Archive for Bicycle Safety

Bicyclist killed in Oxnard hit-and-run; 17-year old driver arrested

Apparently, you’re never too young to take a life while driving under the influence.

The Ventura County Star reports a bike rider was killed in an Oxnard hit-and-run Friday morning, and the 17-year old driver taken into custody minutes later.

Forty-two-year old Oxnard resident Gregory Dominguez was riding near the intersection of Lakehurst Street and Janetwood Drive a little after 7 am Friday when he was struck by an SUV.

The driver continued down Lakehurst, knocking down numerous mailboxes before crossing the road, and crashing into a magnolia tree with enough force to knock it down.

The driver, who has not been publicly identified, then fled the scene on foot, but was arrested nearby. Police say drugs or alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.

Dominguez was taken to the Ventura County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

The Star reports local residents have tried in vain to get city officials to do something about speeding drivers on what should be a quiet, residential street.

Evidently, they need to do something about teenage drivers who are drunk or stoned at seven in the morning, as well.

This is the 45th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth in Ventura County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Gregory Dominguez and all his loved ones.

Update: LA cyclist killed in multiple car Beverly Grove hit-and-run

Another bike rider has been murdered by a hit-and-run driver.

LA’s KNBC-4 broke the news late last night that a bike rider had been taken to a hospital in critical condition following a hit-and-run collision in the Beverly Grove neighborhood.

Sadly, the station confirmed this morning that the victim, identified only as a 58-year old man, has died.

According to the news report, he was riding on the 100 block of North Crescent Heights Blvd, between Beverly Blvd and First Street, around 9 pm Tuesday night when he was rear-ended by the driver of a red Ford SUV, who fled the scene.

He was struck with enough force to throw his body 75 feet, landing near the driveway at 109 N Crescent Heights, where he was struck by another vehicle; that driver stopped and cooperated with police.

It’s likely the SUV driver was exceeding the 35 mph speed limit to strike the victim with that much force.

Screen grab from KNBC report

Screen grab from KNBC report

His bike, a blue road bike with green handlebar tape, lay mangled on the side of the road. A red tail light is visible on the seat post.

The driver of the SUV fled on foot after crashing into a parked car a block away, leaving her wrecked car behind. Initial reports indicated the driver was a woman, but police were unable to confirm that.

The station reports both the victim and the driver of the SUV were westbound; however, it appears they were actually traveling south, since it’s a north-south street.

Crescent Heights is afour-lane street,  mostly residential, with commercial buildings on the major cross streets. The right lane is a mixed traffic and parking lane; at that hour, it’s likely there would have been numerous parked cars, pushing him into the left lane to avoid the zone.

Police say the second driver won’t face any charges.

It’s impossible to know which of the vehicles struck the fatal blow. However, the driver of the SUV should face a homicide charge, since she — or he — made the decision to flee the scene, and leaving the victim unprotected to be struck by another car.

This is the 44th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 17th in LA County; it’s also the fourth in the City of Los Angeles.

Update: KNBC has updated their report to say the driver was a woman, but police have no other description at this time.

Update 2: The Beverly Press reports the victim is a 59-year old Santa Monica resident, but still has not been publicly identified.

According to the paper, he was headed west on 1st Street and ran a stop sign to cross Crescent Heights, as well as ignoring a right-turn only sign; if the driver had stopped, she might have been released without charges. 

Instead the driver, who was operating a rental car, is wanted for felony hit-and-run. Police are trying to identify who had rented the SUV. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones. 

 

Morning Links: LA finally gets bike traffic lights, Garcetti say no to Veep, and it’s a bike safety weekend

For once, LA bike riders are being treated like we actually belong on the streets.

On Thursday, the city officially unveiled the new protected bike lanes on Los Angeles Street, complete with LA’s first bicycle traffic signals.

Although the LA Weekly’s Dennis Romero can’t resist getting a little anti-bike dig in.

As he suggests, the bike-shaped signals are designed to tell riders when to stop. As well as when they can proceed, independent of the traffic signals for motor vehicles.

Sort of like walk signals tell pedestrians when they can cross the street, whether or not the traffic signal is green.

They could definitely use some on the bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd through Westwood and Century City, where bicyclists are expected to stop at red lights on T-intersections even when there’s no cross street.

And many don’t.

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After yesterday’s surprising news that Eric Garcetti is on Hillary Clinton’s Vice Presidential short list, the first-term LA mayor says not so fast.

Then again, that’s exactly what he’s expected to say, unless and until he actually gets the nod.

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Evidently, it’s a bike safety weekend.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department will step up enforcement of traffic violations that can lead to collisions between motor vehicles and bicyclists or pedestrians today. So obey the letter of the law, because you don’t want to be the one who goes home with a ticket.

And the Santa Monica Police Department will conduct yet another of their bike and pedestrian safety crackdowns on Saturday.

