Archive for November 14, 2011

Double the links — OCTA bike victim ID’d, bike plan meeting in BH, London cyclists ride in protest

I already had a full load of links ready to go Sunday night when I set them aside to write about Saturday’s cycling fatality in Laguna Hills.

So settle in for a double dose of all the latest and greatest bike links the interweb has to offer.

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First up, the cyclist killed in a right hook by an Orange County OCTA bus on Saturday has been identified as 35-year old Romeo Jimenez-Zavaleta of Laguna Hills.

Still no word on whether he was riding on the wrong side of the street or on the sidewalk before entering the crosswalk. A reader named Bruce confirms that sidewalk riding is legal in Laguna Hills. And unlike the street, there is no right or wrong way on a crosswalk, though there is some question whether a badly worded state law allows cyclists to ride in or next to a crosswalk.

Either way, the driver should have been able to see someone in the crosswalk directly ahead of the bus.

And Mendocino cyclists mourn the death of 82-year old David Russell, who was a long-time fixture in the local riding community before he was killed by an 18-year old driver.

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The next meeting to discuss the proposed bike plan update in the biking black hole of Beverly Hills will take place this Wednesday, November 16th at 5 pm. If you ride the gilded streets of BH — or would if pedaling through the city didn’t suck so much — try to be there.

I’ll try not to take it personally that they scheduled the meeting for the only time this week that I can’t go.

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More on Metrolink’s new bike cars; thanks to Steven Vance for the heads-up. LADOT Bike Blog rides down to check them out; note that tandems and gas bikes are banned.

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After a second cyclist is killed at a dangerous intersection, London cyclists take to the road en masse to call attention to the city’s 10 most dangerous intersections and demand safer streets for everyone — including cyclists.

And despite what the city’s seemingly auto-centric mayor may have to say on the subject. A writer points out that the mayor is an experienced cyclist, and roads he considers ridable may not be safe for other cyclists.

London’s equivalent of LADOT says they’re sorry, and one board member agrees that the streets aren’t safe enough.

Meanwhile, over 300 Toronto cyclists hit the streets to call for better safety after a 38-year old cyclist is killed by a truck on the way to pick her son up from school, including calling for side guards on semi trucks, which might have prevented the tragedy. A local rider says if the city cared about human beings on bikes, she would still be alive today.

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A KCET blogger offers a surprisingly biased look at riding on the sidewalk from a pedestrian’s perspective.

Bike riders (with an attitude) bristle at these proposals, which would sour the outlaw aspects of urban bike commuting into the bourgeois rectitude of a Copenhagen or Amsterdam. Pedestrians – of which I am obliged to be one – just wish bike riders didn’t regard us as impediments to their speed.

Perhaps he’s suggesting that only bike riders with an attitude pose a danger to pedestrians, but it reads like an indictment of all bike commuters.

Unexamined in these discussions about what should and shouldn’t go on sidewalks, is the conviction among those who go about on wheels – either two or four – that wheels themselves have a natural privilege over those who are wheel-less, and that those who ride (bike, car, skateboard) are the betters of those who walk.

Lumping us in with drivers?

Now that hurts.

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KPPC’s Patt Morrison looks at the recent groundbreaking University of Wisconsin study showing increased cycling rates could result in up to $3.5 billion in savings from better air quality and $3.8 billion in lower healthcare costs each year — not to mention over 1,000 fewer traffic fatalities. And asks what it would take to get you on a bike.

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The first markings for what will soon be L.A.’s first green bike lane appear on First St; the rest is soon to follow. The UCLA Cycling Team invites you to participate in the Bruin Fall Century next Saturday. Burbank police worry about a rise in bike collisions and place the blame on cyclists, who may not know the rules of the road. Flying Pigeon rides for dim sum this Sunday. I love stories like this; a Burbank group repairs bikes to donate to needy children. Hint to Santa Monica cyclists — if you’re carrying drugs, don’t ride on the sidewalk. More on the Santa Monica Bike Centers slated to open at the end of this week; lost in the anticipation is news that Burbank is opening a BikeStop of their own. Does it matter if they don’t make a profit, since every other form of parking — and driving — is heavily subsidized? How would you like a 22-mile long east-west bikeway through the San Gabriel Valley? (Note: I originally wrote that the bike pathwould run through the San Fernando Valley; thanks to Rex Reese for the correction.) Three more bike thieves are behind bars, this time for a burglary in Agoura Hills.

A San Francisco cyclist faces a vehicular manslaughter charge for running a red light and killing a 68 year old woman as she walked in a crosswalk; if we’re going to hold drivers accountable, we have to be accountable, too. San Francisco cyclists can get free bike lights for the next month. Just Another Cyclist says whatever life brings, just keep pedaling. Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious offers photos from the San Francisco Bike Expo; we need to get something like that down here. A Union City cyclist is touch-and-go after yet another a hit-and-run. A Marin County physician calls for bike helmets for everyone, while a UK public service site seems to agree. A Napa driver warns readers about a scamming cyclist; sounds more like an urban myth to me.

