A call for a bike friendly DTLA, Bike Snob takes on Chicago honker, and Coronado declared bike friendly

October 16, 2013

LA cyclist Patrick Pascal writes to say he was disappointed that he was out of the country for last week’s CicLAvia.

Until, that is, he discovered he was just in time for Spain’s equivalent in Madrid the same day.

Madrid riders celebrate car-free streets; photo by Patrick Pascal

Madrid riders celebrate car-free streets; photo by Patrick Pascal

………

LA’s DT News makes a mostly accurate and insightful call for a bike friendly Downtown.

The website cites opportunities like the Spring Street Bike Lane, CicLAvia, bike trains and the needlessly controversial MyFigueroa project, as well as the need for more bike lanes and bike racks at buildings in Bunker Hill and the Financial District.

It’s a good piece, and one I hope city officials pay attention to.

Just a couple of minor quibbles.

While wearing a bike helmet may be smart, it’s not required for anyone over 18.

And when riders get furious at drivers who honk at drivers for going too slowly in traffic, it’s not the bike rider who’s the problem.

Drivers have to accept that bicyclists have a right to the roadway, just as they do. And that shared lanes — which is every right hand lane not next to a bike lane — means they have to be patient and pass when it’s safe to do so.

Not lay on their damn horns until riders get the hell out of their way.

………

Bike Snob adroitly dissects the recent column by Andy Frye, the jerk ESPN and Chicago Sun-Times columnist who complained about getting flipped off when he gave a cyclist a “light toot” on the horn.

For anyone else tempted to give a bike rider a friendly honk on the horn, don’t.

Just don’t.

………

Coronado is the latest SoCal city to be named to the Bike League’s list of Bicycle Friendly Communities, at the same Silver level as Long Beach and Santa Monica.

Outside of Southern California, West Sacramento and Eureka gain Bronze designations, while Menlo Park and Calistoga move up to Silver.

………

LA City and County leaders call for a regional bike share program, rather than the Balkanized system we seem to be headed for. The Times says LA streets have to be made safe for cyclists, starting with the potholes; a road divot that would be a minor inconvenience to a motorist can be life threatening for someone on a bike. And speaking of road divots, the Times offers up opinions from bike hating drivers, as well as cyclists and more rational motorists, on whether California should adopt an Idaho Stop law. Glendale councilmember and former mayor urges Mayor Garcetti to slow traffic on the Hyperion-Glendale bridge project. Rather than fix a dangerous intersection near Universal, Metro plans to spend $27 million to raise pedestrians out of the way of rampaging traffic; hey Tom LaBonge, a bike lane on Lankershim might help tame traffic and make the bridge unnecessary at a fraction of the cost. LADOT announces a new program to repurpose LA Streets. A look at LA’s 4th Street non-bike boulevard. The LACBC voices its support for the most inclusive plan to restore the LA River; this weekend’s Found LA Festival along the river includes a bike ride hosted by the LACBC, ending at the Golden Road Brewery. Redondo Beach adopts a Living Streets policy, including a planned two-way cycle track along North Harbor Drive.

Red Kite Prayer talks with famed framebuilder Richard Sachs. Bike Newport Beach says it’s time to fix the deadly free right turns that turn city streets into virtual freeways; you know, sort of like LA is proposing for the Hyperion-Glendale bridge. A Newport Beach couple is arrested for biking under the influence and public drunkenness after the husband falls off his bike. Davis CA reduces the fines for bicycling violations. Because you’re mine, I ride the line; yes, I would totally ride Folsom’s planned Johnny Cash Trail. A professional cyclist with the Leopard-Sapporo cycling team is critically injured when she’s collateral damage in a Los Gatos traffic collision.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says bicycling with your kids is too risky; so do we keep kids from riding or make our streets safe for them? Your next bike lock could be controlled by your smart phone. Maybe it’s time to stop sharing the road. A road raging Seattle driver is charged with assault with a deadly weapon after purposely slamming into a cyclist, while a Seattle bike rider gets his stolen bike back a year later, a little worse for wear. A bicyclist with 16 heart stents and a pacemaker is riding from San Diego to Florida — and that’s after being shocked back to life by firefighters nearly a decade ago. Looks like my hometown won’t be adopting an Idaho Stop Law after all. A Mexican national whose feet were chopped off by extortionists plans to bike 670 miles across Texas in a ride for justice. Neither cyclists or motorists can seem to figure out new bike lanes in Cedar Rapids. A New York bike documentary says cars are the real enemy. A New York bike rider pays forward the kindness of a cycling Samaritan. The city’s famed Plaza hotel files suit over a block-long bike share rack, calling it an eyesore.

Bike Radar looks at the best lights for road bikes. A look at the world’s most dangerous highways. London cyclist gets ticketed for stopping outside a bike box because a car was blocking it. London’s first bicycle superhighway is called an accident waiting to happen following the death of a cyclist. Texting while bike riding is putting UK children at risk. Paris reclaims a roadway alongside the Seine from motor vehicles. A Zimbabwe rider is stabbed to death after accidently bumping into the wrong guy. The Bangkok Post says don’t promote cycling until bike lanes are in place to make it safer. An Aussie rider sets two long distance records for riding backwards.

