Archive for July 31, 2012

Caltrans trashes ghost bikes, silver medalist decries sexism & Brits have something extra in their pants

Time to catch up on a little non-breaking news.

And thankfully, non-broken cyclists, for a change.

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The soon to be removed Erin Galligan ghost bike; photo courtesy of George Wolfberg

The heartless bastards bureaucrats at Caltrans have removed the San Diego-area ghost bike for Nick Venuto, while Charles Gilbreth‘s ghost bike has been removed by the City of San Diego.

I’m also told that Caltrans plans to remove the recently installed ghost bike for Santa Monica hit-and-run victim Erin Galligan any day, if it hasn’t already.

Meanwhile, Murrieta cyclists ride to remember fallen rider Randy Pruett on his daughter’s sixth birthday.

Correction: Sam of Bike SD — a must read for SoCal cyclists — notes that the Gilbreth bike was removed by the City of San Diego. I’ve corrected the paragraph above to reflect that.

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Marianne Vos takes an exciting women’s Olympic road race, while Gilroy’s Shelley Olds finishes 7th in the women’s Olympic road race after suffering an ill-timed flat. However, American cyclists still have a shot in the time trial, which 4th place men’s finisher Taylor Phinney has been targeting. Taylor finished one place better than his dad did in 1984; at this rate, the family should win gold in just three more generations.

Meanwhile, Brit silver medalist Lizzie Armistead calls out the overwhelming sexism in professional cycling. And loses her lucky sunglasses, prompting a police search.

It’s long past time that pro cycling took women riders seriously. The late, great Coors Classic — still the greatest bike race to take place on American soil — offered a parallel women’s tour nearly four decades ago. So why can’t the Amgen Tour of California and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge seem to manage it?

Bike commentator Phil Liggett says BMX and mountain bike events don’t belong in the Olympics.

And evidently, British track cyclists have a secret weapon in their pants.

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The Times covers Saturday night’s Wolfpack Hustle Midnight Drag Race; you never would have seen a story like that a couple years ago. Flying Pigeon hosts a night of Streetfilms to benefit C.I.C.L.E.’s Shay Sanchez. L.A. cyclists are about to see their first Bicycle Friendly Street on Yucca Street in Hollywood. L.A.’s original bike advocate will be honored with a rededication of the Alex Baum Bicycle Bridge. Bikerowave offers a list of their August classes. New buffered bike lanes appear on 6th and 14th Streets in Santa Monica; I’ve also noticed the buffered lanes on Montana have been extended all the way to Ocean. Bikes and Hikes L.A. is offering a discount on bike tours to West Hollywood hotel guests. Beverly Hills finally gets around to discussing bike racks on Thursday; could someone please invite them to join the rest of us here in the 21st Century? B.I.K.A.S. says don’t assume I drive or that driving is safe. Long Beach will host the first National Women’s Bicycling Summit on September 13th.

A bill is advancing in the state legislature to exempt bike lanes from the requirements of the state’s air quality (CEQA) rules; of course, something that makes that much sense will probably get vetoed by our three-foot-law-denier governor. A Santa Cruz cycling coach says we’re people, too. A legally drunk Fresno high school basketball coach kills a 7-year old boy riding his bike in a crosswalk, while injuring his father and 18-month old sister; thanks to Michael Byerts for the heads-up. Commuting by bike is more than just a ride to work. Oakland area efforts to get women into cycling. A Shasta County recumbent rider is killed and another injured after a driver loses control and hits both bikes.

Conflicts between drivers and cyclists caught on video. GM is developing a smartphone app to keep pedestrians from getting hit; the problem is what happens when drivers get used to it and encounter a pedestrian who isn’t using one. Lovely Bicycle asks what to do when spouses worry; I’ve learned not to tell my wife about any of the problems I experience on the road, and she’s learned not to read this blog. Bike lawyer Bob Mionske says you could be liable for a collision with another rider. A Colorado cyclist complains that state police should know the law before they stop riders like him. Police in my hometown clearly get it, as they prefer to focus enforcement on drunk drivers than intoxicated, but relatively harmless, cyclists. It could take just a cheap and simple transformation to get people on their bikes. Evidently, Texas cyclists are a source of danger. Not every bike lanes is a cause for celebration. Bike Safe Boston says avoid the door zone, and remember dooring is always the driver’s fault — unless you’re in Santa Monica. New York City ponies up a $225,000 settlement in the case of a then-17-year old cyclist whose jaw was broken by a cop after she called him a rookie. Bikes are becoming more popular as DC-area getaway cars.

Once again, ill-placed rumble strips may have played a roll in the death of a cyclist, as Calgary riders work to make roads safer. John Forrester, the father of vehicular cycling, bizarrely accuses London cyclists of throwing themselves to their deaths under large trucks. Instead of gridlock, London’s Olympic Lanes have created a cyclist’s paradise. Cycling greases the wheels of the British economy. London’s Critical Mass turned into a bust — literally — as 182 riders were arrested after challenging Olympic security lines, but only three ended up being charged; the whole thing did not go over well with local cyclists. A fear of city streets keeps Dubliners off their bikes. Now those are a pair of bike quads. A Kiwi writer says it’s better to look naff wearing a helmet than be killed without one. China attempts to crowdsource problematic intersections. Karma can be a bitch, as a Brazilian billionaire takes a dramatic fall as investors flee, not long after — but not because, unfortunately — his son runs down a cyclist and both blame the rider.