Bicycling offers video advice on high cadence climbing, along with seven cycling moments that stand out in 2011. Bike Portland celebrates the T-shirt stylings of Long Beach biking expat Russ Roca. Bike-friendly Austin discovers bike corrals, while the local paper offers a great history of bike racing through the years. A hit-and-run driver turns himself in hours after killing a Minneapolis cyclist. An interview with the new head of Cincinnati’s Queen City Bike organization. The Indianapolis Star looks at the growing popularity of cyclocross. A Portsmouth woman is charged with DUI, while the cyclist she hit is ticketed for riding without lights. Does it matter where your bike was made? Every nasty driver is somebody’s friend — and could be a cyclist. A UPS driver acknowledges she saw a cyclist, but cut her off anyway. New York’s anti-bike backlash is nothing new, even though the new bike lanes have made life safer for pedestrians. A Florida university wants to turn North Miami’s only segregated bike path into a four lane street

The Department of DIY opens a branch in Mexico City, as local cyclists paint their own 5 km bike lane in just 8 hours for less than $1,000. Hamilton ON police have ticketed 54,000 drivers so far this year and roughly 525 cyclists; so which group is the scofflaws? A UK bike advocate is slowly bouncing back from life threatening injuries suffered two days after her helmet was stolen. A UK car website that supports safely sharing the road proves popular with cyclists. Someone is stringing rope across Brit roads and bikeways. As if cars aren’t enough to dodge, an Oxford cyclist barely survives a falling girder. How to stay motivated to ride when you see winter out your window; and if you’re riding through sheep pee, don’t forget your fenders. Bike Radar profiles Kozo Shimano — yes, that Shimano. Whether Alberto Contador wins or loses his arbitration hearing, cycling is already the loser; meanwhile, Alejandro Valverde is banned from his own presentation ceremony. Munich’s old cycle tracks can’t keep up with the increased demand. Bike are fashionable in China once again; then again, maybe they never really went away. Bangalore will soon get its first bike lanes.

Finally, a Canyon Country amputee rides his first century, raising nearly $3000 for charity. And though it’s not bike related — other than the great graphic — don’t forget the Great Venice Toy Drive through December 8th.

Unrelenting pace of cycling fatalities continues as Laguna Hills cyclist killed in OCTA bus right hook

It’s happened again.

Just a week after the riding deaths of Sherrie Norton and Robert Hyndman — and critical injuries to two Long Beach riders — an Orange County cyclist has been killed in a right hook collision while riding in a crosswalk.

The Orange County Register offers a confusing description of the collision. But apparently, the cyclist, who has not been publicly identified, was riding north on Paseo de Valencia around 5 pm Saturday, either on the wrong side of the roadway, or more likely, on the sidewalk facing southbound traffic.

As he attempted to cross Alicia Parkway, he was struck and killed an Orange County Transportation Authority bus turning west onto Alicia from southbound Paseo de Valencia.

No other details are available at this time.

However, the driver should have been able to see the cyclist, as the rider appears to have been coming directly towards him in the crosswalk.

The paper notes that the OC Sheriff’s department is continuing to investigate the collision.

This is the 10th confirmed cycling fatality in Orange County this year, and 64th confirmed traffic-related bike fatality in Southern California since the start of the year. That compares with an average of 10 bicycling deaths in Orange County for the last two years on record (2008 and 2009), and 55 in Southern California over the same period.

However, it should be noted that the 5-year average for both is much higher, at 13 and 68.2 respectively.

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As long as we’re sharing bad news, an 18-year old cyclist was the victim of a hit-and-run in East Long Beach. Fortunately, his injuries were non-life threatening, although that does not necessarily mean he didn’t suffer serious injuries.

Police are looking for an oversized, dark-colored pick-up with possible damage to the passenger-side front or side window. Anyone with information can contact authorities at www.tipsoft.com

And an 82-year old Mendocino cyclist was killed when he was hit from behind while riding on the shoulder of Highway 1; he was hit by a pick-up operated by an 18-year old driver who drifted off the roadway, hitting the victim at 55 mph.

I want to say that someone still riding at 82 deserves better than that.

But so does every other cyclist, no matter how old.

Yes, we have no tamales, but we do have an artistic weekend ahead

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 monthly Spoke(n) Art Ride rolls once again on Saturday, November 12th. The ride leaves at 6:30 pm to tour open galleries in the North East L.A. area; cruiser bikes are available to rent for $20. That will be followed by the popular Get Sum Dim Sum Ride on November 20th. All rides depart from the Flying Pigeon LA bike shop at 3714 N. Figueroa ST in Highland Park.

Update: The LA Tamale Throwdown scheduled for November 11th through 13th has been cancelled for this year.

On Saturday, November 12th, C.I.C.L.E. hosts a ride through the streets that form the 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 South Bay Bike Plan continues it’s long march to approval with hearings before the last two remaining city councils in Manhattan Beach on the 15th and Torrance on November 22nd.

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. The LACBC says it still needs some work.

Santa Monica’s new Bike Center is scheduled to open on Friday, November 18th at the corner of 2nd and Colorado, and you’re invited.

