Archive for Advocacy & Politics

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.

………

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.

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.

……..

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.

……..

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.

……..

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

 

(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?

……..

 

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.

……..

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: 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

Morning Links: Pasadena bike club refuses to support Gran Fondo in bike-unfriendly Beverly Hills

I’ve made the same argument more than once.

While I’m normally willing to back any event that promotes bicycling, it just doesn’t make sense to support a bike event in a city that doesn’t support us.

Like the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills, for instance, which hosts the Gran Fondo Italia at the end of this month. And where anti-bike councilmembers have blocked plans for desperately needed bike lanes on a soon-to-be-reconstructed Santa Monica Blvd.

Nice to see I’m not alone.

Wesley Reutimann, president of the Pasadena Athletic Association bike club, forwards an email he sent in response to a request that the club actively promote the event among its members.

Thank you for reaching out to our club.

As President of PAA cycling, a 350 member bike club, I am unable to promote this event or any other in the City of Beverly Hills as long as its elected leaders and City staff do not take the safety of ALL road users seriously.

Over the past few years the City of Beverly Hills has repeatedly failed to support local efforts to improve the safety of its streets. At the same time neighboring LA, West Hollywood, and Santa Monica have made significant investments to protect vulnerable road users like bicyclists (e.g., bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd).

Until the City can address these issues (e.g., existing bike lane gap on Santa Monica Blvd), I will be compelled to take my business elsewhere, as well as encourage that of our entire membership to do so as well.

Please feel free to relay my message to your contacts in the City.

Best regards,

-Wes

Exactly.

Meanwhile, Better Bike offers their typically insightful take on the same subject.

Update: Just to clarify, I’m not asking anyone to boycott Beverly Hills or the Gran Fondo; I trust you to make your own decisions.

However, if you haven’t already registered for the ride, consider planning your own ride with friends or your club that day, and donate the money you would have spent on registration to Better Bike or the LACBC to keep up the fight for bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd.

If you have registered, or want to ride the Gran Fondo anyway, ask ride officials to use their influence to demand better accommodations for bikes in Beverly Hills.

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Semi-equality at last? Both the Amgen Tour of California and Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge consider multi-day women’s races.

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Local

KPCC’s Larry Mantle talks about the new three-foot passing law, and eventually gets it mostly right, while the Times offers one last look before it takes effect today.

Watts wears pink on October 4th as the East Side Riders Bike Club and Los Ryderz ride for cancer awareness with LA Councilmember Joe Buscaino.

Yet another bike rider is injured in a collision on PCH in Malibu over the weekend.

The Culver City Bicycle Coalition hosts a meet and greet from 6 pm to 8 pm this Thursday.

 

State

San Diego’s long delayed bike share program may be the most expensive in the US.

A Sacramento writer says if cyclists want respect, we need to act like we deserve it — something no one ever says that about motorists, no matter how many laws they may break. And someone should tell him that bike riders are already subject to all existing traffic laws, including hit-and-run.

A San Francisco supervisor suggests making the NACTO Design Guides the official policy of the city.

 

National

Bicycling’s Elly Blue looks at the Kentucky cyclist wrongly convicted for riding in the traffic lane, and offers advice on how to prevent future miscarriages of justice.

Bicycling says the worst city for cycling isn’t a city at all. And only 40 miles from their pick for the best.

Writing for City Lab, Sarah Goodyear says a little bikelash may be a good thing.

A new bike helmet is designed to act like a black box in a crash.

Kansas City considers a new law banning harassment of cyclists and other vulnerable road users.

A blues musician is pedaling a 1,200 pound piano bike the length of the Mississippi.

Louisville KY plans the world’s largest underground bike park.

A New York TV station disputes claims that bike lanes improved traffic times.

 

International

A UK writer says cars are the real wheeled pests, not bikes.

The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain offers their uniquely comprehensive roundup of bike blogs, here, there and everywhere.

An Aussie writer says there is no war between motorists and cyclists because many of us have a foot in both camps.