Finally, the SF Weekly says forget distracted drivers, the real problem is distracted pedestrians.

Update: Bike rider shot and killed in San Diego

As if the city’s notorious traffic and dangerous streets wasn’t bad enough, a San Diego cyclist has fallen victim to bullets.

San Diego’s 10News reports that an 18-year old man was shot and killed while riding his bike near the City Heights neighborhood. The incident occurred around 9:30 am Sunday on the 4200 block of Chamoune Avenue near Orange Avenue.

According to 10News, the rider, whose name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin, was being pursued by up to three men when he was hit by gunfire and fell off his bike into the street. He then stumbled to the fire station across the street; unfortunately, the unit was out on a call, and he was dead by the time help could arrive.

The shooter was described only as a black man in dark shorts.

This is the second fatal shooting of a cyclist that I’m aware of in Southern California this year, compared to nine last year.

Which makes it about two too many.

Update: As if this wasn’t enough of a tragedy, the San Diego Medical Examiner’s office has identified the victim as Joseph Alonzo Hutchins — who was killed the morning after his 19th birthday.

What a waste.

Update: Cyclist killed by alleged DUI driver in Sunset Beach identified as 52-year old Long Beach resident

More bad news.

Word is just coming in that yet another Southern California bicyclist has been killed — the 13th to die on SoCal streets this month alone.

According to a report from KTLA-5, the cyclist, who has not yet been publicly identified, was riding on northbound Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach when he was struck and killed by a suspected drunk driver around 4:19 pm Saturday.

The collision occurred at the intersection of 8th Street and PCH in the Sunset Beach district. Emergency responders found the victim lying unconscious and seriously injured in the middle of the roadway; he was declared dead at the scene.

No word yet on how the collision occurred, however, police arrested the driver, Becki Lee James of Huntington Beach, on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Anyone with information is urged to call police at 714/536-5670.

This is the 42nd cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and 7th in Orange County; the victim is also the 6th cyclist killed by a suspected drunk driver in SoCal this year.

My prayers and sympathy for the victim and his family.

Update: An anonymous source has identified the victim as 52-year old Kenneth Prevatte, which has just been confirmed by the Orange County Register; the Register says he’s from Long Beach. A comment from Allan indicates that he was wearing full road kit when he was killed, suggesting that he may have been an experienced road rider.

My source indicates that Becki James was charged with felony DUI causing great bodily injury & gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, and has already been released from custody.

Update 2: A comment from Boyonabike reminds us that Prevatte’s death comes just a little over a month after Roger Lippman was killed while riding on PCH, and five months since Ernest Klein died in a collision on Bolsa Ave — making this the 3rd fatal cycling collision in Huntington Beach in less than six months.

It also points a bloody finger at the beachside city, with a population of less than 200,000. as one of the most dangerous places in Southern California to ride a bike. As a comparison, San Diego, with twice as many deaths this year, has over six times the population.

Meanwhile, a comment from Jeff Keller offers more details on the collision.

As clarification, the cyclist and vehicle were driving southbound on PCH. This happened a few hundred feet from a party we were attending. The cyclist was laying near a parked car, not the middle of the street. His bike was on the sidewalk, mangled and unrecognizable. The vehicle that hit him stopped a few feet away. I did not see any skidmarks. If she stopped in the path that she hit him, she was 2-3 feet to the right of the right lane line, putting her in the path of the “bike lane”. It appeared his head hit the top of the passenger’s window, near the roof line. Sadly and disturbing, the driver’s emotions were muted. Not of someone that just killed an innocent human.

And Kenneth Prevatte’s sister writes to tell us a little bit about who he was, and the family he leaves behind.

My name is Michelle, I am Kenneth’s sister. I live in North Carolina and our family is devastated by his death. Thank you for your posts, any information is so appreciated as we piece together this tragedy. My brother was an experienced cyclist, extremely cautious, and conscientious. He leaves behind a loving wife, whom he just wed last July, a beautiful infant son, 2 sons and a daughter all in college, parents, a sister and many more loved ones. He was such a good, good man, words cannot express the depths of this loss. I hope that his death will not be in vain and something can be done to protect cyclists in your beautiful part of our country.

Update 3: A source who has spoken with paramedics on the scene says that Prevatte most likely died instantly of severe head trauma, despite wearing a helmet, and was unlikely to have experienced any pain or possibly even known what was happening. Thank God for small favors, anyway.

Single-speed drag race in DTLA, Culver City family ride, and LACBC’s Civic Engagement Committee

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.

On Saturday, July 28th, join Wolfpack Hustle — yes, the cycling team that beat a jet to Long Beach — for the Midnight Drag Race: Codename “The Final Effin Sayso” as single speed cyclists race through Downtown’s famed 2nd Street tunnel. Sign-up starts at 10:30 at 2nd and Hill Street, with the first heats beginning at 11 pm.