Finally, in today’s wildlife report, an apparently prescient rooster — yes, rooster — saves a woman from taking a header when her handlebars fail. It looks like bike-hating deer may be trashing a memorial to a fallen bike rider. And at least all we have to worry about here are road raging drivers, rather than rampaging anti-bike bulls.


Increasing penalties for hit-and-run, increasing opposition to high-speed Hyperion/Glendale bridges

October 8, 2013
Today's forecast calls for first winter storm of the year. But hopefully, not this bad. Photo by Eric Rogers.

Forecast calls for first winter storm of the year. But probably not like this. Photo by Eric Rogers.

Momentum is finally building to increase penalties for hit-and-run.

But while increasing penalties to match DUI will remove one incentive to flee, it won’t be enough to stop hit-and-runs at a time when prison overcrowding means non-violent offenders serve only a fraction of their sentences.

Original thinking is required, whether that means automatic revocation of the driver’s license and seizure of the vehicle used, as I’ve long advocated, or extensive home detention and community service.

We also need to require permanent license plates for every car on the road from the minute it leaves the sales lot. Too many drivers use loopholes in the law to avoid putting valid plates on their cars, making them virtually untraceable in the event of a collision.

Just try counting the number of cars you see without plates the next time you ride.

Drivers should also face homicide charges anytime someone dies following a hit-and-run on the assumption that the victim might have been saved if they had stopped and called for help.

………

Opposition is deservedly growing to the planned highway-speed redevelopment of the Hyperion/Glendale bridge complex.

How this deadly throwback design even got preliminary support from city officials is beyond me.

………

Wednesday’s planned hearing of the My Figueroa project before the city council’s Transportation Committee has been postponed until further notice.

Let’s hope it’s soon, because funding requirements dictate that all opponents have to do to kill the project is to delay the start until after the first of the year. It would be very easy for someone to halt the whole project just by demanding further study, without ever publicly opposing it.

Not that any, say, car dealer or councilmember would actually try that, of course.

………

The NY Times profiles our Jewish Latino Moby-accompanying semi-hipster mayor; meanwhile, our own Times talks with LADOT bike czar Michelle Mowery, and apparently approves. City of LA department performance data goes online, including a rising rate of bike lane miles. The Times says the new and de-improved Spring Street bike lane is ready for a road test. Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman walks and thinks at Sunday’s CicLAvia; Boyonabike explains why he boycotted this one. Roaming historic Leimert Park by bike. West Hollywood is about to get a new robot garage; disappointingly, it’s not actually for parking robots. Pasadena man rides to raise funds for a chemical dependency treatment program like the one that saved his life. The inaugural Rose Bowl Legacy Cycling Challenge scheduled for later this month has been cancelled until next year. Bike to the Pomona Pumpkin Festival on the 20th. A new petition calls on El Monte to approve the city’s first bike lane. Funny how frequently opponents can look at bike lanes and fail to see anyone use them, even in bike friendly Long Beach. Will we ever see the promised Bike Nation bike share programs in LA and Long Beach, and should we wait on them? CLR Effect offers more typically great photos from the 2013 Velocity Cross.

Governor Brown has signed AB 417, which will streamline the environmental process for urban bike plans, so they don’t get held hostage by absurd claims that bike lanes will cause pollution. Ride the 2014 Amgen Tour of California route before the pros. I’d love to know what OC Register readers have to say about cyclists and the recently passed three-foot law, but you know, draconian paywall and stuff. An eight-year old Corona boy is released from the hospital three weeks after he was attacked by dogs while riding his bike. Bike SD says without an implementation strategy, the city’s Bike Master Plan is just a wish list. Seven-year old Solano Beach boy finishes third in BMX Nationals. Registration opens for next month’s Tour de (Camp) Pendleton. A driver is sentenced to 11 years and eight months in prison for the DUI death of a Morro Bay cyclist last month thanks to previous convictions for DUI, reckless driving and hit-and-run; she was still drunk from the night before at the time of the 11 am collision, even after going for a run. No bias here, as the local press reports a helmetless Pacific Grove cyclist slammed into the back of a stopped car, but fails to consider whether the driver may have stopped short or cut her off. A Sacramento bike rider is killed when she’s rear-ended by a bus pulling up to a stop. San Francisco cyclists complain about well-documented anti-bike police bias; the question is, was anyone listening?

About time, as the NAACP declares walkability a civil rights issue. A drop in driving rates — especially among young people — is causing car builders to rethink their business model. Not surprisingly, bike friendly mayors often result in bike friendly cities; one hundred days into his administration, it remains to be seen just how bike friendly our new mayor is. Hundreds pause in Boulder CO to remember fallen pro cyclist Amy Dumbroski. Chicago business owner refuses to move to any city without protected bike lanes. One in four Ohio bike collisions ends in hit-and-run. More New Yorkers are killed in motor vehicle collisions than by guns; not that the NYPD seems to give a damn. Leading New York mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio switches from opponent to supporter of protected bike lanes, but won’t bike to work if elected. New York jurists consider whether a driver can be too drunk to be responsible for his or her actions. Lindsey Lohan rides bikes with her mom; no word on whether they rode drunk or crashed into anyone. Because a driver wasn’t willing to wait 15 seconds for a bike rider to cross a bridge, a Maryland family no longer has a mother. Charleston SC officials want to encourage bike riding while reining in all that cluttered bike parking. Georgia’s absurdly anti-bike legislation is pulled by its authors, who don’t understand the negative reaction.

