Archive for August 30, 2013

Your end of week bike news clearance — all links and emails must go

I’ve got a long list of things to catch up on after a busy week filled with too much breaking news.

So let’s see if we can clear out the inbox, along with a long list of backed up links.


Last February, cyclist Damian Kevitt barely survived a horrifying hit-and-run in which he was dragged 600 feet onto the 5 Freeway under the van that hit him, losing a leg and suffering what a good Samaritan doctor described as the worst non-fatal injuries he’d ever seen.

Yet remarkably, Kevitt is back on his bike just seven months later.

I just hope I get the chance to shake his hand someday. That guy is amazing.

Meanwhile, the heartless coward who left him for dead is still walking free, presumably on two functional legs. Anyone with information is urged to call the CHP at (800) 835-5247; there’s a $25,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction in this case.


More details on the bike rider critically injured on OC’s Santa Margarita Drive.

Rancho Santa Margarita Patch reports the 34-year old rider remained in critical condition with life-threatening injuries after apparently bunny hopping the raised concrete median before darting into the path of an oncoming truck.

Patch notes that the rider wasn’t wearing a helmet. Not that it likely would have made a difference in a 45 mph collision with a delivery truck.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link.


The LACBC and Los Angeles Walks are still looking for volunteers for next month’s bike and pedestrian count. Counters are especially needed in South LA, San Fernando Valley, Westwood and USC area.


Matthew Gomez writes that new bike lanes are hitting the street in Arcadia, in both directions of Colorado Blvd from Colorado Street to San Antonio Road, west of the newly remodeled bridge for the coming Gold Line extension.

Looks like they’re wisely getting ready for an increase in ridership once the trains start running.


Manhattan Beach will hold a meeting to discuss the city’s General Plan Mobility Plan update on September 24th from 6 pm to 8 pm.

The Mobility Plan update will provide goals and policies for a balanced, multi-modal transportation system for the movement of people and goods in Manhattan Beach. A balanced system uses multiple modes of travel to meet the needs of all users to include motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, children, persons with disabilities, seniors and users of public transportation.

Thanks to Paiwei Wei for the heads-up.


DCIM102GOPROI received an email from Craig Kobayashi complaining about the dangerous conditions that have resulted from the closure of the popular Coyote Creek Trail.

I’m writing to try and enlist help on focusing attention to a dangerous detour generously provided to us by our good friends at CalTrans. I posted a comment on one of your blog entries regarding the Coyote Creek Trail. It has been closed due to the I-5 widening project since mid-2012 and projected to be closed until 2015! The closure can be seen here:  The bypass route they have provided includes the Carmenita Blvd bridge overpass, which is incredibly narrow with no provided shoulder. I’ve included a picture of the southbound portion of the bridge as taken from my GoPro. This is the detour CalTrans expects us to tolerate until 2015.

The Coyote Creek Trail was previously a staple on my daily commute route and I’ve simply grown fatigued of fighting this traffic.  I fear that being forced into traffic lanes will inevitably result in a collision and we know how well cyclists fare vs. cars.

He notes that he contacted Caltrans about the project, and got a typical canned response. Hopefully they can do better with his follow-up.

Update: Craig reports he’s received a response from a Caltrans representative saying they are working with the County of Los Angeles to create a safer detour while the construction work goes on. And he offers a video  of his commute through the work zone. For some reason, the video won’t embed, but you can click on the link to view it.


The first ever Rose Bowl Legacy Cycling Challenge is scheduled to roll on October 20th to celebrate the iconic Rose Bowl Stadium and the cities of the San Gabriel Valley, and benefitting City of Hope on its 100th anniversary.

The non-race rules-of-the-road ride will feature three routes ranging from 38 to 100 miles, with a $75 entry fee and a $350 fundraising commitment.


A new crowdsourcing website has been launched to express Angeleno’s concerns with the seemingly endless 405 expansion project.

The founder is especially concerned about the impact the project has had on city bicyclists and wants to hear from members of the bike riding community how the project has affected your life and safety, and what your concerns are going forward.


Maybe the reason LA is the nation’s leader for hit-and-runs is we’re also a world leader for massive SUVs and over-stressed drivers. LA has the second most collision — not accident — prone drivers in the US; turns out my hometown has the best. Great photos from last weekend’s inaugural Active Streets LA. Keep an eye on this proposed City Council ordinance which would require better workmanship on street repairs affecting crosswalks and bike lanes; it’s been continued for two more months. Streetsblog looks at last weekend’s second annual Clitoral Mass; men weren’t invited, but then, we probably wouldn’t have been able to find it anyway. Where to live car-free or car-lite in LA. Flying Pigeon hosts their next Brewery Ride on Saturday, Sept. 7th. Better Bike proposes a bike corral for the Biking Grey Hole of Beverly Hills; they’ve been upgraded to grey because they now have a great bike lane on Burton Way, even if you still have to risk your life just to get to it from either direction. Long Beach sharrows seem to show a drop in bicycle crashes.