So we should all feel safer on Sunday, right?

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VeloNews says if America’s Tejay van Garderen doesn’t win the Tour de Suisse, he’ll be carrying water bottles for Richie Porte at the Tour de France next month.

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Local

Metro board committees unanimously support the proposed Measure R sales tax extension, which could mean significantly more funding for bike and pedestrians projects.

The LA Times calls for making the pilot program to install interlock devices on the cars of convicted drunk drivers permanent and expanding it statewide. What we really need to do is impound the vehicles of DUI drivers while their licenses are suspended to keep them from getting behind the wheel. And let’s not forget that interlock devices do nothing to stop drugged driving.

CiclaValley says riding to the top of Mt. Baldy is a must.

Members of my college fraternity will depart from Long Beach this morning on one of three cross-country routes to raise over half a million dollars for disabled people nationwide.

 

State

Santa Barbara approves moving a contentious bike lane to a back street in order to preserve precious parking through a commercial zone. Because no one would never dream of riding a bike to go to a restaurant or retail store.

Sacramento increases fines for riding a bike on the sidewalk from $5 to $250, despite a lack of safe alternatives in many areas.

Changes to the bike path on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge will add $6.5 million to the project, which has already seen $24 million in cost overruns.

 

National

Nice move from Polar, as all the proceeds from their new Rainbow Pride water bottle will go to support victims and families of the Pulse shooting rampage in Orlando.

The Huffington Post says cyclists shouldn’t have to risk their lives just to use the road.

A Seattle cyclist gets her stolen bike back, thanks to registering it with Bike Index. Which you can do for free at the top of this page.

After two years of denials, new evidence shows a Spokane sheriff’s deputy really did crash into a teenage bike rider as they both maneuvered to avoid the collision, after an outside investigator found the imprint of the victim’s hat embedded on the bumper of the patrol car. Which raises the question of why police investigators couldn’t find it themselves with a two year head start.

Sad news, as the woman who helped start my hometown on the path to becoming one of the nation’s most bike friendly cities has passed away from Alzheimer’s at age 76.

Hats off to Kansas and Missouri, where authorities no longer consider crashes accidents.

A “hesitant” Chicago bike rider sees the world from a windshield perspective, as she calls for testing and licensing cyclists to improve safety, while complaining about road diets and bike lanes designed to do just that.

Cleveland drivers are confused by new bike lanes on two of the city’s busiest streets, but a bicyclist says they’re not so bad.

Nashville plans a left side bike lane along a center median to eliminate the risk of doorings and right hooks.

Both Streetsblog and Gothamist say the NYPD needs to stop targeting cyclists and start focusing on the people in the big dangerous machines.

Why wait? Residents of a DC suburb are protesting bike lanes that haven’t even been proposed yet.

 

International

Cycling Weekly offers advice on how to overcome setbacks, from losing a race to getting hit by a car.

Toronto drivers who kill or injure pedestrians or bicyclists too often avoid charges. In other words, just like drivers virtually everywhere.

Britain’s Jo Cox was one of us; the British Labour Parliament member was assassinated Thursday, by a supporter of an American neo-Nazi group.

A London bike rider became the latest victim of anti-bike sabotage when a group of teenagers strung a rope at neck level across a Hyde Park pathway.

A British writer learns that a 30 kilometer ride through Provence — 18.6 miles — isn’t that far, and can be enjoyable.

A couple from the UK celebrated their 60th anniversary, after they met when he stopped to help fix her bike.

 

Finally…

No motor scooter for you; get around campus the old fashioned way — on a bicycle. Don’t leave a suspicious package in your Metro bike locker.

And seriously, don’t punch a cop who tries to stop you for riding in the middle of the road. But feel free to correct him if you were just riding in the middle of a non-sharable lane.

No, seriously, they love that stuff.

 

Guest Post: The cost of traffic violence — the daughter of a distracted driving victim speaks out

Last year, an alleged distracted driver plowed into a cyclist in Moorpark, then swerved into motorcyclist coming in the opposite direction, killing them both.

Recently, the daughter of one of those victims asked for the opportunity to tell her story. 

This is what she has to say.

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Hailey Cushman’s Story

My name is Hailey Cushman and I am Jesse Cushman’s only biological child. My dad was killed on September 12th, 2015 on his way home from work from BMW Motorcycles located in Ventura. He was hit head-on on his motorcycle in Moorpark, CA by Rachel Hill, who was later found to have been texting and driving. Hill first hit bicyclist Maciek Malish then over-corrected and swerved to hit my father. Both men were killed on impact but Hill only walked away with scratches. In fact, Hill was caught taking pictures of her injuries and posting them on her Facebook the next day as if the accident was humorous to her. This tragic event happened just 9 days before my 21st birthday (in which I had plans that were immediately cancelled and never rescheduled). Dad was going to be 44 years young in October 2015. He was born in Simi Valley, CA but lived most of his life in Reno, NV, which is where I live. Within a couple days of the accident I was down in Fillmore, CA, where dad currently lived with my grandmother, Jorja, and my stepmother, Julia. Julia and dad married in 2002. When dad moved to Southern California he was brought closer to his biological father, Joe Freas, who lives in Thousand Oaks, CA. Joe and dad were in the process of trying to rekindle their relationship after years of separation.