The highly active Santa Monica Spoke, an affiliate chapter of the LACBC, will meet for coffee and pastries on Saturday, November 19th at 10 am at the Colorado Community Room on the southeast corner of 5th and Broadway, followed by a visit to the new SaMo Bike Center.

Cali Bike Tours is sponsoring a short 1.4 mile bike ride to the Cambodian Arts and Culture Exhibition on Saturday, September 19th. The ride will leave the Portfolio Coffeehouse at 2300 East 4th Street in Long Beach at 10:30 am, and returning by 12:30 pm.

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.

LA Streetsblog is hosting an End of the Year Party on Thursday, December 8 from 7 pm to 10 pm at St. Andrews West Los Angeles, 11555 National Blvd. Streetsblog parties are always a good time, and well worth the suggested $25 donation; however, head Streetsblogger Damien Newton promises no one will be turned away if you can’t afford it.

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. If anyone else is hosting a toy ride this year, let me know.

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?

Cops 4 bike thieves 0; County bike plan goes before Planning Committee with much to be desired

This hasn’t been a good week for bike thieves.

Manhattan Beach police nailed two, along with a half-dozen hot bikes. If you’ve had a bike stolen in the South Bay in the last six weeks, see if your bike fits the description of the bikes they recovered.

Here on the Westside, police are celebrating the arrest of two burglars specializing in high-end bicycles.

Thirty-sex year old Herrera and 23-year old Julian Herrera were arrested following a burglary on the 100 block of South Bentley just west of UCLA; no word on whether they’re related.

Two bikes that were stolen in the burglary were recovered from their cars, along with an additional two bikes that were found in their homes. One of those bikes was reported stolen over the weekend in Woodland Hills, and has since been returned to its owner.

Both suspects have been linked to other burglaries in the West L.A. area, and are being held on $500,000 bond.

A bike-riding LAPD officer calls on cyclists to report any theft that may have occurred in the last 18 months.

Thanks to Todd Munson for the screen grab, and the office of bike lawyer Howard Krepack for an advance heads-up on the arrests before the news was officially released.

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The LACBC writes to urge everyone to attend the L.A. County Planning Commission next Wednesday, November 16th, when they will review the Final Draft of the new Bicycle Master Plan — a plan they say still needs some serious work.

While the plan is a nice start, it still leaves a lot to be desired. Like lane widths that are painted to high-speed highway standards, and a failure to comply with suggestions from the county’s own Health Department.

Additionally, the County Department of Public Health recently released the “Model Design Manual for Living Streets” and is in the process of adopting a “Healthy Design Ordinance” elements of both of these initiatives should be reflected in the County Bike Plan. Specifically the Plan should adopt the lane width standards set out by the Model Design Manual for Living Streets.  Instead of uniformly applying Caltrans Highway Design Manual standards across a County so diverse in density, urban form, and local need, the County Manual provides more flexible standards which better reflect local uses.  On streets with design speeds below 35 mph, 10’ lanes are standard, with widths up to 11’ considered if heavy bus or truck traffic is present.  On streets with higher design speeds, the Manual is silent, permitting DPW to continue to utilize Caltrans highway design standards where prudent.  Recognizing that drivers adjust to narrower lanes by reducing their speed, the County Manual emphasizes that “desired speed” should guide lane width determinations.  In addition to desired traffic speed, we strongly request that the County give due consideration to bicycle traffic volumes and history of collisions involving bicycles.  Finally, to the extent the County will seek of guidance from the Caltrans Highways Design Manual, it should document exceptions to 11’ and 12’ lane standards as provided for in Chapter 21 of the Caltrans Project Development Procedures Manual.

The Coalition also calls for less reliance on the virtually worthless Class III bike routes — particularly on the dangerous roads of the Antelope Valley — and greater emphasis on infrastructure that will encourage riding for people of all ages and skill levels, especially in high obesity areas.

Take a few minutes to download the plan and look over the areas where you ride. And see if you think this solves the problems you know about.

And chances are, you’ll want to be at that meeting Wednesday to suggest that this Final Plan shouldn’t be.

Final, that is.

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Some of the nation’s leading advocacy organizations press for fair funding in the proposed federal transportation bill (pdf); DC Streetsblog says there’s still reasons for hope, even if it is popular with the GOP.

Meanwhile other cyclists complain about a clause that would force riders off roads and onto bike paths; Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious points out the obvious dangers in that. Or at least, the dangers that should be obvious to anyone who cared enough to consider the matter.

Unlike our current representatives, for instance.

Richard Risemberg writes Sen. Barbara Boxer to demand a change. And the League of American Bicyclists asks you to sign a petition to fight it.

I just did.

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Making short trips by bike could save four trillion pounds of CO2, 1,100 lives, and $7 billion in mortality and healthcare costs — and that’s just six months of riding in just six states.

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I linked to this on Tuesday, but it’s worth linking to again, as several people have forwarded it to me over the past few days. Seems like everyone loves the story of the Colorado cyclist who had her bike stolen during last week’s Colorado vs. USC football game.

