Archive for November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving. And wish me luck.

First of all, please forgive my absence the past couple days.

While I try to write something every day — or every weekday anyway —  sometimes other obligations get in the way. Especially when the calendar calls for riding my bike to meetings downtown.

And as much as I enjoy the ride, time spent on my bike or in meetings is time I can’t spend writing.

Then again, there are other things that have been eating into my time lately.

As I’ve hinted at before, there are changes afoot at BikinginLA, as I make the transition bike blog to an advertising-supported bike news site. The first step will — hopefully — take place this weekend when my site is scheduled to move to a private web server.

It’s not going to be the whole new website I’d planned; not yet, at least. But it will allow me to do things I can’t do now, like accept advertising and put up a link for donations while I work on getting a whole new design online.

If everything goes as planned, you won’t notice the difference. Otherwise… well, let’s just hope for the best, shall we?

Although if you have this site bookmarked, you may want to change it from to just Both work now, but the latter will be the address going forward.

Finally, I know I’ve said it before.

But in this season of gratitude, let me take a moment to thank you for coming here. Because without you, and all those who take the time to visit here, nothing I have to say would mean anything.

And if you need a little help counting your blessings this year, or remembering what really matters, read this.

Hopefully, I’ll see you back here next week.

Until then, please accept my best wishes for a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving and a very happy Chanukah.

And stay safe out there.

Bus driver who killed Udo Heinz may have been distracted; and a long list of Monday links

Official results aren’t expected from federal investigators until the end of the month in the death of Udo Heinz, the popular San Diego cyclist killed by a bus while riding on Camp Pendleton last August.

However, San Diego’s NBC-7 confirms that Heinz and two other riders were hit from behind, as reported here earlier, rather than sideswiped as reported in other press accounts. And reports — or strongly implies — that the bus driver was illegally using a handheld cell phone at the time of the collision.


Streetsblog’s Damien Newton questions the courage of CD5 Councilmember Paul Kortez following his recent kowtowing to Westwood homeowners. UCLA unveils a new on-campus bike counter, while less bike-friendly cross-town rival USC reneges on promises for street improvements. Touring LA without a car. Santa Monica could see new green bike lanes on Main Street and Broadway, pending Tuesday’s SaMo city council vote. Cycling in the South Bay isn’t shocked by doping by masters racers. The new bike team at Cal State Long Beach is starting to make waves. The Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition is hosting a fund raiser at the Dale Bros Brewery on Saturday, December 14th. BikeSGV discovers newly installed protected car parking, uh, bike lanes.

Palm Springs could become more bike friendly. Santa Cruz cyclists get a new off-road dirt bike course. If you’re riding with an illegal blackjack and two outstanding warrants, stop for the damn stop sign, already. A cyclist suffers major injuries when his bike is rear-ended on the Stanford campus; fortunately, a second car only hit his bike. SFist asks if San Francisco is the most bike-friendly city in the country; uh, probably not. Salinas cyclist killed after allegedly running a stop sign; but if the driver had the sun in her eyes, who saw him run it? Napa Valley paper asks if California’s laws are enough to keep bicyclists safe. Improve safety by designing roads for cyclists.

Treehugger says let’s stop calling the deaths of cyclists at the hands of negligent drivers accidents; I couldn’t agree more. Reflective vests don’t have to look like crap. A 78-year old driver kills cyclist participating in El Tour de Tucson bike race, even though the rider “did everything right.” Seattle spends $225,000 for a special bike lane street sweeper. Boulder CO bike advocates question lenient penalties for drivers who kill or injure cyclists; actually, I think bike riders everywhere question that. Chicago driver jerks — with emphasis on the jerk — his vehicle into a cyclist after the rider asks him to stop playing video games while driving. A Tennessee town misinterprets local law to ban children from riding bikes on city streets. Actually, new Boston sharrows – even on steroids — don’t give priority to cyclists or motorists; that’s kind of the point of a shared lane, no? Maryland grand jury gives an aggressive driver a pass for fatally not passing a cyclist. Bipartisan support for bicycling baffles the media. A Florida rider corrects the misconception that salmon cycling is safer.

