Archive for April 29, 2013

Update: Anaheim bike rider killed by train; OC Register holds details for ransom

This is exactly what I’ve been worried about.

Ever since the Orange County Register announced their draconian paywall policy requiring even the most casual online visitors to subscribe to the paper to read a single article, I’ve feared what would happen the next time a bike rider died behind the Orange Curtain.

And tonight, those fears have been realized.

According to the brief introduction to the story the paper posted online, a man was struck and killed by a Metrolink train while walking his bicycle along railroad tracks in Anaheim. The collision occurred around 4:30 pm on the tracks south of La Palma Ave and east of Pauline Street.

If there is any more information, it is hidden behind the paper’s login page.

Hopefully, another publication will provide the details the paper is keeping to itself. Because as it stands now, the Orange Curtain has become as opaque as a digital Berlin Wall.

This is the 20th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Orange County. It’s also the second bike rider killed by a train since the first of the year.

My prayers go out to the victim and his loved ones.

Update: A comment from Calwatch below identifies the victim as Andrew Powell of Fullerton, and places the time of death at before 3:30 pm, rather than 4:30.

Another comment from Carlos P offers a second-hand eye-witness report:

my brother was in the number 1 lane going east bound right up front and a white van was next to him in the number 2 lane. when a pedestrian tried to cross the tracks west bound after the arms were down. my brother and the van both saw the train coming and blowing his horn over and over again and the pedestrian never even looked up. my brother honked his horn as well to get the pedestrians attention but to no avail. instead of running and leaving his bike there, the pedestrian was hit by the train. my brother saw him fly through the air and land up against a chain link fence. sad situation.

Update 2: A source reports that Powell was actually the victim of another train collision, and that the victim of Monday’s bike-involved collision has not yet been identified.

There’ve been two Metrolink fatalities in OC in the past week. The first was a pedestrian on Friday afternoon; that was Fullerton resident Andrew Powell, who would’ve turned 21 next week. That collision occurred between the Fullerton & Buena Park stations.

Monday’s fatality occurred about 3 miles down Metrolink’s Orange County Line. Southbound Metrolink train 686 had just picked up speed after departing Fullerton station. This section of tracks, between an industrial area & a flood control basin, has a very slight curve, so it’s a crossing the engineer would have sounded on approach. On the south side of La Palma Avenue, it struck a guy pushing his bike on the tracks.

According to Anaheim PD, the victim hasn’t been identified, so his next of kin haven’t been notified yet. There’ll be an autopsy, but the coroner is “kind of backed up right now,” says a clerk, so it may be next week before it’s completed.

Exclusive — What really happened in the Mulholland motorcycle crash that took out two bike riders

You knew there had to be more to the story.

The video of the now infamous Mulholland motorcycle crash that took out two bicyclists is rapidly going viral around the world. Soon to be joined by this view of the same collision from the perspective of a motorcyclist trailing the rider who rear-ended the two bikes.

Area resident Chris Willig forwards word that the collision occurred at the aptly named Deadman’s Turn on a section of Mulholland called The Snake by the motorcycling community, and the Rock Store Climb by bicyclists. According to Willig, and another comment from Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious, it’s common for photographers and videographers to position their camera’s there to capture the action.

As Willig put it,

Photographers are there every weekend to capture the parade of cars, motorcycles and cyclists on this particular turn since it approaches 270°. Things happen at this point because drivers aren’t use to negotiating a turn like this.

Speculation has centered on a phenomenon known as target fixation as the cause of the collision, in which riders are unable to avoid whatever they are most focused on.

However, Byron of Bike Hugger points out the camera flash clearly visible in the trailing bike cam video, suggesting that the rider was looking for the photographer rather than focusing on the road ahead of him. Putting the best possible spin on it, it’s also possible that he was distracted by the camera flash, causing him to be out of position on the curve.

According to a source with inside knowledge of the situation, who prefers to remain anonymous, the bike riders were part of an informal ride of roughly 20 to 25 people, including retired pro cyclist and bikewear manufacturer George Hincapie. Hincapie was reportedly some distance ahead when the riders were hit, and may not have been aware of the collision.

This person was following the riders in a sag wagon when they got a call about the collision, and informed two nearby law enforcement officers who were having a car towed from a previous collision. They also stopped to pick up a participant in the ride who was between them and the scene of the collision approximately a quarter-mile ahead.

Good move on their part, since the rider they picked up happened to be the Chief Medical Officer for the Amgen Tour of California, who got right to work moving the more injured of the two riders to a safer position across the roadway.

The first rider to get hit was not part of the ride; he was an unlucky Brit who happened to fall in with the other riders at the wrong place and time. Word is he was not seriously injured; he was taken to a local hospital as a precaution and released the same day.

He may have been fortunate that the motorcyclist hit him almost directly from behind, cushioning the fall as he can be seen landing in the leather-clad rider’s lap.

Amazingly, the second rider, who was part of the riding group, walked away with just a few bruises. I’m told he was riding again the next day, albeit on a borrowed bike.

The motorcycle rider did not have registration for his bike with him, which is why it can be seen being towed at the end of the video.

No word yet on whether charges will be filed; however, my source reports that the police officers on the scene conducted a thorough investigation, including viewing the video of the collision.

But if charges aren’t filed, police will have a lot of explaining to do.

Update: The second video has been removed from You Tube, undoubtedly after realizing that it can, and most likely will, be used as evidence in a both criminal and civil court cases against the rider’s friend; thanks to Caritta for the heads-up.

Bike rider killed in Sunday Chula Vista collision; two riders injured in separate SoCal shootings

This was not a good weekend to be a bike rider in Southern California.

Following on the heels of Saturday’s infamous Mulholland motorcycle crash that mowed down two riders — more on that later — word comes this morning that a bike rider died in the San Diego suburb of Chula Vista Sunday night.

