Archive for Bicycle Safety

Breaking News: 16-year old bike rider killed in Florence hit-and-run

Ghost bike being prepared for Adrian Chavez Jr; photo by Danny Gamboa.

Ghost bike being prepared for Adrian Chavez Jr; photo by Danny Gamboa.

Word is just coming in that a bike rider was killed in a hit-and-run in the Florence neighborhood in South LA yesterday.

According to the Daily News, the 16-year old victim, whose name has not been released, was riding south on the 6700 block of Converse Ave when he was hit by an unidentified vehicle around 3:35 pm. The driver was reportedly speeding, and apparently hit the victim with the side of his car before fleeing.

The victim suffered major injuries, and died at a nearby hospital.

No other information is available at this time.

This is the 33rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 14th in the County of Los Angeles; that compares to nine in the county this time last year. He is also the 4th bike rider to die in the City of LA this year — two of which have been hit-and-runs.

Update: The victim has been identified as Adrian Chavez Jr.

Correction: Due to a database error, there was an error in the fatality totals in the initial version of this story. The last paragraph has been corrected to reflect the actual totals.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Adrian Chavez Jr and his family.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

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Note: As tragic as this case is, and as frightening as it is to read about things like this, let’s not forget that bicycling is a relatively safe activity. Your risk of suffering any kind of injury requiring medical attention on any given ride is just one in 77,000; the risk of death is only one in 6.3 million. And you are twice as likely to be killed in a motor vehicle as you are on a bike on an hourly basis.

So don’t let stories like this scare you off your bike. Let’s all focus on riding safely and defensively, and encouraging motorists to do the same so every bike rider can return home safely, every time.

And lets do whatever we can to get dangerous drivers off the streets and bring heartless cowards like this who leave their victims bleeding in the street to justice, and ensure they never drive again.

 

Breaking News — Another bike rider killed in Huntington Beach

For the second time in just 10 days — and the third time this year — a bike rider has been killed in Huntington Beach.

According to a press release from the Huntington Beach Police Department, 44-year old Costa Mesa resident Kathy Sieberhein died after being hit by an 80-year old driver during rush hour last night.

Sieberhein was riding west on Adams Ave near Ranger Lane around 6:15 pm when she was rear-ended by a Chevy truck driven by 80-year old Brian Chattaway of Fountain Valley. She was transported to Western Medical Center with major, undisclosed injuries, where she died sometime later.

Other reports indicate the collision occurred at 8:15 pm; however, HBPD corrected that time to reflect the earlier hour.

The driver remained at the scene where he was interviewed the police; the investigation is still ongoing and no citation has been issued or arrest made at this time.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Huntington Beach Police Accident Investigator Tai Huynh at 714-536-5670 or Accident Investigator Robert Barr at 714- 536-5666.

Judging from the satellite photo, there appears to be a westbound bike lane on Adams that ends at Ranger; the need to merge into the right hand lane may have been a contributing factor.

In addition, the sun would have been low in the sky at that hour, which could have affected the west-facing driver’s vision. However, that should not be seen as an excuse; if drivers can’t see what’s in the road ahead of them, for whatever reason, they should pull over and wait until they can. No one should ever drive for any amount of time when they are blinded by the sun or anything else.

Age may have also been a factor, as older drivers can suffer from reduced vision and reaction times, and often continue to drive long after they have lost the ability to do so safely.

And it’s always possible the victim may have cut over in front of the truck without looking or giving the driver time to respond.

All or none of these may have played a role in this case, as the exact cause is still to be determined.

This is the 31st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh already this year in Orange County, compared to just one this time last year.

And it is the third bike-related fatality in Huntington Beach this year, following the deaths of Genevieve Hall earlier this month and Matthew Liechty this past February.

For a city of less that 200,000, that should be a clear indication something is very seriously wrong.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Kathy Sieberhein and all her loved ones.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

Morning Links: Another road raging SFV driver, and a young pro succumbs after years of chronic pain

Another day, another road rage incident.

A rider named John sends word that he was punched by an angry, impatient driver on Tuesday. This is the account he posted on Instagram, along with photos of the truck and his broken glasses.

