Archive for January 15, 2012

40-year old cyclist killed in Whittier; 14-year old Garden Grove cyclist dies as final fatality of 2011

Just 13 days into the new year, 3 cyclists have already been killed on Southern California streets.

According to the Whittier Daily News, two cyclists were crossing Whittier Blvd in Whitter, headed north on Rockne Ave around 10:40 am, as a car approached from the east; only one rider made it across the street.

Forty-year old Joseph Parra was struck by the Dodge Magnum and died at the scene. Police note that the driver remained at the site, and no criminal behavior was suspected.

A photo on the Daily News site shows minor damage to the left front of the car, with a smashed windshield on the driver’s side.

Google Street View reveals the riders had a stop sign, while the driver had an uncontrolled intersection, suggesting that the riders may have gone through the stop. However, it is also possible that the driver may have been speeding, or the cyclists’ view of the oncoming car could have been obstructed in some way.

This is the first cycling fatality in Los Angeles County this year, along with one each in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

Thanks to Rex Reese for the heads-up.

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A search for information about this collision also uncovered one final fatality for 2011.

According to a release from the Orange County Coroner’s office, 14-year old Albert Nguyen of Garden Grove was hit by a car while riding his bike at the intersection of Gilbert Street and Chapman Avenue in Garden Grove around 4:45 pm on Thursday, December 29th. He died at 6:30 pm on New Years Day at UCI Medical Center in Orange.

Reports indicate he was killed in a right hook after riding his bike off the sidewalk into the path of a turning car.

That makes Nguyen the 71st — and hopefully last — traffic-related bike fatality in Southern California in 2011, and the 13th in Orange County.

A jam-packed bike calendar — and one of our busiest weeks ever

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.

Learn how to commute by bike at a workshop sponsored by Sustainable Streets and Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council Green Committee on Saturday, from 1 pm to 3 pm on Saturday, January 14th. The workshop takes place on the second floor of the Citibank building, 1965 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles.

The week Flying Pigeon hosts a rare weekend double header with the Spoke(n)Art Ride at 6 pm on Saturday, January 14th, and the ever-popular Get Sum Dim Sum ride at 10 am on Sunday the 15th. Riders depart from the Flying Pigeon LA bike shop at 3714 N. Figueroa ST in Highland Park at 3 pm. This will be followed by the, and the Bikes are available to rent for $20.

Sunday, January 15th, High Desert Cyclists host the High Desert Cyclocross starting at 9 am at Marie Kerr Park, 39700 30th Street West in Palmdale.

Check out the possibilities of behind talk of an L.A. bikeshare program with a public demonstration (pdf) on Wednesday, January 18th from 10 am to 2 pm at Metro’s Downtown Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza.

Formerly bike-unfriendly USC is hosting a Bike Summit Workshop and Campus Bike Expo on Wednesday, January 18th at the Tutor Center Campus Ballroom as part of their efforts to develop a new Campus Bicycle Master Plan. The Expo runs from 1 – 3 pm, with the Workshop running from 3 – 5 pm.

Glendale will host a community workshop to discuss the city’s new draft bike plan on Wednesday, January 18th starting at 7 pm in the Glendale Police Community Room, 131 N. Isabel Street in Glendale.

Beverly Hills rounds out a very busy Wednesday the 18th with a meeting to discuss the city’s bike plan update; since they haven’t posted an agenda yet, we can only assume it will be at the site of the previous meetings, in Conference Room 217 of the Public Works Building, 345 Foothill Road; thanks to Better Bike’s Mark Elliot for the heads-up.

The Westside Cities Council of Governments meets at noon on Thursday, January 19th in the West Hollywood Library, 625 North San Vicente in West Hollywood. Bikeshare is on the agenda, along with a discussion of closing gaps in vital bikeways.

Also on Thursday, January 19th, Jarrett Walker will discuss his new book Human Transit: How Clear Thinking About Public Transit Can Enrich Our Communities and Our Lives from 6 to 8 pm in Room 2343 at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. The event is free and open to the public; light refreshments will be served.

The final SoCal Cross event of the year takes place over the grade at Hart Park in Bakersfield, with a battle of North versus South, starting at 9 am Saturday and Sunday, January 21st and 22nd.

LACBC affiliate chapter BikeSGV — formerly WSGVBC — will hold a coalition meeting on Tuesday, January 24th from 6:30 to 8 pm at 330 E. Las Tunas Drive in San Gabriel; thanks to LACBC for the heads-up.

VBT Biking and Walking Vacations will be hosting a wine and cheese reception to promote their 33 worldwide bicycling and 6 walking vacations, from 6 pm to 8 pm on Tuesday, January 31st at the MountainGate Country Club, 12445 MountainGate Road; RSVP at 800/245-386 ext. 3420 by Tuesday, January 24th or email Receptions@vbt.com with LA Reception in the subject line.

The next in the LACBC’s series of popular Sunday Funday rides rolls to the legendary Watts Tower on Super Bowl Sunday, February 5th. The Sea to Towers Sunday Funday Ride will combine efforts with the LA Wheelmen and Beach Cities Cycling Club, hosted by LACBC and Wheelmen member David Nakai. The ride meets at 8 am at Dock 52 in Marina del Rey, and offers your choice of a relatively flat 39 mile ride or a more challenging 49-miler. The rides will meet up with a third group for an easy 10 mile ride to the towers and back starting at 10 am from Jesse Owens Park.