Also on Saturday the 28th, the Mountains Restoration Trust and Heal the Bay offer a second opportunity to restore critical riparian habitats within Malibu Creek State Park by riding to sites that are too far to hike to. Mountain bikers — or anyone capable of riding a dirt fire road — are invited to join them on at Malibu Creek State Park, 1925 Las Virgenes Road from 8:45 am to noon. Click here to sign up in advance, then bring your sunscreen and be ready to work.

The Culver City Bicycle Coalition hosts their monthly family ride on Sunday, August 28th; the ride meets at 10 am in the Culver City Town Plaza next to the Culver Hotel, departing at 10:15 for an easy ride to Lindberg Park.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s new Civic Engagement Committee at 6:45 pm on the last Tuesday of each month. The next meeting will be Tuesday, July 31st, at Pitfire Pizza at 2nd and Main in Downtown L.A.. Email bikinginla at hotmail dot com to be added to the email list.

L.A.’s biggest single day bike race takes place on Sunday, August 5th as the Raymond Fouquet Brentwood Grand Prix rolls through the streets of West L.A.; this year’s race will serve as the 2012 Southern California Nevada Cycling Association Elite Criterium Championship. Racing takes place all day, from 7 am to 4 pm on San Vicente Blvd in Brentwood; don’t miss the race expo on the center divider.

The 4th Annual California Tour de Dreams 2012 will take place August 9th through 19th as cyclists will ride 540 miles from UC Berkeley to UCLA to educate communities about the passage of the California Dream Act and advocate for passage of the Federal Dream Actregister online by May 31st.

The Antelope Valley’s High Desert Cyclists hosts a series of monthly Brunch Rides on the second Saturday of each month. The comfortably paced 15 to 20 mile rides will visit a local restaurant or coffee shop for brunch before returning to the starting point; organizers promise no rider will be left behind. The next ride is scheduled for Saturday, August 11th; riders will leave from Marie Kerr Park at Avenue P and 30th West in Palmdale at 7:30 am for a comfortable 20 mile round trip ride to the Coffee Bean café.

Registration has opened for the Santa Monica Museum of Art’s fourth annual Cause for Creativity: Tour da Arts on Sunday, August 19th, featuring an art focused bike tour and other bike centric artistic activities and exhibitions. Be sure to sign up early, because the free bike tour always reaches capacity long before the event.

Bikes are normally banned from the famed San Diego – Coronado Bay Bridge, but you can ride it on Sunday, August 26th, during the 5th Annual Bike the Bay, to benefit the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition.

The Eastside Bike Club invites you to join them on the Dodgertown Bike Ride on Saturday, September 1st. The ride begins with a rally starting at 3 pm at El Arca, 3839 Selig Place before riding to see the Dodgers play the Arizona Diamondbacks, with game time starting at 6:10 pm. Buy your tickets in advance on the Dodgers website.

Sunday, September 2nd marks your chance for fixed gear glory with the Lord of Griffith IV, a climbing, three lap track bike/fixed gear race in and around Griffith Park.

The Arthritis Foundation’s California Coast Classic invites you to ride down Highway 1 to raise funds for a cure. The ride rolls 525 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles from Sunday, September 9th to Sunday the 16th; a two-day option is also available on Saturday, the 15th and Sunday the 16th.

Early registration has opened for the national Pro Walk/Pro Bike® conference to be held September 10th through 13th in Long Beach. The 17th annual conference is sponsored by the National Center for Bicycling and Walking, and Project for Public Spaces.

This year’s Tour de Fat will take place on Saturday, September 15th at Los Angeles State Historic Park — and this time, it’s not scheduled on the Jewish high holidays, so everyone can attend.

Celebrate the return of Carmagedon on Saturday, September 29th as Wolfpack Hustle — yes, the cyclists who beat a Jet Blue jet from Burbank to Long Beach — invite you to ride your bikes from every point in the city to meet on the L.A. River bike path for the biggest ride ever with the All City LA River Ride; details to follow.

There’s a new date for the next CicLAvia, which has been moved up one week from October 14th to 10 am to 3 pm on Sunday, October 7th. The route has also been changed, with new spurs extending from Expo Park  in South L.A. to East L.A. and Boyle Heights.

The Bicycle Film Festival returns to Los Angeles this October, with a kick-off party at historic El Cid in Silver Lake on the 11th, followed by the debut of The Contender, the first BFF-produced film at Cinefamily on the 12th. Other screenings will take place at the Downtown Independent theater from 11 am to 10 pm on Saturday the 13th, with an all-ages DTLA block party the next day from 10 am to 6 pm. Convergence rides are planned for the various events. Email volunteerla@bicyclefilmfestival.com for more information or to volunteer.

Now here’s a great idea for a ride. The Arthritis Foundation is teaming with one of the L.A. area’s favorite Cuban bakeries and cafés to offer the first ever Tour de Porto’s starting at 8:30 am on Sunday, October 28th. The ride starts at Porto’s in Glendale, travels a short distance to the Burbank Porto’s, then down the L.A. River Bike Path to the restaurant’s Downey location. If the entry fee includes a Cubano or Medianoche, count me in.

If you love something, let it go — LACBC spins off its popular City of Lights program

Maybe you’ve heard the rumors.

