Archive for July 21, 2011

Updated: Five SoCal cyclists dead in last 5 days; 6th fatality uncomfirmed

It is a sad irony that the same week local cyclists celebrate L.A.’s groundbreaking cyclist anti-harassment ordinance, we’re forced to confront one of the bloodiest weeks in recent memory.

Just this week, bike riders have been killed in Downtown Los Angeles and Big Bear; in addition, a Simi Valley man has been killed while riding in Hawaii, and a Long Beach man died of injuries he received in a collision on July 6th.

That’s in addition to news that a 17-year old cyclist shot and killed on over the weekend while riding his bike.

Five deaths in the last five days, spanning the spectrum of potential hazards facing riders.

……..

Let’s start with the collision that killed a 63-year old man in Downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday evening.

While it was widely reported that this death may have been collateral damage resulting from a road rage incident between two drivers, multiple sources at City Hall have told me that the police are no longer investigating this as a confrontation between the motorists.

According to these sources, the collision occurred as a result of the drivers competing for lane space on the street, resulting in the driver of the Avalanche swinging to the right of the roadway where the victim, who has not yet been publicly identified, was riding.

As a result, the driver who had been taken into custody has been released.

This does not mean that no charges will be filed in the death, though; the investigation is still continuing.

Flying Pigeon offers a photo of the ghost bike that will be installed for the victim, if it hasn’t been already.

……..

Twenty-three-year old Christopher Sop of Big Bear Lake was killed in an apparent solo riding accident on Mill Creek Road, approximately one mile south of Tulip Lane in the unincorporated part of Big Bear.

According to the Rim of the World News, the Big Bear Sheriff’s Department responded to a report of a man down at 6:17 pm on Monday. Officers concluded that Sop had been travelling north on Mill Creek when he lost control of his bike and struck a rock; he was pronounced death at the scene, with time of the accident estimated at around 3:40 pm.

……..

A 67-year old Long Beach man has died of injuries he received when a truck driver allegedly ran a red light on July 6th in the Bixby Knolls area.

According to the Long Beach Press Telegram, Louis Gabor was riding his bike east on Bixby Road when he was struck by a Chevrolet S-10 pickup while crossing Cherry Avenue at around 11 am. After nearly two weeks in critical condition, he died of his injuries on Tuesday.

The driver, who has not been publicly identified, faces possible a possible charge of vehicular manslaughter once the investigation is concluded.

……..

Maui Now reports that 24-year old Anthony Hernandez of Simi Valley was killed while riding in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii on Thursday, July 16th.

Kona police found Hernandez laying next to his bike after responding to a report of a crash at 1:18 am. He reportedly lost control of his bike and fell, hitting his head on the pavement and suffering critical face and head injuries; he died of his injuries on Sunday the 17th.

The website reports that he wasn’t wearing a helmet; in this case, that information is actually worth mentioning, since this is exactly the sort of slow-speed impact helmets are designed to protect against. It also suggests that police are investigating the possible “influence of intoxicants” in the crash.

However, as in the case of Christopher Sop in Big Bear — and any case in which a rider is found unconscious or dead on the side of the road — the question is why he lost control of his bike.

It’s entirely possible that it was the result of carelessness or intoxication on the part of the rider. But it’s also possible that it could be due to road conditions, or being brushed, buzzed or harassed by a passing vehicle. With no physical evidence, it’s very easy to blame the victim for something that may or may not have been his fault.

……..

Finally, the 17-year old cyclist killed in a shooting in Montecito Heights on Saturday evening has been identified as Jesus Lopez of Los Angeles. The Press-Enterprise reports that no arrests have been made; anyone with information is asked to call Detectives J. Rios or Cary Ricard at (323) 342-8959. During non-business hours or weekends, calls may be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7.

……..

These deaths — excluding that of Anthony Hernandez in Hawaii — raise the total of confirmed bicycling fatalities throughout Southern California this year to 47; 5 by gunshots and 42 in solo accidents or collisions with trains or motor vehicles; 20 of those deaths have occurred in L.A. County.

My sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of all the victims.

……..

Update: I had originally included a sixth fatality in this article; as noted on Tuesday, I had received an anonymous tip about a cycling fatality in Santa Maria; when I did a Google search for confirmation last night, I found an article from the Santa Maria Times that seemed to line up with the information I had, including the location.