Celebrate the Year of the Dragon with 34th Annual Chinatown Firecracker Ride and Run on Saturday, February 11th (Ride) and Sunday, February 12 (Run). Say you were referred by the LACBC (go ahead, I won’t tell) and they’ll donate $7 to the Los Angeles County Bike Coalition, which will provide a bike valet for the event.

The Watts Towers will be a popular destination in February as one of L.A.’s favorite cyclists leads a ride to the iconic artworks. Will Campbell’s Watts Happening Ride 2012 will start at 9 am on February 18th in Silver Lake, and explore landmark people, places and events in, to and from South L.A. If you don’t know Will, few people know more unofficial L.A. bikeways or fascinating tidbits and trivia about unexplored corners of the City of Angeles. Highly recommended.

Mark your calendar for the next CicLAvia on Tax Day, April 15th from 10 am to 3 pm; word is the event could be bigger and better than ever.

L.A.’S favorite fundraising bike ride rolls out on Sunday, January 10th with the 12th Annual L.A. River Ride; this one just keeps getting bigger and better every year. Six different rides, from an easy family ride to a fast, flat century; more details to come.


Killer hit-and-run driver who hid in bushes faces six years; swift justice in Monrovia

The bike justice beat goes on.

It wasn’t that long ago that drivers who killed or maimed cyclists seemed to drive off with barely a slap on the wrist. But lately, there seems to be a steady drumbeat of convictions, even if some drivers still get off far too easy.

Maybe that speaks to the pressure we’ve been applying in our demands for justice.

Or maybe it just speaks to the unacceptably high number of serious cycling cases currently clogging the courts. Or the sheer idiocity of those behind the wheel.

Case in point, Julianne Elyse Thompson was convicted after pleading guilty in a bizarre case in which she ran down and killed 64-year old Arthur John Jacobs in Carlsbad. Then fled the scene at high speed, only to be discovered hiding in the bushes across from an apartment complex where she’d abandoned her car.

Thompson plead guilty to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run causing death. Her blood alcohol level was measured at 0.25 after her arrest — over three times the legal limit, and approaching the level that can cause death.

She is expected to be sentenced to a well-deserved six years in state prison.

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In a case of remarkably swift justice, a driver has already been convicted in a Monrovia hit-and-run that occurred just this past Monday.

Yes, Monday.

Jason Travers was arrested about an hour after a 5:42 pm hit-and-run that left a cyclist with non-life threatening injuries. The 25-year old rider, identified as Paul Tetu, was hit from behind while attempting to make a left turn, and thrown 20 feet through the air.

In a sign of the sheer stupidity demonstrated by some drivers — especially those foolish enough to flee the scene of a collision — Travers called police to report he may have been in a collision, after apparently seeing the story on the news. But swore he wasn’t the one who hit the cyclist.

Needless to say, police investigators found evidence connecting him to the crime. Which they may never have found if Travers hadn’t attempted to craft a case of implausible deniability.

He showed much better judgement at his arraignment on Wednesday, entering a plea of No Contest to the hit-and-run charge; sentencing will take place next month.

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Finally, Orange County deputies stopped cars in an effort to find the hit-and-run killer of Randy Isaacs, as his family pleads for justice.

Isaacs was killed after putting his children to bed at his parents house, while riding his son’s bike a few blocks to the room he was renting after separating from his wife.

Is an anti-bike fraud being committed in your name?

As a rule, I make a point of not criticizing other bike advocates.

Even when we may disagree, we’re all working towards the same goals of improving safety and increasing ridership, even though our vision of how to achieve that may sometimes vary.

Though clearly, not everyone agrees with me on that.

But when that so-called advocacy runs counter to the interests, safety and desires of the overwhelming majority of California cyclists, I feel I have no choice but to speak up and point the finger.

Especially when it purports to be done in our name.

That’s exactly what happened this week when CABO — the California Association of Bicycling Organizations — successfully opposed AB 819, a bill in the state assembly that, in its original intent, would have allowed California counties and municipalities to implement advances in bicycling infrastructure that have been proven to work in other places.

Things like separated bike lanes, cycle tracks and bike boxes that have been proven to work in places like New York, Chicago and Portland, but are currently considered experimental under Caltrans’ antiquated guidelines.

In other words, why re-invent the wheel when we already know it works?

Unfortunately, CABO took the position that such innovations are still unproven and potentially dangerous — despite their inclusion in the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guide.

And CABO successfully lobbied the State Assembly Transportation Committee to require that any bikeway designs considered nonstandard under Caltrans guidelines must be studied and approved by Caltrans before installation — potentially adding years of delays and needless additional costs to the design process.

Or risking denial by one of the most conservative, foot-dragging and anti-bike transportation agencies in the nation. After all, this is the same massive bureaucracy that, along with the CHP, successfully encouraged Governor Jerry Brown to become just the second state governor — along with current GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry — to veto the state’s three foot passing law.

Something else that CABO initially opposed, before later switching sides.

And earlier this week, the Transportation Committee voted to gut AB 819 by adopting CABO’s proposed wording.

Wheel, meet endless study and bureaucratic delays.

But, you may think, if the original wording of AB 819 was opposed by one of the state’s leading bike advocacy groups, they must have had a darn good reason.

Yeah, you’d think.

