Archive for October 31, 2011

Fallen Murrietta cyclist identified, and a whole lot of mostly very non-scary post-Halloween links

The cyclist who died on a bike trail near Murrietta Sunday morning has been identified a 60-year old Lee Andrew Tichenor of Temecula; the investigation is ongoing.

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I love this quote from Lovely Bicycle!:

“Coming back from Las Vegas a month ago, cycling in Boston seemed like paradise. Coming back from Vienna, it seems like a war zone.”

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Streetsblog hosts their next upscale fundraiser on Saturday, and applications are due to their Boyle Heights and South L.A. correspondents. Re-imagining Santa Monica’s Lincoln Blvd as a more livable street, instead of the living hell of a Class III bike route it is now. Cynergy Cycling invites you to get certified for track riding. Long Beach’s biking expats discuss how to stay married on the road. The next edition of Flying Pigeon’s popular Brewery Rides rolls on Saturday. A candidate for the CD 15 city council seat calls for a CicLAvia from Downtown to San Pedro; another promises to build out the Backbone Bikeway Network in the district.

Former San Diego Bicycle Coordinator Jim Lundquist bids a fond farewell. A Red Bluff rider survives a left cross that sent him bouncing 20 feet off a windshield. UC Davis students are the latest to get bike traffic school. A San Francisco cyclist suffers life-threatening injuries when a cab runs a red light. Three Palo Alto cyclists are injured, none seriously, when they’re hit by a car; reading between the lines, it sounds like either the cyclists or the driver was on the wrong side of the road, and we can probably guess which one.

People for Bikes questions why Congress is targeting bike fundingthey’re not the only ones. Fat Cyclist offers a self-published best of. A bike means freedom on Chicago’s South Side; no different from L.A.’s Eastside or South L.A., or countless other places around this city of frequently fallen angels. A tongue-in-cheek response to a call from a Chicago alderman to license cyclists asks why not license feet, too. Safety concerns keep more Pittsburgh cyclists from becoming bike commuters. David Byrne and Janette Sadik-Khan discuss why New Yorkers insist on fighting over bike lanes. A Florida cyclist killed last April may have been the victim of an intentional buzzing.

Women riders need more awareness, not scaremongering. Clearly, cycle chic is nothing new. A UK cyclist was three times the legal limit when he was killed after blowing through a yield sign. British bike fatalities and serious injuries are on the rise. London’s Mayor Boris continues to put the convenience of motorists over the safety of cyclists and pedestrians. Britain’s approach to road safety is called deeply flawed; the widow of the first biking victim on the mayor’s biking superhighways fears he will just be another statistic. Welsh authorities offer a code of conduct for a popular shared trail. A Swedish study shows bike commuters sleep better, are less stressed, are healthier, suffer less exhaustion and use fewer sick days than drivers; question is, does cycling make you healthier or do healthier people choose to bike?  In one of the most disgusting legal arguments I’ve heard, an Aussie lawyer argues that his client had an obligation to watch the traffic ahead, rather than watch out for the cyclist he passed — and killed — in their equivalent of a right hook; if you ever wondered why people hate lawyers, this is a damn good place to start.

Finally, I’ve run over a lot of crap over the years — sometimes literally. But nothing quite as disgusting as greasy roadkill deer guts.

And best wishes to Zeke’s brother Dave who was scheduled to get back on his bike this week following a bad crash. 

Second cyclist found dead in less than one week; strong arm bike-jack attempt on L.A.’s 7th Street

For the second time in less than a week, a Southern California cyclist has been found dead, apparently of natural causes.

Just five days after an unidentified 70-year old rider was found alongside the road near Fillmore, a rider was found unconscious and unresponsive along the Stevenson Canyon trail on the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve.

According to Temecula Patch, the rider was discovered by other cyclists, who attempted to administer CPR until paramedics arrived and pronounced him dead. He was discovered around 8:10 am Sunday, near the intersection of Clinton Keith and Tenaja Roads west of Murrietta.

Patch reports that the rider, who has not yet been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin, was 60 years old and a resident of Temecula.

The death is still under investigation; no information yet on whether he may have fallen or died of natural causes.

We have no way of knowing how or why this man died.

But it’s a good reminder to check with your physician first if you’re new to riding or coming back after a long layoff.

You may feel healthy. But there may be things going on inside that you don’t know about.

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Sunday morning I received an email from an anonymous reader reporting a very frightening attack against a local cyclist with an unusually positive attitude.

Tony is the nicest guy, and he owns a little shawarma place on 7th Street, right in front of the new westbound bike lane.  He’s about as bikey as any small-business proprieter in L.A. can be (and that’s even if you include Josef Bray-Ali.)   That’s Tony on the sandwich board in his delivery bike’s basket:

He lives in mid-Wilshire and commutes by bike, too.  Very recently, he bought a shiny new Fuji to replace his old commuter.

On Friday when I popped in to refuel before Mass, his arm was in a sling, so I asked why.  He told me.

The night before, Thursday, he was on his way home from the restaurant, waiting at a stoplight on Wilshire.  A motorcycle came up behind him, and its passenger jumped off and kicked him over!  Tony hit the asphalt hard, and the creep tried to jack his bike.  Still on the ground and unaware of the extent of his injuries, Tony had the presence of mind to hook a leg through the frame.  After several yanks, the creep gave up and fled with his accomplice.