Mass retirements hit the pro peloton. Bolivia’s fourth largest city could require residents to ride once a week; thanks to Cyclelicious for the link. Breathtaking Ai Weiwei bike art installation opens in Toronto. Your next really heavy helmet could be made of flax. Evidently, Cambridge’s new cycle-safe junction design isn’t as two cyclists collide head-on. Biking the back roads of Southern England. Next year’s Giro will pay tribute to the late, great Marco Pantani. The Jerusalem Post looks at “righteous Christian Italian cycling great” Gino Bartali, who risked his life to save Jews during WWII; I look forward to the Catholic church giving him the respect he deserves. Dubai prosecutors want to increase the one-month sentence given the killer of triathlete Roy Nasr. Cape Town’s new cycle track is used primarily for motorbike parking and smoke breaks. Australia’s new Prime Minister defends making the country pick up the tab for his bike rides. An Aussie cyclist is arrested for riding at nearly four times the legal alcohol limit at 11:30 am, still drunk — and surprisingly not dead — from the night before.

Finally, every thief now has an alibi, as a California appellate court inexplicably rules that it’s not stealing if you plan to return a cell phone — or a bike — when you’re done with it. And here’s the perfect bike to borrow for all you temporary bike rustlers out there.

FYI, if you see an ad on this or any other post on here, the money is going to WordPress for hosting this blog, not me.


Another day, another successful CicLAvia

October 7, 2013
You know it's CicLAvia when the bike sculptures come out.

You know it’s CicLAvia when the bike sculptures come out.

Maybe it was the extended hours, from 9 am to 4 pm, instead of 10 to 3.

Or maybe it was the scorching sun that made it too hot to get too worked up, and may have kept some people home for the day.

Either way, several people I talked with said this seemed to be the most relaxed CicLAvia so far.

The eighth version returned to its semi-traditional Downtown roots, and routes. Even though Downtown itself had changed, with the addition of Grand Park and the subtraction of the green bike lanes on Spring Street.

Or when the bikes parked in front of a pub take up a full block.

Or when the bikes parked in front of a pub take up a full block.

Everyone appeared to be in good spirits and ambulances seemed to be few and far between.

Although I took the afternoon shift, arriving at MacArthur Park a little after noon, so I missed anything that might have transpired prior to that.

For once, the semi-official 150,000 estimate seemed reasonably accurate; the streets I rode were nowhere near as crowded as they had been on previous events, making it more pleasant and safer for everyone involved.

On the other hand, it was heartbreaking to see the Spring Street green lane in its present state.

It was heartbreaking to see the Spring Street green lane in its present state.

Some credit for that may go to Metrolink, which evidently failed to adequately plan for a major event scheduled months in advance.

And I saw far more walkers and skaters, and less spandex, than on any previous CicLAvia. Which is a good thing, suggesting it’s moving beyond the hardcore riding crowd.

If I were to offer any constructive criticism, it would be that it’s time to stop routing riders through industrial areas with blocks of closed businesses. The South LA leg saw a fraction of the riders along the other routes, at least while I was there.

Which is not to say CicLAvia shouldn’t visit South LA. But can’t we find a more interesting way to get there, like the previous route down Figueroa?

Especially on hot days, effort has to be made to make inexpensive refreshments more easily available. I spent much of my parched ride looking for a convenient cold drink without having to stop and lock up my bike; one of the highlights was finally finding an ice cold horchata in Mariachi Plaza.

SAMSUNG

Bikes can dance, too.

And thanks to the Coke plant on Central, which placed a bucket of iced soda in the middle of the street so riders could help themselves.

Word is that next year could see four events, including another CicLAvia to the Sea — by far, the most popular event so far, at least in terms of attendance if not complaints — and a return to Wilshire Blvd, with a first foray into the Valley in December.

CicLAvia is maturing into a regular event.

In doing so, it’s losing that unique sense of wonder the first few events enjoyed, as we were all in awe the opportunity to experience an LA free from motor vehicles, and discover what the streets could be.

The view west from Mariachi Plaza.

The view west from Mariachi Plaza.

And far from what anyone could have predicted when is founders first brought the idea to the LACBC for help in getting started.

Instead, it’s becoming part of the fabric of our city. While still a revelation to those experiencing it for the first time.

But sadly, it’s only a respite, and only for a few hours.

At four pm, the barricades come down.

And the streets once again became unfriendly territory for anyone on less than four wheels.

………

A few video images from Sunday’s CicLAvia.

This is what your Spring Street green bike lane will eventually look like, even though the city broke its promise to finish it in time for CicLAvia.

Maybe it’s just me. But I loved watching this kid on his bike.

