Archive for Bicycle Safety

Palmdale man killed in rear-end collision while riding to work early Wednesday morning

Bad news from North LA County, as a bike commuter lost his life in a collision earlier this week.

According to the Antelope Valley Times, 40-year old Palmdale resident Jeff Aubrey McGrath was riding south on Sierra Highway north of Pearblossom Highway around 4:40 am Wednesday when he was rear-ended by a car traveling in the same direction.

The paper reports the driver remained at the scene, and did not appear to be intoxicated.

A story in Thursday’s Antelope Valley Press, which is not available online, indicates McGrath was riding in the right lane on his way to work when he was hit, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

McGrath had worked as a farm handyman for over 15 years, and often came into work very early.

A street view shows a narrow shoulder, with the right lane merging into a single lane shortly above Pearblossom.

There’s no word on whether he was using lights or reflectors, nearly two hours before sunrise, or why the driver apparently didn’t see him.

This is the 44th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 19th in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jeff McGrath and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Michele Chavez for the heads-up.

Morning Links: Honked at for riding sharrows, Vision Zero lost in Mobility Plan fallout, and upcoming bike events

Digital Slurry offers video evidence of what we already know.

Many drivers just don’t get sharrows.

And don’t have a lot of patience when they find a bike riding legally in front of them, regardless of whether there’s a picture of a bike with an oversized pointy hat painted on the street.

His bike cam video was shot while riding in Venice. But anyone who has ridden on sharrows in Hollywood, or most anywhere else in LA, has probably had the same experience.

Meanwhile, On My Bike LA offers a video response to Bruce Feldman’s Op-ed in the LA Times complaining about the Mobility Plan.

………

The big news this week was the announcement of LA’s Vision Zero to eliminate traffic fatalities in just the next 10 years.

Or at least, it should have been.

*crickets*

Instead, everyone still seems to be shocked! shocked! that LA would possibly consider removing traffic lanes in order to improve mobility. Let alone safety.

At least the LA Times has remained rational, turning the new Mobility Plan into a very cool interactive map that allows you explore the road changes proposed as part of the plan.

The Los Feliz Ledger, on the other hand, says everyone was taken by surprise by the passage of the plan, even though it had a four year public process — even longer of you count the 2010 bike plan, which was incorporated into it — along with a dedicated website and 20 public meetings.

Then again, 91.4% of Angelenos couldn’t even be bothered to vote in the last election, never mind actually get involved in a process that will shape our streets and city for the next 20 years.

Seriously, if you don’t get involved with your own local government, who’s fault is that?

………

Time to catch up on upcoming bike events.

Metro is offering more free bike safety classes throughout the LA region this weekend.

Join the Eastside Bike Club to walk or bike this Saturday to trace the footsteps of LA’s first settlers.

A memorial ride will be held in Huntington Beach this Saturday to remember fallen cyclist and hit-and-run victim Michael Vega.

Bike riders are invited to join the Inland Empire Biking Alliance and Caltrans to ride the Santa Ana River Trail on Saturday to show the need to finish the trail.

Bike SGV is hosting the last bike train of the summer this Sunday starting at Santa Fe Dam.

The LACBC’s September Sunday Funday Ride rolls through Long Beach, with a 25-mile guided tour of parks, lagoons and universities.

Metro’s new El Monte Bike Hub — the first of what will hopefully be many throughout the region — has its grand opening on September 14th.

Pedal for Parkinson’s will raise funds to support Parkinson’s research in Solano Beach on September 27th.

Bike SGV is hosting a family friendly ride back to the 1920s in El Monte on October 3rd.

………

Johan Esteban Chaves took his second stage of the Vuelta on Thursday to move back into the leader’s jersey. After getting booted from the race for hanging onto a team car to rejoin the peloton, Vincenzo Nibali is barred from racing anywhere else until the Vuelta is over.

Meanwhile, Peter Sagan is taking aim at next month’s worlds in Richmond, Virginia once he’s done with the Vuelta, where every stage seems to have his name on it.

Domestic cycling teams complain about the strong-arm tactics of the WorldTour teams at the recent USA Pro Challenge.

And here’s someone to keep an eye on, as a Del Mar track cyclist wins four silver medals at the USA Cycling Elite and Junior Track National Championships.

Especially since she’s just a nine-year old fourth grader.

………

Local

A Santa Barbara podcast discusses itineraries for touring Los Angeles car-free by foot, bike and public transportation.

The LA Weekly looks at the Spoke Café along the LA River bike path in Frogtown, and its owners’ struggles to get city permits to sell their own food and beer.

 

State

Calbike offers their monthly update, including news that they have a fleet of shaft-drive bikes to sell, along with the company that made them. Anyone want to start a Kickstarter so I can buy a bike company? Didn’t think so.

Santa Ana is opening three Bike Huts to provide secure bicycle parking safe from thieves and the elements.

The San Diego Free Press says the region’s transportation plan is stuck in reverse.

In the wake of the San Diego “bike mob” that chased down an angry hit-and-run driver, BikeSD explains what sharrows are, and how to deal with a road raging driver. And no, shooting them in self defense is not an option.

Coronado’s apoplectic NIMBY attack on a proposed beach bike path goes on… and on. Seriously, people, it’s just a bike path.

UC Santa Barbara had to pay out of their own pockets through student fees to build a bike roundabout to improve a dangerous intersection.

No bias here. After a San Francisco bike rider suffers a life-threatening head injury in a right hook, a local TV station says he tried to overtake the car on the right.

Now this I want to see. Folsom, home to the prison made famous by Johnny Cash, is planning eight public art works honoring the legendary Man in Black along the bike path named for him.

An Auburn driver gets four years for the death of a bike rider while under the influence of Vicodin; he pled no contest after the original charge of murder was taken off the table.

 

National

Huffy recalls some of their bicycle shaped objects that have front disc brakes to replace the quick release.

Never a good idea to steal a bike from a gang called Satan Disciples; the theft by another gang led to the fatal shooting of a 17-year old in Chicago.

A Minnesota bike rider says it’s okay to go through a red light, even though it is illegal, if you scan the intersection for safety and go slowly if the way is clear.

Evidently, they take hit-and-run seriously in Michigan; a driver faces up to 15 years for failing to stop, after killing a nurse who was riding across the state as part of a group ride.

Ford says they want to be known as a mobility company, not a car maker, as they unveil their new e-bike in Louisville KY.

After the bike a 10-year old Connecticut girl got for her 10th birthday was stolen, the police dispatchers who took the call pitch in to replace it.

A bike riding writer for New York Magazine says the solution to the city’s rude, spandex-clad cyclists is to build more protected bike lanes.

Caught on video: A Philadelphia mom riding with her kids on a cargo bike is verbally harassed by a driver for going around a pickup parked in the bike lane. If the jerk was so concerned about her kids, maybe he shouldn’t have taught them so many four-letter words.

Removing a traffic lane from a Charleston bridge to make room for bike lanes could actually result in less delay, while allowing the bridge to function at acceptable levels for decades.

If New Orleans can become bike friendly, so can Shreveport.

 

International

Buenos Aires is banning most motor vehicle traffic from 100 blocks of the city’s downtown area.

A Canadian advocate explains why bike helmet laws don’t work.

Ontario drivers will now face fines of at least $490 for distracted driving, and $365 for dooring a bike rider, although cyclists will be fined $110 for riding without lights.

An Ottawa university professor files a $1 million lawsuit after being doored by someone in a car owned by the Japanese Embassy.

British bicyclists are being taken down by potholes and crumbling roads. Sort of like what LA bike riders deal with on a regular basis.

