Archive for bikinginla

Gov. Brown tacitly endorses hit-and-run; LA finally says enough is enough when it comes to traffic deaths

Once again, California cyclists have been Jerry Browned.

And this time, we’re not alone.

Everyone who uses the state’s streets and highways has been put at risk by our severely out of touch governor, who may be one of the last people left who has no idea that hit-and-run has reached epidemic proportions.

The state legislature gets it.

LA-area legislators Mike Gatto and Steven Bradford, and Corona’s Eric Linder — two Democrats and a Republican — successfully shepherded bills through both houses to address the rampant problem of drivers fleeing the scenes of collisions.

Although problem probably isn’t the right word. Crisis fits a lot better for a crime that afflicts nearly 50% of all collisions in the City of Los Angeles, and countless others throughout the state.

And yes, it is a crime.

One that kills and cripples far more people than mass shootings every year — even though that was something Governor Brown was quick to sign a bill to address.

Yet he apparently doesn’t think hit-and-run is a problem.

In vetoing four bills addressing hit-and-run — modestly increasing penalties, ensuring fleeing drivers lost their licenses for a mere six months, creating an Amber Alert-style warning system for the most serious cases and preventing wealthy drivers from buying their way out of criminal charges — he helped ensure that the crisis will remain one.

And that untold numbers of Californian’s will continue to bleed and die on our streets, since the governor sent a clear message — four, in fact — that it’s no big deal.

Thanks, Jerry.

Granted, he paid lip service to the seriousness of the problem (pdf). But then he went on to insist that current penalties are high enough.

Never mind that if penalties really were high enough, drivers would actually remain at the scene instead of driving home to sober up before turning themselves in. Or just pretending it never happened and hoping they don’t get caught.

And knowing they probably won’t.

Actions speak far louder than words. By vetoing all four widely varied bills — as well as another that would have increased penalties for vulnerable road users — Brown sent a clear message to heartless drivers to go ahead and flee.

Because even if you do get caught — which is less likely thanks to his veto of the Yellow Alert system — you’ll face a slap on the wrist, at best.

It took three tries to get a three-foot passing bill past his misguided veto pen. Each time weakening the bill by removing key features Brown objected to before he finally accepted a relatively toothless measure, with advocates making a mental note to strengthen it once he left office.

Which isn’t likely to be anytime soon, since he continues to enjoy a nearly two-thirds lead over his Republican challenger.

And that means, unless someone can manage to get the seriousness of the problem through his thick bald skull — hello AAA and CHP — we face another four years before we’ll finally have a new governor who may decide that too many people have been killed and maimed by cowardly motorists unwilling to face the consequences of their actions.

Then again, if his opponent in this year’s election, Neel Kashkari, were to come out strongly in favor of actually doing something about hit-and-run, he might change a few votes.

Including mine.

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At least there’s better news from Los Angeles.

I was told over a year ago by someone involved in the process that the city’s new mobility plan would call for reducing — though not eliminating — traffic deaths. And that the words Vision Zero would appear nowhere in the document.

What a difference a year makes.

Whether it was the influence of Mayor Eric Garcetti, or new LADOT head Seleta Reynolds already putting her stamp on it, the just released document calls for eliminating traffic deaths in the city by 2025.

The new strategic plan, Great Streets for Los Angeles, reflects a fundamental rethinking of our streets, from the traditional focus on automotive throughput — moving as many vehicles through a given intersection as quickly as possible — to ensuring that everyone on those streets gets home safely.

And that, instead of destroying our neighborhoods, our streets will finally become the key to revitalizing them.

After years of never uttering the phrase — despite nearly ceaseless prodding from myself, the LACBC and others — city officials have finally joined New York and San Francisco in committing to a Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic fatalities.

Make no mistake. It won’t be easy.

In fact, as others have pointed out, it may be impossible.

But the key to Vision Zero is that it is a process as much as a goal. What matters are the steps taken to reduce the risk of traffic deaths, from calming traffic and reducing speed limits to improving crosswalks and bikeways. As well as increasing enforcement and education for everyone on the streets, and studying traffic deaths to determine why they happened and how they could have been avoided.

All based on the realization that even one fatality is one too many.

About time.

Or course, there’s more to the plan. As Streetsblog put it,

There’s plenty more in the plan that Streetsblog readers will love. We can’t get to all of it in this short article, but the plan includes: neighborhood traffic calming, bike share, car share, dedicated bus lanes, an improved bikeway network, transportation demand management, reducing disabled parking placard abuse, and plenty more.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Eric Bruins calls it “an ambitious yet achievable framework for the department over the next three years of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s term” and commends “LADOT’s new mission [which] prioritizes safe and accessible options for Angelenos of all ages and abilities, no matter their chosen mode of transportation.”

Then again, as bold as the plan is, it’s doomed to failure as long as individual councilmembers such as Koretz, LaBonge and Cedillo can opt out of already approved safety plans to ensure the streets in their districts remain dangerously auto-focused.

In other words is, we have to find a way to protect our nascent Vision Zero from elected officials with zero.

Vision, that is.

Morning Links: Victim and suspect identified in Oceanside hit-and-run, charges filed in PV road rampage

Note: I have to take my laptop into Apple on Monday for a repair it shouldn’t need after just 16 months, but apparently does. So this may be my last update for a few days until I can get it back; I’ll be out of email contact for the most part, as well.

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Philip White ghost bike; photo courtesy of Ghost Bike Foundation.

Philip White ghost bike; photo courtesy of Ghost Bike Foundation.

Police finally identified the victim in last week’s Oceanside hit-and-run, a day after he was named here by family members.

According to San Diego 6, 28-year old Oceanside resident Philip White was found lying dead in the roadway on the morning of September 21st; evidence at the scene suggested he had been hit by a green Kia Soul.

