Archive for Car vs Bike

Morning Links: Good news on Mt. Hollywood Dr; Calabasas driver busted for DUI after injuring two cyclists

Good news regarding Mt. Hollywood Drive at the Griffith Park Advisory Board meeting Thursday night, as reader dangerd explains.

The board motion was passed for currently closed roads to remain closed to private cars as per the vision plan for Griffith Park.

Also Superintendent of Recreation and Parks Operations Joe Salaices stated officially to the board that the Department recommends keeping Mount Hollywood Drive closed also.

They also discussed but did not motion that they would like to find a way to have a shuttle service that would loop around the park on the open roads to places such as the zoo, observatory, Fernwood and Travel Town and possibly out to the local subway stations if they could in order to help mitigate traffic in the park (not on the closed roads). As most of the people visiting are tourists with a majority of them from outside the USA (Europeans, this was found out in the “study” when the road was opened) and as such are used to public transportation so they would be receptive to this kind of service.

Some board members mentioned also trying to guide the tourists to view the sign from the observatory instead of guiding them up the closed roads and trails as the observatory is where there are bathroom facilities etc.

Hopefully the City Council will take their recommendations.

Speaking of the City Council, or ex to be exact, Tom LaBonge stopped by and talked on end about a million of his ideas about the park but did state also that he was in favor of keeping the road closed also.

The Board is definitely headed in the right direction as far as the roads and traffic mitigation is concerned and should be commended for their work to make the park a better place with less traffic.

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Two cyclists were seriously injured when they were hit by a car on Mulholland Highway in Calabasas Thursday evening. The collision occurred just after 7 pm at the intersection with Old Topanga Canyon Road.

A street view shows bike lanes on Mulholland, with a 45 mph speed limit.

In a report that doesn’t appear to be online as of this writing, KNBC-4 reports that at least one of the victims became trapped under the car, and had to be extricated by emergency personnel.

The driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Update: Chris Willig sends word that the collision may have occurred southwest of Old Topanga Canyon, where there are no bike lanes.

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Romain Bardet soloed to victory in Thursday’s 18th stage of the Tour de France, as Chris Froome continues to cruise in the yellow jersey. Froome admits his rivals’ tactics are pushing him to the limit, even if he doesn’t seem to be breaking a sweat. Then again, maybe he did.

Teejay van Garderen says the hardest part of withdrawing from the Tour was looking his teammates in the eyes. One day after Teejay dropped out, fellow American Andrew Talansky leapt up to 12th; he has two more days in the Alps to make up over 16 minutes. It could happen, right?

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay looks at the seemingly endless rumors of motor doping, which Greg LeMond insists is already happening. Although that doesn’t include getting a tow from a support vehicle, even if Jakob Fuglsang did just get clipped by an official motorcycle.

And Ireland’s Nicholas Roche says pro cycling is cleaner than in Lance’s day. Which isn’t really saying much, is it? Most drug dens are cleaner than cycling used to be.

………

Local

Metro decides that bikeshare interoperability is kind of important after all, but doesn’t commit to actually doing anything about it.

The inconvenience caused by tearing down the current 6th Street Viaduct may be worth it, as the replacement promises to have a protected bike lane.

In what reads like a Greek tragedy, Better Bike says say goodbye to bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd.

That stinky, often ugly flood control basin just off Washington Blvd by the bike path in Marina del Rey will finally get a much needed beautification makeover, including separate paths for cyclists and pedestrians.

The LA Times says you can fend off dementia by exercising, including riding your bike. After all, that same advice worked so well in helping me avoid diabetes, right?

Celebrate the first of LA’s planned Great Streets on the newly bicycle-friendly Reseda Blvd next Thursday.

 

State

San Diego has the nation’s eighth worst roads. Not surprisingly, LA streets are number two — in more ways than one.

BikeSD invites you on a conversationally paced 22-mile ride through San Diego’s Uptown and beach communities on the 1st.

Sometimes, you just can’t win. A Coronado senior citizen complains about bikes on the boardwalk, in the street, at the coffee shop and in the restrooms, as well as on bikeways that haven’t even been built yet.

