Archive for June 30, 2011

Whittier cyclists under attack; female rider severely beaten in most recent assault

A 19-year old woman was severely beaten after being knocked off her bike on a Whittier bike path.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the attack took place on Wednesday around 10:30 pm on the Greenway Trail, a Class 1 off-road bike path between Painter and Greenleaf Avenues when three or four men in dark clothing pushed her off her bike. Her attackers then punched her repeatedly in the face and body, and may have kicked her, as well.

Authorities report she suffered injuries to her face, teeth, hands and elbows, as well as losing consciousness for a period of time; she was reportedly awake when police and firefighters arrived on the scene, and was transported to a local hospital.

The suspects fled when other people approached. Police say she was not robbed and the motive for the attack is unknown.

However, KTLA reports that there have been at least three other attacks in the same pathway in the past month. In one case, a man was able to fight off an attacker who tried to steal his bike, while a 16-year old boy was arrested for allegedly grabbing another man and demanding his money; no information was available on the other attack.

These cases are reminiscent of the reports of attacks on cyclists riding along the Ballona Creek bike path a few years back, and point out the inherent problem with off-road bikeways.

While they can offer a pleasant respite from the headaches and risks of riding busy streets, they are often largely isolated and hidden from public view, providing secluded areas where criminal activity may occur.

And most are rarely, if ever, patrolled by police.

In fact, when cyclists tried to report the Ballona Creek attacks, 911 operators and police officers reportedly had difficulty even identifying where the bike path was and who had jurisdiction in order to respond.

Fortunately, the Ballona attacks proved to be the rare exception, rather than the rule on that pathway, though the reports circulated widely enough that many cyclists still express reservations about riding there.

Hopefully, this latest, unidentified victim will recover from her injuries — both physical and emotional — and get back on her bike soon.

And greater enforcement will improve safety for everyone on Whittier’s Greenway Trail.

CCPD asks Culver City witnesses to come forward; LA bike community to hold major press event Thursday

Culver City police are asking for anyone who may have witnessed the collision earlier this month in which an alleged drunk, speeding and distracted driver collided with a group of late night riders on Jefferson Blvd.

Anyone with information is urged to come in to police headquarters to review a photo reconstruction of the event. If you were there, or know people who were, contact CCPD Officers Davis or Newman at 310-253-6254. Thanks to Jim Shanman of the Culver City Bicycle Coalition for the heads-up.

And clear your schedule for tomorrow morning, when a wide spectrum of the Los Angeles cycling community representing cyclists of all types — myself included — will come together for a press event to protest the botched LAPD investigation and biased press coverage of this case, and make a public call for safer streets and fair investigation into all cycling incidents.

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Valencia sentenced, BOLO for killer car, arrest in Angeles Crest road rage and 3 feet 2 pass passes

Lots of news to catch up on while I take a break from work.

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First up, Marco Antonio Valencia has finally been sentenced in the drunken and high hit-and-run death of Joseph Novotny over two years ago. Valencia had an estimated BAC of .23— nearly three times the legal limit — as well as methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana in his system at the time of the 11 am collision.

The now 22-year old driver will spend the next 26 years to life in state prison.

Unlike some other notable cases, there’s no satisfaction or sense of victory in this case. At least, not for me.

Just an overwhelming sense of sadness that two lives ended that day — Novotny and the man who killed him — because we as a society couldn’t manage to keep a repeat, underage drunk driver off the roads.

And fear of how many more Valencia’s there are out there just waiting to happen.

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Next up, there’s BOLO alert in the hit-and-run death of Alex Romero on the Valley’s Canoga Park Blvd last April.

Authorities have identified the car used to flee the scene after killing Romero in a high-speed collision, and traced it first to Palmdale, then San Pedro before losing track of it. As a result, you’re urged to be on the lookout for the following vehicle —

SUSPECT VEHICLE:

2003 TOYOTA COROLLA 4 DOOR, LIGHT GRY OR SILVER

LIC PLATE: 5FCA061

(REGISTERED TO ADDRESS IN PORTER RANCH)

MISSING RIGHT SIDE MIRROR & FRONT EMBLEM, DAMAGE TO RIGHT PORTION OF WINDSHIELD, AND POSSIBLE FRONT GRILL DAMAGE

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Valley Traffic Detective Krajchir, at (818) 644-8034. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting the word “TIPLA” and the message to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. Tipsters may also go to www.lacrimestoppers.org, click on “Submit a Tip” and follow the prompts.

