Archive for December 13, 2011

LACBC Planning Committee tonight, blaming OC biking victims & guilty of DUI but not killing cyclist

The LACBC’s Planning Committee will meet at 7 pm tonight at the Downtown Pitfire Pizza at 2nd and Main.

Tonight’s agenda will include a presentation by Alison Kendall of Kendall Planning + Design on the upcoming USC Campus Bike Plan, as well as a possible discussion of traffic calming efforts on Via del Monte in Palos Verdes Estates — which has already nearly taken the life of at least one cyclist.

You don’t have to be an LACBC member to participate. Just give a damn about safer, more livable streets.

……..

I honestly don’t know what to think about Orange County Register columnist David Whiting.

I mean, his heart seems to be in the right place. I think he genuinely cares about keeping cyclists safer and diffusing tensions on the road.

He just too often seems to go about it by blaming the victims.

For instance, he complains about perceived offenses such as riding two or more abreast, which, much to the surprise of many misinformed motorists — and law enforcement personnel — is not even mentioned in the California Vehicle Code. Let alone prohibited.

But then he follows it up with mostly well-reasoned advice from the Executive Director of the OC Bicycle Coalition. Though I’d take issue with the rationale behind this bit of advice, as well as the second suggestion.

Seven: Running stop signs

Running stop signs irritates drivers.

Smart: Respect stop signs and the right of way of vehicles. If a driver waves you through, stop and put your foot down to show that you “get it.” Most drivers are so amazed to see a bicyclist stop, they chill out for next rider they pass.

Yes, stopping at a stop sign is important, especially when there are other vehicles or pedestrians around. It’s one thing to carefully go through a stop after ensuring there’s no one else around; dangerous and foolish to do it when someone else has the right-of-way.

But intersections are risky enough without trying to unnecessarily complicate matters by insisting on stopping when someone else safely defers the right-of-way to you.

Then there’s his most recent column with comments from readers that include complaints against overly entitled riders and suggestions that bikes don’t belong on the road when there’s a perfectly good bike path nearby. Not to mention a former law enforcement officer who claims to have ticketed a rider for doing 41 mph in a school zone.

If I got a ticket for going that fast, I wouldn’t fight it.

I’d frame it.

But what ultimately puts me off Whiting’s writings is his frequent insistence on the old auto-centric fallacy that better behavior by cyclists will result in greater respect and courtesy from drivers.

It won’t. It doesn’t. And it never has.

Yes, you should always ride safely, and as legally and courteously as the situation allows — bearing in mind that it’s your life that’s on the line, and what’s legal isn’t always what’s safest.

But angry drivers don’t act that way because of anything you do or don’t do on the saddle. In reality, they’re usually upset by your simple presence on the road. Let alone the fact that you’re in front of them, which means a few seconds delay in their death-defying rush to wherever they’re going.

Telling cyclists not to make drivers mad is like telling a battered housewife to be more obedient so her husband won’t beat her anymore.

It’s long past time to stop blaming the victims.

Thanks to David M. Huntsman, Esq. for the links.

……..

Then again, a comment by a Streetsblog reader pretty well sums up the whole argument.

Yesterday I saw a bicyclist do [insert dangerous, stupid, inconsiderate, boneheaded move here] and it nearly inconvenienced me. This means all bikers better watch out because the responsible, productive, law-abiding members of this community aren’t going to tolerate this kind of anti-social behavior from you riffraff much longer.

Yesterday I saw a car driver do [insert dangerous, stupid, inconsiderate, boneheaded move here] and kill someone!  A tragedy, but it was an accident, no one’s fault really, just one of those bad parts of living in the modern age that we all have to put up with. After all, anyone can make a mistake. It would be a shame to even suspend the driver’s license over it because they really might need it to get to work. It certainly is no reflection on me or how most people drive.

……..

A Ramona driver is convicted of being under the influence of methamphetamine and driving under the influence when she killed a cyclist, followed by hitting a parked car, stop sign and a liquor store.

Yet according to the Ramona Sentinel, she wasn’t responsible for his death, because the cyclist was drunk when he was killed.

David Bruce Menea was riding with a BAC of .17 — over twice the legal limit — as well as riding without lights when he reportedly rode out in front of Suzanne Nicole Reed on September 11th of last year. Despite veering right to avoid him, Reed hit and killed Minea before crashing into the other objects.

She was sentenced to one year in jail, with all but 90 days suspended, as well as 5 years probation and fined 2008.

Now, if Whiting wants to complain about drunk cyclists riding without lights, I’m totally in his corner.

……..

A Mississippi Gulf-area judge shows that at least some jurists take drunk driving seriously, dishing out the sort of sentence Long Beach Fire Captain John Hines and underage drunk driver Jaclyn Garcia may have deserved, but could never have gotten here in the late, great Golden State.

Let alone drivers high on meth who kill other people.

Circuit Judge Roger Clark threw the book at convicted drunk driver Robin Lee Vo for critically injuring a cyclist while driving at over twice the legal limit — sentencing her to 20 years in prison, 10 years suspended, plus $400,000 restitution.

That’s 10 years in state prison, compared to one year apiece in the comparable California cases, and just 90 days for meth-driving Reed.

Are you listening, judges?

I don’t know a damn thing about Mississippi judge Roger Clark, but he’s got my support for any office he wants to run for.

……..

Not only do those damn cyclists back up L.A. traffic, but they actually seem to be enjoying themselves. L.A. endurance athlete and registered dietitian Matthew Ruscigno amusingly takes up cyclocross; maybe he’ll be at this weekend’s Santa Cross in Griffith Park. Flying Pigeon’s next Get Sum Dim Sum ride takes place this Sunday, while Walk Bike Glendale will host a family-friendly holiday ride. Santa Monica Spoke invites everyone to the LACBC’s 3rd Annual Mid-Winter Merriment at the Library Alehouse on the 27th, and looks for volunteers for the bike valet. The Daily News finds flaws in L.A.’s new bike plan. The Hansen Dam bike path gets security upgrades after series of after dark assaults. The Port of Long Beach will approve the final environmental impact statement for the Gerald Desmond Bridge — including bike lanes. Ride with Alta Planning principal Mia Birk in Long Beach Thursday. Rancho Cucamonga cyclists and pedestrians now have their own bridge over freeway-like Foothill Blvd. How to repair your Joe Blow.

