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.


A successful Wilshire CicLAvia, Give Me 3 moves forward, and who knew drivers run stops signs, too?

June 25, 2013
The view from the Downtown hub

The view from the Downtown hub

Just a few quick thoughts on Sunday’s CicLAvia.

After all, there’s been more than enough written on the subject to make a review by yours truly truly irrelevant.

But let me offer my congratulations to the folks at CicLAvia for pulling off the most successful event yet.

Maybe it was the extended 9 am to 4 pm hours, allowing people to travel the route more leisurely.

It could have been using both sides of a wide boulevard, unlike the recent CicLAvia to the Sea, allowing more space to move. And the limited traffic crossings certainly didn’t hurt, making it possible for even the slowest riders to cover the entire route in an hour or so of actual pedaling.

Meanwhile, the shorter distance encouraged more walking, making this the first one where I’ve seen a significant amount of pedestrians along the entire route.

Evidently, bikes are good for business

Evidently, bikes are good for business

It might have been the iconic theme for an iconic boulevard. Along with the many entertainment and educational options along the route; the woman singing traditional Korean songs in not so traditional Koreatown was a highlight for me.

Call it Gangnam-style from a handful of centuries back.

Then there was the food of every possible description, dispensed from everything from trucks and restaurants to church groups and kids hawking cookies and lemonade.

It could have been the abundance of portapotties, reducing bladder pressure and putting everyone in better mood.

Or maybe it was all of the above, in what felt like the best planned and organized CicLAvia yet. Clearly, organizers have looked at what didn’t work in previous events and made some changes for the better.

I'll believe a car-free Wilshire when I see  unicorn on it

I’ll believe a car-free Wilshire when I see unicorns

One minor criticism is that participants universally ignored signs suggesting slower people should keep to the right, resulting in conflict zones throughout the full length of Wilshire. Which may have been why I saw three riders fall, resulting, thankfully, in relatively minor injuries.

The worst was a woman who lay in the street grabbing her collarbone, causing me to ride a few blocks back to an aid station get medical help.

The others suffered scrapes and road rash, and declined medical help.

Note to everyone: If you have the option for free medical help in an event like this, take advantage of it. Prompt first aid can prevent worse problems later, and the need for avoid more expensive medical attention if further injuries become apparent the next day, as often happens.

A friend writes that she witnessed a bike-bourn hit-and-run, in which a couple on a tandem rode off after knocking down another rider. Witnesses were unable to stop the bike before it disappeared into the crowd, leaving the victim sprawled bloody on the street.

Me taking a picture from Downtown hub; photo by Maraget Wehbi

Me taking a picture from Downtown hub; photo by Maraget Wehbi

Then there’s the schmuck — and I use the term advisedly — who apparently was unwilling to make his way to one of the four crossing points, and gunned his late model Toyota through the barricades at Windsor Ave and across the CicLAvia route, where he hit a cyclist before fleeing the scene.

Fortunately, the rider wasn’t seriously hurt, though badly shaken. (Update: The rider has three fracture vertebrae as well as a mangled bike; having suffered the same injury a few decades back, he likely faces a long road to recovery and a lifetime of back pain.)

Unfortunately, the limited description means the driver will probably get away with it.

But on the off chance they find him, I hope they take away his license. And shove it so far up his ass he’ll need to see a proctologist to buy his next six pack of beer.

………

Congratulations to Wolfpack Hustle on pulling off what I’m told was a very successful and popular first-ever Civic Center Criterium on Sunday.

………

California’s latest attempt at passing a three-foot passing law is now before the Senate Standing Committee on Transportation and Housing after overwhelmingly passing the state Assembly, just shy of a veto-proof two-thirds majority.

The bill’s sponsor, Inglewood Assemblymember Steven Bradford, has been very smart in answering the unreasonable objections Governor Jerry Brown gave in vetoing the last two attempts to pass a three-foot law.

There should be no rational reason for Brown to veto the law this time around. Although as we’ve seen, rationality isn’t exactly his strong point when it comes to bikes.

There are some strong supporters of bicycling on this committee, including West Valley Sen. Fran Pavley. But it couldn’t hurt to contact committee members to voice your support.

As we’ve seen with the previous attempts to pass this law, nothing is guaranteed in California politics.

………

After learning that the rate of cellphone violations are down in California, a writer from the Press-Enterprise conducts his own survey and finds 7.7% of drivers he observed at a Temecula intersection were texting or using handheld phones — slightly higher than state stats.