However, that presupposes something that just isn’t true. Despite their protestations to the contrary, CABO isn’t the state’s leading bike advocacy group. Or even one of the leading groups.

In fact, I suspect they are a fraud.

Their name may have been accurate when they were founded in 1972. But they have long since ceased to represent the state’s leading bicycling clubs and advocacy organizations.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) is not a member of CABO, nor is Bikeside LA or the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, by far the state’s largest bike advocacy group. Fosuch as the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, the Orange County Bicycle Coalition and the East Bay Bicycle Coalition have left the organization, as have a number of other groups that have allowed their previous memberships to lapse.

Also missing from their membership are such prominent riding clubs such as Velo Club La Grange and former members Los Angeles Wheelmen.

No wonder the CABO doesn’t list the groups that support them on their website.

In fact, a list of active member organizations, as of November, 2010, named only 12 cycling groups as then-current members, as well as six individuals.

Short of contacting each of those clubs individually, there’s no way of knowing which remain members of CABO 14 months later. But it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the total number of cyclists they represent is less, perhaps far less, than that of the LACBC alone.

And it’s certainly significantly less than the number of cyclists represented by the California Bicycle Coalition (Calbike), which supports AB 819 in its original form. And which drew hundreds of riders from throughout the state to their recent California Bike Summit.

And that’s the problem.

Calbike conducted dozens of seminars over the Bike Summit weekend to gauge the interests of organizations and individuals representing tens of thousands of California cyclists. And the sort of innovative infrastructure that would be allowed under AB 819 in its original form ranked very high among their desires.

So while CABO’s opposition to AB 819 may or may not reflect the desires of its members, it’s far from the desires of most bike advocates in the state, as well as that of most mainstream cyclists.

Yet CABO continues to lobby state officials and legislators, purporting to speak on your behalf, while actively opposing your interests.

And those lawmakers and bureaucrats listen, having no idea that CABO actually speaks for just a fraction of the state’s cyclists — mostly the tiny minority of exclusively Vehicular Cyclists who actively oppose separate cycling infrastructure of any kind.

Let alone understand the conflict between Vehicular Cyclists and more mainstream riders, who may ride vehicularly when appropriate, but prefer effective infrastructure over sharing uncontrolled streets with dangerous motor vehicles.

I have no problem with CABO fighting for what they believe in — even when it goes against my own interests, as well as the majority of riders in the state.

But I do have a problem when they imply — if by name only — that their positions reflect anything other than the small number of riders they represent.

It’s time to speak up.

And tell your state representatives that CABO does not speak for you.

And you want AB 819 passed in its original form.

Update: Sam Ollinger of the excellent Bike SD contacted the Channel Islands Bicycle Club, which wrote back to say they are not, and never have been, members of CABO. Instead, they support the California Bicycle Coalition and the League of American Cyclists.

Also, Sam made a suggestion I should have thought of – contacting the members of the Transportation Committee directly to let them know that CABO does not speak for you, and ask them to reconsider their ill-advised changes to AB 819.

Update 2: Jim Parent, Chairman of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition — which I mistakenly referred to as the San Diego Bicycle Coalition — reports they are members of CABO, as well as the CBC. 

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I had promised that I would look at the startling stats behind last years Southern California bicycling fatalities this week, after remembering the names behind the numbers. But an usually heavy workload has kept me from being able to do that; I’ll try to get it in the coming days.

Red-light running(?) cyclist killed in San Bernardino; another slap on wrist for killer hit-and-run driver

Just 10 days into the new year, we’ve already had our second cycling fatality.

According to the Riverside Press-Enterprise, 61-year old San Bernardino resident Bernard F. Culbertson was hit by a vehicle driven by an unlicensed driver while riding at 5:31 Monday morning, and died of his injuries nearly 22 hours later.

Culbertson was reportedly riding without lights an hour before sunrise when he crossed North Waterman Ave headed west on Third Street, and was hit by a car driven by Benito Bustos-Gonzalez of Fontana.

Police report that Bustos-Gonzalez had the green light, suggesting that Culbertson ran the red light; however, there is no indication whether that was observed by independent witnesses or reported by the driver.

It’s a common problem in bike collisions that the victim is killed or incapacitated, and unable to give police their version of events. As a result, barring other witnesses, police are often forced to rely on statements given by the drivers involved, who have an incentive to cast events in the most favorable light.

The paper reports that investigators have not indicated if Bustos-Gonzalez will be charged or ticketed, but notes that jail records show no indication of an arrest.

This is the second fatality in Southern California so far this year, and the first in San Bernardino County.

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The Ventura County Star reports that Shannon Richard was sentenced to 270 days in county jail and three years probation for the hit-and-run death of Jose Louis Carmona last year.

That’s significantly less than the two yeas the D.A. had asked for, or even the one year prison and five years probation the probation department had recommended.

Richard hit and killed Carmona as he was walking his bike along PCH near Faria Beach Road; she was arrested at her home after fleeing the scene, reportedly telling police she thought she hit an animal.

Of course, hitting an animal isn’t likely to explain why she felt the need immediately begin drinking again as soon as she returned home, muddying the results of the blood alcohol test after she had admitted drinking a few beers before driving home.

Pro tip: begin drinking as soon as possible following a collision so police won’t be able to establish what your BAC was at the time of the collision.

