Dear New York: Can we have your Dept. of Transportation Commissioner? Please?

February 28, 2011

What sadly passes for a writer at the New York Post calls NYDOT Commissioner Jannette Sadik-Khan a “psycho bike lady” and an “incompetent, overpromoted, overzealous bureaucrat.”

And that’s just the beginning.

This time, it’s because of a plan to convert the city’s 34th Street from a throughway to a Complete Streets busway. Although based on the paper’s highly biased coverage of biking news, it could have been about any number of other issues.

Sadik-Khan is recognized across the country as one of the nation’s leading transportation planners — willing to confront NYC’s addiction to the automobile and return some small portion of the streets to the people who actually live along and use them, rather than the machines that have long destroyed the city’s quality of life.

Yet the Post continues to fan the flames of self-righteousness over any attempt to take a single inch of roadway away from overly entitled motorists in order to actually improve the city’s over burdened streets.

And God forbid that the city’s residents should have viable alternatives to driving. Or pleasant and safer places to live, walk and bike — or just be, for that matter.

But evidently, they couldn’t care less how many people are killed or injured by motor vehicles on New York streets, or how poor the quality of life is along them, as long as they can speed from New Jersey to Long Island without stopping along the way.

And you thought yellow journalism was dead.

So here’s an offer.

Los Angeles has been without a General Manager for our Department of Transportation for the past several months. And we’d like Ms. Sadik-Khan to come home every bit as much as the Post’s writers would like to get rid of her.

So if they can convince New Yorkers it’s better to wallow in their own traffic and smog than actually do anything to improve it, we’ll gladly take her.


Meanwhile, in an amazing outbreak of enlightened self-interest, Toyota proposes building 250,000 kilometers (roughly 155,000 miles) of Japanese bike lanes in order to ease congestion and reduce the risk of collisions with bikes.

And as it turns out, the secret to happiness could be as simple as commuting by bike.

Maybe the Post’s writers should try it sometime.


Video shows the aftermath of a horrifying, apparently intentional attack in which a driver plowed through the full length of a Critical Mass ride in Porto Allegre, Brazil, injuring over a dozen riders; the vehicle involved was later found abandoned, but no arrest has been made.

The driver reportedly felt threatened because cyclists were banging on his car, yet cyclists report that he was driving aggressively before his attack on the riders.

Here’s a thought: if you feel threatened by cyclists, just turn at the next corner and get away from them. Somehow, watching them bounce off the hood of your car as you drive through several blocks of bikes would seem to weaken that argument just a tad.

But that’s just me.

Meanwhile, posters on a gun forum seem to find it pretty damn funny; then again, they’re posters on a gun forum.

Thanks to Will Campbell for the tip.


In an ironically appropriate crash, a drunk driver smashes into a sober living facility in South L.A.; as long as his SUV is already in one of the bedrooms, he might as well check in.

No word on whether Charlie Sheen was behind the wheel.


Make a trip downtown Wednesday morning to witness Mayor Villaraigosa signing the — hopefully — newly approved bike plan in front of City Hall. Sign up as a Bike Buddy to guide less experienced riders on Bike to Work Day this May; I’m seriously considering it even though my usual commute is from my bedroom to the living room. A reminder about GOOD’s fundraising party to benefit CicLAvia this weekend. Jim Shanman, a founding member of the Culver City Bicycle Coalition, looks at a possible Westside bike share program. Adventures in bike commuting: Matt Ruscigno finds himself with 40 minutes to get five miles to the airport on a broken bike, and makes his flight anyway. Chinatown is catching bike rack measles. Here’s your chance to ride through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Palm Springs police catch a bike burglar after a brief chase. San Diego kicks off a new anti-obesity campaign, including emphasis on safe bike paths and walkways. A grieving father sets off on a cross-country ride to promote awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. A San Jose cyclist is critically injured after losing the hit-and-run lottery; thanks to Rex Reese for the heads-up. The North American Handmade Bicycle show moves to Sacramento next year; Cyclelicious has links to coverage of this year’s show in Austin over the weekend. Experience the Amgen Tour of California, without the inconvenience of actually having to ride it.

