Archive for September 29, 2012

Bike rider killed by Metrolink train in Baldwin Park

Multiple sources are reporting that a man was killed by a Metrolink train while walking his bike in Baldwin Park Friday night.

Carlos Jacinto DeSantiago, a 49-year old Norwalk resident, was walking his bike west on Ramona Blvd at Downey Avenue at 7:28 pm when he stepped under a railroad crossing arm, and walked onto the tracks in front of the oncoming train.

No explanation was given for why he stepped in front of the train, Metrolink #335 on the San Bernardino  line. Witnesses reported that he went under the train after he was hit; Baldwin Park police say he suffered multiple injuries, and was pronounced dead at the scene at 8:01 pm.

With all due respect to the victim, there is no collision easier for a cyclist to avoid than a wreck with a train.

Unlike motor vehicles, which can roam freely throughout the roadway, trains are confined to a set space and a predetermined schedule. All you have to do is stay off those tracks at that time to avoid getting hit.

And the easiest way to do that is to never, ever ride or walk under, around or through the warning gates, or cross the tracks when warning signals are on.

Why DeSantiago didn’t do that will probably never be known.

This is the 59th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 16th in Los Angeles County. DeSantiago was the second cyclist killed in Baldwin Park in 2012, and the second SoCal rider killed in a collision with a train this year, both in L.A. County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Carlos Jacinto DeSantiago, and all his family and loved ones.

San Diego hit-and-run nearly carried live on local TV

TV stations in San Diego just missed broadcasting a hit-and-run that appeared to leave a cyclist seriously injured as it happened on Thursday night.

San Diego cyclist Bill Davidson sends word that San Diego’s XETV-6 reported the collision occurred just before 10 pm as news vans were gathered to report on flooding from a broken water main in the parking lot of this shopping center at Rosecrans and Cauby Streets.

Multiple news vans were on the scene BEFORE the collision because there was flooding in the area. They were parked in the shopping center maybe 50 yards inside the driveway. The news crews were still in their vans preparing to do live coverage of the flooding at 10pm when they heard a loud thump. They called 911.  EMT’s on the scene in approximately 6-7 minutes.

Victim appeared to be in his 50′s or 60′s.  He had lights and a reflective safety vest. He was alive and conscious but obviously seriously hurt. No helmet.

Two witnesses. California plate 717229, sliver truck. Mirror on the truck broke off and was lying in the road.

Davidson adds that the reporters said they didn’t hear skidding before the collision, though the heavy insulation on the trucks could have masked the sound. The victim’s bike was resting just steps away, directly in the entrance to the shopping center.

Unfortunately, the story hasn’t been posted online, and there doesn’t seem to be any update on the condition of the victim or whether the driver has been apprehended.

If anyone has additional information, let us know.

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Friday’s breaking news kept me from updating this weekend’s events.

However, the big weekend bike news is Carmageddon.

Not that the end of the world is nigh, as cars will once again be banned from from the 405, but that bikes are taking over the streets presumably abandoned by motor vehicles. Streetsblog has all the information you need on the weekend’s three remaining major rides, while ARTmageddonLA starts on Saturday.

And if you’re bold enough to brave the freeways, the 2012 USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships will be taking place all weekend at the Home Depot Center VELO Sports Center.

Breaking news: Evidently, Governor Jerry Brown doesn’t care if you live or die

Once again, Jerry Brown is demonstrating just how out of touch he is with the realities of California streets.

And just how little he cares about the safety of the state’s cyclists.

The California Bicycle Coalition reports that Brown has decided to veto SB 1464, the bill mandating a minimum three-foot distance to pass cyclists. This comes after he vetoed a much stronger bill last year, making him the only governor to veto a safe passing bill twice.

And continuing to align him with Texas Governor Rick Perry as the only jackasses governors to veto a three-foot passing law.

Last year, he offered an excuse that didn’t pass the smell test, claiming a provision allowing drivers to pass cyclists at less than three feet by slowing down to 15 mph — included to prevent traffic jams by allowing drivers to pass cyclists in congested traffic and near intersections — would cause motorists to slam on the brakes to pass riders on highways, rather than simply go around them or wait for a chance to pass safely.

Yeah, that’ll happen.

This time, the reason given for the veto is an irrational fear that the state could face liability for the provision allowing motorists to briefly cross the center line to pass cyclists, but only when safe to do so.

In other words, legalizing what is already a common practice — and putting the onus on drivers to ensure it’s safe first.

Which makes the feared liability risk as much a fiction as last years brake-slamming drivers.

And this after writing in his veto message that he wanted lawmakers to send him a bill that overcame the problems he cited with last year’s bill. Which the much-weakened SB 1464 did, in spades.