As a child I was lucky to have never experienced a close death in the family but that aspect has also made losing my father at this age extremely difficult for me. My dad had an exciting, fulfilling and fun life. My dad was Batman! My dad and Julia were heavily involved with cosplay and all things comics. Dad had several Batman suits that were so legit that he was in several professional photo shoots. That year dad and Julia won free tickets to the San Diego Comic Con, which they had been trying to attend for years. Dad and I enjoyed doing a lot together when I would come visit in the summer time; we would go boogie boarding in Malibu, go to Six Flags Magic Mountain several times a month (it was our favorite together), race quads (he raced professionally but he also taught me how to ride and I was too racing at just 5 years old). As a family, we would frequently play video games and board games as they owned a plethora of Monopoly games and superhero video games. We would even get the whole family involved with Rockband and have somebody on each instrument. Another big part of my dad and Julia’s life was motorcycles. They were a part of the local STAR riding chapters where they would do toy drives, poker runs and many other fun rides with the group. My grandma would always worry about dad on his motorcycle because she knew the risks but both dad and Julia were very cautious riders. I guess this proves that no matter how cautious you are in life you can never fully protect yourself from others.

Since I lost my dad my life has changed forever. I’ve had to see more psychiatrists lately for stress, anxiety and depression in order to keep my job and continue my college education (which I am close to finishing). I am so young and I have so much of my life ahead of me but my father will not be able to be there to walk me down the aisle at my wedding, be there at the birth of his grandchildren, see me graduate college or buy my first house. The Cushman and Malish family’s lives have forever been changed and will always hurt when we think about this tragic incident. We try to put our minds at ease by thinking about how Rachel Hill will have to live with what she has caused these two families for the rest of her life as well, but unfortunately, we are unable to rely upon the justice system to make her accountable. We have recently been told by the Ventura County District Attorney’s office that Hill may not even receive any jail time but only community service. The Ventura County District Attorney’s office is certainly corrupt. The CHP took 8 months to complete the police report to ensure they had all the information and evidence to create a strong case. The CHP’s recommendation was that Hill should be charged with a felony of two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. Within 2 weeks of the Ventura County District Attorney receiving the case they decide that Hill only be charged with a misdemeanor!

Now, I am a smart and educated person. I have been going to school for 16 years (total) and this is not what I was taught in how our justice system operates! When you kill another person due to reckless driving you go to jail! End of story! Rachel Hill is only getting a slap on the wrist for killing TWO innocent people. I spoke with the assistant District Attorney who informed me that they did not have enough evidence to prove gross negligence, even though they had all of Rachel’s text message conversations showing she was texting while driving leading up to the accident. Hill has been able to spend the last 9 months with her family through the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, which were especially hard times for both the Cushman and Malish families. Now that Father’s Day is less than one week away my heart aches just thinking about that empty feeling I will have now not being able to celebrate it with my dad. No amount of money or punishment on Rachel Hill’s behalf will ever bring my father or Maciek Malish back but it would at least be nice to have a piece of mind knowing that Rachel Hill’s life would be forever affected with jail time, a felony and two counts of manslaughter on her record for the rest of her life the same way that our family will forever be devastated about this loss and injustice. Not a single person I have spoken to agrees with the District Attorney’s decision of a misdemeanor (besides the Hill family). We need to bring attention to this obvious injustice and corruption of our justice system by bringing publicity to this case for both the Cushman and the Malish family in hopes to one day begin to heal from this tragic loss.

From left to right: dad, Julia, grandma and me. Disneyland 2012 celebrating mine and Julia's graduation, grandmas birthday and dad and Julia's anniversary.

From left to right: Dad, Julia, Grandma and me. Disneyland 2012 celebrating my and Julia’s graduation, grandma’s birthday and Dad and Julia’s anniversary.

Dad and Julia's wedding picture: June 12th, 2002.

Dad and Julia’s wedding picture: June 12th, 2002.

Dad in his amazing Batman costume!

Dad in his amazing Batman costume!

My favorite picture of dad and I at Disneyland.

My favorite picture of Dad and I at Disneyland.

R.I.P. Jesse Cushman. I love you!

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Reducing, let alone eliminating, traffic fatalities will be impossible as long as prosecutors refuse to take even the most egregious cases like this seriously. 

If you’re as angry as I am about this case, contact Ventura County DA Gregory D. Totten, and politely — but firmly — demand that the case be re-filed as a felony.