Multiple sources are reporting that the 59-year old rider, whose identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin, was crossing Palomar Street at Industrial Boulevard when he was struck by a westbound vehicle and critically injured around 7:30 pm. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died later last night.

The driver remained on the scene; police said drugs or alcohol did not appear to be a factor.

No other details are available at this time.

This is the 19th bicycling fatality in Southern California this yea, and the third in San Diego County. The victim is also the second bike rider to die in San Diego County in the past week.

My deepest sympathy for the victim and his loved ones.


Adding to the weekend’s carnage was the apparently unrelated shootings of two bike riders over the weekend.

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, an unidentified rider was shot and wounded while riding on the Rio Hondo Bike Path around 4 pm Sunday.

The man reported hearing gunshots from an unknown location before discovering he had been hit by two bullets. Fortunately, his injuries were not life-threatening.

In a separate case, the L.A. Times reports that a 27-year old man was shot in the back from a passing car while riding his bike along South Hoover Street at Manchester Avenue around 3:45 this morning.

The victim is in stable condition at at local hospital. No description of the suspect or the vehicle used is currently available.

Thanks to Rick Risemberg for the link to the Times article.

Police say the shooting may have been gang-related, not surprising given the drive-by nature of the incident.

Boring video proves Weekly writer wrong, anti-bike bias runs rampant, and riders run down on video

Sometimes it seems the truth doesn’t even matter anymore.

At least, not when it gets in the way of a bias against bicycles and those who ride them.

Stick with me here, because this is going to be a recurring theme today.


Just one of the many riders the LA Weekly claims don't ride on 7th.

Just one of the many riders the LA Weekly claims don’t ride on 7th.

We’ll start with what was apparently a semi-tongue-in-cheek article in last week’s LA Weekly.

In it, writer Dennis Romero — who famously proclaimed impending disaster before the first CicLAvia and seldom seems to miss an opportunity to unleash his snark on those of us on two wheels — offers five suggestions for solving the city’s traffic problems, from penalizing drivers who stop the flow of traffic to mandatory loss of license for any driver over 65.

Never mind that drivers aged 65 to 74 have the lowest rate of fatal collisions of any age group.

Then there’s his number one traffic solution — Take back the bike lanes.

….taking an entire car lane and giving it to bike riders, as has been done in some parts of town, is useless. It means double the number of cars in one lane and, often, an unused bike lane that neither protects riders from cars nor particularly entices the cyclist. Take a ride down 7th Street, which used to have four lanes and now has two, and you’ll see both mad traffic and an empty bike lane next to you…

That reference to “mad traffic — whatever that means — took me by surprise. Because 7th Street, post road diet, has morphed into one of the calmest, sanest and safest streets I ride on a regular basis.

It wasn’t always so.

Before the road diet went in about a year-and-a-half back — or before it was right-sized, to use the current, more PC planning term — 7th felt more like the wild west, as impatient drivers took to the lightly utilized street to zoom past more heavily congested routes such as Wilshire Blvd and 6th Street, just one and two blocks north, respectively.

And many of those drivers seemed less than disposed to share those lanes with the cyclists who rode them specifically because they were quieter, if not always safer, than those other streets.

Post downsizing, it has become one of the most popular riding routes between Downtown and the Westside. Despite the city’s failure to repave or patch the badly broken asphalt where the bike lanes went in, leading to an at-times bone-jarring ride, especially after dark when the potholes and cracked pavement are harder to see.

Let alone avoid.

I frequently use it myself, at all times of the day or night, as I ride in or out of DTLA for various meetings.

And despite what Mr. Romero suggests, I have yet to see anything close to traffic congestion on the repainted street.

Or angry — or crazy — drivers, for that matter.

Or any other form of the word mad, as it could be applied to traffic on the street.

But don’t take my word for it.

Consider this helmet cam video from last Thursday, recorded as I rode to an interview during what passes for the lunch rush on 7th.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing exciting about it.

In fact, it may be the most boring video I’ve ever posted online. Nothing of any consequence happens.

There’s no right hooks. No left crosses. No near doorings. No impatient drivers honking for me to move out of their way.

Although I did catch a motorist driving in the bike lane about a minute-and-three-quarters in, something I missed until I looked at the footage later that night.

And more to the point, no traffic congestion or angry drivers. No back-ups. No needlessly impeded traffic.

And no, it wasn’t any different when I rode back home at rush hour. Except I saw a lot more bike riders using the bike lanes in both directions.

Where Romero encounters that “mad traffic” that would justify yanking out the bike lanes and restoring automotive hegemony over the street is beyond me.

But I can say without the slightest doubt, it’s not on 7th Street.


Speaking of bike lanes, I was shocked to see new bike lanes on Wilshire Blvd — yes, Wilshire — in the Westwood area.

Evidently, the lanes went in after the roadway was recently repaved from Beverly Glen Blvd east to Comstock Ave, finally fixing one of the worst stretches of roadway in the City of Angeles, unaffectionately known by local cyclists as The Gauntlet.

It may go further west, but I was unable to see beyond the crest of the hill before making my turn at Beverly Glen. But I’m told the bike lanes will eventually reach west to Selby.

Of course, the bike lanes are only going in because the Condo Canyon millionaires’ row in the Westwood area was carved out of the planned Bus Rapid Transit Project, where bikes would have shared a lane with buses, allowing the hoi polloi to mingle with the overprivileged, at least on the streets.

But I’ll gladly take the bike lanes, and the finally, and unexpectedly, smooth pavement.


Now then, back to today’s theme.

In one of the most egregiously misguided pieces in recent memory, a writer in the UK takes issue with a new paved shared-use pathway in the Warwickshire countryside, decrying what sounds like an ideal pathway as a “grim cycle route” has become the domain of the “Lycra Brigade.”