Bicycling British writer politely responds to the very unfunny, anti-bike troll she has the misfortune of sharing the planet working with. New report says the UK is falling behind on bike safety. London’s Police Commissioner says he’s afraid to ride a bike and that only poor people do, then backs off on his own comments. On the other hand, Bristol’s police chief says he’s one of us, while the city steps up enforcement against both cyclists and motorists. The Independent says cyclists and motorists should be on the same side. Brit author and WWII survivor is run down by a driver blinded by the sun. A Scottish letter writer calls for £500 — $811 — fines for rogue cyclists; I wonder how many rogue drivers face fines anywhere near that? Former pro rider Arnaud Coyot was killed in a French car crash on Sunday. Former world time trial champ Emma Pooley is back in the saddle after taking time off for her PhD. American triathlete is forced to pay blood money to leave Abu Dhabi after colliding with a race volunteer who ran into his path. Kiwi cyclist confesses to being less of a rebel, with more of a cause. Are Australian cities underestimating the potential for bicycling? Aussie cyclist gets five years for fatally pushing a 71-year old woman who got in the way of his bike. A new bike safety campaign wants your help in reporting articles about cyclist/driver incidents; thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up. A Tokyo police sergeant is under investigation for trying to stop a rash of bike thefts; yes, you read that right.

Finally, a British Lord claims bike riders want to get run over so they can film it; personally, I’ll pass, thank you. And a London cyclist says he’s okay, but everyone else sucks. Then again, he’s probably never had to defend himself from a family of elk.

Events: LA Gran Prix, WolfpackTrack, Ventura Bicycle Awareness and a sweet donut ride

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.

This weekend marks the return of the Los Angeles Gran Prix to the VELO Sports Center at the StubHub Center, 18400 Avalon Blvd in Carson. Events take place Friday through Sunday with some of the world’s best track racers will competing. The Gran Prix includes the first ever WolfpackTrack Invitational, with women’s race at 6:30 pm and men at 8:30 pm Saturday; a special bike train will depart for the StubHub Center from Union Station in Downtown LA at 4 pm.

The 13th annual Cranksgiving alley cat race rolls out at 1 pm today from Echo Park Lake, with registration at noon; 751 N. Echo Park Ave.

Ventura cyclists are taking it to the streets to call for greater safety for cyclists with a Bicycle Awareness Ride today, November 23rd from 2 pm to 4:30 pm starting at the HUB Community Bike Shop, 1150 N. Ventura Ave in Ventura. Riders are also encouraged to attend the December 2nd city council session from 6 pm to 7:30 pm at Ventura City Hall, 501 Poli Street.

This Sunday, November 24th, Sweet Ride USA hosts their first public ride, from Sunset Triangle to Donut Friend in Highland Park. It’s your chance to enjoy a short ride, eat some gourmet donuts and participate in the next video in their exclusive series. The ride assembles at Sunset Triangle at 10:15 am, rolling at 11 am.

The LACBC’s Civic Engagement Committee will meet on Tuesday, November 26th to discuss the conjunction of bikes and local politics. The meeting takes place from 6:45 pm to 8:30 on the Mezzanine level of LACBC headquarters, 634 South Spring Street in DTLA and is open to everyone; you don’t have to be an LACBC member to attend.

Sure, you can join the frenzied crowds on Black Friday. Or you can get out on your bike with the 34-mile Black Friday Ride around the west San Fernando Valley. The ride meets at 9 am at the Balboa Sports Center, 17015 Burbank Blvd in Encino, rolling at 9:30.

CXLA_FLYER_v6-690x1066CycloCross returns to Downtown LA on Saturday and Sunday, November 30th and December 1st with the UCI CXLA Cross After Dark Finale Weekend at the Los Angeles Historic Park, 1245 North Spring Street. Events, which includes the UCI Cross After Dark Series Finale on Saturday, run from 1 pm to 9 pm Saturday and 8 am to 4 pm Sunday.

The LACBC brings back Tour de Taste for a third time, in conjunction with the CXLA Cross After Dark. The event, offering a beer garden and food from Downtown restaurants, takes place at the LA Historic Park, 1245 North Spring Street in Downtown LA on Saturday, November 30th from 2 pm to 10 pm. Tickets are $10 for LACBC members and CycloCross racers, and $20 for the general public.

The next ride in the LACBC’s popular series of Sunday Funday rides takes place on Sunday, December 1st as board member Scott Moore leads a tour of Verdugo Mountains Fire Roads. Riders assemble at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at 3701 Ocean View Blvd in Montrose at 9:30 am, rolling at 10 am; the ride is free for LACBC members and a guest.

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, December 3rd at the Hollywood Neighborhood City Hall Community Room, 6501 Fountain Ave.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition invites you to attend an Open House to celebrate Victories of Future Past on Thursday, December 5th from 6 pm to 10 pm on the ground floor of the historic Banks Huntley Building, 634 S. Spring Street. They promise refreshments and dancing with DJ Skramble; free for LACBC members, $10 for non-members. And yes, I’ll be there, so stop in and say hi.