 

Finally…

Turns out the Columbia men’s cycling kit sucks almost as much as the women’s. Nice way to celebrate the big day, as a Des Moines wedding party attacks a 68-year old bike rider.

And Omaha police refuse to charge a driver for hitting a cyclist because he didn’t have lights or reflectors on his bike — four minutes after sunset.

 

Morning Links: Cyclists ride for justice; LACBC ED Jen Klausner resigns, Los Angeles is nation’s 28th Best Bike City

As it turned out, I missed Wednesday night’s ride and vigil calling for justice for Milt Olin when complications from my diabetes once again knocked me on my ass.

Fortunately, a lot of riders didn’t.

According to Streetsblog, roughly 75 riders made the 30 mile journey from Calabasas, where Milt Olin was run down by an admittedly distracted sheriff’s deputy last December, to the District Attorney’s office in Downtown LA to demand justice for Olin after the DA refused to file charges. That number swelled to an estimated 125 as other voices joined in.

I’ll leave reporting of the event to those who were actually there. The Los Angeles Register and the LA Daily News both offer in-depth reports on the ride and vigil, and the events leading up to it, while KABC-7 has video from the scene. And Gary Kavanagh captures the event with his usual great camera work.

Meanwhile, you can read the full three-page letter from the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition urging the DA to reconsider the decision not to file charges.

But perhaps more than anything else, this simple tweet from the Milt Olin Foundation says it best.

Olin-Tweet

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Speaking of the LACBC, they have big news.

Jennifer Klausner, executive director of the LACBC, announced her resignation from the coalition, effective at the end of the year.

Over the past seven years, Jen has overseen the growth of the coalition from a single employee — herself — to 12, as well as the birth of a lucky 13 local chapters throughout the county. And helped make the LACBC Southern California’s dominant voice for cyclists; the boom in local bike-friendliness occurred, not just on her watch, but in large part thanks to her leadership.

I am heartbroken to see her go.

In the five years I’ve been involved with the coalition, Jen has always been a vital part of it, adding her warmth, insight and humor to whatever issues confronted the organization, and leading the group through all the many ups and down. Such an important part, in fact, that I can’t imagine the LACBC without her.

And yet, she leaves it positioned for even greater growth and success in the years to come.

The coalition will undoubtedly find a new Executive Director, one with the leadership skills to build it into one of the nation’s leading bicycle advocacy organizations, as it should be for a city this size, and with a ridership as vast and varied as we enjoy.

But we will never find another Jen.

You can read her full resignation letter here.

Full disclosure: I am a board member of the LACBC; however, I have been inactive for most of this year as I’ve dealt with health issues that have kept me largely incapacitated; I hope to return to my duties on the board before Jen leaves, and help with the transition to a new director.

……..

Caught on video: This one’s way too close for comfort, as a cyclist narrowly avoids getting sideswiped by a cattle trailer in what could be an intentional assault — note the puff of black smoke as the driver cuts the rider off, in a practice known as rolling coal.

……..

Bicycling shocks everyone by naming New York the nation’s Best Bike City with Chicago second; Portland is demoted to number four while my hometown clocks in at number nine.

A bigger surprise is the city found at number 28 — yes, not only did Los Angeles actually make the list, we came in just five notches below Long Beach and five above Thousand Oaks. Surprisingly, bike friendly Santa Monica didn’t make the cut.

……..

Phillip Young, President of the San Diego Wheelmen, sends a reminder that cyclist Juan Carlos Viñolo and his family needs our help.

Viñolo suffered a severe spinal cord injury when he was hit, along with several other riders, by a drunken wrong way driver on San Diego’s Fiesta Island. In an act of bravery, he pushed another rider aside and took the full impact of the collision himself, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.

The Juan Carlos Fund has raised over $172,000 for medical expenses and to support his family, but much more is needed. Your generosity could make all the difference.

……..

Lots of events and opportunities to learn how to ride, or ride better, coming up.