Hailey, and all the families and loved ones of both victims, deserve better.

As do we all.

Update: Bicyclist killed in Cathedral City hit-and-run Saturday morning

Yet another Southern California bike rider has died at the hands of a cowardly hit-and-run driver.

According to the Desert Sun, a man was hit by a car while riding his bicycle around 10 am Saturday morning on Ramon Road between Crossley Road and Landau Boulevard in Cathedral City.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, died of his injuries at a local hospital.

The driver continued without stopping; police believe the suspect is driving a green Jeep Cherokee with possible damage to the passenger side.

A street view shows a four lane highway with a center turn lane, and a 45 mph speed limit; however, the design of the road would appear to encourage higher speeds.

Anyone with information is urged to call Cathedral City Police at 760/770-0303.

This is the 43rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third in Riverside County. It’s also the third fatal bike crash in Cathedral City in the last nine months.

Update: Cathedral City police detained, but have not yet arrested, a suspect in the crash, acting on a tip from a local resident. 

The victim, who has still not been publicly identified, was riding west on Ramon when he was run down just west of Landou

Update 2: The victim has been identified as 60-year old Cathedral City resident Clay Charles Triolo. Prosecutors are still reviewing the case to determine if charges will be filed.

Although considering the driver fled the scene before eventually turning himself in, felony hit-and-run should be a given.

My deepest sympathy for Clay Charles Triolo and his loved ones.

Morning Links: First bikeshare station hits ground in DTLA; five bicyclists dead in horrific Michigan crash

Bikeshare really is coming to Los Angeles.

The first Metro Bike station has been installed at Union Station, the first of 65 planned for Downtown LA, with the system is scheduled to open on July 7th.

And hopefully, Pasadena, Hollywood and other areas throughout LA County in the not-too-distant future.

Although bicycling infrastructure has to catch up outside the Downtown area to provide a safe place to ride those bikes. Especially in Hollywood.

So who will be the first to come up with a good nickname for the system, like London’s Boris Bikes? Somehow, Eric Bikes just doesn’t have the same ring.

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Horrific news from Michigan, as a Kalamazoo driver is under arrest for literally running away after plowing into a group of nine bicyclists.

The driver was reportedly operating his truck in erratic manner, nearly running over a bystander’s foot before he smashed into the riders from behind, killing five and injuring the other four, at least one critically.

He fled on foot following the crash, but was arrested a short distance away. Police had received calls about his dangerous driving for nearly 30 minutes before the collision.

Initial reports indicated some of the victims may be children, but later stories suggested it was a group of adults that frequently ride together.

There simply are no words to express the gut-wrenching heartbreak and tragedy of this needless disaster.

Thanks to Brenda Miller, Al Williams and Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

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Pro cyclist Tom Danielson says his positive drug test is consistent with a contaminated supplement. Of course, after similar denials from Lance, Lloyd and Alberto, et al, any explanation begs credibility, truthful or not.

Meanwhile, human rights groups urge bike racing’s governing body to reject an application for a WorldTour license for the Bahrain Cycling Team, headed by a Bahraini prince accused of torture.

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Local

LA County residents show strong support for funding bike and walking projects.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton says the Expo Phase II bike path will be great if they ever finish it and get some badly needed signage.

Bernie Sanders crashed Sunday’s Coast ciclovía in Santa Monica, which celebrated the new Expo Line extension and Colorado Esplanade.

A Ride of Silence will be held this Saturday in honor of Rod Bennett, killed by a hit-and-run driver in Santa Clarita last month.

Empact Communities says protected bike lanes are coming to North Long Beach.

 

State

A Santa Ana woman shakes off a bike crash that left her in the hospital for two days in order to cast her vote for Sanders; thanks to David Wolfberg for the link.

The Central Valley’s NPR station says Fresno is safe for cyclists. Sort of.

With the outrage over the lenient sentence given a Stanford student for the rape of an unconscious woman, it’s worth noting that the rape was stopped, and the fleeing rapist caught, by a pair of bicyclists.

 

National

Sports Illustrated discovers gravel grinding.

How to plan an overnight bike trip for beginners.

Trek offers scholarships for women bike mechanics and assembly technicians.

More bighearted cops, as Texas police officers take up a collection to replace a boy’s stolen bicycle.

A red bicycle festooned with ribbons hangs as a memorial to Muhammad Ali over the former Louisville auditorium where his bike was stolen as a 12-year old, which set him on the path that would eventually make him The Greatest.

Bikeshare is coming to Buffalo NY this summer.

The New York Post says the fastest way across Midtown Manhattan is on two wheels, while a Staten Island writer bemoans those lawless cyclists who put innocent drivers at risk.

Two women who founded a New York-based shoe maker make their deliveries via the city’s Citi Bike bikeshare system.