London’s Evening Standard looks at tech solutions to bike theft.

A Canadian writer takes a death-defying two-wheeled tour of Copenhagen while on a business trip,

 

Finally…

Wait. You mean that picture of a bike rider with an oversized pointy hat actually means something? Your could soon lock your bike to a rack made from a forest of flexible poles that won’t chip your paint, as long as you’re okay with having it stolen.

And if you really want to confuse one of Google’s self-driving cars, do a track stand. And if you want to confuse a writer for the Washington Post, point out that people on bikes with gears can do them. too. Thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up.

 

Bike rider killed crossing PCH in Malibu; bicycling deaths down over 40% in LA County compared to 2014

The report of the possible death of a bike rider has finally been confirmed.

According to the Malibu Times, a 48-year old man was attempting to cross PCH on his bike at Busch Drive, near the entrance to Zuma Beach at 8:30 pm Sunday.

The victim, described only as a possible transient, was transported to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood. Despite suffering from what was initially described as non-life threatening injuries, he died four hours later.

A satellite view shows a left turn lane at the entrance to the beach just west of Busch Drive.

The paper reports both eastbound lanes were closed on PCH, along with one westbound lane, suggesting he was struck on the eastbound side. A spokesman for the sheriff’s department said he had crossed the highway when he was hit, which would mean he was riding towards the beach, rather than away.

No word on whether he was in the traffic lane or on the shoulder when he was hit, or who might have been at fault.

The Malibu times says this is the fifth bicycling fatality on the Malibu section of PCH this year.

The recently released PCH Safety Study calls for improvements in the area around the complicated intersection, including a new bridge connecting Westward Beach Road to PCH, to reduce conflicts between pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

This is the 43rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 18th in Los Angeles County. It’s also the 9th death involving a bike rider in Malibu since 2011; surprisingly, only two of those have occurred on PCH.

That compares with 63 in SoCal this time last year, and 31 in the county, for a 42% decrease over last year in LA County, and 31% overall.

Morning Links: San Diego police blame bike mob; unconfirmed report of bicycling fatality on PCH in Malibu

No bias here.

Not from the press. And certainly not from the San Diego Police Department.

According to San Diego’s ABC 10 News, a female driver called 911 to report a “mob” of nine or ten bicyclists had chased her down and smashed her car window.

It must have seemed frightening to the people huddled at home watching the broadcast.

But the real story is hidden in the details.

The bike riders were using the sharrows in the city’s Normal Heights neighborhood when the driver came up behind them and began harassing them by honking nonstop, which is a violation of California law. Even though they were exactly where they were supposed to be.

She then broke the law again by passing too close, striking one of the bikes; fortunately, the rider was able to jump off just in time to avoid serious injury.

The riders then chased down the hit-and-run driver as she dragged the bike for several blocks, banging on her window in an attempt to get her attention and keep her from fleeing the scene.

Pedestrians and other motorists are often called heroes when they stop a fleeing driver under similar circumstances.

Instead, these riders were portrayed as a crazed mob, and threatened with prosecution on vandalism charges for punching and kicking the car.

So it’s okay for the driver to mangle a bike after running down the rider. But not for riders to break a window, apparently inadvertently, in an effort to make her stop.

Got it.

Police refused to even ticket, let alone arrest, the woman, despite obvious violations for

  1. harassing the cyclists
  2. breaking state law governing the use of a horn
  3. violating the three-foot passing law
  4. destruction of property
  5. failing to stop and exchange information following a collision

And yet somehow, she’s portrayed as the victim, with the people on bikes her attackers.

It’s sadly reminiscent of a case that marked the first stirrings of the bicycle rights movement here in Los Angeles.

Andres Tena was riding with a group of friends in the spring of 2009 when they were confronted by an impatient Hummer driver, who attempted to flee the scene after striking Tena’s bike and injuring him enough to require hospitalization. The other riders chased the driver down and blocked his way; in response, they were threatened with an unseen gun before the driver ran over their bikes in an effort to escape.

When police arrived, they somehow concluded that Tena had crashed into the side of the Hummer — which would have required backing into it at a high rate of speed, since he was thrown forward by the impact and suffered significant damage to the rear of his bike.

And that the driver was justified in attempting to flee, because he was frightened by all those scary bike riders, despite being safely ensconced within his multi-ton urban assault vehicle.

The cop on the scene took it a step further, saying if the cyclists had surrounded him like that, he would have done the same thing the Hummer driver did.

In fact, the only criminal prosecution that was even contemplated was a misdemeanor charge against a cyclist for “throwing his bike at the Hummer.”

Funny how some things never change.

It took years of sometimes difficult negotiations, but now LA’s bicycling community has a much better relationship with the LAPD than we did back in the dark days of just six short years ago.

But clearly, San Diego police haven’t gotten the memo.

And as this case clearly shows, they have a long way to go before cyclists can feel like they have the same support from law enforcement that drivers have come to expect, and are considered equal road users rather than two-wheeled pirates.

None of us are safe on the streets if we can’t count on the police to be there when we need them. And to do it fairly, without an obvious — and repugnant — windshield bias.

According to a tweet from BikeSD, they’re working with the San Diego Bicycle Coalition to arrange legal representation for the bike riders.

They may need it.

And sadly, the angry hit-and-run driver who started it all won’t.

………

The publisher of the Malibu Times mentioned Tuesday that a bike rider had been killed on PCH near Busch Drive, but didn’t have any details.

However, the report cannot be confirmed at this time.

There have been no other reports in the press, and repeated web searches have turned up empty. And there has been no response yet to a request for information from the CHP.

Meanwhile, he goes on to criticize cyclists for riding with inadequate lighting on their bikes. While he has a point, it is irresponsible to bring it up in response to the unconfirmed report of the bicycling fatality without knowing if a lack of lights had anything to do with it.

Or if it even happened.

It’s no better than if someone went off on a rant against speeding, texting drivers after hearing about a traffic collision without knowing if those were contributing factors in the wreck.

Yes, we should all ensure that we are visible to those we share the road with, especially after dark or in the late dusk or early morning hours when it can be most difficult to see.

But it’s wrong to imply, intentionally or not, that it may have had anything to do with a wreck that can’t even be confirmed.

………

I don’t even know what to think about this.

TMZ reports the DA’s office is unlikely to file charges against Caitlyn Jenner for a fatal collision on PCH last February, since they wouldn’t even file charges against the sheriff’s deputy who killed Milt Olin while using his onboard computer.

………

Just like anyone else, Alejandro Valverde used Google to plan his route to victory in stage four of the Vuelta.

And after the Feds drop fraud charges against the other disgraced former Tour de France champ, Floyd Landis — remember him? — still has to repay nearly half a million dollars to the 1,700 people who donated to his defense fund when he was still pretending he hadn’t doped.

………

Local

A Texas study says LA has the second worst traffic in the US, costing commuters 80 hours a year lost to traffic delays. To which bike commuters respond, “So?”.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks Vision Zero with LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds in the latest #DamienTalks podcast.

For those who read español, a nice profile of Carlos Morales and the Eastside Bike Club; Morales saved his own life by losing 250 pounds riding a bike, and now works to spread the gospel of bikes and health to others. For those who don’t, Google Translate offers a passable translation.

 

State

Congratulations to the newly announced Bicycle Friendly Businesses in Southern California, including Santa Monica ad agency Ruben Postaer and Assoc, Giant Santa Monica bike shop, and the San Diego Association of Governments.

San Diego police bust a bike-riding bank robber. Or maybe they just assume everyone on a bike is a criminal.

