Weekend Links & Events — Memorial Ride for Kevin Unck, a bad week for competitive cycling

January 22, 2011

This is what January looks like in here in L.A.

Let’s start with the good news.

Eleventh District Councilmember and TranspoComm Chair Bill Rosendahl underwent successful surgery to treat atrial fibrillation. According to the press release, he was awake and doing fine just three hours after he was implanted with a new medical device as part of a clinical trial, and should be back at work next week.

Rosendahl has been one of the driving forces behind the current city support for the cycling community. I hope you’ll join me in wishing him a speedy recovery and years of good health.

.………

A memorial ride will be held today for masters champion Kevin Unck, killed after losing control of his bike in gravel and mud on Glendora Mountain Road earlier this month. Riders will meet at the It’s A Grind Coffee House at 7325 Day Creek Blvd, Suite 103 in Rancho Cucamonga at 8 am.

.………

An Orange County woman writes about the death of 8-year old Andrew Brumback, which occurred just feet from her front door. A Ramona cyclist is seriously injured in a collision with a big rig; alcohol use by the cyclist may have been a contributing factor, although the only witness seems to be the driver who hit him. A Carlsbad rider credits his helmet with saving his life in a hit-and-run on Tuesday that left him with five fractures. And a Modesto man gets 10 years for killing a cyclist while high on marijuana and painkillers, though some people wrote the judge to blame the rider for simply being on the street.

.………

This wasn’t just a horrible week for SoCal cyclists; the racing world was repeatedly touched by tragedy as well.

Rising British star Lewis Balyckyi, an 18-year old rider expected to be part of the UK Olympic team in 2012, was killed on Tuesday when he was hit by a van just a few miles from his home. The pro cycling community reacted with sorrow after South African HTC Highland rider Carla Swart, winner of 19 U.S. collegiate titles, was killed when she was hit by a truck during training. And Aussie cyclist Amber Halliday is still in critical condition after a horrific crash caused when she clipped another rider’s wheel.

.………

In other racing news, a new mayor in DC could put an end to plans to bring the start of next year’s Giro to the U.S. Frank Schleck has successful surgery to remove a metal plate inserted after his crash in the Tour de France. Lance Armstrong says he expects to be vindicated after new charges arise; the Times asks if it will hurt his image. Saxo Bank is still counting on Alberto Contador this year despite doping allegations; yeah, good luck with that. Former Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre and teammate Denis Menchov will be excluded from this year’s Tour after their team fails to get an invitation.

And Mark Cavendish had to fight his way through traffic — car, not bike — in the Tour Down Under when race stewards opened the road while he was still on the course; Garmin-Cervélo rider Cameron Meyer leads after four stages.

.………

In upcoming events —

The Kit Karzen Foundation kicks off their program to promote cycling for kids with ADHD with a celebration at Cynergy Cycles2300 Santa Monica Boulevard in Santa Monica, on Saturday the 22nd, from 6 to 9 pm.

Glendale City Commissioners will consider the city’s proposed Safe and Healthy Streets Plan on Monday, January 24th at 6 pm at the Council Chambers at Glendale City Hall, 613 East Broadway. Residents, as well as anyone who works, goes to school, walks or rides through the city are urged to attend and offer comments.

Cyclists are invited to campaign door-to-door in support of bike advocate and 4th District City Council Candidate Steven Box on Wednesday, January 26th from 5:30 to 8:30 pm; meet at Box campaign headquarters, 5619 Hollywood Blvd.

The LACBC invites you to pitch in to help fix up the new Bike Wrangler space, where donated and abandoned bikes will be repaired for donation to bike coops and low income people in high obesity areas. The first work party will take place from 5 to 9:30 pm on Thursday, January 27th at 1205 W. 6th Street; the second will be held Sunday the 30th from 11 am to 5 pm; RSVP to  bobby@la-bike.org.

The Culver City Bicycle Coalition will host the first of their monthly Family Rides on Sunday, January 30th, at 10 am. The rides will start and end at Town Plaza near the Culver Hotel, 9400 Culver Blvd, and explore the city’s best bike routes; future rides will take place on the last Sunday of the month.