Calbike offers their August update. Cynergy Cycles invites you to join in on the California Coast Classic Bicycle Tour next week. Bike Newport Beach looks at cycling’s invisible constituency, and says three deaths in the last year are three too many. You’re invited to San Diego’s Pedal for the Cause in October. A Fresno bike rider’s bike cam catches the hit-and-run van that knocked him over; needless to say, the owner’s wife blames the cyclist. Bike share officially begrimes the Bay Area. San Francisco’s bike progress leaves some neighborhoods behind. The chief of the SFPD says the driver who killed cyclist Amelie Le Moulac has been found at fault, after the city’s Bike Coalition uncovers security cam video the department didn’t care enough to find. Meanwhile, a local columnist says everyone needs to ease up a little. It takes a real schmuck to steal bicycles from Watsonville special ed students.

Seven tips for first time bike commuters. Bicycling looks at the state of bike commuting across the US. Modern American bike shops feature beer, coffee and wedding cake; sounds like our own Pedalers Fork fits right in. Unemployment doesn’t explain the nation’s drop in driving rates. A cyclist dies over a week after he’s apparently right-hooked by a Nevada judge. Portland dentist offers to fix a local cyclist’s teeth after they’re broken by traffic cone-wielding thugs. Sadly, a two-and-a-half pound Chihuahua survives a bike trip across the Rockies in his owner’s saddlebag, but succumbs to a collision with a Denver bicyclist. A Boulder CO bike shop calls on its customers to stop for stop signs. Tulsa OK considers a new law that would restrict cars from sharing a lane with bicycles. Columbus OH police shoot and kill an unarmed suspected bike thief after first knocking him off his bike with their patrol car, then it turns out it was his bike after all. New Hampshire police chief gets into videoed confrontation with racing cyclists. A second look at bicycle signal activation signs. Good things happen when towns put people ahead of cars. Bike share means more bike riders, more bike riders means more collisions, more collisions means more injuries, and more injures means more money for New York liability lawyers; did I get that right? If you’re going to run a stop sign, don’t do it in the path of a Virginia Tech campus cop. NASCAR racer Bobby Labonte breaks three ribs in a bicycling accident.

Your next helmet could be made of paper pulp, even if it looks like recycled paper salad bowl. Edinburgh drops speed limits to 20 mph to encourage bike riding; I’d be happy if we could keep LA drivers below 40 mph, or even 50, for that matter. Germany’s Chancellor Merkel calls bikes an important part of the mobility solution; I’ll be impressed when, and if, our bike-riding president ever says something like that. Check out these underground bike parking facilities in Japan; thanks to Phillip Young and Allyson Vought for the tip. Russian bike vs car collision caught on video; clearly, it’s the bike rider’s fault for like, being on the planet.

Finally, Bertrand Russell and George Bernard Shaw may have had history’s most intellectual bicycle crash. And new bike panties promise to protect women’s sensitive parts while you ride; wish I’d had the concession for the Clitoral Mass ride.

Update: LAPD traffic investigators evidently don’t believe other cops who witness a right hook bike collision

Evidently, cops aren’t credible witnesses.

At least as far as LAPD traffic officers are concerned.

Imagine you’re riding along when a driver right hooks you — not just turning across your path, but illegally making a right turn from the left lane — and in the process, not only violates your right-of-way, but causes a collision.

And for once, not just one, but two cops witness the whole thing.

And then…



That’s exactly what happened yesterday morning, when Melanie Freeland was making her regular bike commute from Highland Park to Downtown LA.

She was riding on North Broadway through Chinatown around 8:40 am, in the right peak hour lane — that is, what would normally be the parking lane, but converts to a regular traffic lane to accommodate rush hour traffic.

As she was passing the Far East National Bank at 977 N. Broadway, the Lexus traveling in the lane on her left — what was, in effect, the center of three lanes — suddenly turned into the building’s parking lot. The driver cut across the lane Freeland was riding in, without warning, forcing her off the roadway and causing her bike to collide with the car’s door and front panel.

A classic right hook, with the extra added benefit of an illegal turn from the wrong lane. Without signaling, no less.

If that’s not clear, just imagine you’re in the right lane of a two lane street, and the driver on the left suddenly makes a right turn directly in front of you.

And for once, a cop saw the whole thing.

Two police officers — one in uniform, the other in plain clothes — were on their way to court when the collision occurred right before their eyes. They pulled over to offer assistance, calling for an ambulance and staying with her until a regular traffic officer arrived to investigate.

Both officers — I’m leaving out the names of all the cops involved, though Freeland provided their names and badge numbers* — said the driver failed to signal or yield the right-of-way. But even though they were the ones who witnessed the wreck, it would be up to the traffic cop to actually issue a ticket.

The officers gave their report to the traffic investigator, then left for the courthouse.


And that’s when everything went to hell.

The investigator told Freeland he couldn’t issue a ticket or determine fault in the collision because he did not actually witness it, saying he “could not issue a traffic ticket for something he did not see.”

Never mind that two sworn officers did. As well as a security guard for the building, who supported the first officers’ version of events.

So Freeland smartly asked to speak with the traffic officer’s supervisor. Yet when the Sergeant arrived, she repeated the exact same sentence.

And added that “It is not a crime to hit a pedestrian.”

Note to police: bike riders are not pedestrians. We have all the rights and responsibilities of motor vehicle operators, and are allowed on every public street cars are allowed to use, with the exception of some limited access freeways. Calling us pedestrians implies we belong on the sidewalk and belittles our legal right to the roadway.

While it’s true that police officers are generally prohibited from writing citations for traffic violations they don’t witness, I’ve been assured by officers that they can write a ticket or make an arrest based on clear evidence pointing to responsibility for a collision or other violation.