More interesting, however, was his secondary observation that two-thirds of the drivers failed to stop for the stop signs.

Based accusations from motorists, I would have sworn only bike riders do that.

Pot, meet kettle.

………

Speaking of anti-bike bias, so much for the L.A. Newspaper Group’s self-proclaimed Summer of Cycling being a good thing, as the owners of the Daily News, Daily Breeze, Press Telegram, et al, once again trot out the tired cliché of licensing cyclists and requiring insurance for bike riders.

As usually happens when the press chums for angry drivers, the results will inevitably skew towards requiring licensing for bike riders, if only because there are far more motorists than there are bicyclists. Never mind that this question reads like a classic push poll designed to draw a negative response.

So once again, for their benefit and that of anyone else unclear on the concept, like most bicyclists, I have a drivers license, which means we’ve already passed the same test as anyone else on the road — and probably have a better knowledge of traffic law than most, since we too frequently have to defend our right just to be on the road.

And despite what the papers suggest, my automotive insurance covers me for liability when I ride, as well as covering medical expenses resulting from a collision with an uninsured motorist or a solo fall.

Just like pretty much every American bike rider over the age of 16.

So get over it, already.

And before they claim to cover the subject, they need to reach out to the people and groups who are fighting for the rights of cyclists every day.

Not the angry drivers who don’t have a clue about the rights of cyclists, or how to ride a bike safely on the streets of Southern California.

………

Congratulations to our friends at LA Streetsblog, winners of two L.A. Press Club awards Sunday night.

Well deserved.

………

Former LADOT Bike Blogger and current Calbike board member Chris Kidd updates his comprehensive listing of state sidewalk riding laws, including percentages of where it’s legal in each county.

………

Looks like we’re all invited to the official inauguration ceremony for our new mayor this Sunday evening. LADOT ranks the 50 most dangerous intersections for pedestrians; something tells me they’re not much safer for anyone else. Beverly Hills begins work on the city’s first bike lanes; needless to say, they’re only being installed on a trial basis. A writer raises questions about plans to improve bicycling on Redondo Beach’s Harbor Drive. A SoCal cyclist sets a new national one-hour record at the Home Depot Center Velodrome in Carson. A Valencia woman faces charges for a hit-and-run that seriously injured a cyclist. San Diego prosecutors decide on misdemeanor charges for the driver responsible for killing cyclist Charles Gilbreth — despite recklessly passing a bus — and blame fallen cyclist David Ortiz, at least in part, for his own death.

Bikes Belong looks to reinvent itself. A smart new Maine bill redefines traffic to include bikes, bans right hooks and removes the restriction to ride to the right. NYPD is — finally — starting to take traffic fatalities seriously; thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up. A New York columnist offers his take on the city’s new bike share program; Gothamist says that all you got? A Virginia cyclist is hit by a stray bullet when a man can’t manage to load his gun without firing it. A Texas woman leaps off her bike at the last second to avoid getting run over by a cement truck. New Orleans gets bike lanes on iconic Esplanade Ave. One hundred nineteen years ago yesterday, a Jewish mother of three successfully set out from Boston to bike around the world.

A bike-hating Toronto writer changes his tune after just  two hours on two wheels. A Winnipeg writer offers a tongue-in-cheek look at six ways a cyclist with a death wish can become a hood ornament; decent advice, but somehow, not so funny. Bikes now make up as much as a quarter of London’s rush hour traffic. Tips for the bike curious. Even in the Netherlands, childhood bike riding is down as more parents drive their kids to school. A look back at 150 years of bicycling in Copenhagen. Evidently, you need nine lives to ride a bike.

Finally, I don’t even know what to say here, as a Swiss man sexually assaults a bicycle after puncturing both tires; presumably so it couldn’t get away, I guess. And if you’re carrying a sunglass case full of meth on your bike at 1 am, put a damn light on it, already.

The bike, that is, not the meth.


Lotsa links: Memorial rides, CicLAvia Sunday, the Summer of Cycling, and a VA bike rider says you suck

June 22, 2013

It’s been awhile since we’ve had a chance to catch up with the latest headlines.

So pop open a cold one, limber up your clicking finger and settle in for a little light reading. You’ve got to rest up for Sunday’s CicLAvia anyway, right?

………

A memorial ride will be held at 8 am Saturday in Coronado for San Diego bike racer Jackie Dunn, and a second ride will be held in Rancho Cucamonga. Now if someone will just organize rides for the other six riders who’ve lost their lives in Southern California in the past week or so.