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An arrest has been made in the case discussed here recently in which a driver was accused of threatening cyclists on Angeles Crest Highway.

According to the Arcadia Patch, Earl Clyde Cox of La Crescenta threatened two separate groups of cyclists along the highway in a road rage incident.

Frighteningly, he reportedly told deputies that the riders weren’t being considerate, so he appointed himself as a driveway vigilante fashion and set out to teach them some manners.

I have a feeling he’s going to learn some the hard way himself.

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There’s good news from Sacramento for a change, as the proposed three-foot passing law passed the state Assembly’s Transportation Committee.

According to the California Bicycle Coalition, the measure passed on an 8 to 5 vote after an hour of impassioned testimony, including support from Bakersfield Senator Michael Rubio, who spoke as a private citizen and cyclist.

Not surprisingly, the AAA — both NorCal and SoCal editions — came out strongly against the bill, suggesting that it be made optional for drivers. So basically, they think their members should have the right to buzz you if the mood strikes.

Meanwhile, a lobbyist for the Teamsters insisted on their members’ right to continue killing cyclists by passing too closely.

Now the bill moves on to the full Assembly, which means it’s time to flood your own representative with letters of support for SB 910.

Let’s end with this quote from CBC Executive Director Dave Snyder —

“…Yesterday’s hearing offered a sobering reminder of how far California still has to go to ensure that everyone who uses the roads can do so safely. It’s disturbing to see AAA and the Teamsters try to defeat a measure that would give drivers – those with the greatest potential to harm others on the road – clear guidance on how to share the road more safely. Drivers who ride bicycles or know someone who does should be deeply concerned about how they’re being represented before lawmakers in Sacramento.”

On second thought, let’s end on this from Cyclelicious, as he urges you to support another bill, SB 582, that could begin to level the playing field for those who prefer to commute via something other than four wheels.

Like a bicycle, for instance.

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There’s been a non-development in Dr. Christopher Thompson’s appeal of his conviction in the Mandeville Canyon Brake Check, in which the Good Doctor tested his stopping power by slamming on the brakes in front of two riders, seriously injuring both.

According to cyclist/attorney Dj Wheels, the oral arguments scheduled for Wednesday have been cancelled after Thompson’s attorney declined to argue his case.

Evidently, that’s not unusual. And since the appellant chose not to appear, the attorney for the People of California chose not to appear, as well. After all, there’s no point in responding when there’s no one to respond to.

So what’s next?

Brace yourself. According to Wheels,

In the normal course, the case will be “submitted” tomorrow (Wednesday), without oral argument, and the court will have 90 days from that date to file its opinion.  If the conviction is affirmed, appellant will have the opportunity to seek rehearing, if he can identify a very specific error in facts in the Court of Appeal.  He can also, and universally will, file a petition for review in the California Supreme Court, identifying specific issues under specific conditions that would justify a  grant of review in the Cal. Supreme court.  He may also collaterally attack the conviction in the California courts by means of a writ of habeas corpus.  For those federal claims that have been exhausted in state court, he may then file a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the federal district court, which could lead to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the US Supreme Court.

In other words, we’ve got a long damn row to hoe before the case involving this particular repellant appellant is finally settled.

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Jury selection is scheduled for Wednesday in the case of Gordon Catlett Wray, the driver accused of killing local scientist and cyclist Doug Caldwell and injuring fellow rider Scott Evans; opening arguments will follow either Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning, depending on what time jury selection concludes. The trial will take place at the San Fernando Courthouse, 900 Third Street in the city of San Fernando, case #0SR05313. Cyclists are urged to attend to show their support for the victims.

Update: I’ve just been informed that the charge against Wray is misdemeanor vehicular homicide; as always, that could be reduced if there’s a settlement.

Thanks to John Stesney for the reminder.

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Outrage from cyclists has had an effect in Mississippi, as a local DA has agreed to reopen the investigation into the hit-and-run driver who ran over a cyclist, got out of her car to look at her, then got back in and ran over her again. The victim was victimized yet again when authorities concluded that her actions weren’t prohibited under Mississippi and there was nothing they could charge her with.

Hopefully, a more thorough scouring of state laws will turn up something this time.