Biking our way to a better economy. Urban Country eviscerates the argument that bicyclists must obey the law if we want to share the road. A look at Major Taylor, one of the greatest racers of all time, who broke the color barrier in cycling 20 years before Jackie Robinson was conceived. A medical study shows spending on bikeways returns 1.2 to 3.8 times that amount in healthcare savings. Over 3,700 cyclists take on the Chilly Hilly ride on Seattle’s Bainbridge Island. Kansas shoots down a proposed three-foot passing law, while Georgia considers one of their own. Rising numbers of Chicago cyclists points to the need for more protected bikeways. Ohio’s Bike Lawyer Steve Magos says it’s time to criminalize negligent driving; he’s right.

If there really is a war on cars, the cars are winning. A British motorists organization calls for a mandatory helmet law, rather than just asking their members not to hit us. But at least they have the sense to pull an anti-bike rant from one of their columnists and say her services will no long be needed; those Brits are so polite, aren’t they? Edinburgh cyclists create their own DIY map of off-street bike paths, patterned after the famous London Tube map; thanks to Evan Garcia for the links. A look at bike parking in Amsterdam; and to think we’re happy to get a lousy bike rack. Proof that population density has nothing to do with cycling rates. A Sydney paper looks at the rising numbers of video cams on bikes.

Finally, Colorado’s proposed legislation to ban the Blackhawk bike ban failed thanks to the actions of the state’s Republican House Majority Leader; maybe it’s time to point out that cyclists spend a lot of money in her state, which can easily be spent elsewhere.

And a New York legislator proposes hanging a $25 license plate off the back of every bike in the state; and yes, that includes children, evidently. But why stop there? Let’s confront the menace of scofflaw pedestrians by forcing everyone to hang a set of numbers on their ass.

A last unleavened look back at StreetSummit

March 31, 2010

A few random thoughts on StreetSummit before we move on to other topics.

Just a portion of those in attendance for StreetSummit

New York Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan credited her amazing success in transforming one of the nation’s most crowded and built-out cities to the support she’s received from the city’s highly motivated mayor.

In Los Angeles, where the traffic demands of a built-out city are often used as a reason for attempting little and accomplishing less, our transportation officials have yet to receive a level of support that would give LADOT leader Rita Robinson the political cover she needs to begin the long overdue transformation of L.A.’s transportation picture.

Whether she has the will or desire to take action is another question. As is whether L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa will move beyond his newfound support of CicLAvia and his bold 30/10 plan, and use the political freedom provided by his final term in office to truly transform the livability of this city. And in the process, effectively position himself for higher office.

Or we can continue to follow an unsustainable auto-centric traffic model until it kills us — literally and figuratively.


Meanwhile, Long Beach’s seemingly sudden transformation into SoCal’s most bike-friendly community followed a different pattern.

While the city’s Mobility Coordinator Charlie Gandy — the man once named America’s #1 Bike Advocate and the closest thing we may ever see to our own Sadik-Khan — gave credit to the support he’s received from elected officials and the business community, other members of his panel told a different story.

Professional cyclist and Long Beach Bike Ambassador Tony Cruz, BikeStation President and CEO Andrea White-Kjoss and Long Beach Bicycle Festival Director Mark Bixby talked about their 10-year struggle to change local attitudes that began long before Gandy arrived in the city. And refusing to give up despite the knee-jerk anti-bike opposition they initially faced.

When they failed to place a bike boulevard on one street, they simply moved to another street and got the support of local residents and business people before going forward. And kept plugging away until attitudes slowly shifted.

That’s the same model that has lead to whatever limited success we’ve had here in L.A. — and the one we’ll most likely have to follow in the absence of an unexpected turnaround from L.A.’s mayor and transportation officials.


As the photo to the right shows, one of N.Y.’s boldest moves has not only proven to be exceptionally popular, but extremely effective, as well.

Closing a long swath of Broadway to vehicular traffic didn’t result in the disastrous gridlock many people predicted. Instead, it actually improved traffic flow while reducing injuries.

We know that because the city tracked vehicular and pedestrian traffic, as well as accident and injury rates, both before and after the transformation.