Meanwhile, Michael Wagner of CLR Effect writes movingly about the effect Dunn’s death, and that of Chris Cono, have had on the local bike racing family.

………

KNBC-4 looks forward to Sunday’s Wilshire Blvd CicLAvia. LAist offers a guide to CicLAvia, which it calls the longest — in terms of hours, not distance — most walkable and event-filled; I prefer the jelly filled, myself. The Militant Angeleno offers his own great tour of CicLAvia sites, but  you can always settle for the official guide and/or podcast initiated by the Getty, whatever that means. One of those Wilshire Blvd sites is the famed Gaylord apartments, built by the boulevard’s socialist capitalist namesake. Take a bike train from the Tar Pits to the Wolfpack Crit. The Bikerowave will be closed for CicLAvia on Sunday.

And Forbes says CicLAvia is turning L.A. into a city of pedestrians.

As for me, I’ll be working the LACBC booth at the Downtown hub at One Wilshire from 10 am to noon on Sunday; stop by and say hi if you’re in the area.

………

The LA Daily News declares this the summer of cycling, but not necessarily in a good way. But what’s with this whole “bike lobby” crap that’s suddenly popping up everywhere since the wicked witch of Wall Street’s mad rant? Thanks to LACBC board member April Economides for the link.

………

It looks like West Hollywood is serious about updating its bicycle and pedestrian plan; the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition says things are moving forward.

Seriously, the WHBC is an amazing group of bike advocates working hard to make WeHo a safer and more ridable city; if you live or bike in the city, you owe it to yourself to join.

………

A bicyclist is looking for witnesses to a hit-and-run at Washington and Pacific in Venice this past Tuesday. Get a free peach if you bike valet today at the SaMo farmers market. If you’ve had a bike stolen in Santa Monica lately, the SMPD wants to get it back to you today. As Santa Monica police prepare to focus on ticketing bike riders, city officials focus on safety in the face of rising cycling rates; maybe they’re playing good cop, bad cop? The Times looks at outgoing city councilmember Bill Rosendahl; he’s been the role model for what an elected official should be. LACBC recounts the recent Climate Ride. LADOT welcomes two new assistant bike program coordinators. A new park opens along the L.A. River bike path. A new Watts bike co-op is put on hold until the owner gets back from his deployment in Afghanistan. In the wake of the collision that killed fallen bike rider Phillip O’Neill, Boyonabike examines the proposed Pasadena bike plan and finds it lacking. Santa Clarita is looking for artists to design new bike racks. Long Beach gets approval for separate bike and pedestrian paths on the beach.

San Diego will install sensors to lengthen red lights to give cyclists time to get across major intersections. Orange County’s cdmCyclist talks to two of my favorite people and bike advocates. A new Riverside bridge offers safe passage to bicyclists and pedestrians on the north side; on the south, not so much. Turns out bike lanes make things better for everyone; except Hollywood filmmakers, of course. SFist starts a — hopefully tongue-in-cheek — sidewalk riding offender registry. A Stockton rider is hit by a pickup, then beaten with baseball bats by the occupants. Watsonville wants to be the new Bike City USA. Now that’s a bad fall, as a Marin County man falls off a bike trail and lands butt first on a piece of rebar. When it comes to infrastructure, a little effective signage might help; personally, I want to post the last one facing against traffic all over L.A.

Elly Blue says the secret to riding in high heels is there is no secret. Lance wants the rest to the cycling world to come clean. A new record in the Race Across America (RAAM). The latest gear for bike cops. Seattle claims to have the world’s best naked bike ride. Skaters beat up a Seattle bike rider after making him fall. Bike to Work Day comes on Wednesday in my home town. A Colorado highway gets a $312 million upgrade, including a bike path. Kansas City Star says someone just needs to tell motorists bike lanes are a good thing. Minneapolis ridership is up, but crashes remain steady — there’s still room for improvement, though. Lady, if a Chicago bike rider travelling at world-class speed really ran right over your dog, he’d probably be dead — and so would the cyclist. A Maine bicyclist gets sucked under the wheels of a passing semi, and police fall over themselves to blame the victim. Leonardo DiCaprio and friend go riding in New York. Gothamist writes in defense of salmon cycling. AARP comes out strongly in support of a Federal Complete Streets bill. Businesses along a new bike trail in Greenville SC saw a 30-50% increase in sales. A Florida driver offers a bike rider $14 for a cab before fleeing the scene after running her down. Now that LeBron has a second ring, can the bike-riding NBA star fix the streets of Miami?