A Philadelphia writer artfully dissects a paranoid anti-bike screed from a representative of the National Motorists Association, which serves to maintain automotive hegemony on our streets and preserve motorists’ right to keep killing people.

 

International

A Winnipeg cyclist catches an average of one close call on his GoPro every one and a half days.

A new London smartphone app automatically emails the city’s mayor whenever a cyclist presses a Bluetooth enabled button upon encountering a dangerous situation. We could use something like that here, but the sheer volume of emails would probably crash the City Hall server.

London’s Telegraph suggests ten cycling vacations that will make you a better bike rider.

New Zealand community members called for making Hi-Viz mandatory for bike-riding students after two were hit by cars six years ago. Because no one can expect drivers to actually pay attention to who might be on the road with them, right?

 

Finally…

If you’re going to trespass on someone else’s property by riding over to hug a big friendly dog, ask your mom for permission first. At least we only have to deal with angry LA drivers, and not road raging elephants.

And for everyone who wants to ride a bicycle for a living, how about spending all day biking around killing mosquitos?

Note to the Midland Daily News: Why the hell would anyone be alarmed by a bike rider in a fluorescent T-shirt, anyway?

 

Morning Links: Saving lives through sound — as in audible — design, and random bike attacks around the world

Achieving LA’s Vision Zero goals will take some out of the box thinking.

And LADOT’s recent hiring of a sound artist-in-residence certainly fits that description.

According to Gizmodo,

In his role as LADOT’s artist-in-residence, Alan Nakagawa will specifically focus on LA’s Vision Zero plan, an international movement to reduce traffic deaths to zero. An avid cyclist, Nakagawa has long been immersed in transportation culture as a studio artist who has worked with the public art department in LA’s transit agency, Metro, for over 25 years. His goal is to focus on the neighborhoods affected most by traffic deaths, and use a very targeted approach for every neighborhood that takes cultural nuances into consideration.

Whether it will result in fewer deaths on our streets is debatable.

But at least the department is thinking about something besides Level of Service and how to move more cars faster through our streets.

Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

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Today’s common theme is road raging drivers and apparently random attacks on bike riders around the world.

A Washington driver is under arrest for using her car to herd a cyclist back onto the roadway as he tried to get away from her, then intentionally rear-ending his bike. Naturally, when arrested, she was only concerned about the damage to her car.

A Denver cyclist believes the hit-and-run SUV driver who ran him down from behind did it on purpose.

An Indianapolis bicyclist has no idea why a driver shot him in the chest after stopping to ask him a couple questions; police wonder if it’s related to the shooting of another cyclist the same morning.

A German cyclist was gunned down in an apparently random attack; a passing motorist was shot at as well.

And it goes both ways, as London Critical Mass riders are caught on video attacking a van driver who bumped a cyclist after being blocked in at a red light.

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Tour of California champ Megan Guarnier wins Sunday’s Philadelphia International Cycling Classic to increase her lead in the Women’s WorldTour; Eduard Prades takes the men’s title.

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Local

Streetsblog discusses Santa Monica’s first open streets event, where a good time was reportedly had by all.

A former writer for the LA Times has died of cancer; not only did David Lamb cover the Vietnam and Persian Gulf Wars — including naming the infamous Hamburger Hill — he also wrote a book about his tobacco-fueled midlife bike tour across the US.

Cycling in the South Bay remembers another popular local cyclist who lost his life to cancer over the weekend. I fucking hate cancer; I’ve lost too many good people to that damn disease.

KTLA-5 did a ride-along to promote the LACBC’s River Ride on Monday, while CiclaValley offers tips for this Sunday’s ride. Tip #1: You can still get a discount if you register online.

West Hollywood will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Fairfax Ave bike lanes this Thursday.

 

State

A Miami cyclist discusses how a ride down the California coast in last year’s AIDS/LifeCycle Ride changed his life; this year’s edition is taking place this week.

Camarillo is joining the list of cities cracking down on traffic violations that endanger cyclists and pedestrians this month. So watch how you ride in the city, because they’ll be watching you.

Santa Barbara could get its first bike boulevard on the city’s westside, but not on the preferred street if one woman has her way. After all, who would want better safety and livability, as well as increased property values?

A fast-growing Sacramento maker of space-efficient bike racks has changed its name to better reflect what they do. Or maybe they just want to sound more like a private military security contractor.

 

National

Wired digs deep into physics to determine if $3,400 Zipp wheels are worth the money. And concludes it’s complicated.

A new bike OS allows your lights, gearing, bike computers and other electronic gear to work together and share a single control mechanism and battery. And presumably, control your hidden motor-doping engine, as well.

A Portland city council candidate proposes adding adaptive bicycles for people with disabilities to the city’s coming bikeshare system. Meanwhile, Portland’s largest bike advocacy group expands its focus to include transit and pedestrian issues, while forming a 501(c)4 wing to allow it to recruit and endorse political candidates.