Combine this with Brown’s veto of SB 1310, a bill that would have increased fines for distracted driving by a minimal $10 while adding one point to a driver’s record — after vetoing a similar bill last year — and it suggests that Brown either has no clue what is really happening on our roadways, or just doesn’t give a damn whether we live or die on California streets.

More frightening, Calbike reports that Brown has refused to engage them directly to discuss this bill, or any other aspect of bike safety:

Despite our efforts to engage him directly, Brown has offered no indication of how he views bicycling or expressed any ideas for ensuring the safety of Californians who rely on bicycling as everyday transportation. By vetoing SB 1464, Brown makes clear that he prioritizes legalistic speculation over the safety of Californians.

We’re deeply concerned about what his lack of vision and leadership means for the safety of our streets and roads.

I couldn’t agree more.

And I deeply regret the vote I wasted on him him in 2010.

Jerry Brown was elected to lead all Californians. But he has clearly shown by his actions that he just doesn’t give a damn about anyone who travels on two wheels instead of four.

Once more, we’ve all been Jerry Browned by Jerry Brown. So what’s that saying about fool me twice?

Money for bikes in Universal plan, bikeway blocking bus layover to be fixed, 4 new LAPD bike liaisons

Lots of news to catch up today after yesterday’s unplanned day off.

There are days I feel like a rodeo clown, getting up one more time than life can knock me down.

………

In an apparent victory for L.A. cyclists, the massive new Universal Studios project is approved by the L.A. Planning Commission after the company promises to find room for bikes along the L.A. River. Universal promises to contribute $3 million for an extension of the L.A. River bike path along the property, as well as $500,000 for bike lane improvements and $375,000 for bike path planning.

Hopefully, that means they get that a bike path along an improved L.A. River could be a tremendous asset for them, as well as the city. And that encouraging people to ride to the studio could provide a low cost bike boost for their business.

Then again, they could just be throwing money at us in hopes we’ll go away.

………

I’ve gotten an update from Lynne Goldsmith at Bike Metro about the bus layover on Rinaldi Street in Porter Ranch that we discussed last week.

According to Goldsmith, the layover for Line 243 had existed long before the bike lanes were striped, and were not taken into consideration when the lanes were striped. And no one apparently noticed until Michael Eisenberg brought them to our attention.

As a result, we can expect the segment will be restriped soon.

With luck, they’ll narrow the traffic lanes and stripe around the bus layover to maintain the bike lanes through the layover; more likely, the area around the layover will stay as it is, and the city will simply create a break in the bike lanes.

Hopefully they can come up with a creative solution that works for everyone.

And much thanks to Goldsmith for being so responsive.

………

As you may know, LAPD Sgt. David Krumer has been reassigned, and is no longer the department’s bike liaison — much to the regret of anyone who had the pleasure of working with him over the past few years.

With his departure, the department is unveiling a new plan that will place a bike liaison at each of the LAPD’s four traffic divisions. In theory, that should provide greater responsiveness, as you’ll now be able to call someone who knows the local streets and the officers who patrol them.

Whether that works out in practice depends a lot on the officers who will be picking up his load.

And it remains to be seen whether the department will still maintain a central bike liaison at LAPD headquarters to deal with issues that affect the entire city, or riders who have issues that the local liaison can’t or won’t solve.

Or whether the very successful Bike Task Force that has worked to help the LAPD transform itself into one of the nation’s most progressive and bike-friendly departments will continue to exist.

Some of those questions may be answered at 4 pm next Thursday when LAPD invites L.A. cyclists to meet the department’s new bike liaisons in room 374 of the new LAPD headquarters Downtown.

According to the LADOT Bike Blog, the new liaison’s are:

  • Sgt. Thomas Tavares, Central Bureau Traffic Division, 213/972-1864
  • Sgt. Jon Aufdemberg, South Bureau Traffic Division, 323/421-2588
  • Sgt. Emalee Baptiste, Valley Bureau Traffic Division, 818/644-8030
  • Sgt. Chris Kunz, West Bureau Traffic Division, 213/473-0125

You’d be smart to program those four numbers into your phone before your next crosstown ride.

And speaking of the LAPD, they’re partnering with two Downtown bike shops to offer a $5 discount on Kryptonite U-locks.

………

Governor Jerry Brown has just four more days to sign or reject SB1464, the recently passed three-foot passing bill, to make up for the one he vetoed last year.

If he does nothing, the bill becomes law by the end of day Sunday, or maybe Monday, depending on your source. And does nothing to redeem the low opinion many cyclists have of him as a result.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Calbike also notes that we’re also waiting for Brown’s signature on a bill to allow Caltrans to experiment on new bikeway designs.