Another cycling road rage incident. This guy in the Chevy pickup was yelling at a cyclist at a light when I rode up behind them. When the light changed the guy peeled out then went about 4 or 500 feet up and pulled over. When the 1st cyclist was about to pass him the guy through open his door to try to take him out. That cyclist swerved into traffic to avoid the door but kept riding. I stopped and told the guy that we are allowed and supposed to ride in the street, there are even sharrows on the section of Sherman Way we were on, I pointed to them. He called me a idiot and said we can’t be on the street. He shoved me. I shoved him back and he started swinging. I avoided the first few punches then he got me in the eye and smashed my glasses, as I grabbed my glasses he punched me in my chin then he took off. I waited for police and filled out a report. Hopefully they go after him. He will kill one of us one day if they don’t.

He later added this thought in response to a comment.

Someone needs to stand up for the rights of cyclist. These people are killers. These are the people that’s run over cyclist and keep driving. Last time the guy ran me over. This time I got punched in the face. But if that’s what has to happen to get this to stop then I’ll take the punches, so other people can ride safely.

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Very sad news.

Chase Pinkham, a former rider for the Trek-Livestrong development team, has died of an accidental overdose. According to a story from VeloNews, the 23-year old rider suffered from chronic pain and depression due to a 2008 training collision.

He recovered enough to ride for Trek, followed by the Bissel and Jamis domestic teams, and was getting off narcotic pain relievers when he suffered a broken leg in the Valley of the Sun Stage Race earlier this year. His doctors put him back on painkillers as a result; his body was found Sunday night.

The VeloNews story includes a few paragraphs everyone should read.

According to a March 9 Facebook post, Pinkham dealt with chronic pain and depression related to his 2008 crash.

“Just wanted to give you an update if you have tried to get a hold of me the last few days by cell phone. I am currently seeking treatment for some severe depression caused by years of dealing with chronic pain from my accident in 2008. I am in a safe and good place, but I do not have access to a cell phone. If you need to get a hold of me please message me here,” wrote Pinkham.

“Dealing with chronic pain, years of medication and depression is something that may make you completely alone and hopeless, even when surrounded by the people that love you. Please remember that if you are suffering currently, or ever end up suffering, that you are not alone and that people love you. There is help available and asking for it only proves that you have the strength to reach out and the desire to change the state you are in. Many suffer, but so few ask for the help that so many people are willing to give.”

Despite the depression, a family friend assures that the overdose was accidental, and Pinkham did not take his own life.

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Local

How Los Angeles riders won their first protected bike lane. Assuming we did, that is.

How to report items that don’t belong in the public right-of-way. And yes, bike lanes are part of the public right-of-way.

A fun drone-eye view of the recent Wilshire CicLAvia.

The next LACBC Sunday Funday Ride rolls along the LA River bike path.

CICLE hosts a Taste of Pasadena bike ride to celebrate Bike Week. Speaking of CICLE, they’re in the market for a new Managing Director to replace departing Dan Dabek, who has done an amazing job in revitalizing the organization.

 

State

A Huntington Beach author looks at the city’s recent ghost bikes.

USC’s Neon Tommy visits the Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival.

Buy a brick in the Marin Museum of Bicycling.

If you’re going to ride a bike in Vallejo while carrying a hand gun with the serial numbers removed, at least ride on the right side of the street.

 

National

Long Beach’s long missing biking expats explain why you should explore cities by bike.

Maybe there really should be a war on cars.

Obeying the law and not being a jerk aren’t always the same thing, says a Philly writer.

A Texas woman says drivers need to be aware of bike riders and stop treating them like ants.

If bike lanes are too expensive, Shreveport won’t paint them; just what price do they put on bicyclists’ lives?

Kim Kardashian rides a bike in Miami for Vogue; more proof bikes are the fashion accessory du jour.

A Florida town will use a state grant to crack down on bicyclists and pedestrians who put themselves at risk; never mind the drivers in the big, dangerous machines who pose that risk.

 

International

The BBC reports a new heavy truck design has been approved by the European Union to improve safety.

Brit bike scribe Carlton Reid tells motorists that cyclists sometimes block the road in order to save their lives, and possibly yours.

How to make your bike traceable in case of theft in just 10 seconds.