Holiday season riding means dodging crazed shoppers. The Senate considers an amendment that could improve safety for all road users, yet at the same time, considers banning cyclists from some roads on federal lands. Interestingly, the percentage of people who bike is pretty evenly distributed across all income levels. A graphic argument on how bikes can save us. A series of 60-second sprints could help control Type-2 Diabetes. Columbia MO allows parking in bike lanes, and a local bike advocate thinks that’s a good thing. Seriously? Advil promotes winter bike congestion relief in Chicago. A Wisconsin study shows transit costs $50 per year per household, while roadways cost $779. Turns out a Wisconsin town isn’t planning to ban bikes and pedestrians after all — but the scary thing is, they could. A leading bike safety advocate is killed when he’s run down from behind. A U.S. Representative keeps the pressure on following the deliberately botched investigation of a cycling fatality by tribal police on a New Mexico reservation. A cyclist is the latest injury in New York’s contested Prospect Park. A North Carolina driver claims she was blinded by the sun and sneezing when she ran over a cyclist; oh, well it’s okay then. North Carolina cyclists may be left out in the cold on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Louisiana authorities suspect alcohol use in the death of a 76-year old cyclist; the victim, not the driver. When it comes to traffic signals, Florida cyclists just want fair treatment.

A Canadian cyclist is nearly refused entry to this country because he didn’t have a helmet. The Department of DIY strikes in Toronto. An Ottawa cyclist files suit after an open manhole leaves him an incomplete quadriplegic. Evidently, English soccer fans — or at least Hotspur fans — are too dense to figure out the difference between Olympic cyclist Chris Hoy and Premier League referee Chris Foy. In the UK, they actually enforce speed limits on popular cycling routes; go figure, huh? What do Dutch expats miss more than bicycling? Herring. An Aussie driver goes on a crime spree after killing a cyclist. Long Beach’s biking expats take their Path Less Pedaled to New Zealand.

Finally, the rules of bicycle touring haven’t changed much in the last 128 years, as bad teeth was no barrier to enlistment in the bike corps, and even billionaire robber barons rode bikes.

And returning to this century, frame meister Dave Moulton offers 10 tips for driving around cyclists; don’t click the link unless you’re in the mood for the best laugh of the day.

Maybe David Whiting should read that before he writes his next column.

Insights and updates on Orange County bike cases — laughter or tears?

Over the past year or so, I’ve featured a number of updates on various Orange County and South Bay legal cases from an anonymous source.

Like the updates I get from Dj Wheels, I’ve come to trust and rely on the insights from this source to keep us up to date on cases from behind the Orange Curtain, which can be hard to follow from up here in L.A. — especially since these cases seldom make the news unless something major happens.

Today she sent me an email offering background information on a couple of cases that are slowly moving through the system. And I thought it was good enough that I wanted to share it with you.

This article from the Sunday Orange County Register shows why the OCDA’s office wants to nail Michael Dennis Roach (and his ilk) so bad.  (Roach is the drunken racer on PCH who hit another drunken racer, spinning both cars onto a segregated beach path.)  Things do not look good for Roach.  His co-defendent Glenn Michael Moore, on the other hand, has a much shorter rap sheet and a terrifyingly good lawyer.

Our drunk-driving laws are nauseating liberal.  MADD had to fight for years to get that excessively high .08 limit, and it’s so easy to circumvent in court.  In other, more civilized countries with a better grasp of public safety and/or neurochemistry, the limit is much lower, and the penalties are more appropriate.  Every year in America alone, more people are killed by drunk drivers than by firearms, knives, blunt objects, & strangulation combined, and drivers under the “legal” limit (but at .04 or above) account for 25% of these deaths.  Our laws fail to address the severity of the repercussions of dangerous operation of motor vehicles.

Danae Miller (um, for example) had a preliminary hearing on December 1st and naturally the judge decided that there is indeed enough evidence to send her to trial.  Miller’s due to be arraigned in a few hours;  I won’t be there because both Anita Sue “Stop Signs Don’t Apply to Me” Cherry and Adam Carl “Just a Witness” Garrett have appearances at a different couthouse.  However, an incredibly wonderful MADD victim services specialist assisting the Britel family will forward me the plea and any details.

Miller’s preliminary hearing was tedious, thorough and heart-rending. The D.A. called four individuals to testify; the defense called none.  The hearing included some of the evidence that will be shown if Miller doesn’t just plead guilty like Hines, including the video from the dashboard-mounted camera of the first responding officer’s approach to the scene, which showed Britel’s shattered carbon fiber bike lying in the gutter, front light still blinking.

Although it was dusk, the view of the roadway was completely unobstructed, the streetlights were on, and the bike had plenty of reflective material on the rims and below the seat.  Britel was wearing a yellow dayglo jacket with reflective material.  A blind man could have seen him.  Miller could not.

Evidence also included the dozen or so texts & calls made in the minutes preceding the collision, as well as Miller’s ratty ancient-tech flip phone, which she’d handed over to the first responding officer at his request after stating that she never texts while driving.  Two prior citations to which she pleaded guilty refute this remark.  Disappointingly, a Verizon custodian of records testified that there’s no record of the content of the texts sent or received.

Miller also initally lied to the police on scene about her intake of alcohol.  With bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, she first claimed she’d had nothing to drink prior to driving.  She then changed her story, saying she’d had “one glass” of wine about an hour prior to leaving work.  However, her BAC was measured at .105 and .106 from two separate vials of her blood collected approximately an hour and forty-five minutes after the collision.  (This amount was rounded down to .10.)

In questioning the D.A.’s theory of culpability, the judge requested a brief review of testimony in order to determine whether, as Miller’s lawyer attempted to suggest, the incident was a simple SWSS.  But Miller had never told investigators,  “I saw the cyclist ahead.”  She admitted to the arresting officer that the first indication she had that she’d hit something was the shards of her shattered windshield hitting her arm.  (At least she wasn’t too drunk to wonder what all the sparkly stuff was.)

After the hearing, I asked D.A. Hayashida whether Britel had a bike computer and whether the data had been accessed.  To my surprise, she admitted she didn’t know (!!!) but would look into it.  I’d squinted at the pics & video of Britel’s mangled bike, but could only see a dark blur to the left of the areo bars.  It just strikes me as unlikely that a serious, competetive cyclist wouldn’t have the bells and whistles that could pinpoint the location, sudden deceleration & trajectory of his bike… and possibly even indicate the exact time, to the second, when his heart stopped beating.

Incidently, Hayashida is also assigned to prosecute Adam Carl Garrett, so I expect to see her  again today.  AND (refer back to the Orange County Register article) she’s the one who nailed Dennis Malavasi.

