Archive for May 31, 2011

San Diego cyclist killed, another seriously injured when SUV flips onto bike path

At least one cyclist was killed and another seriously injured when an SUV lost control on busy highway and flipped onto a bike path near Rancho Peñasquitos in north San Diego.

Initial reports indicated that two cyclists had died at the scene; however, later reports said the second rider had been transported to Scripps La Jolla Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The collision occurred about 6:20 pm on the 56 Bike Trail, which runs parallel to the eastbound side of State Route 56 west of Black Mountain Road; the CHP called for a coroner less than 25 minutes later.

A woman driving an SUV on eastbound SR56 apparently lost control while making a lane change, went off the road, up a grassy embankment and through a chainlink fence before flipping over onto a group of riders.

According to SignOnSanDiego, both riders were in their 30s or 40s; neither has been publicly identified as of this time. Pedestrians and other cyclists reportedly attempted to aid the riders until paramedics arrived.

The driver was also taken to the hospital; reports disagree on whether anyone else was in the SUV. No explanation has been given for why she lost control of her vehicle.

There’s simply no way to protect against a collision like that. The riders should have been safe from motor vehicles on an off-road bike path; undoubtedly, they thought they were. Certainly no one expected a vehicle to fall onto a bike path — let alone at the exact moment a group of riders are passing by.

SignOnSanDiego reports that both riders were wearing helmets; if anyone ever invents a helmet strong enough to protect against an SUV falling on top of a cyclist, I hope they let us all know.

This is the 32nd cycling death so far this year, and the ninth in San Diego County since the first of the year, which includes 7 traffic deaths and one shooting.

That compares with 8 cycling deaths for all of last year for San Diego County, and an average of 6.8 over the last five years, according to the FARS database maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Thanks to Eric Bruins for the heads-up.

Update:  The Times now reports that two cyclists have been injured, in addition to the rider who died at the scene; however, they still say just one rider was hospitalized, in addition to the driver.

Update: as of 9 am Wednesday, no other source has confirmed that report, and the Times has changed the wording of the story to remove any reference to a second injured rider.

Update: both victims and the driver have been identified; speeding may have been a factor in the collision.

Run over by a riding mower, near-killer PV speed bumps to stay

As some of you may know, my oldest brother runs a dog team up in the Anchorage area, competing in the famed Iditarod sled dog race four times, and finishing three.

The other left him and his team huddled in a shelter in subzero temperatures, waiting for rescue with a broken sled — not to mention a broken leg, frostbite and a bruised shoulder.

The dogs were just fine, though.

So maybe he was in the market for a safer form of transportation, or one that works a little better once the snow melts. Or maybe, like the rest of us, he was just trying to save a little with the current sky high price of gas.

Regardless, my brother, Eric O. Rogers — perhaps the only particle physicist and dog musher on the planet — has now officially joined the ranks of bike riders.

And promptly gotten himself run over.

By a riding mower.

It seems he rode his bike to the local Lowes home improvement store, and stopped in the parking lot to ask an employee where he could find a bike rack. And as he was stopped on his bike, he was hit by man on a riding lawnmower.

Fortunately, the mower wasn’t in use at the time, and he escaped with nothing more than a little road rash.

And I’m sure you already know the answer to the question that nearly got him turned into mulch.

Lowes, at least that one, doesn’t have bike racks.


In a decision that defies common sense, the City Council of Palos Verdes Estates has voted to keep the speed bumps that nearly killed cyclist Richard Schlickman.

As you may recall, Schlickman was critically injured when he hit the newly installed speed bumps — excuse me, speed cushions — while riding downhill at speed, with little or no warning to cyclists that they had been built on a popular riding route. He had been riding downhill at speed when he hit the bumps, sliding nearly 80 feet down the roadway before coming to a stop; fortunately, word is he continues to make slow but steady improvement from what could have been a fatal fall.

But rather than remove or replace the potentially killer cushions, the council inexplicably voted to keep them in place.

Evidently, they haven’t yet crippled or killed enough cyclists in their effort to tame local traffic. Maybe someone should tell them there are alternative methods to calm traffic that don’t put riders lives at risk.

I hope PVE has a good lawyer.

Thanks to Jim Lyle for the heads-up.


Hap Dougherty shares another great set of cycling photos. This time, it’s a Memorial Day ride that took him from Westwood’s Los Angeles National Cemetery, throughout the Westside and up the L.A. River Bike Path — home to this weekend’s L.A. River Ride.

It does make you wonder why the cemetery insists on banning bikes, when so many riders just want to pay their respects.

Myself included.


Over the weekend I found myself drawn into a discussion on the West Seattle Blog, possibly the nation’s leading hyperlocal news site — sorry Patch — managed by a couple of longtime friends.

One of their readers was shocked and offended to see a cyclist towing his child in a bike trailer, assuming imminent danger — if not death — for the parentally neglected kid.

Problem is, while motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for children, few, if any, of those deaths result from collisions with bicycle trailers. In terms of sheer numbers, children are at far greater risk riding in a car with their parents, or simply walking on the sidewalk.

One of the writers tried to make the point that even if just one child was killed as a result of riding in a bike trailer, it would be one too many — especially if it was your child.

That conveniently ignores the nearly 7,000 or more passengers killed in motor vehicle collisions each year — many of them children. As well as the more than 4,000 pedestrians of all ages killed every year. Each of whom was someone’s child.

So rather than getting up in arms over a potential, hypothetical danger, we should be concerned about the proven risk posed by careless, aggressive, intoxicated or distracted drivers, who kill over 33,000 people on American streets every year — including a minimum of 630 cyclists.

Sadly, there are none so blind as those who cannot see through the glare of their own windshields.