CICLE is offering an adult bicycling for beginners class in Eagle Rock this Sunday.

The Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition hosts a teen bike safety workshop on Saturday, the 27th.

CORBA — not the elusive albino cobra — is providing an Introduction to Mountain Biking Skills Clinic at Malibu Creek State Park this Saturday.

Marina del Rey Middle School hosts a Kids Bike Festival this Sunday.

The LACBC host their monthly Sunday Funday ride in Carson on Sunday.

Join CicLAvia for an afternoon of open houses and events exploring the newly pedestrian friendly Broadway in DTLA this Saturday, followed by a screening of Mulholland Drive at the spectacular Million Dollar Theater.

Bike riders are invited to attend a party celebrating the launch of Eddi, a new mobile marketplace app that promises to change the way we buy and sell things. The free event takes place in Pasadena this Saturday, from 7 to 10 pm.

You’re invited to celebrate the start of cyclocross season with the Pedal Cross Mulholland Gravel Grinder Ride at Pedaler’s Fork in Calabasas this Sunday.

……..

Local

Flying Pigeon looks at the ins-and-outs of riding bikes with kids.

Streetsblog and LA Walks want your vote to win a grant to organize a Vision Zero plan for LA.

Writing for Streetsblog, Roger Rudick says police need to innovate, not prevaricate. And stop parking in the damn bike lane, already.

Seven suspects have now been arrested in a string of assaults on Santa Clarita bike paths; two have already been sent to juvenile camps.

 

State

CABO confusingly clarifies their opposition to AB 1193, the badly needed new law approving protected bike lanes currently awaiting Governor Brown’s signature.

Fullerton finally looks at bike safety improvements following the needless death of rider Raphael Correa.

Once again, a killer driver gets off with no charges, this time for the Newport Beach death of cyclist Paul Lin.

The Orange County Register says this is the best time of the year. I couldn’t agree more; now that the tourists are gone, we can have the often overcrowded beachfront bike paths to ourselves.

San Diego plows under a rogue mountain bike park in Balboa Park.

Bike share bites the dust in La Jolla.

Tips for hassle-free riding in San Francisco.

Battle lines are drawn over proposed bike lanes in San Rafael; as usual, fears of lost parking lead the way.

 

National

VeloNews remembers a 2003 interview with fellow cyclist Robin Williams.

Colorado cyclists — and riders everywhere — are finding comfortable alternatives to spandex.

It’s all the way down in the last sentence. But the Denver Broncos will be hosting a 500-space bike valet at their games this year.

Bike friendly Colorado continues to be the thinnest state in the Union; bike unfriendly West Virginia and Mississippi, not so much. Not surprisingly, people are healthier where more walk or bike to work.

DC proposes effectively banning bikes from streets with streetcar tracks.

In a truly heartbreaking story, a cyclist is fatally stabbed by a homeless man in Florida as he neared the finish of a cross-country ride to propose to his girlfriend.

 

International

How Cuban cyclists fix their bikes when there are no parts available in the country.

London’s mayor calls for segregated cycleways through the city.

Bike riding is now the key for British employees to get ahead at work.

Giovanni Pinarello, founder of the iconic brand, died at age 92 after a good, long life.

Pro cycling’s toughest rider, the recently retired Jens Voigt, will attempt to set a new hour record later this month.

 

Finally…

Britain’s angriest driver fined £500 for swearing at a cyclist 25 times in 35 seconds. Cycling in the South Bay learns what it feels like when the bike shoe is on the other foot.

And no bikes involved, fortunately, as a driver is arrested for a Santa Ana hit-and-run — by the same cop as he was for another hit-and-run at the same intersection 19 years earlier.

 

All hands on deck: Ride and vigil tonight for justice in Milt Olin case; is the DA’s office involved in a cover-up?

Let’s be honest.

When a prosecutor really wants to file charges in a traffic case, they’ll tear the vehicle code apart until they find something that sticks.