For the past few months, people have asked me what’s been going on with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s City of Lights program.

Today, I can finally tell everyone the good news.

Just as they did with CicLAvia, which began its existence within the LACBC, the Coalition has decided it’s time to let the award-winning program go off on its own to pursue a larger agenda. Now City of Lights is free to focus on a broader spectrum of transportation issues affecting low-income communities, while the LACBC continues to serve cyclists of all types and income levels throughout L.A. County.

This isn’t a divorce.

As the press release (below) notes, the staff and board of the LACBC has great affection for City of Lights, and takes great pride in what began as a simple effort to pass out free bike lights to L.A.’s invisible cyclists.

It was just time to let go.

And let City of Lights go on to even greater success on their own.

Speaking strictly for myself, I couldn’t be prouder of the people who have built City of Lights into what it is today, and wish them nothing but the best.

And expect great things from them in the years to come.

A little this, a little that — a rash of road rage, a Cycle Chic kerfuffle and a scofflaw driver on video

Maybe it’s something in the water, as today’s news brings a rash of road rage and otherwise intentional assaults, mostly involving cyclists.

First up, a Leavenworth KS driver pulls a Dr. Thompson, slamming on his brakes before backing up and swerving his truck into a group of cyclists; thanks to David Huntsman for the heads-up.

A pregnant Michigan cyclist may have been intentionally targeted in a hit-and-run last month. A Florida driver is dead after attacking a cyclist with an ax handle in a road rage attack, then collapsing after taking a punch to the face. A UK driver is convicted of beating up a cyclist who clipped his mirror, even though the rider didn’t cause any damage.

Not surprisingly, when an off-duty cop gets killed riding his bike, they consider it homicide; when anyone else does, it’s just an accident.

An Oregon man arrested for repeatedly sabotaging a popular mountain bike trail. And a Tiburon man is arrested for trying to run over a pedestrian because he didn’t his plaid jacket.

No, really.

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There’s been quite a conversation about the Cycle Chic movement going on online over the past few days, sparked by a critique Copenhagenize’s Mickael Colville-Andersen offered by the incomparable Elly Blue.

The Reno Rambler calls it fascism, while Modal Mom defends the movement. And the over 50 comments to Blue’s original article are well worth reading, including this one by Lizbon.

As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter what you ride, where you ride, how you ride, why you ride or what you where.

Wear whatever you want, and just ride.

Then again, there’s more than one way to express cycle chic.

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I thought I had reported on this story last week, but can’t find it anywhere.

According to KTLA-5, an arrest has been made in the case of Alex Patrick Silva, the 25-year old Fontana cyclist who was killed in a Rancho Cucamonga hit-and-run earlier this month.

Fifty-seven-year old Fontana resident Mark Sanders reportedly turned himself in to sheriff’s deputies at the Rancho Cucamonga station while detectives were searching his home after serving a warrant. He was booked on a charge of hit-and-run resulting in death, and is now free on $100,000 bail.

My apologies for not reporting this earlier.

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A San Francisco photographer asks your help to finance a project on Kickstarter to capture images of ghost bikes throughout the East Coast and Midwest.

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The Bicycle Film Festival returns to Los Angeles this October, with a kick-off party at historic El Cid in Silver Lake on the 11th, followed by the debut of The Contender, the first BFF-produced film at Cinefamily on the 12th.

Other screenings will take place at the Downtown Independent theater from 11 am to 10 pm on Saturday the 13th, with an all-ages DTLA block party the next day from 10 am to 6 pm. Convergence rides are planned for the various events. Email volunteerla@bicyclefilmfestival.com for more information or to volunteer.

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I had an interesting meeting this morning with Odysseus Bostick, who just announced his candidacy for L.A. City Council in District 11, currently held by Councilmember Bill Rosendahl.

It should be an interesting race; Bostick is a cyclist and a strong supporter of bicycling, while Rosendahl has been the L.A. cycling community’s best friend on the council.

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Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers an exceptionally in-depth two-part interview with L.A.’s bike and transportation-oriented mayor. A Pasadena Gran Fondo rider says that cop didn’t need to ticket him for running a stop sign — just to be clear, there is no requirement in the California Vehicle Code to put your foot down to come to a full stop; thanks to Meghan Lynch for the tip.  San Diego cyclists ride to call attention to the dangers on local streets, urging cyclists and divers to use the roads safely. A writer makes a wise call for greater safety in the cycling community.

Traffic fatalities are up over 13% for the first quarter of 2012. How to file a claim for bike damage following a collision. An Oregon rider asks if you have a mangina. The Alaska schmuck man who repeatedly punched a seven-year old girl to steal her bike has been convicted. A Boulder CO intersection claims a second cyclist in just three years. Red Kite Prayer reports on RAGBRAI. A Boston writer decries the 400 bikes soon to be added to the city’s bike share program. A DC study says the way to encourage employees to bike to work is to provide showers and bike parking.

A writer calls Australia’s mandatory helmet law a disaster. The tragic dooring of a New Zealand cyclist leads a coroner to ask if bike riders should be required to use bike lanes.