………

The Splinster peer-to-peer bike rental program has now gone nationwide, allowing you to rent an unused bike directly from the owner anywhere in the U.S. Or rent yours to someone else if you don’t need it for awhile.

Then again, bike rental seems to be a booming business everywhere.

………

Taggers shoot a bike rider in North Hollywood; the victim is expected to be okay. A study of the York Blvd road diet and bike lanes shows fears that it would kill business were off base. KNBC-4 says this weekend’s Carmageddon is cause for cyclists to celebrate; Streetsblog notes lots of car-free bike activities over the auto-cataclysmic weekend, or check out ARTmageddon with Flying Pigeon on Saturday. The LACBC’s Tall Bike Bobby is back from his tour of the West Coast. Bike Nation will be offering free bike rentals for next weekend’s CicLAvia. LADOT wants your help to pick a new east-west route through the Valley. Richard Risemberg is shocked to find scofflaws on two wheels — and four. The Elite Track National Championships take place in Carson this weekend. An Oregon cyclist was seriously injured in a hit-from-behind collision on Angeles Crest Highway; or make that two, as another rider is severely injured the same night in La Cañada Flintridge.

Did they really have to do a study to prove Caltrans still doesn’t get bikes and pedestrians? A public service will be held October 6th for Newport Beach bike victim Dr. Catherine Campion Ritz. Newport Beach will sponsor a memorial ride to honor the two cyclists killed there two weeks ago; more importantly, they’re raising funds for bike safety — and the city will match donations on a three-to-one basis. When cyclists are dying, there’s no such thing as a bad idea if it could lead to a good one. A new video looks at salmon cyclists riding into trouble in Newport Beach. San Clemente considers a Dutch-style bike plan. San Diego’s airport goes bike-friendly; thanks to @bikeSD for the heads-up — and for giving the airport a good prod. A bike film fest is coming up in Redlands next month. California college cyclists complain about inconsiderate and inexperienced cyclists. For a change, there’s justice for cyclists in Northern California. A Sacramento writer asks why we tolerate the carnage on our streets; why indeed.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood blames 80% of dead pedestrians for their own deaths. Bicycling offers up 25 upgrades for 25 bucks or less. If you’re going to ride with an open bottle of booze in your hand, don’t crash into a police cruiser. Defusing tensions between cyclists and drivers in Colorado. An Idaho woman is dragged behind a bus when the driver pulls out as she’s removing her bike from a rear rack. A hit-and-run Kansas driver is accused of intentionally running down a cyclist he mistakenly thought was a pedophile. New York City urges taxi passengers to look to prevent dooring bike riders. Despite the city’s vast increase in bike lanes, cyclist and pedestrian fatalities are up in New York; a new study shows most are the fault of lawbreaking drivers. A bike riding Gotham father loses his life on the Boulevard of Death. A Texas father is shocked that GEICO would be despicable enough to deny the claim after a driver hits a student cyclist on a Safe Route to School; clearly, he hasn’t dealt with many insurance companies when it comes to bikes. A teenage Texas driver screams at the cyclist he just killed for coming into his lane; witnesses report he was driving recklessly.

Turns out bike lanes don’t create costs for Vancouver drivers. Riding brakeless is blamed in the death of a young Montreal fixie rider. British stats show drivers were at fault in most collisions last year, while just 1% of bike collisions were due to the cyclists’ failure to stop or yield. Britain sees a 9% increase in bicycling fatalities and serious injuries. UK drug users are almost twice as likely to drive under the influence. A bleeding UK cyclist is saved by a baby diaper. A road raging Brit rider punches out a car’s windshield. In a long-held dream for many riders, some British truck drivers will spend half a day riding bikes. Yom Kippur gives Israeli cyclists a chance to ride car-free, but the nation needs to do more to support increasing ridership levels. A former Aussie cycling champion stabs the coach who sexually abused her.

Finally, Bikeyface considers whether bike marketers really do have women figured out.

Guest Post: Urge Gov. Brown to protect your life by signing a law promoting use of safety cameras

Los Angeles turned off its red light cameras last year, opening the door for scofflaw drivers to blow through red lights when there’s not a cop around.

There were a lot of reasons for that decision, including a lack of enforcement that made payment of fines just this side of voluntary. As well as accusations that they were used to fill city coffers, rather than actually improving safety. 

A new law sitting on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk that could change that. 

All he has to do is sign it to make it law. Then again, he doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to signing traffic safety bills.

The Traffic Safety Coalition is asking you to sign a letter today urging Gov. Brown to approve the bill before it dies on his desk in a pocket veto at the end of the month.

