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In brief: Bike speed limit for bridge decried

Sun., April 24, 2011

San Francisco – Plans to put the brakes on bicyclists riding across the Golden Gate Bridge has cycling enthusiasts crying foul in this urban center of two-wheeled activism.

Hundreds of commuters, residents and tourists ride the bridge’s stately span each day, and occasionally there is a smash-up when bikers run into one another or collide with tourists drinking in the views. Still, the city was taken by surprise last week when bridge officials proposed speed limits as a way to reduce the accident rate on San Francisco’s signature landmark.

The initial plan would hit riders with a $100 fine if they don’t slow to 5 mph around the bridge’s iron towers, or 10 mph along the bulk of the 1.2-mile span. There is currently no speed limit. Authorities say some riders have been clocked going more than 20 mph.

But after groups of pedalers raised sharp critiques, the bridge’s board of directors decided to postpone a vote on the limits to allow public debate.

“Five miles per hour is definitely slower than I would ever go,” said Uri Friedman, a manager at Pedal Revolution, a nonprofit bike shop in San Francisco’s Mission District. “This just kind of penalizes someone who knows how to ride their bike.”

Mortenson cancels Massachusetts talk

Boston – Best-selling author and philanthropist Greg Mortenson, hospitalized for heart surgery, canceled a scheduled appearance in Massachusetts, a group sponsoring the event said.

Mortenson is the subject of recent media allegations of financial mismanagement and literary fraud, and Montana’s attorney general has launched an inquiry into a charity run by Mortenson.

Officials with the Massachusetts Conference United Church of Christ, a group sponsoring the May 3 event, said in a statement that they were told Mortenson was having surgery in Bozeman, Mont., to repair a hole in his heart and couldn’t make the Worcester speech.

Mortenson is co-author of “Three Cups of Tea.” CBS’ “60 Minutes” and author Jon Krakauer reported that Mortenson lied about events in several parts of his book and may have financially benefited from money donated to his charity to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.


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