Thankfully, most of the comments question her judgment. If not her sanity.

Thanks to DD Syrdal for the link.


Then there’s this one.

Writing for the London Guardian, the Executive Director of Scotland’s Daily Mail says that encouraging his fellow countrymen and women to bike will only result in more heart attacks, while making offices smell like “a badger’s arse.”

Though just how he has become intimately acquainted with the unique aroma of a badger’s butt is a question I am reluctant to ask.


For the benefit of motorists like those above, a Canadian writer offers six ways to kill a cyclist.

Although he forgets one of the simplest and most effective — just frighten riders off the road until they eventually die of inactivity in front of the TV or behind the wheel of their surprisingly not-actually safer SUV.


A British study shows that maybe that driver really didn’t see you, as over a fifth of all motorists seem blind to cyclists; thanks to Matt Ruscigno for the heads-up.


Fargo Street FMLIAR

Photo by Patrick Pascal

Speaking of Matt, Patrick Pascal shared a great photo of Sunday’s view from the top of Fargo Street, as the competitors in L.A.’s 8th Annual Feel My Legs, I’m A Racer stage hill climb race organized by Mr. Ruscigno struggle up the near impossible and virtually impassable climb.

Hopefully, we’ll soon find out who won.


Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has his right shoulder replaced after a serious fall from his bicycle. Odd; I would have assumed he’d lean to the left. Thanks to David Huntsman and Patrick Pascal for the tip.


And finally, maybe there is something to that study, as a Mulholland motorcyclist plows a pair of bike riders.

I’m told the rider somehow fixated on the cyclists directly in front of him, and was unable to avoid what he was staring at.

Scary, indeed.

Reports are the rider seem to be okay; one walked away while the other was taken to a hospital to get checked out. No word on whether the motorcyclist was injured, ticketed or charged.

My sincere thanks to everyone who submitted a link to this video via email, comments on here or Twitter. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten another story from so many sources.

A busy bike weekend — Feel My Legs I’m A Racer, Streetsblog’s 5th Birthday, LA River Bike + Walk

Before we get on with a bike-packed weekend and an ever growing list of events, take a look at what may be the best thing ever written about CicLAvia.

No, it’s okay. We’ll wait.


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

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

The Pasadena Tri Club is offering a nine week Group Riding Series for new cyclists interested in learning how to ride with in a group with more experienced riders; the course is designed to teach the basics, improve fitness and increase confidence. Sessions meet each at 8 am each Saturday at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center, 360 N. Arroyo Blvd in Pasadena, through April 27th; thanks to Margaret Ho for the heads-up.

The Ride 2 Recovery Honor Ride will take place on Saturday, April 27th, with rides of 17, 40, 62.5 and 100 miles. The ride will start from the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station, 27050 Agoura Road; funds benefit outdoor cycling programs and spinning recovery labs for wounded vets around the country.

Streetsblog LA hosts its 5th Birthday Party and Streetsie Award Dinner on April 27th, at the home of Deborah Murphy. Suggested donations for the fundraiser range from $25 to $100, but no one will be turned away; RSVP for location.

tumblr_mld0gn2nqS1qjdyl1o1_500Also on Saturday the 27th, the Northeast Los Angeles Riverfront Collaborative invites you to the River Bike + Walk Spectacular, from 4 to 10 pm at Marsh Park, 2960 Marsh Street. The event starts with a Bike + Walk at 4 pm, followed by a Community Fair at 6 pm and free outdoor screening of Beetlejuice at 8.

Sunday, April 28th, the 2013 LA to the Valley Unity Ride rolls to strengthen bonds between the city’s disparate communities. The ride starts and Los Angeles Historic Park and ends at Tia Chuchas. Registration is $20 before April 17th, and $25 before closing on April 19th; it includes lunch, dinner, snacks and mechanical support.

Also on the 28th, the 8th edition of the L.A.’s toughest hill climb competition takes place when Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer rolls from Sunset Triangle Park in Silver Lake, 3626 W. Sunset Blvd. The free competition meets at 8 am, and rides to the first of 10 serious hills at 8:15.

DTLA Bikes hosts a monthly bike ride on the last Sunday of each month. This month’s edition is scheduled for this Sunday, April 28th at 4:30 pm; meet at the shop at 425 Broadway in Downtown L.A.

The 18th Annual St. Vincent Meals on Wheels Beach Walk/Bike-a-Thon takes place this Sunday as well, with a short 10-mile ride along the beach. Entry is $20; participants are encourage to collect pledges, as well.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Civic Engagement Committee meets at 6:45 pm on the last Tuesday of each month. This month’s meeting will take place at Johnnie’s Pizza at Museum Square, 5757 Wilshire Blvd. on Tuesday, April 30th. This will be the last meeting before next month’s Mayoral and City Council election. You don’t have to be an LACBC member to participate; email bikinginla at hotmail dot com to be added to the discussion list.

Saturday, May 4, The LACBC Civic Engagement Committee is invites you to Bike the Vote with an informal Meet and Greet with the candidates for L.A.’s 13th City Council District to replace outgoing councilmember and mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti; both candidates have promised to attend. The event takes place at Golden Road Brewing, 5410 West San Fernando Road, from 1 pm to 4 pm; Golden Road Brewing is promising participants $4 pint specials of their Point the Way IPA, GR Hefeweizen, and Get Up Offa that Brown beers. The event will be preceded by a short bike ride starting at Sunset Triangle Plaza at noon, departing for Golden Road Brewing at 12:15 pm.

