How to get a taste of South Pasadena on two wheels Tonight



A “Taste of South Pasadena” bike ride will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, starting at the Mission Street Gold Line Station, next to Mission and Meridian avenues.

Metro, in collaboration with South Pasadena, BikeSGV and ELP Advisors, is hosting this family and beginner friendly ride on a two-mile route with pit stops at local eateries for food samples, special raffle prizes from South Pasadena businesses, and a free bike valet at the Farmer’s Market.

Participants are asked to use bike lights as the ride will finish after dark; state law requires bicyclists to use at least a front light and red rear reflector. A limited number of LED bike lights will be available for sale at the start of the ride for about $10 to $15.

A helmet is required for anyone under 18. Children ages 15 and younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Bikes with training wheels are not permitted, but children are welcome to attend if pulled in a trailer or on-bike child seat.

The event will also be a soft launch for a Bicycle Friendly Business District pilot project in the San Gabriel Valley. To learn more about the project, get updates, or sign up as a business participant, visit


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Commute by cycle? Keep an eye out for free bike lights this winter


Starting Tuesday, the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition is handing out free bike lights to commuters who are going without.

The project, called “Operation Firefly,” aims to equip bikers throughout the city with lights during the winter season where longer nights may mean more cycling in the dark.

A team of volunteers will head to undisclosed locations from now through early March in order to reach those who use their bike as their main form of transportation. Around 3,500 lights will be given out this season.

“We’re trying to get these lights to the people who really need them, and we found the best way to do that is not to tell anybody we’re coming,” said Dana Variano, communications director at the Coalition.

But for one night, cyclists are given a heads up on where to grab some lights: The project’s kickoff event on Tuesday night will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. at the intersection of Sepulveda Boulevard and the Orange Line bike path.

The reason most lightless bikers keep commuting without them, Variano said, is because theirs were stolen, they stopped working or it just isn’t a priority in their expenses.

Regardless, Variano warns all bikers and drivers to be extra alert when on the road.


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California Bicycle Laws



The California Vehicle Code contains the state laws that specify where and how bikes must operate. For the most part, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers. (CVC 21200).

There are some specific rules. Below, for your benefit, we summarize the key sections of the law that relate to cycling.



If you’re moving as fast as traffic, you can ride wherever you want.

If you’re moving slower than traffic, you can still “take the lane.” The law says that people who ride bikes must ride as close to the right side of the road as practicable except under the following conditions: when passing, preparing for a left turn, avoiding hazards, if the lane is too narrow to share, or if approaching a place where a right turn is authorized. CVC 21202.  Unfortunately, some motorists and even police don’t understand cyclists’ right to “take the lane.” If you have a legal problem based on this understanding, consider calling one of the bike-friendly lawyers we identify on our “Crash Help” page.

Use the bicycle lane. On a roadway with a bike lane, bicyclists traveling slower than traffic must use the bike lane except when making a left turn, passing, avoiding hazardous conditions, or approaching a place where a right turn is authorized. CVC 21208

Ride with traffic. Bicyclists must travel on the right side of the roadway in the direction of traffic, except when passing, making a legal left turn, riding on a one-way street, riding on a road that is too narrow, or when the right side of the road is closed due to road construction. CVC 21650

Mopeds and high-speed electric bikes are not like regular bikes. Gas-powered bicycles and type 3 electric bicycles (with top assisted speeds of 28 mph) may not be used on trails or bike paths or lanes unless allowed by local authorities. They may be used in bike lanes or separated bikeways adjacent to the roadway. CVC 21207.5  They require helmets and may not be operated by people under age 16.

Low-speed electric bicycles are almost like regular bikes. Type 1 and 2 electric bicycles (with top assisted speeds of 20 mph) are allowed wherever regular bikes are allowed unless a sign specifically prohibits electric bicycles.

Bike path obstruction: No one may stop on or park a bicycle on a bicycle path. CVC 21211

Sidewalks: Individual cities and counties control whether bicyclists may ride on sidewalks.  CVC 21206

Freeways: Bicycles (including motorized bicycles) may not be ridden on freeways and expressways where doing so is prohibited by the California Department of Transportation and local authorities. CVC 21960

Toll bridges: Bicyclists may not cross a toll bridge unless permitted to do so by the California Department of Transportation. CVC 23330


Brakes: Bicycles must be equipped with a brake that allows an operator to execute a one-braked-wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement. CVC 21201(a)

Handlebars: Handlebars must not be higher than the rider’s shoulders. CVC 21201(b)

Bicycle size: Bicycles must be small enough for the rider to stop, support it with one foot on the ground, and start safely. CVC 21201(c)

Lights: At night a white headlight visible from the front must be attached to the bicycle or the bicyclist. CVC 21201(d) and CVC 21201(e)

