Archive for October 30, 2012

Self-entitled bike lane driving SaMo driver

It’s been one of those days. Besides other commitments, I haven’t been able to pull myself away from the news from the East coast.

So today’s post will be tomorrow’s post.

But in the meantime, here’s the latest stupid driver trick caught on helmet cam to keep you entertained.

Over 1,200 cyclists honor two fallen riders and call for bike safety in Newport Beach

Photos courtesy of April Morris

Sometimes, the SoCal cycling community awes me.

For the past few weeks, Newport Beach cyclists have been planning a memorial ride and fundraiser to honor fallen riders Sarah Leaf and Dr. Catherine “Kit” Campion-Ritz, both killed the same horrible weekend last month.

As well as a third woman, Betty Bustrum, who somehow survived a serious collision on the Coast Highway.

When they first started planning this ride, I think organizers would have been happy if a few hundred riders showed up. Let alone the 600 bicyclists who had signed up to participate as of Saturday night.

Then the morning dawned, and over 1,200 cyclists were waiting at the starting point to honor the dead and injured, and call for better safety on Orange County streets.

I say over 1,200, because that’s when Newport Beach police stopped counting. It could have been 1,300. Or 1,500.

Or more.

More than 1,200 riders whose hearts — amazingly big, caring hearts — were in exactly the right place.

And who have contributed $53,000 and counting to improve bike safety in Newport Beach, with the city pledging to match donations on a three-to-one basis. Which means that $53,000 is really worth $159,000.

It came in the form of t-shirt sales, wristbands and donations ranging from a single dollar to $10,000 donated by our friend Frank Peters of cdmCyclist.

And there’s still time to raise more, as donations will continue to be accepted through the end of this year, in case you happen to find your heart and wallet full at the same time.

I don’t know if any of those riders were there because of anything I wrote about it here. Or if a solitary dime was donated due to anything I may have written.

But it doesn’t matter one whit.

I am simply amazed and gratified so many cyclists gave up their Sunday morning for their fellow riders.

And thankful for April Morris, Joan Littauer, the Orange County Bicycle Coalition, and all the people who volunteered their efforts and gave up far more than one morning to pull this off.

Seriously.

You all are amazing.

………

As long as we’re talking memorial rides, the stepdaughters of fallen cyclist Benjamin Torres are hosting a BikeRun in honor of their stepfather on Saturday, November 10th. If you live or ride in the Gardena area, show up to show the world he hasn’t been forgotten. And that all bicyclists have the right to ride safely.

………

A bicyclist is seriously injured, and a motorcyclist left in critical condition following a crash on Santiago Canyon Road near Modjeska Grade Road. Rancho Santa Margarita Patch quotes an OC Sheriff’s Department spokesperson as saying the collision was severe enough that they initially thought it was going to be a double fatality. But evidently, the OC Register was more concerned with the effect the crash had on traffic conditions.

Redlands police are looking for a hit-and-run driver who ran down a cyclist from behind at 45 – 55 mph, leaving her with critical injuries. The victim is identified only as a black woman in her 30s or 40s; police are looking for a newer black mid-size, 4-door sedan with tinted windows, and damage to the front bumper, windshield and roof.

………

The first NACTO conference reveals cities around the country are making their own transportation improvements without state or federal help. New York’s pro-cycling Mayor Bloomberg declares bicyclists, pedestrians and bus riders are as important, if not more, than motorists; thanks to Michele Bigelow for the heads-up. And NY stats show a 49% increase in retail sales along one new bikeway, and a 49% reduction in commercial vacancies along another.

So much for bike lanes being bad for business.

………

Unbelievably, after all the lies in pro cycling’s recent doping scandal, UCI picks Pinocchio as the mascot for next year’s World Championships. Talk about tone deaf.

Meanwhile, pro cycling’s governing body faces an investigation into its role in l’affaire Lance. The Guardian says UCI has a long way to go to reclaim their credibility, while five Euro newspapers team up to provide a roadmap to recovery.

………

Richard Risemberg offers solutions to the disappearing eastbound bike lane on Santa Monica Blvd in Century City; the current solution is pedal fast and hope for the best. Santa Monica’s Bike Center encourages new cyclists by loaning them a free bike for two weeks. A Downey writer calls on the city to develop an effective bike plan. Chico’s new city manager gets to know the town on two wheels. A pair of Napa cyclists look back on the recent Furnace Creek ultra-distance bike race.

It’s been a bad month for bike shop employees, as two were killed while riding this month. A red light-running New Mexico driver gets a whopping 90 days of home detention for killing a cyclist; way to crack down on dangerous drivers, your honor. A writer in my hometown asks if helmets are necessary in a cycling city. The mayor of Fort Worth conducts her town halls on two wheels. There’s a bicycling renaissance in central Massachusetts. It took a group of NY non-journalists to do the work the press didn’t and help bring doping to light.

