Art of transit; pre-marathon crash race edition

Photo by Mikey Wally, via Flickr creative commons.

Photo by Mikey Wally, via Flickr creative commons.

After streets are closed the morning of the Los Angeles Marathon, hundreds of cyclists take to the roads to enjoy some car-free time, led by the local Wolfpack Hustle group. The above photo was just posted to Flickr and here’s a story about the cycling event — it’s not an official thing — in today’s L.A. Times.

Metro press release on its new bike safety campaign; cyclists have legal right to take a full lane

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Let’s face it. There are only so many bike lanes in our region and there remains many places where cyclists are faced with a grim choice. They either must ride in a pebble-strewn parking lane/gutter where they have to avoid obstacles such as parked cars and garbage cans. Or they must ride in traffic lanes with vehicles that are faster than bikes and outweigh bikes by thousands of pounds.

With that in mind, here’s a news release Metro issued today on its new bike safety campaign which is more blunt than the “share the road” signs seen on many area streets. The point is this: cyclists are legally entitled to share most surface streets in California. And motorists are legally bound to pass them at a safe distance, although California law doesn’t specify an exact distance. 

Here is a good summary from the California Department of Motor Vehicles on cycling laws and guidelines:

Bicyclists:

  • Are entitled to share the road with motor vehicles.

  • Have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle and motorcycle drivers.

  • Must obey all traffic signals and stop signs.

  • Are lawfully permitted to ride on certain sections of roadway in rural areas where there is no alternate route.

  • Must ride in the same direction as other traffic, not against it.

  • Shall ride as near to the right curb or edge of the roadway as practical– not on the sidewalk.

  • Are legally allowed to ride in the center of the lane when moving at the same speed as other traffic.

  • May move left to pass a parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, animal, or avoid debris or other hazards.

  • May choose to ride near the left curb or edge of a one-way street.

  • Should ride single file on a busy or narrow street.

  • Must make left and right turns in the same way drivers do, using the same turn lanes. If the bicyclist is traveling straight ahead, he or she should use a through traffic lane rather than ride next to the curb and block traffic making right turns.

  • Must signal all their intentions to motorists and bicyclists near them.

  • Must wear a helmet if under the age of 18.

  • Should carry identification.

  • Shall not operate a bicycle on a roadway unless the bicycle is equipped with:

    • A brake which will enable the operator to make one braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

Public officials also held a photo-op Monday to help spread the word. If you’re a motorist and don’t like it, I have this gentle suggestion: perhaps you can join cyclists in calling for more bike infrastructure to be built that helps separate cyclists from vehicular traffic.

The news release:

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is launching a bold new campaign to increase bicycle safety in Los Angeles County.  The campaign, called “Every Lane is a Bike Lane … Bicyclists may need a full lane; Please share the road” will include messages on the back of 75 Metro buses, 135 billboards and spots on 21 local radio stations throughout the region.  The campaign will run between March and May, leading up to Bike Week L.A. May 13-17.

With bicycling increasing in popularity as a viable transportation mode, more biking events like CicLAvia and more new bikeways being installed on a regular basis, Metro’s extensive campaign will help raise motorist awareness that cyclists have equal rights and responsibilities to the road per the California Vehicle Code.

“The breakneck pace of bikeway construction demonstrates that Los Angeles is riding fast on its way to becoming a truly bike-friendly city,” said L.A. City Mayor Antonio Villariagosa. “As more cyclists take to our streets we need to ensure that safety and awareness are of utmost importance as our riders share the road.”

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Transportation headlines, Monday, March 18; With Expo Line coming soon, plan to transform Bergamot Station area takes step forward

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

Council moves Bergamot area plan forward (Santa Monica Patch)

Great news, me thinks. The plan will guide development on 140 acres around the future Expo Line station at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, with the Council voting last week to begin the formal environmental review process. As one city official puts it, the plan will help create a “city within a city” with new apartments, public plazas, 10 new streets and 15 new bike and pedestrian corridors. Critics fear traffic and the cars that will come from new residents but let’s face it — Santa Monica needs the housing to go with its many jobs and the area is being designed in such a way it should cut down on car trips by new and existing residents alike.