The California Bike Coalition will host a Bike Party in San Diego on Thursday, Feb 3rd from 7 to 9 pm. The party will take place at Velo Cult Bicycle Shop, 2220 Fern Street, with a suggested donation of $100.

Explore the romance of Metro L.A.’s near-coastal cities with the LACBC’s second Sunday Funday ride, I ♥ the Westside. Riders will assemble at the Santa Monica Pier, at the end of Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica at 9:30 am on Sunday, February 6th, with the ride starting at 10 am. The course will follow a mostly flat route 30-mile route through Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City, Westwood and Brentwood, before returning along the beach to the pier. It’s free to LACBC members and one guest, and will be lead by your humble host at BikingInLA.

Flying Pigeon and the Bike Oven host the free Spoke(n) Art Ride on the 2nd Saturday of every month; the next ride will take place on February 12th, starting 6:30 pm at 3714 N. Figueroa St. in Highland Park.

Ride in support of the Dream Act with the 50-mile L.A. to O.C. Dream Ride on Sunday, February 20th, Starting at Corazon del Pueblo 2003 E. 1st. Street in Boyle Heights and ending at Centro Cultural de Mexico 310 W. 5th Street in Santa Ana. Registration and $15 fee are due by January 28th, including lunch, dinner, maintenance during the ride and an overnight stay in Orange County.

UCLA will host a free day-long Complete Streets workshop on Friday, February 25th; participation is open to registered attendees. The workshop will take place from 8:30 am to 7 pm at the Japanese American National Museum at 369 East 1st Street Downtown. Contact d.grantham@ucla.edu to register, or call 310/562-7356.

And it’s never too early to mark your calendar for the second CicLAvia on April 10th, 2011.

.………

A bad sign for leading local bike advocacy group C.I.C.L.E. as their website goes offline. Great photo from the L.A. Times of a lone cyclist rolling through a high tide on the bike path. Beverly Hills police declare the killing of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen closed, blaming it on a bike-riding ex-con acting alone. Long Beach announces a series of workshops for their new Bicycle Master Plan, starting with a ride on Saturday. Bikeside looks at Charlie Gandy’s recipe for a bike-friendly city. The Claremont Cyclist looks at what to expect in Stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California.

NASA astronaut Tim Kopra is scratched from next month’s shuttle mission after suffering an undisclosed injury while riding his bike, though rumor suggests a broken hip; thanks to Will Campbell for the heads-up. People for Bikes urges every cyclist to contact your representative in Congress. Bike to Work days can have a lasting impact on bike commuting rates. A lovely look at lugwork. Turns out the real scofflaws are the ones on four wheels. Washington considers five bills to make cycling safer. Bob Mionske follows-up on the sweetheart deal denial of justice perpetrated in the Vail hit-and-run case; anyone who doesn’t think this case stinks should check their sense of smell. New bike lanes in the Big Easy lead to a 57% increase in ridership — and a 133% increase in female ridership. Evidently, Pittsburgh’s cycling scene is pretty incredible. New York’s controversial Prospect Park West bike lanes haven’t made the street more dangerous; in fact, injuries due to collisions are down 67%. No need to stop riding during the winter, though parking can be a problem. City Fix jumps into the great helmet debate with Mikael Colville-Andersen, author of Copenhagenize and Copenhagen Cycle Chic.

After an Ontario cyclist is injured in a collision, readers respond by calling for a ban on winter riding. A UK cyclist is awarded £7000 for injuries due to a pothole. Most bikes stolen in Great Britain are taken from the owner’s home. VW introduces an electric folding concept bike. A look at biking in modern Morocco. An Aussie cyclist is ticketed for riding without a helmet in a police crackdown.

Finally, a YouTube commentator says of course Lance was on drugs; in fact, anyone who rides bikes for a living and doesn’t do drugs has to have something wrong with them. It’s funny stuff, unlike this guy, who gets paid to be but isn’t.

And sometimes bikes are allowed to go where others aren’t, except when they’re not.

 


Cyclist killed in Blue Line collision, third SoCal cyclist killed in three days

January 21, 2011

This has got to stop.

For the third time in the last three days — and the fifth time since the beginning of the year — a cyclist has been killed in the greater Los Angeles/Orange County area.