She found it listed on Craigslist, contacted the thief and arranged to meet him, posing as a prospective buyer. She asked if she could take it on a test ride — then rode back to her car, stuffed it in the trunk and drove off, in full view of the thief.

And yes, the bike thief was not only arrested, but confessed to his crime.

Just remember, as Boulder police note — and as the LAPD has stated a number of times — it’s not the smartest move to confront a thief on your own.

Thanks to everyone who sent me links to this story.

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The New York Times says bikes are just the latest scourge pedestrians have had to face. A Brooklyn pedestrian is in a coma after she was struck by a “racing” rider; the local website blames the cyclist without offering any details. Meanwhile, an NYU student says jaywalking peds and aggressive drivers are the real problem — and it’s okay to flip off a driver who honks at you.

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L.A. suggests slowing sidewalk cyclists to 3 mph when pedestrians are present; I don’t think my bike can even go that slow without falling over, then again, I don’t normally ride on sidewalks. Here’s your chance to intern at LADOT. The Beverly Hills Public Library gets a shiny new bike corral. It takes 10 times as much space to park two SUVs as it does two bikes. Roadblock calls for donations to Occupy L.A.’s Bike Share program. Santa Monica’s Planning Commission approves the city’s Bike Action Plan, while Alhambra moves forward with one of their own. Metrolink offers some very cool new bike cars that can hold up to 18 bikes and will run throughout the week. Good advice from the Claremont Cyclist on handlebars and how to use them. CaliBikeTours invites you on a short ride to the Cambodian Arts and Culture Exhibition on Saturday.

Bike San Diego offers a great recap of last weekend’s California Bike Summit. The San Diego hit-and-run driver who was found hiding in some bushes after killing a cyclist will face trial on gross vehicular manslaughter, hit-and-run and DUI charges. San Jose sees its third bike or pedestrian death in just five days, and the 6th traffic fatality in the larger South Bay area. San Francisco bike fashion sans spandex. Farmers think they can’t operate safely enough to allow a Central Coast bike path without killing us; oddly, I rode tens of thousands of miles through the Colorado farm country and I’m still here.

This year’s Tour de Fat raised over $400,000 for non-profit groups throughout the U.S., including the LACBC, C.I.C.L.E. and the Bicycle Kitchen. Build your own solar-powered lighted bike helmet. How to keep your bike from being stolen; former NBA center Shawn Bradley gets his back. Twenty-eight reasons to bike; most days, I only need one. Bicycling offers 50 golden rules for riding a bike. Boulder CO proposes an 8 mph speed limit for bikes in crosswalks; like the proposed L.A. sidewalk limit, I wonder if that can be legally enforced against riders without speedometers. A Kansas driver gets just seven days in jail, plus 25 days house arrest for killing a cyclist while drunk; one reason for the low penalty — the victim was drunk as a skunk, high and riding in the lane wearing dark clothes and without lights. The Lance Armstrong Bikeway could soon connect the full width of Austin TX. A Texas driver is arrested for a head-on hit-and-run collision that killed two bike-riding Mormon missionaries and injured another. An Illinois cyclist gets a $120 ticket for riding salmon. Drivers complain about an Indianapolis road diet. An Ohio driver gets three years and six months for running down a cyclist while drunk, while apologists continue to make excuses for him. Listen online to Ohio Bike Lawyer Steve Magas recent radio interview. Memphis gets 55 miles of bikeways in just two years. Haywood NC gets a new bike plan, for which our buddy Zeke should get a lot of credit. Here’s your chance to own a totally unique bicycle, since that sprung-steel wheel bike is up for auction. The New Orleans Times-Picayune endorses the seven-fold expansion of the city’s bikeways.

After a bike-riding mother is dragged to her death, Ottawa authorities don’t think it’s worth doing anything about it. A Toronto driver charges onto the sidewalk to run down a rider in a road rage attack. A UK cyclist clings to the hood of a car for dear life after his bike is slammed by a grinning driver in a road rage assault. The Guardian wants to create a worldwide map of ghost bikes, but questions whether they put people off from riding; I’d say ignoring the dangerous conditions on our streets seldom makes them go away. And as long as London Mayor Boris Johnson is in office, local cyclists may want to stock up on them, while a London bike ride will tour the city’s 10 most dangerous intersections. Cambridge cyclists say signs telling them to dismount need to be more polite. David Hembrow says Great Britain has improved road safety by taking vulnerable users off the road; Bike Aware says it’s the drivers who need training instead. Scotland plans to increase transportation spending — and cut bike and pedestrian funds. An Irish cyclist warns of a second-lock bike theft scam. Disgraced ex-Tour de France winner Floyd Landis gets a one-year sentence for hacking into a drug lab computer system. Euskaltel-Euskadi rider Romain Sicard was arrested for stealing traffic markers while driving drunk. Italy overturns the conviction of the man who supplied the late, great Marco Pantani with a fatal dose of cocaine. A pair of USB-equipped German bikes can charge your mobile device while you ride.