So when the DA’s office examines a case and concludes there’s nothing there, it’s more often an indication that they don’t want to prosecute, for whatever reason.

Like when it’s a cop who ran down a cyclist, for instance.

When the LA County DA’s office announced last week they weren’t filing charges against the sheriff’s deputy who killed Milt Olin, they concluded (pdf) that he had not violated the state prohibition against texting while driving because police officers in the course of their duty are exempted from the law. Never mind that he’d also been texting — illegally — with his wife as recently as one minute prior to the wreck.

And yet, I’ve repeatedly been told by officers from a number of different police agencies that it’s not just the act of texting behind the wheel that’s against the law, but simply being distracted while driving. For whatever reason.

From putting on makeup or eating, to simply changing the stations on the radio. And yes, some people still listen to the radio when they drive.

Anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the road is distracted driving. Or as cited by the LA Times, “wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”

By that standard, Deputy Wood was clearly distracted when he ran down Olin’s bike from behind.

In fact, by his own admission, he never even saw Olin or knew he was driving in the bike lane when he hit him at somewhere around 48 mph, which was his last recorded speed prior to the impact.

He could just as well have been charged with making an illegal lane change. Or driving in a bike lane.

Or even the catch-all violation when police can’t come up with anything else to charge a driver — or too often, a bike rider — with, violating CVC 22350, the state’s basic speed law.

After all, no speed is safe when you have no idea where you’re driving or what’s in the road directly in front of you.

And any or all of which could be used to support the sheriff’s investigator’s recommended charge of vehicular manslaughter.

So the question becomes one of why they’re not willing to file charges. Any charges.

It could, as many have speculated, be a case of looking out for their own; the District Attorney relies on police officers to build their cases, and may be reluctant to prosecute an officer as a result.

Or it could simply be that the death of a cyclist — even one as prominent as entertainment lawyer and former Napster executive Milt Olin — just isn’t worth their time.

Or it could be a cover-up.

By prosecuting Wood, the deputy could be forced to testify in his defense that, even though using the onboard computer while driving is officially against sheriff’s department policy, the unofficial policy encourages officers to do just the opposite.

Which would make higher-ups in the department complicit in Olin’s death. And could have led them to pressure the DA not to file.

Maybe there’s a more innocent explanation for the failure to charge the driver with something.

Anything.

But the official explanation doesn’t hold water.

And the fact that they’ve left themselves open to this kind of speculation shows just how wrong that decision was.

………

If this case pisses you off as much as it does me, you’ll have your chance to demand justice for Milt Olin, and all of us, tonight.

The LACBC, Yield to Life and Ghost Bikes LA are hosting a ride and vigil for Milt Olin to call on the DA to revisit the case and press charges.

This is an all-hands-on-deck demand for justice.

If there’s any way you can be there for all or part of it, you owe it to yourself to attend. Because the more people who participate, and the more varied the riders who attend, the better our message will penetrate the insulated offices of the District Attorney.

I’m going to do my best to attend the vigil, at least. If you don’t see me there, it means my health has knocked me on my ass once again.

From the LACBC website:

When: Wednesday, September 3

Schedule:

  • 4:00 p.m. Meet at crash site (around 22532 Mulholland Hwy, Calabasas, CA 91302)
  • 4:15 p.m. Moment of silence
  • 4:30 p.m. Start ride
  • 6:30 p.m. Leave from the L.A. Zoo parking lot (5333 Zoo Dr, Griffith Park, CA 90027). Other riders can meet up here.
  • 7:30-8:00 p.m. Arrive at District Attorney’s office (210 W Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012)
  • 8:00 p.m. Candlelight vigil

The public is invited to join us at the beginning, ride with us, join us for the vigil, or meet us at any point along the way (exact route to be determined).

Route: https://goo.gl/maps/Y4xFh

The route follows major streets through the San Fernando Valley and Griffith Park to Downtown Los Angeles. Riders will be expected to stay alert and follow all traffic laws. The ride is scheduled to arrive in Downtown just after sunset, therefore lights are required by law.