Apparently, not everyone in Coronado opposes a bike path along the beach. Nice to see a rational, non-NIMBY response for a change.

The El Cerrito Planning Commission approves an Active Transportation Plan, including bike boulevards, traffic calming on narrow streets and a bike route providing access to the Bay Trail surrounding the San Francisco Bay.

 

National

Bicycling offers tips on how to avoid helmet hair, as well as advice on meditating to get more out of bicycling. Meditation will also improve your health. And life. Trust me.

A Utah man is ordered to pay a whopping $8,000 restitution for intentionally running down a man on a bike over a property dispute. Twice.

Turns out that despite vocal opposition, 57% of Boulder CO residents support the right-sizing of a city street to make room for protected bike lanes; bike traffic is up 38% in just the first three weeks, while average vehicle speeds have dropped from 39 mph to 37 mph — in a 30 mph zone.

Colorado transportation officials plan to improve bicycle safety on a major street by turning it into a high speed virtual freeway and forcing bikes off it. Memo to Colorado DOT: The auto-centric ‘70s are over.

In a bizarre assault, a Boise man who was driving erratically shouted at a bike rider at an intersection, then made a U-turn, drove up on the sidewalk and punched the rider in the face before driving over his bicycle.

A Wisconsin driver faces charges for running over a bike and a child’s bicycle attachment following a dispute after passing a father and his two kids too closely; the driver claims the father threw his $2,000 bike in front of the truck’s wheels. Sure, that’s credible.

No bias here, either. Two people were killed and eleven injured in seven separate Chicago shootings, yet the headline only mentions the one involving a bike.

It’s bicycle back to school time. Indiana’s Purdue university opens its own bikeshare system, while the University of Florida is offering to rent students a bike, helmet and lock.

Pittsburgh’s transit system will open its third bike garage, which will hold up to 80 bikes on pneumatic, spring-loaded double-decker racks.

Over 800 Philadelphia bike riders are planning to participate in a PopeRide when the city’s downtown streets will be shut down for the papal visit.

A Staten Island website questions whether bikes, recreational or otherwise, should ply the island’s narrow colonial-era streets. Never mind that bikes are better suited for narrow streets than cars and SUVs, or that they could provide an alternative to heavy traffic.

The mayor of an Alabama town lost his bid for a fifth term two weeks after he was bopped in the head with a baseball bat for schtupping the wife of a bike riding attorney.

 

International

A Quebec cop is charged with killing a bike rider last September; he faces charges of reckless driving and criminal negligence, even though witnesses say he backed into the victim’s bike on purpose.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 90-year old British man still rides every day on the 1939 Triumph bicycle he got for his 14th birthday.

People get killed or injured by being passed too close, and some post video of those dangerous passes online. Evidently, a group of British filmmakers who posted a YouTube style parody online think that’s funny.

Caught on video: A Brit bike thief makes off with a bicycle in less than a minute after casually joking with the staff at a gym, where the owner had gone in to take a shower.

A writer from the UK says she belongs on the road as much as any man, and despite the harassment she faces, the freedom of bicycling more than makes up for it. All cyclists are subject to harassment, but the added sexual component woman face is one of the factors that helps keep bicycling a predominately male form of transportation.

The Smithsonian recommends touring Kaohsiung City, Taiwan by bike, calling it one of Asia’s best cycling cities, with a world-class bikeshare program.

 

Finally…

Painting eyes over a bike rack helps prevent thefts, although the thieves just seem to go somewhere else. If you’re going to “borrow” a bike to get to work, make sure it’s not a cop’s patrol bike first.

And a Baltimore writer finishes dead last on what the Smithsonian calls the world’s “most difficult feat in uphill cycling.” But he finished.

Then again, they probably never heard of LA’s own Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer.

 

Morning Links: More on Monday’s Vision Zero event, and a rider’s eye view of the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix

More on Monday’s Vision Zero announcement, as KNBC-4 says LA Mayor Eric Garcetti is determined to bring the city’s more than 200 yearly traffic fatalities down to zero.

Although LA Observed seems more interested in the desk Garcetti left behind after signing the order.

………

Somehow, this one flew under the radar earlier this summer, as David Wolfberg forwards a first-person riders-eye view of the last five laps of the Manhattan Grand Prix, courtesy of LA’s own former national crit champ Rahsaan Bahati.

It’s a shame Bahati never got a chance to show what he could do on the international stage.

………

Alejandro Valverde announces his presence at the Vuelta by winning stage four. A rider with the IAM team describes the carnage of the race.

American rider Joe Dombrowski considers the race a rite of passage, while fellow American Ben King learned you have to watch out for bike thieves everywhere, after spectators try to make off with his Garmin, and possibly his bike, after a minor crash.

This is what it was like to ride in the inaugural women’s USA Pro Challenge.

And as it stands now, the seven-event national cyclo-cross competition won’t get any closer to Southern California than Reno.

………

Local

If LA gets the ’24 Olympics, we could see mountain biking events in Griffith Park and road racing down Hollywood Blvd. That’s a big if, however; Paris is the odds-on favorite to win the Games.

An apparel website recommends taking your bike or walking through the Fashion District for the next several days, as MTV takes over for their annual Video Music Awards,

LA Metro’s planned bikeshare system will extend to USC next spring; not surprisingly, it will probably be incompatible with the Santa Monica/West Hollywood system that will open on the UCLA campus.

CiclaValley explains what’s involved in becoming a League Cycling Instructor from a first-hand perspective. You can attend a bike safety class this weekend in Culver City to learn the same skills the LCIs were taught to teach.

 

State

Coronado residents fear a simple bike path on the beach will somehow turn it into Venice, drawing hordes of tourists to destroy their pristine community. Sure, that could happen.

San Bernardino County approves plans to extend the Santa Ana River bike trail another 3.8 miles from San Bernardino to Redlands.

A Hanford couple out for a ride on their BMX bikes were struck from behind by a speeding hit-and-run driver; the man was thrown 176 feet by the force of the impact, while thankfully, the pregnant woman rider was not seriously hurt.

Forget a bike bell; sometimes even an air horn isn’t enough to get people to make room for a bike on a shared San Jose path.

A Berkley man gets one of his two stolen bikes back, in part thanks to registering it with BikeIndex. That’s the same free bike registration and bike theft reporting service you’ll find at the top of this page.

A driver in Shasta Lake does the right thing the wrong way, driving off after driving an 11-year old boy home, after she crashed into his bike. That’s still considered hit-and-run, though, since she didn’t exchange ID and insurance information.

 

National

Caught on video: A Portland driver was ticketed for careless driving and unsafe passing after a high-speed close pass that nearly took out another rider coming in the opposite direction.

The rich get richer. Portland considers approving plans for five new neighborhood greenways, aka bicycle boulevards, as well as improving six additional bike routes.

Seriously, what kind of city would approve a road diet to widen bike lanes like they did in Boulder CO, without anticipating that some people would be pissed off about it?

So wait. Did the bike collide with the car in Omaha, or did the car collide with the bike? Or did they collide with each other?

This is why you should always just ride away. After a Mississippi cyclist kicked a Jeep during a road rage dispute, the driver pulled out a gun and shot him; fortunately, the rider didn’t suffer life-threatening injuries. I should talk; I’ve gotten into it verbally with a-hole drivers more times than I care to admit.

If you’re planning to be in Rhode Island any time soon, five pretty nice sounding bike paths await you.

New York police are looking for a hit-and-run bike rider who left the scene after slamming into a toddler on a shared pathway.