A popular San Francisco bike route could get traffic circles instead of stop signs to calm motor vehicles without squeezing out bike riders.

 

National

The US Senate begins debate on the new transportation bill, which contains some good news for bike riders. The problem will be getting it past the rabidly anti-bike members of the House.

A new study says police crash report templates should be improved to collect better information from bicycle crashes. Something many of us have been long been advocating.

A writer for Slate says wait a minute, crashes really are accidents if they’re just the result of a momentary lapse in judgment. Sure, let’s go with that. No point in expecting people to actually pay attention in those big, dangerous machines.

An Oregon cyclist is suing the overly courteous driver who waived another motorist through to make a turn, directly into her bike.

A bike-riding Boise four-year old helps save a neighborhood home from fire.

The Department of DIY strikes again, as Michigan bike riders raise enough money to pay for their own four-foot wide bike lane.

New Jersey bicyclists call for a crackdown on double parking in bike lanes. Then again, you could substitute any other state in the Union and write the same story.

Queens NY is giving the Boulevard of Death a bike-friendly makeover.

It’s not always the pedestrians who get hurt in bike collisions; a New York salmon cyclist is critically injured when a man stepped into the street in front of him.

City Lab looks at what it’s really like to haul tourists around DC in a pedicab, while a DC writer says put the damn phone down when you ride.

 

International

I just can’t help being a fan of the Wheelies foldout tricycle mobile coffee bars, and evidently, I’m not alone; their latest version was 90% funded on Indiegogo after just 11 hours.

Caught on video: A Winnipeg cycling instructor gets Jerry Browned* by a honking bus driver passing on the wrong side.

In the last seven years, over half of all London bicycling deaths have involved large trucks; many, if not most, of those victims have been women. Meanwhile, hit-and-run is more than just an LA problem, as over 1000 London cyclists have been injured and two killed by fleeing drivers in just the last year alone.

Forget texting. One in five British drivers take selfies behind the wheel.

An Irish bike rider is fined for crashing his bike into the side of a car driven by his 75-year old parish priest. After all, a man of God couldn’t possibly have cut off the sidewalk-riding cyclist in the fog. Although I’d like to know how someone who’s just 23 could manage to rack up 30 previous traffic convictions.

Munich plans a network of 14 two-way, separated bike autobahns. Wouldn’t that be a radbahn?

 

Finally…

At least she managed to make it all the way across the country before her bike was stolen. If you’re going to bike under the influence, try not to ride into the side of a minivan; thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

And if you have to take a dump in the woods while riding your bike, try not to set the forest on fire.

 

*Passed at an unsafe distance, aka being buzzed. Named in honor of the California governor who twice vetoed safe passing legislation before finally signing a weakened three-foot passing law.

 

Morning Links: Scofflaw drivers and bike riders break laws at the same rate; too much news from Tour de France

The next time someone complains about law-breaking cyclists, show them this.

Because a new study from the University of Colorado says bike riders and motor vehicle operators admit to breaking the law at similar rates — eight to nine percent for drivers, and seven to eight percent for bicyclists. And usually for the same reasons.

But there’s one big difference.

Drivers — and pedestrians — will go through a red light to save time, while cyclists do it for perceived safety. By going through the light, bike riders say they can get a head start on traffic while feeling like they’re more visible to others on the road.

Which is definitely true, since every driver seems to see the riders who go through lights and stop signs, while those who stop seem to be invisible.

………

Way too much news from the Tour de France today.

MTN-Qhubeka’s Steve Cummings takes stage 14 of the Tour de France, the first TdF win by an African-based team. And they do it on Mandela Day, no less.

Andre Greipel outsprinted the pack to win Sunday’s stage 15 of the Tour de France; Mark Cavendish claimed stomach problems after getting dropped.

Once again, Chris Froome is on the defensive against unproven accusations of cheating, although he insists cycling is past its Wild West doping era.