After all, a cyclist who runs a red light might get himself killed.  But a red light-running driver could kill you. Or someone you love.

I’ll let them explain.

……..

The Traffic Safety Coalition, a national not-for-profit grassroots organization with a chapter in California, is encouraging biking advocates to sign a letter to Governor Brown in support of Senate Bill 1303 (“SB 1303”), legislation that has passed both chambers of the California legislature and is currently awaiting his signature before the end of the month.  If the Governor does not sign the bill within the next 5 days, the legislation is vetoed and will not become law.

SB 1303 reforms the use of traffic safety cameras (more commonly known as “red light cameras”) to encourage a focus on safety as a reason to use cameras rather than other motives.  The letter can be viewed and signed on the Coalition’s website at www.trafficsafetycoalition.com/caletter.

As you will read in the letter, for a number of reasons SB 1303 is a step in the right direction for the dozens of communities across the state that use traffic safety cameras to effectively and efficiently enforce our most basic traffic safety law – red means stop.   The bill does a few things:

  • It requires communities to make decisions about the placement of cameras for the right reasons – i.e., for safety reasons only and not for purposes of generating revenue.
  • It makes it easier for people to get cleared of wrongful tickets
  • It promotes transparency and public awareness by implementing strict signage requirements requiring the posting of signs alerting drivers of photo enforcement technology within 200 feet of an intersection

As municipalities across California continue to struggle with budget cuts, enforcement of basic traffic safety laws often must take a back seat to serious crimes and other community safety matters.  Through photo enforcement, local law enforcement has a tool that can help ensure traffic safety while law officers spend their time on more pressing matters – and the numbers prove photo enforcement is effective.

More than 50 communities in California currently use traffic safety cameras to make their roads safer.  For example, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, fatal red light running crashes are down 62% in San Diego, 55% in Bakersfield, 53% in Sacramento, 44% in Santa Ana, and 34% in Long Beach.  All of these are well above the 24% average reduction in fatal red light running crashes in 14 of the largest cities in the U.S. using cameras.  In fact, studies show that between 2004 and 2008 over 150 lives were saved in those cities thanks to cameras, and a startling 800 more lives could have been saved had every large city in the U.S. been using them.

The Traffic Safety Coalition is proud to work to support this technology with more than two dozen bike and pedestrian advocacy organizations across the country.  Our partners include the Alliance for Biking and Walking, Ride of Silence, California Bicycle Coalition and California Walks.  In addition to supporting the use of safety cameras, the Coalition has worked with its partners to support 3-foot passing legislation and Complete Streets bills.

The effective use of safety cameras isn’t just a matter of catching drivers who break the law.  It’s also about deterring the illegal and dangerous behavior that puts cyclists at risk every day.  On your bike, you aren’t protected by a steel shell when someone runs a red light.  Consider signing the letter to urge Governor Brown to do the right thing and help keep California roads safe for everyone.

1400 words worth of time-wasting bike links to ruin any hope of Tuesday pre-High Holiday productivity

Consider this my attempt to eliminate any Tuesday productivity.

No, really.

I’ve been saving these links up since last Friday; this was actually going to be last night’s post until breaking news got in the way.

And yes, no matter how long I’ve been working on something, word of a fallen rider will always take precedence over everything else.

So grab a cup, sit back and limber up your clicking finger. Because I can’t be responsible for any missed rides due to strained trackpad finger.

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First up, a quick reminder that the LACBC’s Civic Engagement Committee will meet at 6:45 pm tonight at the Pitfire Pizza at 2nd and Main Downtown, across from the new LAPD headquarters, to discuss electing more bike-friendly political leaders.

And please accept my personal apology for scheduling this meeting on Yom Kippur. The committee regularly meets on the last Tuesday of every month, and like an idiot, I failed to check the calendar until it was too late to reschedule.

Which I guess gives me something to atone for the next time I go to confession.

G’mar Chatimah Tovah

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If you haven’t read this one already, take a look at this must-read Slate article, as a self-admitted scofflaw jerk cyclist looks at the psychology of why so many drivers hate us.

No, really. I’ll wait.

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Back already?

Family and friends remember the life of fallen cyclist Sarah Leaf; when will we decide that too many good people have died in our automotive holocaust?

The back-to-back cycling deaths shine a light on Newport Beach’s deadly track record. Collision statistics suggest the city is a risky place to ride; despite what the story says, 45 collisions through the first nine months of 2012 does not represent a decrease from 57 in 2011 — it actually projects out to a sizable increase for the full year. Orange County’s cdmCyclist says we’re facing a cycling tsunami and it’s time to do something.