However, I missed the date on the story. Even though I was searching for stories that had appeared online in just that last 24 hours, what I found was a story about a collision that occurred last November, as David Huntsman was kind enough to point out. As a result, I have removed references to the Santa Maria fatality while I wait for confirmation.

My apologies for the confusion.

Update: I’ve received confirmation that report of the Santa Maria collision was in error, and that no fatality occurred. And yes, that is very good news. 

Breaking news: L.A.’s groundbreaking bike anti-harassment ordinance passes full City Council

L.A.’s first-of-it’s-kind ordinance to protect cyclists from harassment by motorists by making it a civil violation has passed the full City Council by a unanimous vote. Now the measure goes to the Mayor’s office for his signature, which is expected. You can download the full ordinance here; no word on when it will go into effect.

There is no overstating just how important this innovative new law is. For once, L.A. is leading the way in protecting the rights of cyclists with an ordinance that is likely to be copied by cities around the world

The hearing for the ordinance lasted just 40 minutes, with moving comments from a number of cyclists and council members, including District 11th District Council Member Bill Rosendahl, who has shepherded the measure from its inception — and who learned to ride a bike again just two weeks ago after a break of over 40 years.

But Council President Eric Garcetti may have said it best when he suggested that this ordinance may be what it takes to move L.A. from Carmegeddon to Cycletopia.

Unfortunately, any urge to celebrate this important win is tempered by news of last night’s fatal bike collision Downtown — sources at City Hall tell me police have ruled out road rage as the cause — as well as news of two other SoCal cycling fatalities, and confirmation of the previously reported fatality in Santa Maria earlier this week.

I’ll try to catch up will all the news as quickly as I can.

Meanwhile, come out and join the LACBC Board of Directors at our annual public meeting at the Encino Velodrome to celebrate the victory and discuss what we can do to prevent more tragedies.

BAC Chair Emeritus Alex Baum and Councilmember Bill Rosendahl take questions surrounded by cyclists after the unanimous vote.

Today’s post, in which I play the race card in support of L.A.’s cyclist anti-harassment ordinance

When I moved to the deep south over three decades ago, I found myself, perhaps not surprisingly, in a town deeply divided by race.

After all, it was just over a decade after the civil rights era, and far less than that since the city’s last violent demonstrations over school busing.

It didn’t take long notice an unfortunate pattern. Every day, thousands of people, both black and white, would come into the city’s business district where I worked; every night, they would go back home to their separate parts of town.

And most people seemed okay with that.

The attitude was expressed to me many times by people of both races. “We may not like you,” they said, “but we all have to get along if this city is going to survive.”

And so they did, working side-by-side by day, then going their own separate ways, to their own separate parts of town.

So when some of my coworkers invited me to go out bar hopping on their side of the tracks, I jumped at the chance.

I’d been raving about a band I’d heard the night before, in a bar where I rarely saw a face much darker than mine. And they said if I really wanted to have a good time, I was hanging out on the wrong side of town.

A few days later, I found myself in a car with a small groups of friends and co-workers, making our way down streets familiar to them, yet which I had never travelled before.

Evidently, not many like me had; the owner of one bar we visited bought me a drink because he said mine was the first white face that had ever entered his club unaccompanied by a license or a badge.

At first, my presence was met by skepticism; once I explained, in response to the inevitable questions, that I was just there to have some fun with my friends, the reactions from other patrons ranged from indifference to warmly welcoming, like a long lost friend they’d never met.

With one notable exception.

A very angry man came up at one of the clubs and went nose to nose with me, hissing “We don’t need your kind in here.”

The next thing I knew, one of my friends was standing directly between us and facing down my challenger, who stood a good head taller and outweighed her by at least a margin of 2-1. She wasted no time in telling him that I was with her, and if he didn’t like it, he could get the hell out.

And he did.

Later, as we discussed it on the way home, she asked if I’d enjoyed myself. I replied that I’d had a great time, but learned the hard way that it only takes one jerk to ruin things for everyone.

“Now,” she said, “You know how we feel.”

That’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten. And one that often comes back to me as I ride these mean streets we call home.

The overwhelming majority of drivers I encounter on the streets as I ride my bike treat me with anything from courtesy to indifference.

But every now and then, I run into someone who doesn’t think our kind — the two wheeled kind — belongs on their streets.

Sometimes it takes the form of honking aggressively or passing too close, maybe escalating into thrown objects, insults or getting run off the road.

