Morning Links: LA cyclist mugged by transient, CHP endorses speeding drivers, and CD1 race gets dirtier

Regular bike commuter Lou Karlin forwards word that he was attacked by a transient while riding in LA’s Pico-Robertson neighborhood Tuesday evening.

I was going west on Whitworth at Crescent Heights at approximately 6:10 p.m.  A male transient was pushing a shopping cart northbound across the intersection.  He passed me just as my light turned green.  As I began to pedal, he turned back, entered the intersection and punched me in the jaw, knocking me off my bike.  The driver behind me stopped and came to my aid.  The transient, apparently deranged, accused me of having attacked him first and then threatened to hurt the driver.  We let him go on his malevolent way, northbound on Crescent Heights.

I wasn’t badly hurt, just a sore jaw and ribs.  I called 911 to report the incident, and was told to wait for officers.  Unfortunately, it took 60 minutes and repeated calls before two officers arrived–so the transient had disappeared long ago.  In retrospect, I wish I had followed him.

It might be worth a heads up to those who commute on Whitworth — the transient is white with a stocky build, in his 50’s, has a beard, and wore baggy jeans and a light-colored, short-sleeved shirt.

………

Speed cameras work.

A Maryland news report says that no pedestrians have been killed on a roadway near the University of Maryland since a speed camera was installed in 2014; three people were killed on the street in the six months before it was put in place.

And a New York report from 2015 showed that speed cameras in school zones have been a resounding success, resulting in a 58% decline in speeding tickets in just four months.

Unfortunately, though, a bill that would allow a pilot project in San Jose and San Francisco has been put on hold due to opposition from law enforcement groups.

California Highway Patrol Officer Tom Maguire, representing the CHP’s rank-and-file union, challenged the notion that speed cameras would help improve street safety.

In his 21-year career patrolling the East Bay, Maguire said, “I have never investigated or assisted in an investigation that involved a vehicle and a pedestrian or a vehicle and a bicycle that resulted in a fatality where speed was the primary collision factor. Never.”

Which ignores the fact that while collisions may be caused by other factors, excessive speed can contribute or exacerbate that primary collision factor — such as a speeding driver blowing through a red light or making unsafe lane changes — and significantly increases the risk that a crash will result in death or serious injury.

Things he should be well acquainted with in his 21 years of patrolling.

In fact, it seem disingenuous, to use the polite term, to suggest that speed is never a factor in a collision, let alone the determining factor in whether someone lives or dies following a wreck.

And the CHP should, and undoubtedly does, know better.

So the question becomes, not whether speed cameras save lives, but why the union representing CHP officers is willing to stand in the way of safety, and continue to let people die on our streets as the victims of speeding drivers.

You’d think they’d be in favor of reducing speeds, obeying the speed limit and saving lives.

But evidently, you’d be wrong.

………

We all knew this was coming.

The only question was what it would be, and when.

LAist posted a story yesterday that dug deep into CD1 candidate Joe Bray-Ali’s online history, and found a handful of comments posted to an alt-right website that can be described as insensitive, at best. And that appear to have the fingerprints of the Cedillo campaign.

Bray-Ali explains in a video posted on Facebook that he was, in effect, trolling the users of the site. But apologizes repeatedly for his mistake in judgment.

He also apologizes for remarks about gender reassignment surgery, noting that he’s changed his views after getting to know a number of trans people during the campaign.

So let’s be clear.

Virtually every political campaign conducts opposition research on the opposing candidate to dig up whatever dirt they can find. Most campaigns have to common sense and decency not to use it.

Evidently, Gil Cedillo’s doesn’t.

While they will undoubtedly deny having anything to do with it at today’s press conference to denounce Bray-Ali’s comments, there can be little doubt that this came directly from Cedillo’s campaign — and undoubtedly with his direct approval — and was given to the writer for LAist.

I’ve personally been involved in a number of campaigns where someone uncovered damning information about the opposing candidate. The decision on whether to use it was left to the campaign manager, but it always run past the candidate before releasing it.

And in every case, the decision was made not to use it. Sometimes by the campaign manager, sometimes by the candidate. But always because it was the right thing to do.

But clearly, not all politicians are so ethically enlightened.

I am deeply disappointed by Joe Bray-Ali’s comments, and the lack of judgment shown in posting to sites like that, for whatever reason. His only defense is that he was posting as a private citizen, before he chose to run for office.

But he should have known better.

On the other hand, I am disgusted that Gil Cedillo would stoop so low to hold onto a seat he clearly doesn’t deserve. Whether or not he wins the election, his credibility is shattered.

And we should all see him as the dirty politician he has proven himself to be.

………

Samsung is introducing an app that will automatically reply for you if you get a call or message while you’re driving or riding your bike.

