Morning Links: Tragedy in Santa Clarita, LA announces Vision Zero, and too much racing news for one day

Sad news from Santa Clarita, as a man apparently rode his bike to commit suicide Sunday morning.

According to the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, the unidentified man jumped to his death off the bridge on White’s Canyon Road at Via Princessa in full view of several people. Deputies said an overturned bicycle behind the yellow sheriff’s tape belonged to the man who jumped.

As others have said before me, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

No matter how bad things may look today, it will change. Maybe not now, maybe not soon. But it will. That’s the way life goes.

Hopefully the good, in the end, will outweigh the bad.

And you are not alone.

There are people who care. If you need help, call. Or talk to someone you know. Not tomorrow, not next week.

Now.

I want to see you back here tomorrow. And many more tomorrows after that.

NOTE: I heard from a relative of the victim who complained that the line about the permanence of suicide was glib. It was not intended that way; I learned it from a psychiatrist who specialized in treating depression. And it has helped me get through some very bad days.

I didn’t say this last night in my rush to get this online, but my heart and prayers go out to the victim and all his family and loved ones. Regardless of how he died, he was one of us.

Update: The victim has been identified as 23-year old Phillip Michael Griffin; a search had been underway since he went missing on Wednesday. 

………

This is a big day in LA.

According to Los Angeles Walks, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will formally announce the city’s Vision Zero initiative to end traffic deaths in the City of Angels within the next 10 years. He’s set to make the announcement at the intersection of Cesar Chavez and St. Louis in Boyle Heights at 12:30 pm.

Of course, the question is whether the city is willing to make the tough choices that will require. As the recent controversies over Westwood Blvd, North Figueroa and the Glendale-Hyperion bridge make clear, many Angelenos — and a handful of elected representatives — still favor convenience over safety, and maintaining the automotive hegemony on our streets.

And are more than willing to twist that safety argument to preserve the status quo and keep our streets dangerous.

It will take strong leadership to make a dent in the number of deadly collisions in our city, let alone eliminate them in 10 years. And it can’t be done if we continue to carve out certain streets, neighborhoods or council districts.

We haven’t seen that yet from our city leaders. In fact, we haven’t heard from the mayor on any of those controversies, or any of the other streets where opposition to bikes has blocked much needed safety improvements.

Hopefully, that will change today.

In fact, it has to.

………

Way too much racing news today.

Taylor Wiles won the second stage of the women’s USA Pro Challenge; Kristen Armstrong ended up winning the short three-day tour by 29 seconds over Wiles on Sunday. Taylor Phinney’s mom — who was a pretty decent cyclist herself — is thrilled to see how Colorado has embraced women’s bike racing.

Saturday’s men’s stage was taken by Roman Kreuziger after a long breakaway, while BMC’s Rohan Dennis finished with the main pack to hold a 44 second lead. He held that lead to win the Pro Challenge, with teammate Brent Bookwalter taking second.

Earlier in the race, Dennis had chucked his panini at a rider who attacked when the peloton stopped to pee.

Across the Atlantic, BMC won the team time trial on the first day of the Vuelta a España; however, no individual times were recorded due to a dispute over the unsafe conditions of the sand-covered route. On the other hand, at least they didn’t have to outrace a tank.

After all the rumors about motor doping over the summer, Vincenzo Nibali did it old school, getting bounced from the race for holding onto a team car to catch up to the peloton after a crash. Astana teammate Paolo Tiralongo posts a nasty eye injury he suffered in that same crash. All of which supports Deadspin’s observation that the Vuelta is the best race of the season, calling it “as spectacular as a relatively tame sport gets.”

And for future reference, you might want to keep your eye on a 16-year old racer from San Diego’s Torrey Pines High School.

………

Sometimes, cyclists really are heroes.

On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Washington Post tells the story of professional cyclist Ken Bellau, who returned to his New Orleans home after competing in the Tour of French Guyana, hopped in a boat, and saved over 400 people from the flooding caused by the hurricane.