And if the testimony of two cops who witnessed the whole thing — as well as a third independent witness — isn’t clear evidence, I don’t know what the hell is.

Instead, the officers sent just as clear a message that, as far as they’re concerned, bikes don’t’ belong on the street. And good luck getting justice.

Just like the bad old days of LAPD’s anti-bike, windshield bias I thought we’d left long behind us under Chief Beck’s more enlightened leadership.

As Michael MacDonald put it in an email informing me of the case,

There are a lot of things wrong in this picture, not the least of which is that LAPD has again made it clear that cyclists are essentially fair game. I am particularly frustrated that someone I know that had made a concerted effort to make a mode shift towards cycling and to educate herself to ride safely now feels no degree of protection on the road, and is deterred from ever commuting by bike in Los Angeles again.

Fortunately, Freeland does not appear to have suffered any serious injuries, although she was due to be examined by a physician late yesterday.

She’s following up with the original officers, and contacting the department’s bike liaison for the Central Traffic Division. And she plans to reach out to Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Jose Huizar to express her disappointment and call for safety improvements on Broadway.

Police officers also tell me you should contact the Watch Commander overseeing the officers involved as quickly as possible after an incident like this.

But make no mistake.

Yesterday the LAPD failed Melanie Freeland.

Tomorrow, it might be you.

*My purpose here is not to embarrass the officers. The LAPD was been provided with all the names and badge numbers; it’s up to them to deal with the individuals involved.

Update: Okay, now I’m pissed. Melanie Freeland emailed this morning that she tried to call the bike liaison officer for the Central Traffic Division after I passed his contact information on to her. Except the desk officer who took the call initially refused to put the call through, significantly misrepresenting her case and saying “I know the same laws he does.”

She was finally able to leave a message, but hasn’t heard back yet.

Under former LAPD bike liaison Sgt. David Krumer, the department made great strides in improving relations with the bicycling community. But the expanded bike liaison program is absolutely meaningless if self-appointed gatekeepers are allowed to screen their calls.

And no one should ever have to face an argument when reaching out to anyone in the department for help.

I’ve praised the LAPD as one of the most progressive and bike-friendly police departments in the county since Chief Beck took over. But this is starting to feel like a huge step back to the bad old days.

Update 2: Freeland reports she spoke with the Watch Commander on duty at the time of the incident. Who turned out to be the same Sergeant who came to the scene and backed up the original traffic officer. 

In the course of a long conversation, the officer described a Catch 22 that makes it almost impossible for the department to issue a ticket to anyone. Which goes a long way towards explaining the wild west mentality of LA streets, where drivers feel entitled to do virtually anything without fear of consequences.

I called the Central Traffic Division and asked to speak with the Watch Commander on duty yesterday. As I probably should have guessed it was [the Sergeant she’d spoken to at the scene].  I explained to her my phone conversation with [the desk officer] and she stated she did not know why he would state it was a rear end incident when it wasn’t.  We talked at length about why a citation would not be issued for this offense.  She stated that in order for a traffic citation to be issued two criteria must be met. An LAPD officer must witness the incident and be trained in traffic laws (taken the special course in traffic). Because the [traffic officer] didn’t witness the incident it did not meet the two criteria. Secondly, the officer who did witness the incident is not trained in traffic laws, so again it does not meet the criteria.  Thus it is now my understanding, due to the letter of the law that it is not possible for the LAPD to issue a citation to the driver who hit me.

But aren’t all officers trained in traffic law at the Academy? 

And are you seriously trying to tell me that a uniformed LAPD officer lacks sufficient judgement and training to determine that a driver failed to signal and violated the right-of-way of another road user?

Sorry, but this explanation sounds like BS.

And if it isn’t, even worse.

Breaking news — Newport Beach bicyclist dies of injuries from Tuesday collision

I’ve just received confirmation that a bike rider critically injured in a Newport Beach collision has died of her injuries.

Debra H. Deem was riding west on East Coast Highway just east of Newport Coast Drive at 4:28 pm when she was struck by a white minivan traveling in the same direction. The 58-year old Laguna Beach resident suffered major head trauma despite wearing a helmet, suggesting that the impact may have occurred at relatively high speed.

She was transported to the trauma center at Mission Hospital, where she was disconnected from life support earlier today. A statement issued by the Newport Beach Police Department late this afternoon confirmed earlier reports of her death.

A cyclist who lives in the area describes the intersection as very dangerous, with inadequate transitions from the shoulder bike lane through the freeway-style interchange.

The victim is the wife of local cycling legend Paul Deem, a former Olympic cyclist and the owner of the Cycle Werx bike shops in Costa Mesa and San Clemente. Local attorney and former bike racer David Huntsman says Deem helped inspire his own racing career, and says Debra Deem’s death will devastate the Orange County cycling community “like a death in the family.”

Deems’ fatality comes just less than a year after that of Sarah Leaf on East Coast Highway and Dr. Catherine Campion Ritz on Newport Coast Drive; the twin deaths resulted in an outpouring of grief and a commitment to improve safety in the city.

This collision was just one of two separate Orange County wrecks that left bike riders critically injured yesterday afternoon. Another cyclist was struck while riding on Rancho Santa Margarita Parkway, resulting in what was described as severe injuries; no word yet on that rider’s condition.

The Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan Oversight Committee meets on September 3rd; Deems’ death will undoubtedly bring a number of riders out to discuss her death and demand safer streets.