Dutch pro Robert Gesink, fifth place finisher in the 2010 Tour de France, is out for the foreseeable future with a heart arrhythmia.

In a bizarre tragedy, a bike-riding Dubai boy is killed at the same intersection that took his mother’s life three years earlier.

A cyclist from the United Arab Emirates is riding around the Persian Gulf to raise funds for special needs children.

Aussie cyclists accuse police of going soft on dangerous drivers, as an injured cyclist discovers police made up his statement while he was incapacitated.

 

Finally…

It’s one thing to ride one of London’s bike share bikes — aka Boris Bikes — on London Bridge. It’s another to ride it on the safety railing.

And when you’re drunk and carrying an axe on your bike at 3 am, it helps to know if you’re in Huntington Beach or Long Beach. Or maybe Bakersfield.

 

Morning Links: BOLO for dangerous San Fernando Valley driver and disappearing Bike Plan bikeways

An impatient Ford truck driver allegedly ran over a cyclist at Winnetka and Roscoe last Saturday morning, after honking and telling the rider to get out of his way so he could make a right. He then backed up and fled the scene.

A photo included in the report clearly shows the license number of the truck; no word on whether the rider was injured or if incident has been reported to the police.

If not, it should be.

Update: Frequent contributor Micheal Eisenberg reports seeing two apparently uninjured riders talking to a police officer at Roscoe and Winnetka as he rode by Saturday morning.

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LA’s city council-approved 2010 bike plan has been incorporated into the draft Mobility Plan 2035. Except, apparently, the parts that haven’t. Could this mark the return of the much maligned — and deservedly so — “Currently Infeasible” category from the original draft bike plan?

Meanwhile, City Planning is hosting a webinar Thursday evening to discuss year two of the bike plan; maybe you can ask them where the missing miles went.

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Local

The rebranded Gran Fondo Italia has dumped the Beverly Hills edition.

Joe Anthony captures a hyper drive nighttime ride through the streets of LA on his bike cam.

Make your plans for Thursday night, when a Treats and Beats ride will be held to celebrate the opening of a new Huntington Park bike parklet.

Monterey Park and BikeSGV host a free, family friendly community bike ride for Earth Day. Meanwhile, the very busy BikeSGV hosts an Open House Bike Social to kickoff Bike Month.

Five Azusa Pacific students are biking from Seattle to New York to raise funds for clean water.

 

State

Streetsblog updates transportation bills before the state legislature, including a proposed vulnerable user law and a rapidly sinking bike tax.

Orange County officials host a workshop on bike safety following recent bicycling deaths; that should be the response to every bike and pedestrian fatality, anywhere.

Cross champion Tim Johnson bridges the gap between racing and advocacy.

In advance of Bike to Work Day, the no sweat way to bike to work.

San Francisco commits to 24 Vision Zero projects to eliminate bike and pedestrian deaths.

A Chico State student sees the thief ride by as she’s reporting her stolen bike to the police.

 

National

A new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center looks at the whack jobs people and groups behind the anti-Agenda 21 conspiracy theories and the damage they do.

Bob Mionske discusses what to do when you’re not the slowest vehicle on the road; California also allows cyclists to pass on the right.

Is the Internet threatening the iconic bike-riding Mormon missionaries?

A Seattle bike shop owner is charged with running a chop shop to fence stolen bikes. Schmuck.

Yes, says a writer from my hometown, drivers have a responsibility to keep cyclists safe.

American bicycling may have been born in Newton Mass.

Needless to say, the alleged jackass who killed a triathlete in New Orleans over the weekend blames the victims for swerving into his path; physical evidence and witness testimony suggest he plowed into them instead of changing lanes to go around — while driving with a suspended license, no less.

 

International

London will cut speed limits to 20 mph in the central city in a bid to save lives.

Anti-bike saboteurs have struck once again, strewing nails in the path of riders participating in a UK sportive. Crap like this is a crime, not at prank; a sudden flat could cause a rider to fall, leading to potentially catastrophic injuries.

A bike-centric service was held for the world’s fastest bike-riding police officer, killed in a British velodrome accident last month.