The route is 30 miles. Riders should come prepared with water and snacks to stay fueled.

Shorter options:

  • Start at the L.A. Zoo parking lot (5333 Zoo Dr, Griffith Park, CA 90027) for an approximately 10-mile ride into Downtown. Please arrive no later than 6:15 and be ready to ride by 6:30 p.m.
  • Start in Calabasas, ride 17 miles to the Universal City Red Line station (located at Lankershim Blvd and Campo de Cahuenga), and take the Red Line to Civic Center, where the D.A.’s office is located (210 W Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012). Riders who lag behind the main group will be asked to take this option.
  • Join us for the vigil. People are welcome to skip the ride and meet us at the D.A.’s office. The ride is expected to arrive between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m.
  • Meet us along the way. We will do our best to live-tweet our location with the hashtag #rideformilt. Follow us @lacbc.

Getting to the ride:

  • The start is on a suburban section of Mulholland Highway with little to no on-street parking (approximate address: 22532 Mulholland Hwy, Calabasas, CA 91302). We recommend taking the Metro Orange Line or Orange Line Bike Path to De Soto or Canoga and riding from there. Free park-and-rides are available along the Orange Line.
  • Check out the Facebook event and feel free to post feeder rides there.

Getting from the ride:

  • The best option is always riding (with lights!) or taking transit.
  • If you parked at a Metro Orange Line park-and-ride, take the Red Line from Civic Center to North Hollywood. Then either transfer to the Orange Line (limit 3 bikes per bus) or ride along the Orange Line Bike Path to your car.

Questions? Post them in the Facebook event or call the office at 213-629-2142 and we’ll do our best to respond before the ride.

 

Weekend Links: Protected bikeways bill and four hit-and-run bills await Governor Brown’s uncertain signature

Streetsblog explains AB 1193, the new protected bikeways bill currently awaiting Governor Brown’s signature.

There should be no reason why he wouldn’t sign it.

Then again, that’s what we said about the first two attempts at a three-foot passing law. And you know how that turned out.

Meanwhile, Bicycling says there’s a nationwide boom in protected bikeways, while Vancouver’s see a record number of riders this summer.

……..

Streetsblog also explains the four hit-and-run bills awaiting Brown’s signature.

None remove the incentive for drunk drivers to flee the scene by making the penalty for hit-and-run equivalent to drunk driving penalties. And none call for seizing the vehicle used in a hit-and-run upon conviction.

But they’re a good start.

……..

Credit Orange County cyclist and attorney David Huntsman for this idea.

Instead of paying $100 or more to ride the Beverly Hills Gran Fondo, donate the money to Better Bike to support the fight for better inclusion in the bike-unfriendly community — including desperately needed bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd.

Speaking of Better Bike, they look at Strava to reveal where cyclists really ride through the Biking Black Hole.

……..

The sheriff’s department will conduct an internal investigation into the Milt Olin case; according to the story, at least one cyclist doesn’t have much faith in their impartiality.

Red Kite Prayer’s Padraig says the DA’s decision not to prosecute makes us all second-class citizens. Cycling in the South Bay says the DA has given cops a license to kill.

And former pro Dave Zabriskie explains why his Yield2Life foundation is co-sponsoring Wednesday’s Olin protest ride and vigil.

……..

There are no words. The junior world time trial champion, 18-year old Igor Decraene of Belgium, took his own life on Saturday.

……..

Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton offers five things he learned at the city council Transportation Committee meeting this week, including that protected bikeways may or may not be on the streets of LA in the coming year.

Writing for Orange 20, Richard Risemberg looks at how Westside road diets and walkable/bikeable streets encourage people to linger, shop, eat and spend more, despite what some less-informed councilmembers seem to think.

The Times reviews advanced new bike accessory designs.

Pasadena moves forward on an ambitious new bike plan.

Hermosa Cyclery celebrates its 40th anniversary as four local men carry on for the original owner.