On the other hand, Carmona was wearing dark clothes with no lights on his bike, with a BAC of .20, and may — or may not — have been walking in the traffic lane at the time of the fatal collision.

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Our anonymous OC/South Bay court case reporter writes that the arraignment for Danae Miller in the death of world-class tri-athlete Amine Britel has been pushed back until February 27.

That’s almost exactly one year after Miller ran Britel down while he was riding in a Newport Beach bike lane in allegedly drunken/distracted collision.

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That same anonymous source also notes that the “private jail” where Adam Garrett has been allowed to serve his 180 day sentence for the hit-and-run death of Hung Khac Do — when he’s not out for work, school or church — is actually a halfway house in a converted apartment building.

And he’s not actually incarcerated yet, as the judge generously gave him until April 10th to begin his sentence, so he could wait until a spot opens up for him.

And that 180 days actually turns out to be just 90, since the judge generously stayed half of it. And if Garrett keeps his nose clean for just one full year, his felony conviction will be reduced to a misdemeanor.

Slap, meet wrist.

No wonder people continue to die on our streets, and drivers continue to ignore the legal requirement to stop at the scene of a collision, when we can’t even get the courts to take it seriously when an innocent person gets killed.

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She also notes that five of the 50 organ donors featured on the Donate Life float in the recent Rose Parade were killed while bicycling. That’s not to say cycling is dangerous; you could just as easily die sitting on your sofa as on your bike.

But no one gets out of this world alive.

And however I go, I want some good to come out of it.

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LAist reports that a driver has been arrested on hit-and-run charges after hitting a cyclist in Monrovia last night. Jason Travers allegedly fled after hitting the victim from behind at Violet Ave and Foothill Blvd around 6 pm.

Fortunately, the rider was not seriously injured.

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A Colorado driver has been sentenced to eight-years in prison for a fatal hit-and-run — despite beating a DUI charge for the same incident.

Maybe someday California courts will take hit-and-run cases that seriously.

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Finally, Bike lawyer Bob Mionske writes about when you need lights on your bike and why. And yet another anti-bike bigot broadcaster, this time a Brit, blathers about his hated of bikes.

Who knew we are responsible for global warming by forcing speeding drivers to actually slow down for a few seconds?

The “cyclists don’t pay their fair share” debate rears its ugly head again, and lots of Monday links

Once again, a sadly misinformed motorist assumes all drivers obey traffic laws while all cyclists ignore them. And so we should be forced to pay for our “extravagantly generous” bike lanes ourselves.

We’ll ignore the fact that virtually every driver breaks the law on a regular basis. Like cheating the posted speed limit by an extra five to 10 mph. Seldom, if ever, signaling. Or failing to come to a full stop at stop signs, while feeling not the least bit hypocritical in pointing the finger — yes, that one — at cyclists who do the same.

But I have to question how many drivers would willingly trade their publicly financed 12-foot travel lanes for the pothole-ridden, gutter-clinging door zone lanes we have to fight for. Even though they cost pennies on the dollar compared to motor vehicle lanes.

Meanwhile, a Santa Cruz writer offers the best response to the “cyclists don’t pay for the road” myth I’ve yet seen. And in just two paragraphs, no less.

I’d suggest copying this one and saving it for the next time you’re confronted by one of these motor meatheads.

Maybe the solution is to stop all forms of street and highway funding that aren’t paid directly by road users, so drivers will finally understand how little they actually pay for the roads they use. And how much they’d have to pay to continue rolling in the relative roadway luxury to which they’ve long been accustomed.

We might even manage to actually balance the budget while we watch the streets crumble around us.

Not like they’re not doing that already.

Crumbling, not balancing.

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Great set of historical L.A. bike photos from the Los Angeles Library archives. Sometimes a complaint works, as an illegal newsbox blocking a bike rack disappears. Evidently, car parking is preferable to bike parking at bars, so that imbibers will drive home drunk instead of biking. Studio City Patch examines the anatomy of a recent bike hit-and-run. A Chicago bike blogger visits the first Bike Center in Long Beach. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune says bike thefts are soaring. A look at the inaugural Cycling Claremont ride. Planning safe routes to the beach in Corona del Mar. A 19-year old Newbury Park mountain biker was killed in a fall while riding in Kern County on New Years Eve. A new bill introduced in the state assembly could allow more innovative California bikeway designs; not surprisingly, it’s supported by CalBike and opposed by vehicular cycling-oriented CABO. A Modesto grandfather was killed in a hit-and-run while riding his bike on Friday. In a killing reminiscent of L.A.’s recent gang past, a Modesto-area cyclist is shot for wearing the wrong color shorts. An April ride from San Diego to Sacramento is planned to protest Governor Brown’s vetoes that endanger cyclists, such as the proposed three-foot passing law and increased penalties for distracted driving..

The amazing Katie Compton wins her eighth national cyclocross title. Considering his opposition to funding bike projects, is House Majority Leader Eric Cantor really a cyclist? Another great read from Kent’s Bike Blog on whether it’s better to buy a cheap bike and fix it up, or an expensive bike that needs little or no maintenance. An Austin cyclist asks if blowing through red lights is worth it. Cyclists around the country have been pleading for this ad campaign to come to America. A New York study shows bike lanes don’t endanger pedestrians, or anyone else, for that matter. Boston bicyclists get more bike lanes. Another reason to adopt a dog — a Virginia pooch rescued by the Humane Society tracks down his owner’s stolen bike.