Mad props to good stranger Heather Lohrman (hope that’s spelled right), who stopped at the crime scene, attempted to find Britel’s pulse, and ran up to Miller’s car to get the license plate number in case the perp decided to flee.  Another good stranger was present as well but his name was not released.

Just a quick and irrelevant note about Anita Sue Cherry:  Last month, only two days before her most recent scheduled hearing, her first lawyer (whose list of traffic citations is longer than Cherry’s) was cited for failure to stop at a stop sign.  And next Monday, her most recently retained lawyer (her first lawyer’s legal partner) has his arraignment for the DUI w/property damage he got in September.

I swear to God I’m not making this up.

Laugh, or cry?

NHTSA data shows drop in traffic and bike deaths — and cyclists fare as well in collisions as motorists

I’m stunned.

Like just about everyone else, I have always assumed that the lack of protection afforded cyclists meant that we fare far worse in collisions than the occupants of motor vehicles.

After all, we don’t have seat belts and airbags — let alone a couple tons of steel and glass — to protect us. Just a thin shell of foam covered in plastic and a maybe bit of chamois between our legs.

But I was wrong.

During an email exchange with fellow cyclist and KCRW chief engineer Steve Herbert, he posed an intriguing question.

For all the cycling deaths we are seeing and the lack of protection a bicycle provides us in a crash with another automobile, I wonder if fatality numbers are proportionally higher than that of motor vehicle occupants?

Fortunately, the answer was readily at hand.

Just yesterday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the latest traffic fatality statistics for 2010, showing an overall drop in traffic deaths from 1.13 deaths per million vehicle miles traveled in 2009 to 1.09 fatalities per million miles in 2010. And a drop of over 1,000 traffic deaths over the pervious year, from 33,808 to 32,788.

And yes, that’s a significant improvement.

Even if an average of 90 traffic deaths a day is hardly good news.

The news is also better for cyclists, as biking deaths have dropped to 618 — the lowest total in 35 years — despite a dramatic upsurge in ridership.

That’s still an average of 1.7 riders dying on our streets everyday. Nearly 12 every week. Over 51 every month.

And it is still far from acceptable.

The real surprise came when I dug a little deeper into those figures.

According to the NHTSA figures, excluding motorcyclists, roughly 2,009,000 motor vehicle occupants — drivers and passengers — were seriously injured on American roads last year, compared to 23,946 fatalities. That gives a ratio of 83.9 motor vehicle injuries for every death.*

For the same year, roughly 51,000 cyclists were seriously injured compared to 618 deaths, for a ratio of 83.5 to one.

Look at that again — 83.9:1 for motor vehicles, compared to 83.5:1 for cyclists.

In other words, you have virtually the same risk of dying in a traffic collision riding your bike, with little or no protection, as you have in a car or truck surrounded with safety features.

Of course, that does not take into account the frequency of collisions. While the NHTSA can cite a rate of 1.09 deaths per million miles of vehicle travel, no such figures exist for bikes, as there is no quantifiable method of determining how many miles are travelled by bike each year; any estimate you might see is nothing more than an semi-educated guess at best.

But those figures clearly show, once a wreck severe enough to cause serious injury occurs, you face no statistically greater risk on a bike than you would in a car.**

Don’t know about you, but I’m pretty damn shocked.

* Motorcyclists face a significantly greater risk, with 82,000 injuries compared to 4502 fatalities, for a ratio of 19:1.

**Update: One important distinction I failed to make. As maxutility pointed out, the data doesn’t show the same injury to death ratio for all car and bike collisions, but only those severe enough to result in injury. I’ve adjusted the copy to reflect that. The data does not show whether you are more likely to be seriously injured in a collision riding a bike or in a motor vehicle, just the ratio of serious injuries to fatalities.

Christine Dahab to face felony DUI charges, ID in July Downtown bike fatality, Cpt. Hines behind bars

Against all odds, justice prevailed in Culver City.

According to the Culver City Patch, Christine Dahab has been charged with felony DUI and DWI in the June collision that left 13 cyclists injured — some seriously — when she plowed into a group of riders stopped on the side of West Jefferson Place.

The DA’s office charged Dahab on Nov. 11 with violating California Vehicle Code Section 23153 (A) [Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol causing injury], and California Vehicle Code Section 23153 (B) [Driving while Intoxicated above a .08 blood alcohol content, causing injury].

Both charges are felonies. Dahab wil be formally arraigned at the Los Angeles Airport Court on Dec. 22.

Many local cyclists had given up on ever getting justice in the case, following an initial finding by the LAPD that the cyclists were at fault for standing in the roadway.

According to the finding, the riders became pedestrians the moment some had dismounted from their bikes to wait for stragglers, and so could not legally stand in the roadway — even though most, if not all, of the riders were waiting in the parking lane rather than the traffic lane.

And police falsely claimed that Dahab’s visibility was limited by a blind curve, even though a subsequent test by local riders made it clear that the cyclists should have been readily visible to any non-distracted driver.

To make matters worse, some irresponsible members of the press quoted an unidentified LAPD officer implying that the riders were engaged in a drunken orgy in the middle of the street, noting the presence of beer bottles and condoms in the area where the cyclists were waiting. Yet failed to observe that the area is a popular hangout for people looking for a secluded place to party, and that they could have been left there days or weeks before.

It’s a slander that has entered the public consciousness, as shown by today’s report by LAist that claimed authorities had “found alcohol, condoms and marijuana used by the group.” Even though no reports at the time had ever connected the objects to the riders themselves.

Fortunately, later examination of the city limits revealed that the collision had actually occurred in Culver City.

And while it may have taken a long time, the results indicate that the CCPD took the matter seriously despite the LAPD’s initial finding, and an investigation hampered by the reluctance of many witnesses to come forward.

Thanks to Steve Herbert for the heads-up.

……..

Thanks to the efforts of cyclist/attorney Dj Wheels, we finally have a name for the cyclist who was killed at 8th and Francisco in Downtown L.A. last July.

While the collision was initially reported as collateral damage in a road rage case, the LAPD investigators quickly ruled that out for a lack of evidence, despite witness reports that the driver had been arguing with another driver.

Instead, police investigators ruled that Victor Apaseo-Rodriguez was killed as a result of a narrowed roadway, combined with drivers angling to enter a freeway onramp.

Part of the delay in identifying Rodriguez was the difficulty contacting his next of kin, who lived outside the country. Yet even after they were notified, I was unable to get either the name of the victim or the driver charged with causing his death, despite repeated requests.