And finally, this was may favorite part of this year’s CicLAvia, as DanceLAvia took to the streets between traffic cycles with a bike-powered soundtrack.


It’s the weekend, and all links must go — CicLAvia, Spring Street and David Whiting, just to name a few

October 5, 2013
Experts say I need more photos on here. So here's a kitty sleeping in a donation bowl.

Experts say I need more photos on here. So here’s a kitty sleeping in a tip jar.

It’s been one of those weeks.

Which means a long list of bike news and links have been piling up.

And it’s the weekend, so everything must go.

Besides, it could take you until Sunday’s CicLAvia just to get through all of this.

………

You are going to be at CicLAvia this Sunday.

Right?

KPCC suggests where to go and what to do there, while Streetsblog’s Damien Newton says treat it like your first one and just go out and have fun. The Militant Angeleno offers yet another of his incredibly fascinating guides to sites along the route; seriously, download this to your smartphone and follow it along the way.

You can even have fun at CicLAvia without a bike, including dancing in the street for six hours straight.

But you might want to visit the Chinatown section first, just in case.

………

Photo of no-longer green Spring Street bike lane shamelessly stolen from Niall Huffman

Here’s one of a no-longer green Spring Street bike lane, shamelessly stolen from Niall Huffman

Meanwhile, Newton is frustrated over how long it’s taking to fix the no longer existent Spring Street bike lane along the Downtown leg of the route. LADOT promises it will be finished by Sunday’s CicLAvia; the Times says work is underway to change it from bright to dark.

And Flying Pigeon’s Josef Bray-Ali lays the blame for the whole fiasco at new Mayor Eric Garcetti’s feet.

Then there’s this comment from a rider who went through the unfinished work Friday morning.

I could cry.

So far, Spring’s got its green back… from Aliso Street to half-past Second Street. The FHWA standard “New York” Green hue leans toward blue, so I’m wondering about nighttime visibility. Even where the “green lanes” are in, the buffers aren’t painted down yet. The “cyclist” graphic that’s supposed to be centered in the lane at the approach to intersections isn’t in yet either. Discouragingly, for a stretch, the patched-over recent street work has left an unpleasant, visible lip into the bike lane. Some of the solid green areas had what looked like giant smudges, but a closer squint makes it clear that these areas only got a single slapdash layer of paint.

I wanted to kick over the stupid mocking “ROAD CLOSED SUNDAY” CicLAvia sign.

Heartbreakingly, in a few teeny spots, some of the former green peeks through like a feeble, grizzled old veteran trying desperately to hold onto glory and dignity. And failing.

………

The same rider, who prefers to remain anonymous, forwards news that I was quoted in the OC Register recently.

My coworker saved me yesterday’s paper, which includes an article by David Whiting about the new 3-foot passing law.

A brief excerpt:

Ted Rogers has a prominent voice about bicycle safety through his blog, BikingInLA.com. Despite his and other L.A. bloggers’ professed ability to figure me out because I criticize drivers and cyclists for dumb behavior, Rogers makes excellent points about weaknesses in the 3-feet law. 

“The problem is,” Rogers says, “unless a driver actually does make contact with a cyclist, the law is virtually enforceable.

“The bill includes a provision allowing drivers to pass at less than 3 feet if they slow down and pass only when it won’t endanger a cyclist’s safety. In other words, the same sort of vague, virtually unenforceable standard we have now.”

The article also references a guy who began advocate when a boy on a bike was hit in his Garden Grove neighborhood. Since Westminster is the neighboring city, my coworker and I both wondered if the boy was A.J. Brumbeck (this coworker’s brother’s neighbor’s kid), but I snooped a little and he’s not.

The giant photo that accompanied the article was of a single-file herd of MAMILs on Santiago Road. I wish the damn editor had chosen to go with a pic of anyother type of OC cyclist, maybe una pareja de invisibles riding in the gutter in Santa Ana, or a high school kid navigating her way to school on South County’s speedways, or even a beach cruiser with a wet-suited rider & a loaded surfboard rack flying down the bike lane on Golden West. Pictures are powerful, and casual readers aren’t even going to reach Whiting’s “Lance Armstrong wannabes” quote in the second column. Not to mention, Whiting says right there, “the dead aren’t just faceless road riders,” but that huge picture’s failure to show the riders’ faces knocks a big chunk of humanity out of the equation.

Editorial criticisms aside, the article itself is even, fair, and reasonable…. and hey, it quotes you!

Ride safe out there!

I’m linking back to the original column, but you know, draconian paywall and stuff.

Note to David Whiting: Thanks for the kind words, David, didn’t know you were reading. It’s not that I think I’ve got you figured out; I suspect you care about bike safety every bit as much as I do. We just disagree sometimes about who’s responsible and how to go about it.

Now, if you could just do something about that damn paywall, I’d love to get back to reading your column on a regular basis.

………

A carwash memorial will be held on Saturday in honor of Luis “Andy” Garcia, killed by a second car last month after being knocked off his bike by a hit-and-run driver.

………

LAPD is looking for the hit-and-run driver who critically injured a bike rider in Hollywood on August 6th.

Yes, August 6th.