Here’s a slide from a city of Santa Monica power point released last year on the goals of the Bergamot area plan (on the map, left is north, top is east, etc.):

Designing the Districts PPT

One-way car flow on Colorado is better for traffic (Santa Monica Patch) 

Speaking of Santa Monica, city studies found that making Colorado a one-way street between Ocean Avenue and Fourth Street would not make traffic any worse. The Expo Line’s final Santa Monica station will be at Fourth and Colorado and the city is converting the street between the station and the Santa Monica Pier into an esplanade that will greatly curtail car traffic — and widen sidewalks to 55 feet on one side of the street. Gasp! Good news: so far the Earth has not ended because of such talk.

The bigger point about this item and the one above: the city of Santa Monica seems intent not just on having a new rail line, but using it to transform some public spaces badly in need of a change in direction.

Glendale infrastructure upgrades to benefit bike riders (Glendale News-Press)

City officials say they will increase the number of in-street traffic signal sensors that can detect cyclists in addition to vehicles. The city also says it’s planning miles of new bike lanes and a bike sharing program. You know what would be great? If officials from Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank and Los Angeles County got together and figured out some good bike routes between those cities. By “good” I mean “good” — not passable, not piecemeal, not bike lanes that are poorly maintained, unsafe or used for parking.

One other media note: who really knows what will happen with the proposed football stadium at L.A. Live — I don’t get any clear sense from the abundant media coverage of AEG’s announcement last week that it is no longer for sale. On the plus side, a football stadium would be near the Blue and Expo lines’ Pico station — which would get an additional platform under the stadium proposal. As for my personal opinion, I have no beef with a football stadium but I’d be more excited to hear about a baseball stadium in downtown proper — something that seems to work in many other cities around the world.

Cycling adventures in L.A. – Tweed Ride Photos

Enjoying the sunny weather!

Enjoying the sunny weather!

Photos by Jeff Thrasher

Every Tuesday, The Source will highlight some of the many adventures Angelenos have with their bikes. So don’t forget to take your camera with you before you start pedaling throughout Los Angeles!

Last week, we mentioned of the Tweed Ride presented by C.I.C.L.E., where cyclists from all across Los Angeles gathered together, sporting both vintage clothing and bicycles for a great sunny weekend ride. The event had a great turnout and was a smashing success, as evident by the many smiling mustached faces of those who partook in the ride. Continue below to see more pictures taken by our fellow cyclist, Jeff Thrasher.

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Cycling Adventures In L.A.: Tweed Ride Jan. 19

Tweed ride cyclists at Union Station

Bringing back Yesteryear: cyclists at 2009 Tweed ride which started at Union Station.

One of the funnest and most unique bike rides in L.A., the Tweed Ride is a hoot for a everyone interested in dressing up in old tymey garb and riding classic bicycles (or not). Here’s the press release for this Saturday’s ride in North Hollywood:

C.I.C.L.E. Presents: Urban Ex! Tweed, Moxie & Mustache Ride!

Dress in your finest to roll through history for C.I.C.L.E.’s North Hollywood Tweed, Moxie and Mustache Ride on Saturday, January 19th!

The ride will begin at Valley Village Park and will make two stops. The first stop will include an introduction and tour at SPARC’s The Great Wall of Los Angeles, one of Los Angeles’ true cultural landmarks. Curated by Judith Baca, the Great Wall is a half-mile long mural of the region’s vibrant history of struggle and resistance. Next, the ride will continue on to El Portal Theater, a historic landmark in the heart of North Hollywood. Originally built as a vaudeville house in 1926, this site will be a perfect photo opportunity for riders dressed in their best tweed! You won’t want to miss this exciting historic ride! C.I.C.L.E. will be raffling a New Belgium Brewing Beach Cruiser and will give out awards for best-dressed, best mustache and best hat! Please bring cash for the raffle. As with all Urban Expeditions, this ride is under 8 miles, family-friendly, and leisurely paced.