Witnesses called 911 and stayed with him until the police & medics arrived.

Tony has a fractured scapula and some bruising, but he still has his bike.  And he’s still confident enough to commute, even with a busted shoulder!   I asked if he isn’t worried now about riding so late (his restaurant closes at 11pm weekdays, and 2am Fri/Sat), but he said naw, there are more good people than bad people, and ”people always help.”

I am kind of a pessimist, so I held my tongue about how “helpful” the perpetrator was.  Next visit, I’m going to actually read the little scroll of Scripture hanging by the kitchen, ’cause I bet anything its sentiment reflects Tony’s philosophy.

Also, I’m shooting an email to Sgt. Krumer to see whether there have been any similar thefts lately with the same unusual modus operandi, although given the biking demographic in this area, a lot of such crimes, even when accompanied by physical violence, probably aren’t reported.

For several months now, I’ve been reading about similar strong-arm bike-jackings from other cities across the country — including several right here in California  —in which thieves have used everything from baseball bats to brute force to knock riders off their bikes before riding off with them.

Hopefully, this is just an isolated incident and not the beginning of yet another dangerous trend local riders have to worry about.

Maybe Tony’s positive attitude and willingness to fight for his bike will send a message to potential thieves to find another way to get their prey. Or maybe find another line of work altogether.

And maybe I need to stop in for a little shawarma next time I ride those new 7th Street bike lanes.

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One last note.

A great story from a formerly auto-centric Toronto columnist who tried biking to work at the urging of a local bike activist and blogger.

And liked it.

Thanks to Taylor Peck for the heads-up.

And a happy All Hallows Eve to all you bike-born boys and ghouls.

Your Halloween weekend Linkapalooza, with extra scary GOP attacks on bike/ped funding

They just don’t get it.

Once again, Washington Republicans show their skill at thinking small by attempting to cut relative pennies in bike and pedestrian finding, absurdly declaring war on bike lanes in an apparent attempt to return the nation to the good old days of the car-centric past when men were men and drivers felt free to run riders off the road.

People for Bikes responds by saying we shouldn’t have to choose between safe bridges and safe streets, while cutting back on federal bike and pedestrian funding could leave our roads and bridges in worse shape.

On the other hand, I’m more than willing to trade the relatively paltry Transportation Enhancement set-asides for a federal commitment to a Complete Streets approach to every federally funded highway project.

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If you’re going to be attending next weekend’s California Bike Summit, Flying Pigeon has a bike for you, at just $30 for the full weekend.

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L.A. seeks TIGER funds to build out a 50-mile L.A. River bikeway. Buffered green bike lanes could soon be coming to Spring Street in Downtown L.A. Flying Pigeon offers a brilliant and amusing look at how we’ll survive a post-apocalyptic world without bikes; they seem to have given a lot of thought to the forthcoming Zombie apocalypse. Bikeside offers responses from two bike-friendly candidates for L.A.’s 15th council district. LACBC looks at last week’s 2nd annual City of Lights Awards dinner. The planned Village at USC wants your input on cycling at the new development. A Pomona cyclist is critically injured when a driver attempts to pass another car on the right. Hermosa Beach is the latest city to approve the proposed South Bay Bike Plan. Improvements to the El Segundo NRG power plant could mean detours on the beachfront Marvin Braude bike path through next May. Primary Resources offers a look back at L.A.’s 1975 bike plan.

The Amgen Tour of California is invited to bypass the Santa Ynez Valley. Why does Newport Beach force cyclists and pedestrians to contend with right turn lanes that act as virtual freeway onramps? Critical Mass cyclists help Occupy San Diego. What to do if — or more likely, when — a traffic light doesn’t detect you. That’s Grey’s Anatomy’s Patrick Dempsey on that bike; he’s been a big supporter of cycling throughout the country. San Francisco cyclists could soon attend traffic school instead of paying traffic fines just like drivers do; I’m told a similar plan is under consideration here in L.A. Do busy separated bike lanes pose a danger to disabled people? Cyclelicious points out a couple of newspaper columnists who’ve discovered the joys of cycling in Toronto and New Orleans.

Mark your calendar for the National Bike Summit next March 20 – 22nd in Washington DC. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration teams with the Ad Council to say “Stop the texts. Stop the wrecks.” One-third of drivers killed in traffic collisions tested positive for drugs. You could go to work as usual next summer, or you could own your own bike rental on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. A Seattle bike cam shows what it’s really like to commute by bike. You can spend a fortune on high-tech rain gear, or just buy an umbrella. The Colorado Highway Patrol finally gets around to investigating the death of a cyclist — four months after his death; how scary is that? A Chicago alderman calls for licensing cyclists, which is exactly the right approach if you want to create barriers to keep people from riding. These days, even Superman rides a bike. New York’s Columbus Ave bike lanes have significantly improved safety and proven popular with cyclists and local residents alike. Evidently, killing a cyclist while speeding with a suspended license is perfectly legal in the Big Apple; then again, so is leaving the scene of a fatal collision. Ten years behind bars for a Mississippi driver who killed a Dutch bike tourist while high on morphine. A Mississippi letter writer calls for banning cyclists on roads with speed limits over 25 mph in order to protect motorists from hurting us; anyone see a problem with that logic?