Personally, I vote for attempted murder. Or at the very least, a couple counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

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Finally, thanks to George Wolfberg, and Tim Rutt of Altadenablog, for forwarding the New York Times report on noseless saddles designed to help put a little less pressure on the groins of male riders, and help them get a little more wood out of the saddle.

Not that you have a problem with that, of course.

Monday’s ride, in which the mean streets of the Westside seem safer than the safety of the bike path

Something is seriously wrong when a busy shopping street feels safer than an off-road bike path.

But that was the choice I made on Monday, on what rapidly deteriorated into one of the most stressful bike rides I’ve ever taken. And one of the few times I’ve ever gotten off my bike far less relaxed than when I got on.

Another late start caused me to change my planned route, and break my cardinal rule of never riding the beachfront Marvin Braude bike path through Santa Monica and Venice after noon after Memorial Day.

And I was quickly reminded why I don’t.

It started with a couple of twenty-something couples who were coming out of a parking lot near the Annenberg Center on their way to the beach.

As I approached on the opposite side of the path, I watched as the first member of the group stepped onto the pathway without looking in either direction — right into the path of an oncoming cyclist, who had to make a panic stop on loose sand to just barely miss him.

Then, apparently having learned absolutely nothing from the experience, he stepped right in front of me, forcing me into a panic swerve to avoid him. When I made a comment about looking both ways like his mama taught him, I got a resounding chorus of “what a jerk” from the full group.

And things went downhill from there.

Take, for instance, the grandmother who led a toddler onto the pathway on the far side of a blind curve. And again, stepped out directly in front of me, without a single glance in my direction.

I wonder how she would have explained that to the child’s parents if I hadn’t been able to stop in time?

Or the unsupervised child, around five or so, who was stopped on the opposite side of the bike path, and suddenly swerved directly towards me as I was trying to slip past, forcing me into the sand to avoid him.

But I don’t blame him.

I blame the parents who were nowhere to be scene, leaving a kindergarten-aged kid to navigate a busy bikeway on his own.

And don’t even get me started on the countless groups of pedestrians who somehow managed to block both sides of the bike path as they meandered mindlessly along. Sometimes just inches from the separate pedestrian walkway they should have been using.

All of which combined to make the bike lanes along Main Street seem like the much safer choice on my return trip. And despite dodging doors and double-parked cars and trucks in the bike lane, it felt infinitely safer than the bike path I’d previously navigated just a few blocks away.

Which is absolutely shameful.

It’s one thing to share the pathway with other users, even those sections marked for bicycles only. But it’s another thing when the very people the path was intended to serve are forced to choose alternate routes because it just isn’t safe to ride.

Then again, the streets weren’t that great, either.

As I rode back up Ocean Blvd in Santa Monica, I was nearly crushed between a parked Metro bus partially blocking the bike lane and a passing 720 bus whose driver refused to surrender a single inch of his lane, despite the limited space available.

And evidently, was willing to risk my life to stay on schedule.

Then there’s the driver that right-hooked me as she pulled into the driveway of her apartment building in Brentwood, forcing me to turn along with her to avoid a collision.

By this time, though, I’d had enough.

But when I confronted her about nearly causing a collision, something totally unexpected happened.

She apologized so completely and profusely, I found myself with no idea what to say. And felt all that pent-up anger just melt away.

So I urged her to be more careful next time, more to give myself an exit line than to suggest she drive more safely, since she had clearly gotten the message. And rode off with a cascade of apologies following me down the street.

And oddly, leaving me feeling just a little more hopeful than I had been before she cut me off.

If maybe even a little more stressed.

74-year old cyclist killed in Blythe; 26-year old Londoner killed near Pismo Beach

A 74-year old cyclist was killed in Blythe CA, near the Colorado River between Palm Springs and Phoenix, on Friday night.

According to the Desert Independent, David Sandoval Caldera was riding in the traffic lane on the 1400 block of W. Hobsonway around 8:30 pm when he was hit from behind by a 1999 Ford Expedition driven by Nancy Sue Pollock of Blythe. Pollock claimed she didn’t see Caldera, who was riding without lights or reflectors.

Sunset in Blythe was at 7:49 pm, which means it would have been nearing full dark at the time of the collision. Despite the gathering gloom, Caldera’s bike should have been clearly visible in the car’s headlights, assuming she was using them at that hour.