After the ride, participants are welcome to join C.I.C.L.E. for an after party at the Federal Bar in North Hollywood.

When: Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Where: Meet at Valley Village Park, 200 Westpark Drive, North Hollywood, California 91601

When: Meet at 10:00am. Ride Leaves promptly at 10:30am.

What to bring: Bring water, snack and a bicycle in good working order. This ride is FREE and open to anyone, but all participants should be able to ride a bike safely with the ability to brake, change gears, and balance while stopping and starting. All participants under 18 MUST wear a helmet and be escorted by a parent or guardian. Children under age 8 should be on a tag-a-long, bike trailer, tandem, or other safe child-carrying device to participate in the ride.

About SPARC: SPARC is a community-based non-profit arts organization founded in 1976 by muralist Judith F. Baca, filmmaker Donna Deitch, and artist Christina Schlesinger. SPARC is dedicated to producing, presenting, and preserving public artworks in Los Angeles, nationally, and internationally. SPARC remains committed to helping individual communities find their voice, giving it public expression, and to breaking down barriers both real and perceived between communities. SPARC is located in the Old Venice Police Station at 685 Venice Bl, Venice, CA 90291. For more information visit sparcmurals.org or call 310-822-9560.


Cycling adventures in L.A. – Climbing Palos Verdes

Enjoying the ocean view from Palos Verdes

Enjoying the ocean view from Palos Verdes

Photo by Jonathan Osorio

Every Tuesday, The Source will highlight some of the many adventures Angelenos have with their bikes. So don’t forget to take your camera with you before you start pedaling throughout Los Angeles!

For this week’s featured cycling adventure, we feature Jonathan and his fellow group of riders. With a total of 15 cyclists, the group began their journey from La Brea and Rodeo, and from there ventured south to Palos Verdes for a fun climb. During the journey south, the group faced cold and tough headwinds, forcing them to make a stop at Hermosa Pier for a regroup.

After regrouping, the journey continued for the 15 riders, and soon they found themselves climbing the beautiful hills of Palos Verdes, where at one point they stopped to take the amazing photo above onlooking the Pacific Ocean from a cliff. The journey was in total distance, a grand 66 miles, and even with strong winds and cold temperatures, Jonathan states, “the view at Palos Verdes was well worth the mission.”

Great ride Jonathan and thank you for sharing your adventure!

Want to submit your own cycling adventure in Los Angeles County? Email us the photo at sourcemetro@gmail.comtweet us @BikeMetro or post the photo to our Flickr group (in the description please give us permission to use it on The Source) — we’re especially interested in adventures that involve using transit for part of the journey. Safe Riding!

New Metro Rail Posters Appeal to Bicyclist Etiquette

New Metro posters urge cyclists to stay with their bikes in the designated area and do not block train doors or aisles.

New Metro posters urge cyclists to stay with their bikes in the designated area and do not block train doors or aisles.

L.A.’s bicycle community may remember that last year Metro made good on a promise to remove seats from Metro trains to make more room for cyclists, as well as people with strollers or luggage. Metro added the gold decals on train doors and inside the train to help guide riders to these areas.

There is also a separate area to accommodate wheelchairs. People with or without large items standing in the wheelchair area are expected to move and make room if a person in a wheelchair enters the train.

This year Metro is introducing some cyclist etiquette guidelines that will help keep all transit riders safe on Metro Rail. Messages shown on the poster above or on passenger message boards at station platforms have started to appear systemwide.