A cyclist is being sought by Vancouver authorities for beating another rider, apparently for riding the wrong way on a bikeway. London plans to open the South Bank of the Thames to cyclists and pedestrians. A UK driver gets off with a slap on the wrist after the victim is blamed for his own fractured skull because he wasn’t wearing a helmet; so if I shoot someone, it’s his fault for not wearing a bulletproof vest, right? A British town is up in arms over the presence of a recumbent rider. In a truly heartbreaking case, a British rider is hit and killed by a car while exchanging information with a driver hit him in another collision moments earlier — and to top it off, his bike was stolen following the first collision by two men offering to help. The New York Times reveals why nearly forgotten cyclist Fiorenzo Magni was one of the greatest riders of his era — and not just because he finished 2nd in his final Giro with a broken collarbone and a broken arm. Four months after nearly getting killed in a Santa Rosa hit-and-run, Kiwi pro Michael Torckler makes a near-miraculous recovery to ride competitively once again.

Finally, I know the feeling, but seriously, don’t hit the car back after it hits you. If you’re going to carry your five-year old son on your bike, leave your portable meth lab at home.

And don’t get too comfortable, you can be replaced.

Bike Events: Newport Beach Memorial Ride, Tour de Portos and a Bike SGV Halloween Bike Train

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.

new support group has formed for people who have been involved in a bicycle collision. Everyone is welcome to share your experiences, gain insight and understanding into your emotional state and develop new coping strategies. The group will meet Saturdays from 11:30 am to 1 pm at 6310 San Vicente Blvd, Suite 401. Current LACBC members receive a discount. To learn more, contact Aurisha Smolarski at 323/203-1526 or email aurisha.smolarski@gmail.com.

Saturday the 27th marks the Glassel Park Murder Mountain Urban CX Race starting at 4 pm at Velo Love, 3421 Verdugo Road, with an after party at Verdugo Bar.

Newport Beach will sponsor a memorial ride for fallen cyclists Sarah Leaf and Dr. Catherine “Kit” Campion Ritz on Saturday, October 28th. The easy, 1.2 mile ride will begin at 8 am, starting from the northwest corner of Santa Rosa and Newport Center Drive, and rolling at a processional pace. A longer, unofficial ride will follow, visiting a number of sites where riders have been injured or killed in the area, as well as the soon-to-be-installed CdM sharrows. The ride will feature a fundraising drive for bike safety improvements, with the city matching all donations on a 3-to-1 basis up to $450,000, and there will be a raffle for prizes including a Specialized Bike and gift cards from local bike shops. If you live or ride in Orange County, you need to be here.

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.

The same day, Bike SGV will host a Halloween Bike Train and BBQ, with rides of 25 and 60 miles, as well as a Walk/Jog/Run. The rides start at 9 am and 8 am, respectively, starting at 776 Santa Anita Ave in South El Monte, followed by bike and rider costume contests, barbeque and pumpkin carving.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Civic Engagement Committee meets at 6:45 pm on the last Tuesday of each month. The next meeting will be Tuesday, October 30, at Johnnie’s Pizza at Museum Square, 5757 Wilshire Blvd. This month we turn our attention from the November election, and start focusing on next March’s L.A. mayoral and City Council elections. Email bikinginla at hotmail dot com to be added to the email list.

The Eastside Bike Club invites you to the 4th Annual Dia de los Muertos Bike Ride to honor family and friends who have passed. The ride assembles at 3:30 pm on Friday, November 2nd at Hecho En Mexico, 4976 Huntington Drive in El Sereno, rolling at 4 pm.

This month’s LACBC Sunday Funday ride will take place on Saturday night, instead. The Haunted Saturday Funday Ride (scroll down) will take meet at 3:45 pm on Saturday, November 3rd at The Georgian, 1415 Ocean Ave in Santa Monica, rolling at 4:15 pm. Led by Executive Director Jen Klausner, the 16 mile ride will visit spooky destinations like the Marquez Family Cemetery, Sullivan Ridge Fire Road and the Murphy Ranch. Expect some climbing and descending; dirt-worthy bikes recommended.

Monday, November 5th, the High Desert Cyclists hold their monthly Cruiser Ride from 9 am to 12 noon. The easy, slow paced rides run about 20 miles, at a speed of about 10 mph, with stops along the way. This month’s ride meets at the north side parking lot at Ave S and the Aquaduct in Palmdale.

The stepdaughters of fallen cyclist Benjamin Torres are hosting a BikeRun in honor of their stepfather on November 10th starting at Rowley Park in Gardena, and proceeding to Wilton Place and 135th St. The ride assembles at 3:30 pm and rolls at 4 pm. I highly recommend this one to honor a hit-and-run victim who should still be with us.

CORBA (the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association) invites riders to meet at the Hub in Topanga State Park on Saturday, November 17th to celebrate their 25th anniversary and show that mountain bikers can co-exist on off-road trails. Riders will meet at 10 am, with a group photo and cash prizes starting at 10:30.

The LACBC’s second Tour de Taste is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, December 2nd; mark your calendar for a unique combination of bikes and great food.