Bike Biz asks if the bike industry is spending enough time and money on advocacy; short answer, no; long answer, still no. Three simple steps to do bike parking right. A brilliant idea — you learn to build bikes, and your first one goes to someone who needs it. Introducing the world’s first BMW bike dealership; another sign of peak car? Riding through Northumberland on some great and not so great bikeways. John Lennon slept with his bike. Bicycling’s Bill Strickland reminisces about a fallen rider he never met. Much still needs to be done to make the 2012 London Olympics safe for cyclists. UK police are seeking a bike-and-run cyclist who left a pedestrian paralyzed following a collision. Bremen gets a bicycle barometer to go with their shiny new 25% mode share. A breathtaking preview of next year’s Giro. The intersection of bikes and Burning Man; Amsterdamize calls it the video of the year.

Finally, how’s this for scary? An anti-bike terrorist attempts to decapitate Aussie cyclists by stringing wire across a bike path. And even pointing a gun at a cyclist evidently isn’t enough to make the Tucson police give a damn.

One quick parting thought.

Why is it that we all assume when the Zombie apocalypse comes, we’ll be the ones running from the brain suckers and not the other way around?

¡Vivan Los Muertos, L.A. Green Festival, Malibu Gran Fondo and a handful of homeless cats

One quick non-biking note before we get started on this week’s bike events.

If you’ve got some room in your home and heart for a little feline companionship, I’d strongly recommend checking out the Catmandoo Rescue Group every Saturday and Sunday at the Petcos at 1873 Westwood Blvd and 8801 Sepulveda Blvd.

They’re great people, and do everything right — fostering rescued cats in private homes, cage free, to ensure they get the love, care and attention they need until they find a permanent home. And more importantly, they have a lot of great cats who need good homes.

I would have taken home a couple myself last week if it weren’t for my wife’s allergies and the Corgi’s general antipathy for anything furry and four-footed, especially of the feline persuasion.

If you can’t stop by in person, you’ll find their email and phone number on their website. Few things would make me happier than to know some of those cats had found a home this weekend.

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

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

The Autry Museum honors fallen cyclists with a unique Day of the Dead display, as part of ¡Vivan Los Muertos! from 3 to 9 pm at the Autry Museum, 4700 Western Heritage Way in Griffith Park. Highly recommended.

Saturday, October 29th and Sunday, October 30th, Santa Monica’s Cynergy Cycles hosts a Women’s Weekend, with rides, food, demos and optional wine tasting.

Youth Educational Sports and Kaiser Permanente sponsor the THRIVE Walk/Ride Event on Saturday the 30th, starting and finishing next to the Balboa Park bike path, 6335 Woodley Avenue, with rides starting at 7 am, and bike rodeo from 9 am to noon; registration required.

Free admission to this weekend’s L.A. Green Festival at the L.A. Convention Center when you park your bike with the free bike valet.

The Malibu Canyon Gran Fondo rolls on Saturday, October 30th, starting and ending at Saddlerock Ranch, 31743 Mulholland Hwy in Malibu, with rides of 65 miles — and 6,800 feet of climbing — 45 miles and 17 miles, as well as a kids ride along the ranch, with a picnic and after party to follow.

November 1st, 3rd, 7th and 10th, LADOT will hold a series of Westside Mobility meetings to discuss the future of Westside Commuting; topics include Project Overview, Bicycle and Pedestrian, Transit – Light Rail, Bus and BRT, Roadways, Smart Choices for Commuting, Parking, and Project Ideas via Electronic Surveying. See website for times, locations and registration.

Velo Cult and the Golden Saddle Cyclery team up for a bike swap on Saturday, November 5th at 11 am, 1618 Lucille Ave.

Also on the 5th, Free the Streets unfolds its eco-visionary experiential art/music fest celebrating the burgeoning bicycle cultural scene of South Los Angeles. (And yes, I lifted that directly from the Facebook page.) It takes place from 2 pm to 10 pm at Mercado La Paloma, 3655 S. Grand Ave. Admission is restricted to 21 and over, with a $10 entry free and on-site bike valet; all proceeds go to support the expansion of CicLAvia into South L.A.

Saturday, November 5th through Monday, November 7th, the California Bicycle Coalition will host the 2011 California Bike Summit to help set the statewide bicycle advocacy agenda for 2012 and beyond. The sessions with take place at Downtown’s Kyoto Grand Hotel, with the Monday session held at the California Endowment for Health; Flying Pigeon is offering a $30 weekend bike rental.

The next ride in the LACBC’s popular series of Sunday Funday rides takes place on Sunday, November 6th with the East Valley Hansen Dam Ride, lead by board member Carrie Ungerman. The ride meets at the North Hollywood Metro Station at Lankershim and Chandler at 9 am and rolls at 9:30. The easy 23 mile ride is free for LACBC members and one guest; memberships will be available at a reduced price.

The South Bay Bike Plan continues it’s long march to approval with hearings before the four remaining city councils: Lawndale on November 7th, Gardena on November 8th, Manhattan Beach on the 15th and Torrance on November 22nd.