Bikeshare company Zagster’s success leads to a bigger Boston headquarters.

Caught on video: A creative DC bike thief climbs on the back of his SUV to wrestle a locked bike off a sign post.

Atlanta invests a whopping $1 billion in bike and pedestrian projects over the next 25 years.

 

International

Winnipeg becomes the latest Canadian city to consider a mandatory bike helmet law.

Paris fights the city’s notorious pollution by banning cars built before 1997, while Norway considers banning gas-powered cars by 2025. Although the electric ones hurt just as much when they hit you. Or so I’m told.

A new truck cab design from Mercedes-Benz lowers the driver’s position and provides see-through doors to greatly reduce blind spots and improve visibility of people riding bikes and on foot.

 

Finally…

The next time you find yourself along side a Porsche at a red light, challenge ‘em to a race. If you want to change your life for the better, steal a former Congressman’s bike.

And if you’re going to throw your bike, at least do it with a little panache.

Bicyclist killed, building destroyed in Compton collision

Reports are coming in that a bike rider was killed in Compton this morning, and a building partially destroyed by an out-of-control driver.

According to KTLA-5, the crash occurred on the 1100 block of E. Compton Ave before 10:50 Monday morning, when the driver of a van was reportedly unable to avoid hitting the bicyclist before crashing into the storefront.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, has was pronounced dead at the scene. Attorney James Johnson indicates he may have been a man in his 50s.

There’s no explanation for how the collision occurred or why the driver was unable to avoid striking the rider. However, the position of the victim and his bike, in relation to the impact with the building, suggests he may have been thrown a significant distance by the impact of the crash.

In addition, the building — the site of a planned real estate office — suffered significant structural damage and may have to be red tagged, implying that the wreck may have occurred at a high rate of speed.

In a report that is not yet online, KABC-TV places the impact at 10:27 am at 1137 E Compton Blvd.

They also report the driver taken into custody, although other reports indicate he was injured and taken to a hospital for treatment.

You can view the KABC report in a cellphone video recorded by a viewer.

This is the 42nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 16th in Los Angeles County.

That compare with just 24 in SoCal on this date last year, and ten in the county. It’s also the fourth bicycling death in Compton since 2011.

Update: According to KNBC-4, the driver was headed west on Compton when he somehow veered across three lanes of traffic to hit the victim head-on before slamming into the building.

The 22-year old driver was found unconscious following the crash. 

The victim had apparently just stopped for food; a shopping bag lay on the sidewalk next to his body.

Meanwhile, KABC still hasn’t posted their report online. However, an update to the story suggests the driver was not taken into custody as originally reported.

The station reports that, while the investigation is ongoing, police describe it as just a tragic accident — despite the description in the KNBC story. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones.

Thanks to Michael MacDonald and James Johnson for the heads-up, and to Vanessa for the cellphone video. 

Morning Links: Buzzed by Metro Bus, blown off by Metro security, and a better Share the Road sign

This is what it looks like when an LA Metro bus passes way too close, in violation of the three-foot passing law.

And common sense.

Thanks to Don Ward and Carlos Morales for the heads-up.

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Speaking of Metro, you may recall last week Michael MacDonald wrote a guest post about being told by a sheriff’s deputy to get out of the Wilshire Blvd Bus-Only Lane.

Even though he was directly under a sign reading “Bikes Okay.”

On Friday, MacDonald, along with the BAC’s David Wolfberg, met with Metro head of security Alex Wiggins.

Suffice it to say it did not go well.

We hope to have a follow-up from MacDonald about his meeting, once he has time to think the matter over.

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Frequent contributor and unofficial BikinginLA proofreader Mike Wilkinson says he just happened to stop into his local Performance bike shop over the weekend, only to discover LACBC volunteers getting ready for next Sunday’s LA River Ride.

Volunteers from the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition were at Performance Bicycle in Long Beach yesterday signing up riders for Sunday’s 16th Annual Los Angeles River Ride. The event will feature rides from two miles to 100 miles that are meant to be enjoyed by every type of rider. The ride benefits the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. Online sign ups are available through Wednesday, and there is more information on the LACBC website.

Volunteers sign up LACBC River Ride participants at Performance Bike

Volunteers sign up LACBC River Ride participants at Performance Bike

Adrian Oviedo and Sandy Brambila pose with the LACBC River Ride logo at Performance Bike in Long Beach

Adrian Oviedo and Sandy Brambila pose with the LACBC River Ride logo at Performance Bike in Long Beach

Meanwhile, CiclaValley looks forward to the River Ride.

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Bike lawyer Bob Mionske points out the real reason you need to wear a helmet: defense lawyers will use it against you if you get hit by a car and don’t have one on your head.