While Brit bike commuting is on the upswing, it’s dropped over a quarter in the Cotswolds.

Velonews wraps up Sunday’s unpredictable Paris-Roubaix.

After running down a bike rider while texting, an Aussie driver complains to police about the damage the rider caused to her car, and says she doesn’t believe texting while driving could cause a collision with a cyclist, even though she swears she wasn’t. Nice.

 

Finally…

Your next text could be from your bike. Telling you it’s been stolen.

And Major Taylor’s 101-year old track bike could be yours for just $20,000; why isn’t this in a museum already? Seriously, if you don’t know who Major Taylor was by now, you should.

A happy and blessed Pesach to all who observe it!

Update: San Marcos bike rider killed by cement truck

According to several sources, a bicyclist was killed in a collision with a cement mixer in San Marcos in North San Diego County this morning.

The wreck occurred at the intersection of South Las Posas Road and Grand Avenue around 9:35 this morning.

Unfortunately, very little information is available at this time, including the identify — or even the sex — of the victim, or any word on how the collision occurred. A report from the San Diego Union-Tribune could not even confirm whether the victim was a pedestrian or on a bike.

A video report from San Diego’s 10 News shows a mangled bike trapped beneath the massive truck, as well as a shrouded canopy in the crosswalk, suggesting that was where the victim’s body was found. However, it’s impossible to tell from the video where the truck was stopped in relation to the crosswalk.

Cement mixers are among the most terrifying vehicles on the road, as their lumbering size limits maneuverability and ability to stop, while giving operators only a limited view of the roadway. Even a close call can be deadly if a startled rider swerves the wrong way or tumbles beneath the wheels.

As a result, it’s long been my practice to get off the road when one approaches, rather than risk yet another too close pass or apparent failure to even see me on my bike.

Whether the driver saw this victim, or he or she even could have gotten out of the way of the truck is yet to be determined.

This is the 30th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in San Diego County. That’s nearly twice as many as the 16 SoCal deaths recorded this time last year.

Update: According to CBS-8, the victim was a 22-year old exchange student at nearby Palomar college.

The cement truck reportedly stopped at the red light on Las Posas before making a right on the red onto Grand Ave. Witnesses say the cyclist was riding on the sidewalk on Las Posas, then rode out into the intersection as the truck was turning; he was pronounced dead at the scene. 

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

Update — bike rider killed in Huntington Beach hit-and-run

Another Orange County bicyclist has been killed by a heartless hit-and-run driver.

KABC-7 reports that a 34-year old woman, whose has not been released, was struck by a white van around 8:25 last night near the intersection of Beach Boulevard and Utica Ave.

The driver fled the scene without stopping. Meanwhile, the victim was taken to UCI Medical Center, where she died.

The Orange County Register reports she was in a crosswalk on Utica when she was struck; a satellite photo shows four well-marked crosswalks at the intersection. They also report that the van was last seen fleeing north on Beach Blvd.

No further details are available at this time. Anyone with information is urged to call police Huntington Beach police accident investigators Tai Huynh at 714-536-5670 or Robert Barr at 714-536-5666

Read more: http://ktla.com/2014/04/07/driver-sought-after-cyclist-killed-in-huntington-beach-hit-and-run/#ixzz2yFUMPpW8

This is the 29th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in Orange County since the first of the year, three of which have been hit-and-runs.

She is also the second bike rider killed in a Huntington Beach hit-and-run in the last two months, and the fifth rider to die in a hit-and run in the city since 2010.

Looks like there’s a serious problem there.

Update: Still no ID on the victim; however, KTLA-5 reports that she was a resident of Huntington Beach.

The Register has removed the paywall from their article, which says the driver appears to have been headed north on Beach, while the victim was riding east on Utica. Police are now looking for a white sedan with probable front-end damage; earlier reports suggested the vehicle was a white van.

Update 2: The victim has been identified as 34-year old Genevieve Ann Hall of Huntington Beach. Meanwhile, the suspect vehicle has been identified as a 2006 to 2013 Chevy Impala with damage to the front bumper. Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

Update 3: Friends and family members struggle to deal with Hall’s death. And a fundraiser will be held at Mama’s On 39 in Huntington Beach on Wednesday night to help pay her funeral expenses.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Genevieve Ann Hall and her loved ones.