Police quickly found the vehicle, and have identified the owner as 22-year old Christopher Noah of San Diego. Yet a full week later, Noah has not been arrested and no charges have been filed.

The delay may be due to difficulty proving Noah was behind the wheel at the time of the collision.

Let’s hope that when an arrest is finally made, the charges will reflect the seriousness of the crime. Had the driver stopped and rendered aid, as the law requires, it’s possible that White’s life may have been saved; instead, the person who ran him down made a conscious decision to let his victim die in the street rather than face the consequences of his actions.

If that doesn’t warrant a murder charge, I don’t know what does.

Meanwhile, a fund has been established to help the family pay for funeral and other related expenses arising from White’s unexpected death. They’re only asking for $5000; any money beyond what’s needed will be donated to charity organizations such as MADD and the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition.

Then there’s this comment contained in an email from a member of White’s family, which is definitely worth sharing.

The cycling community has shown an overwhelming amount of support and sorrow for someone they probably did not know and it has given real comfort to our family.

Let’s never forget that what we do and say can touch the people who need it most, when they need it most.

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A drunk driver who went on a violent road raging rampage through Palos Verdes last year has finally been charged in the case.

According to the Daily Breeze, 66-year old William Thomas Kelly faces charges of “assault with a deadly weapon using a vehicle, making terrorist threats, driving under the influence, vandalism and hit-and-run.”

Let’s hope it hurt like hell when the DA threw the book at him.

Kelly started by crashing his Audi into a woman’s car. Then backing up and hitting her again.

He went on to deliberately assault a cyclist, attempt to run over a pedestrian, sideswipe a car, hit another one, ram several cars in a parking lot, and rear end a car before sideswiping another one, then intentionally backing into it.

But wait, he wasn’t done.

Kelly drove on to intentionally sideswipe and back into yet another car before ramming into three locked fences and, finally, passing out behind the wheel of his disabled car.

Other than that, though, he was a perfect driver.

The Daily Breeze quotes the bike rider in describing what happened after he yelled at Kelly for clipping him in a too-close pass and running him off the road.

The bicyclist, Doug Castile, said that afternoon that the driver backed up behind him and pushed him and his bike into the bushes at the side of the road.

“At that point, my feet are clipped in the pedals on my bike,” he said. “I unclipped my feet and jumped off the bike into the plants and he’s running over my bicycle back and forth.”

Castile said the driver then noticed him reach into his pocket to get his phone.

“He says, ‘What are you reaching for, a gun?’ It just was so odd to hear that statement. I took my hand out of my pocket. I thought this guy is capable of anything,” Castile said.

Thanks to Jim Lyle for the heads-up.

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No justice for fallen Newport Beach cyclist Debra Deem, as the DA drops all charges against the 85-year old driver who killed her, following a mistrial earlier this month.

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Local

LA’s Bureau of Street Services recommends removing roadside memorials — including ghost bikes — from city property after just 30 days; thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link.

Eastsiders worry that Sunday’s CicLAvia will bring hipsters and gentrification to Boyle Heights.

Two South LA men sharing a single bike are injured when a driver runs a red light; the victims were hospitalized with broken limbs, internal injuries and head trauma. Naturally, the driver was not arrested at the scene.

Nice. Seven years ago, a 34-year old former Army sergeant was confined to a wheelchair, riddled with pain and addicted to opiates; on Sunday, he planned to ride 90 miles in the Beverly Hills Gran Fondo, thanks to a new medical device.

Actor and 30 Seconds to Mars lead singer Jared Leto rides a bike in Studio City.

BikeSGV picks up the Bike the Vote mantle, with a questionnaire completed by Alhambra city council candidate Eric Sunada.

 

State

This Sunday a section of Santa Ana will go car-free, the same day CicLAvia extends into Boyle Heights for the first time.

An OC trail rider gets a helicopter rescue after he’s injured while riding on Whiting Ranch.

A San Diego collision between a police car, a bicyclist and another vehicle sends five people to the hospital; a later report says the police car spun onto the sidewalk and hit eight Brazilian tourists on rented bikes.

The next time someone says bike riders have to obey the law too, ask them who the “too” refers to. Because most drivers don’t, either.

A San Francisco writer says the new three-foot law means drivers will have to break the law to do the right thing, and that protected bike lanes are the way to go. Unfortunately, Governor Brown vetoed an earlier version of the three-foot passing law that would have allowed drivers to briefly cross the center line to pass a cyclist safely.

 

National

New Mexico is investing $1 million in improving rail crossings to protect bicyclists and pedestrians.

Police are searching for a road raging Nyack NY cyclist who went off on a car passenger for no apparent reason. Of course, drivers are entirely innocent in such cases and couldn’t possibly have done anything to set a rider off, right?

Good advice on what to do if you’re hit by a car in New York; the same holds true here in LA or anywhere else.

After a New York state senator proudly yells at cyclists to “Find an f-ing bike lane and get in it,” a Brooklyn cyclist invites her to get on a bike and see what it’s like for the victims of her abuse.

 

International

Kind hearted Winnipeg residents return a customized bike stolen from a nine-year old with cerebral palsy after they unknowingly buy it for parts.

A UK writer says cyclists make easy targets for anti-bike politicians, but it’s only a minority that don’t play by the rules.

An Iranian cyclist gets a free pass out of military service after his surprise win in the Asian Games.

An Australian state invests $300,000 in an education campaign to improve bike safety; then again, spending the same amount on improving infrastructure could probably do more good.

 

Finally…

Well, duh. An Abu Dhabi writer says cycling outside, instead of in a gym, relieves boredom; only people who cycle in a gym think it even begins to approach the real thing. Proof that not all jerks are behind the wheel: A Brit bike rider punches a 70-year old man who reprimanded him for weaving through a crowd.