It’s deer versus cyclists in Victoria BC. London’s vaunted Cycle Superhighways cost ten times as much per mile as Chicago bikeways, with far worse results. Londoners plan to blockade a dangerous intersection Monday to protest the city’s lack of action in response to rising cyclist death rates. The new shared road space in London doesn’t seem to be shared at all, as designs appear inadequate, while drivers insist on maintaining dominance. Another day, another doping scandal, this time involving the world sprint champ. A Dutch cyclist loses his drivers license after a possible drunk biking collision.

An Aussie cyclist successfully circumnavigates the entire country. Apparently, no one is responsible for a Down Under dooring death but the victim himself. The Path Less Pedaled looks at a biking Kiwi nomad. A South African restaurant chain bans helmets and sweaty spandex. Can cyclists co-exist with pedestrians in Singapore? A hilarious Japanese look at bike bells for pedestrians, via the Claremont Cyclist.

Finally, a couple of non-bike related pieces.

First up, L.A. expat Amanda Lipsey, now roaming the wilds of Montana with the Adventure Cycling Association, forwards the story of a hero Corgi who not only survived an avalanche, but walked four miles back to the hotel room his owners had stayed in. And, I might mention, is a dead ringer for mine.

Second, my dogsled racing brother — and newfound adventure cyclist — writes about his recent efforts in the Sheep Mountain 150, as he prepares his team for next month’s Yukon Quest — a race that makes the famed Iditarod look easy.

Or less horrendously difficult, anyway.

Brewery Ride, San Marcos Cyclocross, BPIT and a growing calendar of 2012 bike events

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 first Brewery Ride of 2012 takes place this Saturday, January 7th. Riders depart from the Flying Pigeon LA bike shop at 3714 N. Figueroa ST in Highland Park at 3 pm. This will be followed by the Spoke(n)Art Ride on Saturday, January 14th, and the ever-popular Get Sum Dim Sum ride on Sunday the 15th. Bikes are available to rent for $20.

Cyclocross comes to San Marcos on Saturday the 7th when SoCal Cross hosts SPYclocross at Cal State University San Marcos, beginning at 9 am

Influence the rollout of L.A.’s bike master plan at the next meeting of the Bike Plan Implementation Team (BPIT) on Tuesday, January 10th from 1 pm to 4 pm at the California Bear Credit Union Meeting Room – 100 S. Main Street Downtown. The meeting room is accessible from Broad Plaza, without having to enter the Caltrans building.

The LACBC Planning Committee will meet at 7 pm on Tuesday the 10th at Johnnies Pizza at Museum Square, 5757 Wilshire Blvd; note the location has been changed from the usual meeting place Downtown.

The County of Los Angeles is still accepting comments on the new county Bicycle Master Plan prior to the public hearing before the County Regional Planning Commission starting at 9 am on January 11th, at the Hall of Records, Room 150, 320 West Temple Street Downtown.

Learn how to commute by bike at a workshop sponsored by Sustainable Streets and Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council Green Committee on Saturday, from 1 pm to 3 pm on Saturday, January 14th. The workshop takes place on the second floor of the Citibank building, 1965 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles.

Sunday, January 15th, High Desert Cyclists host the High Desert Cyclocross starting at 9 am at Marie Kerr Park, 39700 30th Street West in Palmdale.

The final SoCal Cross event of the year takes place over the grade at Hart Park in Bakersfield, with a battle of North versus South, starting at 9 am Saturday and Sunday, January 21st and 22nd.

VBT Biking and Walking Vacations will be hosting a wine and cheese reception to promote their 33 worldwide bicycling and 6 walking vacations, from 6 pm to 8 pm on Tuesday, January 31st at the MountainGate Country Club, 12445 MountainGate Road; RSVP at 800/245-386 ext. 3420 by Tuesday, January 24th or email Receptions@vbt.com with LA Reception in the subject line.

Celebrate the Year of the Dragon with 34th Annual Chinatown Firecracker Ride and Run on Saturday, February 11th (Ride) and Sunday, February 12 (Run). Say you were referred by the LACBC (go ahead, I won’t tell) and they’ll donate $7 to the Los Angeles County Bike Coalition, which will provide a bike valet for the event.

Mark your calendar for the next CicLAvia on Tax Day, April 15th from 10 am to 3 pm; word is the event could be bigger and better than ever.

Garrett guilty, Singh seriously blotto, more 2011 cycling fatalities & new interactive Westside bike map

Our frequent South Bay/OC tipster sends word that Adam Garrett has plead guilty in the hit-and-run death of cyclist Hung Khac Do in Fountain Valley last May.

This is the case in which Garrett not only ran Do down in his ’94 Camry, but inexplicably called police the next day pretending to be a witness. And the police, being far more intelligent than Do evidently assumed, quickly realized they were talking to the actual killer.

Garrett agreed to a plea including 180 days in a private jail, with time off for work, school and church release, as well as three years formal probation, 200 hours community service, $14,000 restitution and court fees. One slip-up and he’ll spend the maximum of four years behind bars.

On the other hand, I’d say that letting him out to attend church seems particularly appropriate.

Anyone who could leave a stranger to die in the street — then call police in a failed attempt to find out what they knew — could benefit from a little spiritual counseling.