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UK bike scribe Carlton Reid nails it in asking why some misguided politicians and paid pontificators demand that cyclists behave before we get bike paths.

The demonisation of cyclists needs to end. It would help if politicians and journalists recognised that cyclists are not one homogenous group and the sins of one should not be reason to impugn all.*

On the other hand, a writer for the Guardian, which is usually very supportive of cycling, takes a back-handed slap at cyclists in discussing a government minister who went off on security police officers who wouldn’t let him ride his bike through the gates of 10 Downing Street.

Braying at the police may go down well among those fellow cyclists who think the rules do not apply to them, but it is at odds with the requirement for whips to put leader and party first at all times.

Another writer asks if you’ve experienced absurd, self-righteous anger, even if you didn’t take it out on a cop.

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Philipe Gilbert is your new men’s 2012 road bike world champ, attacking with just 2.2. km to go to win the race, while Marianne Vos wins for the women to cap a near perfect year.

And UCI reveals long past due plans to sort of boost women’s professional cycling. But really, they’re mostly serious about actually kind of doing something this time.

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LADOT posts the agenda for next month’s BPIT meeting. Bike lanes come to Grand Avenue. Christin Zeisler says goodbye to her bike, but not to riding, after being hit by a shuttle van last week; police are still looking for a suspect, but don’t seem to be too hopeful given the limited evidence. Santa Monica and Malibu schools celebrate non-motorized transportation with Bike It! Walk It! Day on October 3rd and 5th; wouldn’t that make it Days, then? Writing for Orange 20, Richard Risemberg says L.A.-area cycling is building momentum; Beverly Hills, not so much. The Source asks if bike escalators should come to Los Angeles; only if we want to stop treating bike riders like second-class citizens, and why would anyone want to do that? Arnold and daughter ride in Santa Monica, where a planned replacement bridge promises better access to the pier. According to the CHP, there’s been a “slight” 48% increase in Topanga Canyon traffic collisions over the last three years. Boyonabike continues his look at the Pasadena bike plan. Carson is home to the 2012 USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships starting this Thursday. The rich get richer as Long Beach cyclists will soon get three new bike boulevards. Bike Talk talks ProWalk ProBike, while Streetsblog’s Streetfilms looks at the associated National Women’s Bicycling Summit.

The Orange County Register names the county’s top three bike shops, as well as the county’s three best bike paths. A San Diego cyclist looks back on a year of car-free commuting after trading her car for a bike at last year’s Tour de Fat. San Diego cyclists get their first green lane. A 103-year old Ontario bike shop is still going strong. A Santa Barbara man gets about seven months for embezzling 13 bikes worth $42,000 as a former employee of Bicycle Bobs. San Francisco cyclists celebrate the 20th anniversary of Critical Mass. A 79-year old Sacramento cyclist dies four days after he was hit by a car after allegedly failing to yield the right-of-way, which I’m sure has been confirmed by witnesses other than the driver, who could have an inherent interest in blaming the victim; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up.

So if USADA’s case against Lance Armstrong is so strong, why aren’t they sharing the evidence with the UCI?  Speaking of which, Congress considers reforming USADA, but claims that has nothing to do with Lance. American cyclists have gone from no bike insurance to actually having real options. Former Long Beachers The Path Less Pedaled look back at last week’s Interbike show in Las Vegas, while the national Streetsblog Network says maybe it’s time to say vaya con dios to Las Vegas. A Portland study suggests cyclists make better customers in the long run. An unusually honest Portland man buys a stolen bike for $40, then returns it to its rightful owner. Colorado endurance athlete survives a lightening strike while riding — with a heart rate 30 points higher than usually fatal. Nearside street signals could cut down on those idiots who stop in the middle of the intersection, let alone the crosswalk. Gisele Bundchen bikes in Beantown. New York opens its first Bike Friendly Business District. The Wall Street Journal offers a field guide to spotting cyclists; and yes, it’s been done before — repeatedly. Texas cyclist rides 10 miles with a kitty on her tits. A Baton Rouge writer says bikes should be banned from a busy main road, rather than expecting drivers to use it safely.

A panel of British MPs considers ways to get more people biking, while Brit bike advocates debate whether the country’s roads are too dangerous for cyclists; the nation’s Transport Minister says fear of cycling is holding them back. UK authorities seize parked bikes in anticipation of a political convention; actually, they might have a good reason for that. An Irish county considers banning bicycles from public parks, evidently willing to force toddlers to learn how to ride their bikes on busy streets. The afore mentioned George Wolfberg also sends a link to this story about a three day, 100 mile tour of Luxembourg; and yes, I want to ride it. Hong Kong frowns on bike commuting; you’d think they’d realize that encouraging cycling gets cars off their crowded streets. New Zealand cyclists ask for a little space and tolerance from motorists.