Finally, a British car site offers real advice on how to share the road with cyclists for a change. And check out this checklist of privileges drivers enjoy — and you don’t.

A Veteran’s Day aside to everyone who has served our country.

Thank you. Just… thank you.

Cyclist killed in Chino last month; total silence from news media

Let’s start with the facts.

About two weeks ago —  Thursday, October 26th at 6 am — 44-year old Francisco Donato of Pomona was riding his bike in the bike lane on the 13300 block of East End Avenue in Chino when he was seriously injured by an SUV driven by 18-year old Gerardo Mendez.

Mendez reportedly was attempting to bypass another vehicle by driving his massive 2001 Yukon in the bike lane when he hit Donato from behind; after all, that narrow strip of paint was put there just for that purpose, and no reasonable person could possibly have foreseen that there might actually be a bike in a bike lane.

And yes, that was sarcasm.

Donato was was airlifted to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton where he was listed in critical condition.

And that’s where the story ends, as far as the press is concerned.

Somehow, they missed the news that Donato died as a result of his injuries (#7) two days later. Or what, if any, charges were filed or under investigation in the case.

Apparently, their interest in the case ended once Donato didn’t die right away. Or maybe once they posted the press release from the Sheriff’s Department.

No follow-up. Not even, it would seem, a phone call to the medical center the following Monday to learn if the victim had lived or died.

No big deal. Just another cyclist suspended in a press netherworld between living and dead, like Schrodinger’s cat. And likely to remain there, if one of my regular sources hadn’t lifted the lid and looked inside to discover yet another dead cyclist.

It’s a problem I’ve struggled with for some time.

I often come across stories about cyclists who have been seriously injured, on nearly a daily basis, in fact; if I reported on every collision I heard about, it would be all I ever wrote about.

Then… nothing.

No follow-up stories relating how the critically injured rider miraculously recovered from his or her injuries. Or didn’t. Maybe I’m expecting too much, but it seems to me that if the story was worth reporting in the first place, it’s worth reporting whether the victim made it.

But that’s just me.

I’ve tried following up on various cases on my own, but have yet to get a response back from any police agency to any request for more information, with the singular exceptions of LAPD Sgt. David Krumer and Santa Monica PD Sgt. Thomas McLaughlin. I suspect as soon as they hear or see the word blog, my request goes into the Things We Don’t Give a Damn About pile.

Even some fatalities never make it into the press. I’m still waiting for any sort of confirmation about the apparent fatality that occurred in East L.A. last June, which is why it’s not included in my stats on cycling fatalities in L.A. County, along with another unconfirmed fatality in the Malibu area not long afterwards.

And the matter hasn’t been helped by the recent change in Google’s algorithms, which have made it much harder to find more obscure news stories from less populated areas. And makes me worry constantly that I may be missing something.

I don’t have the answer. I wish I did.

In fairness, the press is doing a much better job of reporting cycling injuries and death than just a few years ago, when a cyclist could have been hit by a car in the middle of a newsroom and reporters would have just stepped around the wreckage on their way to the water cooler.

These days, I seldom hear of a fatality without finding some mention in the press, somewhere. Key word being seldom, as indicated above.

But it’s those frequent stories of riders seriously injured that give me pause. And make me question whether they’re back on their bikes, or struggling to recover, or lying in the cold, hard ground, sadly forgotten by a cycling community that never got the news.

Clearly, I’m not the only one who wonders.

I received the following message from the same anonymous tipster who told me about Francisco Donato’s sadly unreported death.

On Sunday evening, I rode past the investigation of a car vs. bike on Bolsa Chica Street.  Totalled bike, flares, kliegs. surveying equipment, the whole nine yards.  An officer on scene confirmed that “one of our local transients” was transported to the hospital.  The PD’s arrest log shows a DUI >.10% (no indication of injury or death) at the approximate time of the incident.  There’s been no mention in the local press.  Some worthless homeless guy?  On a bike?  The collision won’t matter any more than his death.

A bloody few days in Long Beach — two cyclists critically injured, one intentionally

This has not been a good few days for Long Beach cyclists.

Two riders are critically injured — one because a driver ran a red light, the other because he was intentionally run down by a driver following a dispute.

In the first case, a 67 year old man, who has not been publicly identified, was riding east on Bixby Road at Cherry Avenue around 11 am Friday when he was hit by a pickup traveling south on Cherry. The Press Telegram reports that the driver of the pickup apparently ran the red light.

The rider was rushed to the hospital, where he remains in critical condition. The 66-year old driver was not charged at the scene; however the investigation continues. Anyone with information is asked to call Long Beach Police Department Accident Investigation’s detectives at 562-570-7355.

In the second, and in some ways, more serious case, the Press Telegram reports that a cyclist is clinging to life at a local hospital after being intentionally hit by a motorist, who then fled the scene.

The incident occurred around 3:20 Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of Bellflower Blvd and 23rd Street, following a dispute between the cyclist and a driver.

According to KCBS-2, there’s no word on what caused the dispute. However, the victim, who again was not publicly identified, was described as a homeless man who was known to be aggressive and violent.