The next ride in the LACBC’s popular series of Sunday Funday Rides takes place on Sunday, May 5th with the L.A. State Historic Park Out ‘n’ Back ride. The ride meets at L.A. Historic Park, 1245 N. Spring Street in Chinatown at 10:30 am, rolling at 11 am for a fun, family-friendly 12-mile ride through the Arroyo Seco hosted by Board Member Trent Strong, followed by a BBQ with options for vegans and carnivores.

Warm up for Bike Week and River Ride with the Tour of Long Beach 2013 on Saturday, May 11th, featuring a bike fest and rides ranging from a 5-mile Family Fun Ride to 31 and 62 milers through the bike-friendly streets of Long Beach, along with a full century through Long Beach and down the SoCal coast to Laguna Beach. Proceeds go to support pediatric cancer research at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach.

Ventura County and West Valley riders can take part in the 28th Annual Cruisin’ the Conejo Bike Ride on Saturday, May 11th. Rides range from a 12-mile children’s junior tour and 35-mile fun tour, to a 68-mile metric century and a 100-mile full century; all rides start and finish at 649 Lawrence Drive in Thousand Oaks.

This year’s Bike Week will take place May 13th – 19th, starting with Fix Your Bike Day on Monday the 13th, Guided Ride Day on Wednesday, May 15th, Bike to Work Day on Thursday the 15th, and Bike Local Weekend from Friday, May 17th to Sunday the 19th, offering discounts to bicyclists who mention Bike Week. Pledge to ride your bike on Bike to Work Day and you could win a free bike from REI.

2013-posterThe 10th Annual Blessing of the Bicycles is scheduled for 8 am to 9:30 am on Tuesday, May 14th at Good Samaritan Hospital, 616 Witmer Street, between 6th and Wilshire. The multi-faith event is always one of the high points of Bike Week. And it never hurts to have a little divine protection when you ride.

Pasadena celebrates Bike Week as well, including Ladies Night on Wednesday, May 15th from 6:30 to 9:30 pm at Paseo Pasadena, 280 East Colorado Blvd.

The annual Ride of Silence falls in the middle of Bike Week, on Wednesday, May 15th, honoring fallen cyclists and calling attention to the need for safety. The biggest ride in the Los Angeles area will take place at the Rose Bowl starting at 6:30 pm and rolling at 7. Other Southern California rides take place in Gardena, San Clemente, Temecula, Thousand Oaks and Ventura, as well as the 2nd Annual Anthony Martinez Jr. Ride of Silence in Oxnard. Highly recommended to send an important message, as well as a little emotional healing.

The Education Committee of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council will host a Bike Rodeo at 10 am on Saturday, May 18th at Micheltorena Elementary School, 1511 Micheltorena Street. Children from 5 to 12 are invited to participate; free bikes and helmets will be available for those who need them.

Sunday, June 1st, women riders of all abilities are invited to take part in La Bella Preme. The event starts and finishes at the Triunfo Creek Vineyards, near the corner of Triunfo Canyon and Kanan Roads, with rides of 11, 31 and 63 miles along the Malibu coast. Click here to learn more.

Caltech Bike Lab teams with C.I.C.L.E. to offer a series of free defensive cycling classes; the next one take place on Saturday, June 8th at Caltech Y, 505 S. Wilson Ave in Pasadena. RSVP to with the date you want to attend.

Registration has opened for this year’s LA River Ride, to be held Sunday, June 9th, starting and ending in Griffith Park. If you haven’t done the River Ride, I highly recommend it; if you have, then why haven’t you registered already?

Now that you’ve had a taste of CicLAvia to the Sea, mark your calendar for the next edition when CicLAvia rolls down L.A.’s iconic Wilshire Blvd on Sunday, June 23rd. The ride rolls, walks, scoots and skates from Downtown to Fairfax — on both sides this time, I’m told —  from 10 am to 3 pm, before returning to an extended Downtown route on Sunday, October 6th.

Here’s your chance to bike the famed Las Vegas strip and the surrounding Las Vegas Valley, with the 6th Annual RTC Viva Bike Vegas Gran Fondo Pinarello on Saturday, September 21st. The event will offer routes for riders of all levels, from a 17-mile ride to 60-mile Metric Century and a 103-mile Gran Fondo; the longer rides will visit the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and Lake Mead.

Reward in hit-and-run murder of David Granados, new video in Beverly Hills road rage attack

Maybe the city is getting serious about hit-and-runs.

Or at least, the kind that leaves an 18-year old bike rider lying dead in the street.

As you may recall, 18-year old David Alexander Granados was attempting to cross Oxnard Street in the crosswalk at Bellaire Avenue when he was hit by a speeding SUV that ran the red light, throwing his body nearly 200 feet according to witness estimates. A friend who saw the collision told police Granados had the right of way, and looked both ways before crossing the street.

In other words, despite doing everything right, he was murdered by a lawbreaking motorist who fled the scene like a heartless coward, rather than face the consequences of his actions. And his killer continues to hide despite numerous pleas for him to come forward, and offers of forgiveness from the victim’s family.

Now the L.A. City Council will vote Tuesday to offer a $50,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the suspect.

The LAPD has released security camera footage of the suspect vehicle, a white or silver Mercedes M Class SUV with likely damage to the passenger side, driven by a man in his 50s.

Anyone with information is urged to call Valley Traffic Division Officer M. Tucker at 818-644-8063.

Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.


On a related note, the Beverly Hills Police Department has released a pair of new videos showing the vehicle involved in the road rage assault on a bicyclist in an alley just off Wilshire Blvd on April 3rd.

The videos show a white, newer model BMW 3281; the driver is described as a white or Middle Eastern man in his mid-30s with dark hair and eyes, and a slender build.

Despite the lengthy delay in announcing the case to the public, the BHPD appears to be taking the case seriously, seeking the driver on suspicion of attempted murder.

Anyone with information should call Det. Eric Hyon at 310/285-2156.