City Lab says the threat by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and police chief — and former LA chief — Bill Bratton to tear out the hugely popular pedestrian plazas in Times Square shows a fundamental misunderstanding about the impact of public space. It’s also a ridiculous overreaction to a relatively minor problem — costumed characters and body-painted boobs — which calls the mayor’s judgment into question.

Atlanta’s rail system is installing bike repair kiosks at seven train stations.

 

International

Bicycling is the third most popular fitness activity worldwide, after walking and running. Evidently, sitting on your ass behind the wheel of a car is not considered a fitness activity.

A cool looking Kickstarter project promises to make your bike smarter, with directions, metrics, alarm, automatic headlight and text notifications. Another project promises you may never have to lube your chain again.

Caught on video: In a frightening assault, an angry pedestrian catches up to a bike rider and pushes her down in front of oncoming traffic; the jerk later turned himself in after police released the video.

A British couple get their stolen 76-year old Olympic style tandem back after they spotted it for sale on eBay.

Northern Ireland unveils a 25-year plan to turn the UK country into a cycling society.

NPR says riding a bike in India is a little different than in the US. Like fewer cows to bump into, and tune-ups cost a lot more.

Google plans to provide 1,000 internet-connected smart bikes to women in remote Indian villages.

The poor get poorer. Sydney, Australia is said to be decades behind other cities when it comes to providing for cyclists, even as the state roads minister moves to rip out a $5 million protected bike lane.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to use your bike as a getaway vehicle after burglarizing a few houses, don’t leave it in a driveway where someone could back over it. We only have to watch out for LA drivers cutting us off; a Minnesota bike rider t-boned a deer that violated his right-of-way.

And whatever you do, never repeatedly punch a teenage boy — or anyone else, for that matter — in a bike rage assault after colliding in the rain.

 

Morning Links: Caltrans may remove dangerous Topanga Cyn reflectors; Vision Zero becomes official LA policy

Maybe there really is a new attitude at Caltrans.

A few years ago, if the state transportation agency installed something that increased the risk for cyclists on any given roadway, chances are, it would fall on deaf ears no matter how much we complained.

But this time may be different.

Anthony emailed on Monday to warn about newly installed reflectors on one of the area’s most popular riding routes.

At some point in the last couple of weeks, Caltrans installed raised reflectors on the both shoulder lines of Topanga Canyon Boulevard (SR-27) between the PCH and the town of Topanga. This was apparently part of a “safety enhancement project” for the steep, twisty section of road between the town and the coast—but, of course, the only safety being enhanced seems to be that of drivers!

The raised reflectors protrude about an inch above the road surface, and create quite a jolt if you ride over them—especially if you ride over them unexpectedly. This could cause crashes for unsuspecting cyclists.

More pressing: Upon riding the section of road today in both directions, because of the dense placement of the reflectors (every 4-5 feet) I found myself unable to easily move back and forth between the traffic lane and the shoulder—something that I’d come to take for granted on TCB, as it allows for overtaking car traffic to pass safely. I ended up occupying the traffic lane exclusively, which lead to a number of angry motorists passing me unsafely.

I’m guessing that Caltrans didn’t even think about the fact that TCB is heavily used by cyclists. It’d be great to figure out a way to get them to replace the raised reflectors or remove them!

And this on a road where drivers already complain about cyclists taking the lane to anyone who’ll listen.

But almost before I could respond, he forwarded an email exchange with a representative from Caltrans,* who gave the following response when asked if the reflectors could be removed or replaced with something a little safer.

According to our operations and construction engineers, the raised pavement markers will likely be removed very soon.

After further questioning, the Caltrans rep explained a little more.

The installation wasn’t made by mistake.  Occasionally, Caltrans engineering standards have flexibility for users, in this case cyclists.

However, when I commented about the reflectors on Twitter yesterday, Caltrans District 7 was quick to respond that they may be removed, but nothing had been promised.

So let’s keep our fingers crossed that this one goes away soon.

*It’s the policy of this site not to name people included in email threads without their express permission, which was not requested in this case.

………

As expected, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed a new Vision Zero directive to reduce traffic deaths in the city by 20% in just two years, and eliminate traffic fatalities entirely by 2025.

What wasn’t expected is that it appears to have real teeth, requiring city agencies to work across departmental lines to study and fix streets where fatalities and injury collisions occur — something we’ve been calling for here since this site was founded over seven years ago.

The city’s Vision Zero website is already online.

And you can now add LA to the yes category.

………

Last week we featured an email from a rider who had passed out from heatstroke after running out of water on the San Gabriel River trail at the height of the recent heat wave.

Now Sam Kurutz forwards a photo of a sign thanking the person who came to her rescue.

Thanks to Sam Kurutz for the photo

Thanks to Sam Kurutz for the photo

Let that be a reminder to always carry enough water when you ride, especially with the temperatures predicted for the end of this week. And always check the forecast before you set out to avoid any surprises.

Thanks to Sam Kurutz for the photo.

………

Peter Sagan gets his first grand tour stage win of the year by capturing the third stage of the Vuelta in a mass sprint.

USA Pro Challenge champ Kristin Armstrong is letting the world know women’s cycling is the next big thing, although this could possibly be the last year for the race. Personally, I’d like to see the Pro Challenge merge with the Amgen Tour of California to create a truly epic two week race.

VeloNews looks at the best American rider not on a WorldTour team.

………

Local

Bikeshare may be coming to LA sooner than we thought, as WeHo’s planned network could have hubs at The Grove and Hollywood and Highland. Speaking of Vision Zero, better get bike lanes on Hollywood Blvd fast, before tourists try to navigate that dangerous street on two wheels.

Meanwhile, Global Green USA looks at the newly installed Santa Monica Breeze bikeshare system. Appropriate source, given the hue of the bikes.

Downtown News says LADOT’s DASH buses will soon be getting bike racks.

 

State

Even on a San Diego freeway, they find a way to blame a bike for a crash.

Police say a 72-year old Fresno driver was drunk when he fled the scene after allegedly killing a bike rider.

West Berkley residents tip police to the location of a bike thief who had fled earlier after police had tried to make an arrest.

Anonymous artists install cute little swing sets on San Francisco bike racks, but promise you can still lock your bike to them.

Support is growing in San Francisco for a Bike Yield Law, aka an Idaho Stop Law, which would allow people on bikes to treat stop signs as yields, although riders would still be required to observe the right-of-way.

Some schmuck has stolen the recumbent bike an elderly Modesto couple used for shopping and doctor visits; the bike was their only form of transportation.

The Marin paper says a new local bike park is a promise kept by county commissioners. And evidently, a place to get a few bumps and bruises.

 

National

The Feds say it’s time for state and local DOT’s to stop using them as an excuse for crappy infrastructure.

Bike Radar’s Angry Asian says the vocal warnings that are common courtesy among cyclists aren’t always understood or appreciated by non-riders, so use a bike bell. My take is just the opposite: A bell can only tell you a bike is present, or that an angel just got its wings. But a human voice can tell other path users where you are, where you’re going, suggest what they should do — politely or otherwise — and say please and thank you. Let’s see a damn bell do that.

A Seattle cyclist used his bike to block traffic and stood over an injured bike rider to protect her after she was hit by a car.

A 20-year old Colorado driver faces a long list of charges after killing a cyclist when he passed two vehicles on the wrong side of a double yellow line, around a blind curve, and with an open container of alcohol in his car. There’s a gofundme site to raise money for the victim’s family.

A writer in my hometown says we need to include all types of bike riders in the cycling community, even moms herding kids on bikes.

