The Monday Roundup

The bikes won! (see first item for explanation)

Here’s the bike news from around the world that caught our eye this week:

– First, the fun news. LA’s much hyped freeway closure this weekend resulted in traffic free streets throughout the city — and a friendly, ad hoc race between contestants traveling across the city via plane and bicycle. The two wheeled racers won by nearly an hour and a half, followed closely by a transit rider who and then by a rollerblader who had joined the race at the last minute. This is all over the web. Read the tweets that started it here, the live-updated tale of the event here, a recap from the transit rider here, and an erudite recap and commentary here.

– Now for the bad news. In Marietta, Georgia, a woman whose child was killed in a hit and run by an impaired driver as they crossed the street has been convicted of vehicular homicide and may serve jail time — because they were not crossing in a crosswalk, though that stretch of road has no crosswalk in sight.

– Back in Los Angeles, the city’s proposed anti-harassment ordinance intended to make bicycling safer is gaining momentum, as is an ordinance that would create more and better bike parking.

– Toronto’s city council has voted to remove a bike lane from a major street and plans instead to install separated bike infrastructure elsewhere. (Anyone want to buy a lightly used bike lane, cheap?)

– Advocates in Virginia want bicycle rights written into the DMV manual and driver education.

A New Yorker looks to Europe and tries to suss out why her city doesn’t fully embrace bicycling.

– In Cleveland, Ohio, the city’s growing bicycle movement now includes a bike tour company with a fleet of rental bikes.

– In Springfield, Illinois, Critical Mass gets praise.

– In New Haven, Connecticut, a free, social breakfast for morning commuters on the city’s main bike route has been running for five years.

– In Portland, a parable plays out about the consequences of tying bicycling with quality of life messages at the same time as gentrification is uprooting many communities.

– In London, the stereotype that bike sharing is only for wealthy, middle-aged white men is disputed by advocates who say most of the attendees of the city’s free classes for new bicyclists are young, immigrant women.

– A demographic look at who commutes how, where, and why.

– When a press car ran two Tour de France contestants off the road, injuring them, a U.S. sports commentator insisted repeatedly that the crash made him laugh, and then apologized but not really.

– A collection of excellent and terrible bike commute stories, for your browsing pleasure.

– And finally: Why Bicycle Quarterly isn’t a blog.

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Elly Blue (Columnist)

Elly Blue has been writing about bicycling and carfree issues for BikePortland.org since 2006. Find her at http://takingthelane.com

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9watts
9watts
12 years ago

The article about the Georgia hit and run was terribly written (and shocking, of course). I wonder if there’s any other coverage one might consult?

sabernar
sabernar
12 years ago
Reply to  9watts

I used to live in Atlanta. Pretty much everything in the AJC is poorly written.

Evan
Evan
12 years ago

Hey Michael Smith-
I saw that video of your wife and kid walking on a sidewalk when they were mowed down by a car. I laughed my ass off! Seriously, how could any reasonable person think that is funny? How do these knuckledragger American sports commentators think it’s funny when a person doing any sport not ending in -ball is appropriate fodder for laughs?

LADOT Bike Blog
12 years ago

Thanks for helping us spread the word about the bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

kgb
kgb
12 years ago

ESPN is a joke. They think that golf and poker are sports.

9watts
9watts
12 years ago

I found some more info in the comments on the Streetsblog link:

Some more background information on the incident from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://www.ajc.com/news/jaywal

On April 10, she and her three children — Tyler, 9, A.J., 4, and Lauryn, 3 — went shopping because the next day was Nelson’s birthday. They had pizza, went to Wal-Mart and missed a bus, putting them an hour late getting home. Nelson, a student at Kennesaw State University, said she never expected to be out after dark, especially with the children.

When the Cobb County Transit bus finally stopped directly across from Somerpoint Apartments, night had fallen. She and the children crossed two lanes and waited with other passengers on the raised median for a break in traffic. The nearest crosswalks were three-tenths of a mile in either direction, and Nelson wanted to get her children inside as soon as possible. A.J. carried a plastic bag holding a goldfish they’d purchased.

“One girl ran across the street,” Nelson said. “For some odd reason, I guess he saw the girl and decided to run out behind her. I said, ‘Stop, A.J.,’ and he was in the middle of the street so I said keep going. That’s when we all got hit.”

and another comment:
There is a bus stop on Austell Road just a block north of the intersection with Austell Circle but on the other side of the street. There is no legal (crosswalked) way for a pedestrian who resides on Austell Circle to get to this southbound bus stop without walking (literally) a mile. This is clearly a case of neglect to the DOT.

wsbob
12 years ago
Reply to  9watts

I’ve never thought about the idea that a vehicular homicide law might be able, to cover possible negligence on the part of a person on foot, that led to the death, by someone else that was driving a motor vehicle…of another person on foot.

People on foot do have an obligation to cross the street safely. With the limited info available about the mother in the comments 9watts excerpted (the link did not take me to those comments.), it’s hard to be very sure she wasn’t actually attempting to cross safely. Sounds like the kind of confusion that can happen to a mom and kids after a long, busy day. The judgment seems harsh. Maybe more info about the situation would change that picture.

The driver in this incident has an alarming history of bad driving instances, and it’s questionable whether he should be driving at all. From the AJC story, here’s an excerpt describing just part of his possible incompetency to be driving a motor vehicle:

“…Guy confessed to having consumed “a little” alcohol earlier in the day, being prescribed pain medication and being partially blind in his left eye, said David Simpson, his attorney. …” AJC

The story goes on to detail Guy’s past history of hit and runs, one of them on the very same road 15 years prior.

http://www.ajc.com/news/cobb/pedestrian-convicted-of-vehicular-1014879.html

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
12 years ago

The 405 Closure really demonstrates that LA is long overdue for several Harbor Drive/Rose City Freeway style redesigns. Though their Metro really needs to fix the transit system. People don’t care that LA County is huge, they don’t want to spend five hours to go Sylmar to San Dimas, and nobody can really blame them. It’s really not that huge of a distance for a metro area that size, there’s little excuse for a region to be that invested in infrastructure and not be more multimodal yet.

The other good news that was a pleasant surprise and shows a glimmer of hope for LA yet was the new harassment law. That’s just plain long overdue down there, you can’t even ride on residential side streets, rat-running through neighborhoods without having to deal with a sunbaked motorist buzzing your back wheel with their bumper….

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
12 years ago

A recent Google Plus thread made mention of the net harm gentrification does to a city overall, even if it does get one thing right.