According to the Contra Costa Times, an unidentified Hispanic cyclist approximately 30-years old apparently tried to beat the Blue Line train across the tracks; or possibly was not paying attention — though how you miss an oncoming train is beyond me.

The collision occurred at 1:46 pm Thursday at the intersection of Pacific Avenue and Wardlow Road in Long Beach. Personnel from Long Beach Fire Department reported that the rider was dragged several hundred feet following the impact, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Please, take it front someone who grew up around trains.

You won’t beat a train across the tracks, and it’s not worth risking your life to try. I tired — and barely made it — once, and had a close enough call that I never want to try it again.

Note: the Contra Costa Times story has photos; however, there is a very disturbing image of the bike under the train that you may not want to see.

Update: The Long Beach Post has additional photos of the collision scene. Again, use your discretion; some people may be disturbed by the photos — myself included.


Does “Bike-friendly” Long Beach intentionally stomp on cyclists’ civil rights?

January 20, 2011

Long Beach has long proclaimed its intention to be America’s most bike friendly city.

And under the guidance of mobility coordinator Charlie Gandy, it’s gone far beyond any other city in Southern California in terms of building bicycle infrastructure and promoting cycling.

So it’s disappointing to find out that their bike-friendly attitude doesn’t extend to all cyclists. Or recognize the most basic rights guaranteed to all Americans.

As you may recall, controversy developed in October when the Long Beach police staged a heavy-handed crackdown on the city’s first official Critical Mass ride.

Police are accused of waving cyclists through a stop sign, then ticketing riders who obeyed their apparent instructions. They also attempted to enforce a bicycle licensing law that violates state law, which limits penalties for failing to license a bike to a maximum of $10 — and prohibits ticketing any riders from outside their jurisdiction for failing to register their bikes with Long Beach.

In addition, the police decided, with no apparent legal authority, that fixed gear bikes without separate brakes violate the state law requiring bikes be able to make one wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement — a standard most fixies can easily meet.

And the police enforced those so-called violations by seizing the bikes of the riders involved — again, without any apparent legal authority.

Now, a new story from the Long Beach Post reveals just how far the city is willing to go to violate the civil rights of American citizens, simply because they travel on two wheels and have chosen to practice their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly under the banner of Critical Mass.

According to the Post, despite official denials from the city, the organizers of the ride attempted to get a permit in advance, which Long Beach officials failed to issue. Yet they were found in violation of a requirement that any group of 75 or more is required to get a Special Events Permit — even though that law was legally unenforceable because parts of it had been declared unconstitutional.

Long Beach City Manager Patrick West — a serious cyclist for 18 years — chillingly explains that the city is in fact targeting Critical Mass, and that any other ride, by any other name, would not face the same heavy-handed enforcement.

“Long Beach has been a leader in [developing] bike infrastructure. When a group goes out there to violate traffic laws, it brings more [negative] attention to the money that we’re spending on infrastructure, and angers the average motorist.

“If it’s a Critical Mass ride,” West continued, “you can expect our police department to be there to to monitor that. A Critical Mass ride is something that is going to attract the attention of our police department to prevent cyclists from, you know, to maintain the vehicle code. And I’m just speaking of Critical Mass. I’m not speaking about any other ride in Long Beach at all, whenever, where-ever, whoever. I’m speaking about a Critical Mass ride.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that called selective enforcement?

His words were born out by another crackdown on a Christmas ride intended to raise funds to help cyclists fight the tickets from the October crackdown. Suspecting it was actually a super-secret Critical Mass ride under another name, the police arrived in force and halted the ride before it could even begin.

According to City Manager Patrick West, “we suspected that the second [ride] was a Critical Mass ride and, in hindsight, it was clear to us that it was not a Critical Mass ride. We communicated that to the group, then I talked to Jerome Podgajski [founder of MashLBC.com-ed] and I apologized.

“The second ride involved many of the same individuals,” said West, “and, at the end of the day, it turned out that no one had any intention of creating a Critical Mass ride, so we would have supported that ride. We’re learning as we go along, and we’re talking to event organizers to just be careful about billing things as a Critical Mass ride because we’re very very conscientious of that group.”