This is the 62nd cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth in Orange County; that compares with seven in the county this time last year. As noted, it’s also the third bicycling death in Newport Beach in the last 12 months, and at least the sixth since 2010.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Debra Deem, and all her family and loved ones.

Thanks to David Huntsman, Allyson Vought and NBPD Deputy Chief David McGill for their help with this story.

Update: A friend of Deem’s describes her as “a mother, wife, attorney, gourmet chef, homemaker and cyclist,” according to Corona del Mar Today

The Orange County Register reports the victim of the Rancho Santa Margarita crash is a 34-year old man, who remains in critical condition.

Important LAPD meeting next week for anyone who lives or rides through the San Fernando Valley

Yesterday I received the following email from Glenn Bailey, Vice-Chair of the LA Bicycle Advisory Committee. 

Dear Valley Bicyclists:

At the request of LAPD Deputy Chief Jorge Villegas, commanding officer of LAPD’s Operations-Valley Bureau, an important meeting with Valley bicyclists to discuss and improve the handling of:

  •       traffic enforcement to ensure cyclist safety
  •       hit and run collisions/crimes
  •       bicycle thefts
  •       improving safety on the Orange Line and other bicycle paths in the Valley
  •       safety education for motorists and cyclists
  •       and other topics of interest to bicyclists

The LAPD Valley Traffic Division will be participating and the County Sheriff (Metro Orange Line enforcement) has been invited as well.

You are cordially to invited to attend:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.
LAPD Van Nuys Division
6240 Sylmar Avenue
Van Nuys, CA 91401

So that there is adequate seating and copies of handouts, please RSVP via email to if you are attending OR may be attending. Also, if you have additional topics you wish to be considered for this or a subsequent meeting, please forward those as well.

I encourage you to forward this invitation to other interested Valley cyclists.

Hope to see you there.

Thank you.

Glenn Bailey, Vice-Chair
Bicycle Advisory Committee
City of Los Angeles

Having worked with both Bailey and Deputy Chief Villegas as part of the department’s bike task force, I can assure you this is one meeting that will definitely be worth your time.

Especially given the subject matter.

Will three times be the charm for the state’s latest attempt to create a three-foot passing law?

I originally wrote this story earlier today for LA Streetsblog. Thanks to Streetsblog editor Damien Newton for allowing me to repost it here.


Maybe the third time is the charm.

Or it could be three strikes and you’re out.

Only the veto pen on Governor Brown’s desk knows which way he’s leaning. And like the Corgi at his feet — and the governor himself — it isn’t talking.

Yesterday, the state Senate approved AB 1371, the Three Feet for Safety Act. This is the latest attempt at creating a minimum three-foot distance to pass a cyclist on California streets, after Brown vetoed two previous attempts in the last two years — joining Texas governor Rick Perry as the nation’s only state leaders to veto three-foot bike safety legislation.

Or rather, surpassing Perry, who only wielded his veto pen once in opposition to safe cycling legislation.

Twenty-one other governors have already signed similar legislation; Pennsylvania mandates a minimum of four feet.

The bill, sponsored by Assembly Member Steven Bradford of Gardena, would replace the current requirement that drivers pass bicyclists at a safe distance without specifying what that distance is. Instead, it would require a minimum three-foot cushion between any part of the vehicle and the bike or its rider.

The act passed the Senate yesterday by a vote of 31-7. It will now go back to the Assembly for a vote to concur with the amendments made following its approval by that chamber earlier this year.

And then it’s back to the governor’s desk, where he’ll have 12 days to sign it.

Or not.

There should be no reason for him to say no this time, however. The bill addresses his expressed, if questionable, reasons for vetoing the previous bills.

This time around, there is no provision requiring drivers to slow down to 15 mph to pass a bike rider if they are unable to give a three foot passing distance as mandated in the 2011 version, or to slow down to 15 mph more than the speed of the rider, as contained in the 2012 version.

And unlike the 2012 version, it does not give drivers permission to briefly cross the center line in order to pass riders safely, even though that is exactly what many drivers already do, legally or not.

In fact, that’s one of the problems with the current bill.

The primary reason Brown gave for vetoing last year’s bill was a fear of lawsuits stemming from drivers unsafely crossing the center line, even though the state is already largely exempt from such suits, and the bill required drivers to do so only when safe.

The current bill, which was very smartly written by Bradford’s staff in a attempt to address the governor’s concerns, originally included language that would specifically exempt the state from being sued if someone was injured by driver who ignored the provision to cross the line safely.

Unfortunately, that language was removed from the bill, along with the section permitting drivers to cross the line. So many motorists will continue to attempt to unsafely squeeze past riders in the same lane, or follow angrily behind until they have a chance to pass.

Or they’ll just do what many already do, and break the law by going onto the other side of the roadway to pass at a safe distance.

The other problem with the bill is that it contains a provision that takes much of the teeth out of it, allowing drivers to pass at less than three feet if they decide, for whatever reason, that the three-foot margin isn’t safe or practical. Even though nothing says they have to pass in the first place.

(d) If the driver of a motor vehicle is unable to comply with subdivision (c), due to traffic or roadway conditions, the driver shall slow to a speed that is reasonable and prudent, and may pass only when doing so would not endanger the safety of the operator of the bicycle, taking into account the size and speed of the motor vehicle and bicycle, traffic conditions, weather, visibility, and surface and width of the highway.

