Morning Links: San Diego cyclists get blamed for collisions, and accused Eagleson killer enters not guilty plea

Evidently, it’s our fault.

Mostly, anyway.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, an analysis of San Diego bike crashes since 2011 shows cyclists at fault in nearly 60% of collisions.

Of course, those stats are based on police collision reports. And as the story notes, the results are subject to question.

Their accuracy depends largely on the individual officer’s knowledge and interpretation of bike law, ability to properly investigate bike collisions — especially when the injured cyclist is often unable to give his or her side of the story — and a lack of bias.

The simple fact is that few California police officers receive adequate, let alone in-depth, training in the rights and responsibilities of bike riders, as evidenced by the frequency with which riders are ticketed for things that aren’t actually illegal, such as riding in the traffic lane or two or more abreast.

And none are trained in the unique forensics of bicycle collisions, which differ dramatically from typical automobile crashes.

As for bias, with the exception of bike cops and officers who ride on their own time, most cops see the world from the same windshield perspective as other motorists.

All of which means that stats like this may provide support those who want to write bike riders off as law-breaking scofflaws.

But until we demand better bike training for traffic investigators — and police officers in general — they will have little basis in reality.

………

Local

Not even zoo animals are safe from LA’s hit-and-run drivers, as a big horn sheep is killed after escaping its enclosure, and the jerk behind the wheel just keeps on driving.

Velonews reports on the first day of the CXLA Weekend at the Greek, with victories by Katerina Nash and James Driscoll in the elite races. Cycling Across LA offers video of the race.

A ride will be held on December 7th to honor fallen cyclist Milt Olin, roughly three months after the DA dishonored him by refusing to file charges in the case.

BikeSGV delivers their monthly newsletter filled with upcoming events in the San Gabriel Valley

 

State

Neil Storm Stephany entered a not guilty plea Friday in the alleged intoxicated hit-and-run death of cyclist Shaun Eagleson in Newport Beach last month. Stephany faces a well-deserved murder charge based on a prior DUI conviction.

Short-sighted San Clemente votes not to include bike lanes in a coming reconstruction of Calle Frontera, apparently not realizing that giving people an alternative to driving could reduce traffic.

‘Tis the season: A Pismo Beach man donates 57 bikes to the local sheriff’s department to give away for Christmas.

 

National

Great news from Tucson, as former Rep. Gabby Giffords gets back on her bike three years after the near-fatal shooting.

A road raging Seattle driver faces just three to nine months in jail following her conviction for second-degree assault for intentionally running down a cyclist in a horrific attack.

An allegedly very drunk Chicago bike share rider is critically injured after being hit by two cars.

Turns out that Wolverine-playing song-and-dance man Hugh Jackman is one of us, as he goes for a cold weather ride on the streets of New York.

A father and daughter finish their 4,200 mile trip from Washington to Key West to benefit wounded vets.

 

International

E-bikes are on a roll in Europe, but just starting to catch on in the US.

Bikes will be banned from a bucolic garden bridge over the Thames because they would allegedly spoil the peaceful walking atmosphere. And as we all know, it’s impossible to ride a bike peacefully.

Caught on video: A London cyclist captures a first-hand perspective of what it’s like to be hit by an unseen cab; the footage is evidence in a civil case.

Down Under girls just want to have fun on fixies. That is, if they’re not collecting a menagerie of bikes.

A newborn Aussie baby is safe, thanks to the cyclists who discovered him hidden in a storm drain where he had been abandoned up to five days earlier.

 

Finally…

Turns out rocket powered cyclists are nothing new. British cyclists have a better knowledge of road safety than motorists do; not surprising, since people on bikes are a lot more vulnerable on the roads those who can rely seat belts, air bags and crumple zones.

And a Boston man confronts the thief who’s stealing his bike, and wins.

 

Weekend Links: Video highlights of next month’s CicLAvia, upcoming events, and advice on booze and biking

Caught on video: CicLAvia highlights the upcoming December 7th South LA route from Leimert Park to historic Central Avenue. In just 46 seconds, no less.

……..

A few upcoming events:

Cyclocross racing comes to Griffith Park on Saturday and Sunday with UCI CXLA Weekend at the Greek.

Helen’s Cycles and Think Cure! invite you to join in a training event for The Life Ride this Sunday.

The LACBC hosts their second annual Open House on December 4th. If you made it last year, you know not to miss this one; if not, you owe it to yourself to find out what you’re missing.

Bike the Vote LA is holding a strategy meeting for next year’s city elections on December 6th.

……..

Local

UCLA records nearly 39,000 bike trips into the campus over the last year; the bike-friendly university is the only college in the US to have an actively displayed bike counter.

Santa Monica’s planned bike share is scheduled to open next year; Los Angeles Magazine suggests where the hubs should be. And LADOT promises it really is in the works for LA County, or at least LA and Pasadena, to start.

 

State

Laguna Beach residents envision a downtown with bike lanes.