Proposed Redondo Beach redevelopment promises a 30 to 40 foot wide pedestrian and bike path along the waterfront; hopefully, they’ll get rid of that damned “cyclists dismount” zone in front of the pier while they’re at it.

 

State

I wonder how many drivers will be deterred by the whopping $35 fine for violating California’s new three-foot passing law.

A Laguna Beach cyclist says bike riders must admit the coast highway is a death trap.

A Stockton rider wisely gives up his bike when three men approach showing a gun, and ask if he’s willing to die for it. Well, if you put it that way…

 

National

Bicycling’s Elly Blue offers advice on how to close the gender gap and get more women into bicycling.

A writer for CityLab says get over shoaling, already

It takes a real schmuck to steal a brand new adult tricycle from a legally blind woman.

A Washington state driver was drunk and texting when he drifted off the road and rear-ended a cyclist.

Tragically, a Seattle cyclist is killed in a left cross less that two weeks before the dangerous bike lane she was riding in was due to be replaced with a protected lane.

Great piece from a Colorado Springs non-cyclist, who says bike riders deserve genuine appreciation. Read this one to counter out all that bike hate out there.

Nice. A Wisconsin bike advocate donates a new bike to a 12-year old hit-and-run victim.

Twenty-three reasons why bicycling is the best way to navigate New York City.

 

International

NHL defenseman Cory Sarich gives up bicycling and may never play hockey again following a horrific left-cross crash with an 85-year old British Columbia driver.

Always report bad road condition whenever possible; a London man didn’t and another rider paid the price.

A pair of Russian girls explore Great Britain and Ireland by Brompton.

Perhaps the greatest cyclist of all time, the Cannibal, aka Eddie Merckx, is hospitalized with heart pains; he has minor heart surgery as a result.

Bicycling the streets of Cambodia’s capital is not for the faint hearted.

 

Finally…

This is how you wear a cycling cap. When you need to revive, turns out a combination of coffee and naps are more effective than either one alone; throw in walking the Corgi, and that’s the story of my life these days.

And yes, traffic rules apply to everyone, and no, stop signs are not mere suggestions. Even if many drivers seem to treat them that way.

 

Morning Links: More on misguided Olin decision; protected bikeways and hit-and-run bills pass legislature

More on the DA’s refusal to prosecute the sheriff’s deputy who killed cyclist Milt Olin, as cyclists urge the DA to change her mind.

Meanwhile, the local Calabasas paper picks up the story, while Digital Music News offers an angry response. Streetsblog’s Damien Newton rails against the decision. And the story goes international, courtesy of London’s Daily Mail; thanks to Kevin Hopps for the tip.

LA Daily News writer Brenda Gazzar writes that the Sheriff’s Department will open an internal affairs investigation into Deputy Andrew Wood now that the investigation is complete; thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link. Be sure follow her if you’re on Twitter for the latest updates and best reporting on this case.

For those who want to do more than sit and seethe, a protest ride and vigil will held next Wednesday, sponsored by the LACBC, Yield to Life and Ghost Bikes LA.

milt_olin_FLYR

……..

Despite difficult to understand opposition from CABO, the protected bikeways bill sponsored by the California Bicycle Coalition passed the legislature Thursday and awaits the governor’s signature. The bill will allow protected bikeways, which are currently considered experimental under California law, as long as they adhere to NACTO guidelines.

Meanwhile, two hit-and-run bills sponsored by Glendale Assembly Member Mike Gatto passed, as well; AB 47 will create a Yellow Alert system to notify the public about significant hit-and-runs, while AB 1532 would automatically suspend the license of any driver convicted of hit-and-run. Thanks to Finish the Ride for the heads-up.

……..

LA Weekly rides along to the Emmys with Mad Men writer/producer Tom Smuts and company.

……..

Alejandro Valverde captures stage six of the Vuelta. Disappointing that one of the world’s great bike classics is getting so little coverage, especially when it promises to be one of the best in years.