Not everyone seems to buy that, though, as Froome’s yellow jersey got a little yellower when an angry “fan” threw urine in his face, while teammate Richie Porte got a punch in the ribs. Meanwhile Cycling Weekly asks if the French really hate Froome. Although I’d say a splash of piss in the face would seem to be a pretty good indication.

Then again, nothing has really changed, has it?

Not all the unruly behavior comes from the fans, as Tinkoff-Saxo sport director Sean Yates got grounded after a team mechanic heaved a water bottle at a TV cameraman who allegedly interfered with Peter Sagan’s bike change. Although it doesn’t really look like interference from this angle.

French rider Jean-Christophe Péraud won the respect of the peloton by not just finishing Friday’s stage with horrific road rash after crashing hard, but making the start line the next day, as well.

And Bicycling explains the tactics of a mass sprint to the finish.

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Local

Local officials join with congressional leaders in Santa Monica to call for more transportation spending.

Hermosa Beach hopes bikeways can help it go carbon neutral.

Victoria’s Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio takes her kids out for a training wheel-assisted bike ride in Brentwood. No idea what it says about me that I didn’t have a clue who she is.

 

State

An Orange County mountain biker was airlifted to the hospital after being found semi-conscious next to a steep trail at the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park.

Runners aren’t safe in bike lanes either; two joggers running in a Poway bike lane suffered serious head injuries when a driver fell asleep behind the wheel.

Friends and family remember BMX legend Scot Breithaupt.

A 54-year old Oxnard bike rider was critically injured when he was hit by a car early Sunday morning; he was reportedly riding without lights and drifted into the right lane, where his was rear-ended by a car. Both stories note he was not wearing a helmet, but no word on whether one could have actually made a difference. Thanks to Anthony Navarro for the heads-up.

A San Jose writer declares a road diet a failure after just three months. By that standard, Walt Disney, the Eiffel Tower and the US space program were failures, too.

Generous Sunnyvale residents have raised over $8,000 to pay the funeral expenses of a 12-year old boy killed while riding his bike on Monday.

 

National

Mohammad Ali famously began boxing after his bike was stolen; evidently, that works to motivate mixed martial arts fighters, too.

A group of Muslim women from various Middle Eastern countries are riding in Iowa’s RAGBRAI to promote equality.

A Niagara bike company specializes in crafting hollow-framed wood bikes weighing less than seven pounds.

A New York rider is in stable condition following a truly bizarre and grisly accident; he struck his head after hitting a pothole, then stumbled and fell onto a fence, impaling himself through the neck.

Police get a lot of bad press these days, but Newark officers are just the latest to pitch in to replace a victim’s stolen bike.

 

International

It seems as though everyone could see a UK cyclist except for the bus driver who killed him. If the driver is shattered, imagine how the victim’s family feels.

Welsh cycling casualties were up 38% in just the last year, possibly due in part to an increase in ridership.

German bike maker Canyon is changing the bike business paradigm by selling its bicycles only on the Internet, for around 600 euros apiece — the equivalent of just $650.

An 83-year old Aussie driver failed two driving tests before his license was finally reinstated; he killed a cyclist just five months later.

A Singapore bike coach says focus on quality components instead of a high-end frame when buying a bike. I’ve always believed just the opposite — buy the best frame you can afford, since you can always upgrade the components.

A Singapore letter writer calls for more consistency in designing bike and pedestrian paths.

 

Finally…

New headlights from Ford could light you up based on your body heat instead of hi-viz. Those high-end racing wheels could be counterfeit.

And national hospitals are overflowing with the victims of bicycling near-misses.

Yes, that last one is hugely tongue-in-cheek.

 

Guest Post: Provoking, Scaring and Piercing, the (Driver’s) Reptile Brain Part 2

Part one here.

How do we Provoke, Scare and Pierce the (Driver’s) primitive Reptile Brain? How do we stay alive?

