road in Irvine. According to police, a driver indentified as Patricia Ann Izquieta entered the bike lane he was riding in while making an “unsafe turning maneuver,” striking him and leaving a 300-yard pattern of debris.

That’s three football fields of bike parts strewn along the roadway from the bicycle trapped under her car as she fled the scene.

Izquieta was stopped by police a few blocks later with damage to the windshield and front undercarriage of her car, and is being held in Orange County Jail on $50,000 bond. Police reports indicate that she was not on a cell phone and alcohol does not appear to be a factor.

Witnesses said Murphy was wearing a helmet and riding in a safe and legal manner when struck. A passing driver stopped to give CPR along with one of his riding partners

Murphy was transported to Western Medical Center ­– Santa Ana. The Orange County Register quotes Lt. Rob Morton of the Newport Beach Police as saying “He’s in pretty bad shape.”

Update: Today’s OC Register reports that Murphy died at Western Medical Center on Thursday; there was no comment from the family. My deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.

………

The LACBC finally has preliminary results from the city’s first bike count.

What I find interesting is that only 12% of the riders were female — less than the number of children counted — while 54% of riders weren’t wearing a helmet, 38% were on the sidewalk, and 6% were riding the wrong way.

They also offer an LACBC-centric report on Wednesday’s semi-bike-only Transportation Committee meeting.

……..

There’s no shortage of big hearts in biking community.

But I never fail to be impressed by gull rescuer and stray dog wrangler Will Campbell — although his odd attachment to ‘Bama football does make me wonder sometimes. So I wasn’t surprised to learn that the Midnight Ridazz All-City Toy Ride was his idea, though he gives much of the credit for organizing the first ride to Ridazz co-founder Roadblock.

The ride kicks off tonight — appropriately enough on the first night of Channukah — from various points throughout the city, converging on the Plaza Gazebo on Olvera Street around 10 pm. Riders are asked to bring an unwrapped toy valued at $5 to $25 dollars for free admission to the after party; toys will be donated to the East L.A. Women’s Center.

Click here or visit the Ridazz website for more information.

……..

Recently I included a link to the excellent Bike San Diego website, for a story about a cyclist who was ticketed for passing a short row of stopped vehicles on the left, even though that is not prohibited under California law.

The judge upheld the ticket, convicting Andrew Woolley for violating CVC 21202, despite the fact that his actions were explicitly allowed under the statute. According to the judge, the exceptions allowed under 21202 did not apply, since the speed limit on the road is 35 mph, which he determined was the normal speed of traffic — even though 21202 specifically refers to the speed of traffic “moving in the same direction at that time.”

Writing on Bob Mioske’s website, Rick Bernardi offers a great examination of exactly why the judge was in error, while noting that it sometimes doesn’t make any difference if the law is on your side. And contrasts it with a Utah case, in which a cyclist was cited for doing exactly what the judge in the Woolley case said he should have done.

So let me see if I’ve got this right. You can’t pass on the right, and you can’t pass on the left. Or maybe you’re required to break the law one way in Utah, and another in California. Or the judge is allowed to misapply the law one way in one state, and another in the other.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

You can read the full transcript of the Woolley case here, and see the opening brief to his appeal here.

And buy a copy of Catch 22 — which seems to be the new judicial standard — here.

………

Last week’s Ballona Creek Gateway opening included an announcement of the planned Mar Vista Greenway. Lance commits to two more years. Traffic author Tom Vanderbilt suggests that cyclists should consider the Adopt a Highway model for bike lane maintenance. Cycling fashion dilemma: to wear a day-glo vest or not? Denver re-writes its bike laws to conform with the new state laws; Tucson Bike Lawyer notes that it’s now legal to ride to a bike rack on the sidewalk. The police can’t — or won’t — keep cars out of NYC bike lanes, but maybe a bunch of clowns will. New York’s DIY bike lanes have already been painted over; the alleged artists reportedly will plead not guilty. UPS is making some holiday deliveries by bike. Austin struggles to find consensus on the city’s first bike boulevard. A Utah cyclist is under arrest for groping another rider. London’s Evening Standard reports work has begun on “Mayor Boris Johnson’s cycle-hire scheme;” no bias there, huh? An Indian student is murdered by his friends after buying a new bike. Some friends. Finally, it’s 13 degrees in Chicago, and cyclists are still riding — even if that means riding on studded bike tires.


TranspoComm Chair Rosendahl draws a line in the sand

December 10, 2009

It hasn’t been easy watching the City Council this past year.

Especially the Transportation Committee.