In other words, better to apologize afterwards than get the facts right first. And it’s okay to violate the rights of one group, as long as you support other groups who may do the same things, but under a different name.

The writer, Sander Wolff, got the perspective of a local attorney about the first incident:

I asked attorney Robert Thomas Hayes Link, Esq., who grew up in Long Beach, what he thought of the incident. “As described by (cyclist) Gerry Campos, the supposedly bicycle-friendly City of Long Beach, by way of the conduct of the Long Beach Police Department, would seem to have arranged for a sting operation designed to discourage future cycling awareness activities within its borders. Whether the City managed this in a fashion that shields them from civil rights liability remains to be seen.”

Read the full article.

It clearly drives home the fact that Long Beach may see itself as bike friendly.

But a bike-friendly attitude goes far beyond mere paint on the street.

Unless and until the city begins to observe the requirements of the California Vehicle Code — which supersedes city ordinances — and interprets the law in a fair and legal manner, treating all cyclists equally under the law, it will continue to put to lie their self-proclaimed vision as the country’s leading bike city.

And continue to be a city that cyclists  — Critical or otherwise — might be better off avoiding.

……..

Let me make one thing clear. I’m not a fan of Critical Mass; I tend to believe, like LB City Manager West, that it only serves to anger people who might otherwise support us.

But I am a big fan of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. And I cannot support any person, city, jurisdiction or authority that willfully ignores the law to violate the rights of any cyclist.

As Emma Lazarus said, until we are all free, none of us is free.


Breaking news: Eight year old OC third grader killed riding his bike to school

January 19, 2011

News broke within the last half hour that an eight-year old was killed riding his bike to school today.

According to the Orange County Register, Andrew Brumback, a 3rd grader at Sequoia Elementary School in Westminster, was riding with his sister when he was struck by an SUV driven by Anita Cherry of Westminster. The collision occurred at the intersection of Choctaw Drive and Iroquois Road at about 8 am today; he was pronounced dead at Huntington Beach Medical Center.

Unfortunately, there’s not enough information to speculate on how this collision may have occurred. However, the paper notes that the driver stayed at the scene and did not appear to be under the influence.

This is the fourth SoCal biking death this year, and the second in just two days.

My heart and prayers go out to his family and loved ones. Thanks to Lois for the heads up.

Update: The Register has updated their story with additional information, including photo that can’t help but break your heart. Westminster police Cpl. Van Woodson was quoted as saying the driver was inconsolable, and that the accident is”too sad for words.”

I couldn’t agree more.


80-year old Garden Grove cyclist killed; third SoCal bike death in three weeks

January 19, 2011

An 80-year old Garden Grove man died yesterday after being hit by a car while riding on the sidewalk.

According to KCBS Channel 2, the man was hit when a Ford F-250 pickup made a right turn from a the driveway of a business near the intersection of Brookhurst Street near Jennrich Avenue in Garden Grove. The victim’s name has been withheld pending notification of next-of-kin; my condolences to his family and loved ones.

The Orange County Register reports that the 36-year old driver remained at the scene, telling police that he looked for traffic before pulling out of the parking lot, but didn’t see the cyclist; no arrest has been made, and alcohol or drugs is not believed to have been a factor.

This tragedy is a reminder that, contrary to common perceptions, it’s actually a lot more dangerous to ride on the sidewalk than in the street.

Drivers exiting driveways and parking lots are focused on traffic as they try to enter the street, and may not see anyone approaching on the sidewalk — even though they should. And visibility for drivers is greatly reduced, as nearby buildings can hide riders from view until the last second.

In fact, one prominent study found a nearly 25% greater risk factor for cyclists riding on the sidewalk as opposed to riding a typical street. In other words, while you might be frightened by those cars buzzing by, you’re a lot safer in the street where drivers can see you then relying on the false security of the sidewalk.

And just how sad is it that in this age of rampant hit-and-run, it’s necessary for a reporter to mention that the driver didn’t run away?

This marks the third biking fatality in Southern California in less than three weeks, following the deaths of Joseph Powers and Kevin Unck less than 10 days into the new year.

Be careful out there.