And now you can follow your every move with your own personal drone. Even if using private drones is currently illegal.

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Thanks to George Wolfberg and Glen Schmuetz for their generous contributions to support this site.

Two year sentence in Dotson case, Brown yields his veto pen in support of hit-and-run, dooring caught on video

Just a quick update today, since I’m having some major computer problems. Assuming I get things straightened out, I should be back Saturday night with some Weekend Links. If not, you may not hear from me for awhile until I can get my laptop fixed.

Keep your fingers crossed. 

Update: The jury is still out. Reinstalling the OS may have solved the problem. Or not.

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First up, in case you missed it, the driver who killed postal worker Jesse Dotson as he rode his bike to work in Gardena last year has been officially sentenced to two years in prison.

Twenty-four year old Vanessa Yanez, the daughter of a veteran LAPD sergeant, was behind the wheel when she struck Dotson’s bike and fled the scene, leaving him lying on the street; he died in a hospital three days later.

After running Dotson down, Yanez drove to a nightclub to meet a friend before reporting her car stolen the next day in an attempt to cover-up the crime.

The sentence was a given, having been worked out in a plea deal last month.

It’s not enough. The meagre sentence reflects the lack of seriousness with which our society takes traffic crimes, even when they kill.

And even when drivers try to cover up their crimes.

She should have faced a murder charge on the assumption that Dotson might have been saved if he’d gotten emergency care sooner.

But given the lax hit-and-run laws and weak penalties currently on the books, it’s probably the best we could have hoped for.

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Speaking of lax hit-and-run laws, there is one person who doesn’t seem to think it’s a problem.

And unfortunately for all of us, he’s the governor of our state.

Three-term Governor Jerry Brown vetoed AB 2337 on Thursday; the bill would have ensured that a hit-and-run driver would lose his or her license for two years if they injured someone.

The only governor in the US to veto a three-foot passing two times, before finally signing it last year, Brown wrote in his veto message (pdf) that penalties for hit-and-run are already stiff enough.

Evidently, he’s the only person in the state who still has no idea hit-and-run has reached epidemic proportions. If the penalties really were strict enough, most drivers would stop at the scene and render aid to their victims, as the law requires.

And quite frankly, a two year suspension for leaving another human being bleeding in the streets isn’t nearly strong enough. Anyone who lacks the basic human decency to obey the most basic requirement of the law has shown that they are undeserving of the privilege — not the right — to drive.

Our governor clearly doesn’t get that.

Instead of a mere two-year suspension, a hit-and-run driver should face lifetime revocation of their license.

Instead, Brown is fighting to keep the most dangerous and callous drivers on the streets.

Thanks, Jerry. No, really, we owe you one.

Meanwhile, Calbike is calling for everyone to contact the governor to demand that he sign AB 1532, which would increase the fines for hit-and-run — though not the prison sentences — to match those for drunk driving, in order to reduce the incentive for drivers who have ben drinking to flee the scene.

And it would ensure that hit-and-run drivers would lose their licenses for a minimum of six months — regardless of whether anyone was injured.

Given that Brown has already expressed his opinion that penalties for the crime are high enough, it’s very questionable whether he’ll sign this one.

If not, the blood of every future hit-and-run victim will be on his hands.

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One of the best jobs in bike advocacy just became available.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is looking for a new Executive Director to replace Jen Klausner, who is stepping down after nearly a decade of successfully leading the organization.

Under her stewardship, the LACBC has grown to become a leading voice for Southern California bicyclists, and one of the most influential bike advocacy groups in the US.

The organization has had an exceptional track record in recent years, from nurturing CicLAvia in its earliest stages to developing award-winning programs like City of Lights. They were a driving force behind the initial Give Me 3 efforts that recently became California’s new three-foot passing law, and the key backer of the cyclist anti-harassment ordinance that is being copied across the nation.

In just a few short years, they’ve helped turn one of the nation’s most car-centric cities into a certified bike-friendly community. And they were one of the first organizations to reach out to underserved ethnic and economic communities, and to push for cycling infrastructure in less affluent areas — not because that’s where their members are, but simply because it was the right thing to do.

Now they’re looking for a superstar capable of leading the LACBC to the next level and building it into one of the nation’s pre-eminent bicycle advocacy organizations.

Maybe it’s you. Or someone you know, anyway.

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Recently we mentioned that the Santa Monica Bike Center had been named the area’s only Platinum level Bicycle Friendly Business by the League of American Bicyclists.

But dig a little deeper into the list of honored businesses (pdf), and you’ll find Santa Monica marketing communications agency Phelps.

The agency was honored by the Bike League for amenities including on-site showers, secure bike parking and financial incentives for bike commuters.

It’s also home to WesHigh, whose YouTube videos from his 15-mile commute from Silver Lake to Santa Monica have often been featured here.

In celebration of the honor, the agency created this infographic encouraging their employees to ride.

And maybe even you.

Phelps-Bike-InfoGraphic

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Might as well buy a used bike off Craigslist. After all, it’s probably your bike, anyway.

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Finally, I was forwarded this security cam footage showing a dooring that occurred in Burbank recently.

The shocking thing is just how quickly it happens, and how little time the rider has to react.

Fortunately, I’m told the rider was okay; his bike, maybe not so much.

And just to be clear, drivers are required to ensure that it’s safe to open their car door without interfering with the operation of other road users (CVC 22517).

So unless you’re doing something stupid, like riding the wrong way or without lights after dark, the driver is almost always at fault.

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Don’t miss this weekend’s most exciting bike action — the Lucha Libre-themed HP Gran Prix from 5 to 9 pm tonight in Huntington Beach.