Maybe it’s just me, but wouldn’t they have a better chance of catching the jerk if they got the word out just a little quicker?

………

Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious crunches the numbers and finds San Diego’s planned bike spending is half of what’s planned for the LA area.

………

Governor Jerry Brown approves a new law allowing undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses.

Regardless of what you might think about immigration issues, the new law means that there’s a much better chance the next driver who hits you might actually have insurance.

And might actually stick around afterwards.

……..

A petition calls on Caltrans to stop chip sealing routes where bicyclists ride; then again, they should assume cyclists will ride everywhere and stop chip sealing, period. Like we didn’t know this already; LA has the worst road conditions in the country. LA Times writer Nicholas Goldberg considers my suggestion that cyclists should be exempt from stop signs, and concludes, maybe not. A handful of readers respond to the Times’ Opinion page series on cycling, but why doesn’t the press ever refute the myth that we don’t pay for the roads we ride? The fate of the My Figueroa project could hinge on a hearing before the city council Transportation Committee next Wednesday. Richard Risemberg asks if LA is destroying the Glendale/Hyperion bridge in order to save it. A new DTLA development will have more bike parking than car spaces. SaMo students will participate in Bike It! Walk It! Week next week. Malibu letter writer says no to a PCH bike lane because cyclists are the spawn of Satan, more or less. An armed, off-duty Glendale PI stops a bike thief. Torrance bike thieves caught on camera. Turns out I’m not the only one to have a bee encounter, as Michael of CLR Effect feels a pinch between cheek and gum. SoCal’s Original Night Stalker was a bike rider; not to be confused with the other psycho who followed.

California’s new CEQA reform could mark the beginning of the end for auto-centric Level of Service requirements. Corona del Mar will invest in 50 new bike racks. San Diego hosts a ride to honor late local cycling legend Gordy Shields on October 25th. A cross-country cyclist has his bike stolen in San Diego. San Diego mayoral candidate rides for better bike safety, while a letter writer is critical of Critical Mass. Torrey Pines State Beach officials ban bicyclists from riding downhill; whether that’s legal depends on whether it’s considered a public or private road. Santa Barbara gets its own Open Streets — ie, ciclovia — event in November. In the wake of their non-investigation of a recent bicycling fatality, the SFPD is trying to improve relations with bicyclists, which evidently needs improving. Two-thirds of fatal SF bike and pedestrian collisions don’t result in charges. San Francisco cyclists are getting traffic signals timed so bikes get greens. Yes, it’s legal to ride a bike with your dog on a leash, but may not be smart. No bias here, as a Sacramento cyclist is fatally right hooked by a big rig truck, yet the press blames the victim for crashing into it. A Sonoma paper writes about the new three-foot law, but doesn’t seem to realize the 15 mph clause isn’t in this year’s bill.

Twenty years later, the gas tax is still stuck at 18.4 cents a gallon, which is just one reason our highways are crumbling. Smart infographic offering myths about women and cycling; on the other hand, here’s another reason women don’t ride, as femme bikes become the new push-up bra. Turns out protected bike lanes don’t have to be ugly. A Portland writer says if you get yourself killed by riding recklessly, the driver who hit you is going to feel really bad about it. A Oregon bike rider stabs the road raging driver who came after him; no word on whether he feels bad about it. One more reason not to get run down by motorists in Montana, where it just became legal to eat roadkill. At least we only have to deal with angry drivers; a Wyoming cyclist fends off a stalking cougar with bear spray. Very cool exhibit of bike photos in Denver gallery; if you’re trying to figure out what to get me for Christmas, I want the third one. Cyclists are packing guns in Houston. Do whiskey shots, run down a San Antonio cyclist and get six years in prison. St. Louis could get 100 miles of better bikeways. Michigan rider says its not if, but when you’ll kill a cyclist if you keep driving like that. A Minnesota writer questions whether bike lanes are enough. Tampa Bay pitcher David Price rides a bike share bike to Fenway Park. Goldie Hawn rides a bike in New York. The New York cabbie who took the leg of a British tourist after a road rage dispute with a cyclist is back on the streets without even a slap on the wrist. Biking across the Hudson River without benefit of a bridge. The federal government shutdown may be behind a jump in DC bike share use — including the shirtless Kiwi who followed Thursday’s fatal police pursuit. Severe bicycling injuries are up for the third year in a row at an Alabama Children’s hospital. After a Miami driver backs his SUV over a cyclist, the police do everything but pat him on the back and hang a medal around his neck.