High Desert Cyclists win the award for the first scheduled Christmas party of the year, to be held at 7 pm on Monday, December 17th at the Texas Cattle Company, 44206 10th Street West in Lancaster. You can also buy a $40 raffle ticket for a chance to win a $600 Bicycle John’s gift certificate; the raffle ticket includes a free one year family membership to the HDC.

Registration is now open for a six-day ride through San Diego and Riverside Counties between the holidays. The HI-USA Christmas Trip, which has rolled every year since the mid-1950s, starts in San Diego on December 26th and returns on December 31st, with five overnights in between. Total mileage runs between 360 and 400 miles, with terrain ranging from urban to rural, mountains to desert. Thanks to Marvin Davis for the heads-up.

Make your plans for the Malibu 7-Canyon Ride on Saturday, March 23rd with rides of 100 mile, 100 kilometers and 50 miles. The fully supported ride will begin at Zuma Beach, and pass through Latigo, Encinal, Decker, Mulholland, Little Sycamore, Yerba Buena and Deer Creek Canyons, with over 9,000 feet of climbing on the century ride. The first 200 people to register before November 15th will get a 15% discount; enter the code First200 on the registration page.

Cyclist refuses to back Governor’s Prop 30 in response to Brown’s repeated 3-foot vetoes

I got an interesting email tonight from a regular reader and bicycling advocate who asked that his name be kept private.

He forwarded an email he sent to Governor Jerry Brown, connecting the dots between Brown’s ill-advised vetoes of two three-foot passing laws, and support for the tax increase Brown is currently pushing. As well as his own safety.

After much soul searching I have decided not to support Prop 30.

As someone who commutes over 5,000 miles per year by bicycle, the Governor’s callous unwillingness to protect my safety by twice vetoing the 3 ft passing law is so important to me, that I cannot bring myself to cooperate with him on an issue of far less importance to me.  Just today I was again struck by a motorist (thankfully uninjured) while riding home in Hollywood.  My life, my safety, is personally more important than the solvency of this state.

If he can’t be bothered to protect me, I can’t be bothered to help him.

Regretfully, 

First of all, let me say I’m glad he’s okay; collisions with cars don’t always turn out so well.

Second, I have to admit, the same thought has occurred to me.

I can’t say I’d recommend basing your vote on a funding measure on Brown’s lack of support for California cyclists. On the other hand, I couldn’t blame you if you did; the governor shouldn’t expect our support when he won’t give us his. Which is something he can ill afford right now.

Meanwhile, Bike San Diego offers an in-depth two-part look at Brown’s veto.

………

On a related subject, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to remember who first came up with the term Jerry Browned to describe getting dangerously buzzed at less than three feet while riding your bike.

I remember seeing it on Twitter. And that took the ball and ran with it, as did Gary the always insightful of Gary Rides Bikes.

It turns out that credit for originally coming up with it goes to our friends at L.A.-based bikewear manufacturer Swrve.

………

The LACBC endorses Proposition J to speed up transit projects. Fighting a valet blocked bike lane. Motor Avenue gets a much needed road diet. Multicultural Communities for Mobility — the former City of Lights program — hosted their annual awards dinner on Wednesday. The history of PCH reveals a troubled and dangerous highway. In an absolutely absurd opinion piece, the L.A. Times compares the green credibility of a $20 cardboard bike with an $845,000 plug-in hybrid Porsche. Malibu officials confirm their commitment to bike safety following the death of Mari Echeverria on PCH this month; Cycling in the South Bay responds with the real problem on PCH. What happens to abandoned bikes in Hermosa Beach. CLR Effect takes a look at fire bikes.

Don’t forget this weekend’s Newport Beach Memorial Ride and Fundraiser; if you ride in Orange County you need to be there. An Orange County assailant escapes by BMX bike after stabbing a woman multiple times; fortunately, her injuries weren’t serious. Signs appear announcing the forthcoming sharrows in Corona del Mar. A Los Olivas DUI driver gets four years and four months in prison for plowing into a group of riders, leaving one in a semi-comatose state with serious brain injuries. A dangerous Santa Barbara street gets the blame for putting a cyclist on life support — though police say it’s because she didn’t use a crosswalk. San Francisco police allegedly beat the crap out of a popular cyclist and bike cap maker for exercising his 1st Amendment rights — then charge him with assaulting three officers and resisting arrest. Bay Area bicyclists say thanks to drivers.

The Bike League has recognized this year’s Bike Friendly Businesses — including Santa Monica’s Helen’s Cycles and Irvine’s Jax Bicycle Center — along with their new Bike Friendly Universities; sorry, USC. Thirteen reasons you should start biking to work. Winter bike commuting in Anchorage AK. An Arizona writer gets it right in responding to complaints from motorists. A Salt Lake City man is under arrest after taking a $5,900 for a test ride and not coming back. A Native American driver shows no remorse when he pleads guilty to running down a cross-county cyclist on a New Mexico reservation; the tribal court has jurisdiction, which is seldom a good thing. A drunk Texas cyclist pulls a machete on a cop; usually not a good idea. A Pittsburgh mom thanks the strangers who helped her bike-riding daughter. An arrest has been made in the case of the Pittsburgh cyclist whose throat was slashed last month. In a horrifying case, two New Jersey brothers are accused of killing a 12-year old girl to steal her BMX bike. Bike Portland says New York streets really do live up to the hype. NYPD forgets to investigate the fatal dooring of a cyclist last April. New York plazas and bike lanes are good for business. Russell Crowe leads the paparazzi on a 7.7 mile bike chase. AAA insists DC-area drivers are the victims of a war on cars; if they don’t figure out soon that a lot of their members also ride bikes, they may lose that war.