We look to nature and the development of the brain in the animal kingdom. Evolutionists (which I am not) have no problem with this concept. Yet, observation leads to irrefutable conclusions. Most all organic organisms in nature, no matter how “primitive/paleo” or presumably “advanced”, share common traits… like all have and share DNA similarities for example…

Even the “simple”, primitive, prehistoric paramecium3 (see link below) are highly sensitive and flee from bright light. And likewise, so too our own human visual cortex, directly wired in the brain; via the Amygdala, Basal Ganglia, and Hypothalamus via the Limbic system (or paleomammalian brain)… These gray, and convoluted features are understood (some say known) to be the deepest and most primitive unconscious areas of our human brain (along with the medulla & cerebellum).

While this isn’t a physiology paper, the point to be made is that the “Fight or Flight” mechanism mentioned much earlier, needs to be completely, totally, and unconditionally activated and profoundly stimulated at a very low and unconscious level; in the vehicle driver’s brain.

It turns out that just like paramecium, and many reptiles, ULTRA BRIGHT FLASHING RED LIGHTS are immediately sensed by humans as “threats”.  As a life form is “threatened”, certain physiochemical responses are unconsciously activated…. the “Fight or Flight involuntary mechanism. Immediately the higher functions of the cerebrum are bypassed, and the visual cortex “reaches down” to the primitive reptile brain and causes/induces FEAR, and the autonomic, unconscious brain triggers the release of some very powerful stimulant hormones. Now; close your eyes; and imagine that you are outside in the dark tall grasses, and you feel and hear the low strong growling of a nearby lion; hear tires squealing, a loud close Bang!, etc… you get an idea of what the driver’s EYES are seeing…

Why flashing lights?…and Not solid? Flashing create and induces the appearance of Motion. Movement is the key to being detected by the Reptile brain. We want and need to be detected and identified, from the greatest possible distance.

Alternatively; waiting for any driver to see and consciously recognize you riding away, in dark clothing from a distance, then comprehend, and avoid you, turns out to be a quick death march for cyclists.

Flashing Bright Light(s)… Our only reliable solution, “defence against the…?”

“Statistics don’t lie”… my college statistics professor often told us, (countless others have made the same statement/observation). What we learned in school is that (in a fair and well designed study) the numbers are what they are, for a reason. It doesn’t matter what that reason is… The (possible) reasons/explanation that the stock market climbs or drops is incidental and unimportant. Using math to measuring the speed and momentum (emotion) of the rise and fall is what is critical. Why do I mention this seemingly unrelated topic?

(Another) Spoiler Alert: The statistics for riding with Flashing Ultra Bright lights is literally breathtaking, from one perspective, and alarming from another. In addition to the 700 KILLED riding a bike in the US every year, there are over 500,000 cycling injuries. Let’s say the 2/3rs mentioned at the beginning of this article, or roughly 5,000 cyclists in the last ten years alone, were hit from behind, and died… The cyclist had no warning or defense to prevent his/her death.   In the other 1/3 of fatal accidents, most often the cyclist either had some visual warning and possible responsibility (steered into traffic, went across a rail road crossing, etc.) in the outcome of the accident, or some warning. Not the case of “hit from behind” fatalities. That again, is where I draw the line.

In now two plus years of research, I have Yet to find a single, confirmed, instance where the killed cyclist was riding with Ultra Bright Lights turned ON at the time of the accident. 500,000 injuries, 7,000+ deaths (without lights) to (so far) ZERO (With Lights)… (EVEN if one or two have been missed, the numbers are far more than compelling.)

Note; as of the week of 6/12/15 there were (2) reported fatalities (bikinginla.com) where it appears the riders did have lights on the rear of their bikes…. See/Read article “Testing to Destruction” for more information… So now the numbers are over: 500,000 : 000002.

The numbers are REAL.   In this singular case, my statistics professor was (dead) wrong. It DOES MATTER why the numbers are the way they are. Important Note; Several times I would/have heard it said; He/she (the victim) was “lit up like a Christmas tree”… but later found out from eye witnesses, their cycling buddies, car cam videos, accident pictures, or the police interviewed, that they had no lights at all. Don’t believe everything (anything) you hear until you have verified it for yourself.