Bike prices may fall north of the border as Canada considers scrapping an anti-dumping duty on imported bikes. A writer argues against use of the term cyclist, which I employ on a regular basis along with every other term I can think of for someone on a bike. Cyclists — there’s that word again — can commit fatal hit-and-runs, too, as a Canadian rider pleads guilty to killing a grandmother and fleeing the scene. Deliberately assault a group of Brit cyclists with your car, and walk away with no jail time. A UK cancer specialist is acquitted of killing a bike rider, despite driving on the wrong side of the road. The sister of a woman killed by a truck in London blames the victim, calling for testing of all cyclists. What happens when you buy a £137.90 — $222.89 — bike. Brit bike thief is cornered by basketball team. This is why you never go around train barricades, as a British woman is caught on video barely avoiding being crushed by a train. Wales votes to build a comprehensive network of bikeways connecting communities. The Giro could be in trouble, with up to $11 million missing from the race’s books. Call it a private bike share program — buy a $16 cup of Czech coffee, and get a free loaner bike. Sri Lankan paper says a cyclist wasn’t killed by a train, he was killed by stupidity. Despite fears, an Aussie bike lane over a bridge adds less than one minute to drivers’ commutes. A decent examination of Down Under bike rage. Road raging Kiwi driver chases down, then repeatedly attempts to run over a bike rider as he hides on the sidewalk.

Finally, when you get drunk and steal a bike, it may not be the wisest move to make your getaway by riding it down a flight of stairs. When you’re carrying pot and already wanted for violating probation, maybe riding without a light isn’t the best idea. And don’t throw your bike shoe at your wife.

Just don’t.


Just another ride on the Westside, and the Department of DIY finds a way on the LA River

October 2, 2013

Please forgive yesterday’s radio silence.

I try to post something every day, or weekday, anyway; even bike bloggers need a little time off. But sometimes the demands of daily life get in the way.

And sometimes, I just need to get in a good ride on a perfect fall LA day. Good ride being a relative term, if Westside drivers have any say in the matter.

Then there’s the problem of the day’s designated Preventer of Productivity climbing up unbidden for an extended round of petting, ear scratching and belly rubs, forming an impermeable barrier between my laptop and lap.

Fortunately, I’ve learned to edit video one handed.

Sienna on lap

Then there’s another project that’s been occupying most of my time lately, which I hope to share with you in the coming weeks as progress allows.

Stay tuned.

……….

Meanwhile, Patrick Pascal sends word that the Department of DIY has been hard at work on wayfinding signage on the LA River bike path near the southern end of the Frogtown section, which he describes as “both professional and also informative, useful and long overdue.”

Word is that the city is working on a half million dollar wayfinding system of their own, which will cover bikeways across the city.

But whether they can do a better job than the person or persons who took it upon themselves to craft these particularly well-done on-path street signs remains to be seen.

la river path denbyA well-deserved tip of the hat, whoever you are.


LA Times confesses to being pro bike, possible Caltrans chip seal solution, and news of the Worlds

September 30, 2013

The LA Times launches their examination of biking in the City of Angels in the Opinion pages with a trio of editorials.

The main one manages to raise a lot of questions, both from a bike rider’s perspective and from those who love to hate us, while confessing to a pro-bike bias. Hopefully, they’ll answer at least some of those questions as the series moves forward.

Meanwhile, a cyclist questions just what the rules of the road are, as training for bike riders remains virtually non-existent.

No, seriously.

I got an email recently from a rider who was surprised to learn that cyclists have to stop at stop signs, even when there’s no one else around. Except for the cop who wrote him up for it, that is.

Because no one ever told him he had to.

Clearly, we have a long way to go in educating cyclists when something that seems so obvious isn’t. Although this is a good place to start.

And a foot commuter says it’s not just about bikes versus cars, but rather, a broader discussion about public space and decision making.

Clearly, they get it. Although there’s no guarantee that they’ll get everything right, or that we will agree with everything they have to say.

But one day and three opinion pieces in, the series already feels far more honest than the Los Angeles News Groups’ much — and deservedly — maligned bike-baiting Summer of Cycling Series.

Besides, one of the writers had the infinite good taste to link back to me.

So seriously, how bad could it be?

………

Caltrans develops a possible solution to the disastrous chip sealing of the coast highway north of Cambria. Now maybe they can try the same approach on Angeles Crest Highway and Mt. Baldy, where the same anti-bike road treatment was applied, to exactly the same reception.

Thanks to Stephen Villavaso for the link.

………

After the big names bail due to heavy rain, Rui Costa edges Rodriguez to win the Worlds. While he didn’t win, at least it was educational for Peter Sagan, while Russian learned the hard way to lock their bikes better.

And as usual, Marianne Vos is unbeatable on the women’s side, though American Evelyn Stevens gave it her best shot.

Meanwhile, bike racing’s new head honcho promises a new era — with the help of a certain disgraced cyclist.

……..

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton calls the new plans for a high-speed Hyperion-Glendale bridge project a looming disaster; as far as I’m concerned, a 1970’s style 55 mph mini-highway in the heart of the city is dead in the water. A new gateway greets visitors to the LA River Bike Path. New buffered bike lanes besmirch Colorado Blvd in Northeast LA. The Eastside access project continues to move forward. The ArtNight Pasadena Bike Ride rolls on Friday, October 11th. CICLE leads a ride to the CalPoly Pumpkin Patch on Sunday, October 20th; whether the patch is sincere enough remains to be seen.

