Rumors are swirling that scofflaw cops may mean the death of 1st Street’s buffered bike lanes

November 29, 2012

I read and hear a lot of rumors.

Many don’t pan out after a little investigation; others can’t be verified one way or another.

Then there’s the ones reliable sources tell me have been confirmed, usually off the record, by people who should know. Like the one I recently heard about the relatively new buffered bike lanes in front of the LAPD headquarters on 1st Street in Downtown L.A.

It seems that certain scofflaws in blue can’t resist the temptation to park in the bike lane. Which is just as illegal for them as it is for anyone else.

And which puts cyclists at just as much risk on a dangerously busy street as when anyone else does it.

Of course, the obvious solution is to simply park somewhere else.

The not so obvious solution is to restripe the street to eliminate the bike lane. Or at least the buffer, turning what has been one of the city’s best bike lanes into just another door zone lane.

Guess which option seems to be gaining favor with police and officials at LADOT, run by former Hummer-driving Deputy Mayor Jaime de la Vega?

Of course, there is another possibility that no one seems to have considered. The buffer zone could be reconfigured as street parking — possibly even reserved for police vehicles — while maintaining the curbside lane for cyclists.

The result would be the parking police officers can’t seem to do without — except legally, this time.

Along with L.A.’s first protected bike lane, which could serve as a model for countless other areas around the city.

It makes perfect sense. Which is why it will probably never happen.

So be prepared to kiss your buffered bike lane goodbye.

Or so I’m told.

………

A must read two-part piece from Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman. The first is a moving and enlightening account of the aftermath of a bicycling collision in which both the driver and the victim go out of their way to help one another. The second, an examination of why South L.A cycling collisions too often go unreported — and the harm that can do.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog calls for donations to continue their vital work covering transportation in Los Angeles. And they need volunteers to help out with ARTCRANK on December 8th.

………

Congratulations to exceptional Santa Monica bike, transportation and planning wonk — and Streetsblog contributor — Gary Kavanagh as he receives a well-deserved nod as one of Planetizen’s Top Twitter Feeds for 2012; they might want to spell his name right, though.

Gary also offers his thoughts on the next steps for the Santa Monica bike movement.

………

Confessed doper and Lance compatriot Tyler Hamilton says he thinks 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins rode clean. Marianne Vos is named Velo’s International Cyclist of the Year. And Exergy is the latest company to drop its sponsorship of men’s pro cycling; their women’s team will not be affected.

………

UCLA sees a sudden spike in bike thefts. The mayor’s office gives itself high marks for its transportation efforts; although if the mayor really wants to make a big move in transportation he could endorse the GRID Project. New bike lanes adorn Santa Monica Blvd in East Hollywood. Flying Pigeon’s monthly Brewery Ride rolls this Saturday. More extensions are in store for the L.A. River bike path. The First Annual Santa Monica Family Bike Fest is scheduled for Saturday, December 8th; although it’s not actually an annual event until the second one. Burbank insists NBC Universal extend the L.A. River bike path as a condition for their planned expansion. Installing fenders for winter riding, and designing away the excuses for not riding for transportation.

Cycle tracks could be the answer for a dangerous San Diego road.  Maybe now that the doping scandal is behind us — as if — we can focus on the upcoming Amgen Tour of California, which reverses course for 2013. Respected bike-riding San Bernardino redevelopment lawyer Timothy J. Sabo died Wednesday after a long illness. An allegedly heavily intoxicated rider is injured in a Redding collision. Rancho Cordova police are investigating the case of a man found beaten to death next to his bike in front of a pet shop. It’s been a dangerous few days for cyclists in central California, as a 15-year old rider is killed in Fresno.