Or maybe it turns into a violent assault, with a driver using her car as a weapon, like the woman who deliberately ran me down on a Westwood street.

It only takes one jerk to ruin things.

And there’s usually no one there to step in between and save the day. Even if there is a cop nearby, or they happen to take your 911 call seriously and send out a patrol car, he or she is just as likely to take the driver’s side and say it was just an accident, or defend the attackers against their victim. In my experience, anyway.

That’s why L.A.’s proposed Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance is so important.

For the first time, we’ll be able to defend ourselves against driveway vigilantes who attempt to enforce their own, usually made up, version of the law.

Not with words or gestures. Or even U-locks.

But with lawyers and subpoenas.

It won’t work miracles. We’ll still have to gather enough evidence to make it worth taking a case to court, which isn’t always easy to do from the saddle of a bike — let alone laying on the road after a driver has knocked you on your ass.

And we’ll still have to prove our case before a judge and jury, even if it only requires the simple majority of a civil case, rather than the unanimous agreement required for a criminal conviction.

But we’ll finally have a chance to defend ourselves against those handful of jerks who think we don’t belong. And it will only take a few verdicts on our favor before they get the message loud and clear.

We have a right to the road.

And the law — this law — will be on our side.

……..

L.A.’s groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind anywhere Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance comes before the full City Council for final approval at 10 am Wednesday at Downtown City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street. It’s number #19 on the agenda, but could be moved up if the council wants to address it sooner to accommodate the anticipated crowd of cyclists in the room.

And yes, I’ll be there.

Breaking news — Downtown cyclist killed in apparent road rage incident between two drivers

A cyclist is dead, collateral damage in a roadway dispute between two motorists in Downtown L.A.

The cyclist, who has not been publicly identified, was riding near the onramp to the 110 Freeway at the intersection of Francisco and 8th Streets when he was struck around 7 or 8 pm. The rider has only been described as an older Hispanic male, whose age has been various reported as 59 or 62.

According to the Los Angeles Times, a 23-year old woman in a Kia and a 37-year old man in a Chevy Avalanche were involved in some sort of dispute while driving north on Figueroa, then the Avalanche tried to pass the Kia on the right after they had turned left onto 8th Street, striking the victim in the process.

The Times reports that the driver of the Avalanche has been taken into custody for questioning, while the other driver remained at the scene but has not been detained.

And an innocent man is dead because one or both drivers couldn’t manage hold their damn temper behind the wheel.

As I said before, we need a policy of One and Done; a single conviction on a road rage charge should result in a loss of driving privileges for life.

No exceptions.

Thanks to Dj Wheels for the heads-up.

Possible cycling fatality in Santa Maria, pedestrian killed in unreported Westside hit-and-run

I’ve received an unconfirmed report of a cycling fatality in Santa Maria on Monday. According to an anonymous source, a 73-year old man was struck and killed at the intersection of Betteravia and Sinton Roads just after noon; rescue personnel were unable to resuscitate him and he was declared dead at the scene.

More details as they become available.

Update: Fortunately, this one turned out to be a false alarm; the report was based on an undated internet story referring to a collision that occurred last year.

……..

Streetsblog reports on a fatal hit-and-run that never made the news, on the same night an allegedly drunk/distracted driver plowed into a group of cyclists in Culver City.

The collision took the life of a pedestrian crossing Venice Blvd at Motor, just 1.25 miles from the other incident, in the early morning hours of Thursday, June 16th. The victim was walking with the light when a dark colored Volkswagen Jetta ran the red light, then sped off to leave him dying in the street.

Anyone with information is asked to call call the West L.A. Traffic Division Officer O. Osbourne at 213-473-0234.  If you’re calling after-hours or on the weekend, please call 1-877-LAPD-24-7.

……..

Danae Marie Miller is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on September 22nd in Newport Beach on a single count of felony vehicular manslaughter in the February death of triathlete Amine Britel. She reportedly was texting and had a BAC of .10 at the time of the collision, and had 16 prior tickets for moving infractions.

……..

As racing resumes after yesterday’s rest day, Thor Hushovd wins stage 16 of the Tour de France; defending champ Alberto Contador must have resumed eating Spanish beef as he gains precious seconds on the leaders.

Evidently, I’m not the only one who thinks this year’s tour is anything but boring. Dave Moulton says keep an eye on Samuel Sanchez. A lasting, if somewhat gruesome, image to show how tough Tour riders really are. Current TdF leader Thomas Voeckler says he has no chance of winning.