How to cycle up an impossibly high cliff to increase ridership. Guardian readers offer tips for touring France by bike. The New York Times complains Amsterdam suffers from too many bikes; nice problem to have. UK bike bloggers say the bike industry should spend less on press trips and more on advocacy. Bikes are making a comeback in traffic-clogged Bangladesh.

Finally, if you’re being attacked by buzzards, maybe you need to ride a little faster. A Virginia letter writer says I’m okay but you suck, as he draws an artificial distinction between bike riders like him and those damned cyclists. And if this reminder to get on your bike doesn’t make you smile, you may be beyond hope.

In the mad dash between various meetings, writing for Streetsblog and trying to keep up this site this week, I’m afraid I’ve lost track of who sent me what links this time.

So my apologies if I don’t give credit where it’s due for forwarding stories; trust me, I do appreciate it and I’ll try to do a better job next time.


Catching up on CicLAvia, bike lawyer Dj Wheels unmasked, and I meet one of my few bike heroes

April 24, 2013

People have been asking me what I plan to say about Sunday’s CicLAvia to the Sea.

At this point, not much.

As a result of the delay caused by this week’s breaking news, others have already offered the insights I was going to give, and in some cases, better than I would have done.

Like this one for instance, in which a USC professor pretty much took the words right out of my mouth.

No, go ahead and read it.

I’ll wait.

………

One of the highlights of any CicLAvia is running into friends along the way.

And this one certainly didn’t disappoint, offering a chance to catch up with former LACBC board member Chet Kostrzewa, who followed up with some insights that might never have occurred to me.

I wanted to pass on some of my own thoughts and observations I made, while teaching basic bike skills to a group of very young riders and watching the inspiring sight of upwards of 150,000 people enjoying taking the street for those few hours. CicLavia has very quickly grown to be an institution, an event to look forward to and count on as an antidote to the traffic fatigue that too many of us endure on a daily basis. As inspirational as CicLavia has become, however, what seems to me to be missing is an inherent motivator in the event that empowers people to see this as a game changer in their lives and not just a rare distraction from the routine on our streets. The sad reality is that starting the next morning and succeeding days until the following CicLavia, River Ride or other bike event, only a very small fraction of those bikes will be getting much new mileage on them.

There are probably as many good reasons to ride regularly and to ride often as there were bicyclists between downtown and Venice yesterday, here is a short list that came to my mind from talking to a variety of bicyclists yesterday:

  1. All the young riders I coached yesterday were, without exception, excited about riding their bikes and taking the challenge of trying out new skills. Unfortunately, without a broad based bicycle skills curriculum in our schools, such learning opportunities offer only a single snapshot in what should be a gradual and incremental development process. The challenge and opportunity here, would be for the parents of these beginning riders to take on the task of role model and long term coach, guiding their development over an extended period toward becoming fully street smart and confident cyclists. The game changer for these parents is to improve their own skills, such as through a confident cycling class, such as taught by League Certified Instructors (LCIs) from the League of American Bicyclists.
  2. While teaching beginning cyclists during CicLavia, I had the opportunity to talk to parents and other adults who stopped to comment and, in some cases, ask for tips to improve their own cycling experience. Many of these casual riders were on bikes that were clearly poorly maintained and which did not fit their riders. One woman I spent some time coaching started our conversation by complaining about how physically difficult the ride down Venice Blvd. was for her. It was quickly evident that her immediate problem was that she had no idea how to shift out of the highest gear on her bike. Her total exposure to cycling was to drag her rusting bike out for just one or two days a year and muscle her way through just a few miles in high gear, before calling it quits until the next CicLavia. With a basic tune up and brief lesson on how to use her bike, it would be a small step to an easy game changer. Instead of just dragging the bike out for those very rare occasions, find weekly opportunities to make a bike ride special. Maybe breakfast out on Sunday morning by bike, or a short daily ride as a stress busting habit right after the evening commute home.
  3. Use technology to facilitate riding and as a feedback tool to improve your riding and fitness level. A basic bike computer provides a wealth of data to measure your results, while providing a tool for setting new goals for improvement. Other technology makes it increasingly easy to insert a bicycle in place of a car in our daily routines. The bus bike racks and increasing number of bike lockers along key transport routes make it easy and economical to start to use a bike for part of all of a commute. Recent bike design technology, such as the highly engineered folding bikes Tern Bicycles was demonstrating at CicLavia make it possible to take your bike with you anywhere. This opens a whole new world of bicycling opportunities, whether as part of a daily routine, or an easy way to enhance a vacation getaway. The game changer here is to realize that technology makes the bicycling experience more flexible, convenient and economical in many scenarios than the typical paradigm of transport being limited to where your car can take you along with a just a few additional blocks you can conveniently walk once you get there.