Finally, thanks to Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious for stopping by to say hi as he passed through town over the weekend, along with his lovely family. It was a true pleasure to finally meet someone I’ve only traded emails with, and who’s work I have always enjoyed and admired.

And while I neglected to take any pictures, he did capture great shot of the new intern, who has been helping more than she knows by sleeping behind the sofa this morning and allowing me to work uninterrupted for a change.

Valencia sentencing delayed, upcoming events and a little light reading for your holiday weekend

Dj Wheels reports that yesterday’s scheduled sentencing for Marco Antonio Valencia in the drunken and stoned hit-and-run death of cyclist Joseph Novotny has been delayed until next month.

The defense has challenged Valencia’s conviction based on a charge of juror misconduct. As a result, the judge has continued sentencing until June 28th, when he will rule on the defense motion: if he denies the motion, sentencing will take place on the spot, if not, there is a possibility of a retrial in the case.

Despite the delay, the judge allowed Novotny’s widow and family to give their victim impact statements for the record. Wheels reports that each one spoke movingly about the deep sadness that resulted from his death, as well as his kind and unselfish nature; Novotny’s mother also offered photos of Joseph to Valencia’s family.


A blogging caregiver discusses how to keep new drivers safe, reminding parents of something that will resonate with many cyclists:

New drivers must realize that a car is a dangerous weapon and it is critical that they focus on their driving and be cognizant of everything around them.

Most not-so-new drivers could use the same reminder, as well.

Thanks to Stanley Goldich for the heads-up.


In Giro d’Italia news, the erotically named Eros Capecchi wins Stage 18, while Paolo Tiralongo wins Stage 19 as race leader Alberto Contador declines to contest the finish against his former teammate.

Speaking of Contador, his appeal hearing on doping charges has been delayed, and probably won’t be concluded until after the Tour de France. Which means if he wins yet another victory this year, it could be invalidated afterwards — if he’s even allowed to compete with the cloud hanging over his head.

Meanwhile, the Atlantic says it’s impossible to separate the doping accused Lance from the anti-cancer do-gooder; the Times’ Bill Dwyre is troubled that more people aren’t troubled.


The holiday weekend is a little quiet on the local bike scene, but a lot of events wait just down the road.

Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

San Gabriel Valley riders can meet for a Memorial Day Weekend “What-the-Heck” ride on Sunday, May 29th; meet at Granada Park near Fremont Ave and Montezuma Ave in Alhambra at 9 am, with the ride rolling at 9:30.

Santa Monica hosts Bike It! Day on Wednesday, June 1st, to encourage local students to bike and walk to school.

Saturday, June 4th, the Palms Neighborhood Council and the LAPD’s Pacific Division is sponsoring the 2011 Bike Rodeo from 10 am to 2 pm at Palms Elementary School, 3520 Motor Ave; events include a bike safety course, safety inspection, radar speed test and a bike giveaway, as well as live entertainment and free food.

Folk Art Everywhere explores the historic West Adams District on their next bike tour on Saturday, June 4th; expect an easy, fun and fascinating ride perfect for beginning to moderate cyclists. Meet at Mercado La Paloma, 3655 S. Grand Avenue in Los Angeles, at 11 am, with the ride starting at 11:15.

Flying Pigeon hosts their monthly Brewery Ride on Saturday, June 4th from 3 to 5:30 pm, followed by the Spoke(n) Art Ride on Saturday, June 11 and the Get Sum Dim Sum Ride on Sunday, June 19th. All rides meet at Flying Pigeon Bike Shop, 3714 North Figueroa Street in Highland Park.

Join me, and thousands of other cyclists at L.A.’s favorite fundraiser ride on Sunday, June 5th with the 11th Annual River Rideadvance registration is open through Wednesday the 1st; use special discount code TEDBC11 (case sensitive) to get a $10 discount on online registration courtesy of BikingInLA. Volunteers are still needed, and based on my experience last year, it’s about as much fun as you can have without actually riding; email for more info and to sign up.

If you can make it up to Sacramento on Sunday, June 12th, Ride4Matt is sponsoring a charity ride to benefit Matthew Wietrick, who was seriously injured while riding last February. Choose from routes of 10, 35 and 70 miles, with a $7 BBQ lunch after the ride; donations gratefully accepted.

Also on Sunday, June 12th, Flying Pigeon is hosting an evening with Yves Engler and Bianca Mugyenyi, authors of “Stop Signs: Cars and Capitalism on the Road to Economic, Social and Ecological Decay.” It takes place beginning at 7 pm at Flying Pigeon, 3714 North Figueroa Street in Highland Park.

Flying Pigeon Bike Shop will host a fundraising bike ride and party to benefit Streetsblog LA on Friday, June 17th, beginning and ending at Flying Pigeon, 3714 North Figueroa Street in Highland Park; ride meets at 6 pm, with party to follow at 8 pm.

The July 10th CicLAvia has been cancelled, but the October 9th event is a definite go, with an expanded route taking participants another 2.5 miles into Boyle Heights.

Tuesday, August 30th, Santa Monica’s Library Alehouse will host a benefit night for Streetsblog LA; 5% of all food and drink purchases will benefit Streetsblog; 2911 Main Street.

And mark your calendar for the 2011 L.A. edition of the Tour de Fat on October 9th; you’d think someone in the scheduling department would have noticed that the 9th is Yom Kippur this year.