However, cyclists are required to have a headlight and rear reflector after dark, as well as side reflectors; safety concerns and common sense dictate that riders should do whatever they can to make themselves visible in low light conditions.

Caldera is the 33rd cyclist to be killed in traffic-related collisions in Southern California this year, and the fifth in Riverside County. That compares to an annual average of 7 cycling fatalities in the county in the three years from 2007 to 2009, the latest years for which statistics are currently available; prior to that, the county had 15 cycling deaths in 2005 and 14 in 2006.

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In another tragic case just outside the Southern California area, a 26-year old London resident was killed by an accused speeding, underaged drunk driver near Pismo Beach in San Luis Obispo County.

The cyclist, who remains unidentified pending notification of next-of-kin, was riding on Halcyon Road near Oceano around 8 pm Saturday when 20-year old Aaron Richard Ceja lost control of his Chevy Blazer at a high rate of speed. Ceja’s vehicle crossed over to the other side of the road to hit the rider head on.

According to The San Louis Obispo Tribune, he was arrested for vehicular manslaughter and suspicion of DUI causing injury.

No one should ever die just for going on a bike ride. Especially not a visitor to this country; especially not at the hands of a drunk.

My deepest sympathy to the family and friends of both victims.

Your coming bike events, including L.A.’s first Gran Fondo and a Presidential Sunday Funday

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

Celebrate the fast-growing L.A. fixie scene at the official release party for the exciting new movie To Live and Ride in L.A. on Saturday, June 25th, at Royal/T, 8910 Washington Blvd. The party runs from 6:30 pm to midnight, and is open to the public.

The Culver City Bicycle Coalition invites you to join them on Saturday, June 25th for a family ride to celebrate the official Grand Opening of the newly reopened Ballona Creek Bike Path. The ride meets at the historic Culver Hotel in Downtown Culver City at 9 am, and departs at 9:30 for the Overland Gate Dedication at 10.

Italian-style biking comes to L.A. with the 2011 Gran Fondo Calnago Los Angeles, offering rides of 39 and 72 miles, with up to 7,100 feet of climbing; registration includes jersey, aid stations and post-ride Italian lunch. Proceeds will go to benefit Team Type 1, a pro team made up to call attention to the fight against Type 1 Diabetes. The rides start at 7 am on Sunday, June 26h at the 400 block of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

Sunday, June 26th, CicLAvia hosts a free bike fitting workshop and easy group ride to explore the proposed South L.A. Route and help distribute flyers. It starts with the workshop at 10 am at Mercado La Paloma3655 S. Grand Ave, followed by the group ride at 11 am.

The Eastside Bike Club invites you to join them as they participate in the annual El Sereno 4th of July Parade on Saturday, July 2nd; decorate your bike and yourself in red, white and blue, and stick around for the fireworks at dusk. The ride assembles at 1 pm  at the El Sereno Library, 5226 Huntington Drive, with the parade starting at 2 pm. The ESBC will also be riding to view fireworks in Boyle Heights on the 3rd, and Alhambra on the 4th.

Flying Pigeon hosts their monthly Brewery Ride on Saturday, July 2nd from 3 to 5:30 pm, followed by the Spoke(n) Art Ride on Saturday, July 9th at 6 pm and the Get Sum Dim Sum Ride on Sunday, July 17th at 10 am. All rides meet at Flying Pigeon Bike Shop, 3714 North Figueroa Street in Highland Park.

car wash will be held on Sunday, July 3rd from 9 am to 2 pm on Sunday, July 3rd to raise funds for Ride2Recovery, a nationwide program that helps wounded vets reclaim their lives through cycling. It takes place at 316 W. Florence Ave in Inglewood, with a taco truck onsite for those who want a great lunch or want to contribute without a car.

The next edition of the LACBC’s popular Sunday Funday rides rolls on Sunday, July 3rd, with the Salute to Our Founding Fathers Ride hosted by board member Greg Laemmle. The ride will start at the Helms Bakery Building and travel Washington, Adams and Jefferson Blvds and the historic West Adams district, as well as exploring the old tombstones at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery, stopping for a bite at La Taquiza, then returning along the route of the new Expo Line. The ride assembles at 9:30 am at the fountain in front of Father’s Office, 3229 Helms Ave, and departs at 10.