Do cheap Bicycle Shaped Objects from mass market stores discourage riders in the long run? Maybe your next bike could come with anti-lock brakes. New rechargeable, hard-to-steal bike lights. A volunteer explains how the Bike Library in my hometown really works. Bikes could be banned from a reconfigured Continental Divide Trail in southern Colorado. A Tulsa driver is charged in the hit-and-run death of a 71-year old bike rider; anyone who claims they thought they just hit an animal after killing a human being should have their sentence doubled. A Manhattan lawyer is being sued for violently jerking a cyclist off her bike. Not surprisingly, actress Kerri Russell looks pretty cute on a bike. DC cracks down on U-turning drivers after discovering they were involved in 11 of 14 bike collisions on a center bikeway. Cycling Nirvana offers advice on collision avoidance for new road riders. A Florida cyclist is the victim of a fatal double hit-and-run.

Young Canadian racers are about to get a boost. Sidewalk cycling is a symptom of the failure to provide safe and convenient bicycle routes. As you probably suspected, sitting on your couch is more dangerous than riding a bike. The latest in a string of projected bike lights is this Batman-style beacon that casts the image of a bike 20 feet ahead of a rider. A Liverpool cyclist was killed by a motorcyclist who was doing wheelies and riding 70 mph in a 30 mile zone. A Nigerian racer is nipped at the finish line after celebrating her victory a tad too early. Turns out staying upright on a bike is a lot more complicated than it seems. A Sydney bike thief is caught on video.

Finally, a cyclist tries — and fails — to jump a moving car coming directly at him.


Don’t miss ARTCRANK LAX at Orange 20 Bikes on Saturday, December 8

November 28, 2012

ARTCRANK LAX logo, designed by Big Table Studio

A couple weeks ago, I received an email from Patrick Murphy of Minneapolis-based ARTCRANK, the international traveling showcase for bike art.

He was writing to let me know about the upcoming ARTCRANK LAX exhibition at Orange 20 Bikes, featuring the work of 31 local artists.

Unfortunately, my world had just been turned upside down. So rather than adding more to my plate, he graciously agreed to write a guest post to tell you all about it. 

It sounds like a great time, for a great cause. And one I’d highly recommend.

……..

International bike poster show coming to Orange 20 on Dec. 8

ARTCRANK, billed as “A poster party for bike people,” will make its long awaited Los Angeles debut with bikes, art and beer at the newly-minted Best Bike Shop in L.A. —Orange 20 Bikes on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012.

ARTCRANK LAX will feature hand-made, bike-inspired posters created by 31 local artists. Admission is free, and limited edition, signed and numbered copies of all posters will be available for $40 each.

A selection of craft beers by Widmer Brothers Brewing will be available in exclusive ARTCRANK pint glasses, with proceeds going to L.A. Streetsblog.

“Los Angeles has always been a beacon for creative people,” said ARTCRANK founder Charles Youel. “But even two years ago, nobody would’ve thought of it as a big bike town. So it’s exciting for ARTCRANK to hold our first show here at a time when more people than ever are taking to the streets on bikes, and the city is becoming more bike friendly. We can’t wait to see how that comes through in the posters that our L.A. artists are creating for the show.”

ARTCRANK LAX Details
 
When:
Saturday, December 8 – 6:00p.m. – 11:00p.m.
 
Where:
Orange 20 Bikes
4351 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA
 
What + Why:
  • Original, limited edition prints from local artists – all sold for $40
  • Custom pint glasses and beer specials by Widmer Brothers Brewing
  • Proceeds from pint glass sales go to benefit L.A. Streetsblog
  • Neenah Paper will donate proceeds from the ARTCRANK LAX show poster to L.A. Streetsblog
  • Free valet bike parking courtesy of Clif Bar

 For more information, please visit: http://artcrank.com/losangeles

About ARTCRANK

ARTCRANK is a show of bicycle-inspired poster artwork that introduces people to talented local artists and sends them home with affordable, original works of art. Since its 2007 debut in Minneapolis, ARTCRANK has held shows in bike-friendly cities in the US and UK, including Portland, San Francisco, Austin, New York, Denver and London. In 2012, we held our second show at Interbike, a cycling industry showcase that attracts attendees from around the world. ARTCRANK uses creativity to change how people think about bicycles and grow the cycling community. Find out more about ARTCRANK at artcrank.com.

……..

I should mention that in that original email, Patrick took the time to express his concern for my wife before moving on to other matters — a sign of real class and compassion that made me like the guy right off the bat.