With more passengers coming onboard with bicycles, strollers and luggage, it’s more important than ever for riders to peacefully and safely co-exist. Metro’s customer relations department receives complaints of all sorts, but complaints related to bike riders can be more easily resolved if cyclists keep a few common sense precautions in mind:

  • Use the designated area. One of the biggest breaches of bicycle etiquette on trains is likely to be a bicyclist who does not use the designated areas, leaves his/her bike and sits down, or blocks doors and aisleways. Another common practice is to enter through a door not designated for large items. Look for the train door that has the gold bike/stoller/luggage decal. Enter that door and go directly to the designated area. Do not block the area for wheelchair riders.  They have priority in their space. Maintain control of your bike at all times and take care not to brush it against other passengers. Do not use a kickstand. Keep your bike as clean as possible.
  • Bikes are allowed on trains if there is room. If all designated bike spaces are full or the train is too crowded to board safely, especially during rush hours, please wait for the next train. Other options are taking your trip before or after rush hour, parking your bike at the station or using a compact folding bike.
  • Always walk your bike in station areas, transit centers and pedestrian corridors.
  •  Use the elevators rather than the escalators. It has happened – people have lost control of their bicycle on an escalator.

Check out this Metro CicLAvia video to see a demonstration from Miss Traffic on the use of bicycles on Metro Rail.


Cycling adventures in L.A. – New Year’s Eve Group Ride

Posing in front of the USS Iowa

Posing in front of the USS Iowa

Photo by Khoren Edward Mirzakhanian

Every Tuesday, The Source will highlight some of the many adventures Angelenos have with their bikes. So don’t forget to take your camera with you before you start pedaling throughout Los Angeles!

For this week, we share a photo by Khoren, who took part in a large group ride on New Year’s Eve with two of top Los Angeles based cycling groups: Wolfpack Hustle and Cyclones. The ride started around downtown Los Angeles and stopped at San Pedro, where the group posed in front of the USS Iowa before heading to the nearby San Pedro Fish Market to grab a well deserved lunch. Yum! What a way to start the new year!

Want to submit your own cycling adventure in Los Angeles County? Email us the photo at sourcemetro@gmail.comtweet us @BikeMetro or post the photo to our Flickr group (in the description please give us permission to use it on The Source) — we’re especially interested in adventures that involve using transit for part of the journey. Safe Riding!

Bike along the Orange Line for Sunday Funday with Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition

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The first LACBC Sunday Funday bike ride of 2013 parallels the Metro Orange Line. The 40-mile ride will take you along sights such as the Great Wall of Los Angeles, the Encino Velodrome, the Munch Box and more. Meet up at the Metro Red Line North Hollywood Station at 8:30 a.m. on January 6 for the ride out at 9 a.m. Bikes are allowed on all Metro buses and trains.

Sunday Funday rides are free to LACBC members and one guest. So bike for free by getting yourself invited as a guest, sign up for membership online or become a member at the ride for a discounted price.

Cycling: An addiction I won’t quit for the new year

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I’ll just come out and say it. One of my goals for 2013 is to bike 10,000 miles before this year comes to an end, which is almost double the distance of what I rode in 2012. Tommy Godwin, an English cyclist rode 75,065 miles in 1939, so I don’t think my goal is impossible. Of course, I’m no record-breaking Tommy Godwin, but I am — like him — a cyclist passionate about riding bikes.

Comically, some of those around me question such a goal. If you had approached and asked me two years ago what word would best describe me, ‘cyclist’ would have been the last answer I would have given. Back then, never in my wildest dream would I have imagined identifying myself as a cyclist, let alone riding in tight spandex, climbing up the freezing mountains of Santa Monica or the hills of Palos Verdes with other cyclists at seven in the morning on a Sunday. But here I am today, doing just that.

What in the world happened?

Well, what happened was I put my legs over a bike, rode it, and became addicted – badly.

Maybe it was the natural high from my body releasing endorphins during rides, the loving and supportive members of the cycling community whom I’ve come to respect and love, or the growing appreciation I now had for the beautiful culture behind cycling that had me addicted. Whatever it was, I was hooked.

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Hooked to the point where I found myself feeling irritable and agitated when I was unable to ride – loathing at the thought of going even a day without being on the bike. Hooked also to the point where the first thought that entered my head shortly after waking up was: a bike ride sounds good this morning.

It was a serious love affair with the bicycle.

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