I’ve watched as council members requested a response from various city agencies on issues ranging from the long-delayed Sharrows pilot project to the LAPD’s flawed response to the Hummer Incident.  Only to see them sit back and accept lame excuses from the people who supposedly work for them — to the point that I’ve wondered who really runs this city.

Sort of like watching someone tease a caged animal that has long ago given up fighting back. And yes, I have seen that, in a less enlightened time and a far less enlightened place; it evokes the same sort of stomach-twisting pity I’ve felt watching our government in action.

Maybe that changed yesterday.

This is how the Transportation Committee chambers looked when the hearing was scheduled to begin

After a seemingly endless delay in the scheduled 2 pm start time that left cyclists wondering if the committee had blown them off — followed by visibly livid committee member Richard Alarcón storming out of the meeting just moments after the members finally arrived and an impromptu hearing on the issue of overnight RV parking in Venice — the nearly bike-only Transportation Committee meeting finally began.

And truncated though it was, it was worth the wait. If only to watch committee Chair Bill Rosendahl get his back up and start demanding answers from the people who work for this city.

Because of the late start, two items — updates on the Sharrows program, which has been delayed to near-infinity, and the proposed bike-sharing program — were dropped entirely.

A third motion to increase the number of bike parking spaces required for new developments was touched on briefly, only because an audience member wanted to comment on it after going out of his way to attend the meeting. Although why it should be limited to new developments is beyond me, when City Hall doesn’t even offer adequate bike space.

This is what passes for bike parking at L.A. City Hall

From the beginning, Rosendahl ran the short-handed meeting with a firm hand. In addition to the Alarcón storm-out, Bernard Parks was missing in action and Tom LaBonge had to leave before the last, and most important, issue was discussed — leaving just Rosendahl and the recently elected 5th district representative Paul Koretz.

When the representatives from LADOT and the Planning department mentioned Federal funding that may be available in connection to the new bike plan, Rosenhdahl asked, “Do we need a resolution to get that? Because I want to get that money.”

He followed up with a list of 12 hard-hitting questions prepared in conjunction with bike activists Stephen Box and Alex Thompson; to be honest, though, the limited responses offered were far less important than the fact that someone was finally starting to ask them.

Bike Coordinator Michele Mowery’s insistence that the plan the city presented was the one that Alta Planning delivered brought audible murmurs of “bullshit” from the audience — or it could have just been me. Her answer may have been technically correct, but very few people actually believe this is the plan that Alta wanted to deliver.

She also was taken to task by audience members for “playing the race card,” suggesting that L.A.’s diversity makes it more challenging to build to a functional bikeway system than it is in a city like Portland — “a homogeneous community that is very white, and very progressive with respect to transportation,” while L.A. is a “very diverse, disjointed city of 4 million people.”

Dr. Alex has already written a very hard-hitting response to that; if you haven’t read it, click here and read it now. Well, maybe when you’re done with this. But seriously, read it.

Complementing Rosendahl’s newly newly demonstrated commitment, Koretz was also a pleasant surprise.

Throughout the meeting, he spoke very little, sitting quietly until audience members were making their comments. Then he interrupted briefly to note that he also rides a bike, but isn’t comfortable riding on L.A. city streets. And asked if this plan would allow inexperienced cyclists to get where they want to go.

The overwhelming answer was no.

Rosendahl responded firmly to my comment that all the work spent on this bike plan is a waste of time unless there was a commitment to actually build it — unlike the 1996 plan, which had no apparent use other than as a very large and clumsy paperweight.

He insisted that he will make sure the final plan is built — the first commitment any city official has made to this plan, including the people responsible for it. “There’s been enough talk,” he said. “No more words, it’s time for action.”

That attitude was also in evidence when representatives of the LAPD appeared to update the council on recent cycling cases, including the Hummer Incident, as well as the West L.A. case I wrote about recently — noting that no arrest has been made, but the matter has been referred to the City Attorney for possible charges.

When the respected Commander Greer — recently promoted to Assistant Commander of the Detective Bureau — mentioned that a report has been completed on the Hummer case, but not yet approved, Rosendahl said he wanted a copy prior to the next meeting, approved or not.

And in a huge win for cyclists, Cmmdr. Greer announced that all officers below the rank of Lieutenant will be required to complete a brief online course on riders’ rights and responsibilities, created by a group a bike officers. Rosendahl pushed them to take a step further, insisting that the department needs to create a bike training module for the police academy — something I’ve repeatedly called for on here.