HPimage004

 

Don’t miss this weekend’s most exciting bike event — the Huntington Park Gran Prix

Luchador-flyer-650

The first time Wolfpack Hustle organized a race, they beat a jet from Burbank to Long Beach.

Since then, they’ve grown to become the organizers behind of one of Southern California’s most dramatic racing campaigns, the Unified Title Series, drawing top racers from throughout the US and overseas.

Two races are already in the can, the Shoreline Crit in Long Beach and the Civic Center Crit in Downtown LA. Now the final race in the series, the HP Gran Prix, is gearing up for single-speed battle this Saturday in Huntington Park.

I’ll let Wolfpack Hustle explain the race itself.

This scenic sprint race finale on Pacific Ave in Huntington Park is where the Fixed Gear and Freewheel categories merge and compete as one division Men’s and Women’s. This race is single speed only. Individually qualified competitors will go head to head in top 16 bracketed elimination rounds until a winner is determined. First place Mens / Womens will receive Wolfpack Hustle Dog Tags.

But this is so much more than just a bike race.

While most cities merely accommodate racing — if they allow it at all — Huntington Park is pulling out all the stops for a Lucha Libre themed bike party this Saturday.

In addition to the all-out racing, you’ll find giveaways including a Samsung tablet, Beats headphones, three Sole Bikes, three Bern bike helmets and HP Gran Prix T-shirts, just to name a few. And all you have to do to get a raffle ticket is to show up on a bike.

You’ll also find some of the area’s best food trucks, including:

  •             The Grilled Cheese Truck
  •             Slanging Corean Food Truck
  •             El Gallo Giro
  •             Dino’s Chicken

As well as an expo featuring find top vendors and organizations:

  •             Everton Bikes
  •             Herbalife
  •             Metro
  •             Eco Rapid Transit
  •             Chamber of Commerce
  •             LA County Department of Public Health
hpgrandprix2014floorplan-01

Click to expand

It all adds up to one of the most exciting and entertaining spectator events of year, taking place from 5 to 9 pm this Saturday, on Pacific Blvd between Florence and Zoe in Huntington Park.

Be there for some epic racing and a serious good time. Or wish you had.

Don’t believe me? Check out last year’s action, which went down as one of the best bike events of the year.

 

Morning Links: Charges filed in death of randonnuer Matthew O’Neill; pro cyclist honored for abandoning race

Turns out a powerful family isn’t enough to prevent a killer driver from facing charges after all.

According to the Santa Barbara Independent, the 16-year old son of former Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado, who has not been publicly named because he’s a juvenile, will face charges in the death of popular randonnuer Matthew O’Neill.

He’s being charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, as well as non-compliance with driving terms and restrictions for driving without a licensed driver over 25 in the vehicle, and driving a commercial vehicle without a license.

However, since he’s being charged as a juvenile, he can only be held until he’s 28, no matter what his sentence may be. Assuming he’s convicted, of course.

O’Neill was reportedly lit up like a Christmas tree and well positioned in the lane when he was hit by Maldonado’s truck and/or the horse trailer it was pulling.

A local TV station reports O’Neill was only 10 months from earning a second PhD in Disabilities and Risk Management when he was killed.

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Nice.

UnitedHealthcare pro rider Lucas Euser will be honored by the US Olympic Committee for abandoning the US pro road championship to care for fellow racer Taylor Phinney after he was seriously injured in a fall.

Euser and Phinney were leading the race at the time, and he could have possibly gone on to win if he had continued.

Now that’s class.

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HPimage003

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Local

A WeHo website asks what is it about stop signs West Hollywood drivers don’t understand; actually, make just about anywhere in Southern California, where stop is merely a suggestion.

A San Pedro letter writer says she’s never seen a bicyclist on the new bike lanes in the area; maybe she should look a little harder.

A 47-year old Torrance cyclist is in critical condition after she’s hit by a left-turning car on Crenshaw Blvd.

 

State

San Diego’s BikeSD pushes an LA-style cyclist anti-harassment ordinance for our neighbor to the south.

The Desert Sun calls for greater protection for cyclists, including more bike paths and physical barriers separating riders from motor vehicles.

Santa Barbara cyclists get a new bike corral.

Redwood City police are looking for a suspect who punched a man to steal his bike.

 

National

The Bike League presents their latest list of bike friendly businesses, including several in California (pdf); the Santa Monica Bike Center is the only local Platinum recipient.

Bicycling suggests 16 great rides to see fall foliage — including near-treeless Las Vegas. And the magazine reviews bike cams starting at $230.

Buffered bike lanes may come back to Boise just months after they were unceremoniously ripped out.

A Wyoming writer says cyclists have to brave ignorance and impatience. And too often have to stop and change their shorts after an encounter with a driver.

A Michigan driver who killed a cyclist over the summer was killed in a hit-and-run while walking on Wednesday; police aren’t ruling out retribution for the earlier death.

Update: I originally included a story about a bike collision in New York; however, as Bran Nilsen pointed out in a comment, on closer reading, it was about a motorcycle collision. While those are no less tragic than bicycle collisions, that’s not what this site is about, so I have removed the link.

 

International

A new study says poor infrastructure and speeding traffic are the biggest reasons transportation cyclists break the rules. And in other news, ice is cold.

A German man is banned from Yellowstone for crashing a drone into a lake while filming a charity bike ride.

CNN says Taiwan’s Giant Bicycles makes the world’s most aero bikes by baking them like bread.

 

Finally…

Business Insider offers 15 rules for riding a bike in New York; the first one is bring deodorant. And the Boston Globe says there’s nothing new about the conflict over our roads; riders have been fighting for space since the 1880s.

Don’t forget yesterday’s very late morning links in case you missed them. And come back later for news about our new sponsor, Saturday’s Huntington Park Gran Prix.