Meanwhile, Lance goes to court to demand an investigation into apparent grand jury leaks, saying the Justice Department is trying to destroy his legacy in the court of public opinion. And Alexander Vinokourov closes out his dope-marred career; sometimes I wonder if the cyclists banned for doping are just the ones who got caught, though others might disagree.

……..

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton bookends Carmageddon with a preview on Fox 11, as well as offering a wrap-up with his usual insight; he says there are just too many freeways. Riding to Carmegeddon Ground Zero. GOOD wants you to imagine L.A. without cars; isn’t that what Carmageddon was all about? Police save the 405 from the indignity of being ridden by 200 or so cyclists. Local officials hope the positive Carmegeddon experience will encourage Angelenos to drive less; I give it maybe two weeks tops.

A mathematical follow-up to the great Bike vs. Jet race. Yes Magazine looks at the cyclists who beat an airplane, while Time Magazine evidently misses the part about Gary Kavanagh finishing 2nd on Metro.

……..

The Sacramento Bee offers a semi-tongue-in-cheek list of 11 things thing the pros do that you shouldn’t when you ride your bike.

I realize they’re trying to be funny while making a point. But personally, I’m getting pretty fed up with all the attacks on cyclists who wear Lycra bike clothes; anyone who thinks riders wear spandex to fit in or be fashionable doesn’t have a clue what road riding is all about.

Experienced riders know that road biking shorts and jerseys are designed to provide for maximum comfort and performance over long distances at relatively high speeds by wicking away moisture and preventing chafing while minimizing drag caused by loose, flapping attire.

But nobody says it’s mandatory. Street clothes are perfectly fine if that’s what you want to wear, especially when riding shorter distances or at slower speeds.

So if you don’t like Lycra, don’t wear it.

And anyone who thinks shaved legs are about “primping” has never tried to field dress a gashed calf 40 miles from home.

……..

Bikes Belong gives a grant to the LACBC to study the economic impact of a road diet on York Blvd; the results could provide much needed support for bike projects across the country. The Westside Cities Council of Governments meets at the VA on Thursday; coordination of bike planning and potential funding sources is on the agenda. New Miracle Mile bike racks prove popular. Surf, skate and bike at the Architecture and Design Museum. A discussion of bike share in Santa Monica. Cycletracks are coming to Temple City. Sometimes it only takes a new grate to help make a street a little safer. A Whittier veteran rubs elbows with royalty to promote the Ride Against Homelessness Bike Ride.

Your next Felt could be a little more affordable. Three Newport Beach teenagers are arrested as bike thefts spike. No charges yet in a Ventura hit-and-run. The correct answer to “where to ride your bike” isn’t “somewhere else.” Another Californian has been busted for Biking Under the Influence after colliding with a car. A mountain biker dies after losing control on a Lake Tahoe trail.

Road ID offers a great series on the rules of the road, including videos with bike lawyer Bob Mionske. A new bike can help leave even the worst disappointments behind. Lovely Bicycle defines what bicycle safety means to her. Elly Blue looks shows how disability doesn’t mean a lack of ability when it comes to riding a bike. A look at the Bike Lady of St. Ignatius MT; thanks to new Montanan and former Angeleno Dancer al a Mode for the heads-up. Springfield Cyclist wins not one, but two bikes. A Chicago man complains about the way ghost bikes look over time. It takes a genuine jerk to door a 6-year old and say “I hope you learned your lesson, young man.” A Princeton fusion researcher is killed on the final day of a 500-mile charity ride. NYDOT turns a safe and pleasant commute into a potentially deadly ride. No bike share station on DC’s National Mall.

A new London gym offers indoor bike parking and bike repairs. A British teenager rides on water to raise money for charity; thanks to Rex Reese for the link. Now that’s what I call cycle chic. An English cyclist riding across Africa has all his gear stolen, except for his bike and passport. A fascinating, if lengthy, look at the Rwandan Cycling Team from the New Yorker.

Finally, a Boston cyclist says yes, we are trying to take over the streets.

Yet another teenage bike rider killed in shooting. Does it matter?

Last April, a 17-year old cyclist was hit and killed by a speeding car on a busy Valley boulevard. The driver roared away without even slowing down, leaving Alex Romero to die in the street.

Last Saturday, another 17-year old was killed while riding his bike, this time in Lincoln Heights near Downtown L.A.