My story: Like many, perhaps most victims, I went on a Crusade; to find “the answer”, “the solution”, to prevent what had happened to me, from happening to others. After being released from the hospital and in time regaining some memory and “normal” lifestyle, I set out on this quest.   As stated, I have found this characteristic is deeply imbedded in the deepest being and recesses of most victims. Every time I hear of a cyclist fatality, I relive my own accident; I literally feel the glass and metal pushing/smashing through my own face, and body…

Utilizing a previous positive relationship with of a couple PD’s and the L.A. County Sheriff’s department, I started my quest. I wanted to see and learn everything I could about fatality accidents. This process is ongoing and will likely last my lifetime.

What I learned (am learning) from adding up and compiling the numbers, is that 2/3 rd’s of fatality accidents fall in the “hit from behind” category. The problem is that the standard Highway Patrol accident report form, used by all law enforcement departments, is inadequate and lacking in a number of areas. I started with the three fatalities in Newport Beach almost following my accident.

I noticed that none of these first few fatality victims’ bikes had any lights at all.   I started to develop a theory. Could it be valid and true? The problem is that the CHP standard traffic collision report form does not have a checkbox for “rear Lights? ON?”

Obtaining reliable information was difficult. What did I do? Reports, Pictures and Questions. Without going into details that would compromise others, I talked directly to officers, or obtained photos of the actual accident scenes. Not just any pics, only those specifically of the bikes, without any people. (I specifically didn’t ask nor want pics with any people in them, and no one offered.)

I continue to search accident reports and witnesses; to see IF the bikes had rear lights, what type, and did anyone know IF the lights were CHARGED and ON at the time of the accident. What time of day was the fatality crash? Where? What were the conditions? Those were/are my questions.

A clear and obvious pattern began to emerge. No fatality accident bikes, had lights at all. Not one. I was also looking for lights that were so cheap/poor as to be worthless, even if they were turned on, but haven’t found any yet.

Time after time, death after death, I found no lights… I knew it was “ game on”…

Then I interviewed drivers, and read the PD reports. As mentioned earlier, what I heard was scarily familiar, ominous, and consistent with every one.“I never saw them”….

Every driver report, and every police interviewed driver, unrelated by age, sex, residence area, or ethnic background… all said the same thing… almost word for word… This clearly wasn’t a coincidence. This was/is a Real phenomena. They had killed a cyclist before they ever knew what had happened. Most of these people would otherwise be considered good citizens. Most (one exception) had no criminal record. Yet Everyone of them had killed another human being. That’s scary.

So why weren’t accidents found with riders using Flashing Ultra Bright lights? That became the burning question. What was mentally, visually and physically happening? I started testing lights, with the help of colleagues and very expensive borrowed equipment from a company that I do business with. Some of the testing was very technical requiring calibrated equipment, and some was done using human subjects in blind (brighter/dimmer) visual studies…

What was true in all light tests, was/is that Brighter is better. (we’re not going to be discussing beam angles, target size, protocols for standardized brightness measurements, etc., in this article, that’s another paper).  For the sake of this article, I’m defining Brightens here in strictly relative visual observations; as the ability to see a Flashing light, in broad daylight, from some distance X. The farther away a Flashing light is able to be clearly seen, the “Brighter” it is defined to be… for this article…(more in light reviews).

“Brighter” means that the car drivers can see you from a farther distance. The greater the distance, the more time the driver has to see, recognize, and react to avoid you. Some of my lights, perfectly acceptable at night, couldn’t even be seen in the daylight from 10 yards, not good.

What was the minimum “brightness” between life and death”? How much recognition and reaction time was necessary to make the difference, to prevent a conflict and dead body?

“I never saw them”… started to haunt me. What IF those same drivers had been alerted to the cyclist from a Geat distance, (30-60 driving seconds away)… instead of finding out, only milliseconds before or just after they heard the crashing, crushing horrible crushing sounds?

Rule # 4   Time and Space: Planning time for Avoidance VS. (0) REACTION TIME…

You Hockey players are familiar with the term “Time and Space”… The imperative life/death question boiled down to this: How to effectively and reliably CREATE “TIME AND SPACE” between US (CYCLISTS) AND DRIVERS?