So there’s no argument that it hasn’t been a success. And no one has to guess what effect it’s had. It’s all right there in black and white. Or sort of a bluish grey and green, anyway.

Their stat tracking ability has also allowed the city to set definitive goals going forward — like doubling bicycle commuting and cutting traffic deaths by 50%. That’s in addition to more concrete goals like continuing to stripe bike lanes at a rate of 50 miles a year.

And that is the key argument in transforming our own streets.

Do we want to continue to follow the L.A. model of moving ever more cars through our streets, with ever decreasing efficiency — while adding bike lanes at an annual rate less than 5% of New York’s? Or do we want to ensure that more of the people who use those streets get home safely, even if that means arriving at your destination a few minutes later?


That was something else Charlie Gandy addressed.

What has fueled Long Beach’s rapid transformation was a shift in transportation priorities from moving more cars to livable streets. And changing the city’s privileged class from motorists to pedestrians, bicyclists and businesses, along with a willingness to accept a certain level of congestion in order the achieve other goals.

And that seems like a reasonable trade-off to me.


Going back to Sadik-Khan’s discussion of the Broadway transformation, given the success of the project, it’s easy to forget that it started out as an experiment. Broadway was initially closed on a temporary basis; it was only a few weeks ago that the closure became permanent.

And that was something else she stressed.

Bike infrastructure is relatively inexpensive — especially compared to other forms of transportation projects. “You can do a lot with a paintbrush and a paint can,” she said.

And it doesn’t have to be permanent.

“You have to experiment, try things out,” she insisted. “If it doesn’t work, okay, you move on and try something else.”

“There’s no risk, except falling behind and not being imaginative.”

We can only hope that LADOT was paying attention.


One last thought before moving on to today’s linkage.

The panel I hosted on bikes and political action at StreetSummit resulted in a clear mandate for a Los Angeles branch of Austin’s successful League of Bicycling Voters. In fact, over 80% of the people who attended the workshop put their email addresses on an impromptu interest list.

More on that soon.

I also left with an invitation from Charlie Gandy to come down to Long Beach and take a look at what they’re doing down there.

And I plan to take him up on that.


Josef Bray-Ali may say he’s running out of ideas, but this last one’s brilliant — changing the laws that require parking spaces for residential or retail development to allow bike parking, instead.


L.A. is a bike Mecca — or at least it was, 113 years ago. The LACBC reports on the East L.A. meeting for the county bike plan, and will work with the South Bay Bicycle Coalition to develop a plan for the South Bay region. Dr. Alex is highly critical of LACBC’s leap into planning and LADOT’s new blog — and takes Damien to task for being too “balanced” in a story about LADOT’s new blog. Stephen Box takes Metro to task for the non-opening of the long unplanned Bike Room at Hollywood and Vine. Learning to ride in L.A. from the perspective of a veteran driver. Mark your calendar for Bike Night at the Hammer Museum on April 8th. Riders on San Francisco’s Wiggle wobble, but they don’t fall down. A 40-year old cyclist must have caught some serious air to cross onto the other side of the road and hit a car head on; thanks to Opus the Poet for the link. The California Bicycle Advisory Committee is scheduled to discuss bike boxes on April 8th. Road rash is a common — and painful — part of cycling. Tell me about it. Even in these Tea Party days, most Americans support safe walking and biking. If an attractive, cycle-chic woman can be invisible on a bike, there’s no hope for any of us. A busy Portland bridge gets a lovely 15-foot wide bike lane. Free bike use for hotel guests in DC. Contending with BPRs (Bike Path Racers) while riding at rush hour in Seattle. A follow-up to Sunday’s information-free story about a cyclist in my hometown critically injured in a left hook collision. The L.A. Times discusses bike sharing in Los Angeles Mexico City (sorry, from the description of car culture-crowded streets and rude, uncaring drivers, it’s hard to tell the difference). Lance, Cadel Evans and Bradley Wiggins all get invitations to this years Tour; Dutch teams get shut out despite the Netherlands start. AMEX demands compensation from a Dutch cyclist who damaged a rental car by allowing it to run into her. London’s long-planned bike sharing program — or scheme, as the Brits would say — becomes a reality July 30th. Britain’s pedaling posties are being phased out for safety reasons. Buy a home, get a bike. After surviving the war in Afghanistan, a British soldier dies trying to dodge a 15-foot pothole on his bike. Israeli cyclists protest a ban on riding in national parks. Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority encourages people to ride bikes; Dubai Police respond by confiscating them.

