San Diego woman killed by alleged road raging, DUI hit-and-run driver

Sadly, a well-loved San Diego woman has died a day after she was struck by a hit-and-run driver in Mission Beach.

Sixty-nine-year old Maruta Gardner had reportedly gotten off her three-wheeled bike to remove some graffiti at the entrance to the jetty at 800 San Diego Place around 5:45 pm Friday, when an alleged road raging driver sped around to the right of another car, driving on the shoulder and slamming into Gardner.

She was hospitalized with a skull fracture and life threatening injuries, and passed away before 11 am Saturday.

The 23-year old driver, who has not been publicly identified, reportedly got out of his car to check the damage, and paused to look at Gardner before getting back into his car and speeding away. He was stopped by police a short distance later and was arrested suspicion of driving under the influence.

A retired educator, Gardner was well-loved within the local community, and recognized forgoing out of her way to help make it a better place. She had been honored by the city council last November for her years of service to the city.

She made a habit of riding her tricycle along the beach looking for graffiti with cleaning materials in tow.

Friday, it cost Gardner her life.

This is the 15th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in San Diego County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Maruta Gardner and all her loved ones.

Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up.

 

Weekend Links: App for air pressure, new book from former NYDOT commish, and a tack attack on PCH

Mike Wilkinson sends word that you’re probably riding on the wrong tire pressure.

A lot of people do not have the right tire pressures on their bike. If your bicycle tire pressure is too low, your bike will handle poorly, you’re more likely to get a flat, and it will be harder to pedal. If it’s too high, the ride will be rough without really improving efficiency. What’s the sweet spot?

In 2007 Bicycle Quarterly published an article that recommended setting the pressure so the tire would compress 15% when loaded. That’s hard to measure, but never fear… an app is here!

The app (sorry, Android only) is available from Amazon and Google Play. The cost is $2.50. It has some handy preconfigured options and a custom option.

Entering the numbers for my go-fast road bike, I was surprised at how much the app wanted me to lower my tire pressure. I was happy to see that I had the recommended pressure in the front tire of our tandem, but the app said I should put a lot more air in the rear tire.

It’s great fun for bike geeks like me, and it might give you a better ride for less effort!

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Looking forward to reading this new book by former New York DOT Commissioner Samuel I. Schwartz, head of Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants and the man credited with coining the term gridlock.

So far, I’ve only made it through the prologue and first chapter as I rode home on the subway the other night, and already learned more than I knew before about how we got into this auto-centric mess we’re in, and how we can get out of it.

Schwartz-Book

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Streetsblog’s Joe Linton recaps Thursday’s meeting of the Planning Commission, which voted unanimously to keep Westwood Blvd and Central Ave in the LA Mobility Plan.

Wrong though he may be, at least Paul Koretz had the guts to show up in person to argue against the bike lanes on Westwood; fellow Councilmembers Curren Price and Gil Cedillo sent their staff to do their dirty work.

And the Wave newspaper reports on the protest against Price’s attempts to kill the bike lanes on Central Ave.

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Next time you fly Delta, you can see their Sky Magazine’s report on LA’s efforts to shed its reputation as the car capital of the world and become bike and pedestrian friendly.

Or you could just read about it here.

Thanks to the LACBC for the link.

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Be careful riding on PCH in Malibu, where someone has reportedly been sabotaging the roadway with tacks.

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Just a few new events we haven’t mentioned yet.

Greg Laemmle is hosting a moderately paced President’s Day Ride to visit streets and sites named after them.

CiclaValey invites you to come out for the Connect the Dots Great Streets event on Van Nuys Blvd next weekend, where he’ll be talking bikes and taking part in the Tour de Van Nuys.

Registration is now open for the 2016 Honor Ride Bear Claw in Simi Valley this April to raise funds for Ride 2 Recovery to help rehabilitate wounded vets.

The Los Angeles Bike Festival has put out a call for artists to participate in the May event.

And don’t forget today’s 7th annual Ride For Love.

Ride For Love

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Local

LA County opens the new Milton Street Park along the Ballona Creek bike path; the park will be a stop on a planned 13-mile trail connecting the Baldwin Hills to the beach.

Glendale approves a new 1.3-mile green bike lane on Sonora Avenue.

Long Beach’s Alamitos Ave will be getting a road diet and other improvements to make it safer for cyclists, pedestrians and other humans.

 

State

Laguna Beach votes to upgrade the Top of the World bike and pedestrian trail.

Irvine-based Pedego Electric Bikes introduces an e-foldie.

A San Diego woman who rides her bike to look for and paint over graffiti in Mission Beach was badly injured in a hit-and-run; police are questioning a person of interest in the case.

San Diego considers a proposal for a half-cent sales tax increase to raise $18 billion for road and transit projects — with less than $400 million set aside for bike and other active transportation projects.