Closing arguments begin in the trial of a San Diego area driver who nearly killed a cyclist by trying to beat out another car when two lanes merged; prosecutors have evidently dropped accusations that it was a road rage incident.

A Coronado RN encourages bike riders to wear light colored and reflective clothing. But if riders in dark clothing are so hard to see, how is it that she manages to see them?

The Santa Cruz paper looks at Red Kite Prayer’s Patrick Brady and his new book in advance of a reading on Saturday.

 

National

I Am Traffic explains how to avoid getting right hooked by trucks.

A new Portland start-up promises to build affordable US-made custom bikes in just 10 days, starting at less than two grand.

A Texas rider demonstrates the hard way that intoxicated cyclists are a danger primarily to themselves, unlike drunk drivers who are a danger to everyone.

The rich get richer, as New York will continue building bike lanes at the same pace as when Janette Sadik-Khan was head of the city’s DOT.

New York drivers may kill seniors walking in crosswalks, but the cops focus on ticketing — and tackling —  cyclists instead.

WaPo looks at biking with your furry best friend. I’d take the Corgi on my bike, but she’d flip me the first time she saw a squirrel. Or a French fry.

Bikeyface questions what else people who question why cyclists don’t wear helmets question.

 

International

Copenhagenize says the time has come to give the elderly the right to feel the wind in their hair as they ride. And Copenhagenize author Mikael Colville-Andersen looks at the rise of bicycling in France.

Save money by buying a used pro bike, as long as you’re willing to tweak it and go without a warranty; doping optional.

In what sounds like a bad comedy routine, the UK’s roads minister refuses to build segregated bikeways that would encourage more cycling until there are more cyclists to use them. Got it?

London cyclists are fined over £1million in a crackdown intended to improve bike safety; no word on how much drivers, who pose the greater risk, were fined.

Turns out there’s no speed limit for cyclists in London’s Hyde Park, even though a BBC radio host was ticketed for breaking it.

A big-hearted Scot cyclist on a round-the-world tour picks up a four legged hitchhiker in Turkey, carrying the wounded dog over 200 miles to find a new home.

Ireland’s new road safety czar calls on drivers to be more careful and stop running down bike riders.

Rwanda hopes to become the heart of African bike racing.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: I’ve often felt like I was flying on my bike, but it never occurred to me to actually add a propeller. How to indulge in booze and still ride the next day.

And if you’re riding a bike in Huntington Beach with a loaded gun, ammunition and a handful of knives, don’t go off half-cocked without the right equipment on it.

 

Morning Links: Mobility Plan to be revised, a crumbling Bike Route 66, and biking with a machete in your pants

A friend wrote last night to suggest I need a less cumbersome name for the condition that currently afflicts me.

Diabetic Amyotrophy may be the correct term.

But he thinks we need something easier to understand that doesn’t need a complicated explanation. Something that will make discussion easier, while allowing me to take ownership of my illness.

Like the 24/7 Pain Party, perhaps. Or maybe the Effing Crap That’s Keeping Me Off My Damn Bike.

On the other hand, when I suffered a massive hematoma that lingered on my hip for over four months following the Infamous Beachfront Bee Encounter, my wife named it Bob.

The last remnants of which are still visible on my hip seven years later, for those who have the rare privilege of seeing me naked.

Let’s hope this one doesn’t hang around as long.

Whatever we call it.

……..

Local

The LA Planning Commission sends the city’s proposed Mobility Plan back for revisions. Not promising when a commissioner requests a “more realistic balance” on the streets because Los Angeles is “hooked on automobiles;” the whole point is to break that deadly, destructive addiction.

Nice read from Across Los Angeles, explaining 12 ways bicycling has changed his life for the better.

Hats off to the CicLAvia-riding Pasadena City College Chemistry Club, honored by the American Chemical Society. But probably not for attending CicLAvia together.

Baldwin Park becomes the second city to formally approve the San Gabriel Valley bike plan; very smart to have a regional plan that crosses city boundaries.

 

State

Laguna Streets says the city’s planned roundabouts are designed to move more cars, not people.

The Adventure Cycling Association says the planned Bicycle Route 66 leaves a lot to be desired in San Bernardino County; then again, I’ve seen a lot of LA streets that look worse than that. Thanks to Milestone Rides for the link.

Shouldn’t be hard to find a snazzy stolen bike in Arcata — a description I’ve never heard anyone other than my mother use, especially not for a missing bike.

 

National

A nod and a smile can help defuse the tension between cyclists and drivers. I’ve always believed in giving a friendly wave to thank helpful drivers, though sometimes I only use one finger for the other kind.

Bike Radar offers 10 superfoods to supercharge your riding. Although they have a very broad definition of superfoods.

Good news, as the Specialized-lululemon women’s team will go on next year under the Velocio-SRAM moniker.

Evidently, the leading Portland paper finds running over bike riders pretty funny; they’ve since apologized.