Un-effing-believable. An Austin DUI driver walks free after ending the productive life of a former firefighter. The driver was on Ambien when he plowed into the victim’s bike as he rode on the shoulder, but that information was kept from the jury due to an improper police search. Thanks to Steve Katz for the heads-up.

The fastest bike mechanic in Texas won’t be riding anytime soon after he’s the victim of a hit-and-run.

An Ohio hit-and-run driver appeared highly intoxicated when he was arrested after running down a cyclist from behind; he lied twice about who was behind wheel, and claimed he thought the car hit a deer. And to top it off, he was driving on a suspended license.

The Motor City will soon become the latest bikeshare city.

Un-effing-believable too. Vermont police investigators never examined the car a DUI driver — who just happens to be married to a cop — was operating when she killed a bike-riding dentist; they missed parts of his bike shoes still embedded inside the hood.

New York’s mayor wants bikeshare on Staten Island, stat. Meanwhile, the days for former Mayor Bloomberg and ex-DOT Director Janet Sadik-Khan are clearly over, as the city’s DOT is now leaving gaps in bike networks rather than confront local community boards.

That’s more like it. A distracted Maryland driver got five years for killing a bike-riding father while she was texting.

 

International

Some vehicular cyclists are complaining about Calgary’s new system of cycle tracks. Proving there are all sorts of cyclists, and one solution seldom works for everyone.

People constantly say you can’t ride to work in a suit — even fashion magazines that should know better. But the family of a Northern Irish bike advocate is going to ride around the county wearing suits in honor of their father, who always wore one when he rode to work.

The anti-bike Roads Minister in Australia’s New South Wales has set out to dismantle Sydney’s system of protected bike lanes, over the objections of the mayor.

Bangladesh authorities file charges against 10 men who tortured and murdered a 13-year old boy for allegedly stealing a bike — which his family denies — then posted the video online.

 

Finally…

Now that’s what I call a fat tire e-bike. When you’re riding with an illegal drug 40 times more potent than heroin, don’t run a stop sign. Or get hit by a car.

And caught on video: The long predicted apocalypse has begun with a uniquely Down Under twist, as an Aussie bicyclist rides through a field of zombie kangaroos.

 

Morning Links: Tragedy in Santa Clarita, LA announces Vision Zero, and too much racing news for one day

Sad news from Santa Clarita, as a man apparently rode his bike to commit suicide Sunday morning.

According to the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, the unidentified man jumped to his death off the bridge on White’s Canyon Road at Via Princessa in full view of several people. Deputies said an overturned bicycle behind the yellow sheriff’s tape belonged to the man who jumped.

As others have said before me, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

No matter how bad things may look today, it will change. Maybe not now, maybe not soon. But it will. That’s the way life goes.

Hopefully the good, in the end, will outweigh the bad.

And you are not alone.

There are people who care. If you need help, call. Or talk to someone you know. Not tomorrow, not next week.

Now.

I want to see you back here tomorrow. And many more tomorrows after that.

NOTE: I heard from a relative of the victim who complained that the line about the permanence of suicide was glib. It was not intended that way; I learned it from a psychiatrist who specialized in treating depression. And it has helped me get through some very bad days.

I didn’t say this last night in my rush to get this online, but my heart and prayers go out to the victim and all his family and loved ones. Regardless of how he died, he was one of us.

Update: The victim has been identified as 23-year old Phillip Michael Griffin; a search had been underway since he went missing on Wednesday. 

………

This is a big day in LA.

According to Los Angeles Walks, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will formally announce the city’s Vision Zero initiative to end traffic deaths in the City of Angels within the next 10 years. He’s set to make the announcement at the intersection of Cesar Chavez and St. Louis in Boyle Heights at 12:30 pm.

Of course, the question is whether the city is willing to make the tough choices that will require. As the recent controversies over Westwood Blvd, North Figueroa and the Glendale-Hyperion bridge make clear, many Angelenos — and a handful of elected representatives — still favor convenience over safety, and maintaining the automotive hegemony on our streets.

And are more than willing to twist that safety argument to preserve the status quo and keep our streets dangerous.

It will take strong leadership to make a dent in the number of deadly collisions in our city, let alone eliminate them in 10 years. And it can’t be done if we continue to carve out certain streets, neighborhoods or council districts.

We haven’t seen that yet from our city leaders. In fact, we haven’t heard from the mayor on any of those controversies, or any of the other streets where opposition to bikes has blocked much needed safety improvements.

Hopefully, that will change today.

In fact, it has to.

………

Way too much racing news today.

Taylor Wiles won the second stage of the women’s USA Pro Challenge; Kristen Armstrong ended up winning the short three-day tour by 29 seconds over Wiles on Sunday. Taylor Phinney’s mom — who was a pretty decent cyclist herself — is thrilled to see how Colorado has embraced women’s bike racing.

Saturday’s men’s stage was taken by Roman Kreuziger after a long breakaway, while BMC’s Rohan Dennis finished with the main pack to hold a 44 second lead. He held that lead to win the Pro Challenge, with teammate Brent Bookwalter taking second.

Earlier in the race, Dennis had chucked his panini at a rider who attacked when the peloton stopped to pee.

Across the Atlantic, BMC won the team time trial on the first day of the Vuelta a España; however, no individual times were recorded due to a dispute over the unsafe conditions of the sand-covered route. On the other hand, at least they didn’t have to outrace a tank.

After all the rumors about motor doping over the summer, Vincenzo Nibali did it old school, getting bounced from the race for holding onto a team car to catch up to the peloton after a crash. Astana teammate Paolo Tiralongo posts a nasty eye injury he suffered in that same crash. All of which supports Deadspin’s observation that the Vuelta is the best race of the season, calling it “as spectacular as a relatively tame sport gets.”

And for future reference, you might want to keep your eye on a 16-year old racer from San Diego’s Torrey Pines High School.

………

Sometimes, cyclists really are heroes.

On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Washington Post tells the story of professional cyclist Ken Bellau, who returned to his New Orleans home after competing in the Tour of French Guyana, hopped in a boat, and saved over 400 people from the flooding caused by the hurricane.

………

Local

South Pasadena neighbors team up to chase down a one-man bike theft crime wave; the thief had been busted three times for similar crimes in just the last 45 days.

Pasadena’s newly passed general plan calls for increased density in the urban core while encouraging people to walk, bike or ride transit.

 

State

A Laguna Beach website asks if it’s possible for hikers, mountain bikers and wilderness habitat to co-exist.

A Coronado letter writer says beaches and bicycles are not at match. A statement disproven daily at pretty much every beach, everywhere.

Those anti-bike Coronado people couldn’t have been happy on Sunday, as 3,400 cyclists rode around the bay, through the town and across the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in a fundraiser for the San Diego Bicycle Coalition.

A reminder from Santa Cruz that drivers are required to make a right turn from the farthest lane to right, which means merging into a bike lane rather than turning across it. But make sure to check for bikes first.

Deb Hubsmith’s hometown newspaper says the late founder of Safe Routes to School showed the impact one person can have in a short lifetime.

The Bay Area’s Bicicletas Por la Paz is a band, bicycle advocacy group, awareness collective and food kitchen rolled into one.

The Sacramento paper says it’s long past time to make safe, easy bicycling a priority.

A South Lake Tahoe cyclist is back home after riding through Iran to meet with school children to promote peace, although not everyone in this country welcomed his efforts. Or in that one, probably.

 

National

Now that’s more like it. A Reno man gets 20 years for the drunk driving death of a 16-year old bike rider; he was nearly twice the legal limit when he was arrested. Similar cases here seldom result in more than a couple years.