I bought more lights. Lots of lights. From countless observations, I set “standard” protocols to visually test them during daylight, and at night.

Minimum Acceptable Standard (MAS)… 1/10th of a mile minimum visibility looking almost straight at; only 10 degrees off the 10AM morning summer sun. In other words, the worst possible conditions.

In addition to visual testing with multiple subjects, from professional resources, I borrowed high end equipment (worth $50,000+), utilized the optics testing and light meters at the college I teach at. Then applied standard LED FAA aircraft LED testing protocols … Many lights visually tested to ¼ (.25) mile in daylight. That’s 15 seconds warning, even at highway speeds… a very good start…. Some were clearly seen flashing at ½ (.5) mile away… That gives a driver 30-40 seconds to see, identify, and react…. an ETERNITY relative to the previously reported 0 – milliseconds by fatality drivers.

First Quick “Brightness” rule of thumb. If you can even come close to looking at your light from an arm’s length in bright daylight, it is far too weak to be of any worthwhile use. ALL usable Ultra Bright lights are incredibly blinding, retina searing and burning. Think (DON’T actually do) of trying to stare directly at the sun, into a lighthouse, or at your HID high beams for example.

It was all making sense. The reason that people weren’t/aren’t being hit is that drivers had plenty of time to see, identify, and avoid the problem. There is no possibility of a conflict in time and space IF the driver is two lanes away when they pass you.

This has been born out in my life and those of every cyclist I’ve talked to. My wife and I have not had any more accidents or even close calls since we began putting Ultra Bright Flashing Lights on our bikes. Many many many drivers have stopped me/us to exclaim “…WHAT BRIGHT LIGHTS YOU HAVE”… THANK YOU !!!…”

During daytime; I suggest a minimum of three lights backwards and at least two forward for several reasons.

  1. Three (3) is the minimum number of points in space that a (driver’s) brain needs to immediately determine location, bearing, and speed….without a lot of time consuming and confusing calculations. Remember your geometry? # of points to make a Line and Plane?
  2. Redundancy; you never know when a light is going to fail, and it will usually be at the worst possible time.
  3. Battery life; many lights have variable battery life.
  4. Pattern variability; I like riding with lights that all have different flashing patterns to ensure that someone doesn’t get bored/numb/forgetful that I’m there.
  5. Loaners; knowing that the likelihood of a problem while riding with lights is miniscule (compared to without), I have been known to share a light with those without… especially kids, Boy Scouts, etc…
  6. While hitting someone from the front is statistically less a fatality risk than being hit from behind, it will still ruin your whole foreseeable calendar. Riding Ultra Bright front lights is only slightly less important than the necessity of riding Ultra Bright Rear…. Driver’s running red stop signs ahead of you still need their Reptile Brain stabbed….

And I strongly suggest buying/using only rechargeable lights and/or lights that can use rechargeable batteries. Buying and replacing batteries is a time consuming pain, expensive and time consuming pain, hence they are very EASY to forget…and besides, they often leak acid killing your lights.

Once you get into the daily habit of taking your lights off after each ride and plugging them in, it becomes an easy pattern to fall into.

Rule # 5 Drivers APPRECIATE Your Early Warning System…. Ultra Bright Bright Lights.

Take responsibility for your OWN SAFETY and Welfare… No one else is going to.

No one, at least very very few of us ever want to kill someone. And No one, especially drivers, wants to scared to death and shocked to have a cyclist seemingly “JUMP OUT” of nowhere.

Here’s an interesting topic…. Innate Godly/Human factors;

Rather indescribably; Flashing Lights seemingly “cry out”, “I want to Live!”… Human to Human, animal to animal, this is a very strong emotion/instinct/feeling/perception among many living life forms…. Someone has probably done a study on when/why/how this works…? (Please write me if you know of one)…. I don’t… but taking responsibility for your own welfare, and making yourself Highly Visible and WELL Marked, just works…

Repeating, I can’t tell you how many drivers have THANKED me, consistently, for my lights… Some have driven up onto sidewalks and JUMPED out of their cars! It’s actually very interesting to see how often this happens.