Finally, more proof that bikes are entering the mainstream — a full-head helmet wearing bank robber makes his getaway on a red BMX bike, just days after a similar BMX getaway near Seattle; no report on whether they attempted to leap any cars as they fled.

Happy Passover!

A little more Sadik-Khan and a lot of links

March 19, 2010

Following up on last night’s standing room only presentation at Occidental College, New York’s Commissioner of Transportation and Oxy graduate Janette Sadik-Khan — the woman who added 200 miles of bike lanes to the city’s crowded streets, and continues to add lanes at a rate of 50 miles per year — will be a featured guest when KPCC’s AirTalk with Larry Mantle looks at StreetSummit, beginning at 10 am today. If you miss it, visit their site later for a recording or podcast.

And in case you missed last night’s speech — or like me, you got there late and had to watch it on a TV screen in the lobby — I’ve been assured that she will reprise her speech at Saturday’s L.A. StreetSummit 2010 at LA Trade Tech College.

She’ll take the stage promptly at 10:30, so get there by 10 am to make sure you can register and make it inside in time. Then stick around for all the other sessions, including a certain session on bikes and politics at 1pm.

Personally, I’ll get there by 9:45 to make sure I don’t miss out again.

Update: Damien Newton offers a great review of last night’s speech.

And that’s the main difference between the “new” NYCDOT and the “current” LADOT.  While NYCDOT is constantly pushing the envelope, and seeing dramatic success in reducing car dependency; the LADOT has resisted all efforts to change business as usual.  NYCDOT is concerned about moving people, LADOT seems more concerned about political gamesmanship and protecting their jobs and the failed status quo on our streets.  This “goofus and gallant” comparison was in-part inspsiring and in-part depressing.  All you have to do is compare Sadik-Khan’s delighted boast that her department completed 2,000 hours of outreach to LADOT General Manager Rita Robinson’s excuse making that her departmentcan’t afford to send representatives to Neighborhood Council meetings or properly staff Bike Advisory Committee meetings.

As Sadik-Khan talked about how easy it is to make some of these changes, some in the room got a little quesy.  It’s easy to paint bus-only lanes?  Sorry, that takes decades of studies and environmental reviews.  NYCDOT has a goal of fifty miles of new bike lanes ever year?  Well, here in L.A. we can bring a Sharrows pilot program on a couple of streets to fruition a mere three years, and counting, after the city starts studying it.  To be fair, yes, there is an effort out of the Mayor’s office to change L.A. into a transit town in the next decade through leveraging Measure R funds in the “30 in 10” program.  But New York had a more extensive subway system than L.A. will have even under “30 in 10.” As recently as five years ago their city was gridlocked with car traffic and pollution with no end in sight anyways.

I highly recommend reading the full story.


The LACBC is one of just five groups nationwide to receive an REI/Bicycle Friendly Community Grant. A Metro driver hits a cyclist on Sunset and blames the rider for vandalizing the bus — then refuses to exchange information as required by law. A fresh start between cyclists and semi-bike friendly Santa Monica. When a cyclist locks her bike to a fence at an Amtrak station in Davis, an employee cuts the lock and tosses it over a fence where it is promptly stolen (thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up). Women are encouraged to complete a brief 10 – 15 minute survey on cycling to help planners understand why women do — or don’t — bike. Saying “I ride a bike, too” doesn’t mean you’re an expert on cycling. Advice for polite and practical cycling. A driver nearly hits a cyclist after running a stop sign, then tells the rider to “get off the f-ing street.” Brooklyn police are cracking down on cyclists who leave bike lanes, even to pass double-parked cars. A truck driver is nearly charged with hit-and-run after stopping to aid an injured cyclist. A Nashville writer concludes that cyclists are scary. New York’s Police Commissioner aids a woman injured in a collision with a cyclist. A leading Brit road safety group encourages cyclists to ride to the left (our right) in the middle of the block, but take the lane at intersections. The new BMW bike offers proof that cycling is the new golf.