A Chicago writer rides Missouri’s 238-mile Katy Trail with her husband, even if their starting point was under water. Meanwhile, the Windy City has a shiny new three-mile elevated rail-to-trail conversion.

The Chicago man who was brutally beaten by five honor students was selling the bike to raise money for school; his attackers reportedly believed the bike was stolen.

Cleveland prepares to paint a buffered bike lane on a newly resurfaced street. And bizarrely puts the buffer next to the curb, instead of next to the traffic lane where it might actually do some good.

Sad news from Massachusetts, as a bike rider hit by a drunk driver in 1996 dies after 19 years in a coma; his family has forgiven the driver, but the DA has yet to determine if additional jail time is warranted as a result of the death.

President Obama and family ride their bikes through the drizzle on Martha’s Vineyard. Although judging by the photo, daughter Malia isn’t too happy about it.

A PA paper offers advice on how to teach someone to ride a bike safely. But despite what they say, might does not make right; drivers don’t have a superior right to the road because they’re in the larger vehicles.

If you really want your employees to ride to work, try offering a free bike valet like this New York company. But discourage them from stealing a bikeshare bike to commute with.

A Baltimore driver hits a cyclist while trying to pass on a curve, then gets out of his SUV and hits him some more. With his fists. Showing how non-seriously authorities take traffic violence, he’s out on just $25,000 bail.

 

International

A musician rides 1,800 miles across Canada to perform, while supporting a movement for clean air, food and water.

Bicycling looks at how Bogotá’s ciclovía changed the world. I’m not sure the new Mobility Plan would have passed without CicLAvia, which is based on the Bogotá event.

Better bike routes and more bicycling could solve the traffic problems in Manchester UK.

A British bike rider was lucky to get away with a broken wrist and hand injuries after someone sabotaged his bike by disconnecting his brakes; the local government councilor crashed into a lamp post after careening down a hill at 30 mph.

A private postal service in Edinburgh delivers the mail by bike for a third less than conventional services; not surprisingly, business is growing by booming 20% a month.

A Chinese tourist who was kidnapped by Taliban militants while bicycling through Pakistan over a year ago has been freed by Pakistani security forces.

 

Finally…

It may not be safe for Florida kids to bike to school, but at least they can pedal at their desks. A new smart helmet could help avoid wrecks. Too bad we can’t get drivers to wear it.

And while the driverless car is still in development, the riderless bike is here today.

 

Morning Links: A reminder to always ride with water, and why drivers continue to flee following crashes

Got an email late Thursday telling me I almost lost a friend last week.

Long story short: Heatstroke.

I rode from Seal Beach to Azusa, then “rested” under a bridge by the San Gabriel River, viciously under-hydrated, out of water, with the temperature climbing, because I’m a moron.

I banged up my shoulder tripping against the concrete pier. I hallucinated. I blacked out. I threw up the first bottle of water that a good stranger gave me. Retrospect terrifies me: I actually could’ve passed out permanently under that bridge.

I’m heading back this afternoon to put up a thank-you poster because I never got the name of the guy who rescued me, got me water/Gatorade/ice, put me in his air-conditioned car, and kept me from wandering off. If he didn’t save the coroner a bunch of work, he at least spared me from crushing hospital bills.

Let that be a reminder to always carry more water than you think you’ll need. And remember to actually drink it, especially on hot days.

You should also make sure to have a little cash with you, so you can duck into a store or gas station to buy more in case you run out.

And always carry some form of ID when you ride, just in case a stranger finds you passed out under a bridge somewhere.

………

Evidently, there’s no reason not to flee after collision.

A Whittier woman got less than a slap on the wrist — more like a pat on the back — for last year’s South Pasadena hit-and-run wreck that injured a couple and their baby, and killed the family dog. While driving on a suspended license, no less.

None of that seems to matter, though, as she threw herself on the mercy of the court. And was richly rewarded with just three years probation and 30 days Caltrans duty.

That’s it.

So as long as the courts refuse to take hit-and-run seriously, let alone a license to drive, why should anyone else?

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

………

Looks like frequent contributor danger d now has his own blog. And the first post is a complaint about the problem of having to beg for a green light if you’re not driving a car.

………

The often anti-bike LA Weekly offers a great profile of a third-generation, six-year old lowrider bicyclist. With training wheels.

………

Now this should be interesting. The Vuelta a España kicks off with a team time trial on Saturday on a course that’s partly dirt and sand. The former director of Team Sky says put your money on Chris Froome.

BMC’s riders just switched places after the fourth stage of the USA Pro Challenge as Rohan Dennis won in a breakaway, taking the leader’s jersey from teammate Brent Bookwalter. But if you’re not going to win the stage, you might as well pop a mid-race wheelie.

The women’s three-stage version of the Pro Challenge kicks off today, offering prize money equal to the men’s race. And apparently not comprehending the message it sends, the same podium girls, too. Yahoo looks at women’s cycling’s token appearance at the Tour de France and the problems still facing the sport.

The new head of USA Cycling wants the organization to be vehemently anti-doping, with an increased focus on grassroots and women’s cycling.

………

Local

LA Weekly wants your vote for your favorite bike shop; Helen’s, Golden Saddle and Flying Pigeon are the nominees.

CiclaValley professes profound indifference to the new bike lanes on Vineland. Here’s what usually happens: They put bike lanes where no one wants them, so no one uses them. Then say there’s no point in building more bike lanes, because we don’t use the ones we’ve got.

A great Vine illustration clearly shows how Pasadena’s proposed two-way, buffered cycletrack on Union Ave would work.

 

State

A Santa Ana cyclist suffered major injuries when he reportedly lost control of his bike and veered into the path of an oncoming pickup Wednesday night. The story reports he was riding east in a bike lane on the 900 block of East McFadden Ave; however, there aren’t any there for him to veer out of. Thanks to Lois for the heads-up, and thanks to David Huntsman for pointing out the lack of bike lanes.

Costa Mesa police revive their bike patrol after 15 years to deal more effectively with homeless people and drug abusers.

Garden Grove will hold their second annual open streets festival on October 10th.

Coronado residents rise up in opposition to a proposed multi-use path along the beach. And apparently, bike riders in general.

A dangerous Orinda bike lane will get a coat of green paint, rather than moving a turn lane leading to a freeway onramp to improve safety.

San Francisco police ride along with the city’s cyclists in an effort to mend fences after a recent crackdown on bike riders.

San Fran’s 2nd Street will get a road diet with raised, curb-protected bike lanes. And we get to be envious.

Nice. A 17-year old girl scout raised $8,000 to give every sixth grader at an Oakland Catholic school a new bike, helmet and assorted gear.

After police stop a man for suspicion of riding a stolen bike, they discover he skipped out on a Marin County drunk driving charge 21 years earlier.

The Marin County paper offers an in-depth obituary of Deb Hubsmith, founder of Safe Routes to Schools.

 

National

People for Bikes kids infographicA new infographic from People for Bikes provides stats on children and bicycling; despite the perception that kids don’t ride bikes anymore, 57% ride an average of 40 days a year. That could show a lot of improvement if more parents felt safe letting their children ride to school and more administrators would allow it.

Bicycling offers tips on how to finance your new bike. Just don’t buy more bike than you can afford, or go into debt if you can’t comfortably manage the payments.

This is so not what bicycles are for. A Montana man is under arrest for repeatedly punching his girlfriend and whacking her with his bike. Hopefully, she’ll get the hell out before he makes bail.

Five college-bound Chicago teens show up in a Mercedes to beat and pepper spray a man in an attempt to steal the $500 bike he was selling. That scholarship to Cal Poly won’t be used anytime soon.