The station says some accounts — they don’t say whether from the driver or independent witnesses — have lead police to believe that the victim may have attacked the driver by reaching into his van.

The Press Telegram writes that witness followed the van for several blocks before flagging down a police officer who detained the driver and eventually arrested him for assault with a deadly weapon.

Remarkably, KCBS disputes that account, not only reporting that the driver turned himself in, but that he may not face charges.

Running an unarmed man over with a van is not self-defense, and even belligerent homeless people have a right to live. Unless the driver can prove he was attacked in an unprovoked assault, then inadvertently struck the victim in an attempt to get away, he should face an assault charge.

Or murder if the rider doesn’t make it.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Long Beach Police Department’s Accident Investigations Detail at 562-570-7357.

Meanwhile, the KCBS story is so different from the Press Telegram article that it raises serious questions, going out of their way to paint the driver as the real victim.

Did they uncover the story that the local paper missed? Or are they letting a bias against the victim — the real victim — color their story?

It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds.

Thanks to Rex Reese for the tip.

Fed bike funding — and your right to the road — in danger; an argument against mandatory helmet laws

Bend over.

The new Federal highway spending bill proposed by our own Sen. Barbara Boxer and Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe is out. And if it passes, we’re all going to get screwed.

The new bill not only cuts the amount of funding available for bike and pedestrian projects, it forces bike projects to compete with Recreational Trails, Safe Routes to Schools, and other non-bike and pedestrian projects for funding. Which means the smaller pool will be cut even further before anything bike-related ever gets funded.

The Alliance for Biking and Walking offers a good comparison between the current and the proposed bill.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, it also includes a clause that will forbid you from using any Federally funded roadway if there is a bike path within 100 yards. It doesn’t matter if that bike path is a slow, winding recreational path in crumbling condition that meanders far from where you want to go, you’ll have to ride it.

And you’ll lose the right to the road you’re currently guaranteed under the law.  Evidently, because you could, conceivably, get in the way of what our elected leaders clearly seem to think are more important road users.

And this comes from our supposedly liberal junior senator, who has inexplicably decided to do the work of the radical right for them.

No one thought is would be easy to protect bike funding in the current environment.

But I don’t think we expected to be the victims of friendly fire.

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The owner of Santa Monica’s Bike Effect writes movingly, and heartbreakingly, about the death of Robert Hyndman on the Rapha ride they sponsored last Saturday.

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Dave Moulton, former maker of some of the best bikes built in my lifetime, offers a thoughtful argument against mandatory helmet laws, “saying mandatory helmet laws do not make cyclists wear helmets, they make some people stop riding bikes.”

I wear a helmet when I ride my bike, not because I believe it will save me from serious head injury, but because I believe the little protection it does give can’t hurt.

Another big incentive for me is, in the event I am hit by a car and injured; when I make a claim with the car driver’s auto insurance, they cannot say I was negligent and contributed to the seriousness of my injures by not wearing a helmet.

Insurance companies are notorious for finding ways to pay less or not pay at all on a claim; why give them the opportunity to deny a claim by not wearing a helmet? Apart from that I believe this little piece of lightweight Styrofoam I wear on my head offers only a token amount of protection.

These are my personal views; I would not tell anyone they should or should not wear a helmet when riding a bike. I strongly believe that helmet use should be an individual choice.

It’s a good read, and makes the argument for helmet use — and against mandating them — in a clear, concise and rational manner.

And it should be noted that both of the SoCal cyclists who died this past weekend were wearing helmets.

I can’t stress enough that bike helmets are designed to offer full protection at impact speeds only up to 14 mph; they offer little or no protection in high speed falls, and none whatsoever to any other part of the body.

They’re designed to protect against slow speed falls, such as tumbling off your bike under normal riding conditions, or impacts at relatively slow speeds.

Mandating their use is more about making non-cyclists feel better about sharing the road with us than it is about protecting riders.

Evidently, Britain’s Parliament gets it.

……..

L.A. launches a virtual town hall to discuss mobility in the city. The York Street bike corral is back in action. Once again, Los Angeles considers ways to change the law that allows biking on sidewalks. Mayor Villaraigosa, Council President Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Mitch Englander decide that car dealers shouldn’t be taxed; no word on when bike shops will get a similar tax break. Meanwhile, Councilmember Rosendahl proposes a motion to keep Mandeville Canyon speed bump free; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up. The Times’ George Skelton concludes bike trails are budget pork. Last weekend’s Free the Streets brings a dose of bike culture to South L.A. Streetsblog plans an end-of-the-year party on Thursday, December 8th. Santa Monica’s proposed Bike Action Plan gets a hearing before the city’s Planning Commission Wednesday night, while the new Bike Centers open on November 18th. Get a gift card when you make a purchase over $250 at Cynergy. A new Long Beach-based website celebrates the beauty and benefits of bicycling for women. Long Beach’s biking expat Russ Roca says losing his car saved his life.