The requirement to take into account the size and speed of the motor vehicle could help prevent the too frequent buzzing of bicyclists by trucks and city buses, though.

However, this bill is a big improvement over last year’s, which would have applied only to vehicles traveling in the same lane. Which means that if you were riding in a bike lane, the vehicle next to you could legally pass at significantly less than three feet — something that happens with far too much frequency already.

Instead, AB 1371 simply mandates a three-foot passing distance for any motor vehicle traveling in the same direction as the bike it’s passing. So the law applies whether you’re in a through lane, bike lane or turn lane, or any other situation when you’re headed the same way.

Of course, not everyone is in favor of the bill.

The San Jose Mercury News quotes Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff of Diamond Bar, presumably one of the seven who voted against it.

“It’s just impossible to gauge what three feet is and so I don’t think it really accomplishes what you want,” Huff said. He said the state should instead focus on educating people about sharing the road with non-motorized vehicles when they renew their driver’s licenses.

“To create outlaws of everybody because you can’t judge the distance is nuts,” he said.

Then again, anyone who ever played football knows exactly how far a distance three feet — aka one yard — is.

And to argue that no one can judge that distance is absurd.

No one is going to pull out a tape measure to determine if a driver passes a vehicle at 34.5 or 37 inches. But anyone without serious depth perception issues can tell if they’re significantly less than three feet away from a rider.

Also, that three foot margin is a minimum passing distance, not a maximum target drivers are expected to adhere to. There is no reason why a motorist can’t pass with a four or five foot margin when it’s safe to do so, as many drivers already do.

“I have been riding for 25 years, and I have seen my share of run-ins and close calls,” Bradford said. “Too many people just don’t realize that cyclists are legally allowed in the street. This bill gives everyone clarity as to what is safe behavior.”

The bill should have no problem passing the Assembly once again, especially in the watered-down version passed by the Senate.

What happens once it reaches Governor Brown’s desk is anyone’s guess.

Update: Riverside County cyclist killed on Friday; bike rider injured in Van Nuys hit-and-run

Sometimes, news seems to take a long time to file in from the Inland Empire.

I’m just now learning about the collision that took the life of a Riverside County bike rider on Friday. Although the liability lawyers seem to have found out about it long before I did.

And as usual for most collisions that occur east of the LA County line, the details are sparse, at best.

According to the Press-Enterprise, 57-year old Perris resident Pascual Vega Jr. was hit by a pickup on Menifee Road near Long Street at 8:30 pm, in the unincorporated Nuevo area east of Perris. He was pronounced dead at the scene 10 minutes later.

That’s it.

Not one word that isn’t contained in the equally sparse Coroner’s report, such as how the collision occurred.

Less, in fact, as the Riverside County Coroner places the collision about 500 feet north of Long Street, in an area that doesn’t appear to have cross streets or driveways, suggesting that it was most likely a hit-from-behind, or possibly head-on, collision.

And based on previous experience, I wouldn’t count on a follow-up report, either from the local press or the Coroner’s office.

This is the 61st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh in Riverside County. That compares with 47 SoCal bike deaths this time last year, and nine in Riverside County.

My sympathy and prayers for Pascual Vega Jr and all his loved ones.

Update: Surprisingly, there’s has been a follow-up from the Press-Enterprise adding a little more information. 

According to the paper, Vega was riding north on Menifee when he was hit from behind by a 2000 Nissan Frontier driven by 59-year old Carlos Hernandez Sr. of Nuevo. The truck was reportedly traveling at 40 mph when he hit Vega’s bike, which did not have lights or reflectors, even though it was roughly an hour after sunset at the time of the collision. 

Tragically, a comment from Joyce reveals he was a cousin of Michael Vega, killed by a hit-and-run driver in Rancho Cucamonga last August.


The Daily News reports that a bike rider was injured in a Van Nuys hit-and-run Monday night.

According to the paper, the collision occurred on the 13000 block of Oxnard just before 8:30 pm. However, the report also places the location as near the intersection of Oxnard Street and Buffalo Ave, which is several blocks west of the 13000 block. The second location might make sense, since it’s a crossing point for the Orange Line bike path.

The victim was taken to a hospital with unknown injuries; no word yet on his or her condition or any identification. And no description on the suspect vehicle or how the wreck happened.

Let’s hope this one doesn’t turn out to be serious. And that the cowardly jerk behind the wheel is quickly brought to justice.

Monday morning meditations from a muddled mind — hit-and-runs, Bob Filner and podium girls

Sometimes there’s just too much swirling around my head to focus on any one thing. And not enough coffee in all the Starbucks in all of LA to clarify things.

Which is exactly where I am this morning.

A day when I can breath a sign of relief that my morning search for bike news didn’t turn up any major bad news for SoCal cyclists. Although the word from other places near and far isn’t nearly as good.

And you’d think that an old man using a walker would be able to cross a damn LA street without getting run down by some jackass who doesn’t have the basic human decency to stop his or her goddamn car after killing another human being.

Drivers continue to flee the scene of collisions because current law means even if they do get caught, they’re better off getting charged for hit-and-run than DUI, or may not have a valid license and insurance for whatever reason.

Then again, some drivers just bet that they can get away with it.

And usually do.

Not to mention we seem to live in a society that has lost sight of the value of human life.

And all of those things have to change before anything else will.