For crying out loud, just stop at the damn stop sign already

January 19, 2011

If someone else has the right-of-way, just do what the damn sign says.

Enough already.

Over the weekend, I saw two cyclists run stop signs directly in front of oncoming traffic, forcing drivers to jam on their brakes in order to avoid hitting them.

And one of those drivers was me.

Don’t get me wrong.

It’s true, I stop for stop signs, whether I’m driving or riding my bike. I’ve made a point of doing it on my bike ever since I blew through a stop just as a young boy pointed at me and told his dad he wanted to be just like me. And I realized that I’d just taught a little kid to run stop signs.

It’s not like I’m a fanatic about it. I come to a near stop, without putting my foot down, then go as soon as I think it’s safe and I have the right-of-way.

Sort of like pretty much every driver in Los Angeles does, to a greater or lesser degree.

But what I never, ever do is go through any intersection when someone else has the right-of-way. Even if they wave me through themselves, I’m reluctant to take advantage of it if I think there’s any possible risk of a misunderstanding.

Frankly, my life is worth a hell of a lot more than any need to get through the intersection first. Let alone do it without stopping.

Let’s take the first case.

I don’t drive often anymore. In fact, I put less than 800 miles on my car last year. But I had an errand to run that just wasn’t practical to do on foot or two wheels.

So I found myself at a four way stop in Westwood, waiting for the cross traffic to go by. Just as I pulled out into the middle of the intersection, though, a cyclist snaked by the car waiting on the cross street and blew out in front me of without stopping — forcing me to jam on the brakes to avoid hitting him.

Not that he cared. Or even seemed to notice.

Then I watched it happen again with a different rider a few blocks later. Except this guy blew through a stop sign just as the car to his left was making a right turn — one the driver had actually signaled for, so unlike most L.A. drivers, there should have been no question of his intentions.

Fortunately, the driver saw the cyclist blowing by on his right, and made a panic stop just inches from the idiot on the bike.

And had he hit him, I would have been the first in line to testify on the driver’s behalf.

Why they did it, I have no idea. Maybe they were no different than the impatient drivers who aren’t willing to invest an extra two seconds to pass a bike safely — or in this case, stop long enough to protect their own lives. Or  maybe they just don’t think the law, or common sense, applies to them.

So let’s get everyone on the same page.

If you’re the only one at the intersection, I couldn’t care less if you run the stop sign. Seriously, be my guest. Worst that happens is you might be a bad role model. Or get a ticket if there’s a cop nearby.

If there are other people at the intersection, I don’t care if you come to a full stop as long as you observe the right-of-way. It doesn’t matter if it’s a car, truck, SUV, motorcycle, pedestrian or another bike. It’s a simple rule — if they have the right-of-way, you don’t.

If you don’t understand what right-of-way is or who has it, it’s high time you learned. The rules are exactly the same for cyclists as they are for drivers.

And for anyone still unclear on the concept, pedestrians in the crosswalk always, always, always have the right-of-way. Capice?

So for crying out loud, stop already. At least long enough to let the other people and vehicles pass, then go when — and only when — it’s your turn.

There is absolutely nothing special about you or your bike that gives you the right to ignore traffic laws — especially not when it puts you or anyone else in jeopardy. Nothing.

If a cop sees you run a stop sign, you could — and probably should — get a ticket.

If you cause a collision by running a stop sign, you’re at fault. Period. Even if you weren’t directly involved. Which means that you could be held legally and financially responsible for any injuries or property damage resulting from a collision that you weren’t even in.

And if you get hit by a car after running a stop sign, you lose any liability protection you might otherwise enjoy — even if that wasn’t the primary cause of the collision. Which means that any medical care, lost wages or damage to your bike comes right out of your pocket.

Don’t like it? Tough shit.

The law doesn’t care why you blew the stop. Only that you did.

And you make it that much harder on those of us who do stop, because it only reinforces the attitude that none of us do. Which means that, fairly or not, cops and juries are likely to believe that any cyclist injured in a collision was most likely at fault — something I found out the hard way when I was hit while stopped at a stop sign.

The driver claimed I ran it and fell on my own while making a high speed turn. And the cop believed her, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Because, he said, “all you guys run stop signs.”