Proposed protected bike lanes could help keep Des Moines from dropping off Bicycling’s list of the top 50 bike cities.

A Memphis writer complains about unintentional racists in spandex, insisting that the bike movement is leaving black and brown and poor people behind. Evidently, they don’t ride bikes in Memphis.

New York is making the city’s bridges safer for bicyclists.

 

International

A new study says getting your mind right can boost your bike speed, as psychological factors account for as much as 20% of cycling performance.

You’ve got to be a pretty crappy driver to mistake a bicyclist for a pothole. And a pretty crappy judge to let him off for it.

Government ministers says biking and walking should be the norm for short trips in Scotland within 15 years.

A Dutch website asks if it’s possible to have too many people on bikes. Depends on who you ask; some drivers would say one is too many.

Cycle Space rails against the punishment pass, something most of us have experienced, as self-appointed driveway vigilantes try to teach us a lesson for being in their way. Or on their planet.

 

Finally…

Bike Snob gets bent out of shape over the New York press getting bent out of shape that Bono may not have been wearing a helmet when he fell off his bike and got bent out of shape. A bike riding radio host gets a ticket for speeding in London’s Hyde Park, at the breakneck speed of 16 mph; thanks to Jim Pettipher for the heads-up.

And if you’re on your bike with a two-foot machete hidden in your pants, don’t ride on the damn sidewalk. He’s lucky he didn’t give himself an unwanted circumcision.

 

Today’s post, in which I talk pain and what the hell is wrong with me

When I started this website over six years ago, the first decision I made was that it was not about me, but rather, about bicycling. If I did write about myself, it was in the service of a larger point. 

Today, I’m breaking that rule. 

If there’s a larger message to come out of this, I don’t know what it is. 

I have struggled with whether to write this. But I have been open in discussing my diabetes up to this point; to not finish the story seems somehow dishonest.

And it affects my ability to maintain this site and bring you the bike news you’ve come to expect.

So if you’re interested, read on. If not, no hard feelings; feel free to skip it and come back another time.

Either way, we’ll be back to discussing bikes in the next post. And you can find today’s Morning Links here

……..

Let’s talk pain.

As a long-time cyclist, I thought I knew what it meant to suffer.

From the pain of struggling to make it up a tough climb or somehow make it back home when you ran out of gas miles before. To nursing bruised and broken bones and flesh, or debriding a massive case of road rash.

But nothing I’ve been through in 30-plus years of adult riding — or anything that came before — prepared me for what I’ve experienced this past summer, and the months since.

But at least now it has a name.

Diabetic Amyotrophy, to be exact.

Which means I beat the odds once again. First by developing diabetes without any of the usual risk factors other than a family history. Then developing a form of diabetic neuropathy that affects just 1% of adult diabetics.

I should play the lottery more often.

Unlike most medical conditions, it’s easy to point to when it began. According to my calendar, I took my last recreational bike ride in mid-June; my last ride for transportation at the end of July, as the pain started taking over my life and forcing me off my bike.

Surprisingly — both to me and my doctors — it came as I was gaining control over my diabetes.

When I was first diagnosed in April, I had an A1C — the key marker of diabetes, measuring blood sugar levels over a three-month period — of 14.5. A figure that was, quite literally, off the charts, as I discovered recently when I noticed the graph on my doctor’s wall only goes up to 12.5.

In fact, one of my doctors — I have a virtual peloton of physicians these days — said the biggest surprise was I hadn’t ended up in diabetic coma. Or worse.

No wonder I’d felt like crap.

Yet, despite being repeatedly told it would be impossible, I was able to bring my blood sugar back down to normal levels less than three months after my diagnoosis. My most recent A1C was just 5.8 — a level that would be on the high end of the normal range for a non-diabetic.

And through diet and medication alone, without having to go on insulin.

In fact, low blood sugar is a more of a problem these days, as I have to carefully monitor myself to keep from crashing.

As my diabetes improved, though, the pain increased. Until it became the single defining factor affecting my life.

My doctor advised me to just wait it out, guessing that it was my body’s reaction to lowering my blood sugar too far too fast. And that it would simply go away in time.

Instead, it continued to get worse. So I finally got a referral to a physician specializing in diabetes, and was lucky to find one who takes the Sherlock Holmes approach to diagnostics.

As in, when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

So we began a months-long journey through a wide range of exotic blood and neurological tests in an attempt to discover what it wasn’t. Including some very scary things.

And once everything else had been considered and dismissed, we were left with this:

Diabetic amyotrophy, also known as proximal diabetic neuropathy, diabetic lumbosacral radiculoplexus neuropathy, and diabetic polyradiculoneuropathy, occurs in patients with diabetes (more likely in those with type II than type I). It usually involves weakness followed by wasting of muscles, and excruciating pain in the muscles of the thigh, hip, and buttocks.

Bingo. Although excruciating is putting it mildly.

What it doesn’t mention, though, is that the pain comes in three distinct flavors.