………

Local

South Pasadena neighbors team up to chase down a one-man bike theft crime wave; the thief had been busted three times for similar crimes in just the last 45 days.

Pasadena’s newly passed general plan calls for increased density in the urban core while encouraging people to walk, bike or ride transit.

 

State

A Laguna Beach website asks if it’s possible for hikers, mountain bikers and wilderness habitat to co-exist.

A Coronado letter writer says beaches and bicycles are not at match. A statement disproven daily at pretty much every beach, everywhere.

Those anti-bike Coronado people couldn’t have been happy on Sunday, as 3,400 cyclists rode around the bay, through the town and across the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in a fundraiser for the San Diego Bicycle Coalition.

A reminder from Santa Cruz that drivers are required to make a right turn from the farthest lane to right, which means merging into a bike lane rather than turning across it. But make sure to check for bikes first.

Deb Hubsmith’s hometown newspaper says the late founder of Safe Routes to School showed the impact one person can have in a short lifetime.

The Bay Area’s Bicicletas Por la Paz is a band, bicycle advocacy group, awareness collective and food kitchen rolled into one.

The Sacramento paper says it’s long past time to make safe, easy bicycling a priority.

A South Lake Tahoe cyclist is back home after riding through Iran to meet with school children to promote peace, although not everyone in this country welcomed his efforts. Or in that one, probably.

 

National

Now that’s more like it. A Reno man gets 20 years for the drunk driving death of a 16-year old bike rider; he was nearly twice the legal limit when he was arrested. Similar cases here seldom result in more than a couple years.

A Chicago writer rides Missouri’s 238-mile Katy Trail with her husband, even if their starting point was under water. Meanwhile, the Windy City has a shiny new three-mile elevated rail-to-trail conversion.

The Chicago man who was brutally beaten by five honor students was selling the bike to raise money for school; his attackers reportedly believed the bike was stolen.

Cleveland prepares to paint a buffered bike lane on a newly resurfaced street. And bizarrely puts the buffer next to the curb, instead of next to the traffic lane where it might actually do some good.

Sad news from Massachusetts, as a bike rider hit by a drunk driver in 1996 dies after 19 years in a coma; his family has forgiven the driver, but the DA has yet to determine if additional jail time is warranted as a result of the death.

President Obama and family ride their bikes through the drizzle on Martha’s Vineyard. Although judging by the photo, daughter Malia isn’t too happy about it.

A PA paper offers advice on how to teach someone to ride a bike safely. But despite what they say, might does not make right; drivers don’t have a superior right to the road because they’re in the larger vehicles.

If you really want your employees to ride to work, try offering a free bike valet like this New York company. But discourage them from stealing a bikeshare bike to commute with.

A Baltimore driver hits a cyclist while trying to pass on a curve, then gets out of his SUV and hits him some more. With his fists. Showing how non-seriously authorities take traffic violence, he’s out on just $25,000 bail.

 

International

A musician rides 1,800 miles across Canada to perform, while supporting a movement for clean air, food and water.

Bicycling looks at how Bogotá’s ciclovía changed the world. I’m not sure the new Mobility Plan would have passed without CicLAvia, which is based on the Bogotá event.

Better bike routes and more bicycling could solve the traffic problems in Manchester UK.

A British bike rider was lucky to get away with a broken wrist and hand injuries after someone sabotaged his bike by disconnecting his brakes; the local government councilor crashed into a lamp post after careening down a hill at 30 mph.

A private postal service in Edinburgh delivers the mail by bike for a third less than conventional services; not surprisingly, business is growing by booming 20% a month.

A Chinese tourist who was kidnapped by Taliban militants while bicycling through Pakistan over a year ago has been freed by Pakistani security forces.

 

Finally…

It may not be safe for Florida kids to bike to school, but at least they can pedal at their desks. A new smart helmet could help avoid wrecks. Too bad we can’t get drivers to wear it.

And while the driverless car is still in development, the riderless bike is here today.

 

One comment

  1. JD says:

    Our prayers go up for the family and friends of the suicide victim.

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