Austin Nichols meets the Queen Mary in the LACBC’s third River Ride promo. Two-wheeled sight seeing tour company Bike and Hikes LA opens a West Hollywood storefront. A Santa Clara University professor is seriously injured in a classic left cross collision, while the local paper blames the victim. A 75-year old Corning cyclist is killed after riding through a stop sign into oncoming traffic — just two doors from his own home. Another unidentified cyclist is killed in Tulare County — the driver claims he just didn’t see him, but doesn’t explain why he was driving on the shoulder; thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link. San Francisco’s first bike lane celebrates it’s 40th birthday.

As gas prices increase ridership, lawmakers continue to gut bike programs. Good busts popular myths about biking. A Tucson-area cyclist develops a one-ear ear pod that funnels your full iPod output into a single channel. Colorado National Monument celebrates it’s 100th birthday by denying the new USA Pro Cycling Challenge a permit to follow the Tour of the Moon course made famous by the late Coors Classic. Kansas becomes the 14th state to require interlock devices for drunk drivers; something we seem to desperately need here. Chicago talks about protected bike lanes. New York cyclists prepare a class action lawsuit in response to the NYPD’s heavy-handed crackdown. The anti-bike bikelash spreads to Philadelphia; Stanley Goldich reminds us about Bob Mionske’s insightful look at the subject.

Toronto’s new mayor seems to like bike lanes, as long as they don’t get slow down cars. Three years later, British authorities decline to file charges in the death of a 17-year old cyclist; and I thought our justice system was slow. Czech artists develop another DIY bike lane that’s projected in front of you as you ride. Cape Town, South Africa is named one of the world’s 15 most bike-friendly cities; from what I’ve read, the rest of the country has a long way to go. Jakarta cyclists turn out for the official opening of the city’s first bike lane.

Finally, a British rider barely avoids becoming the meat in a bus sandwich. And apparently, my 15 minutes of fame has extended into a blind Bike Snob link; by my calculation, that leaves about 12 minutes and 37 seconds left.

Wednesday’s ride, on which I got downtown faster and happier on two wheels than four. Or more.

I had a meeting downtown on Wednesday night.

That’s not unusual for me anymore. After years of seldom venturing east of LaBrea, I now find myself making the 12.5 mile trip from my home on the Westside to the newly vibrant Downtown L.A. on a nearly weekly basis. Sometimes several times a week.

More often than not, I make the trip by bike or bus, mostly due to a lack of what I would consider secure bike parking. While that situation is slowly improving, I’m still no more comfortable leaving my bike on the street than I would be locking my laptop to a light pole.

Call me paranoid.

But at least it’s kept me from having to replace a bike after someone else rides off with it.

My old apartment was just off Santa Monica Blvd, making the 704 or 728 buses an easy and convenient option for me. The 728 offered an especially pleasant trip — at least compared to most other Metro buses — getting me from door to door in 45 minutes to an hour in most cases, with a minimum of discomfort.

Now that I’ve moved a few blocks away, it takes 25 minutes just to get to the 728. But I still prefer that to Wilshire Blvd’s 720 line, even though that’s just a couple blocks from where I am now.

The heavy congestion on Wilshire means that the same trip that takes less than an hour on the 728 can take up to an hour-and-a-half on the 720. And the abysmally pitted, pocked and potholed pavement on what was once L.A.’s glittering centerpiece boulevard virtually guarantees a jolting, stomach churning ride the entire way.

Which is why Wilshire needs a Bus Only Lane for the entire distance through Los Angeles, from the Santa Monica border to downtown.

And why I challenge Councilmembers Paul Koretz and Bill Rosendahl to ride the 720 to City Hall just once — and then try to justify excluding key Westside sections rather that taking a necessary step to improve transit for everyone.

And don’t forget that bikes are allowed to share bus lanes, which means a BOL the full length would result in new smooth pavement and a clearer traffic lane on a street that is virtually unridable now.

So I often find myself making the trip by car, much against my wishes.

Then again, that’s no piece of cake, either.

During the day, a trip downtown can take as little as 45 minutes; at rush hour, that balloons to a mind and butt numbing hour or more. Sometimes a lot more.

To drive all of 12.5 miles.

Then there’s the problems posed by L.A.’s notoriously impatient and aggressive drivers, making the simple act of driving seem like a game of bumper cars. And once I finally arrive, there’s the challenge of finding parking that won’t exceed my income for the previous week.

Fortunately, Wednesday’s meeting took place in a bike-friendly environment where I could take my bike safely inside.

So I made plans to ride with a friend, allowing enough time for a leisurely ride to the city center. But then complications arose, not the least of which was the need to walk the dog, who was impatiently nuzzling her leash with her legs metaphorically crossed, suggesting that waiting for my wife to get home to take her out might not be the best idea.

So I had to tell him to go ahead without me.

My friend, not the dog.

I briefly considered taking the car, but just couldn’t face the prospect of yet another commute from hell. Instead, I hopped on my bike for a solo ride downtown, leaving myself just over an hour to make the trip.

After taking side streets through the biking black hole of Beverly Hills, I found myself riding a relatively car-free route that lead from 8th Street, up to the future bike boulevard on 4th, then back down to 7th, which will soon feature bike lanes itself for most of it’s length.

Instead of the usually harrowing, traffic-choked commute by car — or the Third World conditions of the 720 bus — I enjoyed a pleasant, relaxing ride that had me feeling better and arriving in a far better mood than when I left.

And even had time to stop for coffee before going into my meeting.

Afterwards, we enjoyed a perfectly pleasant L.A. evening as we rode back on an Olympic Blvd nearly abandoned by the city’s drivers, with only one puddle-hidden pothole to mar the experience.

I wasn’t really wasn’t surprised by how fast, efficient and enjoyable it was to make the trip by bike, particularly compared to my other options.

But it was nice to be reminded once again.


KCET’s report on the changes coming to 7th Street suggests that the success of that project could have a lot to do with how quickly the city rolls out the rest of the new bike plan.