The parents of a soldier killed in Afghanistan are fulfilling his dream of building a parking lot where Minnesota cyclists can safely unload their bikes away from a busy roadway.

A Minnesota writer pens an ode to the best month to ride a bike.

It takes a pair of real jerks to shoot a Detroit bike rider with a paint gun. And a couple of idiots to follow that by shooting it at a police SUV.

New York’s mayor is considering undoing the highly popular Time Square pedestrian plaza by reopening the street to cars to fight the scourge of body-painted breasts. Yes, breasts.

 

International

Caught on video: More than a half dozen people pitch in to lift a car off an injured British bike rider; a basket decorated with flowers is attached to the unseen bike and rider trapped under the car.

After she’s knocked off her bike by a hit-and-run driver, London novelist says the city’s cyclists are being scared off the road. Although maybe someone might explain the meaning of TMI to her.

A bike-riding Catholic nun is changing the lives of former sex slaves in the Congo.

An Aussie driver faces a minimum of 18 months for plowing into a pack of riders; somehow, he couldn’t see the seven cyclists directly in front of him for a full 17 seconds.

Thailand’s Crown Prince gives the equivalent of $2,200 to the family of a man killed in a collision while training to for a bike ride in honor of the Queen’s 83rd birthday.

 

Finally…

No point in working as a dog walker when you can do it by bikeshare. Now you can get a KOM while working on that new IPO.

And it’s okay if a man wants to ride a women’s bike.

No, really. It is.

 

………

Thanks to Jeffery Fylling for his generous donation to help support this site.

Morning Links: Shaming the fat shamers, USA Pro Challenge starts today, and more Mobility Plan fallout

Just keep it to yourself.

In a blog post that went viral over the weekend, a self-described curvy British bike rider recites the pain the comes from being told to get “off the fucking road you fat bitch” by a pair of spandexed riders.

Then later on the same ride, she’s told to “get that fat ass up here” by another.

Seriously.

I remember a few years back, I was riding along the beach when I came upon an extremely large woman riding with a friend. Someone whose weight could have easily been measured in the multiple hundreds of pounds.

I admit, my first thought was how ridiculous she looked atop that tiny bike.

Then I shamed myself with my second, as I realized the courage it took for her to get out there and risk the ridicule of total strangers. And how she could be saving her own life by riding that bike, improving her health with every pedal stroke.

And that, if she kept it up, she might not be that large for long.

I kept those thoughts to myself.

But as I passed, I gave her a smile, along with the same nod I would any other rider. Because she was one of us, just as much as any fixie rider or spandexed roadie.

And maybe more so, because it took more effort just to get on that bike to begin with.

So if you see someone whose body doesn’t fit your image of what a bike rider should be, give him or her a nod or smile, or a maybe a word of encouragement.

And if you can’t manage that, just keep your damn mouth shut.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

………

Aussie rider Rohan Dennis is one of the favorites in the USA Pro Challenge that kicks off today, after achieving all of his long-range goals in just six months; the three-day women’s tour starts Friday.

The young Norwegians are coming on strong.

And Tour de France winner Chris Froome wants to be the spokesman for clean cycling. Which is only a little ironic since so many fans — and at least one previous winner — accused him of cheating during the tour.

………

Local

The Times offers a look at the Rowena road diet as a model for what the new Mobility Plan hopes to achieve. Let’s not forget that reducing serious collisions benefits motorists, too.

LA Times’ reader’s react to the passage of the plan with a couple of well thought-out letters. Then there’s the other kind, with one saying getting people out of their cars is like trying to get Charlton Heston to give up his guns, and another suggesting we should emulate Shanghai’s switch from bikes to cars — neglecting to mention that didn’t turn out so well. Thanks to John Lloyd for the last link.

A writer in the Daily News says rip out all those road diets and the bike lanes that came with them to make more room for cars.

Three groups have just 23 days to raise funds for their Great Streets challenge grants, including a musical intersection at Florence and Crenshaw and a complete streets demo on Cesar Chavez.

 

State

A San Diego woman was seriously injured when she reportedly turned her bike into the path of a tow truck after she’d been drinking, although the description of the collision just doesn’t add up. Thanks to San Diego’s Mark Ganzer for trying to help figure this one out.

Virgin Atlantic lists the ten best bikeways in San Diego.

A Fremont cyclist was killed when he — allegedly — suddenly turned into the path of a car. In the absence of independent witnesses, in many cases like this, it’s more likely the driver simply didn’t see the bike rider in front of them until it was too late.

Marin County is about to open a 17 acre bike park.

 

National

A Maui letter writer asks the mayor why volcano bike tours are allowed to endanger the lives of local residents. Although it sound like the real danger comes from impatient drivers.

An SMU student’s design for a portable, inflatable bike rack, which took second place in the university’s innovation competition, ships this month after a successful Kickstarter campaign. So what the heck finished first?

Big hearted Omaha gang detectives buy a kid a new bike after he scrapes his knee trying to ride a girl’s bike with a flat tire.

This is why people continue to die on our roads. An allegedly drunk Iowa driver fled the scene after running down three cyclists on a group ride; he had a previous conviction for DUI, as well as convictions for drug offenses, assault and child endangerment. Yet somehow, he was allowed to keep driving until he nearly killed someone.

The Amish in Kentucky have recently received the okay to ride their bikes, much to the consternation of local drivers.

Sad news from Rhode Island, as an 80-year old masters racer died after crashing into the back of a truck that had broken down on the side of the road.

It’s not fast delivery if it never gets there; a New York e-bike delivery man was arrested for riding salmon through the Holland Tunnel.

Props to a Virginia driver for rushing an injured hit-and-run victim to the hospital. On the other hand, don’t just leave the guy’s bike lying in the middle of the street.

The family of a cyclist murdered by a homeless man while riding from Maine to Florida to propose to his girlfriend last year plan to finish the ride in his honor.

 

International

More problems for the upcoming Rio Olympics, as a team of photographers were mugged while covering a road cycling test, after the route was changed to accommodate a street protest.

A writer for the Guardian says it’s not satanic to say cyclists get a raw deal. It’s actually a pretty good look at the polarization of modern society. And equally valid on both sides of the Atlantic.

Heartbreaking story from the UK, as some low-life scum stole the bike a seven-year old girl was given as a birthday present by her father, who died just 12 weeks ago.

A group of British bystanders may have saved the life of a critically injured 18-year old cyclist by lifting a car off him after he was struck during a sportive ride.

Long promised Brit bikeways were never built because infrastructure for cars is considered a national priority, while bikes aren’t.

Something’s going on in Helsinki. A bus drove into a crowd of bicyclists protesting the road rage death of a bicyclist earlier in the week, followed by a fight between the driver and protesters.

The bike boom is even spreading to Putin’s Russia.

In a truly sickening case, 13 Bangladeshi men have been arrested for torturing and killing a 13-year old boy suspected of stealing a bike, and posting the video online.

Austrian doctors urge the country to dump its mandatory helmet law, saying it’s keeping people off their bikes. And an Aussie researcher says the country’s roads are fundamentally unsafe, and big decisions have to be made about the real value of on-street parking. Seriously, is a more convenient parking space worth a human life?

The Thai crown prince leads thousands — perhaps hundreds of thousands — of cyclists on a ride honoring his mom’s 83rd birthday.

 

Finally…

Can you really call it a cycle superhighway if it’s just a third of a mile long? A judge with a keen insight into the law says a father went to far when he bashed a helmeted cyclist over the head with a wrench. Gee, you think?

And don’t even think about riding your bike naked in Anchorage.