As for my wife, the news couldn’t be better. Despite a major heart attack, there doesn’t appear to have been any permanent damage to her heart.

Sometimes, life is good.


Bike rider killed in Garden Grove collision

November 27, 2012

A rare three-week stretch without a SoCal cycling fatality was broken last night, when a Laguna Hills cyclist was killed while riding in Garden Grove.

According to the Orange County Register, 47-year old Brian Winfrey was riding on the right shoulder of Euclid Road near Wakefield Ave around 7 pm Monday when he was rear-ended by a white Honda CRV traveling south on Euclid. Winfrey was transported to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later.

The paper reports that the 48-year old driver, who has not been publicly identified, remained at the scene. No arrest was made, and no citations have been issued; drug or alcohol use is not suspected.

Which raises the question of why the driver would not have seen and reacted to an adult cyclist wearing a bright yellow reflective vest, who should have been clearly visible and out of the way of traffic.

Hopefully, authorities will check her phone records to ensure she wasn’t driving distracted at the time of the collision.

Anyone with information is urged to call Garden Grove traffic Jason Perkins at 714/741-5823.

This is the 68th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 13th in Orange County; in addition, six other riders have been fatality shot this year, two in OC.

Remarkably, it’s just the second SoCal cycling fatality this month, and the first since 20-year old Jeremy Kidder was killed in Buena Park on November 5th.



Help improve safety for Newport Beach cyclists via Amazon and Thursday evening silent auction

November 26, 2012

It’s not every day you can make a difference for cyclists on the streets of Southern California.

And especially not get something in return when you do.

But that’s what you can do right now when you do your holiday shopping with Amazon.com. And again this Thursday with a silent auction in Costa Mesa co-sponsored by a number of Orange County bike shops.

The funds raised will go to promote bike safety and improve streets for cyclists in Newport Beach, which was recently the site of two cycling deaths in just two days — along with a third near fatality the same weekend.

Better yet, every dollar raised will be matched by the city of Newport Beach on a three-to-one basis through the end of the year, up to $150,000 — an extension of the offer the city made as part of the recent memorial ride for Sarah Leaf and Dr. Catherine Campion-Ritz.

Which means $10 out of your pocket is really worth $40 on the streets. And that $150,000 in donations will mean a full $600,000 in actual improvements.

And that could make a real difference in a city that has been far too dangerous for OC bike riders in recent years.

………

First up, since this is Cyber Monday, you can make a donation simply by placing an order on Amazon.

Just click on this link to access the site, and a portion of every dollar you spend will automatically be donated to the Newport Beach Bike Safety Improvement Fund. And it doesn’t matter what you buy, whether it’s bike gear, books, pet food or office supplies. Or virtually anything else your little heart desires.

So you can make a donation simply by buying things you’d get anyway, or justify buying something you’ve long been lusting after. Or by getting a jump on your holiday shopping.

One quick note — once you click the order button, you’ll have to start over from the link above if you want to place an additional order and have your purchase credited to the fund.

Then this Thursday evening, everyone is invited to a silent auction at Surf City Cyclery in Costa Mesa.

You’ll find all kinds of items, from an official Newport Beach “Bikes May Use Full Lane” sign — which I’d recommend wearing on your back while you ride — to a hand-tufted rug valued at $7,500. As well as gift certificates, Angel’s tickets, and a four day, three night wine and cycling trip for two in the Santa Ynez Valley valued at over $2000, courtesy of Wine Country Cycling.

And once again, all the proceeds will go to the Bike Safety Improvement Fund, where they will be matched by the city on a three-to-one basis.