Instead of a careless, heartless and overly aggressive driver, this young man, still not publicly identified, encountered a group of gang members who opened fire as he attempted to ride away; he died a short time later at USC Medical Center.

Should we care about one, and not the other?

Thousands of cyclists and other Angelenos have been deeply affected by the death of Romero, as well as Danny Marin, another rider killed in a similar collision.

And neither begins to compare with the outpouring of grief demonstrated for Connor Lynch, the 16-year old runner from the valley’s exclusive Notre Dame High School killed by a young driver who fled before turning herself in a few blocks away

Yet when we see the words gang shooting, we turn our heads and look the other way.

Just one of those things. One of those people. Yet another victim of a community that long ago learned to live and die with violence.

Yet this young man had as much of a future as Romero, Marin and Lynch.

Maybe he had more challenges to overcome, maybe less. We don’t even know who he was yet, let alone why he was killed.

Maybe he was in the wrong gang. Maybe he was just wearing the wrong colors, or dressed the wrong way. Maybe he was someone they knew.

Maybe he was just an innocent victim, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We may never know. The press usually doesn’t have much interest in cases like this; just another gang shooting, another young victim of the streets. No follow-up likely, unless something unusual turns up or, for some reason, the public happens to care.

Yet this young man’s future was still unwritten, and like the others — and every young person— full of near infinite possibilities that will never be fulfilled.

And family and friends who are undoubtedly devastated by the news, and wondering how they will ever go on without him.

A death is a death, whether it comes from a bullet or the bumper of a car.

Does it really matter how or why?

He was on a bike.

He was one of us.

……..

According to KTLA-5, the shooting occurred in front of a closed business on the 300 block of West Avenue 33 in Lincoln Heights around 8:30 pm Saturday.

Detectives believe the victim encountered a group of gang members, who opened fire as he tried to ride away; responding officers found him laying in the street suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detectives J. Rios or Cary Ricard at (323) 342-8959. During non-business hours or weekends, calls may be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7.

This is the 6th fatal shooting of a bicyclist in Southern California this year, and the 5th in Los Angeles County. His was the 43rd confirmed cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 17th in L.A. County.

And most likely, far from the last.

Great links to Wolfpack Hustle’s victory in the great bike vs plane race

Haven’t had a chance to write about yesterday’s amazing Twitter-inspired race featuring a Jet Blue flight vs cyclists from Wolfpack Hustle competing to see who could get from Burbank to Long Beach first — with a little competition from Metro and even an inline skater thrown in for good measure.

And looking at my schedule and other pressing items on the blogging agenda, it looks like I’ll have to let others tell the story this time. But I have been able to collect some great links, presented here in no particular order.

So settle back and click away.

Salt Lake Tribune

MSNBC

L.A. Times One Two

Streetsblog

Carlton Reid on Bike Biz

Storyful

Road.cc

Tom Vandbilt on Slate

North Hollywood Patch

KTLA

Brief mention in the Wall Street Journal

KABC

Christian Post

KTVN in Reno (AP)

Great photos of the Wolfpack in action

The story of how it all came together on Bike Commute News

If anyone has other links, let me know and I’ll add them to the list later.

Update: Great links keep coming in —

London Daily Mail

UPI

Treehugger

Reuters (brief mention)

New Zealand Herald (brief mention)

Stuff New Zealand

San Francisco Chronicle

Gary Kavanagh presents a participant’s perspective from the Metro side

Bike Commute News sums up finish times

Update 2:

Jet Blue offers their own perspective (though I’d think they’re mistaken about who had the most fun)

CNN had a race of their own

Grist suggests pogo sticks next time

Brief mention from Yo Venice 

KCBS’ story has been repeated by CBS outlets around the country

Streetsblog Network explains why it matters

The Reno Rambler offers a thoughtful look

Update 3:

Intellichick ponders its appeal

KPCC’s Molly Peterson says the real winner may not be who you think.

 

 

 

BOLO Alert: Two bikes stolen from Culver City bike valet (updated)

Just received word that the euphoria of Wolfpack Hustle’s win over Jet Blue has been marred by a couple of jerks who stole two bikes from the bike valet at Culver City’s Eat Real festival on Saturday.

Jim Shanman of the Culver City Bicycle Coalition offers the details:

Sadly, 2 bikes were stolen by 2 punks late in the day. Both of the bikes are pictured below. The other is a really nice Kestrel road bike. A reward has been offered for either one of the 2 bikes if returned or for information leading to their return. I’d like to get the word out and maybe shame the punks who took them. Definitely a buzz kill to an otherwise great day.