 

(Late) Morning Links: The OC Register says hell no to Give Me 3, and the New York bikelash beat goes on

Leave it to the Orange County Register to get it wrong.

The historically conservative paper has been, if not a supporter of bicycling, a fair voice in reporting on bicycling issues behind the Orange Curtain. And they’ve largely lifted their paywall when it comes to reporting on bicycling collisions, allowing subscribers and casual readers alike to get the details we need to stay safe and informed.

But evidently, AB 1371, the state’s new three-foot law, went about a yard beyond their comfort zone.

In a remarkably knee-jerk auto-centric editorial, the paper can’t conceive of how any driver could manage to give a rider a three-foot buffer without creating a calamitous situation.

Never mind that the Orange County is famous — some might say notorious — for its wide, highway-like streets that leave plenty of room to pass without even slowing down.

Or that drivers have always been required to pass cyclists at a safe distance. Which they evidently would define as anything that does not actually cause contact with the bike or its rider.

Sort of like a lot of drivers in the county, from what I’m told.

And instead of expecting drivers to operate their vehicles safely and simply change lanes to pass a bike rider, they trot out the usual tired clichés about scofflaw cyclists — as if the bad behavior of a few riders justifies driving dangerously around them or anyone else.

Nor can they conceive of bikes as a solution to the area’s transportation ills. Even though many riders — undoubtedly including a number of their readers — already ride to work, school and shopping on a regular basis.

To them, bicycling is simply a recreational activity that interferes with the region’s vital transportation needs.

“Drivers will figure it out,” editorialized the Los Angeles Times, but drivers shouldn’t have to choose between following the law and using the roads for the purpose for which they were intended.

The LA Times gets it.

The Register, on the other hand, could use a boost into the current century. And a lesson in exactly who and what our roads are intended for — which is moving people, goods and services.

Not cars.

Thanks to Frank Peters for the heads-up.

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HPimage001-650

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Meanwhile, OC cyclist Matt Kelley offers his own response to the Register’s misguided editorial.

Editor:  I agree that AB 1371 is a poorly written law. It is unenforceable; and vague, unenforceable laws create a societal ignorance and apathy toward the law. 

And I can’t excuse poor cycling behavior by my fellow cyclists. But, an honest observer must also acknowledge the reasons for some of the behaviors that cyclists exhibit. Riding on the sidewalk is legal in California; except when specifically prohibited – which doesn’t excuse operating a bicycle in a dangerous fashion to pedestrians. Many cyclists ride on sidewalks because it is a rational response to the great many carelessly incompetent motorists that endanger cyclists. Cyclists riding on streets with on-street parking are directed to ride outside of the “door zone” in order to avoid dangerous accidents with careless motorists opening doors without checking for oncoming traffic.

While we’ve all seen examples of inconsiderate cycling, how many examples do we see from motorists?

As for the recreational nature of cycling – does the Editor then assert that all of the cars driving down PCH or Santiago Canyon Rd. on Saturday are engaged in “vital transportation?”

Laws like AB1371 are unnecessary if all road users are acknowledged as being legitimate users of a roadway – and in fact that is the crucial question; who are the roads for?  And if the answer is for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, why is our infrastructure designed and built in so many cases only for the safe use by cars?

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The East Coast bikelash beat goes on in the wake of last week’s Central Park collision that resulted in the death of a pedestrian.

A writer for the New Yorker bemoans the self-righteousness of the city’s overly aggressive scofflaw cyclists — except for him, of course — while recalling that time he was hit by a bike.

In 2003.

And in what may or may not be satire, a DC writer calls for bikes to be banned entirely, claiming they maim, maul and kill countless innocent people. Although it does contain the following extremely cutting line:

All my bikes combined have killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy’s car.

Meanwhile, a more rational writer says bad bicyclist behavior may be memorable, in part because it’s rare.

The biker who flips the bird is held up as an example; the queue waiting at the light is not.

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Polaroid jumps into the action cam market with a cute little cube. It may not offer the picture quality of a GoPro, but at $99, it opens the door to capturing their rides for many more people. And offers the insurance every rider needs against anti-bike bias to prove what really happened in any collision or traffic dispute.

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Local

Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s staff presents their alternative (pdf) to the planned, approved and funded road diet and bike lanes on North Figueroa at the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council’s Ad Hoc Transportation Committee on Thursday.

Streetsblog examines the latest census data on bike commuting in Los Angeles, which has a 1.2% mode share — a 33% increase over 2010. I’m not a fan of census data, though, as it fails to count the many people who use their bikes for transportation, but not riding to work; for instance, I work at home, but regularly ride my bike to meetings and errands.

Streetsblog and Santa Monica Next follow up on their interview with Sheila Kuehl by talking to her competition for County Supervisor, Bobby Shriver, who says he’s a bicyclist himself.

 

State

The US Department of Transportation will issue their own manual on how to build protected bikeways; unfortunately, a narrowly written new law permitting protected bikeways in California will prohibit its use unless it’s adopted by Caltrans or NACTO.

Turns out Beyoncé isn’t the only performer who bikes to her shows, as Katy Perry tweets that she rode 22 miles from Palo Alto to last night’s performance in San Jose.

Caught on video: A cyclist takes to San Francisco’s heavily trafficked Bay Bridge. And yes, bikes are banned from the bridge, other than a separated bikeway that only goes part way.

 

National

REI becomes the exclusive US retailer for the German Ghost bicycle brand — neglecting that ghost bikes mean something very different here. And good luck defending that copyright.

Grist offers advice on what to do if you’re hit by a car; you can find my advice here.

Adventure Cycling lists this year’s favorite bicycle touring blogs.

A new study says users of active transportation — aka bicyclists and pedestrians — are the happiest commuters. But you knew that, right?