And unfortunately, their probably right.

But as @sam_ebnet astutely points out, that’s a bit like saying we’ll put the front wheel on a car, and if it drives well, we’ll put the other three on. Or building a freeway, and if it proves popular enough, adding the off-ramps later.

L.A.’s bike plan will only succeed when it’s seen as a system, rather than a series of independently planned projects. Both 4th Street and 7th are vital links in that system, and each will do much to make riding safer and more enjoyable.

But it is only when the entire network is built out, and cyclists can ride routes that actually connect with one another, that we’ll enjoy a truly ridable city.

91-year old cyclist dies in Riverside

The Press-Enterprise reports that 91-year old Riverside resident Fred Walsh has died, eight days after he was hit by a pickup while riding his bike.

The collision occurred at 1:09 pm on Monday, May 16th on California Avenue just east of Rucker Lane in Riverside; he passed away from his injuries Tuesday night at Riverside Community Hospital.

No other information is available at this time.

It should be uplifting story that he was still riding at that age; instead, it’s just heartbreaking that his life was taken away. My deepest sympathy to Fred Walsh’s friends and family.

Last day to enter for a free 2011 L.A. River Ride

After a slow start, more entries for our free L.A. River Ride giveaway are coming in. So don’t get left out. Just write out in 50 words or less why you should be the one to join in on L.A.’s favorite fundraising bike ride, and send it to by midnight tonight, Thursday, May 26th.

The River Ride staff and volunteers will review the entries and pick a winner over the weekend. And there’s no reason why that couldn’t be you.

Just click here for more information.

Even if you don’t win, you can still save $10 on the 11th Annual Los Angeles River Ride by signing up online using the special discount code TEDBC11 (case sensitive) — exclusively for BikingInLA readers.

Legal update: DUI driver arraigned for injuring Adam Rybicki, Valencia sentencing today

These days, it seems like there are as many court cases involving cyclists than there are riders on the streets.

Fortunately, cyclist/attorney Dj Wheels has done his usual great job of keeping us up to date with the latest legal proceedings — including charges against the under-aged, allegedly intoxicated driver who ran down who hit Adam Rybicki head on, and Thursday’s sentencing for Marco Antonio Valencia, convicted in the hit-and-run DUI death of Joseph Novotny.

Editor’s Note: While Dj Wheels provided updates on these cases, any commentary or information beyond the actual status of the cases are mine. So blame me, not him.

Jaclyn Andrea Garcia:  Charges were filed May 19th at the Torrance Courthouse for the DUI collision that critically injured cyclist Adam Rybicki this past April. The Supervising Judge recused all the judges there from hearing the case, with no public explanation for his actions; however, rumor has it that Garcia’s mother is a court reporter in Torrance, which would explain the recusal.

As a result, arraignment was held Tuesday in Department 5 of the Inglewood Courthouse, Case #YA081126. Garcia’s attorney, George Bird, entered a plea of not guilty to all four counts:

1) CVC 23153(a) – DUI w/ injury
2) CVC 23153(b) – DUI w/ BAC over .08 and injury
3) CVC 23153(a) – DUI w/ injury
4) CVC 23153(b) – DUI w/ BAC over .08 and injury

Bird also informed the court on the record that his client has voluntarily surrendered her driver’s license, entered into a three-month alcohol program, voluntarily attended 18 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and has begun electronic alcohol monitoring with the SCRAM device made famous by Hollywood’s favorite outlaw.

Too bad it’s just a little too late.

Had Garcia sobered up a few months earlier, Adam Rybicki might not be in a coma right now, the victim of a 20-year old woman still drunk and behind the wheel at 7:15 in the morning.

And you can bet that none of the actions Garcia took in surrendering her license or entering rehab were her idea; it was no doubt ordered by her attorney in an attempt to show remorse and get his client released with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

After all, it’s worked for any number of Hollywood celebrities, whose first stop after hitting the tabloids is usually a stint in luxury rehab.

And by all accounts, Garcia’s high-priced attorney knows what he’s doing. Maybe if Dr. Thompson’s attorney had ordered him straight into rehab, he might be a free man today.

Let’s hope that the court takes this case seriously, and doesn’t let yet another driver buy her way out of taking responsibility.

Speaking of the infamous Good Doctor:

Dr. Christopher Thompson:  The date for oral arguments has been continued upon the court’s own motion in the appeal of Dr. Thompson’s conviction for intentionally injuring two cyclists in Mandeville Canyon by slamming on his brakes in front of them.  The new date is now 6/29/11.

Marco Antonio ValenciaValenica was convicted last month in the hit-and run DUI death of cyclist Joseph Novotny. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for today (Thursday) at the San Fernando Court; he faces up to 24 year to life in prison.

Shawn Fields:  Fields is charged with the hit-and-run DUI death of 17-year old cyclist Danny Marin in Pacoima last October. Fields reportedly told investigators that he thought he might have hit something, because he remembered seeing sparkly dust flying over him — from the windshield shattered by Marin’s body. Pretrial/Trial Setting Conference is scheduled for 6/22.

Patrick Roraff & Brett Morin:  Roraff and Morin are charged with causing the death of rising pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado in April of last year. The two were allegedly street racing when Roraff lost control and slammed into Alvarado, who was riding on the opposite shoulder. Pretrial conference is scheduled for 7/7.

Stephanie Drew Segal:  Segal is charged with the hit-and-run DUI death of cyclist James Laing in Agoura last year (notice a theme here?). She allegedly plowed into Laing after leaving a local wine tasting room, and entered into a rehab facility after her arrest. Preliminary setting is scheduled for 6/28; Wheels notes that the docket says the DA has been ordered to have victims present, which is unusual for this type of hearing.