A ghost bike has been installed for Mark Leones, killed last month is a solo bike wreck, while Claremont Cyclist catches up with the long, sad list of ghost bikes throughout Southern California, and looks at Sunday’s Long Beach Cyclocross. The Newport Beach Bicycle Safety Committee needs more time than their one year term to complete their work; the only question is why they thought they could solve all the city’s bike problems in a single year. Monterey riders will have a chance to bike the famed Laguna Seca racetrack. Palo Alto gets a new bike plan; the city calls it ambitious, but what do local cyclists think? Martha Stewart parks in a San Francisco bike lane. SF Gate asks if it’s safe to ride while pregnant. If you’re looking for a serious challenge, consider next April’s Mount Laguna Bicycle Classic, an epic timed challenge offering up to 101 miles with over 10,000 feet of elevation gain.

Bikes Belong and SRAM partner on a new campaign to fast-track separated bike lanes. How to bunny hop — and how not to. The Reno Rambler looks at bike lane pushback, and concludes the vehicular cycling model won’t broaden the spectrum of riders. A look at 12 bike calendars for 2012. Tribal justice means no justice for a cross-country cyclist killed on a New Mexico reservation. A Colorado cyclist steals her bike back from the person who stole it from her. Now that’s bike parking. A Boston cyclist “accidently” rides a local freeway. Boston businesses decry a loss of 71 parking spaces to make room for a bike lane; maybe someone should point out that cyclists spend money, too — and are more likely to stop and shop. What to do with abandoned bikes in Gotham bike rooms. The New York Times architecture critic gets back on his bike to review the city’s bike lanes. A New York woman confesses she was high when she ran down and killed a cyclist, and gets rewarded with a reduced sentence. Someone somehow manages to massively crush a street full of cars. New technology could soon help keep drunk drivers off the road. Louisiana cyclists ride to raise awareness after three cyclists are killed in one week. After a cyclist is killed, Mississippi decides it’s finally time to enforce their three-foot passing law. For the first time, a Florida judge permits punitive damages in the case of a cyclist killed by a texting driver.

Toronto proposes to ban bike parking over 24 hours anywhere except bike racks; I assume that means the city is saturated with safe and secure bike parking, right? Bike-friendly Bogota mayor Enrique Penalosa loses his bid for re-election. The London Mail tours Pashley. David Hembrow argues that training riders rather than fixing the roads has failed UK cyclists. Campy unveils its new 11-speed electronic shifting system; it seems like this is an expensive solution in search of a problem, since the beauty of a bicycle has always been it’s simplicity. There will be no 2nd annual Tour of South Africa, after all.

Finally, from the Department of WFT, a driver corrects a cyclist for not riding in the non-existent bike lane, then tells him to break the law by riding on the sidewalk. And a bike riding child is injured in an apparent hit-and-run before being transported by ambulance.

On a Playmobil toy box. Seriously, what were they thinking?

Thanks to Dave Schneider for the Playmobil link.

OC Cyclist Sherri Norton has died from her injuries in the Santiago Canyon crash

Sherri Norton; photo from Cycles Veloce website

My apologies.

I’ve been tied up with the California Bike Summit this weekend. And while I was trying to keep up with the news, I missed the notification from Cycles Veloce that Sherri Norton died over the weekend.

It is with the greatest sadness that we must report that Sherri will not win this, her most important battle on a bicycle.

Sherri was a beam of light to many of us and will remain the beautiful person we knew; living on in our hearts and minds – an angel to watch over us all!

Our deepest sympathy to Mark – we can only imagine the emptiness you must feel and hope that you find peace and warmth in your family & friends.

As you may recall, she was critically injured while riding in the bike lane on Santiago Canyon near Jamboree Road in Orange on Thursday. She reportedly turned into oncoming traffic when she attempted to ride back to a friend who was trailing behind.

Her husband Mark is attempting to organize a memorial for next Saturday, November 12th, as well as a memorial ride Saturday morning. He also asks for donations to a pair charities she supported in lieu of flowers.

This is the 9th confirmed traffic-related cycling fatality in Orange County this year, and the 61st in the greater Southern California area.

My prayers and sympathy to her family and loved ones. Between her death and that of Robert Hyndman, my heart is broken right now.

Rapha Ride victim identified; his brother writes to comfort cycling community

I can now identify the cyclist who died in Saturday’s Rapha Gentleman’s ride.

While his name has not publicly appeared in the press, 51-year of Robert (Roberto) Hyndman of Laguna Beach has been named on the Bike Effects Facebook page, as well as in a moving email written by his brother.

In an open letter to the cycling community that was forwarded to me in a comment from Steven, Carl Hyndman, an experienced cyclist himself, writes lovingly about the brother who died in his arms on Saturday.

Dear Friends and Riding Companions,

I wanted to write this in hopes I can alleviate some heavy hearts and misunderstandings that may surround this day. My name is Carl Hyndman and I am the younger brother of Robert Hyndman who died in yesterday’s accident. We are from Orange County and love bike riding. I have been riding for over 30 years and live and breath this special sport and am as passionate as anyone. I ride and race in both mountain and road. I have my UCI license and live the culture of cycling as did my brother Robert.