Finally, a new British drivers’ group puts the twit in Twitter. With the motto “Drive more. Drive faster,” they insist bikes are for poor people, speeding saves lives and farms should be paved for parking.

Why do we drivers pay for nice smooth shiny black stuff and then let Lycra wrapped numpties pointlessly pedal on it in their stupid circles?

But before you get too upset, bear in mind that the groups is called the Association of British Nutters. Maybe Tony Kornheiser can open a U.S. branch.

A little this, a little that — Sadik-Khan, Street Summit, bike stats, bike art, Lance rants

March 18, 2010

First up, drop whatever you had planned, and ride, walk, bus or drive to Occidental College for tonight’s lecture by Janette Sadik-Khan, New York’s Commissioner of Transportation.

This is the woman most responsible for transforming NYC from one of the most bike-hostile places on the planet to what is rapidly becoming one of the world’s most bike-friendly metropolises, adding 200 miles of bike lanes in just three years.

And afterwards, you can ride over to nearby Disney headquarters in Burbank to protest the on-air anti-bike rant from ESPN idiot commentator Tony Kornheiser (see below).

The lecture is the kickoff event for L.A. StreetSummit 2010, which resumes this Saturday at Downtown’s LA Trade Tech College.

On Saturday, you’ll have a chance to hear speakers including Carl Anthony of Breakthrough Communications, Charlie Gandy, the Mobility Coordinator currently transforming the City of Long Beach, and Lydia Avila of the East LA Community Corporation.

In this afternoon, you can attend three sets of workshops on subjects ranging from the new bike plan, CicLAvia, LACBC’s bike count and increasing diversity in the biking community. Along with about 26 others.

And I’ll be hosting a session on bikes and politics at 1pm:

Session 1: 1pm-1:50pm
Room: tba


Ted Rogers, LACBC Board Member and author of BikingInLA

David Vahedi, Attorney, co-founder of the Westside Neighborhood Council and recent candidate for the 5th Council District

Aurisha Smolarski, LACBCCampaigns and Communications Director

Marcel Porras, cyclist and Transportation Director for L.A.’s 13th City Council District

Kent Strumpell, 11th District representative for L.A.’s Bicycle Advisory Committee and member of the California Bicycle Coalition’s Legislative Committee

Short Summary:

The bicycling community is the sleeping giant of local politics, with an estimated 2.7 million cyclists in Los Angeles County. This informal discussion will explore how to wake that giant to make positive changes in our state and community, and offer an insider’s perspective on how bicyclists can impact the political process to influence elected officials and elect bike-friendly candidates.

I hope to see you there.

The organizers of StreetSummit are asking that each workshop be video recorded for future use; unfortunately, I don’t have a video camera. So if anyone would like to volunteer to record the session, just let me know.


Exactly what L.A. cyclists have been missing.

Bikeside’s LA Bike Map provides the city’s first searchable database enabling you to submit, track and study near misses, collisions, harassment and bike theft. This will give cyclists the information we need to spot and avoid dangerous areas, and argue for much needed road improvements and police protection.

And yes, the link will soon find a permanent prominent home over there on the right.


A suicidal cyclist riding the wrong way evidently picked a Desperate Housewives star to run into, judging by press reports. Shawn Pyfrom, who plays Andrew Van De Kamp on the show, was driving somewhere in the San Fernando Valley when an elderly man riding against traffic made a sudden turn into the path of his vehicle.

To his credit, Pyfrom reportedly assisted the bloodied biker until help could arrive, and no one has yet been cited by police.

However, it does beg the question of why a cyclist riding the wrong way — one of just 4% of local riders who risk their lives that way, according to the LACBC’s bike count, despite what many drivers will tell you — would turn directly into the path of what had to be a clearly visible oncoming vehicle.