Of course, it wasn’t all good news. The Commander noted that Lt. Andre Dawson, recently appointed by Chief Beck as the point man for cycling complaints, will no longer be involved in the process and asked that cyclists no longer contact him.

However, the committee saved the best for last.

The most important issue of the evening — and yes, by then it was evening — was the proposed anti-harassment ordinance.

After hearing from several cyclists, Koretz said he’d heard a few stories about the problems cyclists face on the roads, but had no idea it was so widespread. With that, he made a motion to forward the proposal on to the Public Safety Committee, which was quickly seconded by Rosendahl — meaning that it carried, since they were the only two members left at that point.

However, it was not quite the win that LAist suggested last night. What passed was merely a proposal requesting that the City Attorneys’ office write such an ordinance, similar to the one that recently became law in Columbia, Missouri. Mowery suggested that it cover such topics as hurling projectiles at cyclists, threats or verbal abuse, using a vehicle to intimidate cyclists, and passing too close to — or buzzing — cyclists.

Its small win, the first step in what will undoubtedly be a long and complicated process.

But it’s a win.

And for once, I left with a smile on my face

And without a knot in my stomach.

LA Streetsblog has more on the meeting here; and you can listen to a recording of the meeting here.

……..

Will Campbell has a front road seat to a bike wreck. Paul Krekorian, author of the failed Safe Streets bill, is the city’s newest council member. Sharrows pop up in Glendale — legal ones, this time. Wilshire Boulevard is 75 years old; Flying Pigeon keeps up the fight to make Figueroa bike friendly. The Pigeons are also featured on the VOA’s Persian TV. Bikerowave claims success with their recent swamp meet. Photos of the CalTrain bike car. A Tucson mother fights for a memorial for her cycling son — and politely corrects thoughtless car-head commenters. Copenahgenize reminds us that us that New York’s recently removed bike lane results from a conflict between the Hasids and the Hotties; city hall isn’t denying a deal was made, while Bike Snob suggests maybe cyclists should act like grown-ups. New bike lanes in Philadelphia have resulted in a doubling of bike traffic; just imagine what they could do here. Bikes remain banned from a primary street in De Soto, Kansas; old car-head thinking from a town that shares its name with an old car. A biking Asheville lawyer argues for equilibrium on the roads. Trust the geniuses at MIT to create a combo bike rack/tire pump. A cycling schoolgirl plunges 90 feet into a Scottish gorge and lives to tell the tale. Finally, Brit cyclists are in a tizzy over the bike-hating Mail’s obviously staged photograph, standing in a bikeway to force a cyclist onto the wrong side, then taking — and publishing — a photo of it.


Identifying the real dangerous vehicles on the road

December 9, 2009

These days, bike licensing seems to rear its ugly head every time the topic of cycling comes up.

Not among cyclists, of course.

But with those members of the four-wheeled, non-riding set who consider cyclists a dangerous menace on the roads. And demand some way to identify scofflaws, so they can be ticketed and prosecuted for the harm they cause to all those law-abiding drivers, who evidently live in constant fear of us.

And yet, according to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 698 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents nationwide in 2007 — 109 of those in California; the overwhelming majority of those were killed in collisions with motor vehicles.

At the same time, over 40,000 drivers and their passengers were killed in motor vehicle accidents. While no statistics on the subject seem to be available, I suspect the number of those killed by cyclists was somewhere in the neighborhood of zero, give or take.

Talk about blaming the victim.

I was thinking about that because of an email I received the other day. A reader, who asked not to be identified, wrote that he had been the victim of yet another hit-and-run while riding over the weekend.

A Hummer had crossed over into the bike lane he was riding in, striking him with its mirror as it drove with two wheels in the lane. Fortunately, he was able to maintain control and wasn’t seriously injured, even though incidents like that can be extremely dangerous, frequently resulting in serious injuries.

Or worse.

The problem came when he attempted to identify the vehicle so he could report it to the police. Only to discover that, just like all those scofflaw cyclists, the SUV had no license plates of any kind – even though California law clearly requires license plates on both the front and rear of most cars, trucks and SUVs.

The difference being, not only is a Hummer capable of causing serious injury or death, this one had just struck a cyclist and fled the scene.

Of course, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Last April’s infamous Hummer Incident began when an SUV without plates struck a cyclist on a group ride, and the other riders blocked the truck to keep it from leaving, since they had no other way of identifying the driver to the police.

And we all know how that ended.