Unfortunately, installing and using the app is voluntary.

Which means it’s not the solution to distracted driving, but it’s a start.

………

The Colorado Classic has announced the twelve women’s teams that will compete in the inaugural edition later this year.

Iran’s former national champ just got a seven and a half year ban for doping, his second offense in less than 12 months. Good thing the doping era is over.

………

Local

Bike SGV forwards news that South Pasadena is considering bike lanes on Mission Street and protected bikeways on Fair Oaks; you can weigh in with your thoughts to help shape the future of South Pasadena.

Credit Bike SGV with passing on the news that Pasadena’s bike-friendly city council candidate Andy Wilson eked out a victory in last week’s runoff election.

The Press-Telegram presents your playlist for the fourth Beach Streets open streets event this Saturday.

 

State

No bias here. The San Diego Union-Tribune says an eight-year old girl hit the front of a truck with her bicycle, even though they explain that the truck actually crashed into her after she allegedly rode out in front of it.

Officers taking part in the Hollywood Memorial Ride from Hollywood to DC to honor fallen law enforcement officers stopped in Palm Springs Tuesday night.

Kids in a small, impoverished Kern County town are now riding bicycles abandoned by people at Burning Man, after they were stripped of fur and psychedelic tape, and repaired by a Bakersfield nonprofit.

A Sacramento news site warns that Vision Zero may be an elusive goal, while noting that countywide figures show bicyclists were at fault in 71% of crashes, and riding salmon in 61%. Both of those numbers seem highly questionable; if so many people are really riding on the wrong side of the street, something is seriously wrong. And they need to find out why.

 

National

You’ve got to be kidding. A Hawaii judge reduced the bail of a man charged with attempted murder for allegedly driving up onto a sidewalk to intentionally run down a bicyclist — even though he has no permanent address and at least one previous conviction for failing to appear.

A Portland writer says the city has spent 40 years building itself around pedestrians, trains and bicycles, so it’s time to just give up on driving altogether.

Employees of a Denver-based company built and donated 750 bicycles for local kids in an effort to set a new Guinness world record.

If you plan on riding the Montana backcountry this spring and summer, watch out for bears.

Four Texas cops are riding across the state to honor the five officers killed in last year’s Dallas ambush.

Researchers at the famed Cleveland Clinic have discovered that bicycling may be the best medicine for Parkinson’s Disease. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

A California man with Type 1 diabetes will ride 800 miles through what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider America’s Diabetes Belt, from Chicago to Atlanta, to raise funds for the American Diabetes Association.

A Vermont letter writer says replacing parking spaces with bike lanes is discrimination against disabled, elderly and rural people. Because as we all know, none of them ever ride bicycles.

 

International

A Canadian cyclist warns his fellow riders not to ride the nearly finished Trans National Trail, saying it’s not safe because much of the trail runs on the shoulders of high speed highways.

An Ottawa city councilor pulls his support for a bike lane in the face of public opposition to the loss of 97 parking spaces.

New legislation would commit the United Kingdom — which may become the Untied Kingdom post-Brexit — to a specific plan for funding bicycling and pedestrian projects, with the equivalent of up to $1.54 billion in spending by 2020/21.

A new British study shows how road pollution can pass through your lungs and into the bloodstream, raising the risk of heart attack and stroke; the risk is greater for people who already suffer from coronary heart disease. However, the benefits of bicycling still outweigh the risk posed by air pollution.

A Scottish transportation group says bicycling instead of driving would amount to an 8% pay raise for the average person, saving the equivalent of over $2,500.

Touring Paris on two wheels.

While the US government scrubs any reference to climate change off government websites, the UN is partnering with a Chinese bikeshare company to raise awareness of global warming.

 

Finally…

That’s one way to prevent bike theft. Your next bike could literally suck smog.

And a writer in Singapore isn’t exactly pleased with her brief bikeshare experience.

 

4 comments

  1. keith says:

    Mugged… Geez, makes me wonder what I’d do. Well I did get chased by a driver once but he opted not to drive on the sidewalk & I didn’t hang around to chat with him. It was in 90210 and if I had a phone, guessing Bwv Hills PD would have shown up right away.

    Do hear about other cyclist muggings around town now & then. Presume if officers were around to nab your mugger, it would most likely be “catch & release” unless he had other warrants or went nutty on officers.

  2. JD says:

    Being on a bicycle makes one a target, most knuckleheads know this and will consider the cyclist an easy mark. Several times I have had questionable characters try to stop me at night by asking for “directions”, best to keep riding and give them a wide berth. 🙁

  3. MIchael says:

    Funny, I have that app already, built in. Its called self-control.
    . I just don’t answer when driving and voice mail picks up after a couple rings.

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