Finally, if you really want drivers to see you at night, skip the hi-viz clothing and get a glow-in-the-dark bike. And everyone knows only cyclists run stop signs or use the wrong side of the road, right?

Man walking killed while walking bicycle in Lytle Creek; 12th bike-related fatality this month

And then there were 12.

In what is by far the worst month in memory for Southern California cyclists, an even dozen cyclists have now died on our streets this month alone.

According to the Press Enterprise, 42-year old Dondi Allen Quimby was hit by a car while walking his bicycle on the 200 block of Lytle Creek Road in Lytle Creek just before 1 am Sunday.

Quimby, who is described as a transient, was walking with his girlfriend along the shoulder of the road when he was hit by a 1997 Ford Thunderbird driven by Rancho Cucamonga resident Matthew Eldridge. He died at the scene; no word on whether the unidentified girlfriend was injured.

The 20-year old Eldridge was arrested about an hour later for investigation of felony drunk driving and vehicular manslaughter. And yet a spokesman for the CHP seems to be making the case for the driver’s defense, saying the location was very dark with a narrow shoulder.

Of course, if the driver was using headlights — which he certainly should have been doing at 1 am — darkness should have been irrelevant. And even a narrow shoulder suggests that a sober driver should have been able to see and avoid Quimby.

The San Bernardino County Coroner’s office is asking the public’s help in locating any of Quimby’s family members; anyone with information is urged to contact the Coroner’s Division at 909-387-2978.

This is the 41st bicycle-related fatality in Southern California so far this year — nearly one third of those this month alone. And it’s the seventh death in the last seven months in San Bernardino County, a total that equals all the cycling deaths in the county in 2010, the last year on record.

Mostly final Dr. Thompson appeal denied, PVE to review crippling speed bumps, bike rage around the world

Somehow, we missed the apparent final resolution of the infamous Mandeville Canyon brake check case.

Ohio Bike Lawyer Steve Magos forwards word that the state Supreme Court refused to hear Dr. Christopher Thompson’s appeal of his conviction.

The appeal was denied November 2nd, which means the case is finally, completely and hopefully, irrevocably over, and his conviction stands.

Unless he appeals in Federal Court.

Of course, he’s already served over two-and-a-half years of his five-year sentence. Which means he could be back on the streets soon.

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Palos Verdes Estates will hold a meeting to review the speed cushions on Via del Monte that nearly killed cyclist Richard Schlickman.

Seriously.

Shouldn’t that be all the discussion they need?

Or are they trying to take out a few more of us while they’re at it?

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As if road raging drivers weren’t bad enough, now we have to worry about armed bike riders.

An Oceanside bike rage incident leads to a standoff with police after a cyclist fires a rifle round into the ground during an argument with another rider. Meanwhile, a Michigan bike rider — who, at 69, should have known better — pulls a knife in a dispute with another much younger cyclist.

In a more traditional approach to roadway violence, a bike raging Brit cyclist punches a BMW driver; not that I haven’t wanted to on occasion, but please.

Maybe it’s something in the air.

And the Kiwi mountain biker who was caught on video assaulting another rider gets a whopping $750 fine.

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Erin Galligan ghost bike; photo courtesy of George Wolfberg

Bicycle Fixation offers a Flickr set of bicycling photos. LADOT takes credit for installing over 4,600 bike racks throughout the city, and offers an update on the BPIT meeting held earlier this month. Santa Monica plans to sign a contract with L.A. cycling’s favorite planning firm to make Safe Routes to Schools improvements around SaMo High. A memorial ride was held Monday for Erin Galligan, the Venice waitress killed in a still unsolved Santa Monica hit and run earlier this month. Culver City gets its first bike corral in front of my favorite coffee shop. The new bicycling postage stamps are available now. Now that’s a bike. Pasadena cyclists enjoy the city’s first Gran Fondo. New buffered bike lanes in Old Town San Diego. Cycling Unbound says once we reduce roadway deaths down to a dozen or so, then we can focus on those evil scofflaw cyclists. A Santa Rosa cyclist is injured trying to avoid an apparent dooring; a perfect example of why drivers should always give cyclists at least three feet passing distance. Sometimes it seems like cyclists get blamed for everything; now a driver claims one of us was the reason he drove his SUV into a Watsonville home. Seriously, if you’re too drunk to stay on your bike, don’t ride it.

If you think bike helmets look bad, take a look at how they looked in 1948. In celebrity bike news, Jessica Alba is helping to raise a new generation of cyclists, while Billy Elliot star Jamie Bell performs an emergency seat adjustment for biking girlfriend Evan Rachel Wood. Just two days after the Batman massacre, a Denver cyclist is killed in a more traditional crime. Even the ski resort town of Aspen CO may get bike lanes. In a truly bizarre letter, an Aspen writer says that, despite claiming to have founded the Red Zinger Bicycle Classic — no doubt to the surprise of those who usually get credit for it — he is now the sworn nemesis of reckless riders. Mountain bikers could get more access to national parks. RAGBRI riders suffer from extreme heat. An elite Massachusetts cyclist is seriously injured after colliding with a truck during a Maine time trial. New York cyclists can now attend bike classes in lieu of traffic fines; maybe some day we’ll have something like this here. Bike share will come to Forth Worth by next spring. Texas-based Witch on a Bicycle offers some intriguing ideas on how to reform drivers license laws. The family of a missing Louisiana cyclist hope she’s still alive, even though a convicted sex offender has been indicted for her death and that of another woman. A Florida cyclist is singled out for wearing purple, and ticketed for — legally — leaving a bike lane; apparently, Barney Fife is alive and well and working in Florida.