A letter on the Encinitas Patch site reports that fund has been established for the family of fallen Carlsbad cyclist Eric Ringdahl, who was killed by an allegedly sleeping driver while riding in the bike lane on El Camino Real last Sunday.

To make a donation to help support Eric’s family, please send checks to the “Eric Ringdahl Memorial Fund.” Checks may be deposited at any Wells Fargo Branch or mailed to Wells Fargo, 277 N. El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024.

The letter fills in the blanks in his biography, confirming that he worked in cell-based therapies at Cytori Therapeutics Inc. He leaves behind his wife Amy, an amateur triathlete, as well as three children ranging from five to nine.

In a tragic irony, the family has been active in efforts to improve road safety, working to get a new stop sign near their children’s school.


Finally, a 25-year old Berkeley-area cancer patient leaves a note for the jerk who stole his or her bike, apparently attached to the one remaining wheel the thief left behind.

The note adds that the rider didn’t drive, and the bike was the only means of transportation to get to oncologist appointments.

And that “Biking made me happy.”

However, the first — and so far, only — comment to the story goes a long way towards restoring my faith in humanity.

i have a bike – you can have it.

Catching up with today’s way too long compendium of all the latest bike news and links

Let’s take a few minutes to catch up on this week’s news now that things have settled down a little.

Or maybe quite a few minutes.

It’s a long list.


Beverly Hills isn’t the only place where a road raging driver has left an injured cyclist in his wake.

Around 5 pm last Friday, a group of women visiting from Las Vegas were riding single file on eastbound PCH in Newport Beach, when a Cadillac pulled up behind one on the riders and started honking impatiently — then plowed into one of the riders, rather than wait a few seconds until they could get out of his way.

The jerk driver fled the scene, but returned later, claiming it was the victim’s fault. Evidently for having the audacity to occupy the same space where he wanted to put his car.

The woman was transported to a local hospital with a head injury; a comment to the story indicates she was released after being kept overnight.

And no word yet on whether the driver was cited, or if charges are pending.

Thanks to Lois for the link.


An unarmed bike rider is shot by an L.A. Sheriff’s Deputy who thought he was acting “suspicious” and might have had a gun.

Maybe I’m missing something here, but since when is the mere possibility that someone might a weapon sufficient justification for using deadly force?

Maybe that’s why some drivers have been so aggressive lately. They can’t tell if I’ve got a gun in my bike shorts, or just happy to see them.


On the job front, Safe Routes to School is looking for an Active Transportation Fellow in DC. The League of American Bicyclists is looking for a Development Director. And if you’re a bike enthusiast with wrenching skills, GMR Marketing has a job for you at this year’s Amgen Tour of California.


The LA Weekly trolls for web hits once again, claiming, among other things, that the best way to improve L.A. traffic is to rip out bike lanes in favor of restoring regular traffic lanes. As evidence, the bike-baiting writer who shall remain unnamed claims the 7th Street bike lanes are unused and result in angry motorists.

Yet he somehow fails to explain why the city’s worst traffic problems are on streets that don’t even have bike lanes.

As someone who rides 7th Street on a regular basis, I can attest that I have never seen a traffic jam there since the bike lanes were put in, even at rush hour. And seldom find myself the only cyclist using the popular lanes, which have become the primary feeder route for riders coming into Downtown from the Westside.

But then, the Weekly doesn’t always let the facts get in the way of the story when it comes to bikes these days.


Once again, L.A. County’s killer highway claims another life, this time a pedestrian crossing Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.

Which is a needlessly tragic lead-in to the news that Malibu is hosting a pair of public meetings next month to discuss the city’s PCH Safety Study next month. If you ride on PCH — or ever find yourself trying to cross the street there — you owe it to yourself to attend one.


Maybe it’s just because the producer is my nephew. But this looks like a pretty decent distracted driving PSA. Especially considering it was made by a 16-year old who just got his license.


The city council gives the go-ahead for bike share in Downtown L.A., while CD14 Councilmember Jose Huizar introduces a motion to repaint the Spring Street green bike lanes. Speaking of which, the most recent bike count shows ridership on Spring Street is up another 40%, after a 52% increase last year; I suppose the Weekly would say no one uses those, either. Construction will begin soon on shared bike/bus lanes on Sunset Blvd. Mark your calendar for Bike Week; pledge to ride on Bike to Work Day and you could win a bike from REI. Examined Spoke offers some good thoughts about CicLAvia; I missed that somehow in yesterday’s roundup. Will Campbell unwillingly shares a burger with a man who blames cyclists for everything that’s wrong with Los Angeles; maybe he’s a regular Weekly reader. A Silver Lake bike rodeo is scheduled for May 18th. Metro works to improve bike and pedestrian access in Boyle Heights and Little Tokyo. How to get abandoned bikes removed from racks. Both Helen’s Cycles in Santa Monica and Pasadena’s Incycle Bicycles invite you to ride with them this weekend to learn about Tour de Cure. County Commissioner Zev Yaroslavsky says NBC Universal has agreed to complete — and help pay for — a missing link in the L.A. River Bike Path through Universal Studios; now if he could only apply a little pressure to the anti-bike city of Vernon. Calabasas bike-centric farm-to-table restaurant, coffee roaster and Moots bike boutique Pedalers Fork is open, and the first reviews are already in and looking good. In other food news, bike-powered Peddler’s Creamery is now open in Downtown L.A. The San Marino paper offers what may be the most accurate estimate of attendance at Sunday’s CicLAvia, putting the total at an open-to-interpretation several hundred thousand.