Generally now, most drivers just take a Very WIDE berth around us… Because they have ALREADY SEEN us from well over a Half A MILE Away (1/2 mile)… Another example: I take Boy Scouts out for their merit badge rides, and the trailing dad’s in the SAG car JOYfully exclaimed he could see us from a “mile away” (which was probably an exaggeration), but makes the point.

It is extremely rare that we have any issues, any more…and I have heard the same repeated by countless others than ride with Flashing Ultra Bright lights. In fact, I haven’t heard a negative feedback yet…

So, if you follow this advice, the odds/chances of you being (fatally) hit from the rear will be largely eliminated.

However, to make full disclosure beware, we’re not wholly out of the woods quite yet.   There are other very dangerous types of accidents… even if statistically not fatal most of the time… they will still ruin your day-week-months, your body, and your beautiful bike.

  • Be vigilant and on the alert for the bleached brain (and hair) blonde that tries to changes lanes or makes left hand turns into your path, without looking… like almost happened to me just the other day…
  • Stay far away from parked cars. NEVER get closer than 4-6 FEET from a door that can suddenly open and (door) kill you. You may even have to fight for your space. (A motorcycle officer on PCH, once yelled at me and pointed to move over. I politely (honestly, ask my wife) nodded and responded by slowly opening my hand towards him, and then drawing it back in front of me, inviting him to (by all means) lead the way… he loudly scowled something unrepeatable and raced off).
  • Only cross over to the left, from right hand turn and bikes lanes (you’re going straight) AFTER looking several times first. STOP and WAIT if you have to…LET the cars pass. A few seconds isn’t going to change your life, but it may end it if you don’t.   This is the last fatality to mention. A very well known woman cyclist was riding on PCH (W) near Crystal Cove when she was killed. A group of cars were merging right onto a high-speed “highway onramp” when the last driver didn’t see her. He wasn’t cited either. And she is dead.
  • Like above: Don’t expect a thin, white painted line is going to protect you. ONLY after looking several times first, cross over into LARGE protected (by light poles, etc.)hash marked traffic islands at stop lights….. Often, I choose to just pull over and wait… If others are more brave….?… You know the old joke about the old wagon trail scouts (cycling leaders)? They’re the ones with the arrows in their backs… which really hurts… and can end your day(s)….
  • Keep your ears open, and eyes ahead…sounds so simple doesn’t it?
  • If you aren’t very comfortable with keeping a straight line, while turning around in both directions, to see what’s behind, perhaps consider more practice, before riding on the road with others… Too Many rider-rider cycling accidents and injuries occur when someone changes their “line” without first looking back. Just a thought.

There are a lot of excellent rear and front lights out there now… And you need both.

When Purchasing, Consider:

  • Published “Lumens” is only a start. Take out the lights in the store and check them out at a distance. The relative brightness will be quickly apparent.
  • Flashing pattern variability… or the same mind numbing on/off “beat”
  • Are they rechargeable? Getting into a daily habit of charging your lights is critical
  • Beam Pattern. Some lights are very bright with a narrow beam; others have very wide beam pattern “signatures”, but not apparently as bright. Strongly Suggest you ride with both.
  • Mounting options: Can you mount your lights on the seat tube, seat stay, handlebars? Do they have a clip for your helmet-saddle-saddlebag?
  • Mount orientation: As riding is almost always on the right side of the road (we hope), Rear lights should be slightly directed backward and to the left, towards traffic, not straight backwards. I ride the road with front lights on my handlebars, and both forks… (being a pilot I follow protocol and ride with red on the left)…. Front lights have saved me pain a number of times from left/right turners ahead of me.
  • Cost; good lights are going to run $50-$300…each… and I suggest you want/need five to eight for a lengthy road ride.   Too much? Ask yourself again. How MUCH is Your LIFE and physical well being worth? Any number greater than ZERO is a GOOD START…
  • Battery Life. There is a huge variability in battery life and charging time. Best to cover your bases… Some rides may only be an hour and a half, safe for most lights, others might last 4-7 hours…
  • Be considerate to other riders: While Ultra Bright Lights should ALWAYS BE ON if you’re riding on the street… They are blinding to group riders close behind… IF you’re in a group ride, maybe you can ride last in line if you (should) feel more comfortable with all your Rear lights on… (anywhere in the group with Flashing Headlights… Not the most macho position perhaps, but there are advantages in guarding the rear.