The LACBC Planning Committee meets the second Tuesday of each month; the next meeting is scheduled for 7 pm on November 8th, site to be determined.

Friday, November 11 through Sunday, November 13th, the Eastside Bike Club hosts the LA Tamale Throwdown at a site to be determined, offering a chance to sample some of the city’s best tamales, coffee and pan Mexicano; bike valet courtesy of Flying Pigeon LA.

On Saturday, November 12th, C.I.C.L.E. hosts a ride through the streets canvas of our city, with a leisurely paced 7.5 mile tour of L.A. street murals in Lincoln Heights, Boyle Heights and the Downtown Arts District, with a party to follow. Riders meet at Lincoln Park by the Valley Blvd parking lot, Valley Blvd and San Pablo Street, with the ride starting at 1:30 pm.

Also on Saturday the 12th, Palm Desert hosts the first Palm Desert Century Bike Ride, with rides of 20, 32, 50, 60, 70 and 100 miles; online registration ends November 11th.

Update: The LACBC’s Tour de Taste originally scheduled for Sunday, November 13th, has been postponed, with the date to be determined.

The County of Los Angeles unveils the final draft of their proposed new bike plan, offering a more than 500% increase in bikeways. Your last chance to comment of the plan could come before the County of Los Angeles Regional Planning Commission, Wednesday, November 16th at 9 am in the Hall of Records, Room 150, 320 West Temple Street in Downtown L.A.

December 7th through 11th, Antenna Magazine’s Re:mix Lab will hit L.A. after a semi-national tour, featuring two urban Bad Boy bikes designed by Cannondale in cooperation with Junk Food Clothing. The art, music, fashion and cultural festival will unfold at a site to be selected.

Friday, December 9th, the Midnight Ridazz host what may be the most important ride of the year, when they ensure that thousands of L.A. children will have a happy holiday with the 6th Annual All-City Toy Ride. Routes will begin from points throughout the city, converging on Downtown L.A. to collect the toys and celebrate the season.

Tuesday, December 27th, the LACBC returns to Santa Monica’s Library Alehouse for the 3rd Annual Mid-Winter Merriment, 2911 Main Street. Good beer, good friends, bike valet and a portion of all sales goes to support cycling in the great L.A. area. What’s not to like?

No news is good news? Stephanie Segal sentencing delayed

As many of you may know, Stephanie Segal was scheduled to be sentenced yesterday for the drunken hit-and-run death of cyclist James Laing in Agoura Hills last October.

However, when there was no word last night on the sentencing, I reached out to cyclist/attorney Dj Wheels to see if he’d heard anything. As it turned out, he’d already checked with the court clerk, who informed him that the hearing had been continued to November 29th; no reason was given.

Personally, I’m hoping the judge will give us a strict sentence we can be thankful for around Thanksgiving, instead of a terrifying slap on the wrist just before Halloween.

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Wheels also reports that Shawn Fields is appealing his seven-year sentence in the drunken hit-and-run death of 17-year old cyclist Danny Marin, case number B236186. His opening brief is due in mid-December; however, he’s still waiting for an attorney to be appointed, so expect a delay.

And a trial date has finally been scheduled for Patrick Roraff in the alleged street-racing death of pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado in April of last year. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for December 19, with a trial readiness conference January 20th, and the actual trial is set to begin on January 23rd. As Wheels notes, we’ll have to see how firm those dates turn out to be.

After all, Roraff may have some more soccer matches scheduled.

Ventura cyclist evidently dies of natural causes, LACBC City of Lights dinner tonight

After a 70-year old cyclist was found dead on the side of the road near Fillmore, authorities conclude that he died of natural causes.

The rider, who has not yet been publicly identified, was discovered on Guiberson Road roughly three miles east of Chambersburg Road in Ventura County around 10:30 am Tuesday.

According to the Ventura County Star,

The 70-year-old man was riding his bicycle when he pulled off the road, collapsed and died, said Armando Chavez, a senior deputy Ventura County medical examiner. An autopsy was not performed, but there were no signs of trauma Chavez said. The man had an extensive history of medical problems, he added.

So in other words, they’re guessing that he died of natural causes, since it sort of looks that way. No sense wasting time and money on an autopsy; after all, he was just  a cyclist with a history of medical problems.

Thanks to a regular reader for tipping me off to the story.

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There’s still time to attend tonight’s City of Lights 2nd Annual Awards Dinner at La Fonda Supper Club2501 Wilshire Blvd, followed by music and dancing. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and L.A. Times columnist Hector Tobar will be honored, and ticket prices have been reduced to $45 for everyone.

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San Francisco elects to put cyclists at further risk by allowing cab drivers to stop in bike lanes.

According to the San Francisco Examiner, at least some cabbies feel justified in blocking the lane since some bike riders break the law.

Ed Healy, another driver, said cabbies miss out on fares because they’re reluctant to pull over to the curb for fear of getting a ticket.

“The bicyclists may not like this, but I don’t think they can complain about much, considering they run red lights all the time,” Healy said.

But doesn’t allowing drivers to stop in a bike lane violate state law, since it’s a legitimate lane of traffic — albeit one reserved for bikes?

I hope the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has a good lawyer on their payroll.