A 67-year old bike rider was seriously injured in a collision in Ventura when he reportedly turned left into the path of a car traveling in the same direction. Thanks to Melissa Pamer for the heads-up.

Police find the badly damaged car they believe killed a San Jose cyclist in a hit-and-run early Friday, though the driver was nowhere to be found; a bottle in the back suggested he or she may have been drinking.

A Dublin lawyer who got a sweetheart deal from an overly lenient judge after killing a cyclist in a hit-and-run could face a year in jail after testing positive for coke while on probation.

A St. Helena council committee votes to move forward with a bike lane that will require the loss of 14 parking spaces in front of a senior center.

 

National

Bad news for racing fans, as Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge won’t take place this year; organizers hope to regroup under new ownership for 2017.

Corpus Christi TX recommends a 290-mile bike network, created in large part by moving cyclists onto widened sidewalks.

Elgin IL cops out by deciding to install sharrows to meet a requirement to include bike lanes in a street makeover so they can get a $2 million federal grant.

Akron OH proposes reimagining the city’s overbuilt streets as walkable, bikeable parkways. Be nice to see some of those approaches used here.

Chattanooga TN is named one of seven US cities where people can retire in “bicycling bliss.” My hometown is one of the other six.

 

International

A British Columbia man is suing his parents over a mountain bike crash that left him paralyzed as a teenager, in order to protect them from the muddled world of insurance law.

Someone continues to booby trap trails in a UK wood by placing camouflaged logs on blind corners to keep cyclists from using them; it may be the same person who has been attempting to poison dogs with adulterated food.

A London physician has ridden his bike through 73 countries on six continents to treat patients, surviving a broken leg, robbery, stabbing and dengue fever in the process.

A Manila bicyclist calls for protected bike lanes to save lives in a city that averages 125 bicycling fatalities a year, despite being less than half the size of Los Angeles.

 

Finally…

Yes, going carless can be sexy. According to this sign, keep the rubber side up.

And just what the Corgi needs, a Japanese bike designed solely to take your dog with you.

 

Morning Links: Planning Comm preserves Mobility Plan, PV bike lanes threatened, and register for River Ride

It looks like cooler and wiser heads prevailed.

Despite calls from representatives of three city councilmembers — Koretz, Price and Cedillo — for removing bike lanes planned for Westwood Blvd and Central Ave from the LA Mobility Plan, the city Planning Commission voted against removing them Thursday morning.

Or as LAist put it, bike haters failed to stop bike lanes from coming to Westwood and South LA.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they will actually be built.

As the head of the commission explained, the plan is an “aspirational document,” and there will be many public processes that will have to be completed before anything is painted on the streets. Which means those bike haters will have plenty more opportunities to derail them, starting with a hearing before the city council, on a date to be determined, which will consider the same amendments voted down by the commission.

But it’s a big win. And one that could mean safer streets, and a more complete bike network.

Someday.

Meanwhile, a writer for UCLA’s Daily Bruin came out strongly in favor of bike lanes on Westwood Blvd, saying ignorance is unsafe, irresponsible and completely inappropriate when forming transportation policy in Los Angeles; the paper also asks students whether the street is safe for cyclists.

However, Councilmember Paul Koretz vowed the day before the meeting to keep on fighting against bike lanes on the boulevard, promising to move them to some other, undetermined safer street. Which, like OJ and the hunt for the real killers, he apparently still hasn’t been able to find, despite years of searching.

Councilmember Curren Price explained his opposition to bike lanes on Central Ave, even though people in South LA demanded he change his mind.

And BikinginLA sponsor Josh Cohen wrote a detailed and insightful letter calling on the Planning Commission to keep the Mobility Plan intact; even though the vote is over, it’s worth taking a few moments to read.

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Next Tuesday, Rancho Palos Verdes will consider a request by the Terranea resort to replace the required bike lanes with sharrows.

The City Council will conduct a public hearing on Tuesday, February 16, 2016, at 7 p.m. at Hesse Park Community Building, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes, to consider Terranea’s request to amend the Council-adopted Conditions of Approval to:

1) Restripe the entry driveway to create two inbound lanes and one outbound lane by replacing the required bicycle lanes with sharrow lanes (shared vehicle and bicycle lane) with no modification to the required parking spaces along the outbound lane; and,

2) Replace the turf at the Meadow Lawn area (adjacent to the ballroom facilities) with permeable pavers to facilitate the current practice of installing temporary tents in this area in connection with the ballrooms.

Thanks to Steve Herbert for the heads-up.

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Registration is now open for this year’s 16th Annual LA River Ride, which remains one of the most popular rides in the LA area. The ride raises funds to support the LACBC, which in turn, benefits everyone who rides in LA County.