Then again, so far, the only reports are coming from the actor’s publicists.

Maybe that explains it.


A couple quick notes from the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

Over the course of the next four Saturdays, German artists Folke Koebberling and Martin Kaltwasser will dismantle an old car and turn it into two fully operational bicycles at the Bermot Station Arts Center.

And mark your calendar for the Cause for Creativity: Tour de Arts, Vol. 2 workshop, bike tour, exhibition and closing party on August 22nd.


A New York cyclist is knocked into a bus and killed after getting doored by a driver; as Cyclelicious points out in a well-deserved rant, at least some of the city’s press clearly doesn’t get it. One paper describes it as a freak accident and another — which evidently doesn’t know how to construct a sentence, had this to say:

Cops issued the unidentified driver of the Camry a summons, though it was not immediately clear why, police said.

Streetsblog reminds readers about the video from the Chicago Bicycle Program that explains how bikes and buses can safely share the roads; more important would be teaching drivers the dangers of opening their doors without looking.


BikesideLA tells the story of the Birdman, the survivor — barely — of yet another horrifying hit-and-run. Damien notes that authorities and the press blame once again blame the victim in a PCH hit-and-run; sort of like accidently shooting someone and blaming them for standing in front of your bullet. Another call on City Watch to dismantle LADOT. LACBC unveils the city’s first bike count, but doesn’t name the people who actually did it. DIY sharrows return to the streets of L.A., if not actually on the streets; the more or less true story behind the signs. Mega bike shop Perfomance Bicycle comes to Woodland Hills. A Cal State Fullerton cyclist examines fixies and their riders, and finds them lacking. The cyclist missing in Portland was found dead yesterday in the Willamette River; cause of death undetermined pending an autopsy. A great list of the top 10 rudest things a driver can do when encountering a cyclist. Bike Radar looks at why Florida is the nation’s most dangerous place for cyclists. The West Side Greenway in New York’s Battery Park City goes extremely high tech. Zeke takes an unexpected mostly pleasant, semi-frightening ride, only to discover Lance, Levi and Alberto are actually all good friends — and then he wakes up. London cyclists are asked about risk-taking behavior in an attempt to understand an unexpected spike in deaths; I’d start with the city’s truck drivers instead. Poland’s parliament considers making the country more bike friendly. Maybe this is why so many Dutch women ride.

Finally, Lance Armstrong calls ESPN radio host Tony Kornheiser a “complete f-ing idiot” for his recent remarks, including a suggestion that drivers should just run cyclists down. Consider this excerpt courtesy of Bike Radar:

“The last time I looked, the roads were made for automobiles…,” Kornheiser said. “We’re going to be dominated as if this was Beijing by hundreds of thousands of bicyclists …”

He’s no fan of cycling attire either, saying: “They all wear … my God … with the little water bottle in the back and the stupid hats and their shiny shorts. They are the same disgusting poseurs that in the middle of a snowstorm come out with cross-country skiing on your block. Run ’em down.

“Let them use the right, I’m okay with that. I don’t take my car and ride on the sidewalk because I understand that’s not for my car… Why do these people think that these roads were built for bicycles? … They dare you to run them down.”

Lance calls the remarks “Disgusting, ignorant, foolish.” Or maybe he was referring to Kornheiser himself, who was recently suspended for making inappropriate remarks about a female co-worker’s attire. suggests tweeting your displeasure to @ESPNRadio980. Or maybe we should direct our anger to ESPN’s parent company, conveniently located right here in Burbank.

Update: Thanks to Todd Mumford for sending a link to the audio of Kornheiser’s rant; and yes, it’s even worse than I thought.

Mark your calendar — there’s a whole lotta biking going on*

March 12, 2010

*With apologies to The Killer

A lot of big events coming up in the L.A. bike world over the next few weeks. So mark your calendar and make your plans.


First up, simply because it is first up, is Bike Week at the Barnsdall Municipal Gallery, as Jennifer Moran, Brian Janeczko, Enci Box and Aurisha Smolarski present the collaborative project, In the Living Room of LA’s Bicycle Culture, through Sunday.