Fortunately, Wheels succeeded where I failed.

Acording to Wheels, the driver, Phillip Goldburn Williams, was charged with a misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence on October 6th, and arraigned in Metro Court Dept. 60 on October 28th, case number 1MP09818. However, Wheels notes that Williams’ attorney did not enter a plea at that time, and the case has been continued to January 19, 2012.

It will be interesting to watch this case move forward, and see if there’s a reason why authorities were so reluctant to release information that should have been a matter of public record

……..

Speaking of Dj Wheels, we both had a brief scare earlier in the week when it appeared that disgraced Long Beach Fire Captain John Hines had been released on time served, despite a sentence of one year in Orange County jail.

And even that seems like a slap on the wrist for critically injuring cyclist Jeffery Gordon while driving drunk at nearly three times the legal limit — then driving home, reportedly without slowing down, leaving his victim bleeding in the street.

This from a man trained to save victims just like the one he caused.

Fortunately, it was all a misunderstanding.

Wheel’s had followed up on Hines’ incarceration, only to discover that the OC Sheriff’s inmate locator page said Hines had been released at 9:40 am on November 30th. What it didn’t say, and what was missing from all the news stories about his sentencing, was that the judge took the current prison overcrowding problems into account in crafting his sentence, and ruled that Hines can spend his time in an approved city jail, monitored by the county probation department.

In effect, it’s a tougher sentence then he would have gotten in county lockup, where Hines could have enjoyed a Lindsay Lohan-like express route through the system, and been released after serving less than half his already light sentence.

Now he will be required to serve out the full time.

Wheels also notes that the judge specifically structured the sentence to prevent Hines from getting credit for his time in rehab. And that his five-year probation following his release won’t be an easy path, but instead will require monthly reporting duties and fees, along with possible warrantless searches — and that any screw-up anywhere along the way could mean an immediate trip to state prison to serve out the remainder of the probationary period.

So maybe, just maybe, this was less a slap on the wrist than a swift kick in the ass.

……..

Despite reports to the contrary, Stephanie Segal has not been sentenced in the death of cyclist James Laing.

There was some confusion when she was expected to plead to guilty at a hearing on November 29th. However, the defense balked after asking the judge for an indicated ruling — that is, an estimate of what the sentence would be if the defendant changed her plea in open court.

When the defense heard a possible sentence in excess of nine years, they immediately withdrew the plea; a preliminary hearing is now scheduled for December 13th.

It sounds like the judge is giving this case the serious consideration it deserves, and for a change, intends to hold Segal fully accountable for getting drunk and killing another human being.

Now if we could just get him to talk with the CHP.

……..

Last night, I received an email from one of the two riders who tried to assist Carol Schreder immediately after the collision that took her life on Mulholland Hwy last Saturday.

In it, he described comforting her until the paramedics arrived, noting that she was unresponsive, but did manage to squeeze his hand as he held hers. He did not want to share the devastating details in the comments on here, but wanted to come forward to help her family and friends as they try to piece together what really happened that day.

Personally, I can’t think of any higher act of kindness that any person could perform than to simply be there for someone so badly hurt, and let her know she’s not alone in her time of need. My heart goes out to him as he continues to struggle with the painful memories of that morning.

As well as my thanks for stepping up to help a total stranger.

He also mentioned that a doctor came along to help before the paramedics arrived, as well as a photographer to took some pictures of the collision scene. And sure enough, earlier this morning I saw a photo posted online that appeared to show Schreder’s bike shortly after the wreck.

While there was nothing identifying it as the bike she’d ridden, it looked identical to her bike in every way, and was dated the same day as her collision.

But what the photo showed was shocking.

While the CHP has stated that the driver’s van and trailer jackknifed, striking Schreder’s bike with the right rear of the van, this photo clearly showed the aftermath of a rear end collision. The rear wheel of the bike was jammed under the van’s left front wheel, and a gash in the frame corresponded to the upper ridge of the van’s front bumper, with the van coming to rest at a nearly 90-degree angle to the side of the road.

Simply put, it would have been physically impossible for the bike to have ended up in that position if the collision occurred the way the CHP described. Which calls into further question their already dubious decision not to file charges or ticket the driver, calling it just an “unfortunate accident.”

Unfortunately, shortly after I emailed the photographer to ask for permission to use his photo, the shot disappeared from his website, and I have not received a response as of this writing.

I can only hope that he will do the right thing.

And regardless of whether he ever lets me share it with you, that he will forward it to the CHP and Schreder’s family, so they can get the justice they deserve in this case.

……..

Finally, in one of the most bizarre cases I’m aware of, a Virginia driver is fined just $500 for recklessly running down a German tourist touring the U.S. by bike — then initially fleeing the scene before returning, claiming he was chasing a mythical driver who forced him off the road.

That’s $500 for putting a visitor to this country into a coma he may never come out of.

And that’s what too often passes for justice for cyclists in America.

Yet another L.A. County cycling fatality, as La Puente man killed by train on Saturday

Evidently, Saturday was a very bad day for local cyclists.

Following the news that Carol Schreder was killed on Mulholland Hwy in the morning, a 57-year old cyclist was killed in La Puente that afternoon.

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, the rider, who has not been publicly identified, was crossing the railroad tracks near Valley Boulevard and 7th Avenue around 4:30 pm when he was hit and killed by a westbound freight train . Reportedly, he was riding slowly across the tracks, and the train, which was traveling at 70 mph, was unable to stop in time.

The paper reports that the crossing arms and signals at the intersection were working properly; no explanation why the rider was on the tracks.

This is the 66th confirmed traffic-related biking fatality in Southern California this year, and the 22nd in Los Angeles County; that matches the total for the county for 2009, which is the last year on record. He was also the second cyclist killed at a train crossing in L.A. County in 2011, and the 5th in Southern California.

No wonder we continue to die on California streets, when CHP says killing a cyclist is just an accident

This morning I received the following email from Chris Willig regarding the tragic death of Hollywood writer/producer Carol Schreder while riding on Mulholland Hwy last Saturday.

A public spokesperson for the CHP West Valley station stated in a phone call Monday that no citation has been issued nor is there likely to be one in the December 3rd death of cyclist Carol Schreder in a tragic traffic incident on Mulholland Highway in Malibu.

He indicated that it was a “unfortunate accident” caused when a possibly inexperienced driver of a van towing a trailer applied the brakes too hard. This caused the trailer to force the van to the right in a jack-knife. The rear end of the van caught Carol who was riding on the right of the fog line severely injuring her. She later died in hospital. Because there was no “criminal intent”, charges against the van’s driver are not being considered.