It’s also not just Los Angeles, or even California. Although it seems to be becoming more common here all the time.

Frankly, it’s just common sense. If someone else has the right-of-way, stop already.

Otherwise you may learn, like I did, that cars are bigger than we are. And they hurt.

And if you were one of the idiots morons jackasses jerks stop sign running riders I encountered over the weekend, we need to talk.

Seriously.

.………

Welcome Nathan Baird to the newly created position of LADOT Bike Program Coordinator. A new video looks at the LACBC’s City of Lights and the invisible cyclists. The Examined Spoke points out that Beverly Hills still has a bike registration law on the books, even if it’s not enforced anymore; then again, they also have a law on the books requiring cyclists to ride as close to the curb as possible, in violation of state law. The Kit Karzen Foundation kicks off their program to promote cycling for kids with ADHD with a celebration at Cynergy Cycles on Saturday. A lack of bikeways on the Gerald Desmond bridge could jeopardize Long Beach’s bike friendly image. The family of a cyclist allegedly killed in a drunken SF hit-and-run files suit. Santa Maria’s utilities director is injured in a collision with a semi-truck; notice how the story subtly places blame on the cyclist for colliding with the truck, even though the limited details suggest the truck pulled out in front of the oncoming bike.

A Yuma AZ cyclist wants to know why people there endanger every cyclist’s life by driving irresponsibly; a letter that could have been written by almost any cyclist anywhere. The best way to promote cycling could be to make it faster than driving. Despite claims to the contrary, New York cyclists get tickets after all. A new rear-view bike camera could record the last 10 seconds in the event of a collision. Virginia considers increasing the distance to pass bikes from 2 to 3 feet, and prohibit tailgating bikes. Sports Illustrated spells out the latest doping accusations against Lance Armstrong; is it just me, or is someone really out to get him?

British Big Brother host Davina McCall launches a new women-only charity ride. A rash of stolen manhole covers could lead to the death of cyclists in Oxfordshire. Aussie cyclist Amber Halliday is brought out of sedation after suffering “horrific” head injuries in a fall.

Finally, eight years in prison for a drunken ex-athlete who ran down a cyclist, then allegedly stepped on the victim’s face as he lay dying.

Hell does not have a hole deep enough.


Update: Santa Monica takes a big step forward in becoming truly bike friendly

January 18, 2011

Yesterday, I saw the blue screen of death.

No matter what I tried — and as an experienced Apple Computer user, I tried everything —I couldn’t revive my laptop. Then suddenly, on its own, it came back to life after being dead for over two hours.

I can only assume that my computer is now among the silicon undead. And that this is the beginning of the long-dreaded Mac zombie apocalypse, as hordes of hip, user-friendly computers will soon by crawling through the streets in search of brains.

Or maybe processors.

So while I spent my evening in the local Apple Store, where my Mac inexplicably got a clean bill of health, other cyclists were storming Santa Monica City Hall to protest a bike licensing law that had been used more as a punishment for cyclists than as a means of recovering lost or stolen bikes. And with a penalty that far exceeded the $10 maximum allowed by state law.

By all accounts, they were remarkably successful.

According to LACBC-associate Santa Monica Spoke, the council voted to continue the current bike licensing program on a free, voluntary basis — which means no one, resident or not, will get a ticket for not having a license.

And that, as Gary points out, neither he nor anyone else will be a criminal any more.

The city will also work with cyclists to establish an alternative registration program that is more focused on actually recovering bikes — and preventing theft to begin with. Ideally, they would work with the LAPD and City of Los Angeles, as well as the county and other cities in the area to come up with a regional solution, since bike thieves seldom confine themselves to a single jurisdiction.

Spoke and UCLA Bicycle Academy member Dr. Michael Cahn offered a detailed report on last night’s meeting.

Tonight the Santa Monica City Council voted unanimously to discontinue the Bicycle License Ordinance, to allow free registration for an interim period until staff develops an alternative plan (based on collaboration with SMPD and Bicycle Community) on how to do the right thing: to facilitate return of lost bikes and reduce theft. YEAH!

