Morning Links: Bike deaths up in US, lawsuit filed in death of Newport Beach boy, and bike lanes coming to Cal Poly

A new study from the Governors Highway Safety Association shows bicycling fatalities rose 12.2% in 2015, climbing faster than the overall increase in traffic deaths.

However, that could be due to the continuing rise in bike ridership.

Without placing the figures in context, it’s impossible to know if bicycling is actually becoming more dangerous, or if overall safety is improving as the rate of deaths per million cyclists or miles traveled may be decreasing.

Your guess is as good as theirs.

In other findings from the study, which was funded by State Farm insurance —

  • One-third of Americans surveyed reported riding a bicycle in the last year.
  • Drivers had been drinking in 12% of fatal bike crashes, while 22% of the victims had alcohol in their systems. Which is not the same as saying they were intoxicated.
  • Distracted driving was blamed for just 76 out of the 818 bicyclists killed nationwide. However, that’s likely to be a dramatic undercount, since police need a warrant to check phones after a crash. And seldom ask for one.
  • More than half of the victims weren’t wearing a helmet. Although there’s no information on whether those victims suffered a fatal head injury, or if their injuries could have been survivable with or without a helmet.
  • Intersections are no longer the most dangerous place to ride; 72% of deaths occurred on the roadway, rather than at an intersection.
  • Roughly half of all bicycling deaths occurred at night, even though 80% of all bike rides take place during daylight hours.
  • The average age of bicycling victims was 45.

………

The parents of eight-year old Brock McCann have filed a lawsuit in the death of their son.

The third grade student was killed by the driver of a garbage truck as he rode his bike home from school in Newport Beach last year.

Video allegedly shows the driver never looked to his right as he turned from a cul-de-sac, and that he rolled through a crosswalk without stopping.

McCann’s parents are suing the driver, as well as the city trash hauler he worked for.

………

Boyonabike’s John Lloyd sends photographic proof that the formerly auto-centric Cal Poly Pomona really is installing the promised protected bike lanes on Kellogg Drive.

Photo by John Lloyd

The school received a lot a well-deserved criticism for failing to improve safety following the death of Ivan Aguilar four years ago.

It’s nice to see that this year’s students will finally find the campus more welcoming for those who don’t come by car.

………

In today’s spoiler-free Vuelta report, someone won his first Grand Tour stage, while someone else wore the leader’s jersey. No word on whether either was kissed by a podium boy.

Italian olive oil maker Colavita is pulling out of bike racing after 15 year of team sponsorship.

……….

Local

A ride will be held this Saturday to explore the new protected bike lanes on Venice Blvd in Mar Vista, which have been only slightly less controversial than the lane reductions in Playa del Rey.

Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s deputies patrolling on bicycles made four drug busts Tuesday evening, as the bikes allowed them to ride in undetected.

Santa Monica’s two-mile COAST ciclovía will return on October 1st.

 

State

A new report shows overall emissions of toxic and greenhouse gasses are going down in California, while transportation emissions are going up. Which means the state and local governments need to do more to encourage people to leave their cars at home.

The Watsonville driver sentenced to eleven years behind bars for the death of a bicyclist was high on Valium and methadone at the time of the crash, and fell asleep during the investigation.

A new bicycle master plan promises to improve safety in Stockton, where 70% of streets are rated high stress. Of course, even the best plan is nothing more than lines on a map until they actually put paint on the ground, which seems to be a step too far for most cities.

More details on the off-duty Modesto police officer who was killed riding his bicycle on Tuesday. The driver was arrested for DUI, and could face a murder charge after a previous conviction for drunk driving in 2014.

 

National

A Seattle weekly says safety in numbers resulting from an increase in bikeshare riders could do more than bike helmets to improve safety. Meanwhile, a sports website tries out Seattle’s new Ofo dockless bikeshare, which could be coming to SoCal soon.

After an Oregon woman sideswiped a bike rider, she demanded $200 to pay for the damage to her car, then fled when the rider, who is traveling cross country to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s, suggested calling the police.

A Chicago letter writer urges bicyclists to follow the rules like she does when she drives. Because apparently, she’s the only driver who never speeds, always comes to a full stop at stop signs, and never makes an unsafe lane change or drives distracted.

Illinois becomes the sixth state to follow California’s lead and adopt a three-tiered system to classify ebikes.

Life is cheap in Michigan, where a stoned driver walked with one year of probation after killing a bike rider, who reportedly “came out of nowhere” to crash into her car.

A Maine court rules that authorities don’t have to prove what a distracted driver was doing at the time of a crash, saying they can presume distraction based on the driver’s behavior.

Tolls could double on a Miami causeway to pay for a fully separated bike lane and other improvements on one of the city’s most popular and scenic cycling routes. Which might improve safety, but won’t win any friends with drivers.

 

International

Los Angeles isn’t the only city facing an angry bikelash. A Vancouver man has started a petition to rip out protected bike lanes on a bridge eight years after they were installed, arguing that the 7,000 riders who use them each day during the summer months aren’t enough to justify the impact on traffic.

Caught on video: Dozens of young British bike riders swarm the streets, pulling wheelies and circling around the roadway in front of drivers, in the latest fad sweeping that’s been sweeping America’s East Coast as well as the UK.

Caught on video too: A London man uses his bikeshare bike to defend himself after a man lunges at him with a knife when he was asked to move aside so they could pass.

A British fixie rider faces up to two years behind bars after he was acquitted of manslaughter in the death of a mother of two kids when he crashed his brakeless bike into her, but was convicted under an obscure 1861 law that forbids “causing bodily harm by wanton and furious driving.” And yes, it’s illegal to ride brakeless in the UK.

Nice story from Wales, where an eleven-year old boy rode a bicycle for the first time after being fitted with two mechanical hands.

Wednesday marked the 104th anniversary of a Russian bicyclist completing his round-the-world ride in Harbin, China; sadly, he died three years later in World War I.

An Indian man has ridden over 11,000 miles through 12 Indian states to fight gender-based violence and injustice.

An Aussie website asks if cyclists are fair game in Australia. It’s a hard-hitting piece, and very difficult to read in places. But well worth the effort — especially since you’ll see exactly the same attitudes expressed by LA drivers.

 

Finally…

Next time, try to time your breakaway so the drawbridge rises after you go past. Who needs tires when you’ve got soles?

And riding to the right is right, except when it’s wrong.

 

One comment

  1. Ralph says:

    Not to make light of a bad situation having an alleged drunk driver, or any other driver, killing a cyclist police man but none of the stories even mentioned a helmet, or hiviz. Not that wearing a helmet would make a difference in most cases when cyclists are run over from behind.

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