A Montreal cyclist is killed in a right hook when the bike path he was on crossed a roadway; police note he had the right-of-way. CLR Effect recaps the just completed le Tour. Bradley Wiggins, Tour de France champ and fashion icon — or should we say Sir Bradley? — is the abandoned son of a drunken former pro rider. Looks like Wiggins won more than just a trophy Sunday, but will his victory lead to safer streets for UK cyclists? Seventeen-year pro George Hincapie rides his last tour. How Brit cyclists conquered the world; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up. The rich get richer as Denmark cyclists get a bicycle superhighway.

Finally, looks like I got mine just in time as bike cams hit the big time, with the New York Times suggesting they’re the new black boxes for cyclists, and a new rearview cam saves the last five minutes of video in case you get hit; thanks again to George Wolfberg for the black box link, who notes that such devices can cut both ways.

And a New Zealand cyclist says a helmet cam actually makes drivers slow down.

Just ride

“Man to man is so unjust.” — Bob Marley, Who the Cap Fit

My sister, who lives in Denver, called us Thursday evening.

As the call was wrapping up, she mentioned that she had to pick my 15-year old nephew up at the movies at 3 am.

Because he was on his way to a midnight showing of the new Batman movie.

The next morning, I awoke to the news that a madman had opened fire in an Aurora theater, not far from their home, during a midnight showing of the movie.

My stomach started doing flips.

It was bad enough that something like this had happened once again. Or that it happened in my home state, in a town I lived in briefly about three decades ago.

I knew there was little chance Adam had been at that particular theater at that exact time. But when an email to my sister went unanswered for longer than I could live with, I had to call to ensure he hadn’t been there.

And I can’t begin to tell you how relieved I felt when he answered the phone, and said he’d gone to a theater closer to his home. One that was, thankfully, madman and assault rifle free.

All weekend, we all were bombarded with a constant drumbeat of news bits, each adding to the still incomplete portrait of just what happened in that theater that night.

Yet none of the jabbering talking heads paused long enough to put this madness in perspective.

Twelve dead is a horrible, tragic needless waste.

But it doesn’t begin to compare with the 90 Americans who lose their lives on our streets every day. And it’s just one less than the death count of cyclists on SoCal streets this month alone.

Ninety killed every day.

Six-hundred-thirty every week.

Two-thousand-forty every month.

Yet there’s no breaking news reports for that story. No attractive anchormen or women breathlessly whipping to reporters in the field, no tidbit of meaningless information that’s not trivial to relate. No outrage or prayer vigils or 24-hour news cycles dedicated to the lives and deaths of victims of the rapidly compounding body count.

And seldom an arrest, let alone prosecution, even when the killer is known.

Instead, we just call them accidents.

Never mind that virtually every collision that occurs anywhere can be traced back to one or more people breaking the law, or operating their vehicles in a careless, distracted or intoxicated manner.

Accidents are virtually never just accidents.

Even on the rare occasions when killers are arrested, those who know them will argue that it wasn’t really their fault. If you only knew the whole story, they insist, you’d understand that he or she was really a good person who just made one little mistake, or did something so out of character it should be forgiven.

Even in cases where the driver left the victim to die on the side of the road, then ran off like a coward and hid the evidence of the collision in an attempt to avoid the consequences of his or her actions.

No outrage.

Seldom any consequences.

And even then, it usually amounts to nothing more than a limp slap on the wrist.

In the meantime, the body count continues to rise. And nothing is done to address the insanity on our streets; no politicians step forward to demand an end to our daily motor maniacal madness.

I don’t have an answer.

I believe, strongly, in a Vision Zero plan. And in placing greater responsibility on those with the greatest potential to cause injury and death.

As well as changing our laws to force drivers to stop and stay at the scene of a collision.

Yet we all wait in vain for a political leader with sufficient courage to take a stand on the issue. Let alone actually do something about it.

Then again, none of our elected leaders seems to have the courage to do something about all the Columbine/Virginia Tech/Aurora massacres that actually do make the news, either.

I wish I had a solution.

I really do.

Other than demanding that our candidates for every office go on the record for what, if elected, they would do to address these parallel, if vastly uneven, bloodbaths. Then vote accordingly in the fall.

But at least I know a way to release that knot that’s been gnawing at me since Friday morning. And salve, in some part, the overwhelming sadness.

And that’s get out on my bike.

For a moment, for a hour, for an afternoon.

Let the wind blow away whatever tears may fall.

And just ride.

My prayers for all those injured or killed in the Aurora shooting. And all the countless named and nameless victims of the madness on our street.

San Diego protest ride, PCH bike meeting & Malibu Creek Restoration Ride — and that’s just this week

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a chance to update the Events calendar. And there’s a lot happening this weekend, and over the next week.

But before we begin, there are a couple of events that deserve a little extra attention.