Good news for CA cyclists, as bikes get a 30% boost in the state budget. A Riverside hit-and-run leaves a cyclist in critical condition; 32-year old Alvin Lennon Johnson of Riverside was arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run. UC Riverside wants to curb reckless bike riders. Bike count volunteers are needed in Newport Beach. A San Diego writer says he intends to keep crossing the centerline to pass bike riders regardless of what our esteemed governor thinks; may I be the first to say thank you. Fresno is tearing out one of the nation’s first pedestrian malls. A new Kickstarter project promises to block wind noise from your helmet straps. A Chico letter writer says bike riders have to obey the same laws drivers and pedestrians don’t obey. A San Francisco cyclist pedals across the Bay; no, not on a bridge.

Now there’s a Blue Book to set prices for used bikes. A potential partner who doesn’t ride a bike doesn’t have to be an impediment to love. How to avoid being the victim of a right hook. Security video captures a Michigan bike rider repeatedly robbed after being knocked unconscious. For once, police are taking the deaths of bike riders seriously, as a third arrest has been made in the DUI death of two New Hampshire cyclists. A thug bashes a Boston bike rider while pretending to be a cop and runs off with her bike. The Department of DIY opens an NYC bureau. Bike Snob is bummed out because yet another child has been killed in New York and the police don’t care. The Wall Street Journal says bike share is blossoming in Gotham, despite the rantings of the paper’s Wicked Witch. A Delaware driver loses control and kills a passenger in his car, so naturally, it’s the bike rider’s fault. North Carolina names a trailhead after the Bicycle Man, who gave refurbished bikes to kids every Christmas.

A Toronto cyclist is chastised by the city’s police chief after she taps his SUV when it repeatedly drifts into the bike lane, nearly hitting her. Bookmark this one, as the London Times explains why non-bike riders should support increased spending for bicycling. Remarkably, two Brit bike riders survive a 70 mph crash with just relatively minor injuries. Police apologize after a law breaking British cop stops a bike-cam wearing rider who didn’t; break the law, that is. Nothing is more exhausting, and few things more enjoyable, than biking with kids. Scot cycling legend Graeme Obree retires after failing to set the land speed record he was after. Alpha Romeo is the latest high-end automaker to roll out a high-end concept bike; no offense, but I’m not impressed with overpriced vanity projects. Bikes are making a comeback in Nigeria. Champion Australian cyclist Alex Simmons gets a $1 million settlement after losing a leg when caretakers neglected to open a gate on a cycling route. Aussie cyclist credits $30 helmet with saving her life. Brit expat works to make Hong Kong a better place to ride a bike.

Finally, a Saudi cleric says driving a car could cause irreversible damage to women’s ovaries; just another reason to ride a bike. Except women aren’t allowed to do that there, either, except in parks and accompanied by a male relative.


Designed to kill — LA throws out Complete Streets to plan high-speed Hyperion Bridge complex

September 27, 2013

Call it a big step backward for livability — and survivability — on LA streets.

Despite a state Complete Streets policy to accommodate all road users, plans to rehabilitate the Hyperion-Glendale bridge complex currently calls for a high-speed viaduct focused strictly on moving motor vehicles as quickly as possible, at the expense of all other road users.

Bike lanes included in the current bike plan have been left out. As have safely usable sidewalks. And apparently common sense, as the plans reflect a big step backward to the failed policies of the past, similar to the killer roadways currently found in Orange County and San Diego.

Not exactly what you’d expect from our new progressive mayor, who seemed to get it when completing a questionnaire for the LACBC prior to this year’s election. Or new bike-friendly City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, who replaced Garcetti in CD13.

On the other hand, it’s exactly what we might expect from Councilmember Tom LaBonge, who professes his support for bicycling while opposing bike lanes on Lankershim Blvd, and was the driving force behind the removal of the green bike lane on Spring Street in Downtown LA.

With friends like that, we don’t need enemies.

I’ll let the latest Action Alert from the LACBC take it from here.

The LA Bureau of Engineering (BOE) and Caltrans are currently studying rehabilitating the Hyperion-Glendale complex of bridges over the 5 Freeway and LA River connecting Silver Lake to Atwater Village. Despite being designated for bike lanes in the 2010 Bicycle Plan, the proposed project does not include these planned lanes. Why? LACBC and LA Walks (and many of you) attended a community workshop last night to find out.

What we discovered is plain old car-centric engineering from start to finish. Caltrans and BOE are designing Hyperion Ave. to freeway standards with a design speed of 55 miles per hour. Based on that design speed, they are pursuing a median crash barrier, banked turns, and supersized car lanes. Those decisions leave no room for bike lanes and just a narrow sidewalk on only one side of the street.  Simply designing the street to normal city street standards would leave enough room for everyone.

Your voice is needed to make Hyperion Ave. safe for all. Tell Caltrans and BOE that freeway speeds have no place on city streets and that walking and biking are just as important as moving traffic. Comments can be emailed to Tami Podesta by October 11th at Tami.Podesta@dot.ca.gov. Please cc: tom.labonge@lacity.org, councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org, and mayor.garcetti@lacity.org.