 

Morning Links: Reflections on crappy cyclist, sailor charged in fatal hit-and-run, and more Mobility madness

Sometimes, drivers have a point when they complain about bike riders.

And sometimes, people on bikes survive the streets, not because of their own skills, but because of the caution shown by those around them.

The other day, I found myself driving down Santa Monica Blvd to attend a meeting in West Hollywood.

As I drove, I watched a fixie rider make his way through traffic, buds firmly affixed to both ears, his lack of skill — and presumably, experience — evident by the way he awkwardly swayed from side to side with every pedal stroke.

I passed him, moving into the next lane to give him plenty of space, even though he was hugging the door zone.

About a block later, I found myself behind a line of stopped cars in the right lane. So I put on my signal, checked my mirror and started to pull to my left. Then jammed on my brakes, as he swung out around me, apparently blind to my change in direction.

He split the lanes, weaving through traffic before cutting suddenly to the right, the driver he’d just cut off narrowly averting a rear-end collision as he was forced into a panic stop.

A block or two later, I watched as he first jumped a light, weaving through vehicles coming from both directions, despite their far superior claim to the right-of-way, then swung around a Brinks truck without warning as it was pulling away from the curb.

In each instance, a collision was avoided, not through any skill of the guy on the bike, but through the alertness of those he shared the road with.

This is not intended as a rant against fixie riders, many of whom can put my own skills on a bike to shame. Nor is it intended as a complaint against riders who cut through traffic, even though I can’t recommend it; I’ve seen some who can slice and dice through moving cars like a chef at Benihana.

This guy was neither of those.

He lacked the skill to pull off the moves he made. Yet somehow survived his trip, not through the grace of God, but because others on the road were watching out for him when he wasn’t watching out for himself. And seemingly oblivious to the close calls he’d had.

Proof that those behind the wheel aren’t always the bad guys. And that our streets work best when we all look out for one another.

On the other hand, his reckless riding and lack of skill did not reflect on me.

Or anyone else who takes to two wheels, anymore than a crappy driver makes every other driver look bad.

………

It took awhile, but there may be justice for Philip White after all.

The hit-and-run victim was found lying next to his crushed bike in an Oceanside cul-de-sac early one morning last September. Police quickly identified a suspect, but no charges were filed.

Until now.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports Christopher Noah, an active duty sailor stationed at Camp Pendleton, has been arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run.

According to the U-T, personnel on the base noticed the damaged to Noah’s car, and convinced him to contact police.

He admitted to being the driver, while insisting he didn’t know he had hit anyone. However, evidence at the scene reportedly contradicted his statement, including indications that White’s body appeared to have been moved.

The paper questions why it took 10 months to file charges; I’d question why Noah doesn’t face more serious charges, since White might have had a chance if his killer hadn’t left him to die alone on a deserted street.

………

KPCC interviews Venice Councilmember Mike Bonin about the city’s newly approved transportation plan.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton weighs in on the plan on KCRW’s Which Way LA, along with Eastside Councilmember Jose Huizar, UCLA’s Madeline Brozen and a spokeswoman for the group threatening to sue over it.

An attorney writes on City Watch that the Mobility Plan is based on fatally flawed data and wishful thinking, and the city failed to follow proper procedure — even though it was based on over five years of public process.

KFI’s John and Ken rage over the Mobility Plan, riling up their listeners by misrepresenting both it and bicycling in the City of Angeles. And you know the plan’s on the right track when Rush Limbaugh bloviates against it.

It’s important to remember that radio personalities like those mentioned above aren’t reporters, they’re entertainers. Their job is to anger their listeners enough to keep them coming back for more in order to drive up ratings; in doing so, they’re no more committed to the facts than any internet troll.

………

Bicycling fatalities among children under 15 have dropped 92% since 1975. Which would be good news except the decrease may be due to fewer kids riding bikes these days.

………

Local

The Great Streets section of Venice Blvd will get a road diet, protected bike lanes and mid-block crossings, though maybe not all at once.

CiclaValley says biking to Dodger stadium is the fast and easy way to get there.

Bike Portland visits CicLAvia, and says we have some things to teach our friends up north about open streets.

Santa Monica police are conducting another bike and pedestrian safety enforcement operation today, and more in the next few weeks. So observe the letter of the law when riding through the city.

LAist offers 39 reasons why they love Long Beach; the city’s embrace of bikes is just one of them.

Wolfpack Hustle’s annual Civic Center Crit races around City Hall this Saturday.

UCLA Lewis Center and Institute of Transportation Studies will host a webinar this Wednesday on Streetscape Design to Improve Walking and Cycling.

The second-annual Santa Monica Bike Expo will take place at the pier on October 10th and 11th, and will include a 15-mile Tour of Santa Monica bike ride.

 

State

Calbike says the legislature’s extraordinary session to find money to fix the state’s crumbling streets and highways should include funding for bikeways.

Some people in Coronado really, really don’t want more bikes or a bike path on the beach.

Menlo Park may remove parking along the bay to make way for bike lanes.

Only the state can legalize the Idaho stop. So instead, a San Francisco supervisor has introduced an ordinance to make enforcement of cyclists riding through stop signs the police department’s lowest law enforcement priority.

Bike traffic on San Francisco’s Market Street sets a new record, with over 100,000 bike trips recorded in July.

The Marin County cyclist convicted of the road rage beating of a motorist now faces a personal injury lawsuit, as well as his upcoming sentencing.

 

National

Good article intended for police officers on the how’s and why’s of enforcing bike laws.

How to prevent the most common bicycling injuries.

Denver’s Streetsblog says public bike infrastructure shouldn’t have to depend on private money.

A 75-year old Kansas ‘bent rider hits the 120,000 mile mark.

Texas police officers don’t have a clue who to ticket for a right hook collision. Hint: the same right-of-way violation applies if a driver turns in front of a bike as it does if he turns in front of a car in the next lane; thanks to Cyclelicious for the link.

Ohio police want to know why a cyclist was riding salmon in the traffic lanes of an Interstate highway in the middle of the night. If they find out, I hope they tell us.

A 17-year old Indiana driver had a blood alcohol level of .28 — 3.5 times the legal limit – when she plowed into two cousins out for bike ride, killing one; prosecutors plan to charge the teenager as an adult.

A Boston researcher says the city should calm traffic and improve lighting, education and enforcement to increase safety for cyclists.

A Florida bike rider thanks the stranger who gave him a ride home after an early morning flat.

 

International

Calgary cyclists who have survived collisions share their frustration with the attitudes of drivers.

Caught on video: A London rider stops for every red light, yet manages to keep up with a guy who jumps them all. A lot of us have had that same experience.

No bias here. When a British man and his family are arrested for planning to join ISIS in Syria, the press identifies him primarily as a “keen cyclist.”

A Brit women’s racer says riding in London is safer than it seems, but women riders need to be more assertive.

Mashable goes behind the scenes of London’s secretive pedicab industry.

A new Dutch track bike only looks like it’s made of wood.

The founder of what was once the world’s largest bicycle maker has died in India; OP Munjal started the company because he was tired of sharing a single bike with his two brothers.

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons insists there’s no scientific evidence that Australia’s mandatory helmet law has had an adverse effect on health by discouraging people from riding.

Aussie site Cycling Tips goes behind the scenes to look at pro cycling’s financial model. And it’s not a pretty picture.

 

Finally…

A Texas driver slams into a Walmart, so naturally, there’s a bike involved. Someone smashed the glass on a Clovis bike shop to steal a Stolen bike. Putting that in the window is just tempting fate.

And anyone can climb Colorado’s 14,000 foot mountains; these guys are riding up them.

 

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