America’s only surviving Tour de France winner calls on the head of competitive cycling’s governing body to resign. Lancegate claims another victim, as Team Sky’s Bobby Julich resigns as cycling coach. Motorists say cyclists are endangering their lives by riding on divided highways; yeah, they couldn’t just slow down and drive safely. So much for that cycling paradise, as a Danish princess collides with a cyclist on the streets of Copenhagen. Bangalore gets its first bike lane. Real justice for a fallen cyclist as a Kenyan driver gets life in prison for the hit-and-run death of a bike rider.

Finally, let me get this straight — if 25% of drivers want those “inconsiderate cyclists” to be  taxed and licensed, doesn’t that mean an overwhelming 75% don’t? And a UK cyclist punches a car passenger in an unprovoked assault. So who said it was unprovoked?

Oh, right, the guy who got punched.

Update: Teenage cyclist dies days after Arcadia collision

An Arcadia cyclist has died three days after he was injured in a collision.

According to the Pasadena Star-News, 16-year old Roger A. Lewis of Arcadia passed away Tuesday morning after he was taken off life, following a collision just before 10 pm Saturday at Santa Anita Blvd and Duarte Street.

Lewis was stopped at the red arrow in the southbound left turn lane of Santa Anita; shortly after the light at the intersection changed to green, he reportedly swerved to the right and was hit by a 2008 Chrysler Sebring coming up from behind in the next lane. He was thrown from the bike, suffering major head injuries.

No explanation is given for why the victim might have moved out of the left turn lane and into the path of the car. And yes, police suggest that there were witnesses in addition to the driver.

It would seem more likely that the driver drifted into the left turn lane where the rider was waiting. However, it’s also possible that Lewis may have changed his mind and decided to go straight without checking for traffic behind him, or that he might have been forced to swerve for some reason.

Unlike motor vehicles, the small size and weight of a bike and rider often make it difficult, if not impossible, to determine the exact point of impact in a bike-involved collision. As a result, determining exactly what happened and who was at fault usually rests on witness statements.

In this case, the question is whether there were in fact independent witnesses who saw Lewis swerve to the right, aside from the driver and/or passengers in the car.

Toxicology tests were pending on both the victim and the 26-year old driver, who was not identified. However, police note that drugs or alcohol did not appear to be a factor in the collision.

The paper also notes that Lewis was riding a fixed-gear bike; however, that would not seem to have played any role in the collision as it was described. They also note that he wasn’t wearing a helmet; whether that could have made a difference in this case would depend on the speed of the car that hit him.

This is the 66th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, which equals the six-year annual average for the region. It’s also the 22nd bicycling death in Los Angeles County, which is just two below last year’s total.

My prayers and sympathy for Roger Lewis and all his family and loved ones.

Update: Roger Lewis’ former classmates react to his death, via Arcadia Patch.

Meanwhile, Boyonabike! stopped by to remind us that the Arcadia City Council rejected plans to develop a new bike plan, with the Mayor of the city — who claims to be an avid cyclist — stating he doesn’t think bicycling can be a legitimate form of alternative transportation. This death can, and should, be laid directly at their feet.

The description in the press of how this collision unfolded continues to eat at me, as it just doesn’t seem to make sense that he would wait in the left turn lane until the light changes, then swerve to the right without warning. But I guess anything is possible.

An open letter to L.A. Mayor — and three-foot law supporter — Antonio Villaraigosa

Last week, I asked you to write L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to urge him to try one more time to get a three-foot passing law through the state legislature and onto the desk of our seemingly bike-hating governor.

Today I’m sharing my own letter to the mayor.

………

Dear Mayor Villaraigosa,

No one blames you for the failure of SB 1464, the three-foot passing law recently vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown.

In fact, I’m told that, not only were you the driving force behind the introduction of the bill, you were also fighting for it right up to the moment of the governor’s ill-advised veto, urging him to sign the bill and protect the safety of the state’s bike riders.

Yet inexplicably, the governor failed to listen to you, and rejected both the bill and your advice, for reasons that don’t even begin to pass the smell test.

Worse, it’s the second time he’s rejected a three-foot passing law, making Brown one of just two governors in the country to veto a safe passing bill — and the only one to do it twice. This despite promising outgoing State Senator Alan Lowenthal that he would sign it this time.

Which is why Jerry Browned has become the new term for a cyclist getting passed in a dangerous manner.

But everything I’ve heard says that you did everything to could.

I, on the other hand, didn’t.