And Ohio Bike Lawyer Steve Magas offers an improvement to the useless and too-often misunderstood Share the Road signs.

Bikes May Be In The Way

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A driver’s training school forwards advice for young cyclists and drivers on how to safely share the road.

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Muhammad Ali may not have been The Greatest if someone hadn’t stolen his bicycle when he was 12 years old.

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Local

The LA Weekly asks if the City of Angels can really reduce the number of traffic deaths to zero, in a surprising fair report.

Richard Risemberg looks at LA’s non-network of disconnected bikeways.

A complication that could hold up the completion of the LA River bike path — and restoring the river itself — is the 400 parcels of river channel controlled by individual owners.

We already knew the former governator was one of us, as he takes a helmet-less spin in LA. So are Liev Schreiber and sons on the other coast.

Burbank residents suggest a bike lane would help beautify a sound wall along the 5 Freeway.

Santa Monica is revamping the beachfront parking lot at Ocean and Hollister Aves to reduce conflicts between cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.

 

State

The Daily Pilot gives a brief mention of Saturday’s memorial for eight-year old Brock McCann, who was killed by a garbage truck while riding his bike in Newport Beach last month.

The OC Register’s David Whiting looks at the ongoing conflict between mountain bikers, hikers and horse riders. Which could be solved with just a little courtesy and consideration on everyone’s part.

Napa is experimenting with roundabouts leading to the downtown area, though local cyclists aren’t too sure about the idea. Meanwhile, the victim of Friday’s fatal bicycling collision has been identified as a Napa bike commuter and advocate.

Not surprisingly, the hit-and-run driver who intentionally ran down three bike riders to culminate a Sacramento-area crime spree has pled not guilty by reason of insanity. As if a rational person would run down three innocent people just for the hell of it.

 

National

A website for Millennials offers five ways to reduce stress on your bicycle commute. Which actually make pretty good sense for a change.

USA Cycling dumps a British anti-doping expert after he calls for a re-examination EPO, asking why some substances are banned while others aren’t.

A Denver TV station breaks the shocking news that some bike riders break the law. Unlike, say, most motorists.

A group of fathers is riding 1,500 miles from Boston to Chicago by way of Baltimore to support fatherhood and raise funds for organizations that support parenting. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole the ghost bike for a highly decorated former Navel Seal who was killed while riding in Maryland last year.

A Louisiana legislator says drivers in his district shouldn’t be punished for hitting someone on a bicycle if they insist on playing in the street.

 

International

Canadian cycling champ Jocelyn Lovell has passed away at age 65, 33 years after a training collision that left him a quadriplegic.

If you build it, they will come. Bicycles now outnumber cars on two of London’s new bicycle superhighway corridors, with up to 1,200 riders per hour.

Seriously? After a British cyclist is clipped by a passing car, the local press responds by asking if bicyclists should stay off the roads. Sounds like they’ve been talking with a certain Louisiana politician.

A mountain biker in the UK was saved from a near-fatal heart attack because during a race because the riders behind him just happened to be medical resuscitation specialists.

A record 150 people from eight countries will take part a 55-mile ride from Poland’s Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp to the Jewish community center in Krakow to commemorate the Holocaust.

Touching story, as an elderly Chinese woman was killed falling off her bike, and the eight stray dogs she had taken in surrounded her body to guard her for over six hours.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could have a belt drive and no seat tube — or Chinese Lacquer and no seat tube. If you’re going to pull a gun on someone who asks for his friend’s stolen bike back, get rid of the evidence. And the meth.

And if you’re going to steal a bicycle, at least put some damn pants on.

 

Morning Links: OC Register writer shows ignorance on road diets, and a look at ghost bikes and bicycle safety

This is the final day of our first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive. And your last chance to get some great bike swag when you sign up or renew your membership with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

We’re up to 29 members who’ve signed up as part of the drive. So we just need two more to make it one a day for the month of May, with 31 members by the end of the month. Or better yet, get your entire riding club to sign up today to help make our original goal of 100 new members by the end of this month.

So don’t wait. Join or renew now to help make this a more livable, bikeable city and county.

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Let’s keep things short today — relatively, anyway — to kick off the week after a far too busy three day weekend. We’ll get back to our regular link-filled format tomorrow.

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This is what happens when someone doesn’t have a clue what he’s writing about.

But doesn’t let that stop him.

Fifty-two years after Bob Dylan warned “don’t criticize what you don’t understand,” indignorant Orange County Register columnist Joel Kotkin attempts to create a public panic over road diets, without apparently bothering to understand what they are or how they’re used.

Kotkin warns that Governor Brown has a secret plan to reduce greenhouse gases by making traffic congestion so bad that it will force Californians out of their cars. And into a “high-density, transit-oriented future.”

And the tool to accomplish this “Soviet-style social engineering?”

Road diets.

That’s right, comrades. He’s onto us.