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When you’re the stoker on a tandem — or maybe the Rear Admiral, of you prefer — you spend the whole ride staring at the butt ahead of you. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

Evidently, that hasn’t been a problem for Melba and Aubrey Provost, though, since they’ve been riding together since 1959.

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Pro riders says more invasive testing is warranted to detect motor-doping.

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Local

An Eastside community activist says we need to know how the demographics of bike riders who commute on North Figueroa compare with the demographics of the neighborhood before making a decision on whether bike lanes belong on the street. Even though I’ve never heard of that being taken into account before any traffic lane gets built, anywhere.

CiclaValley says the Marathon Crash Ride is back once again this year before Sunday’s LA Marathon; a Facebook page says keep the pace at a slow cruise and watch out for cars, people and equipment on the course.

Hermosa Beach plans to install bollards to keep cars off the bike and pedestrian-only Strand, after discovering Google sometimes directs motorists onto it; however, they note the bollards may not be enough to keep drunk drivers off the walkway.

 

State

A father and son severely beat a Huntington Beach cop who tried to stop the younger man on suspicion of biking under the influence, and was ambushed by the father. Fortunately, the officer is okay; both father and son have had previous run-ins with the police.

San Diego police recover the Vietnamese pedicab that was stolen just before the lunar New Year.

Prosecutors have dropped charges against an accused drunk driver four years after he killed a neurosurgeon who was riding his bike in Indian Wells; prosecutors reportedly plan to refile the charges after they had been unable to amend them.

The recent road rage epidemic moves to the Bay Area, as a hit-and-run driver dragged a screaming cyclist down the street with the bike trapped under the car.

Advice on how to bike in the rain in San Francisco works just as well in LA. El Niño is still lurking out there somewhere, and this pseudo-summer weather won’t last forever.

Berkeley advocates call on the city to extend bike lanes another two blocks after a UC professor riding her bike was nearly killed by an allegedly stoned driver.

 

National

Turns out Millennials aren’t the only ones driving less.

People for Bikes looks at how bicycles fare in President Obama’s final proposed budget.

Bicycling says you probably don’t have to worry about the degenerative brain condition CTE, even if you’ve had multiple concussions. Which is good news for my beat-up skull and contents.

Bike Lawyer Bob Mionske looks at group ride etiquette, admonishing riders to behave lest they give further fuel to the anti-bike forces out there. South Bay bike lawyer Seth Davidson would seem to disagree, though it’s hard to tell with his understated prose.

The Weekly Standard says Oregon’s “bike obsessed” Congressman Earl Blumenauer wants to force local governments to consider the effects their transportation projects would have on greenhouse gas emissions; evidently, they think that’s a bad thing.

Speaking of Oregon, the state legislature considers a bill that would allow drivers to be charged with third degree assault if they injure a vulnerable user while negligently operating a motor vehicle.

A Seattle writer asks if it’s time for the city to ditch its helmet requirement for bike riders. Considering it never should have had one, that would probably be yes; see Canadian study below.

A Colorado mountain biker receives a $1 million settlement after she was attacked by two Great Pyrenees sheep dogs during a race.

Topeka KS one ups LA with a two-day ciclovía beginning with a glow ride, pub crawl and concerts the first night.

A New Hampshire driver complains that bicyclists have a disproportionate influence on city government, even though they appear to be on the losing side in this case. Funny how many drivers seem to think they really do own the streets, and that bike riders should have to pay even more than we already do just for the privilege of using them.

 

International

Today is International Winter Bike to Work Day. Even if it feels more like summer here in SoCal.

A new Canadian study shows mandatory bike helmet laws have no effect on hospitalization rates; if they worked, you would have lower rates in areas with them than those without, which isn’t the case.

A Vancouver realtor finds it’s easier to get around the city to show homes by bike.

Evidently, aluminum frames are nothing new; the first ones appeared in the 1890s, and a British site called it the frame of the future over 70 years ago.

A writer for London’s Telegraph asks why drivers get away with attempted murderWhy, indeed? Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the link.

Caught on video: A paper from the UK asks who’s at fault when a van left hooks a bicyclist riding in a marked bike lane— the equivalent of a right hook in this country.

A Brit cyclist offers seven things you learn when you ride around the world.

A Singapore writer compares bike riders to litterers and scofflaw gum chewers in calling for licensing cyclists because one might possibly hurt someone someday.

 

Finally…

Who needs hi-viz when your clothes light up? If your bike has been stolen six times in four months, maybe it’s time to buy an alarm. Or a dog.

And if you’ve ever felt like a crash test dummy while riding the streets, Toyota may have an opening for you.

 

An open letter to the LA Planning Commission about bike lanes on Westwood Blvd and Central Ave

Dear Commissioners,

It was a little over five years ago that this commission rejected the city’s first attempt to update it’s bike plan, demanding a more robust network that would protect the safety of people riding bikes and encourage more people to get on their bicycles instead of driving.