A major flap in the world of bike journalism, as the Bikerumor website is accused of plagiarism. And not for the first time.

The five best fall bike rides in Colorado; I’ve done both the Cache la Poudre and Peak to Peak rides many times, back in the days when a motorist was more likely to give you a friendly wave than run you off the road.

American cycling legend Dale Stetina is still struggling to recover from the near collision that almost killed him, as the Colorado driver responsible enters a guilty plea.

Once again, we send a bike riding visitor to the US back to his home country to recover; this time it’s a deaf and blind cyclist from Norway who was injured in a collision while riding tandem in Iowa.

Bicycling looks at the world’s first underground mountain bike park in Louisville, KY.

 

International

Around the world in 365 days and 11,200 miles by bike.

Even stunt bike star Danny MacAskill is the victim of a bike thief when his is stolen in Glasgow.

Shimano agrees to work for bike advocacy in Europe; every bike company should support advocacy efforts wherever they do business.

A week after Jens Voigt set a new hour record, Bradley Wiggins announced plans to go after it as well.

 

Finally…

A poster for a class on how to steal bikes actually leads to a vasectomy clinic; no, I don’t get it either. Following up on a recent item, the Bieb has reportedly given up drinking and partying for bicycling, tennis and clean living. Yeah, I’m not holding my breath.

And Budweiser offers a surprisingly subtle, but hard-hitting call to avoid drunk driving.

Thanks to David Wolfberg for his generous contribution to support BikinginLA; his gift came as a very pleasant birthday surprise. 

L’shanah tovah!

 

 

Morning Links: More media frenzy over fatal NY bike/ped collision; fallen SD cyclist was keeping blog of his trip

The cyclist who killed a pedestrian in New York’s Central Park calls it an unavoidable accident.

And claims he was only riding eight to nine mph at the time of the impact.

Or course, the key to riding safely is to respond to situations, especially those involving pedestrians, before a collision becomes unavoidable. And if he was riding so slowly, the question becomes why he was couldn’t stop and had to scream for people to get out of his way.

When I ride that slowly, which isn’t often, I can stop on a dime. And it’s hard to believe an impact at such a slow speed could cause the serious injuries the victim reportedly suffered.

Meanwhile, a writer for HuffPo asks when New York will crack down on reckless cyclists. And gets just about everything wrong, including blaming a delivery rider in the bike lane for riding too fast instead of the driver who right hooked him.

On the other hand, City Lab’s Sarah Goodyear does a good job of putting it all in perspective, noting that two New York pedestrians have been killed by cyclists in the past five years, while 156 pedestrians were killed by drivers in the city in 2013 alone. Yet still makes it clear that does not absolve cyclists of the need to ride safely.

And New York Streetsblog says every New York traffic fatality should be investigated like this case has been.

……..

Just heartbreaking.

Kerry Kunsman, the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition board member killed while riding in Oregon over the over the weekend, was keeping a blog of his West Coast tour; the last entry was just hours before he was run down by a 74-year old driver.

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Local

Okay, so it doesn’t even mention bikes. But the contest between Sheila Kuehl and Bobby Shriver for County Supervisor could be the most important race in the November election; the Time’s Jim Newton says there really is a difference between the two.

Meanwhile, Kuehl talks bicycling and transit issues with Streetsblog and Santa Monica Next in a 30 minute video.

KCET offers a good in-depth examination of the debate over putting bike lanes and sidewalks on the redesigned Hyperion Bridge.

LA2050 and Atlantic Live invite you to a twitter party this Wednesday afternoon; no, not to celebrate my birthday but to discuss placemaking and what it means to be an Angeleno.

The LACBC hosts the first Firefly Ball awards dinner on Thursday, October 30th.

 

State

Streetsblog looks at the new bikeways bills signed by Governor Brown last week.

The Laguna Beach Independent offers more information on the lawsuit filed by the husband of fallen cyclist Debra Deem against California and Newport Beach.

An LA student wins a $1000 Bicycle Accident Scholarship; Gabriel Ybarra, who will be attending Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa, was riding with a friend who was hit and killed by a texting driver. Thanks to Sam Maher for the heads-up.

 

National

Unbelievable. Or maybe all too believable. After a fleeing driver leaves a Colorado cyclist lying in the street, another man walked up and stole her belongings.

The motorist who left American pro cycling legend Dale Stetina with life-threatening injuries faces up to one year in prison after pleading guilty to careless driving in Boulder CO.

A Minneapolis writer says the city’s cyclists are ghosts after dark, and suggests following military rules requiring helmets and reflective vests. But this outfit is definitely not the answer.

The bike-friendly mayor of Pittsburgh wants to Copenhagenize his city

New York considers doubling the fines for hit-and-run, but only if the driver knows or should know that an injury has occurred; laws that hinge on a perpetrator’s state of mind are almost always unenforceable, if not unconstitutional.

A Columbia University professor takes his students on an all-night bike tour to examine the history of New York.

 

International

Toronto cyclists start a sticker campaign to shame drivers who park in bike lanes.

A London cyclist tackles the Tour de France’s legendary Mount Ventoux — not once or twice, but six times in one day.

Yes please. Cycling through France’s Loire Valley.

 

Finally…

A Tucson cyclist tells what it’s like to avoid getting run over by a street car by mere inches. The Chicago Blackhawks invest in bike share. And a Colorado writer apologizes to motorists for the profanity he used when one of their number almost killed him; a good read and definitely worth the click.

 

Morning Links: Protected bike lanes are now legal; WeHo considers removing crosswalks to improve ped safety

It’s perfect bike weather in LA.

And the tourists are gone, most of them, anyway. Which means it’s relatively safe to return to our usually over-congested bike paths.