Renato Demartino:  Demartino is charged with the hit-and-run death of 22-year old cyclist Marco Acuapan, who died in April, four months after he was allegedly hit by Demartino’s car while riding in a bike lane in Tustin. A pretrial conference scheduled for 6/1.

Danae Marie Miller:  Miller is charged with the death of world-class triathlete Amine Britel; she was allegedly drunk and texting when she rear-ended Britel, who was riding in a marked bike lane. Pretrial conference scheduled for 7/15.

Captain John David Hines:  Hines, a Long Beach Fire Captain, is accused of plowing into cyclist Jeffrey Gordon, then fleeing the scene, despite legal, and professional, obligations to stop and render aid. He had allegedly been drinking for hours in a local bar before getting behind the wheel, and had a BAC of .24 at the time of his arrest — three times the legal limit. And once again, he reportedly checked into rehab right after his arrest. Pretrial conference scheduled for 6/17.

Satnam Singh:  Singh is charged with killing 20-year old college student Nick Haverland in yet another hit-and-run DUI — this time, in a hit-and-run rampage involving three separate collisions in a matter of minutes that left five people injured and Haverland dead. Pretrial conference scheduled for 6/14; Singh remains in custody with the Ventura County Sheriff.

Collision maps reveal L.A.’s unsafe routes to school; more tragedy in pro cycling (and not just Lance)

I knew L.A. wasn’t the safest place to bike or ride.

But it never really sank in until I saw the maps.

Safe Routes to Schools has joined with the LACBC to call attention to just how far this city has to go before children to walk or bike to many schools, especially in lower income areas. New collision maps based on TIMS data (the Transportation Injury Mapping System) clearly shows how many injuries and fatalities occur near schools.

Just take a look at this map showing three years of collision data for South L.A. alone.

And I hope you have a stronger stomach than me when you realize that every dot on that map represents a human being injured or killed on our streets.

Of course, they weren’t all children. But these maps make the strongest argument yet that we have to improve safety around our schools.

“Traffic collisions, and the death or injury of Los Angeles’ people, especially our youngest community members, is heartbreaking and impacts everyone,” says Alexis Lantz, Planning and Policy Director at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

While the city has recently allocated $1.2 million to develop a citywide strategy to provide safer routes for children and their parents to get to and from school — and anyone else who happens to ride or bike nearby — there’s clearly a lot to do.

And a long way to go.

“Now with the TIMS data, the State of California has provided an amazing tool that allows us to see the neighborhoods, intersections and streets of greatest need and make strategic investments.  We need the City to provide staff, and create a plan to implement safety improvements quickly, so we can see our transportation priorities shift.  For too long, there has been a focus on moving cars to the detriment of our health and communities, the City of Los Angeles needs to put safety and people first,” says Jessica Meaney, California Policy Manager, Safe Routes to School National Partnership.

I mean, seriously. Just look at the maps.


In pro cycling news, Movistar rider Xavier Tondo was killed in a freak accident when he was hit by a garage door while leaving for a ride; friends and fellow pros remember him. Conspiracy theorists may note that he had recently told authorities about being approached by a doping ring.

Mikel Nieve scores his second mountain stage win in the Giro, as Alberto Contador surges to more than a four minute lead leading up to Monday’s rest day before the final week of racing.

Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner cross the finish line atop Mt. Baldy at virtually the same time to clinch the Amgen Tour of California for Horner. The Claremont Cyclist spends the morning with Rabobank. What it’s like to ride the Mt. Baldy stage of the AToC. Horner wraps it up on Sunday as HTC rider Matthew Goss wins the final stage and Lance Armstrong’s Team RadioShack takes the first two places in the general classification. Bicycling offers video of post-race reactions, while the Daily News is too busy talking with fans to get the details straight.

Between Chris Horner’s exciting run and the race up Mt. Baldy, this is the first Tour of California that seemed, to me at least, like a legitimate contender as a top-tier cycling race. Now if they can add another challenging stage or two — like maybe a peak-to-peak route around the San Diego area ending with a climb up Mt. Palomar, where snow wouldn’t be a factor — they might have something. Although going head-to-head with the Giro will always be a limiting factor.

And in case you’ve been in a coma the past few days, CBS’ 60 Minutes reported that former friends and teammates of Lance Armstrong  have turned on him to accuse the seven time TdF champ of doping; no one seems to care that George Hincapie reportedly confessed, though. If the accusations against Lance Armstrong are proven, he faces serious jail time; at the very least, his reputation will be in tatters. Tyler Hamilton’s lawyer discusses why the rider finally came clean. Former pro Scott Mercier says doping was pervasive when he was racing in the ’90, and UCI responds with the expected shock and indignation.

A writer for asks the same question a lot of riders are asking right now: what happens when your idol and inspiration lets you down? And Italian police reportedly find nothing in an impeccably timed raid on Team RadioSchack’s hotel at the Giro.


LACBC releases a great new video explaining the upcoming 7th Street road diet and bike lanes in your choice of three popular languages. Meanwhile, those new LED lights on the Elysian Valley section of the L.A. River Bike Path are out of order for the foreseeable future after thieves steal the copper wiring.


Streetsblog wants your questions for LAPD Sgt. David Krumer, the department’s popular point man for the cycling community. LADOT Bicycle Services unveils a nifty new website. L.A. bike attorney Howard Krepack argues that the safety of cyclists has to be considered during road work, as well. Richard Risemberg looks at the art of riding in Santa Monica. CicLAvia wants to know what you think about the proposed expansion routes into Boyle Heights and South L.A. The Times looks at some unusual bike designs. Santa Monica riders review that city’s proposed bike plan. The recent presidential visit gives a UCLA employee a chance to ride the Westside.