Wait a minute.

Since when has “criminal intent” been a required element for a traffic infraction?

Under that standard, no one would ever be held accountable for any traffic violation in California. No tickets for running red lights. No violations for driving drunk, since it would be impossible to ever prove intent.

Not even a ticket for distracted driving, since drivers could claim they just broke the law without thinking, and didn’t really mean to do it.

You know, just one of those things.

Like killing a cyclist.

And that, in a nutshell, is why you can count the number of knowledgeable cyclists who still have faith in the CHP on one hand, and have enough fingers left over for a well-deserved gesture.

After all, this is the same organization that said cyclists are responsible for the overwhelming majority of bike-involved collisions — based strictly on their own auto-centric investigations, as well as their pronounced lack of training in the rights and responsibilities of of cyclists and the physics of bicycling collisions.

Let alone that this is the same organization that advised Governor Brown to veto the state’s three-foot passing law.

And despite the fact that it only takes a quick scan of the California Vehicle Code to find a number of violations for which the driver could, and perhaps should, have been cited.

Like the California Basic Speed Law, for instance.

CVC 22350.  No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.

Even if strong crosswinds contributed to this collision, as some have suggested, the driver would have been in violation of the requirement mandating due regard for weather. And at least one other cyclist reports that the van was seen traveling at an excessive rate of speed just prior to the collision.

Then there’s the requirement to follow at a safe distance; the fact that the driver had to brake sharply to avoid the vehicle ahead offers prima facie evidence that the driver was in violation — let alone that there was a stop sign just 260 feet ahead of the point of impact.

CVC 21703.  The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon, and the condition of, the roadway.

And most damning of all is the requirement for drivers towing a trailer to maintain control of both vehicles.

CVC 41104.  In any case, involving an accident or otherwise, where any rear component of a train of vehicles fails to follow substantially in the path of the towing vehicle while moving upon a highway, the vehicle shall be presumed to have been operated in violation of Section 21711.

CVC 21711.  No person shall operate a train of vehicles when any vehicle being towed whips or swerves from side to side or fails to follow substantially in the path of the towing vehicle.

According to the standard set forth in CVC 41104, the simple fact that the collision occurred in the way it did is demonstrates a clear violation that the driver should have been held accountable for, regardless of a possible lack of experience.

And proof that the driver should have been found at fault for the collision, and the death that resulted.

By failing to hold a killer driver responsible for his actions, the CHP has not only failed Carol Schreder, her family and loved ones, but the entire cycling community.

Because we will continue to die on California roadways as long as authorities allow drivers to break the law with impunity.

And just drive away, regardless of the consequences.

If you’re not pissed off yet, maybe you should go back and read this again.

Anyone with information on this case is urged to contact the CHP West Valley Station 5825 De Soto Ave, Woodland Hills 91367-5297; 818-888-0980; maybe if they hear from enough witnesses they’ll reverse this outrageous decision.

Give your loved ones the gift of peace of mind this holiday season

The tragic news about Carol Schreder brought a lot of responses this morning.

One of the most moving was exchange of emails with a 40-year friend of Carol’s, telling me how loved she was by everyone who knew her.

She was the most wonderful of friends in every way. None of us can hardly find a single thing to complain about her — some little irritating habit that we couldn’t stand? Not a one. She was pure gold and we are so terribly heartbroken. I can’t imagine she is not here to comment on life, politics, bike riding, good movies.

Another exchange came from South Bay attorney Seth Davidson of CalBikeLaw.com discussing a few issues raised by the tragedy — including the importance of having your own insurance coverage in case anything should happen while you’re riding.

And yes, you can get insurance that covers you on the bike. In fact, if you own a car, you probably already have it.

But I’ll let Seth explain.

CalBikeLaw.com sees the results of car-bike collisions daily, everything from trashed bikes to people who are never going to walk again to people whose last moment on this earth was pedaling a bicycle. What follows is some advice that I hope you’ll heed.

You may think that if you’re in a bike-car collision, you’ll be able to recover money from the driver as long as the driver is insured. What you may not know is that in California the minimal insurance for accident liability is $15,000. What you also may not know is that an estimated 85% of the drivers on the road have only this minimal coverage.

This means that the money you can recoup from the careless idiot who takes you out while he’s texting his girlfriend will be completely used up on the life flight trip to the hospital, and once your expenses exceed the $15k that most drivers carry, you’re done. There is no other “pot of money” in most cases from which to collect damages for lost earnings, pain and suffering, future medical care, or even to replace your fancy road rig.

That’s what happens when you get hit by someone with no insurance, or with a very small liability policy. Imagine how hard it is as a lawyer to tell someone who’s been trashed for life that the driver’s insurance policy won’t even pay for their first day of medical care…then imagine how hard it is for the victim who has to actually live through it.

There is, however, a very cheap and very effective way to protect yourself and your family. It’s called uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage, and it comes standard with almost every auto insurance policy. Many cyclists are unaware that this coverage even exists, and many more are unaware that it covers you in a bike-car collision.

This means that when the driver’s policy tops out at $15k, you have the legal right to turn to the uninsured motorist coverage on your own liability policy for the remainder. So far, so good, but there’s a catch: most UM coverage is also minimal, often only $15k or $25k, which is hardly enough to make you whole when you suffer significant injuries.

Unlike most insurance stories, though, this one has a very happy ending if you’re proactive about it, because you can increase your UM coverage to very high levels for only a very modest increase in your monthly premium. Although your UM coverage generally cannot exceed your liability coverage, if you have $500k worth of liability you can bump up your UM from $25k to $500k for only a few bucks a month.

For the sake of yourself and your family, take a minute to look at the declarations page of your insurance policy, check the UM coverage, and then call your agent to ratchet the coverage up to the max. With the spate of deaths and serious injuries occurring in our midst this past year, this is something you really can’t afford to put off.

It’s good advice.

My own uninsured motorist coverage paid all of my medical and rehab expenses when I was hit by a car in a road rage incident. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to afford the care I needed until the case settled nearly two years later.

And even then, the meager settlement was eaten up by attorney’s fees.

So give yourself and your loved ones an early holiday gift, and call your insurance agent today. Because a little piece of mind is one of the best — and most affordable — gifts you can give them.

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I’ve also added CalBikeLaw.com to the list of lawyers over there on the right.

Scrolling through the list of cases they’re working on, you may recognize a few high profile ones, even without listing any names. In fact, I’ve written extensively about at least three of the cases listed on their website — which pretty tells me what I need to know about them.