The CCPD police report number is 11-26009, although this will be turned over to the LAPD if it hasn’t already

One of two bikes stolen from Culver City Eat Real Festival on Saturday

This is the other bike that was stolen

Shame the punks?

I’ll go one better. Anyone who would steal a bike is the lowest form of slime in the biking world. And anyone who’d steal from a bike valet jeopardizes one of the few conveniences L.A. cyclists enjoy, and puts to risk a system that encourages Angelenos to enjoy the city while leaving their cars at home.

You may think you got away with a bike or two tonight. But your selfish and destructive actions harm the entire L.A. cycling community on what should be one of our happiest days.

If you’re reading this, contact me and I’ll arrange for you to return the bikes to their rightful owners, no questions asked.

If not, you’re going to have an entire city of pissed off cyclists watching for you, and a couple of hot bikes you won’t be able to ride or sell.

Give it up. And get a life.

Update: Photo of second bike added Sunday evening.

Paramount Grand Prix, Eat Real, LA Anti-Harassment Ordinance and LACBC at Encino Velodrome

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

It’s the Carmageddon grudge match of the century as L.A.’s own Wolfpack Hustle takes on Jet Blue on Saturday, July 16th. Follow along online as five cyclists race passengers Joe Anthony and Erza Horne on a Jet Blue flight from Burbank to Long Beach to see who can arrive at the Light House in Shoreline Aquatic Park first. The action starts at 10:50 am near Cahuenga and Chandler in North Hollywood, and is expected to conclude between 1:15 and 1:30 pm. Follow along on the Twitter hashtag #FlightVsBike, or a live tracking GPS courtesy of L.A. Streetsblog; rumor has it there may be a party afterwards.

The LACBC invites you to join them in a free guided ride to the Eat Real Festival in Culver City this Saturday, July 16th and Sunday, July 17th. The ride meets at 10:30 am both days at the corner of Western Ave and Wilshire Blvd, and commences promptly at 11. The Festival will take place from 10:30 am to 9 pm both days at the historic Helms Bakery District, 8800 Venice Blvd. A bike valet will be available courtesy of the Bikerowave and the Culver City Bicycle Coalition from 10 am to 6 pm Saturday, and 10 am to 5 pm Sunday.

The Paramount Grand Prix takes place this Sunday, July 17th, with the first race starting at 7:30 am and the last race starting at 3:40 pm; registration takes place at the intersection of S. Broadwick and Paulhan Streets in Rancho Dominguez.

L.A.’s groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance comes up for a final vote before the full City Council on Wednesday, July 20th, at L.A. City Hall, 200 North Main Street. The session starts at 10 am, item #19 on the agenda. Cyclists are encouraged to attend and show their support.

Later that same day, Wednesday, July 20th, the LACBC Board of Directors will hold their monthly meeting at the Encino Velodrome, 17301 Oxnard Street in Encino, beginning at 6:30 pm. The meeting is open to the public; your opportunity to meet the board members, learn what the LACBC is doing and express your interests and concerns about bicycling throughout Los Angeles County. And yes, I’ll be there.

Also on Wednesday the 20th, Global Green and the Santa Monica Transportation Department are co-hosting a community forum on bringing bike share to Santa Monica. The meeting takes place from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Santa Monica Civic Center, 1855 Main Street.

Flying Pigeon hosts their monthly Get Sum Dim Sum Ride on Sunday, July 17th at 10 am; the ride meets at Flying Pigeon Bike Shop, 3714 North Figueroa Street in Highland Park.

West L.A.’s annual Brentwood Grand Prix will take place on Sunday, August 7th on San Vicente Blvd in Brentwood; races start at 7 am and run through 4 pm.

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.

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.

Finally, the LACBC’s City of Lights Program will host their 2nd Annual City of Lights Awards/Fundraising Dinner on Thursday, October 27th from 6 to 11 pm at CARECEN HQ, 2845 W 7th Street. Tickets will be available for $45 later this year.

Minor miracles — new signage in SaMo and bike lanes on Via Dolce, and a new bike commuter benefit

If you’ve been coming here for awhile, you’ll know that one of my biggest complaints is the beachfront bike path through Santa Monica and Venice.