Thirteen fallen cyclists in the City of Angels, and no one even seems to notice — or care

Ghost bike for Andy Garcia, from

Ghost bike for Andy Garcia, from


That’s the answer to the question the LA Times didn’t ask.

In an opinion piece that went online Thursday as part of the paper’s extensive coverage of bicycling issues in the City of Angels, Times writer Robert Greene notes that London is reeling over the deaths of six bike riders in the last two weeks. And 14 this year.

It’s a devastating total for a city that, like Los Angeles, has made great strides in accommodating cyclists in recent years, and has seen an accompanying jump in ridership.

Or maybe it’s the other way around, as an increasing number of riders have demanded better infrastructure.

Either way, the uproar is entirely justified, as Londoners are shocked by the carnage on their streets, and demand action. Even if some insist on blaming the victims, whether for wearing headphones or other imagined violations that had noting to do with the deaths.

Just one problem.

Los Angeles, with less than half the population of the British capital, has suffered just one less death this year.

Thirteen Angelenos have lost their lives on the city’s streets since the first of the year. All in traffic collisions.

And shockingly, nine of those 13 deaths have been hit-and-runs, as heartless drivers have fled the scene, leaving their victims to bleed out in the street.

Yet unlike London, there is no outrage on the streets of LA.

There are no protests. There are no die-ins. There are no calls in the press for urgent action to keep our two-wheeled citizens safe as they ride, whether for transportation or recreation.

In fact, as far as I can tell, no one in the press has even noticed.

It’s just accepted as the cost of sharing our streets. Maybe there’s brief outpouring of shock and grief in some cases, near total silence in others. But in the long run, as the late Phil Ochs sang, it doesn’t seem to interest anyone outside of a small circle of friends.

And no one in the media or government ever does the math to come up with the horrifying total.


Some might say it’s only 12, as one victim — Markeis Vonreece Parish — was walking his bike when he was run down by a cowardly killer in a speeding Mercedes who didn’t even slow down after blasting through another human being.

Technically, Parish was a pedestrian when he was hit. But the fact that he was holding his bike as he walked with friends implied he’d ridden it there, and would likely get back on it to return home.

And that makes him one of us.

Then again, I don’t see where 12 victims is any less tragic than 13. Especially when the city saw just five fallen cyclists in each of the last two years.

As if that isn’t five too many.

Even as the press reports on the deaths in London, the loss of lives on our own streets is unnoticed or ignored.

There’s no demand for action from our advocacy groups as the death toll mounts; no mass protests at city hall.

And no reaction at all from city hall. No calls from the mayor to halt the bloodshed, no action from the city council to help keep bike riders alive, no demands, unlike other cities, for an end to traffic deaths, let alone those of more vulnerable cyclists and pedestrians.

In fact, in this bloody year of 2013, with nearly three times the bicycling deaths of recent years — and still six weeks left to go — supposedly bike-friendly councilmembers like Tom LaBonge and Paul Koretz have gone on record as opposing bike lanes on Lankershim and Westwood. And had the mayor’s support in gutting the green lanes on Spring Street.

When we need a hand up, we get a knife in the back.

But what’s a few more dead cyclists in the grand scheme of things, if that means drivers — and Hollywood — can continue to maintain their hegemony on our streets?

Greene’s piece isn’t bad.

He suggests the need for protected bike lanes, though noting that we’re unlikely to get them everywhere they’re needed. And he calls for greater enforcement against law-breaking drivers, even though he can’t resist the false equivalency of headphone-wearing bike riders.

But where is the outrage over the blood that’s being spilled on our own streets, as too many Angelenos lose their lives on the hoods and bumpers of cars? And the angels that watch over this city silently scream at the indifference we show to the deaths of our brothers and sisters.


It’s just accepted as the cost of transportation, the desperately high price we pay for getting from here to there.

And that may just be the greatest tragedy of all.

OC bike rider died a week after she was trapped under car; 80th SoCal cycling death this year

And then there were 80.

On Monday, November 4th, 44-year old Michelle Lounsbury was hit by a car in Costa Mesa in an apparent right hook.

Early last week, I started seeing rumors that she had died; however, it wasn’t until this morning that Amy Senk of Corona del Mar Today forwarded confirmation from the Orange County Register that Lounsbury had passed away one week later on November 11th.

For some reason, the story never showed up in any of my internet searches, even though it doesn’t seem to be hidden behind the paper’s paywall for some reason.

According to the original story in the Daily Pilot, the driver — later identified as 48-year old Suja Haq of Costa Mesa — was headed east on Bay Street when he started to turn right onto Newport Blvd. As he turned, he heard a loud noise, and stopped to find Lounsbury trapped under his car.