And even though Lizzie Armistead has already wrapped up the Women’s World Cup, there’s still a lot at stake in the final race.

……..

Local

Two miles of new bike path open along the LA River in the West Valley.

Flying Pigeon questions whether North Figueroa drivers really want faster speeds or better traffic flow.

Fig4All explains how one misguided councilmember can derail a much needed safety improvement project on North Figueroa. And what can be done about it.

Bicyclists in the City of Angeles will ride in solidary with the Afghan women’s cycling team “and all women who ride bikes in the face of adversity” this Saturday.

LA cyclists ride to remember three fallen Belizean riders.

Who knew? The Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills was once home to some of the region’s finest bike trails.

Santa Monica police bust a bait bike thief.

A jogger is critically injured running in the bike lane on PCH in west Malibu when he’s hit by a car, which doesn’t bode well for cyclists using the lane intended for them. Correction: It turns out that’s not a bike lane, after all. 

 

State

San Diego’s new Bicycle Advisory Committee promises to make the city better for biking

Santa Barbara gets $8.6 million for bike projects, while Goleta gets $3.654 million and Santa Ana gets a relatively paltry $3 million.

Sadly, a Roseville rider is killed by her own SUV when it rolls over her while she’s trying to remove her bike from the back.

 

National

Momentum Magazine lists the next great bicycling cities, while Bicycling is about to offer an updated list of the nation’s top 10 bike cities. Do I really need to mention that LA didn’t make either list?

A 91-year old Oregon WWII and Vietnam Vet plans to keep riding despite being hit by a car.

No distracted driving law means the penalty for hitting a Texas cyclist is no worse than getting a speeding ticket.

Despite the LSU paper’s apparent ethical dilemma, bike theft is just wrong. Period.

A 75-year old former Manhattan bike commuter reminds his fellow Virginia riders they’re not above the law.

Milt Olin isn’t the only cyclist to lose his life to a sheriff’s deputy, as a 15-year old Florida boy is run down for no apparent reason by a patrol car driven by a Lee County deputy.

 

International

Calgary defenseman Cory Sarich puts his NHL career on hold to recover from serious injuries suffered in a frightening bike collision last month.

The UK government is urged to protect funding for bikes and pedestrians.

Half of Brit drivers break the law; I suspect the percentage would be a lot higher here.

Turns out London cyclists aren’t a danger to guide dogs after all.

A Brit minibus driver gets five years for killing a cyclist while looking a photos on his cell phone.

India’s Health Minister wants a nationwide network of protected bike lanes.

Clearly, it was a loss felt worldwide, as Aussie cyclists ride to remember Robin Williams.

 

Finally…

When you’re leaving an Ohio drug house with crack on your bike, put a damn bell on it if that’s what the law requires; the bike, not the crack. Now that your GoPro bike cam can give you a dog’s eye view of the world, expect to see a lot of butt close-ups.

And evidently, a pair of Laguna Beach cyclists are selling something to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research. Unless the local paper meant pedal, instead of peddle, of course.

 

Morning Links: Bike-friendly LAPD chief reappointed, suspected DUI driver hits 8 riders in San Diego

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has been reappointed for another five year term.

It was Beck who worked with cyclists to establish the department’s bike liaison program and bicycle task force when he was first appointed five years ago, resulting in a training module to teach patrol officers the rights and responsibilities of cyclists.

And helping to make the LAPD one of the most progressively bike-friendly police departments in the US.

They may not always get it right.

But things are a hell of a lot better than they used to be.

……..

A wrong way driver crashed head-on into a group of cyclists on San Diego’s Fiesta Island, sending six riders to the hospital with undetermined injuries; two others declined to be transported. Reports are as many as 16 riders hit the pavement trying to avoid the car.

Not surprisingly, the driver has been arrested on suspicion of DUI.

Meanwhile, Riverside hit-and-run victim D’Andre Sutherland remains on life support as police looks for suspects.

……..