Thanks to Zach Behrens of LAist for the reminder about this Saturday’s Ride to Arrest Cancer bike ride and wellness fair sponsored by the LAPD.

This is your chance to roll with the men and women in blue on routes of 15, 25 and 50 miles, starting at the Valley Traffic Division at the Plant in Panorama City and visiting various police stations throughout the Valley. Preregistration cost is just $25 for adults ($30 day of the ride) and $15 for kids under 12, and includes BBQ, a T-Shirt and official police escort.

The ride benefits the Los Angeles Police Cancer Support Group, which assists “members of the law enforcement community who are living with cancer, cancer survivors, family members, friends, or caregivers.”

I’m usually not a fan of mass charity rides, but this one sounds like a lot of fun. And after watching too many friends and family fight cancer, I can’t think of a more deserving cause.


Also on Saturday, the 2nd Annual ArtCycle, billed as a conjunction of art, music and bicycles. The free event takes place from 2 pm to 10 pm at the junction of Santa Monica and Madison in East Hollywood. Better yet, Santa Monica will be shut down to vehicle traffic in sort of a mini-CicLAvia, so bring your bike and check it out.


Next week marks the return of the new and improved Bike Summit — now expanded to include a broader view of non-motorized traffic and renamed the LA StreetSummit 2010, Biking, Walking & Beyond.

This was by far the most informative — and yes, fun — event I attended last year, whether on a panel or part of the audience. And a rare opportunity to connect with a broad cross-section of cyclists of every type, while listening to and meeting some of the leading authorities on a wide-range of transportation subjects.

It begins at 7:30 pm on Thursday the 18th with a keynote address at Occidental College’s Keck Theater by Janette Sadik-Khan New York City’s now legendary Commissioner of Transportation — the woman responsible for tripling the amount of bikeways in just 3 years, in one of the world’s most crowded, built-out and bike-unfriendly cities on the planet.

And like the song says, if they can do it there, they can do it anywhere. So hopefully every employee of LADOT and Metro, and every elected official in the city will be sitting in the audience taking notes right next to me.

Because this is one talk I won’t miss.


On Saturday, March 20, Street Summit takes place from 10 am to 5 pm at Downtown’s LA Trade Tech College.

The morning session starts with featured speakers including Carl Anthony, the founder of Urban Habitat; Charlie Gandy, Mobility Coordinator for the City of Long Beach — which is rapidly on it’s way to becoming one of the nation’s most bike-friendly communities — and Lydia Avila of the East LA Community Corporation (ELACC).

That’s followed by a series of workshops in the afternoon, with sessions starting at 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm, ranging from discussions on CicLAvia and the bike plan to diversifying the bike community and what the hell is happening in Long Beach. Along with about 26 others to suit virtually every taste and interest.

And yes, I’ll be attending.

In fact, I’ll be hosting a 1 pm workshop on bikes and politics with Aurisha Smolarski of the LACBC, Marcel Porras, Transportation Director for L.A.’s 13th Council District, and David Vahedi, a recent candidate for L.A.’s 5th Council District. More information on that next week.

And did I mention it’s all free? Even the lunch (insert “there’s no free lunch punchline” here).

But only if you pre-register by March 15.


Also on the 20th — and also courtesy of LAist’s Zach Behrens — comes word of the Hit the Trail rides in Santa Clarita.

The City of Santa Clarita invites residents to join Mayor Laurene Weste and the City Council for Hit the Trail on Saturday March 20, 2010. The 3rd annual community bike ride will kick off promptly at 10 a.m. from three convenient starting points across the City and culminate with an exciting Bridgeport Park Rally.

Hit the Trail offers the unique opportunity for residents of all ages to join in a leisurely community bike ride along the City’s extensive trail system. There is no cost to participate- just arrive at one of these three convenient starting locations by 10 a.m. for a fun-filled ride to Bridgeport Park:

Route 1 (6.1 miles) – Valencia High School (San Francisquito Creek Trail)

Route 2 (4.3 miles) – Placerita Junior High School (South Fork Trail)

Route 3 (7.1  miles) – Camp Plenty Trailhead at Camp Plenty Road and Soledad Canyon Road (Chuck Pontius Commuter Rail Trail)


County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky reminds cyclists about Metro’s upcoming bike and pedestrian count on the Valley’s Orange Line Bikeway March 24 and 27. To sweeten the deal, they’re throwing in free pizza and T-shirts at the training/orientation session on the 22nd.