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Gary looks at the good, the bad and the ugly in Santa Monica’s new bikeways. Here’s your chance to work at Santa Monica’s new Bike Center. L.A. cyclists are finally going to get our first wayfinding signs. Joe Linton asks how long it takes to get sharrows on the street. A good discussion on the Eastsider website about police traffic stops that place cyclists in jeopardy — except for the kind of semi-illiterate bike-hating troll who always seems to show up in any story about bikes, and threatens to wrap his Camry around any rider who goes through a stop sign; thanks to Mike for the heads-up. Advice on how even Angelenos can ride in the rain. Don’t miss the Velo Cult Bike Swap on November 5th, even though I will, since I’ll be getting ready for the California Bike Summit later that day. Hermosa Beach becomes the latest city to adopt the new South Bay Bike Plan.

An OC cyclist confronts a driver who admits that yes, she was trying to hit the rider with her car; you’d think that would be something the authorities might take just a little more seriously. An interview with Elk Grove cyclist Scott Brown following his recent finish in the Furnace Creek 508. The body of a Roseville cyclist missing since the 16th of this month has been found, dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot. Shasta County turns to eminent domain to acquire a .12 acre sliver of land needed to complete a bike path. Levi Leipheimer calls Sonoma County the best place on earth to ride a bike.

Elly Blue takes an intelligent look at running stop signs and drivers who complain simply because she’s in the road; although there can be consequences for jumping lights. When a Phoenix truck driver flees the scene after killing a cyclist, a second driver uses his truck to protect the victim. A Tucson cyclist killed last week did have brakes on his bike, though witnesses say he didn’t appear to be panicking as he rode through a stop sign into oncoming traffic. Once again, Utah good Samaritans lift a car off an injured person, this time a bicyclist. Exploring Denver by B-Cycle. A Tulsa cyclist survives a crash into a parked car that sent him through the rear windshield and into the vehicle, where he had the presence of mind to call 911; the Witch on a Bicycle says he may have been forced into it by another car. Chicago authorities line up mannequins along a busy street to demonstrate pedestrians killed in the city so far this year. Once again, a driver admits to not seeing a cyclist before killing him, this time in Michigan, and once again, police ignore the confession and let the driver off; if you ever want to murder someone, just use your car then claim you didn’t see the victim. A Cincinnati student newspaper directs Halloween thrill seekers to the site of a cyclist’s death. This is so wrong in so many ways, as New York police blow off the family of a recent cycling victim and crack down on reckless cyclists after giving the driver a pass because he didn’t know he’d killed anyone (see above). Mobile AL becomes the latest city to adopt its own three-foot passing law; somehow, they managed to pass what our governor vetoed. After a cyclist is killed by a fire truck, Florida officials demonstrate a complete and total ignorance of fixed-gear bikes, asserting the only way to stop a brakeless fixie is to put a foot down or fall off, apparently unaware that fixies can stop if the rider just stopz pedaling; seriously, how is it that police are allowed to be so damned ignorant about the very subject they’re investigating? A study from the most dangerous state for cyclists and pedestrians shows that drivers really do base passing distance on cyclist’s sex and attire, as well as how far you ride from the curb; from now on, I’m wearing a dress and taking the lane. And no, it won’t be pretty.

The Canada Safety Council bizarrely declares traffic calming a waste of money; clearly, not everyone agrees. A Canadian driver on trial for hit-and-run claims he thought he hit a deer — though not many deer have reflectors and a tail light. A $110 fine for fatally dooring a cyclist on Ottawa. After a campaign by a grieving father, the Ottawa coroner will review cycling deaths in an attempt to improve safety. London’s much derided cycling superhighways have seen their first fatality, as anger turns to Mayor BoJo and Transport for London (their LADOT-equivalent). The only cyclist to fail a drug test at this year’s Tour de France gets fined a whopping $1,000, yet a former Paralympic champ gets a two year ban. An Australian court rules it’s okay to punch a cyclist in the face, breaking his glasses and drawing blood, if the cyclist calls you names and tries to write down your license number. An Aussie helmet cam study shows drivers at fault in 9 out of 10 potential collisions. A look at delivery bikes in India carrying far more than you’d think they — or you — could. Japanese authorities crack down on cyclists following an increase in bike vs. pedestrian crashes following the recent earthquake.

Finally, a Eureka cyclist credits his helmet after bouncing 20 feet off a car’s windshield and landing in traffic; the driver was turning her car with the sun in her eyes and the rider in a blind spot — so needless to say, the police wrote it off as “just one of those things.”

Drunk driver gets 19 years for killing a toddler; 2nd driver gets 300 days for pre-fatal hit-and-run

Sometimes justice takes a long time. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of months.

And sometimes, both cases are just too tragic to comprehend.

In the first case, a Phelan man has pleaded guilty for the June, 2008 collision with a family of four enjoying a quiet bike ride that left one child dead just weeks before her 2nd birthday, and her 11-month old brother severely injured.

According to the San Bernardino Sun, the incident occurred  when Jesse Rolando Astorga fled the scene following  a drunken collision with another car.

Rialto police say Astorga fled from a fender bender with another car in June 2008, when he ran his 2008 Honda Pilot into a median on South Willow Avenue a few minutes after noon, veered to the right, jumped a curb and struck a family of four riding on the sidewalk.