Great outcome, much shaking of hands and expressions of good intentions. Speakers tonight were Richard McKinnon, Michael Brodski, Gary Kavanagh, “Per Se,” and myself. Councilor Kevin McKeown reported on his romantic childhood attachment to bicycle licenses, and it transpired during the meeting that evidently for some years in the past he must have been one of the very few owners of a valid license. Mayor Bloom told the story how he bought a bike at a police auction for 2 dollars when he was so small that the auctioneer could not see his raised hand, being just a little boy.

Thanks everybody for making this possible! A great foundation for our future work as SPOKE. Thanks to everybody, bloggers, speakers, email writers, well wishers, and meeting room searchers ! The city council has heard us and extended us a hand. Now we need to grasp this hand and move along. Calmly and determined.

Watch it tomorrow by clicking here, (select agenda item 7B).

Well done Santa Monica Spoke, well done everybody!

Let me add my own thanks to everyone involved in getting this law changed, including the Spoke’s Cynthia Rose and Bikeside’s Mihai Peteu, both of whom are rapidly climbing the list of the area’s leading bike activists.

And thanks the officials in Santa Monica, who came to the meeting with an open mind and clearly listened to the concerns of cyclists.

And that, in my book, is the single most important feature of any bike-friendly city.

.………

Another day, another front in the battle to make the coastal area friendlier to bike riders and other humans, as LADOT and the LACBC make the case for a road diet to transform Venice’s Main Street in a more Complete Street that will benefit everyone, as opposed to just cut-through drivers. Both groups will present to the Venice Neighborhood Council tonight in an effort to get everyone onboard and avoid the silly and unnecessary controversy that followed the Valley’s Wilbur Ave road diet. Cyclists are urged to attend to show your support; the meeting begins at 7 pm in the auditorium of the Westminster Elementary School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice.

.………

Lance Armstrong remains confident and defiant despite a grand jury investigation into allegations of doping on his semi-federally funded U.S. Postal Team; on the other hand, it’s hard to make the argument that he defrauded the government when it spent $32 million in sponsorship but received over $100 million in value? A UCI committee member calls for a 2-year ban for TdF champ Alberto Contador. And Floyd “I was lying then but I’m telling the truth now, really” Landis calls it a day.

.………

LADOT’s Bike Program launches Twitter and Facebook accounts. A 70-year old cyclist was seriously injured when he was hit by a car in Arcadia. Last week, someone wrote me looking for a bike to rent; next time, I might have a better suggestion. Hearings for the South Bay Bike Plan continue this week, including tonight in Hermosa Beach. Cyclists argue for Class 1 bike paths on the rebuilt Gerald Desmond bridge. The Claremont Cyclist notes the 40th anniversary of the death of Ireland’s first great international cycling champ. Where else can you bike and ride the rails to the slopes? Sonoma confronts the classic battle of bike lanes verses parking. A Martinez CA judge denies a defense request to exclude vital evidence against a driver charged with the hit-and-run homicide of a local cyclist. Response to the Levi’s GranFondo was so great, it crashed the servers on the first day of registration. Ross del Duca — author of one of California’s best bike blogs — adds his own thoughts on bike licensing.

Elly Blue asks what it means to ride responsibly. You may be insured on your bike after all. The makers of a new brake pad promise an end to endos. Lane markings can warn cyclists while also welcoming us to the road. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords spent her last night before the shooting on her bike. An Oregon state legislator survives the slings and arrows of bike activists after calling for a ban on carrying children in, on or around a bike. Washington continues to move forward with Vulnerable User and Complete Streets laws. Virginia’s proposed reckless cycling law could be ripe for abuse. An NYC councilman says cyclists brought his licensing proposal on themselves, while the anti-bike debate goes on. One of the astronauts scheduled for next month’s space shuttle flight is injured in a bike accident. Why you should be proud to ride like a girl.

An Ottawa cyclist says if bike lanes ghettoize cyclists, then by all means, ghettoize her. A 67-year old Gloucestershire cyclist is killed when she’s hit by a van & trailer while on a club ride. Aussie cyclist Amber Halliday is critically injured after crashing in a Down Under tour women’s crit.

Finally, at least one car manufacturer gets it, as Kia says why own the road when you can share it?


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