A reader corrects the Press-Enterprise for saying cyclists are required to ride as far right as possible; the writer insists that possible and practicable mean the same thing. A Fresno-area cyclist’s tragic death in a solo bike accident could help up to eight other people through organ donation; I’d want some good to come out of it for someone if anything ever happened to me. Surprisingly, California ranks 20th on the list of bike-friendly states; surprising we’re that high, that is.

USA Today notes a nationwide movement to make the streets safe for cyclists; thanks to Zeke for the heads-up. That great epiphany moment that turns non-cyclists into confirmed riders is a myth. Fifteen reasons to fall in love with your bike. Elly Blue continues her excellent Bikenomics series with a look at riding while broke. Evidently believing them to be magic talismans that will ward off injury, a writer calls bike helmets the most important safe cycling habit — above, say, stopping for traffic signals, remaining visible or riding with traffic, or any of the other riding habits that might keep a helmet from being necessary. A firefighter’s career could be over after a cycling hit-and-run. New Jersey authorities seem unclear on the concept, as they instruct riders to share the road with fast moving traffic, rather than requiring speeding drivers to slow down; it may be time to retire Share the Road entirely. A New York actor and personal therapist explains why he’ll be riding the 10th Anniversary AIDS Ride. In a classic example of press bias, an 11-year old West Virginia boy is sideswiped while riding his bike, yet the local press reports that he collided with the car; thankfully, they note the car was not damaged.

The return of bike season means the return of road rage. Buy a Victorian London house, and get your very own bike museum. Police tell cyclists to stay off the 2012 Olympic mountain bike course. Scott cyclists pay to ride a new freeway for just one day, though not all do it to celebrate. This is what bike parking is supposed to look like; a Brit company tweets to take credit. A video look at the Pillars of Italian Cycling. How about a Norwegian-style bike lift? Jakarta gets its first bike lane, which immediately turns into parking for three-wheeled pedicabs.

Finally, video captures a cyclist getting by a car, and landing on his feet. And apparently, the solution to dropping off a bike and still getting back home is to throw your Dahon on the back of your Urbana — sort of like tossing a Mini in the back of a Hummer.

Another full weekend of bikey goodness, and more links than you can shake a trackpad at

Once again, we have a very busy calendar crammed full of biking events, followed by a long list of links for your weekend reading pleasure.


Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK; this week’s scheduled guests include yours truly.

Sustainable Streets presents a free bike skills workshop for all ages from 10 am – 12:30 pm on Saturday, May 21st in the North Parking Lot at Santa Monica High School, 601 Pico Blvd.

Also on Saturday the 21st, learn how to leave your car behind when C.I.C.L.E. hosts Shopping By Bike and A Taste of Fair Trade Ride, with snacks, raffle prizes, and display bikes and gear from Incycle; the event takes place from 10 am to 1 pm at the Shops on South Lake Courtyard, 345 South Lake Avenue in Pasadena.

Beverly Hills advocacy group Better Bike Beverly Hills will meet at 2 pm on Saturday, May 21st at Peets Coffee, 258 S. Beverly Drive. Topics include Santa Monica Boulevard reconstruction timeline, update on Westside-area coordinated bike planning (just now taking shape), Bike routes for a BH-area bike network and opportunities to get involved.

C.I.C.L.E. wraps up Bike Week with an Arroyo Seco Ride and Pedal Party; experience a spectacular sunset ride bike tour followed by a party with DJ, food from Whole Foods and New Belgium beers, as well as a raffle prize from REI. Meet for the ride at One Colorado Courtyard, at the intersection of De Lacey Ave and Colorado Blvd at 6:30 pm on Saturday the 21st; party begins at 9 pm.

The San Diego Century ride takes place on Saturday, May 21st with rides of 37, 66 or 103 miles, starting in Encinitas, along with free admission to an expo featuring sports, local cuisine and live music.

The Amgen Tour of California continues with Stage 7 from Claremont to Mt. Baldy on Saturday the 21st; the Source suggests taking Metrolink to Claremont to view the race. Assuming the Apocalypse passes us by, the final stage from Santa Clarita to Thousand Oaks takes place on Sunday the 22nd. Daily TV coverage on Versus; check your local listings for time and station.

Tuesday, May 25th, Sustainable Streets and Grand Masters Cycling host a fundraising event and raffle featuring bikes, beer, food, fabulous raffle prizes and complimentary bike valet, from 11:30 am to midnight at the Library Alehouse, 2911 Main Street in Santa Monica.

Saturday, June 4th, the Palms Neighborhood Council and the LAPD’s Pacific Division is sponsoring the 2011 Bike Rodeo from 10 am to 2 pm at Palms Elementary School, 3520 Motor Ave; events include a bike safety course, safety inspection, radar speed test and a bike giveaway, as well as live entertainment and free food.

Folk Art Everywhere explores the historic West Adams District on their next bike tour on Saturday, June 4th; expect an easy, fun and fascinating ride perfect for beginning to moderate cyclists. Meet at Mercado La Paloma, 3655 S. Grand Avenue in Los Angeles, at 11 am, with the ride starting at 11:15.

Flying Pigeon hosts their monthly Brewery Ride on Saturday, June 4th from 3 to 5:30 pm, followed by the Spoke(n) Art Ride on Saturday, June 11 and the Get Sum Dim Sum Ride on Sunday, June 19th. All rides meet at Flying Pigeon Bike Shop, 3714 North Figueroa Street in Highland Park.