Free food and T-shirts? Damn! They’ve discovered our Achilles heel.


Next month, Streetsblog holds it’s first fundraiser at L.A.’s Eco-Village on April 9th, honoring the winners of this year’s Streetsie Awards, including the L.ACBC’S City of Lights program, the Eco-Village, ArtCycle and a certain bike blogger you may be acquainted with.


And a little further in the future —

May 2nd, you have a rare chance to ride the Vincent Thomas bridge across the L.A. Harbor — and help fight diabetes — with the 2010 Tour de Cure Ship-To-Shore Bike Ride.

The following month, help support the city’s leading bicycle advocacy group with what is probably the city’s most popular yearly bike ride, the 10th Annual Los Angeles River Ride presented by the LACBC on Sunday, June 6th.


In case you were wondering where I was all afternoon…

The LACBC reports on today’s meeting of the LAPD Bike Task Force, including the release of a document signed by Assistant Chief Paysinger marking the first steps in the department’s new bike training program.


And now, a long, long list o’links.

Follow up the Street Summit with the Street/Bike Summit After Party, just a short currently feasible ride to the north. Take a look at the city’s first graphic street maps of bike collision data, with more promised soon. Will confronts a jerk driver who nearly turned him into roadkill. An upcoming UCLA Rosenfeld Forum on bold solutions for L.A.’s traffic problems evidently neglects to consider cycling. If L.A. really can get sharrows on the street by summer, it will only have taken 2 years; LADOT Bike Coordinator Michelle Mowery doesn’t think it’s possible — and if anyone cares, I vote for putting them on Abbot Kinney; low-traffic streets like Westwood’s Westholme Ave. don’t need them.

A Whittier cyclist dies over 2-1/2 years after the collision that killed him. Pro tips to help you master Google’s new bike maps; or try a video introduction, if you prefer. Refuting the myths that motorist use to fight cycling. Is San Francisco’s Muni driving more people onto bikes?

Dave Moulton asks what’s the problem with banning cell use while riding? A Connecticut cyclist sounds off about lazy drivers who put their dogs at risk. Colorado’s broken-ribbed cycling governor is officially back on the job. A teenager in Colorado is found guilty for shooting at a group of bike riders; the victim spit the bullet out of his mouth. Does a revival of the cruiser mean bikes are regaining acceptance as transportation? DC’s mayor gets a new Colnago EPS worth about $11,990 more than the limit he’s allowed to accept. Found outside a Boston-area Trader Joes, a handbuilt bike made of bamboo and gaffers tape. Very cool black and white photos of a slowly defrosting Windy city.

Contador throws down the Gauntlet for this year’s Le Tour by destroying the field in the 4th Stage of Paris-Nice. Marissa Tomei rides a bike through the heart of Italy. After the carnage leading up to South Africa’s Cape Argus bike tour, a rider argues that car keys and common sense seem to be mutually exclusive. A biking Vancouver city official is injured in a collision the day before he was due to open a bike lane he’d fought for. It’s not the Idaho stop, but London considers allowing cyclists to turn left (equivalent to our right) on a red; meanwhile, London’s mayor is urged to ban large trucks from key bike routes. Tesco unveils its first in-store bike shops; imagine a bike department between Produce and Dairy at your neighborhood Vons. Test riding the women’s spring-suspension model of the classic Brooks saddle. Jersey — think old, not New — narrowly avoids a mandatory helmet law for everyone, while passing it for riders under 18. A call to license all cyclists over 16 on the Isle of Man. A perfect cycle chic day on the streets of Copenhagen, brought to you by Biomega with an assist from Flying Pigeon.

Finally, it looks like Downtown’s Angels Flight funicular may finally reopen, nine years after a tragic accident killed an 89-year old man; I wonder if they’ll limit it to two bikes per car.


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