The first is a constant burning or freezing sensation in my feet, like they’re alternately on fire or encased in a block of ice.

Next comes uncontrollable muscle spasms in my calves and thighs lasting hours at a time, and resulting in a sensation like the lactic acid build-up that follows a hard ride. But many times worse.

Finally, I’m subject to intense, sudden shocks that come with no warning, strong enough to drop a grown man — namely me — to his knees. And striking anywhere from the waist down.

And I do mean anywhere.

Yes, even there.

You know those movies where they torture someone by shocking him with a car battery? My body doesn’t need any help to torture me. I can do that all by myself, without the need for external electricity.

The pain is constant, without relief, ranging from moderate to, by far, the worst pain I’ve ever felt, feared or imagined. Sometimes it’s just one of the three forms, at other times, all three at once.

And it’s worse at night. Much worse.

Which meant I spent most of my summer on the couch; awake all night from the pain, trying, usually unsuccessfully, not to wake my wife in the next room with my muffled cries of pain. Then curled up in a ball all day desperately trying to get the sleep I didn’t get the night before.

Relief, when it finally came, was in the form of a powerful anti-seizure medication used off-label for neuropathic pain. But it would only help for a day or two, at best, as my doctor slowly ratcheted up the dosage.

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that it finally reached a level that offered any significant help. It doesn’t make the pain go away, but on a good day, helps bring it down to a more tolerable level.

Not that there are many of those.

Or more precisely, there are bad days, and less bad days.

On better days, I can function almost normally for a few hours, though even just going shopping with my wife is enough to wear me out. Going out on my own, unsupervised, requires cutting back on the amount of medication I take, and accepting the pain that comes with it.

And overdoing it means a relentless bout of pain that can last for days; it took over a week to get it back under control after spending just a few hours at the LACBC’s Firefly Ball recently.

There’s also a fine line between taking enough medication to control the pain and being unable to function. Too little and the pain knocks me on my ass; too much and I’m a virtual zombie until it finally wears off.

And even then, there’s no guarantee it will be enough to overcome the pain.

As a result, I’ve been unable to work, since I can’t commit to being anywhere, or being conscious enough to meet a deadline. Or guarantee that my head will be clear enough to be productive or that the pain won’t drive me back to bed.

Not that I have work to do. In fact, I haven’t worked a single day since the onset of my diabetes towards the end of last year.

Or an hour, for that matter.

It’s also kept me from making the changes I’ve wanted to this website; usually, it’s all I can do just to keep it going every day.

Or almost every day, as you may have noticed. Some days I’m just not up to the simple act of pounding out a new post.

And it’s kept me off my bike for nearly four months. While I’m determined to get back to riding, I don’t know when that will happen. Or if I can ever get back to riding the way I used to.

My life is now centered, not on the things I used to do, but the pills I have to take.

I’m finally starting to accept that.

Up to now, I’ve been fighting to overcome my pain and get back to normal. Now I’ve finally accepted that isn’t going to happen.

This is my new normal.

I have to accept that this is a chronic, and possibly permanent, condition. It may go away on its own someday, just as unexpectedly as it came on. Or it may be something I have to deal with all day, every day, for the rest of my life.

Fortunately, I’ve learned the hard way that I’m stronger than I thought I was. And I can endure more than I thought was humanly possible.

My challenge now is to find a way to live my life, regardless of what’s going on with my body. What that means, I have no idea.

But I’m looking forward to finding out.

And other people have overcome far worse.

 

Morning Links: Bono hurt worse than we thought, biking to cancer care, and WeHo kinda talks bike safety

Evidently, Bono was hurt a lot more than we thought.

The medical team treating him reports he suffered a broken eye socket and shoulder blade, along with a compound fracture of the right arm, which required 18 screws and a steel plate to put back together. He also had additional surgery for a broken pinkie finger.

And given the recent panic over dangerous scofflaw cyclists in New York’s Central Park, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he fell dodging another bike rider.

……..

Local

Now that’s guts. A 60-year old prostate cancer patient bikes to Cedars-Sinai from his sister’s Culver City home for radiation treatments.

Streetsblog offers 10 reasons why the Planning Commission should reject the new Mobility Plan as long as it calls for continued street widening.

Richard Risemberg writes for Flying Pigeon that you can live here without a car, wherever here happens to be.

West Hollywood extends their pedestrian crosswalk safety campaign to bicyclists, instructing them to ride instead of racing and stop at traffic signals. We can all look forward to their campaign targeting dangerous drivers, who pose a lot more risk to everyone, right?

Be a little more careful to obey the letter of the law in Santa Monica next week, as the city will be targeting any violations by drivers, cyclists or pedestrians that put the latter two at risk.

The Pomona Valley Bike Coalition hosts a post-Thanksgiving Gobble Wobble ride.

 

State

A new Calbike survey asks what kind of bike stories you want to know about.

A Huntington Beach man has to rescue his bike when it’s grabbed by a thief who distracted him outside of McDonalds.