I actually believed Brown when he claimed he cared about the safety of cyclists and would sign the bill this time around. I also accepted the assurances of those involved in the process that we could count on him this time.

No, really.

There were also things I didn’t like about this bill. Like the fact that the three-foot limit wouldn’t apply to bicyclists riding in a bike lane. And exemptions that allowed drivers too much discretion in passing at less than three feet, making the bill difficult, if not impossible, to enforce.

As a result, I didn’t fight for it. Even though codifying the three-foot limit, and legalizing the already common practice of briefly crossing the center line — the reason our auto-centric governor gave for the veto — should have been more than enough to overcome any reservations I might have had.

I won’t make that mistake again.

So I’m going to ask you to go to the mat one more time. Let’s find another sponsor for the bill, and use your considerable influence to get a three-foot passing law through the legislature once again.

And not one that’s been watered down to satisfy a governor who’s already shown he cares more about political expediency than he does the lives and safety of the people he’s been elected to protect. But rather, the strongest possible bill we can pass to protect cyclists as they ride the streets and highways of the Golden State.

I promise not to take it for granted this time. I’ll fight for it every bit as hard as you do, and use whatever influence I have with the cycling community to get it through the legislature.

Maybe redistricting and the new top-two electoral process will mean we can pass a bill with a veto-proof margin this time. If not, we’ll ensure that our governor truly understands how important this law is to California cyclists — and that it’s in his best interest, as well as ours, to sign it this time.

You’ve already done more than your share.

Now I’m asking you to take the lead one more time, and lay yet another bill to protect bicyclists on the governor’s desk. Except this time, I’ll be right there with you, along with countless other riders, to insist that he sign it.

Because our lives could depend on it.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers
bikinginla.com

………

If you haven’t contacted the mayor yet, please take a moment to email Mayor Villaraigosa at mayor@lacity.org, or call his office at 213/978-0600 or 213/978-0721 to urge him to try one more time to pass a three-foot passing law — and get the governor to sign it this time.

And join me in pledging to support his efforts this time around.

Whatever it takes.

Just another typically risky ride on the Westside, and a whole lot of mostly non-Lance links

It was just another ride on the Westside.

Full of doorings and blocked bike lanes, cut-off drivers and construction zones.

The sad part is, there was nothing unusual about it. This is what we have to contend with on a daily basis. And this part of the city, through now officially bike friendly L.A. and Santa Monica, is about as good as it gets in SoCal with the possible exception of Long Beach.

It could have been worse.

I left out video from a three-block stretch of San Vicente Blvd where the bike lane was blocked by a Hollywood production crew, because it *might* have shown someone riding through it anyway.

And we certainly don’t want to encourage that sort of behavior.

………

I’ve been doing my best to ignore the whole Lance Armstrong dopergate scandal. And it’s not like you can’t find all the news you can stomach on the subject without my help.

But there are a few stories that add a little depth to the coverage.

A report on CNN accuses Lance of pocketing $1 million donors that may have thought was going to Livestrong, as well as accusing him of being an arrogant jerk. Lance gets a lifetime ban, but the door is left open for other doping riders to repent. The NY Times reports that his wall of silence fell one rider at a time.

Meanwhile, UCI chief Pat McQuaid — who oversaw over a decade of doping cyclists with no apparent repercussions — calls Landis and Hamilton scumbags; pot, meet kettle. Christophe Bassons, known as Mr. Clean for his anti-doping stance, is banned for one year for dodging a dope test. Johny Schleck, father of top pros Frank and Andy, urges his sons to quit, saying “This is no life.” Rabobank is shocked! shocked! to find doping in pro cycling.

And if a doping cyclist causes you to rethink your support of an anti-cancer charity, you’re giving for the wrong reasons.

Thanks to George Wolfberg and @sonofabike for some of the above links.

………

Evidently, attempting to intentionally run down a cyclist and a pedestrian — the latter because he was wearing plaid — is no big deal, as a Tiburon driver gets one-year probation and a three to five year driving ban.

Does anyone think he would have gotten the same wrist-slap sentence if he’d used a gun instead a car?

Anyone?

………

LACBC co-founder Ron Milam makes the case for Los Angeles as a bicycling city; the Bike League says it takes a village to build a Bike Friendly Community. A road diet is being considered for 6th Street in the Miracle Mile, so why aren’t they planning on bike lanes? Better Bike says Beverly Hills police are off-base in how they read the law relating to bikes. Los Angeles gets its first pedestrian coordinators. Cycloscross comes to Glassell Park this weekend. Bikes bring cyclists of different ethnicities together to reduce tensions. The Eastside Bike Club invites you to join in on their Dia de los Muertos ride on November 2nd. Temple City prepares to try once again to make Rosemead Blvd better for bike riders and other humans. CLR Effect looks at last weekend’s Spooky Cross costume ride and the actual race that followed; he also notes the passing of a local cycling legend.