  • Date:  Thursday Evening, November 29, 2012 from 7 to 9 pm
  • Time:  Silent and Live Auction Ends at:  8:15 pm
  • Place:  Surf City Cyclery, 257 E. 17th Street, Costa Mesa, CA
  • Bike Shops Participating:  Surf City Cyclery, Irvine Bicycles, The Unlikely Cyclist, Pedego, Jax Bicycles, Richards Cyclery, Performance Bike and Bike Religion
  • Attire: Casual
  • Payment Methods:  Credit Cards and Checks will be accepted
  • Libations:  Appetizers and refreshments will be served
  • Items for Auction:  Trips, Gift Cards, Bikes (kids bikes, recumbent, cross, road, city, tt and more), sports tickets, and more
  • There are also fun items that will be included in a raffle – so everyone has a chance to be a winner.
  • Register and view the entire list of items here:  http://www.newportbeachmemorialride.com/silent-auction-registration-and-items.html
  • Registration is free, however space is limited, so be sure to register to ensure a place.
  • Proceeds go to the Bike Safety Improvement Fund and will qualify for the City of Newport Beach’s $3 to $1 match.

Finally, you can still donate directly to the fund by cash, check, debit or credit card. And once again, your donation will be matched three-to-one by the City of Newport Beach.

………

One other quick note.

Is it still hit-and-run if you take the victim with you?

A suspected drunk driver ran down a pedestrian in Torrance on Saturday night, then drove another two miles with the victim still embedded on her hood and windshield; 31-year old Torrance resident Phillip Moreno died later at a local hospital.

KABC-7 reports that the driver — a drug and alcohol counselor, no less — was allegedly over twice the legal limit at the time of the collision.

Needless to say, she’s facing charges that include manslaughter and driving under the influence.

But not hit-and-run.


LAPD seeks yet another hit-and-run driver; West Hollywood is in the market for a bike plan consultant

November 25, 2012

Los Angeles police are looking for a driver who ran down a cyclist near USC and fled the scene, leaving him to bleed in the street.

The rider was hit by a small white car at the intersection of Vermont Ave and 36th Street around 1:30 Friday morning. The cyclist, described only as non-USC student in his 20s or 30s, suffered major non-life-threatening injuries.

Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD South Traffic Division at 323/421-2577.

It’s long past time to get heartless cowards like this off the streets and behind bars where they belong.

Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.

………

The City of West Hollywood is looking for a firm to help update the city’s bike plan.

Let’s hope WeHo, self-proclaimed as The Creative City, will take a creative approach to carving out a significant chunk of street space to keep cyclists safe and encourage more people to ride. While the city has made some recent moves to accommodate bikes, it’s time to show cyclists the same welcome and tolerance they famously show everyone else.

You don’t have to do a lot of riding, walking or driving in West Hollywood to realize that the relatively compact, traffic-choked city could benefit greatly by providing more viable alternatives to driving. Aside from some steep climbs on the lower reaches of the Hollywood Hills, it is — or at least, should be — a near ideal location for promoting bicycling.

And maybe they could show the Biking Black Hole to their west how it’s done while they’re at it.

While it’s still early in the process, the best way to ensure your voice is heard in the new plan is to join the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition, an LACBC affiliate chapter that does a great job of engaging civic leaders and fighting for the rights of bike riders.

Many thanks to Matt Baume for the tip. And hey, I’m more than willing to consult, if they’re willing to waive all those technical requirements and stuff.

………

The first section of the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk bike and pedestrian path is scheduled to open on December 12th. Richard Risemberg notes the new BMW of Beverly Hills bike shop. Everybody has a favorite bike shop, right? A Napa motorist faces up to one year in jail for killing a cyclist last August.

Looks like America’s only Tour de France winner is officially out of the bike business. Alta Bicycle Share is looking for a Portland-based Marketing Director. The Blackhawk CO bike ban heads to the Colorado Supreme Court. A Montana man says a local road diet was imposed by unelected D.C. bureaucrats, and implies cyclists belong on sidewalks. An Albany NY cyclist becomes collateral damage when he’s killed by a fleeing driver in a police chase. Jackson, Mississippi considers joining other local cities in requiring helmets for cyclists. An Arkansas father and minister is killed while riding in Georgia. Nice to know a Florida deputy didn’t run over a cyclist on purpose.