Update — Bike rider killed in Coachella collision

On a day when LA bike riders safely celebrated one of the city’s most iconic streets, the news from further east was much more troubling.

According to the Desert Sun, an unidentified bike rider was killed in a collision with a pickup at 6:30 Sunday evening at the intersection of Vista del Norte and Dillon Road. The paper reports the victim died at the scene, and that drug or alcohol use did not play a role in the collision.

Unfortunately, no other details are available at this time.

This is the 28th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in Riverside County already this year, compared to just two in the county this time last year.

And it’s a reminder that too many of our streets remain dangerous for those who choose to travel unprotected by a few tons of glass and steel.

Update: The Desert Sun has identified the victim as 48-year old Atwater resident Larry Dale Taylor. According to the Riverside County coroner, he was wearing a helmet, which may or may not be relevant depending on the victim’s injuries and how the collision occurred.

 Thanks to attorney James Johnson for the heads-up.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Larry Taylor and his loved ones.

Update 2: KESQ.com report that Taylor was riding east on the shoulder of Vista Del Norte just west of Dillon Road when he inexplicably turned left directly in front of the pickup in what sounds like a classic SWSS.*

Reports like that should always be taken with a grain of salt, unless there are independent witnesses other than the driver, which is not clear in this case. Often when the victim is unable to give his side of the story, police are forced to rely on statements from the driver, who has an inherent interest in seeing his or her actions in the best possible light.

It’s always possible that instead of the victim turning in front of the vehicle, the driver may have drifted to the right or not seen the cyclist riding in front of him.

*Single Witness Suicide Swerve

Morning Links: Not guilty pleas in OC meth hit-and-run, BFF KINDness, and fundraiser for OC’s Matt Liechty

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover today, so let’s not waste any time.

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Not surprisingly, 18-year old Sommer Gonzales pled not guilty to all counts in the death of cyclist Joe Robinson on Orange County’s Santiago Canyon almost exactly two months earlier.

As the chart below shows, she entered a plea of not guilty to four felony and two misdemeanor violations of the criminal code, and denied two felony violations of the state vehicle code.

I’m told she’s been remanded into custody pending trial. Her next court appearance is scheduled for April 21st.

Sommer-Gonzalez-Charges-2

Thanks to Jeffrey Fylling and an anonymous source for the tip.

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A relative of fallen cyclist Matt Liechty sends word that a fundraiser will be held in his honor this Saturday. The event will take place at Perry’s Pizza, 2108 W. Oceanfront Blvd in Newport Beach, with donations accepted from 11 am to midnight.

Liechty was the victim of yet another February Orange County hit-and-run, as the former OC Sheriff and Probation Department employee was run down in a Huntington Beach bike lane by an alleged drunk driver who fled the scene, leaving one of his wheels behind.

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SAMSUNGSnack bar maker KIND has come up with a clever promotion for this weekend’s Bicycle Film Festival.

Due to a delivery issue and a busy schedule, I’m a little behind in sharing this, but you still have one more day — today — to share a little kindness with a friend.

#kindawesome
Spread kindness in Los Angeles. Send a flower and KIND bars to a friend via bike messenger. www.KINDsnacks.com/kinddeliveries 
 
#bffworld 
Bring your friends to the Bicycle Film Festival coming to LA – April 4-5th! www.bicyclefilmfestival.com/city/los-angeles/
 
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BICYCLE FILM FESTIVAL:
Location: Aratani/Japan America Theatre (downtown)
Dates/Times: Friday, April 4th 7:30pm + 9:30pm; Saturday, April 5th 7pm + 9pm

The four unique screenings of narrative and cinematic films kick off with the premiere of HALF THE ROAD, BY Kathryn Bertine a highly anticipated feature about the highlights and challenges of women’s cycling, setting the tone for the following three programs of fun and poignant shorts illuminating the joys and perseverance riding inspires across cultures, ages and landscapes.

We also just added after parties for both nights, which will take place at Angel City Brewery just a few blocks away. (216 S. Alameda)

SAMSUNG

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A Santa Monica high school student has developed a handlebar mounted cell phone holder and speaker to give you access to all your aps, as well as music and hands-free calling. As of Wednesday, it was roughly $10,000 short of its Kickstarter goal with 10 days to go.