Robert is a bit newer to the sport but has embraced it beyond anyone’s expectations. He has always lived an active life and found cycling a couple of years ago and has literally fallen in to the culture and lifestyle that surrounds it. Robert is the part of a close family that includes 5 brothers and a sister and immigrant Portuguese parents from Hong Kong. He was the middle child and was a successful writer who worked from his home in Laguna Beach. As a child and throughout his life, he would read everything and anything that he was interested in and had a calm and soothing aura around him. He didn’t just causally get involved with things, he grabbed life by the horns and embraced all that life could offer. It was no surprise that his passion would progress his interest to the finer things including his love for Italian bikes, amazing scenery and the surrounding of close friends. His natural ability progressed him to the point of racing, and travels for epic adventures. We shared many miles together and loved riding the mountains in places like Santa Cruz and Marin where some of our family lives.

However, Robert was the balance in my life. I am the risk-taker, the action sports athlete and thrill-seeker. I’m known to throw caution to the wind and push my abilities. Robert was much different. He was very calculated and never took unnecessary risks. Yes he felt his natural athletic ability, but it was always within his control and comfort zone.

We recently heard about this ride and wanted to experience another great adventure and included a few other friends from our area to enjoy as a group. The shop, the surrounding culture and the terrain is all part of what we feel represents our passion and lifestyle. Although we may not know most of you, we feel an indirect kinship for a common love and interest.

This one was of those unfortunate accidents that we don’t see coming in our lives. Only seconds before, I was riding in front of him laughing and having the time of our lives. We marveled at the surrounding and embraced it. The terrain wasn’t unusual, too risky or unfamiliar. We had ridden this kind of terrain and far harder many times before. It could have happened just as easily on PCH or a curb across the street. He died in my arms and went doing what he loved to do.

So please ride for him and keep a special place in your heart for my fallen brother. Thank you and feel free to contact me at any time at this e-mail address. Also, please feel free to forward this letter to anyone else that may want or need to hear this story. I’m sure I missed some people since Robert touched such a big set of friends and family, so do me this small favor and spread the word.

Love,

Carl Hyndman

Judging by the comments on here, and the conversations and emails I’ve shared with a number of cyclists over the last few days, Robert Hyndman’s tragic death has hit many of us very hard — especially those who were on the ride that day, or had friends who were.

Yet it’s remarkable that his brother reached out to ease our pain, even while his own heart must be breaking. I’m not sure I would have the strength to do that if the situation was reversed.

In fact, I know I couldn’t.

It sounds like we lost an extraordinary member of the cycling community on Saturday.

And have another to thank for sharing that with us.

I hope you’ll join me in offering our prayers and best wishes to Carl Hyndman and the entire Hyndman family. 

……..

There will be a memorial ride held for Robert Hyndman next Sunday, November 13th starting at Bike Effect, 910 Broadway #100 in Santa Monica. The ride will start in two groups, at 9 am and 10 am, and will climb up Los Flores to visit the spot where Hyndman died.

Thanks to @codywestheimer for the heads-up.

Update: Note the corrected date for the memorial ride in the last paragraph above; being calendar challenged, I mistakenly wrote it would be held next Saturday; it will be on Sunday the 13th. Thanks to Ching Luk for the correction.

Update: Cyclist killed on Los Flores Canyon during Rapha Gentlemen’s Ride

More bad news.

Earlier today, I received word that a cyclist had been seriously injured during the Rapha Gentlemen’s Ride in celebration of Bike Effect‘s 1st anniversary, and had been airlifted out.

Unfortunately, when I returned home later today, I found word waiting from several sources that the rider did not survive his injuries.

According to an email on the Velo Club La Grange user the group, the rider — who I won’t name at this time, in case the next of kin haven’t been notified — was descending Los Flores Canyon Road near Hume Road above Malibu around 11:45 am when he lost control, and struck a wire guard barrier intended to keep cars from sliding off the road.

The writer says eye witnesses described it as a catastrophic accident, and notes that there was a doctor on hand; however, the cyclist did not regain consciousness before EMTs arrived.

So far, the only news reports misidentify the victim as a motorcyclist, based on a false report initial report from the CHP (see below).

This is the 60th traffic-related cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 20th in Los Angeles County; this is also the 7th fatal solo collision since the first of the year.

Thanks to Chris K, Mark Elliot, Stanley E. Goldich and Todd Munson for information on the collision; my prayers for the victim, his family and loved ones.

Update: The L.A. Times says the victim, who has still not been publicly identified, was a 51-year old man from Laguna Beach, who was riding with his brother at the time. He was declared dead at UCLA Medical Center about an hour after he fell. However, the Times gets the time of the incident wrong, which occurred at 11:45 am, not just before midnight as they report.

Update 2: The victim has been identified as Robert Hyndman; read a moving letter from his brother in to comments below, or on my follow-up. There will also be a memorial ride for Hyndman sponsored by Bike Effects on the 13th.

Screen grab courtesy of Mark Elliot

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