The third attempt at a California three-foot passing law passed its first hurdle in the state legislature; now its on the Appropriations Committee, even though it wouldn’t seem to require any. Riverside boldly decides to study a disputed bike lane. An open letter to the AAA. No charges against a stop sign-running Apple Valley driver who hit a cyclist. A call for artistic bike racks in Beaumont. A Newport Beach city councilmember criticizes the sentence given the killer driver in the Campion-Ritz hit-and-run; but why is the death of a “significant citizen” any more important or tragic than anyone elses? Presenting the best bike ride around San Diego’s Mission Bay; I often followed a similar course when I lived down there. Escondido’s Muffler Man will get bike drag in time for the Amgen Tour of California. When a little girl’s bike is stolen, an Oxnard cop buys her a new one at his own expense, then teaches her how to ride it; thanks to our Carolina friend Zeke for the heads-up. Red Kite Prayer drops in on this year’s Sea Otter Classic. A new bike path opens connecting Downtown San Jose to the Bay. A case so old I’d forgotten all about it finally comes to a conclusion, as a Santa Clara County deputy gets a warm caress on the wrist when he’s sentenced to four months, possibly to be served at home, for killing two riders while asleep at the wheel. Unlike its L.A. counterpart, the San Francisco Weekly doesn’t have it’s collective head planted firmly up its own posterior, explaining why protected bike lanes are good for business; then again, even NBC says the same thing, at least for small businesses. It’s been a bad year for NorCal cyclists, as a 79-year old rider was the latest to killed; if a bike rider can fall under the wheels of a passing car, doesn’t that suggest the car was passing dangerously close — let alone that it might have caused the fall?

A Portland driver somehow finds herself on a separated bikeway rather than the interstate highway bridge next to it; local police say “oops.” Another self-hating bike rider who says cyclists don’t belong on the road (scroll down). Those bike-riding Portland kids sure have it easy these days. Bike share will launch in Seattle next year. An Alaska cyclist rides his fatbike over 2,000 miles in the middle of winter along two of the state’s famed sled dog trails. Big hearted strangers give a new bike to the victim of an Oklahoma hit-and-run victim. America’s only surviving Tour de France winner says he has no vendetta against Lance Armstrong; can’t say the same about the U.S. government, though. Louisiana driver gets a minor citation despite hitting and seriously injuring a bike rider who stopped in a bike lane. Bikeyface wishes bikes were more like cars. New York imposes new restrictions on bike delivery riders. NYC’s new bike share program isn’t even open yet, and it’s already being vandalized.

A UK nurse was over twice the legal alcohol limit — and on her way to work — when she killed a cyclist and fled the scene, stopping only to pull the bike out of her way. A driver with a suspended license killed a cycling married couple as he fled from police. Amazingly, British police refuse to file charges against a road raging driver was captured on helmet cam beating the crap out of a bike rider; thanks to Joni for the heads-up. Parliament members call for reducing speed limits and jailing dangerous drivers, as well as boosting spending levels to £1 billion to encourage more people to take up bicycling. Photos of eyes over bike racks cut theft rates. Town Mouse is more concerned with the safety of the dog chasing her. The director of a Dutch — yes, Dutch — road safety institute calls for a mandatory helmet law for riders over 55. A new book looks at Italian cycling great Fausto Coppi. The authoritarian state of Uzbekistan is banning bicycles in the capital, seizing bikes and advising bike shops to shut down. A Persian Gulf writer asks if taking a dangerous shortcut is really worth it. Queensland is relaxing their mandatory helmet laws to allow religious requirements. An Aussie woman is ticketed for using a handheld cell phone while riding, but the local press is more freaked out by her “bizarre” tall bike. Tempers run hot Down Under, as a cyclist is punched out by an angry driver. Why women should ride to work and how to get started.

Finally, build your own sandwich bike; peanut butter and jelly optional. A British thief returns a stolen “lusciously smooth” bike with an apology and a coupon. And trust me, you don’t want to read the comments to the Times’ story  about the Beverly Hills road rage case — let alone the ones on the CBS version.

But you’re probably going to anyway.

Catching up on CicLAvia, bike lawyer Dj Wheels unmasked, and I meet one of my few bike heroes

People have been asking me what I plan to say about Sunday’s CicLAvia to the Sea.

At this point, not much.

As a result of the delay caused by this week’s breaking news, others have already offered the insights I was going to give, and in some cases, better than I would have done.

Like this one for instance, in which a USC professor pretty much took the words right out of my mouth.

No, go ahead and read it.

I’ll wait.


One of the highlights of any CicLAvia is running into friends along the way.

And this one certainly didn’t disappoint, offering a chance to catch up with former LACBC board member Chet Kostrzewa, who followed up with some insights that might never have occurred to me.

I wanted to pass on some of my own thoughts and observations I made, while teaching basic bike skills to a group of very young riders and watching the inspiring sight of upwards of 150,000 people enjoying taking the street for those few hours. CicLavia has very quickly grown to be an institution, an event to look forward to and count on as an antidote to the traffic fatigue that too many of us endure on a daily basis. As inspirational as CicLavia has become, however, what seems to me to be missing is an inherent motivator in the event that empowers people to see this as a game changer in their lives and not just a rare distraction from the routine on our streets. The sad reality is that starting the next morning and succeeding days until the following CicLavia, River Ride or other bike event, only a very small fraction of those bikes will be getting much new mileage on them.