Finally, a truly big-hearted UK driver tells the seriously injured 12-year old cyclist he just ran over “I hope you haven’t dented my car” before driving off and leaving him to bleed in the street; the schmuck later turned himself in.

And you might enjoy these photos of the fountain that suddenly sprouted next to my building this afternoon. As someone else pointed out, bikes seldom lose control and sheer off fire hydrants.

Although to be fair, the car pictured above didn’t hit the hydrant; the driver just had the misfortune of running over it after someone else ran off the road and knocked it into the street.

*For reasons that have never been adequately explained, the apparent misspelling are correct on the other side of the Atlantic — two countries divided by a common language and all that, which doesn’t actually appear to have been said by anyone. So feel free to claim it for yourself if you’re so inclined.

San Diego triathlete dies of injuries received in left hook collision last weekend

Last weekend took a horrible and tragically growing toll on Southern California cyclists.

According to the San Diego Union Tribune, 35-year old San Diego resident Scott Folck died today of injuries he received a week earlier.

Folck was riding east on Woods Valley Road in Valley Center, northeast of Escondido, around 6 am on Sunday, September 16th, when a Mitsubishi 3000GT driven by a 22-year old San Marcos man turned left in front of him onto Cool Water Ranch Road in an apparent left hook. The paper reports the driver hit his brakes when he saw the rider, but was unable to stop in time.

Despite the early hour, police don’t think alcohol was a factor.

Folck was transported to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido with multiple serious injuries; despite what was termed aggressive surgical intervention, his condition continued to decline and he was pronounced dead at 12:40 this morning.

San Diego’s KCBS-8 reports he was training for an upcoming triathlon when he was injured.

Folck was struck the same weekend that nutritionist Sarah Leaf and Dr. Catherine Campion Ritz were killed in Newport Beach, along with riders in Buena Park and Riverside; neither of the later victims have been publicly identified.

This is the 58th cycling fatality this year, and the 11th in San Diego County.

My prayers and sympathy for Scott Folck and all his family and loved ones.

Metro blocks the bike lane on Rinaldi; Zev talks Carmegeddon II Friday — bikes on the 405, maybe?

Michael Eisenberg sends word that he’s recovering from his recent right hook collision.

And surprisingly enough, he hasn’t run into any issues with the driver’s insurance company.

On the other hand, he’s run into an unexpected problem with Metro.

Back to commuting by bike every day, Eisenberg’s route takes him down the bike lanes on Rinaldi Street in the North Valley.

However, after frequently encountering Metro buses stopped in the bike lane, he stopped to take a closer look. And discovered those buses were parked and empty.

As it turns out, what he discovered has been designated as MTD layover spot #12953 — despite the No Stopping sign attached to the same light post as the bus stop signs.

And despite the fact that bike lanes are legally considered traffic lanes reserved for the use is bicycles, just as HOV lanes are reserved for vehicles with multiple occupants.

As well as CVC 21211, which prohibits obstruction of bikeways, along with an L.A. city ordinance prohibiting parking in bike lanes.

Of course, it’s possible that the layover spot existed before the bike lanes were installed. But even so, the law clearly calls for it to be moved, or an adjustment made in the bike lanes to go around the bus stop and layover space.

And judging by the photos, that shouldn’t be a problem, as the overly wide lanes on Rinaldi could be easily narrowed to make room.

I’ve reached out to LADOT, Metro and the LAPD for more information, but haven’t heard back from anyone yet.

I’ll let you know when — or if — I do.

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Leading bike/community advocate George Wolfberg forwards word that L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky will participate in a live web chat at noon Friday to discuss the upcoming Carmageddon II — the Sequel.

We will be conducting a Live Internet Chat regarding the upcoming full freeway closure of the I-405 this Friday, Sept. 21, from 12, noon, to 1 pm.  LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky will answer questions and collect suggestions about the upcoming I-405 freeway closure.

To join live or access the web chat go to www.metro.net between 12, noon, and 1 pm on Friday, Sept. 21.  You can also send questions in advance of the chat to livechat@metro.net

I wonder what would happen if L.A. cyclists forwarded this to everyone they know. And a few hundred bike riders joined in the chat to demand that bikes be allowed on the 405 while the highway is shut down on the 29th and 30th.

Maybe Zev might actually take us seriously this time.