A 15-year old Laguna Hills BMX rider makes his debut as a bike-riding stunt double in Dumb and Dumber To.

Paso Robles makes the grade as a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community.

Cyclelicious improves the Twitter feed for CHP bike incidents; follow it @CHPBike.

 

National

The wife of a Las Vegas cyclist killed just two weeks after their honeymoon pleads for help in finding the cowardly schmuck who fled the scene after hitting him.

Louisville KY gets national attention for being, as they put it, “bike-tastic.”

Pittsburgh masters the art of building three protected bike lanes in just four months, without sacrificing public comment.

Florida considers narrowing traffic lanes to slow drivers and make streets safer for the state’s endangered cyclists and pedestrians.

 

International

Huh? A new medical study concludes bike helmets help prevent head injuries — but also suggests that helmet wearers suffer more arm and leg injuries than the helmetless.

An 80-year old former winner of the Tour of Britain is injured after being clipped by a passing car’s wing mirror; so much for a safe passing distance.

A UK cyclist describes the abuse and bad roads she has to put up with.

An Aussie TV station says it’s time to register cyclists, claiming people on bikes want elite options but refuse to pay for the privilege — before grudgingly admitting that most riders actually obey the law. A similar proposal to license cyclists in Halifax, Nova Scotia thankfully goes nowhere.

Australian cyclists are investing in bike insurance in the wake of a $1.7 million judgment against a rider who allegedly caused his friend to get run over by a car.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: Stunt rider Danny MacAskill performs a 16-foot loop-the-loop in front of the London Eye. Cycling Weekly considers the fine art of actually looking behind you.

And a cartoonist envisions an epic rap battle between the father of vehicular cycling and the fresh prince of cycle chic.

 

Morning Links: Mealy-mouthed Mobility Plan goes to Planning Comm; pope raffles bikes to feed homeless

The big news this week is the city’s slightly revised Mobility Plan (pdf), which goes before the Planning Commission on Thursday.

According to LA Streetsblog, the city has apparently given up on eliminating all traffic deaths, since the plan now calls for a Vision Zero for cyclists and pedestrians only, and leaves motorists to their own fate.

Good news for those of us who travel by two wheels or two feet, who would like to feel confident we could go out into the city and return home again in one piece. But a tacit admission that city leaders fear our traffic problems may be too big to solve in the next 20 years, and LA’s overly aggressive drivers too difficult to rein in.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton also complains the plan’s weak-ass, mealy-mouthed, non-committal wording remains intact. Although he puts it far more politely.

Which sounds like more of LA’s traditional can’t do attitude that we hoped was finally over with the arrival of new leadership at LADOT and city hall.

On the bright side, this is the same Planning Commission that threw out the original 2010 bike plan and ordered the city to come back when they had a real plan to connect the city and keep cyclists safe. Which they did.

Maybe the Planning Commission will do that again this time.

And tell the city to come back when they’re finally ready to make a commitment.

……..

Local

Bike Radar asks if a vegan diet can work for cyclists; LA cyclist and dietician Matt Ruscigno is living proof it does.

A writer for the Santa Monica Daily Press misunderstands the basic premise of bike share, suggesting it benefits businesses and their out-of-town employees at the expense of local residents.

Santa Monica Spoke is having a meeting and party this Saturday to celebrate the third anniversary of the city’s Bike Action Plan.

 

State

Auto-centric Orange County gets $13 million for bike and pedestrian projects.

Proof that open streets events are good for business, as 83% of participants in San Diego’s recent CicloSDias dined at local restaurants along the route and 85% said they’d come back again to shop or dine in the neighborhood.

A 13-year old bike rider is hit by a car in Wildomar; fortunately, he’s expected to recover.

A Sacramento cyclist is killed in a train collision; sadly, it sounds like it may have been a suicide.

San Francisco has seen three recent cases of road raging drivers attacking cyclists and pedestrians, including one fatal hit-and-run.

 

National

The seven health benefits of riding a bike.

The Bike League is out with their latest list (pdf) of Bicycle Friendly Communities; doesn’t seem to be any changes here in SoCal, though.

Too sad. A newlywed Las Vegas bike rider is killed by a heartless hit-and-run driver just two weeks after getting back from his honeymoon. Thanks to Steve Herbert for the heads-up.

New York Daily News says high-end customized bikes are becoming the status symbol of choice for deep pocketed professionals.

New York responds to bike/pedestrian collisions in Central Park by lowering the speed limit for bikes to 20 mph, so scofflaw riders will have a lower limit to ignore.

More evidence of our auto-centric world, as a Florida man is refused service at drive-through Taco Bell, not because he was drunk, but because he was on a bike. Then gets arrested when he refuses to leave.

 

International

A writer for the Guardian says it’s time to stop blaming the bike riding victims, and put the focus on the fact that driving can kill.

Great photos from 69 years of the Tour of Britain; Tony the Tiger beats podium girls in my book any day.