And Seth promises to write again about a dangerous roadway in Palos Verdes Estates that has already nearly taken the life of another rider.

You may also have noticed that I’ve also added the El Dabe Law Firm to the list, our first bike attorney from Orange County.

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A couple other quick notes:

C.I.C.L.E. hosts the Toys and Mittens Ride on Saturday the 17th; the family friendly toy ride will gather toys and warm clothes for Burbank residents in need.

The LA Streetsblog fundraiser scheduled for this Thursday has been moved. The new location will be at Earl’s Gourmet Grub at 12226 Venice Boulevard; your food is included in the suggested $25 donation.

And Allan Alessio forwards a link to Life Cycles, an Ultra HD short documentary detailing the story of a mountain bike, from creation through breathtaking rides to its ultimate demise.

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Finally, thanks to Chris Willig, and Paul Herod of RockStorePhotos.com, for letting us know about Carol Schreder’s death yesterday. Oddly, the story still hasn’t hit the news, so without their efforts, we’d still be in the dark.

Breaking news — cyclist killed on Mulholland Hwy

Photo of crash scene by Chris Willig

I received word late Sunday afternoon that a cyclist was killed in the hills above Malibu on Saturday morning.

According to an email from Chris Willig, she was riding east on Mulholland Highway at Kanan Road around 9:30 am Saturday when she was hit from behind by a white van.

The victim was reportedly riding on the shoulder of the road, to the right of the fog line, when the van ran off the road. The bicycle was crushed underneath the van; unconfirmed reports indicate the driver may have been speeding and tailgating another vehicle.

Reading between the lines, it’s possible that the driver may have been trying to get around the slower car on the right when he or she hit the rider; however, that’s pure speculation on my part.

CHP reports confirm the collision, and indicate that the rider was transported to UCLA Medical Center at 2 pm in extremely critical condition.

The Flickr account RockStorePhotos.com identifies the victim as Carol Schreder, a regular Saturday rider, and reports that she passed away in the ICU around 10:45 pm.

As Willig put it, this is madding in its senselessness. Schreder appears to have been doing everything right, but died anyway due to a driver’s carelessness and/or impatience.

My prayers for Carol, and all her family and loved ones.

This is the 65th confirmed traffic-related bike fatality in Southern California this year, and the 21st in Los Angeles County.

While the SoCal total is well above the 55 cycling fatalities for each of the last two years on record, it is far below the horrific total of 89 bicycling deaths recorded in 2006. The Los Angeles figure is one below the total of 22 in 2009, the last year on record, as well as below the five-year average of 24.2 fatalities in L.A. County each year.

And please note that the totals for this year are only the fatalities that I am aware of and have been able to confirm in some way. It’s entirely possible there may have been others that I don’t know about.

Photo by Chris Willig

Update: IMDB lists Carol Schreder as a writer and producer on a number of titles, including Mama Flora’s Family, In Love and War, Call to Glory, the Burning Bed and Calendar Girl Murders; there’s also a Carol Schreder listed as owner of the Carol Schreder Company in Topanga, and as a finisher in a number of marathons and triathlons, as well as the Mulholland Challenge century.

Then there’s this piece written five years ago, almost to the day, extolling the virtues — and risks — of riding Topanga Canyon, not far from where this collision occurred.

Update 2: I just received the following comment from Heidi Christensen, who came along the scene shortly after the collision:

My husband and I rode up on the scene about 10 minutes after it happened. Carol was hit by a van pulling a trailer; the driver stopped. From what we heard, the driver said the car in front of him hit the brakes suddenly, then he hit his brakes, jack-knifed, and lost control. It’s hard to figure out, though, because it happened maybe 50 yards from the Mulholland/Kanan intersection (between the Calamigos Ranch driveway and Kanan)….the cars should have already been braking and not carrying much speed. Very tragic and just horribly sad. Judy, our thoughts and prayers are with you, Carol’s family, and all those dear to her.

Oh, and by the way, the EMTs identified her by her Road ID.

Amine Britel killer faces 10 years; lots of links and a crowded weekend bike calendar

Danae Miller faces up to 10 year in prison for the death of world-class triathlete Amine Britel last February.

Miller is charged with a single felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated, and was allegedly texting when she plowed into the rear of Britel’s bike as he road in a Newport Beach bike lane.

The question is why she was even on the road after receiving 16 tickets in just 6 years, including six tickets for speeding or driving too fast for conditions in just a three-year period.

Now Britel is dead and Miller faces serious prison time simply because, as Traffic author Tom Vanderbilt put it, a driver’s license is too easy to get, too hard to lose.

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Sgt. Krumer sends word that after speaking to the driver in the most recent Mandeville Canyon case, it wasn’t a case of road rage, as it seemed, but merely another driver who didn’t understand that cyclists have a right to ride in the roadway. And don’t have to move over when an expensive, high-performance Italian luxury car comes up from behind.

I don’t know what’s worse. A single road raging driver, or a state full of motorists who don’t know the law.

Fortunately, Sgt. Krumer says the driver now understands his mistake, and it’s not likely to happen again.

Now if we could just get him to speak with every other driver on the road.

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A minor Santa Clarita hit-and-run brings out the usual comments, ranging from apparent gutter bunnies who criticize other riders to drivers who think bikes don’t belong on the road — and even a few informed comments.

Note to Santa Clarita Signal — once a motorist drives off after hitting a someone, you can stop referring to it as a “possible” hit-and-run.

Thanks to John for the heads-up.

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Good advice: if you really care about the people who care about you, you’ll take the burden of making life’s most difficult medical decisions off their shoulders; I’ve put off completing my own advance healthcare directive far too long.

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Artists are invited to submit their bike-related work for Bikers Rule, an exhibition of bicycle art opening on December 8th. The deadline to deliver artworks for the exhibition has been extended, artwork may be delivered through December 6th; Submit a letter of intent and or a low res jpg to JohnnyMilwaukee@earthlink.net.

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Chances are, you’ve come across the famous Mark Twain quote “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.” But you’ve probably never read the full piece it came from.

Maybe you should.

It might just be the best smile you have all day.