Anaheim police shoot an alleged gang member trying to flee on his bike. Orange County — yes, the entire county — gets a bronze Bike Friendly Community award the same day L.A. does. OC’s Aliso Creek trail is named part of the national trail system. Despite the recent deaths in Newport Beach, Santa Ana is the most dangerous city for cyclists in Orange County. A San Diego councilmember rides with local cyclists to learn about bike issues in his district. Bike SD looks at three-foot laws across the US in the wake of Governor Brown’s second misguided veto. After a Poway boy is injured by a car while riding his bike, press reports note that he wasn’t “wearing a helmet or any other protective gear;” what, like body armor or bubble wrap? Seriously? A 13-year old Ventura County boy is critically injured when he’s run down from behind in a SWSS, as the driver claimed he couldn’t avoid the victim after the rider stopped at the intersection then turned across the vehicle’s path. Our neighbors to the north in Kern County plan to increase county bikeways by a factor of 10. Maybe they’re starting to fight back — a Benecia cyclist is seriously injured after crashing into a flock of wild turkeys. Berkeley’s first Sunday Streets event is a success. Pleasanton police target underage riders without helmets.

Grist says bike riders are better for the economy than drivers; but you already knew that, right? Bike commuting is on the rise in the US. Bike Snob offers his own unique take on cyclocross. Boulder CO cyclist get a new 40-acre off-road bike park. Colorado’s Fort Lewis College dominates the collegiate mountain bike championships. St. Louis passes a city ordinance banning harassment of cyclists and pedestrians. Vandals destroy a new lighted bike path at Syracuse University. A Boston bike share rider explains why he doesn’t use a helmet; maybe so, but going without one because they’re not attractive has to be one of the most asinine reasons ever given. Dispelling the myths about bicycling in Philadelphia; clearly, the writer gets it. A Florida driver gets seven years for the hit-and-run death of a bike riding Japanese college student.

A new study from the University of Duh shows roads with parked cars are most dangerous for cyclists, and separated bikeways pose one tenth the risk of unmarked routes. An Ottawa writer clearly gets it, in one of the smartest pieces I’ve seen from a motorist’s perspective. In a horrifying case from Cardiff, Wales, a murderous driver goes on an intentional hit-and-run spree, killing one woman and injuring 11 others in a rampage that lasted three miles and 30 minutes. Evidently, life is cheap in the UK, or maybe they just take boat racing seriously — a British driver gets eight months for killing a cyclist, two months more than another man got for disrupting a race on the Thames. Maybe that will change, as British government officials meet with bike advocates to discuss justice for cyclists, while a Brit writer says FU, sincerely — and more than once — to the UK’s father of Vehicular Cycling. Three-time Giro d’Italia winner Fiorenzo Magni died at the age of 91. And the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain offers a link wrap-up that goes far beyond mine; the student has clearly surpassed the master.

Finally, when a man walks in on his girlfriend with another man, the writer building a bike for her gets to keep it. Then again, if someone would just move those damn deer crossing signs, maybe they wouldn’t get hit so often.

And if you missed it, here’s a helmet cam video of LACBC Planning and Policy director Eric Bruins’ remarks at last week’s press conference announcing L.A. as a Bike Friendly Community.

Bad night for cyclist shootings in Southern California; cyclist killing driver gets 25 to life for murder

Two bike riders lost their lives to gunfire Thursday night.

One in San Diego, and a second in Santa Ana six hours later.

According to the North County Times, San Diego police responded to reports of gunshots and a man down around 7pm on South 35th Street near Durant Street.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin, had been riding his bike near his home when he was shot. He fell off his bike, then ran towards his home, collapsing before he could get there.

Paramedics declared him dead at the scene.

Six hours later, a second bike rider was shot and killed in Santa Ana in what police describe as a gang-related shooting.

The Orange County Register reports that 20-year old Edgar Omar Sura of Anaheim was found suffering from multiple wounds when police responded to reports of gunshots around 1am on the 4500 block of Westminster Avenue.

According to KABC-7, Sura was riding his bike when he was shot around La Bonita Avenue and 17th Street; like the victim in San Diego, he tried to run away, but collapsed before he could reach a nearby condo complex.

Authorities may offer a reward of $50,000 for information on the shooter(s).

These are the fifth and sixth fatal shootings of bike riders in Southern California this year, and the second each in both San Diego and Santa Ana.

Update: The San Diego-area victim has been identified as 44-year old Juan Carlos Martinez of Mountain View. 

………

Finally, a fallen cyclist gets the justice he deserves.

Sixty-eight-year old Armando Herman Villalobos of Home Gardens was riding his bike home from the grocery store when he allegedly cut off a truck driven by 23-year old Anthony Ray Lopez of Corona.

Egged on by his passenger after an afternoon of drinking, Lopez followed Villalobos’ bike, yelling and cursing at him. When the cyclist ignored them, Lopez bumped the back wheel of the bike with his truck, yet somehow Villalobos managed to stay upright.

Then the passenger, 24-year old Christopher Isenhower, said “Let’s go for him,” according to a witness; Lopez gunned his engine, hitting Villalobos’ bike and sending him flying to his death. Lopez then fled the scene after stopping to dislodge the bike from under his truck.