Caught on video: UK police don’t seem to care that a driver buzzed a bike rider. Or that he was impersonating a police officer.

The Dutch concept of shared space brings order through chaos to create safer streets. Although it would take a major attitude change before that could work here.

Velonews bikes the hidden gems of the Taiwanese countryside.

 

Finally…

Now that’s one drawing I’d like to enter. The pope is raffling off some of the gifts he’s received to raise money to feed the homeless; five of the top six prizes are bicycles. Just what we all need, a bike helmet that can read your mind; it would want to know what I think sometimes.

And he may have won, then lost, the Tour de France seven times, but Lance can’t get past the first lap of a Beer Mile. But can we please stop adding “disgraced former cyclist” to every mention of his name before he has to put it on his drivers license?

 

Morning Links: 16-year old killer of randonneur Matthew O’Neil gets off with barely a slap on the wrist

Evidently, life is cheap in Santa Maria.

Or maybe just when you’re the son of a former Lt. Governor.

The 16-year old son of Abel Maldonado, who was diving the truck that killed popular randonneur Matthew O’Neill, gets off with a mild caress on the wrist in the form of restitution, community service and losing his license for a whole nine months.

Make that just 100 hours of community service.

O’Neill, on the other hand, received the death penalty for the crime of riding a bike. And the $75,000 in court ordered restitution isn’t going to bring him back, or fill the gaping holes in the hearts and lives of his family, friends and fiancé.

If this is justice, I don’t want to see the alternative.

……..

Local

KCET looks at the 110th anniversary of what may be LA’s most celebrated boulevard. And the one I chose as my all-time favorite ride in the City of Angeles.

Parenthood star Erika Christensen is engaged to be married to cyclist Cole Maness; they reportedly met at a bike event.

Streetsblog offers a busy week of livable streets events.

 

State

A new petition calls for a stop to plans for a bike and pedestrian toll on the Golden Gate bridge.

CSU Bakersfield invites students to try out the new campus bike rental program for free in January.

Do we really need to explain that the new three-foot passing law does not require cyclists to stay three feet from cars? Evidently, yes, we do.

Even Hollister, famously invaded by motorcycle riding Marlon Brando in the Wild One, is getting bike lanes.

 

National

Smart idea, as Sugoi makes highly reflective new bike jackets by weaving glass beads into the fabric.

Smart bikes are nothing new. Take this one from 1992, for instance.

The seemingly interminable debate over whether bike lanes gentrify neighborhoods goes on, as if no one ever rides bikes in lower income areas.

I somehow missed this last month, as bike lawyer Bob Mionske offers advice on how to deal with overly aggressive drivers. I’ve learned the hard way to simply pull aside and let jerks pass; taking a photo of an angry driver will also often help diffuse a confrontation.

Honolulu is getting its first protected bike lane; surprisingly, the city has the nation’s ninth highest rate of bike commuting.

Drivers ignore new buffered bike lanes in Louisville KY. So naturally, the local TV station blames scofflaw cyclists.

Men’s Journal says the lesson to be learned from Bono’s broken arm is that parks and other mixed-use urban spaces — like the Santa Monica/Venice bike path — are among the most dangerous places to ride.

Solange Knowles and new husband show a little bike love, riding matching white bikes to their New Orleans wedding. Although I can’t say it’s a good omen to start a marriage on a ghost bike.

 

International

Advice from the UK on how to ride faster up short, steep hills. Or just ride faster, period.

Cycling Weekly offers up five classic Brit bike videos from the British Pathé newsreel archives.

A British road safety week campaign falls flat amid accusations of victim blaming.

Lesson #1: Don’t try to steal a bike from an Irish cyclocross rider.

Delivering HIV medications by bicycle in Cape Town.

Actually, that new Aussie 3D printed titanium bike isn’t; only the lugs are.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: A Toronto man smashes the window of a local bike shop with his head for no apparent reason, then simply walks away. When you’re riding a bike with a live python in your backpack, it’s only polite to tell the cop who stops you before he searches it.

And when you’re carrying a crack pipe, two drug needles and a pill box in your pocket, it’s probably not the best idea to block access to an ATM while riding a bike in your bra.

Especially if you’re a man.

 

Morning Links: A bike riding Bono goes boom in Central Park; your kid’s next bike could be made from carpet

Ride a bike long enough, and you’re going to fall. As Jimmy Fallon learned the hard way on Sunday.

Not that Fallon fell off his bike. Or even rides one as far as I know.

But U2 was scheduled to begin a highly promoted week-long residency on the Tonight Show, hosted by Fallon, on Monday. Problem is, lead singer Bono went for a bike ride in New York’s Central Park on Sunday.

And somehow, fell off.

Which begs the question of how the bike-baiting New York Post will spin the story to somehow make the Irish singer a two-wheeled terrorist.

Bono was scheduled for surgery on an injured arm Sunday night. Which, according to the band’s website, means the residency is off, at least for now.