(For those who don’t, after threatening the cyclists, the driver drove over the bikes blocking his way, continuing until the police stopped him with a bike still lodged under his vehicle. The investigating officer concluded the cyclist was at fault and let the driver go without so much as a warning — then told the cyclists if he had been driving the Hummer, he might have used a gun instead of just driving over their bikes.)

And that’s the problem.

You don’t have to ride, walk or drive these city streets very long to notice that, despite the law, more than a few of the vehicles sharing the road with you have no identifying license plates, front or rear. And more that a few of those seem to be high-end Hummers, Navigators and Escalades.

And it’s not just a problem for cyclists. As my correspondent said in his email,

Its an issue for anyone on the road who wants a little insurance against hit-and-runs, but obviously its a bit more urgent for riders.

We need to be able to identify the dangerous drivers if we’re going to be safe on the road.

And we can’t do that if the laws requiring the display of license plates on the vehicles that actually need them isn’t enforced.

………

Once again, bikes are shut out of the Festival of Lights after opening night. Damien is looking for volunteers to help judge the annual Streetsie Awards. The Eastside Bike Club invites riders — or Ridazz — to join them for the Lincoln Heights Christmas Parade this weekend. A San Diego cyclist gets a ticket for observing CVC21202. Missouri’s Tracy Wilkins is in awe of the Fat Cyclist; evidently, Johan Bruyneel is, too. New York joins the long list of states — not including California — considering a three-foot passing law. Hampshire cyclists are stopped by the police and given hi-viz vests. The perfect gift for cyclists who take the lane. Who was the rocket scientist who put Edinburgh’s new tram tracks parallel to the bikeway? No sentence yet for the Auckland driver who ran down four cyclists. Denmark and Holland are the Galapagos Islands of bicycle culture. Finally, the Orange County Register says it’s time to stop killing cyclists. Or getting killed, for that matter.


Dept. of DIY strikes again and other missing links

December 8, 2009

Never seems to fail.

The most interesting stories seem to happen when I’m tied up with work, or busy writing something else — like last yesterday’s open letter to 5th District Council Member Paul Koretz.

Photo courtesy of Ubrayj02/Flickr

Which is why I’m late in reporting the latest efforts from the city’s leading producers of biking infrastructure, the Department of DIY. As well as the first sharrows to appear on L.A. streets, at an undisclosed location somewhere in the vicinity the Bike Oven.

The first report — at least, the first one I saw — showed up on the website of the Flying Pigeon bike shop, from whom I stole the above photo. And was soon confirmed on LA Streetsblog.

I’ll let them tell the story, since they got there first and told it best.

But consider this.

In just one weekend, the Department of DIY put in more sharrows than LADOT has (i.e., zero), with more money and years of planning.

And the phenomenon seems to be spreading to New York.

………

Speaking of infrastructure, Richard Risemberg — aka Mr. Bicycle Fixation — urges business people to support the 4th St. Bicycle Boulevard, while Portland and Copenhagen offer innovative new designs. If you missed last weekend’s St. Anne’s Toy Ride, Midnight Ridazz offers the 4th Annual All City Toy Ride this Friday, converging on Downtown from multiple starting points. Altadenablog reports on last weekend’s Tour of Pasadena’s Northern Neighbor, while LA Cycle Chic covers the Black Kids on Bikes’ Freedom Ride. The Daily Breeze reports on the newly formed South Bay Bicycle Coalition. Will Campbell encounters a truly bizarre driver. The big-hearted people at L.A. Greensters transport more than just toys to St. Anne’s. Long Beach’s cycling expats offer a 2010 calendar with photos from their tour of the West Coast, while Russ offers a great discussion of the Great Fear. Flying Pigeon offers an end-of-year clearance, while Cynergy Cicles offers a free lecture on Nutrition, Hydration and Recovery Techniques Wednesday night. Levi looks forward to his 4th TofC title. NPR discovers cargo bikes. Evidently, you can transport anything by bike, even a stolen Christmas Tree. Milwaukee considers bowing to existing reality, and making bike licensing optional. Delaware is the latest to consider a three-foot passing law. A history of cycling in the Windy City. This Friday, you can take your bike into your office in New York. The University of Cincinnati may have finished the football season undefeated, but they can’t seem to protect bikes on campus. Next on the list of cycling celebs, a winter-riding Rachel McAdams. A writer in Prague regrets punching out the cabbie who ran them off the road. The Godmother of bicycling promotes designs for women. British cyclists are freedom fighters, not menaces. London police seek a naked cyclist. Finally, tomorrow’s bike-only Transportation Committee meeting — and Rosendahl’s proposed anti-harassment ordinance — makes news across the Atlantic.


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