Personally, one of the many reasons I ride a bike is to get away from all the electronic demands on my attention, and experience the real world for awhile. And as far as I’m concerned, there are enough distracted motorists on the roads without adding distracted cyclists to the mix.

But you can learn more here.

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Local

KPCC says it’s never too late to learn how to ride a bike, thanks to CICLE’s adult Learn to Ride classes.

A guest writer for the Times Opinion page thanks LA drivers for safely sharing the road; your experience may vary.

Flying Pigeon asks for a little network elegance when it comes to LA bikeways, but despairs of the power council members have to stop it.

LAist reminds us that CicLAvia isn’t the only bike event this weekend, and that there’s more to life than bicycling. Meanwhile, LA Magazine offers advice on what to eat and see on Wilshire this Sunday.

 

State

Oceanside is about to open the next segment of a planned 44-mile bike trail from Oceanside to San Diego.

Less-than-bike-friendly CSU Sacramento considers on-campus bike lanes and enforcement of bike-free zones to improve campus safety.

A San Jose writer asks if racing culture has sucked all the fun out of riding a bike. That’s the great thing about bike riding, though; you can race or ride for recreation, exercise or transportation. Or all of the above, whatever works for you. And whether or not you pay any attention to other kinds of riders is entirely up to you.

An 18-year old Pleasanton man faces 2nd degree murder and felony reckless driving charges after losing control of his speeding car last June, and slamming into a couple bicycling in the opposite direction, killing the wife. He had previously invited his Twitter followers to join him on a “death ride;” meanwhile, his father faces a possible third strike for weapons and controlled substances that were found when conducted a search related to his son’s case.

 

National

In a truly bizarre case, a Missouri woman has pled guilty to hit-and-run in the death of a bike rider last year. She was reportedly fleeing from her ex-boyfriend at the time, who was chasing her in a stolen car while flashing a gun; he faces a second-degree murder charge for causing the death.

 

International

An English magistrate questions whether a law banning cyclists from riding drunk was intended to apply to bike riders; Parliament may have to make the final determination.

A UK man plans to ride the courses of the five European Spring Classics on a homemade Penny Farthing.

And in the last of today’s string of killer teenage drivers, an 18-year old British woman is accused of going crazy following a dispute at a party, then tracking down and killing her victim with her car as he rode his bike.

Evidently, the same three foot law that’s in use throughout the US becomes hopelessly impractical when converted to Australia’s metric system.

 

Finally…

It’s okay to carry a shovel on your bike, but don’t use it to threaten police and laundromat customers.

And if you’re riding drunk in Pennsylvania, put a damn light on your bike and don’t yell at passing patrol cars; bike lawyer Bob Mionske notes that his 15 day sentence is more than most drivers face for killing someone.

 

Bypassing busy traffic on 7th Street, notes from the LAPD bike task force, and Beverly Hills bike lanes redux

When is a bike lane not a bike lane?

When it’s a traffic lane allowing impatient drivers to bypass backed-up traffic for a whole block, shaving maybe a few seconds off the evening commute.

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A few notes from last week’s meeting with the LAPD’s bike liaisons.

First off, Sgt. Lazlo Sandor has taken over as bike liaison for the West Traffic Division; you’ll find his email address on the Resources page.

As part of Chief Beck’s proclamation that this will be the year of traffic enforcement, the LAPD has transferred a number of officers to work the city’s four traffic divisions. The good news is, the city is now focused on cracking down on dangerous drivers — like the one in the video above, for instance. The bad news is, bike violations are considered traffic offenses as well, so be forewarned.

One of the biggest problems in fixing traffic problems has long been that no one has been tracking bicycling and pedestrians collisions, injuries and fatalities. Which meant no one had a clue just what and where those problems might be, let alone how to solve them. Fortunately, the LAPD is now keeping track of all of the above as part of their Compstat program, requiring traffic officers to appear four times a year to discuss problems in their areas. And the department is tracking the most dangerous intersections for all road users to determine what has to be done to improve safety for everyone.