……..

Local

Bike the Vote LA is holding a 2015 strategy meeting at Expo Park on Saturday, December 6th.

The Governator’s son goes for a bike ride with his more famous dad, towing a spare bike for unknown reasons.

A cyclist suffers serious injuries when she’s hit by a car in Monterey Park.

The Press-Telegram looks at The Bicycle Stand in Long Beach, dedicated to restoring classic steel frame bikes. I should talk to them about my first generation Trek, which need some serious love.

 

State

The CHP receives a grant to improve bike and pedestrian safety through enhanced enforcement and educational programs. Let’s hope the enforcement targets the ones who pose the greatest danger, rather than the ones who have to live in fear of them.

A Marin County columnist goes ballistic upon learning a that a planned bikeway over a bridge could cost $69 million, which seems like a highly questionable figure.

 

National

A new cam is designed to act like a black box for your bike.

Sometimes we’re the good guys. A Seattle cyclist gets thanks for saving the life of a heart attack victim. Which is a good reminder for all of us to learn CPR.

Even police are victims of hit-and-run. A San Antonio bike cop is recovering after being hit by a speeding wrong way driver who fled the scene.

Cherokee Schill, the Kentucky bike rider arrested for riding a bike in the traffic lane, has announced plans to run for lieutenant governor.

There are no words. A Delaware parolee is under arrest for murdering a co-worker just to take his new bike.

Be careful out there. A road raging Virginia driver harasses and buzzes a group of cyclists — then threatens them with a semi-automatic pistol when the riders confront him.

A New Orleans man fatally shoots an unarmed man trying to steal his bicycle.

 

International

UCI President Brian Cookson says a minimum wage for women pro cyclists is premature. Then again, he’s not the one trying to scrape by just to keep racing.

British gold medalist Chris Boardman suggests it’s time to lose the helmets and focus on stopping people from getting hit by cars.

A UK driver steals his girlfriend’s car and hits a cyclist during a high speed “lunatic” police chase. And gets off with a lousy ten month sentence, despite priors.

London cyclists stage a die-in and faux funeral to call for better safety.

Welsh police warn riders that bike thieves are using GPS data from popular apps like Strava to identify and target victims. Which police say is happening here, too.

A Dutch artist has used glowing stones embedded in a bike path to build a tribute to Van Gogh’s The Starry Night.

City Lab looks at Groningen in the Netherlands, where bicycles rule the road.

Lady Gaga dresses down for a bike ride in Spain.

Bicycling is gaining momentum as sustainable transportation even in Egypt, thanks in part to the Dutch Embassy.

 

Finally…

Smart. A new kids bike made from recycled carpet converts from a tricycle to a two-wheeler, and then a bigger two-wheeler. And New Jersey police throw the book at a bike rider for the crime of — wait for it — failing to signal; evidently, they got pissed off when he failed to stop.

 

Update: Bike rider killed in Santa Ana; 73-year old cyclist gravely injured in Laguna Woods

This was a bad day for bike riders in Orange County.

According to the Orange County Register, a bike rider was killed in a collision with a vehicle in Santa Ana somewhere near the intersection of West 5th Street and North Harbor Blvd.

The New Santa Ana website places the time of the collision around 5:30 pm Saturday, and identifies the victim as an adult male. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Both sites report the driver stayed at the scene. No other information is available at this time.

This is the 78th bicyclist killed in Southern California this year, and the 17th in Orange County; that compares with 12 in the county last year. And he’s the third bike rider killed in Santa Ana since the first of the year.

Update: Bill Sellin forwards an email from the Santa Ana police reporting the collision occurred at 300 N. Harbor Blvd. The victim was riding against traffic and attempting to cross the street when he was hit by a car traveling north on Harbor. 

Sadly, police are still attempting to identify the victim. A reminder to always carry some form of identification when you ride. 

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

Thanks to Natalie and Bill Sellin for the heads-up. 

……..

Meanwhile, KNBC-4 reports a 73-year old bike rider is in grave condition after he was hit by a Honda Civic on southbound Moulton Parkway near Santa Maria in Laguna Woods just before 6 am Saturday morning.

Sound like prayers or good thoughts are in order.

Weekend Links: Rider down at 7th and Grand; driver charged with killing James Rapley in Temescal Canyon DUI

A bike rider was hit by a car at 7th and Grand in Downtown LA Friday morning.

Unfortunately, no word on the condition or identity of the victim, but I’m told he was conscious and in a lot of pain.

That bike appears to be trashed, though.

Photo by Yuki Kidokoro

Photo by Yuki Kidokoro

Thanks to Yuki Kidokoro and LA BAC member David Wolfberg for the heads-up.

……..

Just got word late Friday that Mohammed Kadri has been charged with a felony count of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in the death of cyclist James Rapley on Temescal Canyon late last year.

As you may recall, Rapley was riding on a rented bike during an extended layover at LAX while flying back home to Australia for the holidays, when Kadri’s car drifted into the bike lane and hit him from behind.