The latest round in the battle over bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd in the Biking Black Hole takes place on Thursday, August 21st at 8 am as the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce takes up the debate.

……..

It seems like the whole world is mourning the unexpected death of Robin Williams. But the loss may be hitting a lot of cyclists a little harder than most.

Because, as Cyclelicious notes, he was one of us. And he’s got the photos to prove it.

Williams never hid his love of riding, even going so far as to describe himself as a bike-sexual.

Red Kite Prayer notes he was a customer of Santa Monica’s Bike Effect and City Cycle in San Francisco; I saw tweets Monday saying he was favorite customer of I. Martin, and had stopped by the Bicycle Kitchen at least once to buy T-shirts.

The mere fact that someone like Robin Williams had even heard of the Kitchen — let alone stopped by to support it — speaks volumes about who he was and how important bikes were to him.

He was even stopped by police in New York for riding on the sidewalk. And let go with a warning as soon as officers realized who he was.

As for myself, I had one wordless, non-bike interaction with Williams when I worked in a jewelry store in Denver’s most exclusive hotel back in the 80s. The one where everyone who was anyone stayed when they passed through what was still an oil and cow town.

And where I met celebrities ranging from politicians and religious leaders, to the day’s leading movie stars and models, rock stars and blues immortals.

I was polishing rings in the back room, which faced a secluded hallway often used by hotel guests to escape the press and hoi polloi.

I looked up to see Robin Williams coming down the hall in the company of a woman. And was startled to see his stricken, almost fearful expression when he realized I recognized him, as if begging just to be left alone.

So I nodded, and he looked back at me with a half-smile and a look of relief, clearly grateful to retain a brief moment of privacy before disappearing out the door.

And I learned a lesson that has served me well in my life here in the figurative, if not literal, Hollywood. That being famous shouldn’t mean a loss of privacy, and that even the rich and famous have a right to be left alone.

Robin, you will be missed.

……..

Local

LADOT expands their Bicycle Friendly Business program throughout the city.

Downtown bike shop Just Ride LA forms a new cycling club.

An online petition calls on the DA to prosecute the sheriff’s deputy who killed Milt Olin on Mulholland Highway. Personally, I’m less concerned with prosecuting the driver than holding the department responsible if it can be shown that their policies, official or otherwise, put us all at risk.

The new LA Times new publisher is one of us; former assistant mayor Austin Beutner suffered a serious biking injury while riding in the Santa Monica mountains a few years ago.

Wolfpack Hustle calls on everyone who cares about safety to write city officials to demand buffered bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of the soon-to-be rebuilt Hyperion Bridge.

 

State

Bid on a one-of-a-kind 8-speed Linus + SeaVees bike, and all the proceeds will go to benefit the California Bicycle Coalition.

Paso Robles votes to install a four-block bike lane.

A 14-year old Fresno-area bike rider riding with his father is killed in a collision with an 82-year old driver; needless to say, the driver insists the victim inexplicably swerved in front of him.

The leader of the state’s most successful bicycle advocacy group, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, will leave at the end of the year.

Here’s an idea. Keep a bike on both ends of your commute, and you never have to take one with you on the train.

 

National

Thirty-six bike share programs throughout the US, resulting in a combined 23 million rides — and despite the panicked predictions, not a single fatality.

After a Spokane man steals a bike when his gets stolen, the internet helps bring him to justice.

A DC blogger says the Post’s bike-hating columnist may have ridden a bike, but he didn’t learn much.

 

International

A Belizean cycling legend is executed during a rash of gun violence in the Central American country over the weekend.

A new app could help design bike lanes in Germany’s most bike-unfriendly city.

Bike share is booming in Poland.

 

Finally…

Even the trees are out to get us, as a Brit rider barely survives a falling branch. Athens GA police chase a drunken, lightless bike rider.

And two German artists finally claim credit for the white flags that appeared on the Brooklyn Bridge last month, and led the Manhattan DA to subpoena the Bike Lobby parody account.

 

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