The collision knocked the father, 28-year old William Dean Dinoso, off his bike, and ripped off the bike trailer carrying the two children. He then smashed into the 26-year old mother, Glenda Brooks, throwing her off the car’s windshield and into the gutter.

Brooks, who was unaware that she was pregnant at the time, later delivered another son who was born with developmental difficulties.

Astorga was videotaped buying two 18-packs of beer at a gas station just an hour before the collision.

According to the Sun, he accepted a plea deal on September 9th for five felony counts.

Astorga, now 31, would have faced 10 felony counts at trial, including murder. However, he pleaded guilty to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit and run resulting injury or death, and three counts of drunken driving with a 0.08 blood alcohol content, causing bodily injury.

He now faces the next 19 years in prison.

And a two-year old’s family faces life without her.

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In a bizarrely tragic case, a 19-year old Rialto man has been sentenced to 300 days in jail for a hit-and-run collision that severely injured an 18-year old BMX racer, possibly leading to his death in a separate collision months later.

In January of this year, Andrew Dean Murvine drove his pickup truck off Norco Drive in Riverside, and onto a dirt path used by pedestrians and horseback riders. He struck Tyler Rosen as he was walking along the path, then fled the scene, leaving Rosen with life-threatening injuries.

Remarkably, despite weeks in a coma, Rosen recovered from his injuries enough to get back on his bike.

Then on July 30th, he was hit by another car while riding, and reamined in a coma until taken off life support on August 7th.

According to the Valley News, family members believe he would never have been hit by the second car if not for the lingering injuries from the first collision.

As in the Astorga case, Murvine accepted a plea deal, changing his plea to guilty in exchange for a sentence of 300 days in jail and three years probation.

He had faced up to three years in prison.

Updates on Mark Leones and Margaret Conway, Box bites back on city bike ed and a bakfiets full of links

A few quick notes to start the week, starting with a few good follow-ups on two recent cycling deaths behind the Orange Curtain.

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The Orange County Register offers a nice profile of Mark Leones, who died last week after his bike hit a groove in the pavement on a steep downhill in Laguna Beach. They also provide a look at Margaret Conway, killed on her way home from work at Disneyland on October 13th.

Sounds like both will be very missed.

And thanks to the Register for their much-improved coverage of local cycling issues.

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In a must read, former city council candidate Stephen Box says the bike plan is great, but L.A. cyclists would benefit even more if all city agencies were to educate their employees on the rights of cyclists.

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LACBC has been selected to conduct a vital study of the economic effects of bike lanes and road diets on NELA’s York Blvd. KCRW’s Steve Herbert looks at the dangers of dooring and how to avoid it. Nagging pays off as Rick Risemberg gets bike racks installed in Playa del Rey. Friday’s monthly Critical Mass should be a costumed affair. Could separated bike lanes help transform Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock into a safe, sustainable and vibrant street? South Pasadena gets the San Gabriel Valley’s first bike plan. Simi Valley will soon connect a gap in a key bikeway, allowing cyclists to ride to the local Metrolink station. Evidently, those folks at the Bikerowave know how to party. The recumbent world holds it’s first trade show in Pomona this past weekend. Long Beach plans to survey bike use to determine next steps. One last chance to learn how to track race this year at the Encino Velodrome; speaking of which, if you’re looking for a good cause to support L.A. cycling, they could use the help.

Corona del Mar bike advocate Frank Peters beautifully captures the feeling of a single night’s ride; if you’ve ever wondered why we ride, this is a pretty good answer. A Navy corpsman is honored for saving the life of an injured cyclist in Oceanside last spring. NIMBYist landowners block extension of a Yuba City bike trail. A hit-and-run driver knocks down a homeless couple in Chico. A Sacramento cyclist helps capture three teenage home burglars. Richard Masoner, author of one of the nation’s leading bike blogs, barely survives a near miss with a brand-new Chevy crossover.

American cyclist Joseph Papp gets his penalty reduced to an eight year ban for doping, in addition to three years probation, including six months of house arrest, for distributing EPO and human growth hormone. Bicycling looks at energy bars. A Tucson cyclist is killed after reportedly running a stop sign, while Oregon Live asks if it’s worth it for cyclists to run red lights. The victim of a Brooklyn cycling collision was a well-known New York artist. An NYC community board backs off a proposal to license and register riders. Eighty percent of Manhattan voters embrace plans for a new bike share program. Kathy Perry and Russel Brand ride through Gotham. A New York Times columnist nears the end of his 4,100 mile cross-country bike ride; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up. A Mississippi driver faces up to 13 years for killing a Dutch cyclist while high on morphine. Cyclists rally to support a German bike tourist injured in a Virginia collision. A Florida cyclist dies after falling over a guard rail on a highway ramp; as always, the question is why?

Bicycling profiles Eddy Merckx, possibly the greatest bike racer of all time; meanwhile, another candidate for best ever is the 23rd best triathlete. Toronto police propose licensing cyclists to improve enforcement; yes, the solution to over crowded streets is to make it harder for people to get out of their cars. Despite five local cyclists hit by cars in just two weeks, Sussex, UK press call for a crackdown on selfish cyclists; they’ve got a point, it is rude of us to bleed all over their cars. Tensions rise between German cyclists and drivers, while the Transport Minister threatens to mandate helmets if user rates don’t rise. How the Dutch got their cycle paths; Dutch drivers and cyclists often share the road without exactly sharing the road.