Then again, it would help if the press took the matter more seriously. Or at least cared enough to dig a little deeper and get the story right.

As for insurance, there was a proposal several years back to include basic state-run liability coverage for every motorist in the cost of gas. Whenever you paid at the pump, a fee would be added to ensure that every victim of every collision would be protected from every driver.

Which means you’d never again have to worry how you’re going to pay your mounting medical bills after some driver ran you into the ground.

Needless to say, it didn’t go anywhere, for any number of reasons, valid and otherwise. Not the least of which was that bad drivers would pay the same rate as good ones, even though they could receive supplemental billing to make up for a lack of driving ability. Never mind that the state should be focused on getting bad drivers off the streets.

Plus some provision would have to be made for electric and hybrid vehicles. And state run auto insurance sounded a lot like communism to some people.

Then there’s the news from our neighbor to the south that scumbag Mayor Bob Filner is stepping down at the end of this week.

Political leaders have long felt entitled to do anything they damn well pleased when it came to sexual behavior. Mostly because no one held them accountable for much of American history.

Though you’d think the long line of embarrassed elected leaders stretching from Gary Hart through Bill Clinton and onto New York’s Anthony Weiner would convince them to keep their damn zippers closed in inappropriate situations.

All of which would appear to have little to do with bicycling.

Except Weiner had tried, with varying success, to reposition himself as a bike-friendly candidate after earlier threatening to tear out New York’s bike lanes. And appeared to be winning some support before the latest round of sexting revelations.

And San Diego has been making great strides under Filner’s leadership to reverse decades of benign — and sometimes, not so benign — neglect of bicyclists.

Which may, or may not, continue under the next administration that replaces him.

Thanks, Bob.

No, really.

At least there’s better news from my home state, where a new generation of bike racers took center stage. Colorado’s Tejay van Garderen took first place and Peter Sagan won four of the seven stages, while Christian Vande Velde called it a career at yet another successful USA Pro Challenge.

Even though the race continues to allow women just token participation, while demonstrating that the best way for a woman to get on a racing podium is to put on a tight dress and kiss the winner when the race is over.

And if any local bike shops are thinking about using podium girls at any races you might sponsor, don’t.

Just don’t.

And yes, I’m talking to you.

Think of the message you send women riders — and your potential customers — when you treat them like trophies instead of handing them one.

And the mixed message you send more than counteracts any good will you might earn by sponsoring women’s races.

Keep sponsoring competitions for both sexes. But drop the podium girls, already.

After all, it’s hard enough for women riders to get the respect they deserve — let alone compete on equal terms with male riders — when you treat them with as much respect as Bob Filner might.

Don’t get me wrong.

I enjoy looking at an attractive woman as much as any man.

But what really makes a woman attractive, to me at least, is knowing she could drop me on a steep uphill ride anytime she damn well feels like it.

Now that’s hot.

Almost as hot as watching a woman receive a hard-earned prize for outracing the world’s best riders, instead of just being one.

Fiesta La Ballona, Pasadena Complete Streets, Active Streets LA, and Kidical and Clitoral Masses

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.

Metro continues to sponsor a series of free bike safety classes throughout the LA area, including classes this weekend in Hawthorne, Downey and Sante Fe Springs.

The annual Fiesta La Ballona takes place this weekend in Culver City, featuring food trucks, live music and carnival rides. The free bike friendly event will offer secure bike valet courtesy of Palms Cycle, and a bike repair demonstration from Chubby’s Cruisers on Saturday at 1:30 pm.

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition holds their first official meeting on Saturday, August 24th, starting at 8:45 am, followed by a walk/bike ride starting at 9 am; 175 N. Euclid Ave, just north of Pasadena City Hall.

Saturday, August 24th, you’re invited to attend the launch of Active Streets LA, a partnership of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, TRUST South LA, and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation with funding through the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The family friendly festivities run from 10 am to 2 pm, with a bike/walk at 11:30 am, at Angeles Mesa Elementary School, 2611 W 52nd St.

The second annual Clitoral Mass — yes, you read that right — women’s ride rolls on Saturday, August 24th from 4 pm to midnight. Riders assemble at Watts Towers, 1765 E. 107th Street.

This Sunday, August 25th will see a 7.4 mile, family friendly Kidical Mass ride from Chinatown to MacArthur Park, departing from the Chinatown Gold Line Station at 2:30 pm.

Your yearly opportunity to ride San Diego’s iconic Coronado Bay Bridge comes on Sunday, August 25th with the annual 25-mile Bike the Bay ride through the cities surrounding the San Diego Bay.

New location — The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Civic Engagement Committee meets at 6:45 pm on the last Tuesday of each month to discuss how to elect and influence bike-friendly politicians. The next meeting will take place on Tuesday, August 27th, at LACBC headquarters, 634 South Spring Street. The meetings are open to everyone, and you don’t have to be an LACBC member to participate; email bikinginla at hotmail dot com to be added to the discussion list.

The next edition of the LACBC’s popular Sunday Funday Rides is scheduled for Sunday, September 1st; the ride is free for LACBC members and a guest. This month will feature the Filipino Pride Ride, a slow-paced, 20-mile family friendly ride through Historic Filipinotown and Eagle Rock, led by board member Herbie Huff. Meet at United Bread and Pastry, 1515 Griffith Park Blvd at 9:30 am, rolling at 10 am.