That led to the city council’s unanimous adoption of the 2010 bike plan. A well-designed network that established three levels of bikeways to encourage and protect riders of all types, from families and recreational riders to bike commuters on their way to school or work — many of whom have no other viable means of transportation.

One that was again approved by the Planning Commission, and later the full city council, as part of LA’s Mobility Plan 2035.

Now you are being asked to weaken that plan.

The Mobility Plan that was adopted by the city is the result of at least six years of public process, including dozens of public meetings and countless comments and emails. The streets which were selected for bikeways weren’t chosen on whim, but because the public demanded them and city planners and engineers concluded they were the best routes to enable bike riders to travel to and from key locations in the city.

Yet you are being asked to remove the bike lanes planned for Westwood Blvd and Central Ave without any public process whatsoever. Somehow, the desires of the relative few opposing bike lanes on these two streets are expected to outweigh the needs of all those who participated in developing these plans.

We’re told that the reason for removing these bike lanes from the plan is that the streets are too dangerous for bicycles. But you can’t improve safety by keeping them dangerous.

Numerous studies have shown that bike lanes both increase ridership, and improve safety for all road users — pedestrians and motorists, as well as people riding bicycles. Yet not one single study has been conducted to determine whether bike lanes on these streets would increase the danger to bicyclists or anyone else, as their opponents claim.

In other words, you’re being asked to remove these streets from the plan based on the suppositions and prejudices of a handful of people, with no factual basis to support them.

Studies also show that bike lanes are good for business, which would benefit the many commercial establishments along these corridors.

Westwood Blvd currently carries an average of 800 bike riders a day, a number that will only increase when the Expo Line extension opens in May, and the boulevard forms the first mile/last mile connection between the Westwood Expo Station, and the UCLA campus, VA and job centers along the Wilshire Corridor.

Meanwhile, Central Ave already carries approximately 60 bike riders per hour at peak times, despite a reputation as one of the city’s most dangerous streets. A bike lane there can only improve safety by giving people on bicycles a safe place to ride, while slowing traffic and reducing risk to pedestrians.

While alternate routes may eventually be identified that would be more enjoyable to recreational riders, they would not meet the demands of those who need to get to work or school.

Removing these streets from the Mobility Plan would continue to expose these people to needless risk, and continue the degradation of what should be two of the city’s finest and most livable streets.

I strongly urge you to support the recommendations of your staff, and the desires of the people of Los Angeles who participated in this process, and keep both Westwood Boulevard and Central Avenue in the Mobility Plan 2035.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers

BikinginLA.com

Morning Links: Glendale bike rider attacked by SUV driver, and guilty plea in 100 mph Orange County DUI case

It’s happened again.

A woman riding her bike in Glendale is the latest bike rider to be the victim of an apparent intentional assault by the road raging driver of a motor vehicle.

The 29-year old woman, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was riding on San Fernando Road near Magnolia Ave around 4:40 pm last Friday when the driver of an SUV allegedly pulled up next to her and swerved into her bike, striking her ankle.

After the victim yelled that she’d been hit, the driver yelled something back and swerved into her again, nearly crushing the rider between the SUV and a parked car after she turned her bike to avoid getting hit.

Police arrested 53-year old Glendale resident Nazik Ghazarian on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon; she was taken into custody after another driver blocked her car while bystanders called police.

Meanwhile her legally blind husband, who was riding with her in the SUV, told police Ghazarian did nothing to “agitate” the cyclist.

The victim reported pain in her ankle, but declined treatment at the scene.

After all, who would get agitated over a little thing like multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon?

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The OC Register reports 20-year old Dominic Devin Carratt faces up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to the DUI death of cyclist Haitham Gamal as the victim was riding home from work in April, 2014.

In a horrifying detail that wasn’t reported at the time, Carratt was going over 100 mph when he slammed into Gamal’s bike; he had a BAC nearly twice the legal limit, despite being just 19-years old at the time of the wreck.

According to the paper, he pled to a long list of charges.

Carratt pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated, driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury, driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit causing bodily injury and he admitted a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury.

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Pro cycling’s governing body considers testing team bikes before each race to prevent motor doping. They should also stop the practice of allowing riders to switch bikes mid-race, which is the easiest way to get, and hide, a tampered bike.

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Local

The LA City Council Transportation Committee will consider a motion directing LADOT to report on the implementation of the bicycle infrastructure in the City at this afternoon’s meeting. Based on recent progress, that could be a very short report.

Several dozen protesters associated with T.R.U.S.T. South Los Angeles gathered on Central Ave to fight a proposal from Councilmember Curren Price to remove the street from the Mobility Plan. Someone should tell Price not to judge a bikeway by what he’d be comfortable using; not everyone is looking for a quiet place to ride with their grandkids.