Finally, a sad day as former Aussie cycling champ Bob Ryan passes away at age 73. And a special note to occasional Kiwi correspondent the Trickster, and any other New Zealanders who may be reading — congratulations on a well-deserved victory by the All-Blacks.

And don’t forget that President Obama is coming into L.A. at rush hour Monday night; sounds like a perfect excuse to bike to work.

SaMo art ride, High Desert Fall Century, Stitching the L.A. River and City of Lights Awards Dinner

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

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

The Santa Monica Museum of Art is teaming with Santa Monica Spoke to sponsor a bicycle tour of four Santa Monica exhibitions in the region-wide Pacific Standard Time art exhibition and collaboration between over 60 cultural institutions throughout Southern California. The ride rolls from 1 pm to 4:30 pm on Saturday, October 22nd, with stops at the Sam Francis Gallery, the Eames Office and 18th Street Arts Center.  Admission is free, but registration is required; meet at 2525 Michigan Avenue, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica.

The AV High Desert Fall Century takes place on Saturday, October 22nd with rides of 25, 62 and 100 miles along the scenic roads of the Antelope Valley, with the century offering some serious climbing, while the shorter rides are good for more recreational riders. It starts at 7 am at the northeast parking lot of Antelope Valley College, near 30th St. West and Ave. J-8. The low $25 registration fee includes sag support, rest stops and lunch at the end of the ride.

Sunday, October 23rd, Richard Risemberg, Mr. Bicycle Fixation himself, leads the latest edition of his popular Stitching the River rides across all the classic bridges crossing the Los Angeles River between Broadway and Olympic in Downtown L.A. The short, 14 to 16 mile social ride meets at 10:30 am in Chinatown’s Central Plaza, with the ride rolling at 11 am.

The LACBC’s award-winning City of Lights program will host their 2nd Annual City of Lights Awards/Fundraising Dinner on Wednesday, October 26th from 6 to 11 pm at La Fonda Supper Club, 2501 Wilshire Blvd. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and L.A. Times columnist Hector Tobar will be honored; ticket prices have been reduced to $45 for members and non-members, and are available online. Update: note the new date and location above; I hope to see you there.

Saturday, October 29th and Sunday, October 30th, Santa Monica’s Cynergy Cycles hosts a Women’s Weekend, with rides, food, demos and optional wine tasting.

The Malibu Canyon Gran Fondo rolls on Saturday, October 30th, starting and ending at Saddlerock Ranch, 31743 Mulholland Hwy in Malibu, with rides of 65 miles — and 6,800 feet of climbing — 45 miles and 17 miles, as well as a kids ride along the ranch, with a picnic and after party to follow.

November 1st, 3rd, 7th and 10th, LADOT will hold a series of Westside Mobility meetings to discuss the future of Westside Commuting; topics include Project Overview, Bicycle and Pedestrian, Transit – Light Rail, Bus and BRT, Roadways, Smart Choices for Commuting, Parking, and Project Ideas via Electronic Surveying. See website for times, locations and registration.

Saturday, November 5th through Monday, November 7th, the California Bicycle Coalition will host the 2011 California Bike Summit to help set the statewide bicycle advocacy agenda for 2012 and beyond. The sessions with take place at Downtown’s Kyoto Grand Hotel, with the Monday session held at the California Endowment for Health.

The next ride in the LACBC’s popular series of Sunday Funday rides takes place on Sunday, November 6th with the East Valley Hansen Dam Ride, lead by board member Carrie Ungerman. The ride meets at the North Hollywood Metro Station at Lankershim and Chandler at 9 am and rolls at 9:30. The easy 23 mile ride is free for LACBC members and one guest; memberships will be available at a reduced price.

The South Bay Bike Plan continues it’s long march to approval with hearings before the four remaining city councils: Lawndale on November 7th, Gardena on November 8th, Manhattan Beach on the 15th and Torrance on November 22nd.

Friday, November 11 through Sunday, November 13th, the Eastside Bike Club hosts the LA Tamale Throwdown at a site to be determined, offering a chance to sample some of the city’s best tamales, coffee and pan Mexicano; bike valet courtesy of Flying Pigeon LA.

Update: The LACBC’s Tour de Taste originally scheduled for Sunday, November 13th, has been postponed, with the date to be determined.

The County of Los Angeles unveils the final draft of their proposed new bike plan, offering a more than 500% increase in bikeways. Your last chance to comment of the plan could come before the County of Los Angeles Regional Planning Commission, Wednesday, November 16th at 9 am in the Hall of Records, Room 150, 320 West Temple Street in Downtown L.A.

December 7th through 11th, Antenna Magazine’s Re:mix Lab will hit L.A. after a semi-national tour, featuring two urban Bad Boy bikes designed by Cannondale in cooperation with Junk Food Clothing. The art, music, fashion and cultural festival will unfold at a site to be selected.

Friday, December 9th, the Midnight Ridazz host what may be the most important ride of the year, when they ensure that thousands of L.A. children will have a happy holiday with the 6th Annual All-City Toy Ride. Routes will begin from points throughout the city, converging on Downtown L.A. to collect the toys and celebrate the season.