A fight for the leadership, and nature, of the Belize Cycling Association. Good to know Canadian drivers can kill a cyclist without doing anything wrong. UK bike scribe Carlton Reid points out that hatred of cyclists has a long, rich history. The Evening Standard asks how we can make London safe for cyclists. Seven tips for effective bike lobbying. Cyclists touring Bath, England will soon enjoy Europe’s longest cycling tunnel at over a mile long. An Edinburgh cyclist blames bad roads for a serious fall. Danish cyclists complain a new law requiring bike lights is unenforceable. How a single picture started the Cycle Chic movement. An Aussie cyclist suffers a broken collarbone when someone slaps her on the ass from a passing car.

Finally, a UK hospital receives well-deserved criticism for removing bike parking for a smoking area, even if it will result in a net increase in bike spaces. And it may not necessarily be bike related, but I love these haunting photos of Scotland in winter from my favorite Scottish novelist and bike blogger.


Your relatively short list of holiday links, and a brief Thanksgiving thank you

November 22, 2012

I have a lot to be thankful for this year.

Not the least of which is everyone who reads this blog, and the many kind hearts who reached out to show their support over the past week. Some of whom I know; many I’ve never met.

And each of whom have touched my heart in ways I’ll never forget.

So thank you, sincerely.

And please accept my wishes for a very warm, safe and happy Thanksgiving.

………

A survey by the California Office of Traffic Safety shows nearly twice as many nighttime motorists drive on weekends with drugs in their system compared to alcohol. Worse, over one-in-five drivers — a combined 21.3% — have some form of intoxicant in their system.

Not that we should be concerned about that or anything.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

………

The LAPD will employ choppers and horses and bikes, oh my, to maintain order on Black Friday; I remember when it used to be called the day after Thanksgiving. The LAFD considers options to speed up emergency response times. Santa Monica will sponsor a Family Bike Fest on December 8th. L.A. cyclists ride to promote forthcoming bike lanes on Lankershim Blvd. Bike SGV will help you burn off those Thanksgiving calories with a bike train this Sunday. C.I.C.L.E. will sponsor a tweed ride on January 19th. Temple City’s Rosemead Blvd is about to get a pedestrian and bike-friendly makeover. Alhambra begins revising their widely reviled draft bike plan. A cyclist gets the runaround from the Long Beach Police, but gets her stolen bike back anyway; evidently, the LBPD was too busy warning cyclists not to ride on the sidewalk. Long Beach Gang Enforcement detectives are investigating the shooting of a 29-year old cyclist.

A Corona del Mar writer says using sharrows to move cyclists into the traffic lane will only increase the danger to riders; hate to break it to him, but we already have the right to ride there. The proposed High Desert Corridor could include a high speed rail connector and a bike path. A Sacramento cyclist is shot and killed while delivering strawberries to his brother.

Oddly, traffic fatalities are higher in red states than blue states. The Interbike trade show will open its doors to consumers next year. They’re already making lists of the best Christmas gifts for cyclists. A Boston bike co-op is forced to shut down after a burglary. Bikeyface says all weather is fair bike weather if you have a good raincoat. A Philly writer calls for greater traffic enforcement, saying drivers and cyclists are both about as bad. A Georgia man agrees to let a stranger ride his bike, and is somehow surprised when he rides off with it.

A Canadian driver gets a whopping $1000 fine for falling asleep behind the wheel and killing a cyclist; I guess the idea of pulling over and taking a nap before you kill someone is unheard of up there. A report calls for cutting London cycling fatalities; evidently, there’s no safety in numbers in the city. The widow of a UK cycling victim calls on riders to always wear their helmets. A Welsh cyclist is considered a heroine after rescuing a drowning woman. Turns out the Netherlands isn’t a living hell for cyclists after all. Parisian drivers fight back against plans to create a more livable city by removing a major highway on the Left Bank; that hardly supports the breathless hyperbole of the headline, though.

Finally, now your bike can trot like a horse; does that mean you’ll have to clean up after it, too?

……..

Remember that Thanksgiving drivers will overstuffed and sleepy, sober or not. And Black Friday shoppers are likely to be more concerned about getting to the next sale and finding a parking space than watching out for bikes on the road.

So enjoy the great weather they’re promising us and get out for a good ride. But ride defensively and be careful out there.


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