Reflectors: At night bicycles must have the following reflectors:

  • Visible from the back: red reflector. You may attach a solid or flashing red rear light in addition to the reflector.
  • Visible from the front & back: white or yellow reflector on each pedal or on the bicyclist’s shoes or ankles
  • Visible from the side: 1) white or yellow reflector on the front half of the bicycle and 2) a red or white reflector on each side of the back half of the bike. These reflectors are not required if the bike has reflectorized front and back tires. CVC 21201(d)

Seats: All riders must have a permanent, regular seat, unless the bicycle is designed by the manufacturer to be ridden without a seat. Bicycle passengers weighing less than 40 lbs. must have a seat which retains them in place and protects them from moving parts. CVC 21204


Helmets: Bicyclists and bicycle passengers under age 18 must wear an approved helmet when riding on a bicycle. CVC 21212

Head phones: Bicyclists may not wear earplugs in both ears or a headset covering both ears. Hearing aids are allowed. CVC 27400

Cell phones: Unlike motorists, cyclists are permitted to use a handheld cell phone while riding. Be careful!

Alcohol and drugs: Bicyclists may not ride while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. CVC 21200.5

Hitching rides: Bicyclists may not hitch rides on vehicles. CVC 21203

Carrying articles: Bicyclists may not carry items which keep them from using at least one hand upon the handlebars. CVC 21205

Pedestrians: Bicyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within marked crosswalks or within unmarked crosswalks at intersections. Bicyclists must also yield the right-of-way to totally or partially blind pedestrians carrying a predominantly white cane or using a guide dog. CVC 21950 and CVC 21963

Parking: Bicyclists may not leave bicycles on their sides on the sidewalk or park bicycles in a manner which obstructs pedestrians. CVC 21210


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Can new trains, busways and bike lanes end Southern California gridlock?



In a meeting in Pasadena meant to discuss solutions to Southern California’s traffic woes, state politicians kept returning to the problems at hand, also known as the 5, 10, 15, 101, 210 and the 405 freeways — among others.

Once functioning, flowing freeways have become time wasters and stress producers. Participants at an Assembly committee hearing on Thursday had few answers for fixing the jammed freeways. One said what you see is what you will get — even after the passage of SB1, a statewide gasoline and car tax increase that went into effect Wednesday..

“The highway system we have today is likely what we’ll have for the next 30 years or even 100 years,” said Duarte City Councilman and Metro board member John Fasana.

Chairman of the Select Committee on Regional Transportation Solutions, Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, called for “21st Century” solutions — except autonomous cars and the gig economy’s solution — ridesharing services — are often not part of the plan.

But even more traditional alternatives to solo driving, such as dedicated bus lanes, rail lines, bike lanes and carpools can add more problems to a complex dynamic consisting of freeways which hardly move and people who do — usually farther away from job centers in a quest for affordable housing.

Even when such transit solutions aimed at getting cars off the freeways are built, they can raise new issues in a transportation world that’s changing.

The law of unintended consequences

San Diego added a dedicated rapid bus from San Diego State University to downtown. “What we hadn’t really thought through was how to connect people to those transit stations,” acknowledged Coleen Clementson, principal regional planner for San Diego Associated Governments.

Because San Diego transportation authorities did not plan for ridesharing services, Uber and Lyft drivers use train depots and bus stops to pickup and drop off passengers, she said.

The problem, known as first mile/last mile, has plagued many of the new light-rail lines in Los Angeles, Santa Monica and the San Gabriel Valley. People can’t get to the stations because they are too far away. Without convenience, no one will give up their car.


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Bicyclists with traffic tickets can now get their fines waived at Southern California’s first bicycle traffic safety school in El Monte



Maria Valenzuela rode her beat-up stingray bike down the empty sidewalk along Valley Boulevard in downtown El Monte on Tuesday. She crossed the street at the light and continued on the other sidewalk into the shopping center, eventually parking her bike in front of the 99 Cents Only Store.

When asked if she knew that riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is illegal in the city of El Monte, she said no.

“Where do I ride?” she asked with a shrug.

Fines same as for driving

Although Valenzuela did not get a ticket that day, many others have received tickets for sidewalk riding, as well as running stop signs, not stopping at red lights, having poor brakes and other infractions — even speeding.

Bicycle citations are treated the same as driving tickets by the courts. The fines are the same. For example, a stop sign violation can cost $200 and running a red light costs as much as $400. If you don’t pay them, the consequences could lead to garnishing wages or jail time.

But while Southern California drivers can get their citations expunged and the fines dropped if they complete traffic school, until this past March, there was no such option for people ticketed on bicycles or other non-motorized vehicles. Without exception, they paid the full cost, both fines and court fees, which can amount to several hundred dollars.