Isenhower reported the hit-and-run to Riverside sheriff’s deputies later the same night — presumably after sobering up a little.

The Valley News reports that Lopez was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison on Friday, the sentence dictated by sentencing guidelines for first degree murder following Lopez’ conviction on August 30th.

No word on the charges or potential sentencing facing Isenhower, who appears far from innocent in this case.

………

Photos courtesy of Michael Eisenberg

Michael Eisenberg sends word that the bike lane-blocking bus layover on Rinaldi Street has finally been repainted, as promised by Lynne Goldsmith at Bike Metro.

I saw this final restripe on the commute to work this morning. The bike lane used to be the closest 3 feet to the curb. They narrowed each car lane 1 foot. There is a broken line area where the buses are supposed to park, and this guy missed the mark by 40′, but the restripe job covered the entire block, so I guess it really doesn’t matter. There really isn’t safe passing room between the bus and the right car lane, but the restripe adds a little more visual acuity to the situation.

The shame is that the block before this one there is a really large dead area where the street is extra wide as it transitions of the 118 Fwy overpass where the buses could park without impeding any traffic or bike traffic.

………

I couldn’t resist sharing this email from San Diego rider gottobike in response to yesterday’s discussion of Jerry Browned as the new, well-deserved term for getting dangerously buzzed by a passing car while riding your bike.

I was carefully Jerry Browned while cycling in San Diego the other day. While bicycling through a construction area, a motorist swerved into the bike lane at a high rate of speed and came very close to clipping me (the “classic” Jerry Brown). With gravel, sand, and dust flying, he segued this Jerry Brown maneuver into a right hook, and then quickly corrected and shot down a frontage street that paralleled our course.

When I caught up with the motorist to compliment him on his Jerry Browning skills, he assured me that even though he had cut in front of me, he had done it very carefully.

I’m sure this careful Jerry Browning did not present any risk to the motorist.

……..

Finally, you can thank me later.

Hell freezes over, as LA is now officially bike-friendly; let’s go for three on the 3-foot passing law

By now, you’ve probably heard what the press conference I cryptically hinted at yesterday was all about.

Not that I didn’t want to tell you.

But when someone swears me to secrecy, I tend to take that seriously.

Especially when the League of American Bicyclists releases their latest list of Bike Friendly Communities. And Los Angeles, shockingly, is on it.

No, seriously.

Councilmember Ed Reyes makes the announcement flanked by members of the L.A. cycling community.

In an announcement that few of us thought we’d ever hear, the bike league named the formerly bike-unfriendly City of Los Angeles one of the nation’s best places to ride a bike.

And the oddest thing is, for once, we actually deserve it.

This award would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. When I started this blog a little over four years ago, which was my introduction to bike advocacy, Los Angeles was a very bike unfriendly city.

There were no sharrows, few bikeways connected to one another, and the only major bike lane built in recent years unceremoniously dumped riders off with no warning in the middle of high-speed Century City traffic, just a few blocks from even more bike-unfriendly Beverly Hills. And we had no voice whatsoever in City Hall or LADOT.

If we can point to any moment when that changed, it’s when a careless cab driver cut off the mayor of this city, leading to a broken arm and his Road to Damascus moment when Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa saw the light and became a convert to the cause of safe bicycling in the City of Angels.

Although, to be fair, there were hints of a change in attitude when he publicly mentioned the word “bicycle” for the first time following a trip to Copenhagen a few months earlier, to the shock of just about everyone.

However, that ignores the work of long-time bike advocates like Joe Linton and Stephen Box, just to name a few, as well as the roll of the recently dormant Bikeside and the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee in demanding a better bike plan and a safer riding environment.

Then there’s the work of a revitalized LACBC fighting for justice and better support for L.A. cyclists in City Hall on an almost daily basis.

Not to mention the friendly ear provided by City Council members such as Bill Rosendahl, Eric Garcetti, and Ed Reyes, just to name a few, and the support of LAPD Chief Beck in turning one of the most bike-unfriendly police departments into one of the nation’s most responsive to the needs of bike riders.

Admit it. You never thought you’d see this.

The two Bike Summits helped galvanize bicyclists — as did the Mayor’s own Bike Summit — while CicLAvia showed us for the first time what the city could be. And L.A. Streetsblog deserves a lot of credit for shining a light on bicycling and other transportation issues, both good and bad.

Let’s also not forget Wolfpack Hustle’s brilliant victory over a Jet Blue airliner. And all the Ridazz and riders who risk the streets to carve out a place for bikes on the city’s too often unforgiving streets.

This award is yours. And you’ve earned it.

One other note.

For years, LADOT and Senior Project Coordinator Michelle Mowery have been the ones local cyclists loved to hate — Mowery especially suffered heaps of blame as the highest ranking bicycling official in the city.

But I long wondered what she could do with the actual support of city leaders, and without the roadblocks posed by senior auto-centric engineers more concerned with maintaining automotive throughput than making the streets safe for everyone.

I think the rapid changes of last few years — and this award — have given us an answer.