There are probably as many good reasons to ride regularly and to ride often as there were bicyclists between downtown and Venice yesterday, here is a short list that came to my mind from talking to a variety of bicyclists yesterday:

  1. All the young riders I coached yesterday were, without exception, excited about riding their bikes and taking the challenge of trying out new skills. Unfortunately, without a broad based bicycle skills curriculum in our schools, such learning opportunities offer only a single snapshot in what should be a gradual and incremental development process. The challenge and opportunity here, would be for the parents of these beginning riders to take on the task of role model and long term coach, guiding their development over an extended period toward becoming fully street smart and confident cyclists. The game changer for these parents is to improve their own skills, such as through a confident cycling class, such as taught by League Certified Instructors (LCIs) from the League of American Bicyclists.
  2. While teaching beginning cyclists during CicLavia, I had the opportunity to talk to parents and other adults who stopped to comment and, in some cases, ask for tips to improve their own cycling experience. Many of these casual riders were on bikes that were clearly poorly maintained and which did not fit their riders. One woman I spent some time coaching started our conversation by complaining about how physically difficult the ride down Venice Blvd. was for her. It was quickly evident that her immediate problem was that she had no idea how to shift out of the highest gear on her bike. Her total exposure to cycling was to drag her rusting bike out for just one or two days a year and muscle her way through just a few miles in high gear, before calling it quits until the next CicLavia. With a basic tune up and brief lesson on how to use her bike, it would be a small step to an easy game changer. Instead of just dragging the bike out for those very rare occasions, find weekly opportunities to make a bike ride special. Maybe breakfast out on Sunday morning by bike, or a short daily ride as a stress busting habit right after the evening commute home.
  3. Use technology to facilitate riding and as a feedback tool to improve your riding and fitness level. A basic bike computer provides a wealth of data to measure your results, while providing a tool for setting new goals for improvement. Other technology makes it increasingly easy to insert a bicycle in place of a car in our daily routines. The bus bike racks and increasing number of bike lockers along key transport routes make it easy and economical to start to use a bike for part of all of a commute. Recent bike design technology, such as the highly engineered folding bikes Tern Bicycles was demonstrating at CicLavia make it possible to take your bike with you anywhere. This opens a whole new world of bicycling opportunities, whether as part of a daily routine, or an easy way to enhance a vacation getaway. The game changer here is to realize that technology makes the bicycling experience more flexible, convenient and economical in many scenarios than the typical paradigm of transport being limited to where your car can take you along with a just a few additional blocks you can conveniently walk once you get there.

CicLavia is a fantastic enabler to get rarely used bicycles out of garages and on the road. All most of us need is just a little help and a couple of mental and physical tools to experience a major paradigm shift to move the bicycle from a toy of last resort to become a key tool for enhancing our daily lives. Hopefully a few other of the 150,000 on Venice Blvd yesterday are having similar thoughts tonight and will be changing the urban roadscape in the days and weeks ahead.


Another friend I ran into along the way was someone most readers of this blog should know by now, at least by his bike de plume.

Dj Wheels has been a key contributor here for the past several years, offering legal updates and insights on many of the cases involving bicyclists.

It was Wheels who broke the news that Christine Dahab had pleaded guilty and was going to jail; in fact, he told me she started her 90 day evaluation behind bars on Monday.

And it was Wheels who reported from inside the courtroom in the trial of road raging L.A. bike boogeyman Dr. Christopher Thompson, enabling me to scoop the major media and break the news to the world when he was convicted.

So I’ve long been frustrated that I couldn’t tell you who he really is while a court case he was involved in dragged through the legal system. But Sunday, he let me know the case was finally finished.

And I was free, finally, to reveal his identity.

Granted, it may not be a big secret in some circles of the Los Angeles cycling community, where he has long been a popular member.

But for those who don’t know, allow me to introduce Daniel F. Jimenez, Esq.

Jimenez is one of the few lawyers I know who has made bike law his specialty, rather than just an area of practice. And unlike many lawyers, he doesn’t limit the cases he takes on to potentially high-payout liability lawsuits.

Yes, he takes the cases of injured cyclists on a contingency basis, just like most other lawyers. But he has also represented riders in everything from criminal cases to simple traffic violations, and even defended a rider who collided with a pedestrian and was being sued for the injuries he suffered.

Southern California cyclists are lucky to have a number of excellent bike lawyers; I can personally recommend many of the men and women you’ll find listed over there on the right.

But any time someone asks me for a good lawyer to represent a bike rider, you can bet that Daniel Jimenez will be on the list.


The Times offers a look at CicLAvia and decides it gives L.A. a small town feel, even though some motorists grumble; then again, I’d grumble too if I was stuck in my car when so many Angelenos were out having fun. Many people complained about the bike congestion caused by closing just half of Venice for CicLAvia; outgoing Councilmember Bill Rosendahl says plans are already in the works to repeat CicLAvia to the Sea next year — and this time, with both sides closed to vehicular traffic.

Streetsblog offers a lively discussion of the day, and notes that for some it was more than just fun. For others, it was the smells that were most memorable. Even the Mayor rode on Venice once again, this time without falling down. Leading mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti rode at CicLAvia; if opponent Wendy Gruel was there, I haven’t seen any sign of it yet. Flying Pigeon offers suggestions to make L.A.’s happiest day even better. A road racer does her first CicLAvia and asks WTF just happened? KPCC’s Larry Mantle talks CicLAvia with co-founder and Executive Director Aaron Paley.

And clearly, the Stoopidtall bike was the hit of the day.


Finally, I’m not much on heroes.

I learned early in life that they too often turn out to be human, and so, likely to let you down. See Armstrong, Lance; Hart, Gary.

But one exception has always been track cyclist and US Bicycle Hall of Fame member Nelson Vails, who captured a silver medal in the 1984 Olympics and helped prove that Americans — and African-Americans — could hold their own at the highest levels of the traditionally white European sport.

So excuse me if I was just a little awed — rather than merely odd, which I freely confess to — when I ran into Eastside bike advocate Carlos Morales, the new owner of Stan’s Bike Shop in Monrovia. And he introduced me to the man sitting next to him in the bike car they rode at CicLAvia.

And if Nelson Vails wants to give a shout out to his friends at Stan’s, far be it from me to say no.

Breaking news: Cyclist attacked in Beverly Hills road rage assault; rider not seriously injured

More bad news from the Biking Black Hole.