Or more precisely, the fact that it’s often almost impossible to actually ride a bike on it on busy summer days and weekends, when it’s overrun by pedestrians, skaters, skateboarders, dog walkers, Segway riders and other assorted forms of beach-loving humanity.

At its worst, the much dreaded Carmegeddon anticipated when the 405 closes this weekend will merely approximate a vehicular version of the congestion cyclists face on a daily basis.

At least, those patient and/or brave enough to attempt it.

Whenever the opportunity has presented itself, I’ve complained to anyone who would listen about the lack of signage along the bike path. And how it contributes to the problem by failing to warn crossing pedestrians about the presence of cyclists — after all, who would ever expect to find bikes on a bike path? — let alone direct riders and walkers to the sections devoted to each.

So imagine my shock this week when I rode through and saw exactly that.

Granted, it’s only a handful of signs, and only in the most crowded section around the Santa Monica Pier and just south.

And they’re only temporary signs, easily moved or knocked over. But they seem to be working, at least when the path isn’t already overrun with people.

On a quiet Tuesday morning, most people appeared to follow the warnings, whether pedaling or bipedaling. On a crowded Thursday afternoon, not so much.

But still, it’s a start. And maybe if it works, they’ll make these signs permanent, and spread them out throughout the pathway from the Palisades to the Venice Pier.

……..

That wasn’t the only minor miracle I discovered on my rides this week.

When I ride the bike path, I often continue down Pacific Avenue to the end of the Marina del Rey peninsula, returning along Via Marina. Depending on my mood, I may continue around the Marina on Admiralty Way, or turn off onto Via Dolce to make my way back home.

The route adds a little more than two miles to my ride, while giving me a relatively car-free — and mostly pedestrian-free — section of road where I can open it up a little without fear of hitting anyone who might unexpectedly step or pull into my path.

The only problem was the pitted and potholed surface of Via Dolce, which required frequent swerves into oncoming traffic to avoid the obstacles. Or at least it would, if there was traffic to contend with.

So imagine my surprise on Tuesday when I turned onto the street and found smooth, fresh pavement under my wheels, with a newly resurfaced road marking a refreshing change to a formerly jolting ride.

Let alone my shock on Thursday, when I rode the same route and discovered that the newly repainted lane lines had resulted in newborn bike lanes in the interim.

Granted, it’s only a few blocks, from south of Washington Blvd to near the junction with Marquesas Way.

And it’s a lightly travelled side street where bike lanes are largely superfluous, and of primary benefit to the people who live in the immediate area.

But still, it’s nice.

And aside from the bike lanes on Washington Blvd and the Marina extension of the bike path, it’s the first biking infrastructure in the Marina.

……..

SB582 was passed by the state legislature Thursday, mandating transportation benefits to employees who choose not to drive —including bike commuters. It now moves on to the Governor’s desk, who has 12 days to sign or veto it.

Meanwhile, L.A.’s proposed bike parking ordinance has passed the city Planning Commission, and moves on to the City Council Planning and Land Use Management Committee. And Councilmember Bill Rosendahl explains the upcoming Bicycle Anti-Harassment Ordinance he has shepherded through the Council, while Damien Newton gets responses from local bike advocates about the ordinance.

……..

Not surprisingly, the ill-conceived near-killer speed cushions that resulted in critical injuries to cyclist Richard Schlickman have proven unpopular with local drivers and haven’t solved the problem of speeding drivers. So Palos Verdes Estates is looking at yet another study of how to solve the problem, including possible medians, chicanes and roundabouts.

Aside from the cost, the concern is that such measures could slow response times for emergency vehicles. Like the ones who came to save the life of Schlickman after he was nearly killed by their first failed attempt at traffic calming.

……..

The Source offers a two-wheeled guide to surviving Carmageddon, which does not include riding your bike on the 405, under penalty of arrest.

Speaking of which, anyone who enjoys a good race should be in front of their computers on Saturday, as Wolfpack Hustle challenges Jet Blue to a race from Burbank to Long Beach

You know, just your typical bike vs commercial airliner race.

The route will run door-to-door, from a home in Burbank to the lighthouse in Long Beach, starting at 10:50 am with an expected finish around 1:20 pm. And yes, the cyclists will observe all traffic laws; no word on whether the jet will signal or stop for red lights.

The story has gone viral, picked up already by bike writer Carlton Reid, Road.cc, the L.A. Times, Streetsblog, Cyclelicious, Slate and USA Today.