After getting calls from bicyclists saying they couldn’t afford to pay their tickets, representatives from Bike San Gabriel Valley — an El Monte-based nonprofit promoting bike-friendly streets — met with Superior Court Judge Daniel Lopez. Through a grant from Metro and a green light from the state Legislature, they formed the first bicycle traffic school in Southern California.


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Phils Gaimon’s Worst Retirement Ever, Episode 9 – Mt. Evans Hillclimb

Phil takes on the legendary Mt. Evans Hillclimb, with some help from his friends.

Which Bike Lanes Should Be Protected? New Guide Offers Specifics



Say this for conventional bike lanes: they’re easy. Building protected bike lanes takes real work.

Maybe that’s why, since U.S. cities started building modern protected bike lanes 10 years ago, one seemingly simple question has come up more than maybe any other: Which streets need them?

It’s impossible to answer that question perfectly, and most U.S. road design institutions haven’t tried. Until now.

At its annual conference Tuesday in Chicago, the National Association of City Transportation Officials released a free 16-page document that makes one of the first comprehensive attempts to answer that question.

In advance of NACTO’s full digital rollout (coming in a couple of weeks), we’ve got a sneak peek at the contents.


That’s a chart designed to take the basic traits any street — auto speed, traffic volume, lane count — and spit out a recommendation of what sort of bike lane the street should have to create the sort of low-stress riding experience that gets people of “all ages and abilities” — eight-year-olds, 80-year-olds, bike-sharing tourists — on bikes.

Got a two-lane, two-way 25 mph street that carries 4,000 autos per day? According to NACTO, a buffered bike lane will do. But if the traffic speed is 30 mph, it’s time to protect the bike lane with a curb, posts or planters.

Many city agencies have already put together their own internal guidance for questions like this, and NACTO’s guidance here is on the stringent end of the spectrum. For example, the PeopleForBikes Bicycle Network Analysis considers a conventional striped bike lane to be “low-stress” if there’s no curbside parking and speeds are less than 30 mph.

NACTO, though, is holding its recommendation to a higher standard, and that’s fine. “All ages and abilities” is, after all, a higher bar for a bike lane than simply “low stress.”


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‘Idaho stop’ may soon be legal throughout California



A variation of what’s commonly known as the “Idaho stop” – the law that allows bicyclists in that state to treat a stop sign as a yield sign – may soon become legal in California.

The California State Legislature will consider a bipartisan bill, AB 1103, in January that would permit bicyclists to treat stop signs as yields.

But it’s not exactly like the Idaho stop. That law defines the rules for stop signs and red lights slightly differently for a bike than for a motor vehicle. First, a cyclist may treat a stop sign as a yield sign: yield to anyone who has the right of way but not necessarily come to a complete stop. Second, a cyclist may treat a red light as a stop sign: proceed through a red light after coming to a complete stop if the coast is clear. These laws have been in place since 1982. Bicycle collisions decreased by 14.5 percent after they took effect, and today Boise has fewer bike crashes than comparable California cities.

AB 1103 does not include the second part of the Idaho law.

Regardless, every cycling organization I am aware of supports the California bill. However, there also is a lot of organized opposition to it.

The intent of the law is to allow a cyclist to clear an intersection more quickly, increasing his or her safety and facilitating smooth motor vehicle flow, by acknowledging the physical differences between riding a bike and driving a car. The counterarguments are fairness (cyclists should follow the same rules as everyone else) and safety (fear that cyclists will use the law as an excuse for blowing through intersections dangerously).


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California ranks third among bike-friendly states

October 25, 2017


Today, the League of American Bicyclists released its 2017 Bicycle Friendly State ranking. This ranking provides report cards for all 50 states to help you understand efforts related to making a Bicycle Friendly America in each state.

Click Here For Listing

MyFigueroa Completion Pushed Back to Spring 2018


MyFigueroa, the $20-million streetscape improvement project stretching between Exposition Park and Downtown Los Angeles, is now targeting completion in Spring 2018.

The project – which includes a four-mile stretch of Figueroa Street, as well as segments of 11th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard – will implement new features such as protected bike lanes, expanded sidewalks, new seating and landscaping, high-visibility crosswalks and island bus platforms.

Though originally scheduled to break ground in Summer 2016, the start of construction for MyFigueroa was delayed until well into October.  Likewise, the project’s anticipated completion has also been pushed back incrementally, with weather-related delays blamed for a work slow-down in late 2016.  Previously slated to open in early 2017, the City announced in March that completion was had been pushed back to September.  By August, with little apparent progress, it was announced that the new bike lanes and safety enhancements would open in early 2018.  The latest announcement now refines the expected completion date to this coming Spring.

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