The Eastside Bike Club is hosting the first Los Angeles City Birthday Celebration Bike Ride to commemorate the 1781 founding of the City of Angels on Saturday, August 31st. The slow paced, family friendly ride will include a Blessing of the Bike Riders. Meet at the San Gabriel Mission, 428 South Mission Drive in San Gabriel no later than 7:15 am.

Wolfpack Hustle hosts the final event in their Unified Title Race Series with the Midnight Drag Race on Downtown LA’s Sixth Street Bridge on Saturday, September 7th; qualifiers start at 6 pm with the finals at 8 pm.

Saturday, September 7th, County Supervisor Gloria Molina joins with the LACBC and the County Parks and Recreation to host a free East LA Bike Ride, with a four mile route for children and families, and an eight mile route for adults and advanced bike riders, as well as a bike decorating contest. Check in at the East Los Angeles Civic Center, 4801 E 3rd Street, at 9:30 am, rolling at 10 am.

Red5 Yellow7 hosts a free discussion of what bike is best for you on Monday, September 9th, starting at 7 pm; 4357 Melrose Avenue.

The LACBC and Los Angeles Walks are looking for volunteers for the 2013 Los Angeles Bicycle and Pedestrian Count on Tuesday, September 10th from 7 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 6 pm, and Saturday, September 14th from 11 am to 1 pm.

Santa Monica will host a four hour Pop-Up MANGo street festival on Saturday, September 21st to preview the planned Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway.

Metro is sponsoring a series of monthly bike rides in conjunction with CICLE. First up is the Made in LA III: LA River Edition on Saturday, September 21st. Meet at the Los Angeles River Center and Gardens, 570 W Avenue 26, at 10:30am (near Metro Gold Line Lincoln/Cypress Station).

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.

Streetsblog is hosting a fundraiser to celebrate their new SaMo edition, Santa Monica Next, on Sunday, September 22nd, from noon to 2:30 pm. The party, including food, drink and a raffle, takes place on the rooftop at 11th and Wilshire in Santa Monica; $35 donation, $15 for students.

Bike SGV invites you to join them for their 2013 Awards Ceremony and Fundraiser on Saturday, September 28th from 5 pm to 11 pm at the San Gabriel Mission Grapevine Arbor, 320 South Mission Drive in San Gabriel.

New Belgium Brewing’s Tour de Fat will bypass Los Angeles this year; the nearest stop will be at San Diego’s Golden Hill Park on Saturday, September 28th, from 10 am to 5 pm. Join or renew your membership with the LACBC by September 12th and you could win a free two night trip to our neighbor to the south for Tour de Fat.

The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee meets at 7 pm on the first Tuesday of each even-numbered month; the next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 1st at the Hollywood Neighborhood City Hall Community Room, 6501 Fountain Ave.

CicLAvia returns with an expanded version of the original Heart of LA route on Sunday, October 6th.

The Pablove Foundation hosts the Ride Pablove Across America in LA, a 22-mile fundraising ride from Sylmar to Silver Lake on Saturday, October 12th. The ride will accompany cyclists on the final stage of the Pablove Across America Bay to LA ride, starting at approximately 11 am at the intersection of San Fernando Road and Bleeker Street.

It’s not a bike ride, but the Loco Motion 10K Los Angeles run will benefit the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition in honor of fallen cyclist Marisela Echeverria, killed while riding on PCH last year. It takes place on Sunday, October 20th.

The second in Metro’s series of monthly bike rides in conjunction with CICLE takes place on Sunday, October 20th with The Pomona Pumpkin Patch Pedal. Meet at Thomas Plaza, 201 W 2nd Street in Pomona at 10:30am.

Metro’s series of monthly bike rides in conjunction with CICLE concludes on Sunday, November 16th with The Northridge Diners & Delis Ride; meet at the Northridge Metrolink Station, 8775 Wilbur Ave, at 10:30am.

Malibu study suggests PCH safety improvements; a NELA paranoid bike lane conspiracy theory

Lots of news to wrap up the work week.

No, seriously, don’t take note of the perfect summer weather that finally arrived in LA this week. You’ve got important things to do. And you can live without riding your bike for another day.



UCLA professor Donald Shoup would be proud.

The nation’s parking meister has long argued against the high cost of free parking. Now a new Malibu safety study seems to be taking him seriously, suggesting parking meters along PCH could improve safety by reducing the problems with drivers looking for free parking.

I like it.

The study also recommends putting east/west bike lanes along the full length of the 21-mile city to get cyclists out of the way of high-speed traffic. Although someone should tell them that sharrows are not bike lanes.

You can read the study here, and weigh in with your own thoughts online through September 17th; thanks to Paiwei Wei for the link.


Anti-NELA bike lane activist Tom Topping writes in his Boulevard Sentinel newspaper that he’s being smeared by bike advocates — and oddly, KPCC’s Larry Mantle. I listened to the Airtalk program he refers to when it aired last month; actually, I though Larry was going easy on him. And having appeared on Larry’s program, I can’t say I detected a bit of pro or anti-bike bias, though word is he’s a car guy at heart.

Then again, it does make for a damn good paranoid conspiracy theory if bike shop owners and public radio hosts are all on the city payroll to ram through “vehicle removal plans” for a fast buck.

Though I’m not exactly sure who profits from road diets and bike lanes. Except, of course, for the businesses and residents who reside alongside them.