Never mind that road diets have absolutely nothing to do with reducing global warming or getting people to leave their supposedly non-polluting electric cars at home. (Note to Joel Kotkin: Electric cars cause pollution, too. That power has to come from somewhere, like coal and gas-fueled power plants in most cases.)

Despite his extremely off-base protestations, road diets are performed on streets with excess capacity in order to reduce speeding and improve safety. And in many, if not most cases, can actually improve traffic flow, while making the street safer for bicyclists, pedestrians and, yes, motorists. They can even increase property values by improving livability along the street.

In other words, everyone benefits. Even the bourgeois capitalists in their motor vehicles.

Making matters worse, Kotkin apparently thinks the state’s plan to encourage road diets will a) prevent the widening of freeways, and b) actually be used to narrow said freeways. Although it’s hard to tell with his jumbled, nearly incoherent mixing and mangling of unrelated subject matters.

So just to clarify, road diets are used on surface streets. Period.

They have absolutely nothing to do with freeway projects, nor do they in any way increase freeway congestion. Although they may reduce congestion in the surrounding area by providing people with viable alternatives to driving.

All of which he could have discovered with a simple 30-second Google search.

If he cared enough to actually understand what the hell he’s talking about.

Thanks to Mike Wilkerson for the heads-up.

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Mike also forwards this piece about Southern California Ghost Bikes founder Danny Gamboa.

It tells the story of how Gamboa, a photographer and filmmaker, became involved in the ghost bike movement when his neighbor’s six-year old son was killed while riding his bike.

And how the purpose of the bikes is to call attention to the need to ride safely, and drive carefully around bike riders.

Vincent Chang, who started Bike San Gabriel Valley, remembers two ghost bikes he helped place in Pasadena.

“It’s to honor the individual who passed,” Chang said. “Also, there’s hope that it brings to light the need for safety improvements. They act as a reminder to vehicles that we have to share the road.”

Gamboa’s been asked if he has a morbid fixation. It’s a question he quickly shrugs off.

“Our goal is to be put out of business so we don’t ever have to do this again,” he answered.

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The author of that story, Steve Scauzillo of the Los Angeles News Group, also wrote a piece about bicycling fatalities in Southern California, in which he quoted me extensively, along with Danny Gamboa and the LACBC’s Colin Bogart.

And got it right.

Despite the scary headline, he offers a fair and balanced piece, making it clear that while too many people die on our streets, the rate of bicycling deaths is actually going down as ridership goes up.

And that the odds of returning safely from a ride are overwhelmingly in your favor.

It’s worth noting that Scauzillo, a bike rider himself, spent over an hour on the phone with me to get the story straight. Unlike, say, his colleague above.

I spend a lot of time talking with reporters about bicycling and bike safety, on and off the record. And it’s nice when a reporter goes to the effort to make sure he quotes me accurately and in context.

So whether or not you like what I said, I said it. And meant it.

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Hopefully it’s not a spoiler at this point. But if you still have the last few stages of the Giro or the Nats on your DVR, skip this section.

Still here?

It was a big upset in Friday’s stage 19, as Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali won the stage — and eventually, the tour itself — after Dutch rider Steven Kruijswijk, who seemed to have an insurmountable lead, hit a snow bank and wiped out in spectacular fashion.

Back on our shores, the US National road title was taken by virtually unknown 21-year old Greg Daniel. Megan Guarnier cemented her position as America’s leading women’s roadie by winning her second US road championship, and her third in five years.

And Taylor Phinney completed a nearly impossible comeback from a devastating crash caused by a race moto in the 2014 road championships by winning his second national crit title; doctors weren’t sure he would ever walk again, let alone ride a bike. Carmen Small won the women’s title.

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Sad news from Spain, as former pro David Cañada died after colliding with another rider in a sportiv, just six years after retiring from racing.

And race motos cause yet another massive crash, as two lead motorcycles collided in a Belgium race, causing dozens of riders to go down and leading to the cancellation of the stage. At last report, Belgian rider Stig Broeckx was still in a coma after suffering a skull fracture in the crash; it was Broeckx’ second wreck involving a race moto just this year.

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Over the weekend, my wife and I happened to stumble on another new bicycle-themed coffee shop when we stopped to check out a restaurant in West Hollywood.

The Black Bicycle Café opened two months ago on Havenhurst Drive and Santa Monica Blvd; the name comes from the idea that just like bicycles get you where you’re going, coffee fuels you to your destination.

Black Bicycle Cafe

Black Bicycle Cafe Interior

And they make a pretty good cup of joe.

Tell ‘em I said hi if you stop by.

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Finally…

Your next bike could be a blimp, if they can actually get it off the ground. Or maybe a lawnmower.

And it’s bad enough when a kangaroo knocks you off your bike; worse when it ruptures both your breast implants.

 

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