So tell your boss you’re coming down with a bad case of bike flu. And hit the road to show your bike some much needed love for a few hours.

Work will wait.

And so will today’s post. I promise we’ll still be here when you get back.

As for my bike, it’s still sitting in the corner of my office feeling neglected, waiting sadly for the day I can get back on it.

And so am I.

……..

Governor Brown signed two new bike bills, one permitting protected bikeways — which are currently considered experimental under state law — and another allowing voters to add a $5 fee to car registration on a local basis to fund bike infrastructure.

AB 1193 directs Caltrans to develop standards for protected bike lanes, while at the same time allowing cities to use guidelines included in the NACTO guide, rather than rely on Caltrans, which tends to be overly conservative and decades behind the times.

SB 1183 allows local governments to impose an additional $5 fee on car registrations to fund bicycle networks. However, it requires approval by a two-thirds majority. And getting two-thirds of voters, almost all of whom are drivers, to tax themselves to pay for bike lanes seems pretty damned unlikely.

……..

Under the heading of they just don’t get it, West Hollywood authorities consider removing crosswalks and increasing traffic speeds to improve pedestrian safety. No, really.

Maybe someone can explain it to them.

……..

Very sad news from Portland, as Kerry Kunsman, a League Cycling Instructor and board member of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, is critically injured in a rear-end collision while on border to border bike ride. The SDCBC asks for your prayers for his recovery from a severe brain injury.

Update: The news gets even sadder, as I’m told Kerry Kunsman passed away this morning. My deepest sympathy and prayers for him and for all his family and friends.  

………

According to the New York Post, bikes kill; a bike-hating writer for the paper calls even average cyclists assassins on wheels — neglecting the fact that cars kill roughly 5,000 times more people than the average of six people killed in collisions with bicycles in the US each year.

Meanwhile, the paper is still raging over the recent collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian, who sadly passed away over the weekend.

……..

Bike racing’s governing body will try out on-bike cameras and real-time GPS positioning at this week’s road cycling world championships.

BMC wins the men’s time trial at the world championships; Teejay van Garderen says it’s the highlight of his young career. Specialized-Lululemon takes the women’s title for the third year in a row.

And pro cycling’s God of Thunder calls is a career.

……..

Local

Hats off to the LACBC, which filed a public records request with the LA County DA’s office for information on the Milt Olin case.

Bicyclists respond to the anti-bike letters in the LA Times. Meanwhile, Walk Bike Burbank responds to anti-bike letters in the Burbank paper.

A Glendale letter writer says bicyclists should pay a “fairness fee,” failing to realize that cyclists and other non-drivers subsidize our streets for the benefit of motorists; what would be fair is giving every bicyclist, pedestrian and transit user a refund on the portion of their taxes spent on roadwork.

 

State

Orange County opens another two-mile segment of the planed OC Loop, which will eventually create a continuous 66 mile bikeway through the county.

A Fountain Valley woman barely avoids falling debris from a crippled airliner as she rode along the bike path in Huntington Beach.

A helmetless San Diego area cyclist suffers a fractured skull in a solo fall. This is one of the rare instances when whether the victim wore a helmet is actually worth reporting, since relatively slow speed falls are exactly what bike helmets are designed to protect against.

Yes, you’re required to pull over when five or more vehicles back up behind you and are unable to pass, just like any other slow moving vehicle. But only when it’s safe and there’s space to do so.

 

National

Elly Blue looks at the future of bicycling and how to ensure everyone has a seat at the table. Or on a bike, anyway. Which brings us to the good, the bad and the ugly of marketing bicycling to women.

Bicycling offers the 10-best car-free bike paths in the US, and calls the newly combined Bike Index and National Stolen Bike Registry the most powerful tool to fight bike theft.

A survivor of the horrific 1970 plane crash that killed most of the Wichita State University football team plans to ride from the school’s football stadium to the site of the crash in Colorado.

If you’re going to steal a bike, probably not the best choice to snatch one from a San Antonio bike cop. Or one in Zimbabwe for that matter — especially not if you’re a fellow cop.

Delaware is the nation’s second most dangerous state for cyclists on a per capita basis.

What will it take to make Macon GA safe for cyclists and pedestrians?

 

International

A shift to bicycling, walking and transit could save 1.4 million lives by 2050; Hamburg Germany plans to go car-free in 20 years; could other cities follow suit?

The oldest Tour de France stage winner in the post-war era passed away in Belgium on Saturday at age 92, 51 years after he won he race’s ninth stage.

An Aussie take on exploring The Hague by bike.

Explore Israeli history by bike. Though you might want to wait until things settle down just a tad.

British bike advocacy group Sustrans applauds an Australian state’s consideration of bike safety reforms. But why does even a bike website think the Idaho stop law is radical?

 

Finally…

As if cyclists didn’t have a bad enough reputation, are we ready for the Bieb on the bike? For God’s sake, someone buy that boy a belt, already.

And caught on video: a Russian bike rider barely avoids becoming collateral damage in a traffic collision — twice.

 

 

Update: Cyclist found dead following apparent hit-and-run in Oceanside

This is where hit-and-run crosses the line to cold-blooded murder.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, a bike rider was found lying dead on an Oceanside roadway surrounded by evidence of an apparent hit-and-run.

The 28-year old victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin, was found around 5:50 am by a man on his way to work at the San Luis Rey Water Treatment Plant. He was discovered near a smashed bike, as well as other evidence of a collision including tire marks and parts from a damaged car.

San Diego’s 10News places the location on the 3900 block of North River Road; a satellite view shows a dead end cul-de-sac, with access to another roadway through a drive leading to the treatment plant. They report that it’s unclear when the collision occurred or what time the victim died.

Police are looking for a lime or “alien” green Kia Soul, 2012 or 2013, with a missing headlight and front end damage on the passenger side.