First up, as you may be aware, there have been far too many cycling fatalities this year. Especially in San Diego, which has suffered far too many biking deaths in a city that’s doing far too little about it.

And local cyclists have had enough.

They’re sponsoring a ride next Wednesday to protest these deaths, and demand action from city officials to improve safety.

Now.

San Diego, CA- Local bicyclists are organizing a memorial bike ride for riders who were struck and killed by motor vehicles in the past weeks.

Theodore Jones, a 56-year old San Diego resident, was pronounced dead on Sunday, July 8 after suffering severe head injuries when a vehicle collided with him on Tuesday, July 3rd on the 4700 block of Solola Avenue in Lincoln Park.

Angel Bojorquez, 18, of Escondido, was killed by a hit and run driver as he rode home from work in Rancho Santa Fe early in the morning of July 6, 2012. 19-year-old Jin Hyuk Byun has been arrested for the incident. Police say that Byun hit Angel with his 2008 Chevy Avalanche and left him in the bushes at the side of the road, where he died. If convicted of the charge of felony hit-and-run, Byun faces only 4 years in prison. His bail was set at only $50,000, a pittance given the senseless loss of life that he caused.

Angel’s brother Steve, said they both worked at the same place and often drove together, but Angel was riding his bike home because their schedules did not match.

These incidents raise the total of cycling fatalities in Southern California to 10 since July 4, and 39 year-to-date.

Angel Bojorquez was one of 10 fatal bike-related hit- and-runs in Southern California this year. There have been 4 just since July 6, 2012.

The people who are dying on our city streets are not just reckless or inexperienced bicyclists, they are often cautious and experienced riders who are often simply commuting to or from work and school.

Solutions to these tragedies are simple.  Protected bike lanes, reduced speed limits, safer road design, and grade-separated bike lanes will protect cyclists and give more people the opportunity to use this healthy, green, and practical transportation alternative.

The ride will take place Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 4:30pm.  It will begin at the fountain in Balboa Park and conclude at 202 C Street. in front of the City Administration Building.  At the conclusion of the ride, bicyclists will use chalk to trace their bodies to send a message to city officials that their continued failure to design safer roads is unacceptable.

………

Next up, Malibu hosts a special meeting to discuss the PCH Bike Route Improvements Project next Wednesday.

Please join us for a Special Joint Meeting with the Public Works Commission and the Public Safety Commission to review and discuss the preliminary design concepts for the Pacific Coast Highway Bike Route Improvements Project at Malibu City Hall on Wednesday, July 25, 2012.  Below are the meeting details:

When:  
Wednesday, July 25, 2012, at 6:00 p.m
 
Where:  
Multi-Purpose Room
Malibu City Hall
23825 Stuart Ranch Road, Malibu, CA 90265

After receiving insightful community input from four public workshops and conducting a critical analysis of PCH, creative solutions have been developed to address issues pertaining to cycling throughout the project corridor. The meeting will provide an overview of the recommended design strategies that will improve safety and functionality along PCH.

We hope you can join us Wednesday, July 25.  We will send out a reminder as the date gets closer.

If you have any questions or can’t make the meeting and would like to learn more about the project, please contact Elizabeth Shavelson, Public Works Analyst at (310) 456-2489 ext. 254 or via email at eshavelson@malibucity.org

………

This is the group that gave up a Saturday morning earlier this year to help repair the Malibu Creek watershed.

Finally, on Saturday the 28th, the Mountains Restoration Trust and Heal the Bay offer a second opportunity to restore critical riparian habitats within Malibu Creek State Park by riding to sites that are too far to hike to. Mountain bikers — or anyone capable of riding a dirt fire road — are invited to join them on at Malibu Creek State Park, 1925 Las Virgenes Road from 8:45 am to noon.

Click here to sign up in advance, then bring your sunscreen and be ready to work.

………

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

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

The Bicycle Film Fest presents the Bike Movie Weekend all this weekend at the Silent Movie Theater at 611 North Fairfax Avenue. Showings include Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, The Best of the Bicycle Film Festival, the masterful documentary A Sunday in Hell and everyone’s favorite bike movie, Breaking Away (including an appearance by star Dennis Christopher) among others.

Stately Pasadena will be invaded with cyclists when the Pasadena edition of the Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia settles in for a weekend of biking events, starting with a two day expo at Pasadena City Hall, followed by rides of 29, 64 and 83-ish miles on Sunday. It all takes place Saturday, July 21st and Sunday, July 22nd; registration closes Wednesday, July 18th.

Eric Lubeck of the Caltech Bike Lab is leading a bike ride to the Eagle Rock Brewery on Saturday the 21st. The ride departs from San Pasqual and Wilson Ave on the Caltech campus at 3 pm, and returns to the same location; riders who enjoy themselves a little too much can return via Metrolink.

Also on Saturday the 21st, the High Desert Cyclists will bike to San Buenaventura State Beach for a beachfront barbeque; three starting points offer rides of 35 to 80 miles, arriving at the beach between noon and 1 pm. The ride is one way, so you’ll need to arrange transportation back to your starting point.