Rescue personnel had to use emergency equipment to lift the vehicle off her, before rushing her to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana. The Register reports that she showed no brain activity shortly after arriving at the hospital; life support was disconnected a week later after family members gave their consent.

The Register describes Lounsbury as a homeless woman who lived in the Costa Mesa area, and was well-liked in the local homeless community.

“She was always there for everybody,” said Ashley Clark, who kept in contact with Lounsbury through the Churches Consortium’s outreach. …

“She had a cruiser, like a black cruiser. It was very Michelle. She’s kind of like a rocker chick, so her bike was black. She had black hair, black outfits, black everything … The homeless people, the thing about them is they stick together,” Clark said. “So when one of them passes away, it’s difficult. … That moral support that they would’ve gotten from her is gone.”

Lounsbury was scrappy, outgoing and direct, and could also be considerate, big-hearted and compassionate, said Clark and John Begin, pastor at Costa Mesa Church of Christ.

As a homeless person, it’s possible that she may not have had lights on her bike; with black clothing and a black bike, she may have been hard to see in the full darkness of the early morning hour. However, the driver still had an obligation to notice and avoid someone anyone on the street, especially at a major intersection that should have been well lighted.

If there is any good news in this story, it is this.

“She didn’t suffer through this,” Begin said. “From the day of the accident, she wasn’t there.”

Police are still looking for two men who may have witnessed the collision. Anyone with information is urged to contact Traffic Investigator Darren Wood at 714/754-5264.

And let’s remember that there are many reasons someone might become homeless. Their lives are no less valuable than those of anyone else, and their deaths no less tragic.

This is the 80th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, in what has turned out to be an exceptionally bloody year for SoCal bike riders. It is also the 11th cycling death in Orange County, as the county maintains its horrible average of one bicycling death per month.

My deepest sympathy and prayers go out to Michelle Lounsbury and all her family and friends.

Thanks to Amy Senk for her help in confirming this story.

Update: Bike rider killed in Coachella; few details available

Once again, a bike rider is dead in Riverside County. And once again, we have almost no information about what happened.

According to The Desert Sun, the victim was involved in a collision with a car at 5:11 pm, at the intersection of Van Buren Avenue and Avenue 48 in Coachella. He was pronounced dead at the scene; no word on how or why the collision occurred.

The paper identifies the victim only as an older man, while KESQ-TV says he was described as a man in his 50s, wearing dark clothing. The family in the car that hit him is reportedly cooperating with the investigation.

No other information is available at this time.

Hopefully that will change. Because whoever the victim turns out to be, he was someone’s father, son, brother or friend. And he deserves to be remembered for the person he was, instead of a nameless victim.

This is the 79th cycling fatality in the seven-county Southern California area this year, compared to 74 for all of last year, and the 11th in Riverside County.

Update: The victim has been identified as 70-year old Ruben de la Cruz Miramontes, a citizen of Mexico. According to the LA Times, Miramontes was hit while riding in the southbound lane of Van Buren, between Avenues 48 and 49. He was pronounced dead at 5:14 pm. 

Anyone with information is urged to call the Riverside County Sheriff’s Dept at 760/863-8990.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Ruben de la Cruz Miramontes and his loved ones.

Fight for Westwood bike lanes at LA City Council Tuesday; Times writer tells motorists to get a grip

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition has issued an action alert calling for bike riders to attend tomorrow’s city council session to protest the cancellation of planned bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard.

Please join us for a day of action tomorrow to urge Councilmember Koretz to keep his promise to study bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard. He told us that we would be able to share our thoughts at a public forum, which he then canceled. So, we want to make sure he hears that you support bike lanes on Westwood.

You can show your support in two ways:

1) Join us at City Council at 10 AM tomorrow when we give public comment. You will have two minutes to make your case for bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard. Let us know you’re coming: email with your name and address and we’ll fill out a public comment card for you.

Council Chambers (10 AM on Tuesday)
Los Angeles City Hall
200 N. Spring Street, 3rd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012

2) Can’t make it downtown? Call Koretz’s office and share your thoughts. Dial (310) 289-0353 (field office) or (213) 473-7005 (downtown office). Then, email to let us know how it went.

Sample script:

“Hi, my name is __________ and I’m a (resident of CD5, student at UCLA, etc.) and I’m calling to urge Councilmember Koretz to complete the study of the Westwood Boulevard bike lanes and have a transparent public process, like he promised. Bike lanes on Westwood are important to me because…”

What’s your reason for supporting bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard? Consider these when making comments either at City Council or on the phone:

Safety – A report by Neighborhood Bike Ambassador and Westside South of Santa Monica (WSSM) resident Calla Weimer shows a history of collisions along Westwood in just the six blocks from Santa Monica Blvd to Pico. Westwood Blvd is among the most-traveled streets for bicyclists on the Westside that does not have bike lanes.

Lack of good alternatives – There’s been a lot of talk about alternatives, but when you map them out, they are hillier, indirect, have stop signs nearly every block, or lack ways to cross major boulevards. All of these factors make Westwood Blvd the preferred route for bicyclists.

Bikes are good for business – Study after study shows that bicyclists are a boon for local business. Bicyclists can stop on a whim, park easily, and shop more frequently that those arriving by other means. Routing bike traffic on side streets between major employment and transit hubs is a missed opportunity for small businesses.

Sustainability – Just days after opposing the Westwood bike lanes, Councilmember Koretz attended the launch of the UCLA Grand Challenge, calling for Los Angeles to be carbon-neutral by 2050. Transportation is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Los Angeles, and research clearly demonstrates that alternatives to driving must be convenient for people to use them.

Access to the Expo Line – The Westwood station on the Expo Line will not have public parking, making it all the more important that it is accessible by bike. Over 90% of Metro customers access transit without a car. Metro is currently analyzing corridors for potential station access improvements and bikeshare opportunities, but Westwood will miss out if the bike lanes do not go through.

I can’t make it, since I’ll be sitting in for Damien Newton as guest editor of LA Streetsblog in the morning.

But I urge you to attend, or call or email CM Kortetz’ office if you can’t. Because a decision that gives a greater value to the convenience of a few homeowners over the safety of cyclists should not be allowed to stand.


This is the editorial I’ve been waiting for, as a writer for the Times tells motorists who claim cyclists have it coming to get a grip.


So what is it that drives otherwise rational people to fits of apoplexy when the subject of cycling comes up?

Yes, some cyclists break the rules. Dangerously, at times.

But sit by any major street, and it only takes moments to observe an unending stream of stupid driver tricks. And has been pointed out many times before, even the most reckless cyclist is a danger primarily to him or herself, while reckless drivers are a danger to everyone around them.

Dangerous drivers kill; dangerous cyclists and pedestrians get killed.

The risk is by no means equivalent.

And only a truly sick SOB would ever take pleasure or find justification in the needless death of another human being.

So get a grip. And get over it already.


Vancouver Cycle Chic writer Chris Bruntlett interviews me and other LA bikevocates in a photo essay on the state of bicycling in Los Angeles; a nice piece from a nice guy.


4314920.web.templateCycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson rides to remember a fallen cyclist he didn’t know and writes about it movingly.

Speaking of Seth, word is he has a book coming out this week, with a signing this Thursday at 7 pm at Pages: A Book Store, 904 Manhattan Ave in Manhattan Beach — including wine from Victoria Hill Vineyards and beer from Strand Brewing. That alone would make it worth the trip to the South Bay.

Seth is one of my favorite bike writers, veering from wildly inappropriate to outrageously funny to deeply moving. Sometimes in the same post.

Something tells me his book will be on the can’t miss gift list for a lot of bike riders this year. Including mine.

Maybe a copy will find its way into my stocking.

And yes, that’s a hint. But someone please tell my wife, since she doesn’t read my blog.


Don’t miss the LACBC Open House on December 5th; and yes, I’ll be there. How to protect your bike from theft while riding Metro; this is what can happen if you don’t. Pardon me boy, is that the Westwood Blvd choo choo tracks? Take a bike train to the LA Gran Prix on Saturday, and watch the first ever Wolfpacktrack Invitational. Better Bike recaps a recent tour of soon-to-be-made-over Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills, with possible plans for bike lanes. A bike rider in Santa Monica gets hit by a car, assaults the driver, jumps up and down on the roof, and gets arrested; not that he overreacted or anything. New protected bike lanes in the San Gabriel Valley. Cyclists helping others with the SC Velo and Incycle Thanksgiving food drive. CLR Effect offers incredible photos from the El Dorado Park Cyclocross; hey Michael, ever think about putting a bike calendar together?

Six highlights from the recent California Bike Summit. Orange County riders turn out to remember fallen cyclist Paul Lin. Too bad this one is buried behind the paywall, as the OC Register’s Dan Whiting says it’s worth two seconds to save a cyclist’s life; I may disagree with Dan from time to time, but no one ever said his heart isn’t in the right place. An OC driver is sentenced to 21 years in prison for killing a cheerleader while drunk, thus proving the lives of cheerleaders are more valuable than cyclists; thanks to George Cook for the link. San Diego cyclists complain about trash cans in the bike lane. A memorial ride was held Saturday for popular San Diego cyclist Udo Heinz, who was killed by a bus on Camp Pendleton last August. Santa Barbara paramedics pitch in to buy a special needs man a new bike less than an hour after his was stolen. Some Santa Cruz cyclists protest the groundbreaking for a new bike path. A 72-year old cyclist suffers major injuries in a Cayucos collision. More evidence that police officers don’t always understand the laws they enforce. Two teens injured in Stockton bike-by shooting; thanks to Cyclelicious for the heads-up. San Francisco police are accused of beating a bike rider for riding on the sidewalk, then beating people who tried to come to his aid; turns out he was only packing a cupcake.

Lactic acid is your friend; no, really, that’s what they say. Floyd Landis goes to war against Lance Armstrong; speaking of Lance, he says former UCI president Verbruggen was in on the cover-up. Well, duh. A ghost bike goes up in my hometown. A Wisconsin bike evangelist wants you to get ‘bent. The NYPD cracks down on bicyclists for riding on a bike path. Riding with Wall Street MAMILS on $20,000 bikes.

In a virtual repeat of the Santa Barbara story, a stranger buys a new bike for an autistic Canadian boy after his is stolen. Is London Mayor Boris pushing too fast to make the city bike friendly, or not fast enough? Following a rash of bicycling deaths in London, police wisely choose to crack down on the victims, rather than the big ass trucks that are killing them. London gang members are barred from riding bikes to prevent them from committing crimes or fleeing police; yeah, they couldn’t possibly just take the Tube or run away or anything. Eight reasons to be grateful to cyclists. A UK driver didn’t see the young bike rider he killed because he was safely checking his rearview mirror; oh, well okay, then. UK police confiscate a $273,000 McLaren supercar after the uninsured driver hits a cyclist; seriously, you drive a quarter-of-a-million dollar car and can’t carry a little insurance? An 18-year old Irish rider pleads guilty to the new charge of drunk cycling; just one of an average five Irish cyclists who appear in court each week. A Spanish cyclist is fined the equivalent of $135 for eating a croissant while riding. Bicycling should be encouraged in India so youths learn to maintain balance in their lives. Can someone please explain what a Kiwi bike rider who was seriously injured after riding into a parked car five years ago has to do with a call to wear hi-viz to improve visibility?

Finally, a cyclist does the right thing by giving up bicycling to take up driving; no really, you should read this one. Unlike the Chinese driver who did the wrong thing, promising to take the cyclist he hit to the hospital before dumping him on the side of the road.

And if this wasn’t enough to satisfy your bike link lust, the world’s biggest and best bike link compendium is just a click away.

Yet another driver kills a cyclist and flees the scene; 3rd fatal Ontario bike hit-and-run since July

News is just breaking that yet another bike rider has been killed by a hit-and-run driver, this time in Ontario.

According to the Daily Bulletin, the victim was riding on Euclid Avenue at Budd Street shortly after 2 pm Sunday when he struck by a Ford pickup traveling north on Euclid. No word on which direction the victim, who has not been identified pending notification of next of kin, was traveling or how the collision occurred.

He was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Meanwhile, the driver fled the scene, but was captured shortly later thanks to information provided by witnesses. Police arrested 29-year old Ontario resident James Manuel Avalos; no word yet on any possible charges.

This is the 78th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 11th in San Bernardino County. That compares to 74 SoCal deaths, and 10 in the San Bernardino County, for all of last year. It is also the third bicycling fatality in the City of Ontario since July — all hit-and-runs.

Clearly, something is seriously wrong there.

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

Correction: I initially left off the last name of the suspect; he should have been identified as James Manuel Avalos, as I’ve now changed it above. Thanks to Allyson Vought for the catch.

Traffic deaths up nationwide in 2012, while US bike deaths increase 6.5%; plus lots of fresh bike links

The news is out, and it’s not good.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic fatalities are up for the first time in the last seven years, with 33,561 deaths in 2012, compared to 32,479 the year before.

That total includes 726 bike riders who lost their lives in 2012 — a 6.5% increase — and 49,000 injured. Pedestrians and cyclists represented 17% of traffic deaths, compared to just 13% in 2003.

Of course, it’s possible, even likely, that the increase in cycling deaths and injuries is a result of an increase in ridership, though we have no idea whether the increase is proportionate to the rise in cycling rates.

However, the increase may call into question the much-cited safety in numbers effect.


Just Ride LA has scheduled a bike race to benefit the Philippines on the 21st. Time is running out to save the Riverside-Figueroa bridge. Gary Kavanagh discusses mainstreaming bicycle lessons learned from bike-friendly Davis CA. Manhattan Beach approves sharrows, but not on Pacific. Women on Bikes’ Pedal Love project is raising funds to inspire women and girls to ride as part of their daily lives. Calabasas gets a new bike and pedestrian plan. While bike haters claim we don’t pay our fair share for the roads, Rick Risemberg points out it’s drivers who need to dig a little deeper.

The case of fallen Newport Beach cyclist Debra Deem has been referred to the Orange County DA’s office. A Corona del Mar cyclist is slightly injured in a collision on the Coast Highway, while another rider is injured in San Clemente. A San Diego driver parks his car in a bike lane, and the press blames a cyclist for running into it. Santa Barbara bike rider is injured in a train collision when he doesn’t bother to look before crossing the tracks; thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link. A road raging San Francisco driver is under arrest for intentionally running down a bike rider. San Francisco 49er players build bikes to give to kids. Chico paper says two recent fallen cyclists did everything right — then tells cyclists to obey the letter of the law to improve safety.

In a shocking display of bipartisanship, Congress members from both parties introduce the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act to set separate safety targets for motorized and non-motorized transportation. Stoplights made for cars leave cyclists stuck on red. Portland infographic clearly shows bikes aren’t getting a free ride. A Utah cyclist is injured because a teenage driver couldn’t take her eyes off the pretty foliage. Driver ticketed for a fatal left cross in my hometown. The Boulder CO driver whose carelessness left ‘70s cycling legend Dale Stetina with life-threatening injuries faces charges, as well; Stetina could be out of the hospital next month. Eighty-five year old Iowa doctor still rides 100 miles a week, on skinny tires, no less. Getting it wrong: Time Magazine says Boston has finally solved bike sharing’s bike safety problem, which oddly hasn’t been a problem anywhere else. Glenn Beck, among others, urges New York’s new mayor to lose the bike lanes; better yet, let’s lose Glenn Beck and make the world a better place. Going to war over bike lanes and parking spaces in Alexandria VA.

A rash of fatalities strikes British cycling, with six dead in the last nine days — five in London alone. London’s mayor Boris is urged to take action, but shamefully chooses to blame the victims instead. How to stay safe on UK streets. Londonist considers how it would sound if we talked about all road users the way some people talk about cyclists, while a rider says, despite comments to the contrary, respect does not have to be earned. The Evening Standard says London can be a cycling city to rival any in Europe with a different approach. Authorities conclude that a bike-riding British spy died after somehow locking himself into a sports bag; yeah, that’s credible. Bike riding is up in Edinburgh as driving rates drop. Copenhagen design firm creates Lego-like snap-together tiles that can be assembled to create temporary cycle tracks; I like it. A UAE editorial calls for better protection for Emirates riders. Egyptian women are riding bikes in a fight for equality. Cyclists are dying at a faster rate on Australian roads. Thankfully, an Aussie cyclist suffers a massive heart attack while riding, but lives to ride another day. The husband of a fallen New Zealand cyclist calls for an attitude change on the country’s streets. Road raging Kiwi driver faces charges for pushing a rider off his bike, resulting in serious injuries.

Finally, Ireland gets tough on hit-and-run as a proposed law would increase penalties to up to 10 years, which sounds about right to me. And Bikeyface says your lights don’t work if no one can see them.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for bike friendly CA Assemblymember Mike Gatto, whose father was murdered in a home invasion robbery Thursday morning.

Breaking news: Councilmember Koretz abandons safety, cyclists and his word on Westwood Boulevard

Evidently, the lives and safety of bike riders don’t matter when wealthy homeowners raise their voices in opposition.

At least, that the message CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz seems to be sending.

According to LA Streetsblog, Koretz has come out in opposition to bike lanes in any form on Westwood Blvd between National and Santa Monica Boulevards — despite an earlier promise to study the feasibility of such lanes, which is currently ongoing.

Evidently, he doesn’t want any facts to get in the way of making up his mind.

As Damien Newton, author of the Streetsblog story points out, any kind of bike lane on that section of Westwood has been adamantly opposed by a small group of local homeowners represented by the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowner’s Group, as well as business owners along the boulevard who fear a loss of parking spaces.

It is wildly unlikely that the city will move forward with a bicycle lane project without at least tacit support from the Council office, which is bowing to pressure from homeowner groups that have been hostile to transportation options outside of the automobile….

Local opposition to the lane publicly centered around an LADOT study of a bus lane (bikes allowed) which would have removed travel lanes and parking.  That plan was DOA.  Instead, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition proposed a “floating” bicycle lane where the parked-car adjacent bike lane would be moved to the curb during rush hour so that the road could continue to have a peak hour lane.  After the public meeting, the LADOT began a study of the floating bike lane (which they had only briefly introduced as an “idea” at the public hearing), but that was put on hold by the Councilmember.

It should be noted that the floating bike lane would not have resulted in the loss of a single traffic lane or parking space; the greatest handicap anyone would face would be crossing the street from one side to the other as the parking lane flipped sides.

Now, the floating bike lane plan has been rejected by the Councilmember before he has allowed the formal study to be was completed.  In response, today, the LACBC released an action alert calling on Koretz to move forward with a full study of the lanes that includes all stakeholders.

In that alert, the Bike Coalition calls attention to the councilmember’s broken promise.

Word on the street is that Councilmember Paul Koretz is reneging on his commitment to study bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard, connecting the future Expo Line Station to UCLA and Palms.  Earlier this year Koretz wrote, “I am an advocate of bike paths so long as we implement them intelligently and with the input of local stakeholders.”  With that in mind, LACBC respected local opposition to the City’s proposed bus-bike lanes and developed an alternative that still provides safety benefits without the traffic impact that upset some stakeholders. We then requested to work with the Councilmember to:

  • Study alternatives for Westwood with less traffic impact
  • Create an inclusive engagement process that is fact-based and respectful of divergent opinions

After agreeing to the above, Koretz stalled.  He did not set up an open and transparent process and instructed LADOT to stop the study.  Instead of seeking input from all stakeholders, he has listened to one small insular group of homeowners that have repeatedly put out inaccurate information to rally opposition to even studying the project.  At LACBC, we firmly believe that studying options is the first step in making decisions “intelligently.”

Koretz opposition also flies in the face of support for the lanes from his own appointee to the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, CD5 representative Jonathan Weiss, as quoted by Streetsblog.

Weiss argues that the road width is actually wide enough to put in lanes without removing parking or mixed-use lanes if lanes are narrowed.

“There is ample room for bike lanes without losing car lanes or parking,” Weiss writes in a letter to Koretz. “Providing bike lanes would actually free up traffic by separating bikes from cars.  And safety concerns will continue to keep risk-averse people from riding – exacerbating, rather than relieving, automobile traffic to UCLA and keeping buses stuck in traffic.  (Biking is actually faster than the bus during the evening commute.)  UCLA has done a great job in cutting its carbon footprint, but this bottleneck on its doorstep hinders its ongoing efforts in that regard.”

It’s short notice, I know.

But the LACBC is calling on everyone who rides Westwood — or would like to — to attend a meeting this evening to discuss the next steps in light of Koretz firmly planting a knife in the back of the Westside cycling community.

Come to our meeting TONIGHT (Thursday) at 6:30 p.m. to plan next steps for RideWestwood and find out about upcoming actions:

UCLA – Public Affairs Building – Faculty Lounge (Room 5391)
337 Charles E. Young Dr. East (near Wyton and Hilgard).

If you can’t make the meeting — or even if you can — the coalition asks that you email Koretz’ office to demand he reconsider bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

Sample email:


subj: Study Westwood Bike Lanes

Dear Councilmember Koretz,

Westwood Boulevard is currently one of the most popular routes for people riding bikes in your district.  It is also one of the least safe.  You’ve said before that, “I do not vote for things that kill people.”  I hope that you’ll at least study how to fix a dangerous situation that has already killed and will likely again if it is not improved.  As a community leader, it’s your responsibility to convene people with differing views, seek out accurate information and make informed decisions that respect all stakeholders.  I ask that you take this commitment seriously by studying alternatives for bike lanes along Westwood Boulevard and hosting an open and inclusive process to discuss the merits of the project.


your name
your neighborhood 

And while you’re at it, you might remind him of his own support for bicycling, as he stated right here when he was first running for office.

When I was the Mayor of West Hollywood, I requested input from the bicycle community on how to implement bike lanes on part of Santa Monica Boulevard. I think Los Angeles needs to adopt a regional public transportation approach that not only addresses improving traffic flow, and mass transit, but also how we can improve options and the quality of life for bicyclists.

In general, we need to focus on the creation of an effective bicycle infrastructure. Los Angeles, with over 330 sunny days a year, should be the world leader in bicycle commuting. We need to start the work of building many more miles of safe bikeways and adequate secure parking for commuters. These two steps will be a good beginning in our efforts to alleviate congestion and improve traffic flow.

Odd that someone who fought for bike lanes on the even more congested Santa Monica Blvd through West Hollywood would oppose them on Westwood.

Or was he just saying what he thought we wanted to hear to win an election?

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