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Newport Beach considers bike safety improvements in the wake of two deaths last weekend, including speeding up sharrows on the coast highway. The Orange County Register says one of those two victims, Dr. Catherine Campion Ritz, was an avid cyclist who always put her patients first.

I’m also told, via an anonymous source, that the prosecutor assigned to the case of hit-and-run driver Michael Jason Lopez, accused of killing Campion Ritz, is “young, pretty and cute as hell” — and “a total Bulldog in the courtroom.”

And she goes on to add,

Lopez would be whimpering in fear if he knew what he was up against, he might as well just plead guilty!!!!!!… The D.A. trusts her with these high-profile cases for good reason.

Sounds like they’ve got the right person to prosecute the case. Maybe a killer driver won’t get off with a slap on the wrist, for once.

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More collisions than usual on Topanga Canyon, including the hit and run that critically injured cyclist Ed Morris, who remains in the ICU, as well as another cyclist who was airlifted out after hitting a deer.

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Word must be getting out that I try to keep up with bike racing on a semi-irregular basis.

That might explain why I received the press release announcing a newly named pro team, alongside  other much larger — and I do mean much larger — media sources.

Cannondale will be partnering with Brixia Sport — which took over for Liquigas earlier this year — to become the title sponsor of the new Cannondale Pro Cycling Team. Riders will include 2012 TdF Green Jersey winner Peter Sagan, Ivan Basso, Moreno Moser and Elia Viviani.

The team will compete on Cannondale’s new SuperSix EVO Ultimate bikes, named by Germany’s Tour magazine as the best bike in the world, as well as winner of the Eurobike Gold award two years running.

Maybe they’ll send me one for writing about it.

Hey, it could happen.

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The LACBC says the proposed expansion of Universal Studios has gone off the rails by relying exclusively on cars at the expense of all other modes of transportation — as well as blocking a planned extension of the L.A. River Bike Path.

You can fight back by attending a hearing of the Planning Commission on the matter next Thursday, or emailing your comments by this coming Tuesday; see the link for more details.

My personal take?

This project will go forward over my dead body unless they agree to extend the bike path and make other bike-friendly changes.

And it could very well come to that if we end up riding in that area if the current plan is approved.

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The smackdown between L.A.’s two most dangerous drivers goes on. A study of L.A.’s York Blvd concludes that road diets don’t have a negative effect on local merchants. Cycle Chic hits the catwalk in Long Beach, and Streetsblog has the video to prove it. San Diego’s Bayshore Bikeway is listed among the top 20 bike paths in the U.S., and it’s not even finished yet. Meanwhile, the city’s cyclists get some green on the ground on Montezuma Road following a death and serious injury. A Petaluma woman runs down a cyclist walking in a crosswalk, then forces $60 dollars on the rider before driving away. A Daly City mountain biker survives with just minor injuries after riding off a cliff. Bike commuting is up in the Bay Area. If you’re going to run a red light, make sure there’s not a police car in your way. The draft bike plan for Los Altos reveals an anti-bike bias from local police.

Advice for women on what not to wear when riding. Dave Moulton says — and I agree — that we need to keep the bad news in perspective. Background on the Colorado cyclists who were harassed by a honking driver, and a call for patience and courtesy on both sides; amen, brother — and thanks to my sister for the second link. A Missouri train route is converted to a scenic bike path. Chicago cyclist rides his bike down the ramp to a train stop and ends up on the track — somehow missing the electrified third rail, let alone any trains. A Wisconsin driver will face trial for killing a cyclist on the same stretch of road where her bike-riding husband was killed four years earlier. A New York postal worker is acquitted of hit-and-run after killing a cyclist. If you’re going to have a bike wreck, do it with a brain surgeon nearby. A Louisiana cyclist is killed after getting mirrored by a passing UPS truck in Texas; maybe we should be happy they only block bike lanes here.

A Toronto writer asks why it’s so hard for drivers to steer clear of bike lanes. Teenage Toronto gang members follow a cyclist home and assault his family after he refuses to give up his bike. A new Brit road safety campaign says drivers and cyclists need to look out for one another even if drivers need to look out more, according to the Guardian; I wish any American newspaper would offer the depth of bike coverage they do (and yes, I’m available, if anyone is interested). Five-time tour de France champ Miguel Indurain says the image of cycling is being ruined by the endless parade of scandals; well no shit. Despite hard times, bicycling is booming in Budapest. An Aussie cyclist barely survived after being knocked over a railing into traffic by another cyclist.

Finally, the New York Daily News unfavorably compares all those killer cyclists to gun-toting criminals; perhaps their editorial board would benefit from a thorough psychological examination to determine why they have this odd anti-bike fixation.

Then again, they don’t seem to be fans of track cycling, either.