Thanks to an anonymous reader for the link to the Star article; Dj Wheels sends a link the Times’ story on the case.

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Satnam Singh, the driver charged with murdering Ventura cyclist Nick Haverland in a drunken rampage last May, had a potentially fatal level of alcohol in his system when he killed Haverland and injured five other people.

According to the Ventura County Star, Singh had a blood alcohol level of .39 — nearly five times the legal limit. And well above the .25 to .32 level at which most people would die of alcohol poisoning.

So high, in fact, that Singh’s attorney argued the 2nd degree murder charge should be dropped because his client was too drunk to form the disregard for human life required under the law.

“The degree of intoxication was so high it would have rendered him incapable to entertain any kind of implied malice,” Biederman said.

I realize he’s just doing his job. But this is exactly why so many people hate lawyers.

Fortunately, judge Charles Campbell concluded that after knocking a mother and daughter off their bikes and rear-ending a car, Singh had to know what he was doing.

A witness described following Singh as he raced to his home at speeds up to 80 mph after he sent Haverland flying through the air to his death.

DJ wheels notes that Singh is currently out on $500,000 bail, with arraignment set for 9 am on January 18th in Courtroom 12 of the Ventura County Superior Court. Singh is allowed to work at the liquor store he owns, but may not consume alcohol, or be in possession of it outside of work.

Something tells me I wouldn’t want to bet on that.

Not surprisingly, Singh also faces a civil suit from Haverland’s family.

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It doesn’t look like we’re going to get on to happier subjects anytime soon, as last year’s bike fatalities keep rearing their ugly head.

A comment from TQ lead to the discovery of three more cycling deaths that I was previously unaware of, which have been added to Part 1 of the In Memoriam list.

1/14/11 13-year old Kayel Smith was riding against traffic in Lake Elsinore when he veered right to cross the road, and was struck from behind by a vehicle on the opposite side; Kavel suffered major head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

2/16/11 A 50-year old transient and registered sex offender was fatally injured when he was hit by a VW Beetle while crossing an intersection in Fountain Valley; he was wearing dark clothes on a black bike with no lights or reflectors.

In addition, an unidentified cyclist was hit by a motorist after failing to stop for a stop sign in Santa Ana on 6/24/11; I have a report that he died after being placed on life support, but I’m still waiting for confirmation.

That brings last years total cycling deaths in the eight-county Southern California area to 79; 70 killed in collisions — traffic or solo — and nine by shooting. That compares to an average of 68.2 fatalities for the last five years on record (2005 – 2009), and 15 more than each of the previous two years (55 in 2008 and 2009).

Going forward, I’ll drop Santa Barbara County from this list to conform with the seven-county region covered by the Southern California Association of Governments.

This week I’ve focused on the people behind the statistics. Next week, I’ll offer a breakdown of the statistics, including at least one starting finding.

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Culver City bike advocate and KCRW Chief Engineer Steve Herbert has created a wikimap of bike facilities on the Westside.

Borrowing from San Diego’s Bike Parking Map, I began today Westside Bicycle Facilities map, an interactive Google map which is open to everyone to add bike facilities they know of for the benefit of all in the cycling community. It’s easy to update, simply press the EDIT button on the screen, enlarge the map to the location of the bike rack, shop or other facility being added, click the Blue Balloon place mark and then point and click where the facility is. Next, change the icon to represent the facility noted: A green cyclist for bike parking, a yellow shopping bag for a bike shop, and add any notation which will aid in locating the facility. Then press SAVE & DONE.

The power in this is the collaborative nature of Google Maps, as one person could never keep up with the all updates, but utilizing the power of the community at large we can empower everyone in creating a potentially useful reference tool.

Briefly started as a map of Culver City facilities, it quickly became apparent a regional coverage area makes more sense & given the lack of restrictions there’s nothing to prevent people from adding facilities on the map outside of the Westside region such as downtown, the valley, South Bay, Orange County….

I hope the community embraces this and adds their knowledge to the effort.

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Catching up on a few items I haven’t had a chance to post until now:

The County of Los Angeles is still accepting comments on the new county Bicycle Master Plan prior to the public hearing before the County Regional Planning Commission scheduled for 9 am on January 11th, at the Hall of Records, Room 150, 320 West Temple Street Downtown.

SCAG Senior Planner Alan Thompson forwards a link to download the Southern California Council of Government’s draft Regional Transportation Plan covering the years from 21012 to 2035. If you want to know where transportation planning is headed for the next 23 years, it might be a good idea to check it out.

LADOT is looking for a Safe Routes to School Pedestrian Coordinator and Assistant Pedestrian Coordinator for the next year.

You have less than two weeks to comment on Glendale’s proposed bike and pedestrian master plan.

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And a few others items that have intrigued and/or infuriated me lately —

Flying Pigeon’s Josef Bray-Ali uncovers the corporate theft of a Venice Blvd bike lane, and gets a promise from city officials to get it back.

Freakonomics suggests you’re more likely to be injured walking drunk than driving under the influence; Flying Pigeon points out that many of those drunk walkers are injured or killed by cars. And I might add that the problem with driving drunk isn’t the risk of being injured, it’s danger that you could kill someone else.

The estimable Will Campbell looks at Pedestrians Behaving Badly on the L.A. River Bike Path.