The maker of Lucky Brand jeans offers their own private bikeshare system for employees of their offices in DTLA.

High-end British bikewear maker Rapha pops up on Abbot Kinney for the next two months.

Caltrans presents alternatives to replace the Trancas Creek bridge on PCH in the ‘Bu; both versions include a wider shoulder to make room for bikes and pedestrians.

A Pasadena bike rider is in serious condition after he was hit head-on by a driver who veered onto the wrong side of the road.

Temple City will select a final design for Las Tunas Road at the city council meeting on Thursday; make your voice heard to ensure they choose the safest option for cyclists and pedestrians.

 

State

A group of Olympic cyclists and hopefuls, including the great Kristin Armstrong, urged middle school students in El Cajon to believe in themselves. And have fun.

A Berkeley OpEd says the city needs to work to provide greater safety for bicyclists.

More bad news from Sacramento, as a second bike rider has been killed in a collision this week.

 

National

A Portland study says a good bikeway network helps riders avoid dirty air.

Las Vegas’ coming bikeshare system will be just part of a new transportation innovation district in the downtown area.

Wyoming considers creating a committee to study a network of bike and pedestrian paths crossing the state. Having crisscrossed the state many times, safe bikeways through the mountains and prairies of the state would be absolutely amazing; you haven’t lived until you’ve ridden with a herd of wild antelope running alongside you.

The Kentucky state senate approves a three-foot passing bill, including a provision allowing drivers to cross the center line to pass cyclists, even in no passing zones, similar to the one vetoed by Governor Brown a few years ago.

Residents of Hoboken would rather double park than make room for bike lanes.

Jimmy Fallen is one of us, as he cruises sans skid lid through the Hamptons on a $6,000 fat bike.

A Savannah GA writer credits recent bike lanes with the city’s jump in bike commuting rates, but fears they’ve reached peak bike with no more bikeways on the agenda.

 

International

Road.cc offers a roundup of a number of new bikes from top makers, including a Look time trial bike that would be perfect for your morning commute.

If you build it, they will come. A Toronto study shows bicycling is up 300% on one street since a separated bike lane was installed; 38% of those riders didn’t use the street before the bike lane was built.

An exceptionally compassionate Canadian family urges the court to sentence a hit-and-run driver to probation instead of jail for the death of a bike rider.

A candidate for mayor of London says bicycling in the city is quite safe, even though he won’t let his own teenage daughters do it.

Social media blows up when an English rail station operator suggests a traveler and his family should just leave their bikes at home.

Britain’s leading bike retailer is accused of sexism for saying a men’s bike is great for riding on pavement or trails, while the women’s version is good for visiting Auntie Doris.

A South African cyclist is visiting all 19 of the country’s national parks, riding over 3,700 miles in 80 days to raise funds for orphaned rhinos. Meanwhile, a Durban DJ learns the hard way not to make fun of fallen cyclists on Facebook.

A 24-year old Chinese man who once walked across the US is planning to bike from San Francisco to China on a pilgrimage to “explore the ecological and spiritual awakening in the 21st century and the cultural landscape and the political economy of the global village, through the lens of China’s interconnectedness with the world.” Oh, well if that’s all.

 

Finally…

Bashing people and cars is not the correct use for a cable bike lock; then again, neither is locking your bike with one for more than a few minutes. Seriously, don’t stab someone if you think he stole your bike; at least that’s better than how they treat bike thieves in Bali, though.

And British police appear to be looking for a maniacal bike-borne pedestrian pusher with multiple personalities.

 

Describe Your Ride: Nearly run down by a speeding driver — with a twist

Unfortunately, not every ride is a happy one.

Today, an OC rider who prefers to remain anonymous describes a recent ride in which she had a brush with a speeding, overly aggressive driver in a high-powered car. Literally.

With a surprise ending that left her livid.

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Tuesday afternoon I was nearly swiped by a speeding Charger (Challenger?) whose incompetent driver, immediately behind me, suddenly punched the gas and squeezed between me and the box truck to his left. I had proceeded from a full stop at a red light, and had just cleared an intersection full of kids leaving school. Because of gravel on the gutter pan, I was gutterbunnying it, close enough to worry about pedal strike.

The pass was so sudden and so close that I was less articulate than usual, but managed to bellow WHAT THE F***! while wobbling. No remedial, YIELD THE RIGHT OF WAY. No accompanying, GET YOUR HOMICIDAL ASS OFF THE ROAD. No PATIENCE IS A F****** VIRTUE, my most frequent high-volume communication. Me, speechless. If that’s at all believable. The passenger side was less than 8 inches from my bullhorns, and the side of the box truck to his left thundered the revving engine back at me. Before I had time to even want to smack the car’s window, I was looking at tail lights. That Charger had passed me in less time than it took for Shaun Eagleson to look over his shoulder. Somehow I stayed mostly upright, and didn’t even hit the concrete bus bench whose acquaintance I was certain I was going to violently make.