Join me, and thousands of other cyclists at L.A.’s favorite fundraiser ride on Sunday, June 5th with the 11th Annual River Rideadvance registration is open now. Volunteers are still needed — and trust me, as a volunteer last year, it’s about as much fun as you can have without actually riding; email for more info and to sign up.

If you can make it up to Sacramento on Sunday, June 12th, Ride4Matt is sponsoring a charity ride to benefit Matthew Wietrick, who was seriously injured while riding last February. Choose from routes of 10, 35 and 70 miles, with a $7 BBQ lunch after the ride; donations gratefully accepted.

Flying Pigeon Bike Shop will host a fundraising bike ride and party to benefit Streetsblog LA on Friday, June 17th, beginning and ending at Flying Pigeon, 3714 North Figueroa Street in Highland Park; ride meets at 6 pm, with party to follow at 8 pm.

Unofficial word is that the July 10th CicLAvia has been cancelled, but the October 9th event is a definite go, with an expanded route taking participants another 2.5 miles into Boyle Heights.

Tuesday, August 30th, Santa Monica’s Library Alehouse will host a benefit night for Streetsblog LA; 5% of all food and drink purchases will benefit Streetsblog; 2911 Main Street.

And mark your calendar for the 2011 L.A. edition of the Tour de Fat on October 9th; you’d think someone in the scheduling department would have noticed that the 9th is Yom Kippur this year. And L.A. has more than a few Jewish cyclists.


Former Lance Armstrong friend and teammate George Hincapie is reportedly the latest to testify against Lance, but denies talking with 60 Minutes; why is it that the people who admit cheating are always the ones who insist their sport needs to be saved from people like them?

And if you have at least eight grand, you could own a slightly used Team RadioShack AToC bike.


Report your favorite road divot for Round 2 of L.A.’s Operation Pothole; problem is, most of the streets in my neighborhood don’t have potholes.

They are potholes.


Former national Crit champ Rahsaan Bahati asks your help to raise just $1,500 to help the Major Motion Junior Development Team go to the Nationals. It would be hard to think of anything else where so little could do so much for such a good cause.


Neon Tommy looks at the proposed anti-harassment ordinance and the city’s complicated relationship with cyclists. Streetsblog’s excellent series of reports from the far corners of L.A.’s cycling world continues with Brigham Yen’s review of Pasadena’s lack of bike parking, and Wesley Reutimann reports on the San Gabriel Valley’s vibrant cycling scene. The Bikerowave gives Sony Studios a tune-up. Damien Newton experiences an uneven Bike to Work Day commute with his mom. KABC-7’s Jovana Lara bikes to work. C.I.C.L.E. looks at the first four days of Pasadena’s Bike Week. The Source offers photos of Bike to Work Day, while Steve Hymon asks what kind of bike he should buy for commuting. Rick Risemberg visits the new Caltrans bike exhibit; Flying Pigeon contributes Dutch bikes to Caltrans Bike to Work Fair. The Westwood Expo station could get a greenway and bike path. KCET looks at the Westside’s Taco Tuesday rides. Criminal Minds star Shemar Moore files suit against the driver who broke his leg in a cycling collision. Nicole Honda, fiancé of fallen cyclist Jim Swarzman, addresses the Thousand Oaks Ride of Silence. Riding the wrong way on a one-way street, even when you know better.

San Diego celebrates Bike to Work Day with two serious cycling collisions in just half an hour. Seventy-five percent of Petaluma residents don’t ride regularly — which means of course that 25% do. Sacramento seniors are at risk from rampant sidewalk riders. Bike advocates want representation on Caltrans’ California Traffic Control Devices Committee. The Give Me 3 campaign advances through the state Senate, with the bizarre 15 mph exemption still attached; Nevada passes a three foot law, without a 15 mph exemption.

Kiplinger offers a simple online calculator to figure out how much you can save by biking to work; thanks to Horst Simon for the heads-up. A new on-bike box could make wind tunnel testing obsolete. NPR asks who’s at fault when bikes and cars collide; thanks to Steve Herbert for forwarding the link. The Wall Street Journal looks at chic styles for bike riders. Five great ways to get people to bike to work. The Seattle Times asks what’s with all the bike bitterness?; thanks to Eric Bruins for the tip. Denver bike commuters leave their cars at home. Tulsa officials deny plans to ban bikes from the city’s streets. Maybe the way to calm bike lane haters is to build more bike lanes, stat. Zeke successfully celebrates his town’s first Bike to Work Day.

Unhealthy neighborhoods lead to unhealthy people. The Independent asks what your bike says about you. A UK zoo offers a discount to anyone who arrives by bike. A first person look at the long road back from a near fatal cycling collision. Electric cars may not solve congestion, but more bikes might help. The British Automobile Association urges its members to share the road safely. Copenhagen looks to clean up their bike parking mess.

Finally, Flying Pigeon makes the cutest argument ever for more bike racks.

Attention cyclists: just share the damn sidewalk, already. And don’t get killed in KY after dark.

KCET reports on rude cyclists unwilling to share the road — or the sidewalk, for that matter — with pedestrians. Even though we expect other people to share the streets with us.

But let’s face it. There will always be jerks on two wheels, just as there are countless jerks on four. And anyone who hasn’t encountered bipedal jerks on L.A.’s sidewalks hasn’t spent much time walking in this fair city. Or trying, with more or less success, to navigate around the pedestrians who sometimes clog the various off-road bike paths that bisect L.A.

But whatever mode of transportation and/or recreation we choose, we all have a responsibility to share common spaces safely and courteously, whether or not we think the other party belongs there.

As the most vulnerable users, pedestrians should be given the same sort of space we expect from passing drivers, regardless of how careless and clueless they may seem at times. Especially on the sidewalk, where they have every right to be safe from the rampages of rude, careless and barely under control riders.