To: Tami.Podesta@dot.ca.gov
cc: tom.labonge@lacity.org, councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org, mayor.garcetti@lacity.org
bcc: info@la-bike.org

Subject: No Hyperion Freeway – Build a Safe Viaduct for All

As someone who bikes or walks between Silver Lake and Atwater Village, it is absolutely critical that Hyperion Ave. be made safe for people like me. Everyone’s needs can be met if the project is designed for appropriate speeds through an urban community. Specifically, I would like the project to include:

  • Bike lanes on Hyperion Ave.
  • Wider sidewalks and well-marked crosswalks with wayfinding signs
  • Narrower traffic lanes to provide more space for bicyclists and pedestrians and discourage speeding
  • No crash barrier and banked turns that will make people drive even faster
  • A complete crosswalk on the Atwater end of the viaduct to let people access the sidewalk from both sides of Glendale Blvd. and give bicyclists an alternative through the dangerous merge

There is no reason for this project to not be consistent with the bike plan and Caltrans complete streets policy. The viaduct is currently the greatest barrier to safe bicycle access across the 5 Freeway and the LA River. This project can change that and make all travelers benefit.

Sincerely,

your name
your address

………

A new petition calls on Caltrans to stop chip sealing popular cycling routes, following the disastrous resurfacing of Angeles Crest Highway and Mt. Baldy Road.

The surfacing treatment, which combines a layer of asphalt over gravel or other aggregate material, results in a rough roadway that is, at best, unpleasant to ride. And at worst can create dangerous conditions that make it difficult to maintain control of a bike.

Considering the outcry from bike riders when Caltrans chip sealed PCH north of Cambria earlier this year, it’s nearly incomprehensible that they would use the same technique on some of Southern California’s most popular riding routes.

Which begs the question — is Caltrans merely incompetent and tone-deaf to the needs of cyclists, or is the agency actively trying to discourage riding on these roadways?

………

Santa Monica sends a shot over the bow of LA’s long-delayed Bike Nation bike share program, as they vote to move forward with their own plan, in what the city hopes will grow to be a regional program developed in conjunction with Metro.

……..

Times readers weigh in on the new three-foot law, as the writer gently corrects a negative commenter. West LA’s Martin Cadillac could become a bike-friendly mixed-use housing, office and retail development; an apparently less bike-friendly car dealer in DTLA says he’s not trying to kill the MyFigueroa project. The aforementioned CMs LaBonge and O’Farrell belatedly celebrate the city’s first Bicycle Friendly Street. Celebrate the new and improved Colorado Boulevard this Sunday. Malibu gets a $900,000 Caltrans grant to improve the existing bike route on PCH through the west side of town. Boyonabike looks at how Monrovia could become more bike friendly in advance of the coming Gold Line station. Old Pasadena gets bike racks.

The Orange County Register finally drops its draconian paywall, but only to complain about Long Beach bike riders. Homebuyers along OC’s new Great Park will get a new bright orange bike. A San Diego driver says he’s going to keep crossing over the centerline to pass bike riders safely, regardless of whether permission to do that was removed from the new three-foot passing law; thank you. Somehow, Modesto police don’t know which way a bus was travelling, but know a cyclist rode in front of it. A 17-year old Redding-area driver is under arrest for the hit-and-run death of a 61-year old bike rider. A 19-year old man is under arrest for the hit-and-run death of a Chico cyclist, as well as possession of marijuana for sale — the day he was supposed to get off probation for a previous drug conviction.

Forbes says bicycling is badly in need of good PR, as London’s formerly bike-friendly Daily Telegraph cries out against the false god of cycling. Forbes also presents 10 cities where bicycles rule the streets; I think riders in many of those cities might disagree. Are America’s planners making Americans fat? A good looking new video from Adventure Cycling highlight’s the US Bicycle Route System — and inadvertently, bicycling’s white problem. While LA’s city leaders are busy ripping them out, Las Vegas installs new green bike lanes downtown. Nevada cyclists can now run red lights that fail to detect their presence. Instead of telling cyclists where not to park, why not install enough bike racks for everyone? A second person has been arrested in the death of two New Hampshire cyclists last weekend; the suspect allegedly provided drugs and a car to the unlicensed driver who killed them. Bikeyface says you too could ride to work on a cloud, even if you’re not athletic. New York’s Daily News rides a bike share bike with the city’s Republican candidate for mayor. A New York cabbie is really sorry and has trouble sleeping after he severed the leg of a British tourist following a dispute with a bicyclist; imagine how his victim must feel. Arlington VA cyclists get a new bike repair vending machine. Georgia considers a slate of anti-bike legislation.

A cyclist is critical of Vancouver’s GranFondo after suffering life-changing injuries when he hit a storm grate. A UK cyclist is dead because a race track failed to let drivers know there was a bike path on their property. A Brit couple time their wedding photos to include the Tour of Britain. British bike scribe Carlton Reid attempts to defend bike riding before a hostile TV audience. The successful Paris Velib bike share system may shrink because people won’t stop stealing their bikes. Bike racing’s governing body could have a new president Friday. Garmin-Sharp rider Peter Stetina prepares to compete at the world championships, despite his father’s recent near-fatal fall and flooding at the family’s Boulder CO home.

Finally, when you call the police to report a 5’9″, 90-pound man broke into your trailer, knocked you over the head and stole your bike, maybe you shouldn’t mention he stole your meth, too.


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