Last week’s story that Houston police officers were conducting traffic stings to improve safety for the city’s cyclists made news around the world. Which may have come as a surprise to LA officers, who have been doing the same thing for some time without public notice. In fact, LA’s West Traffic Division has conducted nine such stings since the first of the year — eight to enforce bike lane issues and one for stop sign enforcement. A total of 53 people were cited, including both cyclists and drivers; LAPD policy does not allow for selective enforcement, so they’re required to write up any violations they see during a sting, regardless of who commits it.

Finally, they stressed the importance of getting permits in advance for events that will require police participation. When the recent Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race was cancelled at the last minute, the department cancelled the officers who had been scheduled to work the event. Then when it was rescheduled at the last minute as a ride, they had to scramble to get enough officers to work the event on such short notice, and ended up paying out over $10,000 in overtime. While they understood the situation with the Marathon Crash, they ask for a minimum of 28 days advance notice to avoid any issues if you’re planning some sort of event.

On the other hand, if you break the law, they’re happy to show up with little or no notice.

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The subject of bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd through Beverly Hills is back on the council agenda this Tuesday. Except they’re not, but maybe they are. It’s a complicated subject explained well by Better Bike.

Meanwhile, a Beverly Hills homeowner’s association offers their reasons why bike lanes are a bad idea, few if any of which actually hold water.

For instance, someone should tell them that California law requires that drivers merge into bike lanes before making right turns, rather than turning across the lane as they suggest (#2). And surprisingly, blind spots exist on motor vehicles, which can hide the presence of bikes from careless drivers like themselves, whether or not bike lanes exist.

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Finally, this just in as a friend of mine reports an assault while riding home on PCH in Orange County.

I was riding on the super dark stretch of PCH between the oilfield and 10,000 miles of ocean. An empty car was stopped, no blinkers, on the shoulder. With cars coming up behind me at 60mph, the only option is to stop and wait for them to pass, or hike over the shrubs on the slope to the right of the (red) curb.

I take a picture of the car, and an angry guy kicks the driver’s side door open, emerges, and comes at me barking, “What the fuck are you doing?”

I dismount in case I have to run for it and start backing away while he repeatedly demands the camera, which he ain’t gonna get.

Long story short, he ends up throwing me, my bike & my bag (containing the Coolpix he was so interested in, plus my MacBook Air & iPad) into the ice plant.

I’m not injured, but my glasses are still out there because I gave up looking for them when the damn sprinklers came on. Also, I called Hunny PD back, and arranged them to just meet me at work for the report. The officer arrived before me AND TOLD MY COWORKER I HAD BEEN HIT BY A CAR. Boy, was she relieved when I grumped up my boss’s porch stairs with bike on shoulder & no visible injuries.

Lesson: Assume even parked cars are full of ex-convicts who will be violently angry with you for nothing.

I’m scared to check my MacBook.

Former Pasadena councilman Sid Tyler dies after bicycling fall

Sad news this morning, as word broke yesterday that a longtime Pasadena city council member died after falling from his bike on Thursday.

Sid Tyler, who served on the council from 1997 to 2009, was disconnected from life support on Friday after family members arrived from around the country to be at his side. According to the Pasadena Star-News, he was in his early 80s.

Unfortunately, few details are available, and there are conflicting reports about just what happened.

The Star-News reports he was riding on California Blvd when he signaled for a left turn, lost his balance and fell into the street. He reportedly suffered a severe neck injury as a result.

The paper notes witnesses said he was wearing a helmet; unfortunately, a helmet offers no protection against a neck injury, and may exacerbate it under certain circumstances.

However, the Pasadena Now website suggests he may have suffered a heart attack and fallen into the path of an oncoming car. They place the site of the fall as California Blvd near Morengo Ave.

Tyler was a former Marine, and long-time employee of Tenet Healthcare, retiring in 1994 as executive vice president. He leaves behind his wife of 60 years, as well as four grown children.

According to Pasadena Now, flags were lowered to half staff at Pasadena City Hall in his honor.

This is the 27th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 12th in Los Angeles County. He is also the third Pasadena bike rider to lose his life in the last nine months.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Sid Tyler and all his family. 

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