CicLavia is a fantastic enabler to get rarely used bicycles out of garages and on the road. All most of us need is just a little help and a couple of mental and physical tools to experience a major paradigm shift to move the bicycle from a toy of last resort to become a key tool for enhancing our daily lives. Hopefully a few other of the 150,000 on Venice Blvd yesterday are having similar thoughts tonight and will be changing the urban roadscape in the days and weeks ahead.

………

Another friend I ran into along the way was someone most readers of this blog should know by now, at least by his bike de plume.

Dj Wheels has been a key contributor here for the past several years, offering legal updates and insights on many of the cases involving bicyclists.

It was Wheels who broke the news that Christine Dahab had pleaded guilty and was going to jail; in fact, he told me she started her 90 day evaluation behind bars on Monday.

And it was Wheels who reported from inside the courtroom in the trial of road raging L.A. bike boogeyman Dr. Christopher Thompson, enabling me to scoop the major media and break the news to the world when he was convicted.

So I’ve long been frustrated that I couldn’t tell you who he really is while a court case he was involved in dragged through the legal system. But Sunday, he let me know the case was finally finished.

And I was free, finally, to reveal his identity.

Granted, it may not be a big secret in some circles of the Los Angeles cycling community, where he has long been a popular member.

But for those who don’t know, allow me to introduce Daniel F. Jimenez, Esq.

Jimenez is one of the few lawyers I know who has made bike law his specialty, rather than just an area of practice. And unlike many lawyers, he doesn’t limit the cases he takes on to potentially high-payout liability lawsuits.

Yes, he takes the cases of injured cyclists on a contingency basis, just like most other lawyers. But he has also represented riders in everything from criminal cases to simple traffic violations, and even defended a rider who collided with a pedestrian and was being sued for the injuries he suffered.

Southern California cyclists are lucky to have a number of excellent bike lawyers; I can personally recommend many of the men and women you’ll find listed over there on the right.

But any time someone asks me for a good lawyer to represent a bike rider, you can bet that Daniel Jimenez will be on the list.

………

The Times offers a look at CicLAvia and decides it gives L.A. a small town feel, even though some motorists grumble; then again, I’d grumble too if I was stuck in my car when so many Angelenos were out having fun. Many people complained about the bike congestion caused by closing just half of Venice for CicLAvia; outgoing Councilmember Bill Rosendahl says plans are already in the works to repeat CicLAvia to the Sea next year — and this time, with both sides closed to vehicular traffic.

Streetsblog offers a lively discussion of the day, and notes that for some it was more than just fun. For others, it was the smells that were most memorable. Even the Mayor rode on Venice once again, this time without falling down. Leading mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti rode at CicLAvia; if opponent Wendy Gruel was there, I haven’t seen any sign of it yet. Flying Pigeon offers suggestions to make L.A.’s happiest day even better. A road racer does her first CicLAvia and asks WTF just happened? KPCC’s Larry Mantle talks CicLAvia with co-founder and Executive Director Aaron Paley.

And clearly, the Stoopidtall bike was the hit of the day.

………

Finally, I’m not much on heroes.

I learned early in life that they too often turn out to be human, and so, likely to let you down. See Armstrong, Lance; Hart, Gary.

But one exception has always been track cyclist and US Bicycle Hall of Fame member Nelson Vails, who captured a silver medal in the 1984 Olympics and helped prove that Americans — and African-Americans — could hold their own at the highest levels of the traditionally white European sport.

So excuse me if I was just a little awed — rather than merely odd, which I freely confess to — when I ran into Eastside bike advocate Carlos Morales, the new owner of Stan’s Bike Shop in Monrovia. And he introduced me to the man sitting next to him in the bike car they rode at CicLAvia.

And if Nelson Vails wants to give a shout out to his friends at Stan’s, far be it from me to say no.


CicLAvia! CicLAvia! CicLAvia! Plus Pedalers Fork opens, and bond issue and Mobility Element meetings

April 20, 2013

Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

The Pasadena Tri Club is offering a nine week Group Riding Series for new cyclists interested in learning how to ride with in a group with more experienced riders; the course is designed to teach the basics, improve fitness and increase confidence. Sessions meet each at 8 am each Saturday at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center, 360 N. Arroyo Blvd in Pasadena, through April 27th; thanks to Margaret Ho for the heads-up.