Anyone with information is urged call Oceanside police at 760/435-4801.

In a case like this the driver should face a homicde charge, based on the assumption that the victim might have been saved if the driver had cared enough to stay at the scene and called for help. Instead, he or she made a conscious decision to flee the scene and leave an innocent person to die alone on a dark street.

This is the 68th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth in San Diego County.

Update: KUSI reports the driver was headed west on North River Road; considering it’s a cup-de-sac that could significantly limit the number of drivers who would have a reason to be there, especially in the middle of the night.

Update 2: According to NBC San Diego, police believe they have identified a suspect in the case. They also report the victim, who still has not been publicly identified, was pronounced dead after paramedics attempted CPR, suggesting it’s possible he might have been saved if he’d gotten help sooner. 

Update 3: The victim has been identified by his sister as 28-year old Philip White. A fund has been established to pay for funeral and other expenses related to the unexpected death, which has devastated his family; any excess funds will be donated to various charities, including MADD and the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition.

It sounds like the world has lost a very kind and gentle soul. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the Philip White and all his loved ones. 

Weekend Links: Free ice cream when you Bike to the Bowl; KY cyclist arrested, and Jens shatters the hour

Looking for somewhere to ride this weekend?

The LACBC invites you to Bike to the Bowl the next two Sundays, the 21st and the 28th, with free bike valet once you arrive at the Hollywood Bowl and free ice cream from Peddler’s Creamery.

Here’s the lineup for this Sunday.

Legendary Brazilian superstar/poet/activist Caetano Veloso, “one of the greatest songwriters of the century” (NY Times), makes his Bowl debut with his Tropicália grooves. Andrew Bird forms delicately layered pop from troubadour folk, gypsy swing and refined rock. Devendra Banhart returns with his mischievous, musical ideas. DJ Frosty (dublab) opens

And the LACBC invites you to celebrate Car-Free Day in the San Fernando Valley this Sunday with a ride along the Orange Line, finishing at MacLeod Ale Brewing Company, where you’ll get a tour of the brewery and 15% off drinks and merchandise for LACBC members.

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More on the arrest of Cherokee Schill, the Kentucky cyclist busted for the simple crime of riding — legally — in the street.

……..

A New York woman is in critical condition after she’s hit by a cyclist in Central Park. Initial reports indicated the rider was reportedly traveling in excess of the park’s 25 mph speed limit; however, those comments have been removed.

Always, always, always ride carefully around pedestrians; they’re the only ones more vulnerable than we are on the streets.

And turn off your damn Strava for a change.

……..

Jens Voigt caps his nearly two-decade pro career by smashing the one-hour record. And naturally, made it look easy.

……..

Nice recap of this year’s Tour de France by Ed Rubinstein in the current issue of Southern California Bicyclist magazine, along with a shout out to your’s truly for coverage of SoCal bike issues.

Unfortunately, the story hasn’t been posted online, but you can pick up a free copy at your local bike shop. As if you needed another excuse to drop in over the weekend.

……..

Local

Help clean up along the Ballona Creek bike path this Saturday.

A Streetsblog writer is a finalist for a major journalism award for her story on protected bike lanes.

At least one suspect is under arrest after an Azusa teenager’s bike is stolen when he’s beaten with a baseball bat.

 

State

The OC Register offers more information on the lawsuit filed by bike shop owner Paul Deem in the death of his wife Debra.

Riverside could have a bike share program next year.

San Jose is moving forward with a ban on sidewalk riding, rather than tackling the big, dangerous machines that actually kill most pedestrians.

Caught on video: A San Francisco cyclist is caught in a collateral damage collision after blowing through a stop sign next to an SUV that gets T-boned by a car.

Maybe it’s time to take up smoking — or at least pack a pack — as a Stockton cyclist is assaulted and robbed after telling two men he didn’t have a cigarette to give them.

 

National

A new police radar gun could tell if drivers are texting behind the wheel; who knows how many lives could be saved if it could help catch more distracted drivers?

Vox offers a guide to the endless debate between vehicular cyclists and those who prefer separated infrastructure. The seemingly obvious answer is that VC is an effective tool for streets without safe infrastructure, but not a substitute for it.

Raised bike lanes separate cyclists from motor vehicle traffic without the problems of protected bike lanes; they’re starting to appear in San Francisco and Chicago.

A Boston cyclist makes the case for an Idaho stop law.

An OpEd writer for the NY Times says getting on a bike in the city is an act of faith in a flawed urban contract; you may not want to read the comments, though. Thanks to Pete Kaufman for the heads-up.

As New York has built protected bike lanes, injuries have gone down while traffic flow has improved. Meanwhile, NY Streetsblog says don’t believe the local news when they say that’s not true.

Caught on video: A time-lapse commute through New York City.

Miami stages a two-wheeled play as audience members bike from scene to scene at different locations.

 

International

One UK town allows cyclists to treat red lights as yields.

A British bike manufacturer cites declining sales to declare the country’s bike boom a myth; there may be some truth to that, at least as far as black and Asian riders in the peloton are concerned.

A Norwegian town pays people to walk and bike for a week.

Too creepy. A serial cat killer is arrested in Tokyo when he’s found with four dead cats in his bike basket; authorities have found the bodies of 45 cats in the neighborhood since April.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: An LA cyclist take the “Every Lane is a Bike Lane” campaign a little too seriously, splitting lanes and passing stalled traffic on the 110 Freeway; thanks to Susanna Dooley Boney for the tip. The Orange County Transportation Authority offers an effective PSA pointing out the benefits of California’s new three-foot law; thanks to Cyclelicious for the link.

And maim a dog while fleeing police in a stolen van, get two years in jail; kill a cyclist and you probably won’t even have to post bail.

 

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