Lord knows, I’ve come close to punching a few myself for riding close enough and fast enough to put my wife and I at risk while we walk.

And God help anyone who endangers my dog.

Not to mention that you’re significantly safer on the street — despite how it may seem — where you’re more visible and less likely to get right hooked or hit by drivers barreling out of driveways.

On the other hand, complaining about cyclists on a bike path is like complaining about all those damn cars on the 405.

Then again, it doesn’t seem to be a new problem.


Instead of focusing on why the driver hit and killed a cyclist, Kentucky authorities question why he was riding his bike on a rural road at 9:15 pm.

How about because he wanted to, and had every right to be there?

Fortunately for the driver, he claims he just didn’t see Illinois Institute of Technology student Yishi Wei, which of course absolves him of any and all responsibility to operate his vehicle in a safe manner, or avoid people directly in front of him.

Police also question why Wei had a hand-drawn map listing distances between towns, yet had no change of clothes to indicate he was planning to stay overnight; clearly, they’re unaware that some cyclists actually enjoy long distance rides. Let alone ever heard of randonneuring.

An earlier article notes that he was wearing dark, non-reflective clothing, and that the bike had reflectors, but apparently not lights. Police make a point of mentioning that Wei wasn’t wearing a helmet.

While any non-distracted driver should have been easily able to spot a rear reflector, there is a reason why smart cyclists wear bright clothing and light themselves up like Christmas trees after dark.

And even then, it’s not always enough.

And for all those police spokespersons and reporters who seem to be endlessly unclear on the concept, there’s not a single bike helmet made anywhere on the planet that can protect the rider from a rear-end collision at highway speeds.

None. Nada. Zero. Zip.

Got it?


AG2R’s John Gadret reeled in Katusha’s Daniel Moreno, the last survivor of the day’s breakaway, to win Stage 11 of the Giro. Cavendish wins the final sprint stage and goes home, while Contador holds almost a one-minute lead overall. And t-shirts sales have raised $22,000 so far for the family of fallen Giro rider Wouter Waylandt, who was laid to rest on Thursday with a eulogy from friend Tyler Farrar.

On the other side of the Atlantic, 39-year old Chris Horner of the RadioShack team won an impressive victory in Stage 4 of the AToC; he feels under appreciated after 17 years as a pro cyclist, and thinks he can win it all. A spectator is hit by a car and seriously injured near the end of the race.

Horner holds onto the leader’s jersey in Stage 5, won by 21-year old Slovakian cyclist Peter Sagan. The Amgen Tour of California heads to a big finish in Thousand Oaks, where a local cyclist will be honored as a cancer survivor two years after doctors gave her six months to live. A look at the man behind Team Type 1, established to call attention to the battle against diabetes.

And Just Another Cyclist considers what’s in a multi-hyphenated  name when it comes to AToC teams.


Walk Eagle Rock takes an in-depth and insightful look at the many problems facing Eagle Rock Blvd. KCET offers eight off-road routes to celebrate Bike Week, which kind of defeats the purpose of Bike Week seeking to normalize cycling on city streets, doesn’t it? Streetsblog’s Bike to Work series continues with Michelle Chavez writing about the challenges of biking in the Antelope Valley. Will Campbell accompanies his wife on her first Bike to Work Day. Better Bike Beverly Hills’ Mark Elliot casts his insightful eye on Bob Mionske’s Bicycling and the Law. Streetsblog’s Damien Newton wants your stories, photos and videos of Bike to Work Day. The Times briefly covers Wednesday’s Downtown Ride for Bike Week; the Source offers a little more detail while LADOT Bike Blog offers the best coverage, as usual. Metro rewards bike commuters with their Human Powered Commuter Awards. Reimagining San Fernando Road as a more pleasant place to walk and bike; than again, anything would be an improvement. Flying Pigeon says L.A. is surrounded by cities that are trying a lot harder. LA Brakeless will have a public opening party on Saturday the 20th to celebrate their new pop-up location. Santa Monica Museum of Art offers a Cycle Chic Saturday to conclude Bike Week. The Beach Cities Cycling Club offers free bike corrals for events throughout the South Bay. Art of the Group Ride looks at the history of the Blessing of the Bicycles.

People for Bikes wishes you a happy Bike to Work Week. Five tips for bike commuting. New data on the economic benefits of cycling, which could be the forgotten answer to energy policy, as well. Turning your bike into a basket case. Tucson Velo visits Los Angeles. There’s finally a settlement in Portland’s infamous case of the disappearing bike lane, despite the ruling of an apparently incompetent judge. A St. Louis cyclist brushes off a close call. After receiving a Purple Heart as a result of an Iraqi IED, an Ohio veteran fights for his life after his bike is hit by a car. The NYPD backs off their heavy handed crackdown on Central Park cyclists.

A human life is worth about the price of a mid-sized TV in Ontario. How to tell when it’s time to find a new bike shop. Despite last year’s rash of bike deaths, London streets are the safest overall since records have been kept; a British MP calls for sensors that could spot a cyclist in a truck’s blind spot. London cyclists are getting mugged for their bikes. A Brit driver gets a whopping 100 hours of community service for the hit-and-run death of a 17-year old cyclist. An investigative journalist is out to eliminate Scotland’s popular Etape Calendonia because it closes local roads for three hours once a year — never mind that the roads are open the other 8757 hours every year. A third-tier Aussie cyclist faces a two-year ban after being caught using recreational drugs.

Finally, more former friends and teammates turn against Lance Armstrong, as Tyler Hamilton says he witnessed Lance taking EPO.

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