Though the lane ahead narrowed, the car continued to accelerate and then, despite its speed, took the corner like it was on rails.. The Charger was already out of sight by the time I made the corner by the hospital. But I stopped to ask a pair of orderlies at the ambulance bay if they’d seen a speeding car, and they confirmed it had turned left at the next street. As I approached the intersection, the westward gazes of some animated warehouse workers on the sidewalk indicated that the orderlies were correct. The next intersection was a T-intersection, and a group of workers had abandoned a steam shovel to walk south for a peek around the corner. When I turned right, there sat the Charger, crosswise in the middle of the intersection. Its driver had just stepped out, and stood next to it.

DSCN3354

Los Alamitos CopYes, A F****** COP IN AN UNMARKED F****** CAR. An extremely fast, extremely heavy car. Grey, camouflaged amid the asphalt and overcast sky. I’m going to assume that although it did have the blue and red in the back window (engaged eventually), it is not equipped with a siren that would have alerted me to pull over, because certainly a law enforcement officer traveling at that speed is required to alert road users of his presence, right?

 

A couple miles later, on the river path, I realized I was bleeding. I think my knuckle scraped the bus bench that I nearly landed on, but I can’t be sure. Frankly, I was kind of disappointed at how hilariously tiny the scrape is, considering all the dripping blood.

I’m not riding without my GoPro again. And I might get all FOIA on that Charger’s (possible) dashcam.

The Los Alamitos Police Department owes me an apology and some new bar tape.

 

Morning Links: A moving look at Dave Mirra and the need to succeed, and bike racers get blown and disinvited

Let’s just jump right in today.

Triathlete Jordan Rapp writes movingly about the suicide of BMX legend Dave Mirra, and the emptiness that comes with a constant need to excel at the highest level.

Rapp himself was nearly killed in a collision with a Camarillo hit-and-run driver in 2010, and survived only because a passing stranger saved his life. Yet came back just eight months later to nearly podium in the Ironman Arizona triathlon.

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Even in the off season, it’s hard to get away from racing news.

Let’s start with word that motor doping may have been going on a lot longer than anyone realized, as a video surfaces of an electric motor hidden in a 1970’s era road bike.

American cycling great Evelyn Stevens will attempt to set a new women’s hour record at the Olympic training center velodrome in Colorado Springs CO at the end of this month.

Russia, which appears to have returned to its Soviet-era state-sponsored doping, takes a page from the Lance/Lloyd playbook by denying any problems in its cycling program.

The world’s number one ranked cycling team gets treated like number two, as they’re disinvited from the Tour of Qatar for demonstrating a lack of respect — by taking too long to get dressed and walk to the podium.

And sometimes bike racing blows, as wind knocks cyclists competing in a Spanish race off their bikes. Thanks to joninsocal for the link

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Local

Here’s a warning for anyone riding Mulholland Highway, as a motorcycle site reports someone may be sabotaging the roadway by pouring oil on curves. That could pose a real danger for bicyclists as well, especially on fast descents.

Glendale residents discuss what changes they want for local parks; one calls for a bikeway along the Verdugo Wash.

The latest podcast from Streetsblog’s Damien Newton discusses Pasadena parklets and Complete Streets on Las Tunas Drive in Temple City.

Metro suggests 16 places you’ll be able to explore once the Gold Line extension opens, including the Duarte Bike Path and Santa Fe Dam Recreational Area. Or spice up your ride with a visit to the Sriracha factory.

 

State

You only have until end of business day today to offer comments on Caltrans plans to close eight miles of Highway 101 through San Luis Obispo County to bicyclists, cutting off a key route for bike tourists without providing any alternative.

When paving engineers work in a different department from city planners, the result can be dangerous for cyclists, as a recent Berkeley collision shows.

Sad news from Sacramento, as a bike rider was killed by a driver heading back to a Super Bowl party; somehow, the victim “came out of nowhere” despite being in the roadway. Seriously, no one, ever, comes out of nowhere; the question is why the driver failed to see him.

 

National

A Seattle writer tries to connect the dots to say there’s a vast bikeshare conspiracy in the city.

A Las Vegas paper looks at the city’s coming bikeshare program in the downtown area.

Tres shock! An El Paso TV station catches a pair of cyclists running a red light to catch up to their riding partner, who made it through on the green. Although you have to wonder how many scofflaw drivers they might have caught by leaving their camera running at the same location.

A $9,000 investment in enclosed showers and a camping area for cyclists helped save a Montana town at the crossroads of two major bike touring routes.

A Cincinnati protected bike lane comes under attack before it can even be finished, despite support from neighborhood councils.