News is just breaking that a bike rider was deliberately attacked with a motor vehicle after the rider hit the driver in a road rage dispute.

According to the Beverly Hills Police, the incident occurred nearly three weeks ago, around 6 pm on Wednesday, April 3rd.

Evidently, they don’t feel an urgent need to keep the public informed of violent crime on their streets. Let alone for the prompt release of information that might lead to the arrest of a dangerous suspect.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, reportedly punched the driver of a white, possibly 2008 model year BMW 328i in the face. The motorist threatened to kill the rider, and followed him into an alley in the 9000 block of Wilshire Blvd, between Wetherly and Almont Drives; a Google satellite view shows alleys on both sides of the street behind the buildings facing Wilshire.

The driver then intentionally rammed the cyclist with his car, pinning him against a metal trash bin. Fortunately, the rider was not seriously injured; the fact that the trash bin was on rollers may have lessened the force of the impact.

The assault was captured on security footage; the attacker can clearly be seen reversing course in the alley and striking the victim, who clings to the mirror of the car as it backs away. Once he’s thrown off, he walks back to collect his bike.

There’s no word from the police on what caused the dispute.

Yes, the rider broke the law in striking the driver, regardless of what led up to it. It’s possible that he could face criminal or civil charges for assaulting the driver unless it can be shown that he hit him in self-defense; however, that requires that the action is necessary to halt a current or imminent physical attack.

The far more serious crime, though, is the motorist using his vehicle in a deliberate attempt to injure or kill the rider after the initial incident had concluded. It should be no different under the law than someone who gets into a fight in a bar, then goes out to the parking lot and shoots the person he’d argued with.

This is a clear case of assault with a deadly weapon. Any claim the driver may have had to self-defense ended the moment the cyclist initially rode away.

The suspect is described as a Middle Eastern or White male in his mid-30s, with dark hair and eyes, and a thin build; the Beverly Hills Courier has a somewhat sketchy sketch of the suspect. The car suffered possible minor front-end damage, although it may have been repaired by now.

Hopefully, the BHPD can overcome the delay in releasing this information and bring a violent criminal to justice.

And take this for fair warning.

As tempting as it may be sometimes to get even with the jackass that just ran you off the road, it’s never a good idea. There are some crazyass, and potentially very violent, people out there.

And it doesn’t take much to set them off.

Update: Carlsbad cyclist killed in hit-from-behind collision

Damn it.

This is not what I wanted to write about tonight. And not the news I wanted to come home to today.

I wanted to write about yet another amazing CicLAvia, marred only by the decision to use just half of the Venice Blvd roadway, resulting in massive bike back-ups from the once-again grossly underestimated crowd.

Anyone who thinks less than 200,000 bike riders turned out to enjoy the day probably wasn’t there; personally, I’d put the number at over 250,000.

Well over.

And I wanted to tell you about a friend I met along the way, and finally unveil the identity of one of this site’s leading contributors.

But all that will have to wait.

Because we have to add yet another name to the growing Southern California body count. Or we would, except once again, the name has been withheld pending notification of the next of kin.

And once again, there’s almost no information available, despite virtually identical reports from four different sources.

According to the reports, two cyclists were riding north in the bike lane on El Camino Real north of La Costa Ave in Carlsbad around 7:40 this morning when one of the riders was rear-ended by an apparently driverless and apparently invisible vehicle, since there’s no description of the driver or the car.

There’s also no description of where the riders were positioned on the road, or any conditions that may have contributed to the collision, despite a number of apparent witnesses. Although that doesn’t stop some of the commenters from drawing their own conclusions.

The victim suffered a head injury, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

A commenter on the local Patch website describes him as a La Costa Valley resident, who leaves behind a wife and three young children.

This is the 18th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in San Diego since the first of the year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones.

Update: The victim has been identified as 45-year old Eric Ringdahl of Carlsbad; thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up. Comments below describe the vehicle as a red or maroon sedan, possibly a Corolla. The driver remained at the scene — and how sad is it that something like that even has to be noted? A comment from Stone says the weather was clear and traffic light at the time of the collision, suggesting the victim should have been clearly visible.

Update 2: I’ve just been forwarded an email from the Traffic Division Commander with the Carlsbad police, which confirms what many have been saying, that the driver fell asleep at the wheel coming home from working the night shift. However, he indicates that the driver was a man, rather than a woman, as virtually everyone had assumed, myself included.

According to the Commander, there was no indication of impairment and no intent to cause harm or break the law, which eliminates the possibility of serious criminal charges such as assault or homicide. However, he says the collision will result in a lengthy investigation by the Carlsbad Police and the San Diego Medical Examiner’s office, and that the results of that investigation will be forwarded to the county DA for review and possible prosecution.

And that’s one of the major problems with the California Vehicle Code.

There is, to the best of my knowledge, no specific legal requirement for motorists to remain alert behind the wheel — let alone awake. Unlike many other states, there is no blanket prohibition against careless driving. We assume that all drivers are required to be alert and aware of road conditions at all times, to operate their vehicles carefully and safely. And most of all, to not kill anyone.

But that’s not necessarily the case.

Thanks to Chris Menjou for the information.

Update 3: The San Diego Union-Tribune confirms that the male driver told police he had fallen asleep while driving home form work and drifted into the bike lane, where he struck Ringdahl. And despite finger pointing in the comments here and elsewhere, the police say he was wearing a helmet and “riding properly in the bike lane” when he was killed.

The paper says it should take somewhere around a month to complete the Medical Examiner’s investigation, at which time the driver could be charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, if they find the crash was caused by the driver’s carelessness or inattention. 

In addition, according to a comment from Kim, a CaringBridge page has been set up to raise funds for Ringdahl’s family.

Thanks to Philip Young for the heads-up.

%d bloggers like this: