A moving look at local ghost bikes, Pico Blvd cyclist threatened with knife, and your weekend reading list

Ghost bike for Compton victim Pete; photo by Danny Gamboa

Ghost bike photo by Danny Gamboa

I’ve long been a fan of LA Times columnist Steve Lopez.

And not just because he’s been a long standing supporter of safer bicycling, on the mean streets of LA or the seemingly serene Santa Monica bike path.

Today, he offers a moving look at the local ghost bike movement. It’s a must read. And one in which he quotes me extensively, as well as ghost bike builder Anthony Novarro, who lost his own 6-year old bike-riding son, and documentary maker and ghost bike photographer Danny Gamboa.

The comments that follow, not so much.

And while we’re visiting the Times, after writing last year about braving LA traffic as a bike commuter, writer Ben Poston calls it quits after getting right hooked by a pickup; not everyone approves.

……….

A cyclist says a road raging driver threatened him with a knife for riding on the street on Pico Blvd Friday afternoon.

Hopefully he reported the incident to the police; just brandishing the weapon should be enough for an assault with a deadly weapon charge. It’s bad enough when they threaten us with their cars.

And if he has witnesses to the threat — or other evidence, like an arrest or criminal charge — it could allow him to file suit under the city’s bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

……….

The Amgen Tour of California begins May 11th, with three SoCal stages — Santa Clarita to Mountain High on May 16th, Santa Clarita to Pasadena City Hall on May 17th, and a final Thousand Oaks stage on May 18th that offers four ascents of the famed Rock Store Climb.

The full roster of teams is announced. And for the first time, this year’s race also includes two women’s races; hopefully, a full women’s stage race won’t be far behind. Cycling in the South Bay says you can help that happen.

……….

The case against the sheriff’s deputy who killed entertainment lawyer Milt Olin on Mulholland Highway last December goes to the DA to determine if charges will be filed.

Meanwhile, a bike rider suffered severe injuries when he was hit from behind in South LA Friday night.

And a Santa Ana man who may have been on a bicycle was the victim of what may have been a gang shooting.

……….

Great article on the non-spandexed women cyclists and riders of color who make up a large but largely unnoticed part of the LA cycling community. Better Bike says Beverly Hills is making little progress on traffic safety, and may have the most dangerous streets for any city of its size in the state. Writing for Orange 20 Bikes, Rick Risemberg looks at last weekend’s successful Bicycle Commuter Festival and Summit. LA County Supervisor candidate Sheila Kuehl calls for bike valets at Expo stops; I like it, but it will take more than that to win my vote. Streetsblog maps out the upcoming 20 miles of new sharrows recently promised by LADOT. Outside looks at LA’s upcoming NELA Bike-Friendly District. If you’re an early riser, you may still have time to ride for dim sum with Flying Pigeon. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune applauds connecting the Rio Hondo river trail to the El Monte bus station. Redondo Beach will get a new bike sculpture over the bike path.

Cyclelicious offers a look at bike-related bills before the state legislature, including a plan to tax new bike sales to fund bike path repairs and appease motorists who mistakenly claim we don’t pay our way. I don’t feel it’s my place to criticize a guest post on here, but I can always count on others to have my back. San Diego’s North Park — my old neighborhood when I lived down that way — could become a better place to ride a bike. On the other hand, a bike lane could spell the death of the Hillcrest entertainment district by removing up to 91 parking spaces; cause, you know, no one would ever ride a bike to go out or anything. A participant in the recent fatality-marred Tour of Palm Springs looks at the event and finds it lacking. The Man in Black’s daughter offers her blessings to the new Johnny Cash Trail in Folsom.  If you see someone riding your stolen bike, try not brandishing a knife to get it back. A San Francisco Good Samaritan ends up behind bars after attempting to help and injured bike rider; thanks to my friends at the new and improved Altadena Point for the heads-up.

The long forgotten protected bikeway boom of 1905. Even Las Vegas is getting bike friendlier. The next step in better bike infrastructure could be protected intersections for cyclists. A cyclist is seriously injured attempting to ride through a tunnel in Zion National Park. My hometown newspaper says it’s time we all got along on the roads; not getting along may create conflict, but it’s seldom the cause of traffic collisions. Once again a bike wins, beating two buses, a pedestrian and a driver in rush hour traffic, this time in Austin TX. Dallas bike rider brawls with police after being stopped for not wearing a helmet. A Chicago rider says the cycling community can — and must — do better when it comes to including women and treating them fairly. A remarkably big-hearted Indiana family forgives the drunk driver who killed a cyclist. New York’s new mayor pushes for a 25 mph speed limit to save lives; I wonder if LA will ever have the courage to slow drivers down to safer levels.

A British Columbia bike rider is ordered to pay over a quarter million dollars for running down a walker on an off-road trail. British driver gets two years for leaving a cyclist for dead after hitting him at 80 mph; thankfully, the rider survived, but lost an arm. A UK van driver gets a lousy six months for laughing while deliberately attempting to run down a group of cyclists; a rider tells the story from the victims’ perspective. A Brit truck driver walks after claiming he couldn’t stop or swerve to avoid killing a cyclist, so he just ran him over. Amsterdam struggles to accommodate an ever increasing number of bike riders. An Aussie anti-bike group says keep to the right because you own a bike, not a Mack truck.

Finally, adding insult to injury, a Seattle man finds his bike stolen on Valentines Day, with a pile of crap left in its place. No, literally.

And a rider on the Santa Monica bike path has seemingly solved the problem of riding with your best friend.

Dog-Bike-2

4 comments

  1. Karen Karabell says:

    Ted, I was going to point out another connection between our cities, though Steve Lopez beat me to it. The ghost bike movement was started in St. Louis by our city’s inimitable Patrick Van der Tuin.

    I am dismayed to read Ben Poston’s story and cannot help but wonder: Had he enrolled in a good traffic cycling course, would he still be riding?

    Why is it that people who can balance on two wheels think it’s OK to ride without skills training in traffic?

    • Karen Karabell says:

      I must apologize for making an assumption. After reading Ben Poston’s article, I believe that he has not taken a safe traffic cycling course. Otherwise he surely would not have put himself in the position of being right-hooked.

  2. danger says:

    After seeing on your blog that the Milt Olin case is finally being sent to the DA office I decided to write to the D.A. to let their office know that this kind of thing must stop taking place, sheriff or just stupid drivers.
    I would encourage others to write to the D.A. as, if the sheriff’s deputy could actually be charged in this case it would show others that the L.A. D.A.’s office is getting serious about the death of cyclist in Los Angeles.
    The following is my email:

    Dear Sir,
    I am writing in concern to the case involving the collision between a sheriff patrol car and Milton Everett Olin Jr. on the date o Dec 8, 2013.
    This is a tragic event where a man following the law and riding IN a clearly marked bike lane was run down by a motor vehicle because the driver of said motor vehicle was clearly not paying attention to his driving.
    Under California law I believe this is a clear case of negligent vehicular manslaughter.

    I have heard that the sheriff’s department will try to defend the officer by stating that he was following policy, viewing his in car computer system. Unfortunately for the driver this is not a defense under California Vehicle Code §2890 (West 2004) because:

    (c) Subdivision (a) does not apply to a mobile digital terminal installed in an authorized emergency vehicle or to a motor vehicle providing emergency road service or roadside assistance.
    Because the officer was not providing emergency road service OR roadside assistance at the time.

    I think that it is an unfortunate situation where the sheriff’s deputy driving the vehicle SHOULD BE CHARGED.
    ALSO THE SHERIFF’S POLICY SHOULD BE CHANGED SO THAT THE IN CAR COMPUTER CAN NOT BE USED UNLESS IT IS BY A SECOND OFFICER WHO IS NOT DRIVING.

    I understand that this type of a policy change could substantially effect the operating budget of the sheriff department but as it would save the lives of innocent law abiding citizens (which I believe is the job of the sheriff’s department), the change should happen.

    While on the subject I would also like to quickly state that I see too many cases of cyclist being run down by automobiles in Los Angeles (and elsewhere) with NO criminal charges, and most times only small fines while cyclist are killed in the road.

    Something needs to change in order to save the lives of law abiding cyclist, and I believe that this falls on the shoulders of the DA department. This is the perfect case in which the District Attorneys office of Los Angeles can show that it is serious about protecting cyclist in Los Angeles.

    Please don’t fail to make a statement this time,
    Thank you for your attention,
    Sincerly,
    —- – ——–
    Los Angeles Resident

  3. I’ve been thinking about DeSaulnier’s bike tax bill and I think I know what’s up.

    He represents a district with a lot of recreational cycling and undoubtedly constant requests for more trail funding. Perhaps the county supervisors for Contra Costa and Alameda Counties and city council members say they feel like they want to support cycling, but hey, we have priorities like road funding to think about.

    Outside of Livermore (home of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), the bike commute share is a dismal 0.1% in his district. Everybody drives miles to work. A lot of these folks in this district have 40 to 60 mile commutes, so they too want more spending on roads and highways. So the avid cyclists in these far flung towns agree to a modest bike tax.

    The only barrier is state law, so they contact their Senator and, viola, SB 1183.

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