The inaugural Green Prix of Long Beach will take place from 11 am to 6 pm on Saturday, April 20th in the parking lot of Anderson’s Hardware, 714 Pine Avenue; the free event will offer green artists, urban farmers, green chefs, children’s workshops, film screenings, sustainably focused beer, local venders and food trucks, in addition to a group ride, free bike valet and drawings for bike items.

It’s finally here. CicLAvia rolls out on Sunday, April 21st from 10 am to 3 pm, following a new route from Downtown to Venice Beach — or as Yo! Venice! puts it, from Dogtown to Downtown — along Venice Blvd. KPCC offers the most complete roundup to get you ready, while feeder rides roll from virtually every corner of the city. Culver City takes advantage of its central location on the route, and opportunities exist to walk to the coast and develop kids’ bike skills. Future events will follow Wilshire Blvd from Downtown to Fairfax on Sunday, June 23rd, before returning to an extended Downtown route on Sunday, October 6th. I’ll be at the LACBC booth at the Culver City hub from 2 pm to 3:30; stop by and say hi; or better yet, sign up as a new member if you’re not one already.

The City of Los Angeles will hold an Environmental Impact Report and scoping meeting for the new Mobility Element Update, which includes a major bicycling component. The meeting will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on Monday, April 22nd at Caltrans District 7 Building, Room 01.040 A & B, 100 Main Street Downtown.

Long anticipated bike-focused Calabasas farm-to-table restaurant, Moots bike boutique and 10 Speed Coffee shop Pedalers Fork is scheduled to open on Monday, April 22nd at 23504 Calabasas Road. I hope they have plenty of secure bike parking, because they’re going to need it.

This Tuesday, April 23rd, Westside riders and walkers have a chance to speak out about the proposed $3 billion bond issue to fix our streets. As it stands now, the measure does not address Complete Streets or building out the bike plan as streets get repaved, and there’s no mention of fixing our broken sidewalks. The meeting takes place at 6 pm at the West L.A. Municipal Building, 1645 Corinth Ave. Additional meetings are scheduled for Thursday the 25th and Tuesday the 30th in South and East L.A., locations TBD.

The Ride 2 Recovery Honor Ride will take place on Saturday, April 27th, with rides of 17, 40, 62.5 and 100 miles. The ride will start from the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station, 27050 Agoura Road; funds benefit outdoor cycling programs and spinning recovery labs for wounded vets around the country.

Streetsblog LA hosts its 5th Birthday Party and Streetsie Award Dinner on April 27th, at the home of Deborah Murphy. Suggested donations for the fundraiser range from $25 to $100, but no one will be turned away; RSVP for location.

tumblr_mld0gn2nqS1qjdyl1o1_500Also on Saturday the 27th, the Northeast Los Angeles Riverfront Collaborative invites you to the River Bike + Walk Spectacular, from 4 to 10 pm at Marsh Park, 2960 Marsh Street. The event starts with a Bike + Walk at 4 pm, followed by a Community Fair at 6 pm and free outdoor screening of Beetlejuice at 8.

Sunday, April 28th, the 2013 LA to the Valley Unity Ride rolls to strengthen bonds between the city’s disparate communities. The ride starts and Los Angeles Historic Park and ends at Tia Chuchas. Registration is $20 before April 17th, and $25 before closing on April 19th; it includes lunch, dinner, snacks and mechanical support.

Also on the 28th, the 8th edition of the L.A.’s toughest hill climb competition takes place when Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer rolls from Sunset Triangle Park in Silver Lake, 3626 W. Sunset Blvd. The free competition meets at 8 am, and rides to the first of 10 serious hills at 8:15.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Civic Engagement Committee meets at 6:45 pm on the last Tuesday of each month. This month’s meeting will take place at Johnnie’s Pizza at Museum Square, 5757 Wilshire Blvd. on Tuesday, April 30th. This will be the last meeting before next month’s Mayoral and City Council election. You don’t have to be an LACBC member to participate; email bikinginla at hotmail dot com to be added to the discussion list.

Warm up for Bike Week and River Ride with the Tour of Long Beach 2013, featuring an all-bike bike fest and rides ranging from a 5-mile Family Fun Ride to 31 and 62 milers through the bike-friendly streets of Long Beach, along with a full century through Long Beach and down the SoCal coast to Laguna Beach. Proceeds go to support pediatric cancer research at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach.