Wisconsin legislators nix a plan for a contraflow bike lane through the Capital Square in Madison; instead, bike riders have to keeping going all the way around the square and up a hill.

Over 20% of residents in three DC districts commute by bike, pointing the out the need for better bikeways through the city.

A Virginia epilepsy foundation wants to eliminate bicycle collisions resulting in death or serious brain injury. So naturally, they tell kids to wear helmets, rather than urging people to drive safely.

Just weeks after a man rode one of New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare bikes across the US, a former Spice Girl evidently rode one all the way to Miami Beach. Or maybe the Daily Mail just has no idea what city they’re actually in.

 

International

London businesses overwhelmingly support a proposed new cycle superhighway through the city. Meanwhile, a London cop is caught on video taking advantage of one of the city’s cycle superhighways to bypass traffic with his emergency lights flashing. Which could be an argument for bikeways, since people often raise imaginary fears of emergency vehicles stuck in traffic to argue against them.

A British bicycling website sings the praises of bananas, calling them a superfood that proves God is a cyclist.

Not even the mayor of London can bike past security at a top secret high-end fundraiser ball for Britain’s Conservative Party.

Remarkably, no one was seriously hurt when a speeding Irish driver tried to pass a group of cyclists on a training ride, only to realize too late there was an island in the middle of the road and cut back in, hitting several riders; one rider was reportedly thrown 75 feet through the air.

South African police stress that bikes are not allowed on a freeway after a drunk driver plows into a group of 30 cyclists on a training ride, killing two.

Australian police issue 806 tickets in a three-week bicycle safety crackdown, only 89 of which went to motorists. And even then, mostly for driving or parking in a bike lane. If half of all safety violations involve riding without a helmet, maybe it’s the law, not the behavior, that has to change.

More proof bicyclists face the same problems everywhere, as a cyclist in the Philippines regrets her reaction but refuses to apologize to the driver who harassed her for riding in the traffic lane.

 

Finally…

Seriously, don’t go off on someone in a wheelchair when she asks you to move into the street so she can get by. If you really want to see that video of a Brit cab driver whacking off while he reads a porn magazine, feel free. Or you can just read about it, which seems like a much better alternative.

And for the equivalent of just $56,000, you can own a 92-year old British bike shop once bombed by the Luftwaffe.

 

Morning Links: Close encounter with a sidewalk cyclist, football players ride among us, and some bikes used for evil

My wife got hit by a bike rider yesterday.

We were walking back from brunch on a Sunset Blvd sidewalk, when we heard a bike bell from behind.

I quickly moved off to the side with our dog. But before my wife could figure out just where the rider was and which way to go, he zoomed past, brushing against her as he blew by.

And never looked back to see if she was okay.

Fortunately, she kept her balance and wasn’t hurt; it could have been much worse.

This is why I’m not a fan of bike bells. They tell you a bike is present, but the listener has to figure out first where the sound is coming from, and then what to do in response.

Make that mental calculation too slowly with the wrong rider, and you could end up on your ass.

Meanwhile, every bicyclist is equipped with a simple, yet effective means of letting people know where you are and what you intend to do.

Your voice.

It’s easy enough to politely say “excuse me,” and tell them you’re passing on their left or right. Politely being the key word.

Which brings up the question of courtesy, which is where this rider failed badly.

While he did the right thing by ringing his bell, he should have slowed down and waited for us to get out of the way. With the understanding that moving out of the way is a courtesy, not an obligation.

Sidewalks may be shared turf in LA, where riding on the sidewalk is legal, unlike many other cities in the area. But people on bikes have an obligation to ride safely and courteously around pedestrians, leaving plenty of room for the people on foot.

In other words, show the same courtesy to pedestrians you’d want drivers to show you on the street.

Another inch or two, and my wife could have been hurt badly. And we’d likely be looking for a hit-and-run cyclist, instead of just complaining about some jerk on a bike.

………

A key member of the newly minted Super Bowl champs is one of us, even though he had to sit out the game. So is former Pro Bowl tight end and San Diego resident Kellen Winslow II.

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Bikes aren’t always used for good.

Bike-riding, mask-wearing German extremists torched or trashed 48 luxury cars to protest gentrification in Berlin.

And a suicide bomber on a bicycle killed eight people in Pakistan.

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Local

A pair of community groups help beautify a stretch of Jefferson Blvd near USC before bike lanes will be painted on the street in the coming weeks.

Pasadena proposes a road diet, wider sidewalks, parklets and reverse angled parking, but no bike lanes, on a stretch of Colorado Blvd east of Old Town.

The San Gabriel Valley Bicycle Education Center operated by Bike SGV has new extended hours.

 

State

A non-profit group is building a home for a San Diego Marine vet who lost his legs in Afghanistan, just months after he rode 3,000 miles across the US to raise funds to support wounded Marines and their families.