On July 15th, life as we know it will come to an end when Carmaggedon occurs with the closure of the 405 Freeway through West L.A. True believers in freeway widening and car culture will immediately be raptured out of the construction zone, leaving those left behind to fight for survival on the streets of the city; for those lucky few who make it through the weekend, life will return to some semblance of normal when the freeway reopens on Monday the 18th. Or you could just, you know, ride your bike instead.

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.

Finally, mark your calendar for L.A.’s Ultimate Bike Weekend, as the 2011 L.A. edition of the Tour de Fat comes to town on Saturday, October 8th, followed by the next CicLAvia on Sunday, October 9th, offering an expanded route taking participants another 2.5 miles into Boyle Heights.

LB shooting victim ID’d, Doug Caldwell killer goes to trial, Ventura’s Satnam Sing faces murder charge

Coroner’s officials identified the cyclist shot and killed in Long Beach on Tuesday night as 34–year old Pablo Ortiz. The shooting took place around 7:30 pm on the 2100 block of East 14th Street; anyone with information is asked to call the LBPD Homicide Detail at 562-570-7247.

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Trial will begin next week in the case of Gordon Catlett Wray, the driver accused of killing local scientist and cyclist Doug Caldwell, and injuring fellow rider Scott Evans. Jury selection and opening arguments are both scheduled for Wednesday at the San Fernando Courthouse, 900 Third Street in the city of San Fernando, case #0SR05313.

Reports are that both sides have stipulated to the cause of death — that is, that the victims were run over by Wray’s Camry — however, the fact that this is going to trial indicates that Wray’s attorney thinks he can get his client off. From what I’ve heard, they may claim that the sun was in his eyes, making it impossible to see the riders in front of him.

If you’ve got some free time next week, some cyclists sitting in the courtroom could help prevent any glare — or smokescreens — from blinding the jury.

Thanks to John Stesney for the reminder.

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Dj Wheels sends notice of a little good news, if you can call it that, that I missed somehow last week.

The Ventura County Star reports that a murder charge has been added to the charges against Satnam Sigh, the driver who killed college student Nick Haverland and injured several other people in a series of allegedly drunken hit-and-run collisions in Ventura last month.

According to the Star:

Senior Deputy District Attorney Richard Simon said second degree murder requires proof that the defendant acted with conscious disregard for life, not intent to kill, Simon said.

Prosecutors determined Singh’s actions fit that definition based on the defendant’s high blood alcohol level, speed and the fact that he fled multiple crashes before the collision that killed Haverland, Simon said.

“All those told us that he knew what he was doing was dangerous, but he did it anyway,” Simon said.

In addition to second degree murder, Singh faces charges of felony drunk driving, felony hit-and-run and misdemeanor hit-and-run.

Needless to say, he’s pleaded not guilty to all charges.

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Bikeside’s Alex Thompson offers an in-depth update on the Culver City collision case to include the good news that the driver could potentially face DUI charges after all. Hats off to everyone at Bikeside for taking the lead in covering this important case.

The Culver City Police Department has taken over the investigation, and officers are looking for any photos or video of the scene prior to intervention by police or fire officials, as well as testimony from independent witnesses (re: not cyclists or the driver). Anyone with information is urged to contact CCPD Officers Davis, Cisneros or Newman at 310/253-6254.

Word is that tonight’s Critical Mass may visit the crash site to protest the crash and initial police investigation; then again, knowing CM, it may not. But at any rate, the positive relationship with the LAPD should survive.

Meanwhile, a broad coalition of local cyclists and organizations have been working on an official response; look for a statement in the near future.

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Two arrests have been made in the beating of cyclists participating in the mostly-clothed L.A. edition of the World Naked Bike Ride earlier this month.  Twenty-year old L.A. residents Carlos Rojas and Amanda Arellano were booked under $75,000 and $35,000 bonds, respectively. Two other male suspects are still being sought.

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LACBC member John Morlock will be hosting a car wash from 9 am – 2 pm on Sunday, July 3rd at 316 W. Florence Ave in Inglewood to raise funds for Ride2Recovery, a nationwide program that helps wounded vets reclaim their lives through cycling. There will also be a taco truck onsite for those who want a great lunch — or don’t have cars and still want to contribute.

And I’m sure no one would object if you just want to stop by and make a contribution. Or if you walked next door to get a cobbler for dessert from one of the best restaurants in Southern California.