Ventura County and West Valley riders can take part in the 28th Annual Cruisin’ the Conejo Bike Ride on Saturday, May 11th. Rides range from a 12-mile children’s junior tour and 35-mile fun tour, to a 68-mile metric century and a 100-mile full century; all rides start and finish at 649 Lawrence Drive in Thousand Oaks.

This year’s Bike Week will take place May 13th – 19th, starting with Fix Your Bike Day on Monday the 13th, Guided Ride Day on Wednesday, May 15th, Bike to Work Day on Thursday the 15th, and Bike Local Weekend from Friday, May 17th to Sunday the 19th, offering discounts to bicyclists who mention Bike Week.

2013-posterThe 10th Annual Blessing of the Bicycles is scheduled for Tuesday, May 14th at Good Samaritan Hospital, 616 Witmer Street, between 6th and Wilshire. The multi-faith event is always one of the high points of Bike Week. And it never hurts to have a little divine protection when you ride.

Pasadena celebrates Bike Week as well, including Ladies Night on Wednesday, May 15th from 6:30 to 9:30 pm at Paseo Pasadena, 280 East Colorado Blvd.

The annual Ride of Silence falls in the middle of Bike Week, on Wednesday, May 15th, honoring fallen cyclists and calling attention to the need for safety. The biggest ride in the Los Angeles area will take place at the Rose Bowl starting at 6:30 pm and rolling at 7. Other Southern California rides take place in Gardena, San Clemente, Temecula, Thousand Oaks and Ventura, as well as the 2nd Annual Anthony Martinez Jr. Ride of Silence in Oxnard. Highly recommended to send an important message, as well as a little emotional healing.

Caltech Bike Lab teams with C.I.C.L.E. to offer a series of free defensive cycling classes; the next one take place on Saturday, June 8th at Caltech Y, 505 S. Wilson Ave in Pasadena. RSVP to bike@cicle.org with the date you want to attend.

Registration has opened for this year’s LA River Ride, to be held Sunday, June 9th, starting and ending in Griffith Park. If you haven’t done the River Ride, I highly recommend it; if you have, then why haven’t you registered already?

Here’s your chance to bike the famed Las Vegas strip and the surrounding Las Vegas Valley, with the 6th Annual RTC Viva Bike Vegas Gran Fondo Pinarello on Saturday, September 21st. The event will offer routes for riders of all levels, from a 17-mile ride to 60-mile Metric Century and a 103-mile Gran Fondo; the longer rides will visit the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and Lake Mead. Discount registration applies through April 10th.


Eastside teen cyclist critically injured; murder charge in last week’s Cathedral City DUI hit-and-run

April 18, 2013

The Eastsider reports a teenage bike rider was critically injured in a Glassel Park collision on Tuesday.

The student at the Alliance Environmental Science and Technology High School was making a left from westbound San Fernando Road to Fletcher Drive when he was hit by a car and dragged underneath the vehicle, suffering severe head injuries.

And no, he wasn’t wearing a helmet. In this case, it might have made a difference.

My prayers for a fast and full recovery.

Thanks to Patrick Pasqual for the heads-up.

………

Twenty-seven year old Palm Springs resident Brandon Royce Melton has been charged with homicide in the DUI hit-and-run death of Edward James Shaieb in Cathedral City last Saturday.

This is Melton’s second DUI case; under California law, a previous conviction for DUI can elevate the charges to second degree murder. In addition, he faces charges for DUI, gross vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run resulting in death or injury.

Unless prosecutors completely screw up the case, he should off the streets for a very long time.

………

LAist offers a list of the best bike rides in the L.A. area, including my all-time favorite L.A. ride. Great job by LAist’s Lauren Lloyd.

Meanwhile, SFist could only come up with five great rides by the Bay.

………

LADOT Bike Blog implores you to stop running stop signs and red lights.

They’re right, though I might argue for different reasons; running stops greatly increases your risk of a collision — for which you’ll be found at fault — and virtually eliminates any chance of a financial recovery afterwards.

………

I don’t usually link to fundraisers that benefit individuals unless they’ve been injured in riding collisions; after all, most of us could use a little help, myself included.

But I’m going to make an exception for this project for Michele Chavez, one of the top bike advocates in the Antelope Valley. She’s run out of funds after going back to school to develop the skills to work full-time in bike advocacy, and currently finds herself just under $800 short of her 4th quarter tuition.

I can personally vouch for Michele and the job she’ll do to make the world a better place for bike riders.

