Closing arguments in Wray trial, double pro racing tragedies, 3feet2pass survives GOP opposition

Catching up on the week’s news after far too much bad news this week.

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Closing arguments are scheduled for Thursday morning in the trial of Gordon Wray, charged with misdemeanor vehicular homicide in the death of popular local cyclist and scientist Doug Coldwell. The trial resumes a 9:30 am in the San Fernando Courthouse.

If you’re in the area and have the morning free, the lawyers I’ve talked to tell me it can help to have a room full of cyclists to let the judge and jury know we’re watching.

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California’s proposed three-foot passing law took another step forward when the Assembly Appropriations Committee passed it on a straight party-line vote; next up is a vote by the full Assembly in August.

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This week’s tragic news has spread from the South Bay to the world of professional bicycling.

Oceanside cycling coach Mark Whitehead, a member of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic team and holder of 20 national titles, has died while attending the junior track national championships in Texas; no details have been released the cause of death. As a coach, Whitehead mentored multiple world champ Sarah Hammer and L.A.’s own 2008 national criterium champion Rahsaan Bahati, among others.

And rising Aussie professional Carly Hibberd was killed when she was hit by a car while training in Italy. She was riding with training partner Diego Tamayo of Columbia; Tamayo escaped injury, while Hibberd died at the scene. The 26-year old cyclist was just three months from her planned wedding.

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Red Kite Prayer looks at the recent Gran Fondo Los Angeles and says it needs a little work; directions to the post-ride festival my wife and I tried to attend to but couldn’t find until too late would have been nice, too.

I’m told that that Mayor of Beverly Hills gave a grand speech welcoming cyclists to the city. If only he’d do something to make us welcome the other 364 days of the year.

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The recently anti-bike New York Times seems to be shifting gears more often than a weekend warrior testing out a new derailleur. Their latest reports indicate women in New York prefer safety and fashion over cycle chic, while an Econ professor writing for their business blog explores the many benefits of the bicycle dividend:

Major improvements in bike infrastructure wouldn’t just make it easier to get to work. They would also create work, a high priority in our high-unemployment economy.

Construction of bike paths offers more job creation per infrastructure dollar than investment in roads. (For more details, see this recent study by my University of Massachusetts colleague Heidi Garrett-Peltier, who analyzed 58 projects in 11 cities, using an input-output model to measure employment impact).

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In case you missed it dodging cars over the holiday weekend, there’s a little bike ride going on in France for the next three weeks. And unlike most years, where there’s not much reason to pay attention before the race hits the mountains, this year’s Tour de France has offered some damn good racing going on from the non-prologue start, and more drama than a demolition derby.

American Tyler Farrar celebrates the Fourth with a victory in Stage Three, and dedicates his win to fallen friend and former teammate Wouter Weylandt. Formerly clenbuterol-tainted defending champ Alberto Contador finally makes a charge, but falls just short as Cadel Evans narrowly takes Stage Four. Stage Five turned into a crash fest as Cavendish takes the win, and Contador drops further back after riding into a ditch and taking it out on his bike; world champion Thor Hushovd leads by 1 second over Evans. RadioShack rider Janez Brajkovic was forced to leave the Tour due to his injuries, while Quickstep’s Tom Boonen escaped serious injury and will continue to ride.

Red Kite Prayer says the race could be wide open this year. And Frank Schleck manages to hold third place despite swallowing a bug and getting stung in the mouth.

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Mayor Villaraigosa orders L.A. agencies to work together to implement the city’s new bike plan, and asks for your input on how to make the city more bike-friendly. Joe Linton says the city is already falling short. L.A. lifeguards call a 4th of July SigAlert on the Santa Monica bike path. LADOT Bike Blog updates the status of the city’s bike lane projects, as well as the latest BPIT (Bike Plan Implementation Team) meeting; evidently, this one was a little less contentious and things actually got done. Will Campbell takes a time-lapse ride on the other side of the L.A. River. A cyclist fights for his right to take the lane in Culver City and loses. Claremont pulls the brakes on the Amgen Tour of California for next year, but would welcome it back in 2013. A day in the life of professional cyclist Cara Gillis. A Laguna Hills bike shop now offers roadside service for Orange County cyclists. Bay Area bike commuters are facing major traffic jams on the Golden Gate Bridge. JustAnotherCyclist lists his favorite cycling blogs, which includes your humble host in some very good company. The Executive Director of the Sierra Club says it’s time to look beyond oil to other solutions, including bikes; what, you thought he was going to call for expanding the 405 even further?

What if we treated motor vehicle deaths like any other preventable public health issue? Elly Blue concludes her groundbreaking series on Bikenomics by saying bicycling may not make us rich, but it creates a lot of well-being — and maybe that’s more important. Creating a circle of roadway courtesy. Recharge your iPhone while you ride. Steve Vance looks at the problem of construction detours that don’t consider or accommodate bikes, something that ticks me off on a regular basis. Yet another tragedy in New York, as the sister-in-law of famed attorney Alan Dershowitz is killed by a postal truck whose driver appeared to be unaware of the collision. CNN offers a positive look at the New York bike boom, but why does it always have to be framed as a battle between cyclists and drivers? Tennessee proposes a law requiring due care when passing a cyclist or pedestrian and eliminating the SMIDSY* defense, while Streetsblog offers a frontline perspective on the proposed law. A report from a Virginia TV station implies that cyclists don’t deserve protection on the streets because — OMG! — some of us break traffic laws just like drivers do; meanwhile, a fire truck strikes two riders in the same city without stopping. A cyclist’s guide to driving your bike safely; thanks to Dave Moulton for the link.

A university study says protein supplements may offer no benefit. London’s Guardian asks what’s the best way to stop an angry dog? A British driver walks free after killing a cyclist and claiming his sciatica caused it; a UK hit-and-run driver gets a suspended license and community service. This is what a bike theft looks like, while a teenager climbs three stories to steal a bike. Fighting poverty with bikes in sub-Saharan Africa. For the first time, Japanese police charge a cyclist with using a cell phone while riding.

Finally, advice for next weekend’s Carmegeddo, as a Chinese driver asks why sit stuck in traffic when there’s a nearby footbridge you can drive over?

*Sorry Mate, I Didn’t See You

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