While this isn’t affiliated with LACBC, it’s a great cause and one I support 100%. So if you find yourself driving or riding anywhere near the area on the 3rd, stop by and tell John I sent you.

Maybe they’ll even wash your bike if you ask nice.

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Miscellaneous pro cycling news:

Twenty-eight-year old Austrian ultracyclist Christoph Strasser wins this year’s RAAM. RadioShack’s Levi Leipheimer overcame a two-minute margin to win the Tour de Suisse by a razor thin 4 seconds. Pro cycling’s winningest team could lose its sponsorship and cease to exist in fallout over doping cases — despite taking the High Road.

The Claremont Cyclist profiles the groundbreaking Greg LeMond, who turns 50 this weekend, and has his name on my bike. Ex-fellow Tour de France winner Floyd Landis is represented by a high-powered team of made-up lawyers; frankly, he needs the best team of imaginary barristers money can buy.

The contest I mentioned here last week to send someone to work with Team Liquigas­–Cannondale at next month’s Tour de France has been won by Joe Praino of Arlington VA.

And former framebuilder extraordinaire Dave Moulton raises a very intriguing question — why has the rate of deaths for pro cyclists doubled since UCI required helmets for all racers?

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A new street signal will finally be installed for the murderous North Hollywood intersection that took the life of 12-year old Emily Aleman and cycling hit-and-run victim Robert Painter. L.A. cyclists put together their own DIY bike destination map. Rick Risemberg says if this is the way they plan to build a bike boulevard, we’re better of the way things are. The latest BPIT meeting is compared to a tar ball, and not favorably. Changes are coming to Downtown L.A., with bike lanes planned for Fig, Flower, Spring and Main Downtown. A profile of bike, river and eco-activist Joe Linton. Actor Donald Sutherland hits a cyclist with his SUV in Santa Monica. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune says even though cyclists can be annoying, drivers should chill and let us live, and sentiment I share and for which I thank them. Sidi America will offer special deals at I. Martin Friday night; why do things like this always happen when I’m broke? Maybe because I usually am, no?

A group of South Bay cyclists say the proposed South Bay Bike Plan needs to include a real extension of the beach bike path through King Harbor. The family of Michael Nine, who was killed in a collision with a gardener’s truck in Newport Beach last year, files suit against just about everyone; as usual, be forewarned that ignorance abounds in the comments. A San Diego cyclist is buzzed by a patrol car, then written up for riding — apparently legally — in the traffic lane. The SF Chronicle says door zones, no; helmets yes. Cyclist’s riding the famed Golden Gate Bridge now face a 15 mph speed limit, with a 5 mph limit when passing peds; can a speed limit be legally enforced on vehicles that often lack speedometers? For a bike paradise, Marin County is pretty dangerous. Cyclists are urged to attend Monday’s State Assembly Transportation Committee hearing to support the proposed 3-foot passing law; word is the controversial 15 mph passing differential exemption has or will be removed.

Despite the negative headline, a car writer doesn’t seem to take a clear stand on whether an Interstate Bike Route System is a good thing or a bad thing; thanks to Al Williams for the heads-up. No surprise, it turns out the top cities for bike commuting are happier, too. A People For Bikes blogger narrowly averted tragedy at 15 by not getting a car. Green colored bike lanes are no longer considered experimental by the feds. A new study shows bike projects create more jobs than other transportation infrastructure. Sibling’s cross-country bike tour honors victims of drunk drivers. A man travels across country by bike to visit every major league ball park and ask for a job. Utah cyclists ride for respect and road courtesy. A Wyoming highway patrolman saves a cyclist towing two skateboarders from a drunk driver. Denver gets it’s first cycle track. A truly heartless hit-and-run driver hits and seriously injures an 11-year old, then gets out of her car to reclaim her hubcap before fleeing the scene. An 86-year old cyclist is killed in a time trial accident at the National Senior Games. Mystery art bikes return to Muskegon MI. A short, quick list on bike path etiquette; can’t say I disagree. The Wall Street Journal says New York’s bike wars are over and we won; even the Australian press say peace could be at hand — for New Yorkers, not for Aussies. Is Janette Sadik-Khan’s predecessor trying to sabotage her work? Evidently, it’s perfectly legal to run over a cyclist a second time — after she had already hit the rider once and gotten out of her car to check on her — in Mississippi. This is why you don’t run your dog next to your bike, especially on hot days.

