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.

6 comments

  1. JD says:

    This should get Gerry’s attention,

  2. Joe B says:

    “The outline is athletic and slim like a real rider.”

    With all the lying and cheating going on, I actually don’t mind being labeled a fake rider.

  3. Ray Ramage says:

    The only way to get Jerry’s attention is to vote against the initiatives and candidates he endorses.

  4. Opus the Poet says:

    That 90 day sentence and $300 fine in NM was actually the maximum sentence the judge could impose in the case. Even the judge was complaining about it, also the house arrest was not of the judge’s doing but imposed by outside considerations.

  5. Jeffrey says:

    There is a great need to revisit the penalties for running down and maiming/killing a cyclist. Any suggestions?

  6. [...] 1,200 Ride in Newport Beach to Honor Fallen Riders, Raise Awareness (Biking In L.A.) [...]

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