Just the links: Bob’s Big Boy benefits Ride2Recovery, honking CO driver ticketed, pro cyclist killed in Spain

Just a quick update to catch up on today’s news.

First up, Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank will donate 15% of their sales on Friday to benefit Ride 2 Recovery, dedicated to changing the lives of wounded vets by getting them on bikes. Thanks to John Morlock for the heads-up.

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A 75-year old Colorado man has been ticketed for tailgating and honking at a pair of cyclists for five minutes, captured on a bike cam video.

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Euskaltel-Euskadi pro cyclist Victor Cabedo was killed in a collision while training in Spain, when he went off a ravine after colliding with a vehicle. Cabedo was killed just a few miles from his home, just one year after turning pro.

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American bike prodigy Taylor Phinney takes silver in the time trial in the World Road Cycling Championships; maybe it was the shoes.

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Once again, the courts go easy on a dangerous-driving celebrity. L.A.’s bike share program will open with stations in Downtown, Venice, Westwood and Hollywood. Downtown’s Grand Ave and Olive Street will get new buffered bike lanes south of 7th. Flying Pigeon says there’s plenty of room for a road diet on North Fig. C.I.C.L.E. hosts a free workshop on how to shop by bike this Saturday. Recent Redondo Beach high school graduates are responsible for 26 new bike racks in the city. Classic and modified bikes will be part of a Monterey Park car show next month. High Desert Cyclists will host a fall century on October 20th. A Big Bear heart patient credits cycling with keeping her alive. Cyclelicious looks at the short history of cycle chic. A pair of San Francisco cyclists are raising funds to ride across the U.S. to investigate bicycling fatalities. If you’re going to run a red light, make sure there’s not a police car in the way.

The Atlantic features famous authors and their bikes. Platinum bike-friendly status just isn’t good enough anymore. The head of Trek tells Interbike bike lanes don’t happen by accident. Lovely Bicycle looks at the challenge of marketing bicycles to women; Cyclelicious considers the distraction of booth babes. My hometown celebrates Octoberfest with a combination of bikes, bands and beer. A stolen Hummer takes out eight New Yorkers, along with a bus, taxi and barbeque stand; but cyclists are the real problem, right? Bike riding gangs are beating up and robbing pedestrians in New Haven. A North Carolina TV station is amazed that a woman would ride 13 whole miles — and back — to apply for a job. A Florida driver faces anywhere from 22.8 months to 35 years in prison after pleading guilty to running down two cyclists, killing one, then fleeing the scene.

The bicycle is the new art icon. London may try bike-specific traffic signals. A UK cyclist relies on a bike cam after getting hit by cars 30 times; after that many collisions, I’d consider a good cycling course first. New Yokohama bike lane requires cyclists to dodge obstacles while riding the not-so-straight but very narrow.

Finally, in a tongue-in-cheek report, a UK official refuses to build more roads until motorists behave.

And just to be fair, it’s not just UPS trucks that block the bike lane. By the way, UPS promised the local office would call me on Monday. Do I really need to say I’m still waiting?

Update — third cyclist killed in OC last weekend; Newport Beach hit-and-run driver charged

The Orange County Bicycle Coalition is reporting that a cyclist was killed in a Buena Park traffic collision last weekend.

According to the site, the male rider, whose name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin, collided with a motor vehicle while riding on Artesia Blvd east of Stanton Ave around 7:45 pm Sunday.

No other details are available at this time.

This follows the death of nutritionist Sarah Leaf while riding on East Coast Highway on Friday, and Dr. Catherine Campion Ritz in a hit-and-run on Saturday.

The driver who killed Campion Ritz has been charged with felony hit-and-run causing death and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence; prosecutors are asking for $100,000 bond. Reports are that he was allowed to keep driving despite a conviction for possession of a controlled substance, and a host of driving offenses that were dismissed as a result of his guilty plea.

And that is exactly how authorities help keep dangerous drivers on the streets until they finally kill someone.

In addition, another Orange County rider died last Wednesday from injuries suffered in an apparent solo fall on August 31st, and a 52-year old Riverside cyclist was killed in a collision with a minibus on Friday.

This is the 57th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 11th in Orange County — including four OC riders who have died in the last week.

My heartfelt prayers for the victim and his family.

Thanks to Lois for the heads-up.

Update: the Orange County Coroner confirms the fatality, without naming the victim; thanks to CK for the link.

Update 2: The OCBC has confirmed that the rider who was killed on Sunday was a 51-year old male resident of Buena Park. He was riding without lights or reflective gear, despite the full darkness at that hour, and was not wearing a helmet; whether that could have made a difference is still to be determined.

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