Tuesday, December 27th, the LACBC returns to Santa Monica’s Library Alehouse for the 3rd Annual Mid-Winter Merriment, 2911 Main Street. Good beer, good friends, bike valet and a portion of all sales goes to support cycling in the great L.A. area. What’s not to like?

The dog crap theory of road safety

Let’s talk responsibility.

Every morning, I walk outside with my dog, carrying a bag in my hand.

Then after a few minutes of watching her sniff every fire hydrant, bush, nook and cranny on our block — the Corgi equivalent of reading her Facebook page — she settles in for a good poop.

And inevitably, when I bend over to pick it up, I have to dodge piles of crap left behind by dog owners who aren’t as responsible.

It’s not just the unpleasant prospect of stepping in it that poses a problem. Or the simple fact that the law clearly requires owners to clean up after their animals.

What their dogs leave behind can spread disease, both to other dogs and the people who may inadvertently come in contact with it. And eventually, when the rains come, it will wash into the storm drains and out to the ocean, fouling the water that countless people swim and surf in.

Granted, one pile of crap isn’t going to cause any real harm. But multiply that by the multiple mounds on my block, and virtually every other block in this City of Angeles and the 88 other cities and towns, as well as unincorporated areas, in the county.

And you’ll start to understand why it’s not safe to eat many of the fish that come out of the bay. Or to spend much time in it yourself.

As I stand waiting for her to finish her morning rounds, I also have an opportunity to study the busy street that runs in front of our building.

I watch as a steady stream of cars flows past, observing countless drivers talking on their hand-held cell phones.

Others turn left or right or change lanes without ever using their turn signals, leaving other drivers to wonder — often with obvious impatience — why the car ahead is slowing down for no apparent reason. Or slamming on their brakes and swerving dangerously into the next lane to get around them.

Then there are the speeding drivers who weave in and out of the morning traffic, ignoring both speed limits and common sense, trusting their own driving skills to avoid the many near misses they create.

And too often, failing.

All this, despite their responsibility to obey the traffic laws they flaunt, and operate their vehicles in a safe and responsible manner.

Less frequently, I’ll see bikes rolling past as riders make their way up the street to UCLA, or down the street to jobs in Century City or beyond.

From time to time, I see one blow through the red light on the corner, forcing drivers who have waited patiently to cross the street to jam on their brakes to avoid a collision as the rider rushes into their path.

At night, as I take my dog out for the last walk of the day, I often see cyclists ride past without lights, briefly highlighted by the streetlights before rolling into semi-invisibility in the twilight between.

Other times, as I ride my bike, I often watch in amazement as I stop for a red light, only to see a cyclist ride up from behind and ride right through, ignoring my example as well as their own safety.

In fact, I was hit by one the other night, as I stopped and he kept going, brushing hard against my side as he blew through on my right, oblivious to the traffic starting to flow in either direction on the cross street.

Evidently, hitting me and risking getting hit himself were worth it to avoid stopping for less than a minute.

It breaks my heart when I reach an intersection and see oncoming or crossing drivers hesitate, despite having the right-of-way, because they expect me to ride through a stop sign or red light. Or anticipate that I’ll cut in front of them, ignoring both the right-of-way and my own safety.

Because that’s what we’ve trained them to do.

Too often, I find myself waving drivers through the intersection, granting my permission to do what the rules of the road say they have the right to do anyway. Or needlessly clicking out of my pedal and putting my foot down, so they’ll see that I am in fact stopping.

Because, like them, I have a responsibility to obey the law.

And more importantly, to share the road safely.

The difference is, when drivers act irresponsibly, they pose a danger to everyone else on the road. When we do, the risk is primarily to ourselves.

Although we, too, can harm others by our actions.

The problem isn’t irresponsible cyclists, despite what countless bike-hating internet trolls and shock-jock DJs will tell you. Or drivers who have forgotten the danger their vehicles pose, and their responsibility to operate them safely.

Or even dog owners who can’t be bothered to clean up after their pets.

It’s a society that has become irresponsible in the truest sense of the word, willing to let others clean up the messes we create. Except they often don’t do it either.

Whether on Wall Street, in Washington, Sacramento or City Hall, or on our own block.

When that lack of responsibility occurs on the streets, it forces other road users to assume responsibility for our own safety.

By blowing through that red light or stop sign, or driving while distracted — or any of the other countless, seemingly insignificant violations we commit every day — we’re placing responsibility for our own safety in the hands of others, who may or may not accept it.

When they do — or can, for that matter — everyone rolls off safely, if perhaps a little more angry at the cyclists or drivers they blame for posing a hazard to everyone else. And oblivious to the way they do the same things every day.

I’ve often said that the highest responsibility of any cyclist is to ride safely, in a manner that doesn’t pose an unnecessary risk to ourselves or others around us.

And yes, drivers bear that same responsibility, too.

So I promise I won’t make you deal with my crap on the road. I’ll ride responsibly, obeying the law when it’s safe to do so, and rarely, breaking it when safety demands doing something else, and ensuring that safety is always my top priority.

And hope that you won’t make me deal with yours.

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