A New Mexico tribal government caves in to public pressure and decides to prosecute a driver for killing cross-country cyclist John Anczarski, after they bungled the investigation by failing to properly investigate the crash scene or conduct alcohol or drug tests. And the driver can look forward to a slap on the wrist, since tribal authorities can only prosecute misdemeanors, with a maximum of one year per charge. Maybe they can come up with 40 or 50 counts to charge him with, to be served consecutively.

A Mississippi woman who ran down a cyclist, then drove over her head trying to move her car to the side of the road, gets off with a lousy $50 fine — and then has the heuvos to appeal her already incredibly weak slap on the wrist. Not to mention she has to pay over twice the amount of her fine to do it.

The family of a fallen cyclist files suit against the NYPD for withholding information and bending over backwards to let a killer driver off the hook.

Remarkably, a Lehigh Valley paper gets it exactly wrong, insisting — incorrectly — that most bike safety experts consider shared lanes safer than designated bike lanes, even after a local bike advocate is killed crossing a bridge that used to have bike lanes.

Yet another sports broadcasting jerk tries to get himself fired by tweeting that he intends to run over any cyclist he sees in the street. Here’s hoping he succeeds. At getting himself fired, that is; you can email the station’s General Manager here.

Nearly 50 years after Bob Dylan sang “Don’t criticize what you can’t understand,” some cyclists continue to criticize people who have the temerity to not ride or dress the way they do. Seriously, if you want to wear spandex do it. And if you don’t, don’t. End of story.

Finally, some sick SOB strings wire over the entrance to a Canadian trail and fells an eight-year old girl riding her bike. Yes, clothes-lining an eight-effing-years old.

I hope he’s proud of himself.

Indio cyclist killed Wednesday afternoon; first bike fatality of the new year

A 30-year old man was killed Wednesday afternoon when his bike hit the rear of a pickup in Indio.

According to KPSP-2, the driver pulled out of a driveway at 4:30, and may not have seen the rider in the gathering dusk. MyDesert.com reports that the driver made a left turn across the northbound lanes of Monroe Street near Shadow Palm Ave before pulling onto the southbound side of the street, where he was rear-ended by the bike.

Reading between the lines, the driver must have pulled directly in front of the cyclist and cut him off; either the rider was traveling fast or the pickup must have been moving unusually slowly after pulling in front of the rider for the collision to occur the way it was described. And not seeing the rider, as the driver claimed, should be seen as an admission of guilt, not an excuse.

The unnamed victim was rushed to a medical center in Palm Springs, where he died.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Indio Police Department at (760) 391-4057.

This is the first bike fatality to make the news in Southern California this year, after a total of 70 traffic-related bicycling fatalities in 2011, including 11 in Riverside County.

In memoriam 2011; part 2

7/2/11 A 68-year old cyclist who was not publicly identified died after being rear-end by a driver on PCH in Long Beach; the driver was questioned and released.

7/4/11 32-year old George Loudon was run down from behind by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike home from work at 2:30 am near Dockweiler Beach.

7/4/11 39-year old musician Stephen Pyle was critically injured when he was struck by a car after riding into the street from between two parked cars in San Pedro; he was removed from life support and died the next day.

7/6/11 67-year old Louis Gabor suffered critical injuries when he was hit by a pickup that may have run a red light in Long Beach; he died of his injuries on 7/19/11. No word on whether the driver was ever charged.

7/14/11 4-year old Sabastian Parada was hit by a car while crossing the street near his home in Desert Hot Springs; he was taken off life support two days later.

7/16/2011 17-year old Jesus Lopez was shot multiple times as he tried to flee from suspected gang members in Montecito Heights.

7/18/11 23-year old Christopher Sop was found dead on the side of the road in unincorporated Big Bear following an apparent solo riding accident; officers concluded that lost control of his bike and hit his head on a rock.

7/19/11 63-year old Victor Rodriguez was collateral damage as two drivers apparently competed for lane space in Downtown L.A. in what was initially described as a road rage incident; Philip Goldburn Williams faces a charge of misdemeanor vehicular homicide without gross negligence.

7/22/11 Jose Garcia-Espinoza was killed in Moreno Valley when a 64-year old driver may have suffered a seizure before losing control of his motor home, fatally striking the rider before hitting a utility pole.

7/23/11 An unidentified Hispanic cyclist was hit head-on after riding against traffic on a busy highway; local reports blamed the victim for riding after dark and not wearing a helmet, as well.

7/27/11 64-year old Arthur John Jacobs was killed in a hit-and-run while riding in North San Diego County. After a brief search, Julianne Elyse Thompson was found hiding under some nearby bushes; she was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, felony hit-and-run and drunk driving.

7/29/11 16-year old Bernard Cota suffered severe brain injuries when he was hit by a car while while riding to see a friend in Rancho Cucamonga; his organs where donated after being taken off life support six days later.

8/3/11 51-year old Michael Biel died when he was hit by an oncoming truck in Jurupa Valley; no word on whether he was riding on the wrong side or if the truck had strayed into his lane.

8/5/11 19-year old Cody Wessel was killed in Lake Elsinore after riding his BMX bike in front of an oncoming van after leaving work.

8/5/11 7-year old Jeremy Perez was riding to visit his mother at her new job at a Redondo Beach Albertsons when he rode behind a truck backing into the store’s loading dock.