A pro mountain biker is identified as one of the Vancouver hockey rioters — but not the one making out in the famous photo. Toronto officials waste no time in getting rid of popular bike lanes. Apparently, London’s transportation agency counts cyclists as just one-fifth of a car. Britain’s Conservatives go on record as opposing efforts to give walking and cycling priority in road projects. A lovely ride through London town; link courtesy of Bike Commute News. How to prepare your body and your bike for more riding. It’s amazing what you can do with a little tin foil, oil and a lot of patience. A Copenhagen cyclist is killed when a car being chased by police goes off the road at 112 mph. Advanced advice on wheel truing from Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs.

Finally, a big congratulations to the man who’s bringing bike culture to the hill country of North Carolina, as Zeke has been named a Haywood County Hometown Hero (scroll to page A10). And a NY cyclist says cyclists are people too, so ride responsibly and don’t be a tool, while the Onion offers their own unique take on bike safety.

We have a winner!

Here's the official mileage from my ride on Wednesday.

Thanks to everyone who entered Wednesday’s contest for a free $25 gift card from Performance Bike.

And especially everyone who thought I could manage a decent distance. I’ll talk to everyone who guessed under 30 miles — or even 16 — after class.

As it turned out, a late start dictated by the day’s breaking news limited my options, since I had to get back for other commitments. But I still managed to get in a decent 40.39 miles — just 1.29 miles more than the 39.1 mile guessed by Joe Anthony of Bike Commute News; P4D was off by just 1.91 miles, and the lovely Alice Strong finished third at an even 37 miles, 3.39 miles off the final total.

I’ll be emailing Joe for his mailing address, and will forward it to Performance Bike’s agency to send him his prize.

So congratulations to Joe, and thanks again to everyone who entered.

I don’t know about you, but this was fun. Maybe we’ll do it again sometime soon.

Yet another bike rider shot and killed; 15-year old SD cyclist critically injured by 84-year old driver

The Daily News reports that a bicyclist was killed in a Long Beach shooting last night.

The shooting occurred prior to 8 pm Tuesday on the 2100 block of East 14th Street; no other details are available at this time.

This is the 5th cyclist fatally shot in Southern California this year, and the 4th in L.A. County.

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An anonymous reader forwards news of a tragic collision in San Diego last week, in which a 15 year old boy was critically injured when an 84-year old driver mistakenly stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brakes.

Isaiah Fisher remains in a coma after reconstruction surgery to the entire right side of his face. The van driven by Dean Hedlund reportedly made a wide left turn, went over the curb and hit a light pole before colliding with Fisher.

Just when an elderly driver is no longer able to drive safely is one of the hardest questions any family will face. For older people, driving means represents freedom and an ability to care for themselves, yet it can also pose a significant risk to themselves and everyone else on the road as their ability and judgement decline.

The hard part is that this occurs at a different rate for every individual. Some can no longer drive safely in their 60′s, while others can maintain full control of a motor vehicle decades later.

We took my father-in-law’s keys away after he suffered a severe stroke; even with significant physical impairment, he would have gladly gotten back behind the wheel if he could.

Unfortunately, most people don’t have such a clearly defined indicator that they can no longer drive safely. The warning signs of declining driving ability are usually subtle and slow to develop, often not becoming apparent until it’s too late; Hedlund himself denied that his age was a factor in the collision.

As a society, we haven’t begun to address this problem.

Instead of mandating annual testing after a certain age, we leave it up to often unqualified family members to recognize the problem and take away the keys.

As Isiah Fisher tragically shows, that’s just not good enough.

………

Speaking of drivers who should be on the road, Bikeside’s Alex Thompson offers a full update on the condition of the victims, as well a interviews with witnesses, in the Culver City collision that injured 11 cyclists, 6 seriously enough to require hospitalization.And he forwards a link to some very sick and disturbed people who consider Christine Dahab, the driver who put all those people in the hospital, a hero.

Maybe we should force everyone who posts such vile comments online to visit the victims of their hatred, and see firsthand what drunken and/or distracted carelessness can do.

Maybe then they might rediscover a shred of their own humanity.

Doubtful, though.

Win a $25 Performance gift card, celebrate To Live and Ride in LA, and watch your ass on Angeles Crest

For once, it could actually pay to read this blog.

Starting today, the singularly named Performance Bike is holding what they describe as the biggest sale in their 29-year history. And to celebrate — and yes, get a little publicity — they’ve offered me a $25 gift card to give away to one of my readers.

According to their press release, everything in their stores will be on sale, as well as everything on their website, with doorbuster specials offering up to 70% off. The sale runs through Sunday, June 26th; and takes place in all of their local L.A.-area stores, including, presumably, the new Long Beach store.

And while you’re at it, you might want to like them on Facebook, for those of you who, unlike me, actually like Facebook.

Now, about that contest to win a free gift card.

Here are the rules:

I’m planning to go out for a bike ride on Wednesday. All you have to do is guess how far I’m going to ride; closest guess to my actual final mileage wins the $25 gift card from Performance Bike.

Simple, right?

Of course, the catch is, even I don’t know how far I’m going to ride.

To give you a clue, I’ll be riding from my home in Westwood to the coast, then along the beach and back. I live almost exactly 7.5 miles from PCH, so that’s a minimum of 15 miles right there. And exactly where and how far I go after that will depend entirely on my mood, the weather and how far my legs will carry me.

Just leave your best guess in the comments here; I’ll contact the winner by email, so be sure to use a valid email address. And to give everyone a fair chance, wherever you are and whenever you read this, we’ll make the deadline to enter a full 24 hours from the time I post this.

Which means the cut-off is Wednesday night at 11:58 pm PDT.

The gift card will be mailed to the winner directly from their agency, and should be valid on the Performance website, so you don’t need to live in Southern California to enter.

May the best guess win.

Note to other bike shops: I’m a firm believer in supporting local bike shops; the reason I’m promoting the Performance sale is because they asked. Just a hint.

And for the sake of full disclosure, they’re sending me a gift card for the same amount as well. And no, you can’t have it.

……..

The new, long-awaited movie about the L.A. fixie scene has just been released on DVD and iTunes. To Live & Ride in L.A. explores one of the world’s most vibrant cycling scenes taking place right now on the streets, alleys and velodromes of our fair city.

You can celebrate both the film and biking at the official release party this Saturday, June 26th, at Royal/T, 8910 Washington Blvd in L.A. The party runs from 6:30 pm to midnight, and is open to the public.

……..

Michael Byerts forwards an email from a member of the LA Tri Club warning about a dangerous driver on Angeles Crest Highway — which has already seen three traffic fatalities since the highway was reopened less than three weeks ago.

On Angeles Crest today, a silver Nissan XTERRA (ED: plate number deleted) slowed down to yell angrily at three pairs of cyclists and swerved into the shoulder cutting off two pairs (I was in one of the pairs). All three pairs were riding separately, didn’t know each other, and were at different sections of the highway between Foothill and Newcombs. Long story short, the car was reported, and the driver was stopped and arrested.

However, given that the driver seemed to show very little remorse when talking with the other pair of cyclists up at Newcombs Ranch and didn’t seem all that well balanced, we are a little worried that he will continue his dangerous driving into cyclists. All three pairs of cyclists were riding up, so going slowly. If he does the same thing to cyclists riding down, it could be much worse.

So, please be careful if you see a silver Nissan XTERRA while riding on ACH, particularly if the driver slows down or yells at you. The car had a bike rack on it today, too. If you experience anything similar (or have already since crest has opened), please notify the California Highway Patrol to build a case on this guy.

Please forward to friends/groups that ride on Angeles Crest.

I’m withholding the author’s name to protect his/her privacy.

……..

Finally, you may recall that L.A. cyclist Patrick Pascal offered his observations on the multitude of problems facing cyclists in Griffith Park in a guest post last December.

Now he offers an update indicating that at least one of the problems has been resolved.

I am happy to report that, a mere six months after the above left picture appeared on your blog (in my review of Griffith Park’s bike amenities), this stretch of pavement (pictured on the right has been restored. I have no illusions that my post was anything but a coincidence as we all know how fastidious the city is about maintaining infrastructure. Bravo to the Park Department for not letting the entire roadway wash away before making repairs.

BTW, this is one of LA’s best sunset rides with panoramas from the San Gabriel mountains to the islands and into the valley from the top.

Before.

After. Though from what I can see, the other side still doesn't look so good.

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