Evidently, I wasn’t the only one to host a Bike Talk program on Tuesday. Flying Pigeon’s Josef Bray-Ali — the unnamed bike shop owner in the above conspiracy theory — hosted a discussion touching anti-bike UN paranoia, billionaires and bikes, and measuring the success of bike projects, among other topics.


ABC’s 20/20 program takes a look at LA’s hit-and-run epidemic, which the LA Weekly takes sole credit for uncovering; I seem to recall a long list of bike advocates who have been raising the alarm for years, but what do I know? Culver City hosts the annual bike-friendly Fiesta La Ballona this weekend. The comment period for the new Union Station master plan has been extended through the end of this month. Santa Monica will hold a free festival next month to preview the planned MANGo Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway; for the sake of fairness, I hope they also have a WOMANGo greenway in the works. Santa Monica’s Bike Center will try to help the city’s businesses become more bike friendly. Sunday will see a Kidical Mass ride in Chinatown. Metro and CICLE team up to offer three free community bike rides in the LA area in the next three months. County Supervisor Gloria Molina joins with the LACBC and LA County Parks and Recreation to hold a free East LA Bicycle Ride on Saturday, Sept. 7th. Ride Pablove Across America will hold an LA fundraising ride in the Valley on October 12th. Okay, so it’s not a bike race, but proceeds from the October 20th Loco Motion 10K Run will benefit the LACBC in honor of fallen cyclist Marisela Echeverria, killed while riding on PCH last year. Red5 Yellow7 will host a workshop on how to choose the right bike on September 9th. The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition will hold its first official meeting Saturday. Incycle Bike Shop says they’re having their biggest sale of the year. Bike Long Beach explains when you can really take the lane.

Laguna Beach moves towards complete streets while trying to move bike riders off PCH; maybe the city should consider a Roman role model. Irvine is now officially bike-friendly, but that’s about all you’ll learn thanks to the OC Register’s draconian paywall. A San Diego writer proposes using the city’s unpaved canyons for bike superhighways. A bicyclist gets her bike back, thanks to a door-to-door wildfire evacuation; thanks to murphstahoe for the heads-up. Yet another holier-than-thou Napa bike rider says she obeys the law and rides courteously, but those damn speeding spandex-clad cyclists should stay the hell off the streets.

AAA says American drivers are growing less concerned about behaviors that could kill you. Biking improves employee productivity. The firing of Serotta’s founder takes some of the soul out of American framebuilding. I’ve been to Maui’s Haleakala volcano, and would not want to ride a bike off the edge of it. A sidewalk riding Las Vegas cyclist is killed in an apparent SWSS. Bicycle tourists are a major source of revenue in Arizona. It takes a village to capture a Longmont CO bike thief. BMC’s Tejay van Garderen takes the leader’s jersey in the USA Pro Challenge. A 74-year old MA pastor was murdered with a hammer while riding home on his bike. Needless to say, the New York cabbie who severed the leg of a British tourist earlier this week blames the bike rider who tried to warn him, as well as the city’s bike lanes; the Daily News reveals the bike rider may not be a nice person, but fails to note what the hell does that has to do with the wreck. Those NYC bike lanes may be key to outgoing Mayor Bloomberg’s legacy. Citi Bike rides the subway; New York bike share riders may ride drunk, but at least they don’t black out. Even a Philly bike cop can be a victim of hit-and-run. Is it time to end the longtime Share the Road campaign in Delaware — and everywhere else, for that matter?

British cycling star Bradley Wiggins calls for making helmet use mandatory; how about making it mandatory for cars to not hit bicyclists, instead? Volvo’s new cyclist detection system wins the UK’s award for best car safety system. Edinburgh is the latest city to drop speed limits to 20 mph to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians. Queensland, Australia cyclists could get a minimum 1-meter passing distance, maybe more in high speed areas.

Finally, repeat after me: If you have two bags of meth stuffed in the tubes of your bike, stop for the damn stop signs, already. And a car crashes into a San Fernando Valley post office; witnesses report the building swerved into the car’s path and wasn’t wearing a helmet.

Bike rider injured in Tarzana collision earlier this month has died; 11th LA bike death this year

More bad news.

Earlier this month I reported on a collision in Tarzana in which several people passing by saw a bike rider down with severe head injuries. Now I’ve gotten word from the LAPD that the victim has died.

Unfortunately, details are still sparse.

The collision occurred at the intersection of Reseda Blvd and Collins Street around 5:50 pm on Saturday, August 10th. The male victim, who has not been publicly identified, was presumably riding in one of the bike lanes on Reseda when he was struck by a turning car; whether it was turning onto or off of Collins is unknown.

A comment from a reader indicated he was wearing a helmet, but it was knocked off during the collision. He was transported to a local hospital, and died of his injuries sometime last week.

Unfortunately, this was not unexpected.

Whenever a victim is described as suffering from severe head injuries, the outcome is unlikely to be good. Too often, it means he or she has been put on life support until family members can make a decision on organ donation. Even in the best cases, it’s likely to result in life changing injuries.

I’ve put in a request for more information. Hopefully we’ll know more soon.

This is the 60th fatal bicycling collision in Southern California this year, and the 27th in Los Angeles County. It’s also the 11th fatal bike collision in the City of LA since the first of the year.

That exceeds the total for both the city and county for each of the last two years, with over four months left to go.

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

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