And maybe you followed the recent links to the heartbreaking, and ultimately triumphant, story of Patrick Brady’s newborn son. Now you can contribute to a Kickstarter project to publish a book of the Red Kite Prayer writer’s best work — some of the most beautiful bike writing anywhere — to help defray their heavy medical costs.

………

The Veggie Grill is offering a free meal to anyone who bikes in during the next seven days.

………

Everything you need to know for this Sunday’s CicLAvia, along with four feeder routes from South L.A. and more from the Westside. The Weekly says CicLAvia could see tightened security, including undercover cops mixed in with the crowd. And Will Campbell shows how CicLAvia can be used for an unusually pleasant bike commute.

………

The LAPD asks If you see something, say something to fight terror; I wonder if that extends to the terror on our streets, where I see speeding and distracted drivers every day. USC’s Daily Trojan looks at the upcoming MyFig project, which should benefit the school’s many bike-riding students. Evidently, L.A. Street Services has figured out how to seal street surfaces without covering over sharrows, as they did in Westwood last year. Sign, sign, everywhere a sign — except on the L.A. River bike path, which will be the sight of a walk and bike-in movie on the 27th. Santa Monica will soon allow pedicabs, but not on the bike path. Popular cycling route Topanga Canyon Blvd could be designated a state scenic highway from PCH to the Ventura County Line. Another look at bike-centric Calabasas farm-to-table eatery Pedaler’s Fork, which opens next Monday, and will host the first ever Moots boutique. Black and brown bicyclists band together to demand justice in the Gardena hit-and-run that took the life of bike rider Benjamin Torres. Cyclists debate the safety of a planned two-way cycle track through Redondo Beach; thanks to Jim Lyle for the link. Long Beach will have have it’s own mini-ciclovía Thursday, courtesy of the Long Beach Grand Prix. Every bike shop should have a dog.

A call for justice for an Indio bike rider who was shot by police in a case of mistaken identity. Why shouldn’t Big Bear students ride a bike to school; why indeed? A San Diego program uses bikes to help keep ex-cons from returning to jail. If a San Diego brewer meets its Kickstarter goal, they’ll make a $2,200 donation to BikeSD. San Diego wants to know where you want a bike rack. The 28th annual Crusin’ the Conejo Bike Ride rolls through the Thousand Oaks area on May 11th. A Santa Rosa motorcyclist wasn’t at fault in a collision with a cyclist, but broke the law by fleeing the scene. An Apple bike is finally photographed in its natural habitat, and turns out to be underwhelming. Cyclelicious updates pending bike legislation in Sacramento; the much hated bill that would absolve government agencies for liability for defective bike lanes may be dead or dying. Bad grades turn a pending art school dropout to a life of bike crime.

People for Bikes is planning a bike hackfest next month. Apparently, riding can beat dementia; including the craziness of driving when you could ride. Bicycling reviews the latest city bikes. Denver city council makes bike and pedestrian safety its top budget priority. Boston cyclists will soon get enhanced sharrows. In light of the recent bombings in Boston, NYC’s Five Boro Bike Tour pulls ads showing flames at the starting line; good call. New York’s new bike share program sells 5,000 memberships in the first two days, leading New York’s bike-hating Daily News to call for panic on the streets. A road diet may be on the way for Brooklyn’s most dangerous street for pedestrians. Remarkably, a New York cyclist can’t sue for injuries following a collision with an unleashed dog, even though the owner called on the dog to cross his path. There is no war on cars, despite what some auto-centric AAA directors may tell you.

Actor Gerald Butler rides a bike share bike in Mexico. Brit bike scribe Carlton Reid provides a preview of his free e-book, the upcoming Roads Were Not Built For Cars. London’s Guardian looks at why male cyclists shave their legs; I’ve done it ever since I found myself trying to field shave a badly cut calf so I could get a bandage to stay on long enough to ride back home, besides, I’ve got the legs for it. London mayor Boris proclaims himself a wily, curb-hugging cyclist. Dutch bike riders are most likely to have their bikes stolen while shopping. Turns out Lance failed four doping controls in the ’99 TdF. Great read from the Wall Street Journal on an American woman supporting the budding yet banned women’s bike movement in Afghanistan. An Aussie rider says unsanctioned races could be the future of cycling.

Finally, the family of a fallen Albuquerque cyclist is understandably upset about repeated vandalism and theft of his ghost bike; but did they really have to post the story under Paranormal? And it turns out green bike lanes aren’t the only problem Hollywood has with today’s Downtown; it’s all those damn people.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 365 other followers