And reason to give her our thanks.

That’s not to say our city has suddenly turned into a bicycle paradise. Amsterdam, we’re not.

The bronze award is the lowest level the LAB bestows. It signifies the city has made significant progress, but we still have a very long way to go.

And as the L.A. Weekly pointed out, it’s hard to say the city is truly bike friendly when a full one-third of all bicycling collisions are hit-and-runs.

Then again, as the bike league’s Andy Clarke reminded me at Thursday’s press conference, I was one of the angry cyclists who demanded the LAB rescind their recognition of Santa Monica as a bike-friendly city when it was first awarded back in 2009.

And look how that turned out.

Santa Monica took that modest award, and used it as a springboard to challenge Long Beach as the most bike-friendly community in Southern California.

Maybe we’ll look back on this as the day L.A. took it’s first big step towards becoming the great city it should be. One that works for everyone who uses its streets, rather than bequeathing de facto dominance to the ones with motors.

And truly earns, not just this award, but the silver, gold and platinum levels that could come if we continue to demand and work for them.

………

In an even more surprising award, the LAB named Orange County — yes, the entire county — a Bike Friendly Community as well. And like L.A., at the bronze level.

Something I’m sure a lot of OC cyclists may take as much issue with as I did Santa Monica’s a few years back, given the county’s unacceptably high level of cycling fatalities.

But maybe like SaMo — and hopefully, L.A. — this will spur them to actually do something about it.

And congratulations to already bike friendly Claremont on its promotion to the silver level.

………

The L.A. Times has picked up a story from a Sacramento paper about how Jerry Browned has become the new term for cyclists getting passed dangerously close, in honor of our governor’s two-time veto of the state’s proposed three-foot passing law.

And they have the infinite good taste to not only quote me on the subject, but to embed my video of getting Jerry Browned by a Hollywood tour bus.

Not that they seem to realize the same devilishly handsome and wickedly charming cyclist was responsible for both.

But there’s still that problem of a two-time veto by our two-time governor. And what the hell we’re going to do about it.

That was something that came up in conversation with other riders at Thursday’s press conference. And led to a commitment to try one more time.

If for no other reason than we should refuse to give up on something so important to our safety, regardless of what any pen-wielding curmudgeon may have to say on the subject.

Maybe this time we can demonstrate our real clout, and make it clear it’s in Governor Brown’s best interest to sign it this time, if he wants to be in a position to sign anything next term. Or maybe with the new redistricting and electoral reforms, we can get a veto-proof margin in the legislature to ensure his signature is nothing more than a formality.

The problem is, we’ve lost one of the bill’s two champions.

Senator Alan Lowenthal, who shepherded both bills through the legislature, is termed out of office, and now running for Congress in the 47th District. We could do a lot worse than electing a proven bike-friendly leader to the federal government.

That leaves the bill’s other big supporter — our own Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Chances are, he’s licking his wounds after achieving apparent victory on two separate occasions, only to have it snatched away by our non-friend in Sacramento. Or at least, I would be if I was in his wingtips.

We need to encourage him to give it one more try.

That’s why I’m asking you to contact the mayor’s office by phone or email. Or Twitter, for that matter.

And urge him not to give up on us.

Ask him to use his clout as mayor of the state’s largest city, and his connections in the legislature, to pass a three-foot passing law one more time.

Then it will be on all of us to make sure we don’t get Jerry Browned again.

Heading for a bike press conference, and dodging red light running drivers in MDR

Okay, so I owe you all an update.

And I promise to get right on that, as soon as I can stay in one place long enough to write one. Too many meetings and other obligations have kept me on the run the past couple days.

And tomorrow doesn’t promise to be any easier, thanks to a morning press conference when I’m usually still checking the news, petting the Corgi — and no, that’s not a metaphor, even if it does sound vaguely dirty —  and working on my second cup.

Then again, if you’re not busy Thursday morning, you might want to head to the 7th Street side of MacArthur Park at 9:30 am when the mayor will be hosting a press conference to announce something that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

And yes, it’s good news.

And no, I can’t tell you. Even if others have been leaking the news everyone was supposed to keep quiet.

I promise to fill you in later. In the meantime, if you can’t wait, check out L.A. Streetsblog after 9:30 am when Damien will break his paternity leave long enough to spread the good news. And maybe even quote yours truly if he can make heads or tales out of that rambling statement I gave him.

Meanwhile, here’s a perfect example of the benefits of defensive riding.

I often see cyclists run the red light where the Marina bike path crosses Admiralty Way, for no apparent reason. Especially since there’s seldom a long wait there.

Then again, it’s not unusual to see drivers run it, as well.

Most go through just after the light has changed. Which is why I make it a policy to wait an extra second or two to be sure that everyone is going to stop before I cross.

Then there’s this jerk, who blew through without slowing down, several seconds after the light had changed, and while I was already crossing the street.

If I hadn’t taken those few extra seconds, I might have been right in front of him. Not that I think that would mattered to the driver, who seemed to be a hit-and-run waiting to happen.

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