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LADOT plans to redo the already damaged Spring Street green bike lane, and asks your help in staying off it until it’s ready. Streetsblog reports on Santa Monica’s bike signal detectors that have been popping up all over town the last few weeks. New solar lights now adorn the L.A. River bike path. Rethinking York and Colorado Blvds in NELA. After being sent back to the drawing board, the county promises a creative, visionary bike plan; then again, they could have done that the first time around. Remarkably, Malibu considers becoming bike friendly; thanks to the LACBC’s Alexis Lantz for forwarding the story. Riding in Riverside writes why he loves riding his bike. An interview with Sam Ollinger, a San Diego bike advocate and an author of one of SoCal’s best bike sites. A bike riding bank robber gets 14 years.

They seem to confuse the hell out of American drivers, but roundabouts reduce all crashes 37% and injury crashes by 75%, though poorly designed ones can put cyclists and drivers on a collision course. Bicycling offers advice on how to avoid eight common road hazards. Biking to break the cycle of obesity and bad finances. Regrettably, the always excellent Eco Velo will be calling it quits at the end of the year. People for Bikes says give other cyclists a smile or a wave when you pass; if you’ve encountered me on the road, chances are you’ve gotten at least a nod, anyway. Lovely Bicycle asks why women cyclists can’t discuss their bodies the way the guys do. A fascinating chart showing the muscles used when cycling. Seize the moment and live better through bicycling.

Tucson Velo reports on the sad non-cycling death of a popular local rider and bike shop owner; he sounds like someone we all would liked to have known. University of Oregon cyclists are surprised by the first bike traffic signal on campus. Olympic gold medalist Alexi Grewal abandons his improbable comeback attempt at age 50. When I linked to the absurdly anti-bike op-ed piece from Chicago columnist John McCarron the other day, I neglected to include a link to Steve Vance’s excellent point-by-point smackdown. A New Jersey cyclist is killed in a physically impossible crash, as the local paper reports he crossed on the wrong side of the road at high speed and hit the rear of an oncoming truck before caroming off into a tree.

The most popular and successful Critical Mass rides are the ones that avoid confrontation. Does it matter what you wear when you ride a bike? Uh, no. Attention Kiwis, Long Beach’s biking expats — aka Russ and Laura of the Path Less Pedaled — are headed your way. A 66-year old Borneo cyclist is killed just meters from her home. South African cyclists demand justice. And speaking of South Africa, I recently received the following email from Stan Englebrecht of Day One Publishing in South Africa:

I thought you might enjoy a project myself and a good friend have been working on for the last 2 years, called ‘Bicycle Portraits’. Our 6000 kilometer journey aimed to be a photographic study of South African commuter culture (something that is nearly non-existent here), but it’s turned into a portrait of a nation through the bicycles that they own and ride every day, revealing all manner of social, historical, class and cultural nuances never imagined. We are about to publish the best 165 portraits (from over 500 photographed) in book form, accompanied by 6 essays and beautiful watercolor maps for each portrait indicating where it was photographed. We are currently in the last phase of fundraising through pre-sales of the books (plus great extras like prints and special editions) on the wonderful Kickstarter platform.

Please have a look at www.bicycleportraits.co.za/kickstarter for our Kickstarter page, or visit www.bicycleportraits.co.za to see the project online – and please spread the word!

Finally, Rex Reese sends word of a mind-reading bike; if my bike could read my mind, it would probably refuse to carry me anymore. And a Chico CHP officer is injured just days from retirement in one of the strangest bike collisions I’ve read about, as he stops to aid a drunken rider.

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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.

Flying Pigeon’s popular Brewery Ride is on tap for Saturday, December 3rd. Riders meet at the Flying Pigeon LA bike shop at 3714 N. Figueroa ST in Highland Park at 3 pm, and depart at 3:30; this month’s ride will go to the Eagle Rock Brewery in Glassel Park.

The Claremont/Pomona area hosts its own toy ride on Saturday, December 3rd, sponsored by the Kevin Unck Foundation, with support from Coates Cyclery and the Back Abbey. Thanks to Michael at the Claremont Cyclist for the heads-up.

Walk Bike Glendale invites riders to join them in the Montrose Christmas Parade on Saturday the 3rd. Meet at 6 pm between La Crescenta and Rosemont Ave. on Honolulu in Montrose; contact Rye Baerg (rbaerg (at) gmail (dot) com) to RSVP.

The CXLA cyclocross takes place this weekend at the Los Angeles State Historic Park, with events rolling from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm on Saturday the 3rd, and continuing through the same times on Sunday the 4th.

Sunday, December 4th, the LACBC is hosting its first ever evening Sunday Funday ride to celebrate the holidays. Meet at the Rotary Club Christmas Tree Lot, 568 N. Larchmont Blvd, at 4:30 pm. The easy two-mile family-friendly ride will stop to admire decorations, sing some carols and enjoy cocoa and cookies afterwards.

Join the Bike Oven in riding in the 67th NELA Holiday Parade on Sunday, December 4th. Wear festive clothing and meet at the Bike Oven, 3706 N. Figueroa St, at 11:30 to decorate your bike for the parade.

Monday, December 5th join the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition for a ride and rally before the WeHo City Council meeting in support of the recommendations by city’s Bicycle Task Force for a more bikable West Hollywood. Meet in front of the community center at Plummer Park at 4:30 pm, rolling at 5 pm sharp.

December 6th through 10th, 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 401 S. Main Street.

The West Hollywood Bicycle Task Force presents An Evening of Moving Beyond the Automobile: West Hollywood’s Commitment to Active Transportation (scroll to bottom) on Wednesday, December 7 from 7 to 9 pm in the Community Room of the West Hollywood Library, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.

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. Chances are, you’ll see me there.

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 you can’t make it, try to donate a few toys somewhere; every child deserves a toy for the holidays.

Santa Monica Spoke invites you to ride some of the streets included in the city’s new Bike Action Plan on Sunday, December 11th starting at 9:30 am; details to follow.

Tuesday, December 15th, Women on Bikes SoCal will host an Evening with Mia Birk, national bike advocate and head of Alta Planning. The evening begins with a bike ride starting at the downtown Bikestation in Long Beach at 5 pm, followed by appetizers, mingling and Birk’s talk at Open Bookstore, 2226 E. 4th Street.

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?

Catching up on the latest bike news — fighting for an Expo Bike Center, and a new Dutch bike site

After a linkless beginning to the week, here’s your chance to catch up before I batten down the hatches on a very blustery day.

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The Expo Line Authority has made a very misguided decision to delete a planned bike center from the new Culver City Expo station, saving a relative few pennies now while creating untold costs down the line.

The whole point of the Expo line is to provide an alternative to driving. Yet omitting the bike station will only encourage more people to drive — whether to the station or their destination — while discouraging people from biking to the train. And it will undoubtedly cost a lot less to build it now as part of the station than to add it on later.