Sunday, July 22nd, bike-friendly CD13 city council candidate Josh Post hosts a two-hour bike ride along the L.A. River to highlight his plans for a bike-friendly L.A. and a revitalized L.A. River. Riders meet at 9 am at Oso Park, 1050 Riverside Drive.

Long Beach’s Bixby Knolls Bike Friendly Business District is sponsoring a Kidical Mass Kid Friendly Bike Ride on Sunday, July 22nd. The ride begins at Los Cerritos Park at 1 pm, and will ride 2.5 miles round trip to Georgies Place, 3850 Atlantic Ave, returning by 3 pm.

Long Beach begins a series of monthly community bike meetings to provide an overview of what’s happening bike-wise in the city, as well as offering an opportunity to provide input on city plans. The first meeting takes place from 3 to 4:30 pm on Monday, July 23rd in the City Council Chambers, 333 W. Ocean Blvd, and will be repeated on Tuesday, August 2nd from 6:30 to 8 pm at Exhibit A Gallery, 555 Pine Avenue.

Okay, so it’s not bike related, but it’s a rare combination of good wine, great food and a great cause, as Mama’s Hot Tamales hosts a Wine Tasting for a Cause on Wednesday, July 25th. For the uninitiated, Mama’s a non-profit café dedicated to teaching immigrants how to work in the food industry by serving some of L.A.’s best tamales and coffee. The event is being held to raise funds for a new freezer; 6 to 9 pm at 2124 W. 7th Street across from MacArthur Park.

On Saturday, July 28th, join Wolfpack Hustle — yes, the cycling team that beat a jet to Long Beach — for the Midnight Drag Race: Codename “The Final Effin Sayso” as single speed cyclists race through Downtown’s famed 2nd Street tunnel. Sign-up starts at 10:30 at 2nd and Hill Street, with the first heats beginning at 11 pm.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s new Civic Engagement Committee at 6:45 pm on the last Tuesday of each month. The next meeting will be Tuesday, July 31st, at Pitfire Pizza at 2nd and Main in Downtown L.A.. Email bikinginla at hotmail dot com to be added to the email list.

The 4th Annual California Tour de Dreams 2012 will take place August 9th through 19th as cyclists will ride 540 miles from UC Berkeley to UCLA to educate communities about the passage of the California Dream Act and advocate for passage of the Federal Dream Actregister online by May 31st.

The Antelope Valley’s High Desert Cyclists hosts a series of monthly Brunch Rides on the second Saturday of each month. The comfortably paced 15 to 20 mile rides will visit a local restaurant or coffee shop for brunch before returning to the starting point; organizers promise no rider will be left behind. The next ride is scheduled for Saturday, August 11th; details to follow.

Registration has opened for the Santa Monica Museum of Art’s fourth annual Cause for Creativity: Tour da Arts on Sunday, August 19th, featuring an art focused bike tour and other bike centric artistic activities and exhibitions. Be sure to sign up early, because the free bike tour always reaches capacity long before the event.

Bikes are normally banned from the famed San Diego – Coronado Bay Bridge, but you can ride it on Sunday, August 26th, during the 5th Annual Bike the Bay, to benefit the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition.

The Eastside Bike Club invites you to join them on the Dodgertown Bike Ride on Saturday, September 1st. The ride begins with a rally starting at 3 pm at El Arca, 3839 Selig Place before riding to see the Dodgers play the Arizona Diamondbacks, with game time starting at 6:10 pm. Buy your tickets in advance on the Dodgers website.

Sunday, September 2nd marks your chance for fixed gear glory with the Lord of Griffith IV, a climbing, three lap track bike/fixed gear race in and around Griffith Park.

The Arthritis Foundation’s California Coast Classic invites you to ride down Highway 1 to raise funds for a cure. The ride rolls 525 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles from Sunday, September 9th to Sunday the 16th; a two-day option is also available on Saturday, the 15th and Sunday the 16th.

Early registration has opened for the national Pro Walk/Pro Bike® conference to be held September 10th through 13th in Long Beach. The 17th annual conference is sponsored by the National Center for Bicycling and Walking, and Project for Public Spaces.

This year’s Tour de Fat will take place on Saturday, September 15th at Los Angeles State Historic Park — and this time, it’s not scheduled on the Jewish high holidays, so everyone can attend.

Celebrate the return of Carmagedon on Saturday, September 29th as Wolfpack Hustle — yes, the cyclists who beat a Jet Blue jet from Burbank to Long Beach — invite you to ride your bikes from every point in the city to meet on the L.A. River bike path for the biggest ride ever with the All City LA River Ride; details to follow.

There’s a new date for the next CicLAvia, which has been moved up one week from October 14th to 10 am to 3 pm on Sunday, October 7th. The route has also been changed, with new spurs extending from Expo Park  in South L.A. to East L.A. and Boyle Heights.

Now here’s a great idea for a ride. The Arthritis Foundation is teaming with one of the L.A. area’s favorite Cuban bakeries and cafés to offer the first ever Tour de Porto’s starting at 8:30 am on Sunday, October 28th. The ride starts at Porto’s in Glendale, travels a short distance to the Burbank Porto’s, then down the L.A. River Bike Path to the restaurant’s Downey location. If the entry fee includes a Cubano or Medianoche, count me in.

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