Gary explains how it all came together; follow #FlightVsBike to keep up with the rapidly developing events.

My money’s on the bikes.

……..

The first mountain stage of the Tour de France shuffles the standings, as expected. After 13 stages, Thomas Voeckler leads by 1:49 over Frank Schleck; his brother Andy is 4th with Cadel Evans in between.

Things are not looking good for defending champ Alberto Contador in this year’s Tour, who’s already 4 minutes back; guess that’s what happens when you stop eating Spanish beef. Samuel Sanchez won Stage 12, but to many, Geraint Thomas was the hero of the day. After unexpectedly finding himself in 9th place overall, tour rookie Tom Danielson plans to attack.

Maybe it’s just me, but this has been the most exciting Tour in years
……..

In an amazingly horrifying tale of the legal system run amuck, a mother is convicted of second degree vehicular homicide after one of her children was killed by a one-eyed hit-and-run driver who had been drinking and was on pain medication. She was held accountable simply for not using a crosswalk to walk across the street with her three children, even though they crossed at an intersection and the cost of prosecution was greater than the cost of painting one.

The driver faces just six months after the other charges were dropped, despite previous convictions for two prior hit-and-runs — on the same day, no less — while the mother faces three years for the crime of crossing the street.

And doing it in a manner that would be legal in more enlightened states, where every intersection is assumed to have an unmarked crosswalk.

Unless there’s more to the story that hasn’t made the press yet, something tells me the DA who prosecuted this case won’t be in office very long. If he’s not tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail first.

Thanks to Rick Risemberg for the tip.

……..

Will Campbell writes a truly outstanding letter of complaint about AAA’s opposition to SB910, California’s proposed three-foot passing law. Stephen Box says L.A.’s super secret final bike plan in finally available online; you might not need the infrastructure it includes, but the overwhelming majority of potential riders do. A Los Angeles firefighter will ride coast to coast to remember victims of 9/11, while a father and son from Manhattan Beach ride across the county to raise money for cancer research. Love this evocative photo from Long Beach’s biking expats as they ride through Eastern Oregon. The sobering truth about drinking and driving. Huntington Beach City Councilman Joe Shaw explains the city’s new bike traffic school program for adult offenders. An Ojai man is arrested for an allegedly drunken hit-and-run that left a cyclist with moderate injuries. Hollister asks Caltrans for roundabouts and bike lanes.

After being convicted in the death of a cyclist, a Portland man will pay to fly her family out for his sentencing. A Houston driver says he’d rather hit something — or rather, someone — soft than something hard. An Ohio judge is killed while riding his bike when a woman swerves to avoid a raccoon, and thinks she hit a mailbox — despite knocking the judge’s body 160 feet through the air. The New York Post fires another salvo in the city’s bike wars, blaming bike lanes for bad business on Broadway rather than blaming bad businesses; after all, a good business might consider putting in some bike racks or even a bike corral to entice those passing riders to stop. A lawsuit will attempt to prove that NY officials lied about stats supporting the popular Prospect Park West bike lanes. Cycling collisions are up in tiny Elmira NY. Outrage in Charleston SC when a distracted driver is ticketed for improper lane usage after knocking a cyclist off a bridge to his death; thanks to Dave Yount for the link. A new Miami shop rescues and resells unloved bikes.

Montreal police crack down on earphones. Rachel McAdams rides a bike in Toronto with boyfriend Michael Sheen. Bike teams scramble for sponsorship despite positive returns. London attempts to improve road safety for cyclists by leaving no room for them. The Brit driver who punched a cyclist turns himself in. More road rage in the UK, this time it’s a cyclist who punched a passenger through a car window. A writer for London’s Guardian says the U.S. has a lot to learn from Europe when it comes to encouraging bike commuting; link courtesy of Rex Reese. The seven Estonian cyclists kidnapped in Lebanon while on a bike tour last March are finally free after French authorities negotiate their release. Following a collision, a drunk cyclist is fined for BUI in Dubai.

Finally, an auto-centric columnist for the Boston Globe calls for banning cyclists from the city, while the Times’ Hector Tobar urges patience even though some cyclists are setting a bad example for all those law-abiding drivers out there. But seriously, when you pass “two slow moving cyclists” and have no idea why they’re both flipping you off, there’s probably a reason for it.

And here’s your perfect soundtrack for Carmegeddon weekend.

Although this one seems kind of appropriate, too.

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