Kadri was allegedly drunk — or possibly still drunk — at 9:15 am on a Sunday morning, and reportedly told a bystander he had been texting.

On a related note, it’s my goal is to turn the uphill bike lane on Temescal into the city’s first parking–protected bike lane. It may not have saved Rapley at that early weekend hour, but could help keep future cyclists from the same fate.

Thanks to Karen for the heads-up.

……..

You’ve got to be kidding.

A 20-year old Wisconsin man hit a newspaper deliveryman on a three-wheeled bike, and drove home with the victim embedded in his windshield. The rider, who did not appear to be seriously injured, unlocked the passenger door and started walking down the street before a witness called police.

And yes, you’ve got to see the photo on that link.

Then it happened again, when an allegedly drunken New Jersey driver was stopped by police with a man stuck in the windshield, after driving 1.5 miles from the scene of the hit-and-run. The 61-year old victim had to be cut out of the windshield by firefighters, and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

……..

Local

No surprise that two of the three drug charges filed against Clinton Alford, Jr — the bike rider allegedly beaten and kicked by LAPD officers last month — have been dropped, with the third likely to follow, since police had no probable cause to stop and search, let alone beat, him. I’ll never understand why there’s not more outrage over this case.

Seventh District Councilmember Felipe Fuentes teams with the LACBC to light up lightless riders as part of Operation Firefly.

LADOT counts riders along the LA River bike path.

Better Bike offers an open letter calling for an end to considering traffic congestion as a mitigation criterion under CEQA rules.

Cycling in the South Bay writes about an all too typical exchange between a cyclist, a dangerously aggressive driver and bike cop who blames the wrong one.

Former US crit champ Rahsaan Bahati talks bike safety to school kids.

 

State

Neal Storm Stephany pleaded not guilty to a well-deserved murder charge in the Newport Beach DUI death of cyclist Shaun Eagleson last month.

A missing Irvine mountain biker isn’t missing any more.

The Executive Director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition explains what the city’s CicloSDias open streets festival is all about.

A Riverside man uses cycling to bounce back from osteoarthritis, and is raising a team after missing last year’s California Coast Classic following a double knee replacement.

Ventura County gets a $3.3 million grant for biking and walking projects.

Oakland bike thieves bust through the front door of a bike shop and steal 46 high-end mostly folding bikes. Thanks to Alex Kekauoha for the link. Note: I initially misidentified the location as San Francisco; it actually happened in the Bay Area city that didn’t win the World Series this year. Thanks to Prinzrob for keeping me honest. 

A San Francisco drunk passes out in the street next to the pink child’s bike he’d been riding. Am I the only one wondering if they checked to see if the bike was stolen?

Bike friendly Davis is looking for a new bike/ped coordinator.

A Sacramento-area fitness chain mimics ghost bikes by locking orange-painted bikes around town for a not-very-effective marketing campaign.

 

National

Protected bike lanes not only improve safety for cyclists, but for pedestrians, as well. Then again, they seem to be good for everyone.

A rider for Team Novo Nordisk explains how to ride with diabetes, something I’m going to have to learn.

Four years for a Portland teenager who bashed a random cyclist in the face with a brick. Too bad he’s a juvenile, because that crime deserves a lot more time.

A Wyoming driver faces up to 16 years after pleading guilty to aggravated homicide in the death of a cyclist earlier this year.

Things are changing in the Lone Star State as San Antonio becomes bike friendlier, and even Houston isn’t as bad as it used to be.

A writer for the Chicago Reader skillfully dismantles the Tribune’s crotchety, anti-bike troll.

A Michigan writer explains why riding with traffic is safer for cyclists. Seriously, nothing good comes from riding salmon.

New York launches a new Vision Zero map tracking traffic deaths across the city.

Great profile of New York bike messenger and riding legend Austin Horse.

A DC writer says riding on the sidewalk is just scary, for pedestrians, not dangerous.

 

International

How to survive riding in the rain.

A Vancouver study shows drivers are seldom charged with dooring.

A UK website asks if doping is finally a thing of the past in pro cycling. Uh, yeah, sure. Of course it is.

A smartly designed new Brit bike grows with your child.

A Welsh cyclist faces multiple charges after breaking out the window of a car with his U-lock. Seriously, no matter how angry you may be, responding with violence will only make it worse.

Irish researchers with a keen grasp of the obvious discover bicycling is underutilized in the country because many people think it’s too dangerous.

An Aussie rider explains why we wear those silly cleated shoes.

 

Finally…

Sir Bradley Wiggins, former Tour de France champ, is now an anime character. Caught on self-promoting video: A London beverage company develops a slightly self-serving plan to provide helmets for Boris Bike users; but not, evidently, these helmetless cyclists who videoed themselves using them — the bikes, not the helmets — to ride from London to Paris.

And Bikeyface neatly illustrates the problem with Share the Road.

 

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