A century ride through the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park east of San Diego had 26 volunteers this year. And just three participants. Correction: There were actually 225 riders who rolled across the start line. Blame a misleading lede, cut off too soon by a paywall. Thanks to Bill Clare for the correction. 

Fontana receives $3 million for a north-south bike and pedestrian trail due to be completed in 2018.

Sad news from Santa Barbara, as a long-time advocate for the homeless was killed in an apparent solo fall, possibly brought on by a stroke; tragically, he had purchased the bike just hours before.

In a twist on the usual complaints from business owners about the loss of car traffic, merchants on a San Francisco street are urging the city to make a ban on cars permanent.

The beloved founder of a one-man Sacramento bicycle food delivery service is battling leukemia; local restaurants are stepping up to raise funds for his medical expenses.

 

National

The author who outed Lance says motor doping could spell the end of pro cycling.

Utah is making a successful effort to get federal funds for bicycling enhancements; Idaho, not so much. Speaking of Utah, a bike builder builds a new business model by offering their own customized bikes over the Internet for up to 40% less than comparable bikes.

A Minnesota woman finished third in a frozen fat-tire endurance race — despite pausing to breast feed at each stop.

New York considers letting bicyclists join pedestrians in getting a head start over motor vehicles at some key intersections.

Uber is taking over Gotham’s bike messenger business, accused of undercutting traditional courier services by not paying worker’s comp for its riders.

Opponents to a proposed DC bike lane say it’s an attempt to run black churches out of town, and tell bike riders to take their “pastime” to a park.

The Daily Mail reports BMX legend Dave Mirra was making plans for the future before he took his own life; the mayor of his North Carolina hometown suggests multiple brain injuries may have led to his depression.

 

International

A newly minted Newfoundland roadie discovers the joy of winter fat bike riding.

Bike Radar talks with the developer of the Laserlight that projects an image of a bicycle on the pavement in front of your bike.

Nice piece from a former London bike courier, who appreciates the boom in bicycling but misses having the streets to herself.

Evidently, British royalty-in-law Pippa Middleton is one hell of a cyclist if she can complete a 54-mile bike ride “in a matter of minutes.”

A Brit writer relives his childhood by teaching his six-year old son to ride a bike, with both calling it the best day of their lives.

No, really. A Pakistani paper says keep riding because it makes your skin glow. So does riding through a nuclear plant.

Aussie merchants lament the effects construction of a new protected bikeway on their business, as well as the switch from diagonal to parallel parking.

 

Finally…

If you’re planning to steal a quarter ton of beef, always send a kid on a bike to scope it out first. When you’re riding with dope and a stolen Miley Cyrus sex doll in your backpack, remember to ride with traffic.

And evidently, things get boring when you’re driving a cab.

 

Mountain biker dies of apparent heart attack in Crystal Cove State Beach

The Orange County Register is reporting that a mountain bike rider has died of natural causes in Crystal Cove State Beach.

The victim was riding in the park with a group of cyclists when he collapsed around 9 am Sunday.

His companions began CPR, and both paramedics, and a fire department flight medic lowered onto the trail attempted to resuscitate him from full cardiac arrest. However, he was pronounced dead at the scene after a prolonged effort to save his life.

This is the 13th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third in Orange County; two of those have been the result of natural causes.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones. 

And condolences to his companions who tried to save his life.

Woman killed by drunk driver while walking bike across Sepulveda Blvd in Manhattan Beach

There’s something seriously wrong when a woman can’t even walk her bike across a street without getting killed by an underage drunk driver.

That’s exactly what happened in Manhattan Beach last night, according to the Daily Breeze.

Thirty-one year old Manhattan Beach resident Amory Borgens was crossing on the 400 block of S. Sepulveda Blvd about 12:20 this morning when she was hit by a speeding car. She was taken to a nearby hospital, where she died.

The 20-year old driver remained at the scene, and was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and vehicular manslaughter.

However, it’s unclear exactly where the collision occurred, since the story places it near Tennyson Street, which would be the 600 block of South Sepulveda.

satellite view shows no crosswalks in a four block stretch of the busy six-lane street between Artesia Blvd and Longfellow Drive. Regardless, a crosswalk is presumed to exist at every intersection not marked by a No Crossing sign, whether or not one has been painted on the street.

Intentionally or not, the article, which was written by the City News Service, indulges in a remarkable degree of victim blaming, stating it was a “crash between Borgens and a speeding 2003 Toyota Corolla,” and “Borgens was in the roadway when she was struck.”

It’s hard to cross any street without being in it. And she didn’t crash into anything, she was run down by a speeding car.

It should also be noted that the legal alcohol allowed for anyone under the age of 21 is zero.

This is the 12th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth in Los Angeles County already this year. And it’s the first bicycling fatality in Manhattan Beach in at least the last five years.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Amory Borgens and all her loved ones.

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