The Santa Monica Spoke says it’s time to hold them to their earlier promises, whether in person at Thursday’s Expo Line board meeting or by emailing key officials. And Better Bike’s Mark Elliot shares his letter (pdf), and dissects Expo’s last mile problem.

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I got a press release yesterday from And Dutch, a UK-based website now intent on bringing authentic Dutch bikes and gear to the US and Canada through their new North American site.

With exclusive & award winning gents, ladies and children designs, www.anddutch.com, offers amongst its large product range —

  • Original Dutch Town bicycles for gents, ladies and children by BURGERS (The Netherlands oldest and first bicycle brand since 1868!)
  • Unique chainless & folding bikes by Dutch BEIXO
  • Colourful children’s balance bikes by KIDDIMOTO
  • Fixed / Free wheel bikes by FOFFA (+ free launch gift: front & rear KNOG lights worth $40)
  • Beautiful bicycle helmet designs by SAWAKO and HARDNUTZ
  • Saddles by world oldest independent Dutch saddle maker LEPPER
  • Stunning bags and panniers by Dutch NEW LOOXS
  • More (exclusive Dutch) brands to follow soon!

And also supplies other award winning brands by —

  • Dutch BASIL – with a  large array (over 70 different products!) of beautiful & high quality accessories
  • Elegant and renowned English saddle maker BROOKS
  • Must have  AXA locks
  • …and many more!

This could be a good resource for those hard to find Ditch bikes and accessories. However, you can already find some of those items right here in L.A.

Personally, I’d start your search at Flying Pigeon LA, where you’ll find a wide selection of Dutch bikes, some of which have even been road tested uphill.

If anyone knows of another local bike shop in the SoCal area that’s a good source for Dutch bikes and accessories, let me know.

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A great read from a Chicago cyclist refuting the absurd concept that supporting bikes means a war on cars. Definitely word reading.

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The county Board of Supervisors votes unanimously to request a more progressive bike plan; maybe it’s just me, but I’m starting to like these guys. The Times’ Hector Tobar takes a ride down Downtown’s new green bike lanes on Spring Street. Those quickly faded green lanes will soon be repainted; the damage occurred because the paint didn’t have time to set before the recent rains. Streetsblog names L.A. Planning intern Rye Baerg Government Worker of the Year. An overnight biking trip to Leo Carrillo State Beach. L.A. cyclist Alex de Cordoba writes for HuffPo on why more driver’s license checkpoints are needed. Two roundabout projects are moving forward on 4th Street. Practical bikes call for more practical racks; I’m just happy to find any usable rack when I get to my destination. Flying Pigeon’s next brewery ride takes place this Saturday. As if cars aren’t enough to worry about, a Burbank mountain biker encounters a black bear. Long Beach gets a new bike shop. Outside magazine names local bike scribe Patrick Brady’s Red Kite Prayer as the best of the nation’s top 10 biking blogs; can’t argue with that choice.

A memorial will be held Thursday for Anthony Martinez, the 6-year old Oxnard bike rider killed on Thanksgiving Day; nice to see a ghost bike has been installed in his honor and heartbreaking that it was necessary. A 10-year old San Diego bike rider is injured in a left cross, while another cyclist is seriously injured after getting Jerry Browned when a car tries to pass at far less than three feet. San Diego’s People’s Photographer takes a look at a bike commuting family. Take a short drive — or long ride — south to meet and ride with Mia Birk, president of Alta Planning + Design and former Portland Bicycle Program Manager. Or you can just wait until the 15th and meet her in Long Beach. A left cross is caught on camera; fortunately, the rider wasn’t seriously hurt. A San Francisco bus driver could face charges in the death of a cyclist last August. A Santa Rosa cyclist is killed after being hit by two cars. Palo Alto could get a bike bridge over Hwy 101. A bike novel by a Mill Valley writer is headed for the big screen. This is nothing to be thankful for, as California saw 27 traffic fatalities and 1475 arrests for DUI over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Biking could be beneficial to your brain. Congress may be trying to kill TIGER funding for bikes and pedestrians; can someone please tell me when and why the GOP became anti-anything but cars? New Federal regulations require consideration of cyclists when rumble strips are installed on highways. Bicycling explains how to quiet a noisy bike. A Tucson Trader Joe’s listens to complaints and installs better bike parking. Nevada is working on statewide bike plan; now there’s a concept worth exporting from the Silver State. A Salt Lake City columnist says it’s bad enough when vehicle to vehicle collisions occur, and worse when one party is totally vulnerable; amen to that. Fifty-six percent of cyclists run red lights in a new Portland State study. A Seattle driver is under arrest after running down a cyclist who refused to buy him a beer. My hometown is partnering with Colorado State University to study the economic impacts of cycling; that’s one study I’ll look forward to reading. Can a city that bans ebikes from paved trails be considered bike friendly? The city of Detroit offers great biking; some of the suburbs not so much. NYPD prepares for their latest crackdown on bicyclists, this time on the killer bikers of Prospect Park, while transportation advocates more rationally demand the city crack down on dangerous drivers. Maybe the solution is haiku traffic safety signs. Performance Bicycle has joined Bikes Belong. The right bra makes all the difference for winter riding. A long list of don’ts for women wheelers. Using your bike wheel to create animation, or using animation to explain cycling.

Canadian cyclists need more protection, and think side guards on trucks could help. Yet the country has a serious disconnect when it comes to biking, as 73% think cyclists deserve more respect from motorists, while four out of five Canadians think they won’t get it until they respect the rules of the road. British onlookers rush to the rescue when a cyclist is trapped beneath the car that hit him. The UK’s Department for Transport says slowing motorists is the best way to increase safety for cycling, yet London cyclists oddly object to being used as human speed bumps. Four people are under arrest for a hit-and-run collision that left a Brit bike cop injured. Call him Mark Cavendish, MBE. Bike journalist Carlton Reid discusses his upcoming book, Roads Were Not Built for Cars. Don’t criticize anyone until you’ve cycled in their shoes. Bicycling is vilified in Australia, despite being a nation of bike riders, but it’s getting big in Bangalore.

Finally, I haven’t always agreed with the OC Register’s David Whiting, but his latest column is dead on, noting that recent cycling deaths point out the importance of truly sharing the road. And a Santa Monica cyclist is behind bars after running two red lights with an outstanding warrant for DUI — and someone else’s wallet.

Seriously, if you’re wanted by the authorities and carrying stolen property, stop for red lights already.

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