8/10/11 42-year old Riverside Sheriff’s Detective Duane Parkinson was riding off-duty in Irvine when he was hit from behind by a Mercedes Benz SUV; Parkinson left behind a wife and three children.

8/13/11 12-year old Zachariah Houck was hit and killed In Hesperia after reportedly riding through a stop sign into the path of a Lincoln Navigator; the driver reportedly was unable to avoid Houck.

8/23/11 50-year old Enrique Lemus Bautista was killed in on Avalon Blvd in South Los Angeles; the suspect vehicle may have been a black BMW.

8/27/11 Nathan “Bud” Tippee and his wife were participating in a Saturday morning group ride when two cars collided in a Lancaster intersection and spun out of control, injuring them both; Nathan died of his injuries several days later.

9/18/11 24-year old Oregon resident Jocelyn Young fell off her bike in Pasadena and was run over by a passing car, which fled the scene; a witness followed Nicholas Avila to his home, where he was arrested on suspicion of felony drunk driving.

9/22/11 61-year old Alan Deane was riding on a Pasadena sidewalk when he rode out into the crosswalk and was hit and killed by a left turning car; the collision was ruled an accident by the coroner. Deane was a musician who had performed with the Captain & Tennille, The Grass Roots and Johnny Rivers, among others.

9/27/11 79-year old Jerzy Nowak was found dead on the side of the road in Escondido; there was no evidence of any other vehicle involved.

9/28/11 30-year old Justin Newman suffered a massive head injury after being doored in San Diego and died two days later; no word on whether the driver was charged.

10/1/11 29-year old Reynard Lionell Fulton was shot and killed while riding his bike in Long Beach.

10/2/11 74-year old Vernon Slade was killed when he was hit by a Dodge Ram truck in Moreno Valley at 3:27 am.

10/8/11 27-year old Omar Gomez was hit from behind in Chino Hills just days after Governor Brown vetoed the states proposed three foot passing law; the driver reportedly looked away from the road just moments before striking Gomez.

10/13/11 21-year old Disneyland employee Margaret Conway, known as Maggie May to her friends, was killed when she was struck from behind by a Ford SUV as she crossed an Anaheim overpass on her way home from work; no word on why the driver didn’t see her on the well-lit bridge.

10/16/11 28-year old Mark Leones was leading a group of riders on a steep, high-speed descent when his wheel caught a groove by the gutter and he lost control; he suffered multiple head injuries after striking a concrete embankment and died at a hospital soon after.

10/17/11 19-year old Genaro Ramirez was shot from a passing car and killed while riding in Downey at 3 am.

10/18/11 Juan Z. Gutierrez was shot and killed while riding his bike in Pico Rivera at 1:25 am, less than 24 hours and 10 miles from where Ramirez died.

10/26/11 44-year old Francisco Donato was fatally injured in Chino when 18-year old Gerardo Mendez attempted to pass another vehicle by driving his massive Yukon SUV through the bike lane Donato was riding in. Donato died two days later; no word on charges against the driver.

11/3/11 Sherri Norton was riding in Santiago Canyon when she reportedly made a 90 degree turn to her left to go back to meet her riding partner, and was struck by a car travelling at 50 mph. She died two days later, and many riders question whether the collision actually occurred the way it was described in the press.

11/5/11 51-year old Robert (Roberto) Hyndman died when he lost control of his bike while riding with his brother on a steep decent on Los Flores Canyon during the Rapha Gentlmen’s Ride.

11/12/11 35-year old Romeo Jimenez-Zavaleta was right-hooked by an Orange County OCTA bus while riding in a Laguna Hills crosswalk; a reader reports that weather conditions may have been a factor.

11/24/11 6-year old Anthony Martinez was killed while riding his bike in Oxnard on Thanksgiving Day when he was hit by a neighbor’s truck after being forced to ride around a commercial truck that was blocking the sidewalk.

12/3/11 65-year old Hollywood writer/producer Carol Schreder was riding on Mulholland Highway in the Malibu Hills when she was struck by a van pulling a trailer, which reportedly jackknifed when forced to stop suddenly; however, several people reported the vehicle was speeding and driving recklessly just moments before the fatal collision.

12/3/11 An unidentified 57-year old man was hit and killed by a passing freight train as he rode slowly across the tracks.

12/13/11 47-year old Randy Isaacs was killed in a Lake Forest hit-and-run while riding in the crosswalk; he was riding on the sidewalk for the few blocks to his home after kissing his children, who were staying at his parent house, good night.

12/28/11 44-year old Gabriel Perez was dragged half-a-block to his death in a Pomona hit-and-run when he was hit by an SUV while riding across an intersection; Chino resident Rodger Allen Karcher was arrested on a charge of hit-and-run causing death after turning himself in the next day.

12/29/11 14-year old Albert Nguyen was killed in a right hook as he rode off the sidewalk into the path of a turning car; he died in the hospital on New Years Day.

Finally, a CHP report indicated that another cyclist was killed in East Los Angeles on 6/20/11; however, I have been unable to confirm the fatality or get any details.

It is also important to note that these are only the fatalities that I am aware of, whether they were reported in the press or sent to me directly. It is entirely possible — in fact, likely — that other deaths occurred last year which I am unaware of; as a case in point, I only learned about the death of 4-year old Sabastian Parada today while researching another fatality.

Click here for Part 1.

My sympathy and prayers to all the victims and their loved ones.

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