 

3http://discovermagazine.com/1993/jun/thevisionthingma227

4http://jeb.biologists.org/content/134/1/43.full.pdf

5http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Bradford_Cannon

 

mark d. goodley

Near Fatality Survivor

Product Design Engineer

USA Cycling Licensed Pro

 

Guest Post: Provoking, Scaring and Piercing the (Driver’s) Reptile Brain Part 1

Cycling shouldn’t and needn’t be a death sentence

A few years ago, Mark Goodley survived a near fatal collision while riding his bike. 

Since then, he’s made it his mission in life to keep others from suffering the same fate. And has put his background as a product design engineer and a licensed pro racing mechanic to use to study how bike collisions happen, and how to prevent them.

He’s written a few previous posts for this site, including a review of ultra-bright bike taillights — one of the most popular posts ever on here — and the recent Testing to Destruction

Now he offers a detailed examination of how and why ultrabright lights can save the lives of cyclists. 

Including yours.

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SPOILER-ALERT: The secret is slowly getting out that if you (are smart enough to) ride with Ultra Bright Flashing Lights, (sets that are fully charged and meeting a minimum brightness standard) the odds are ridiculously/infinitesimally small, that you will ever be involved in a “hit from behind” injury/fatality accident.1 Wide experience shows that Drivers will keep a very wide berth, and avoid you like the plague.

Now for the inquiring minds that want to know Why?…

Introduction / Abstract

There are over 500,000 cycling injuries accidents in the US every year. An estimated two-thirds (2/3) of the 700 cycling accident fatalities (35,000/year worldwide) are classified as “hit from behind” accidents; where the cyclist had little to no warning. This article focuses on those accidents where the cyclist was defenseless, and did nothing “wrong” (not those killed running red lights, getting run over by trains, etc.).

Most every interviewed driver who killed a cyclist made almost identical statements… “I never saw them”…  As we will see below, this statement is neither untrue, nor a coincidence.

The how and why answers to the “I never saw them” statements are obviously of Great interest, and will be revealed and illustrated in this article… There are scientific and rational explanations for how these statements, repeated (again) by nearly every single (killer) driver are incredibly, both truthful and accurate.

Most importantly, a reliable, affordable, and easy to execute (potential) solution will provide an escape path to avoiding this critical problem. The only real question you will need to answer (to yourself) is: “How much is my/your life worth?”

Let’s assume first that you’re a sane, normal, brain active, and rational cyclist (as opposed to a helmetless macho-man/woman with superhuman immortal powers, invulnerable Kryptonite and 7,500 pound chunks of fast moving steel?) i.e., “You have studied and learned, that man is mortal.” You realize and fully understand that you are responsible for your own welfare (and can’t/won’t “assume” that others will be more concerned about your health and safety, than yourself.)

We might also agree that nothing on this planet is perfect. There are a given percentage of bad drivers that are always going to exist; Whatever their issue, brain dead, blind, deaf, sleep walking, drugged up, distracted, glue sniffing, mentally fatigued, illegal, bleach brained, comatose, and often defensive arrogant @$$%#@holes….

Let’s make the final argument and supposition that the above generality is and will always be true.

That is to say that No amount of DMV/Caltrans fairy dust, driver education, morning coffee, brain transplants, glasses, or better roads will EVER FULLY, and 100% of the time, eliminate Bad drivers from the roads.

Here’s the really scary part. Many of the fatality accidents were caused by “good” drivers as well.   Just as there will Always be bad drivers…. “And it must follow, as the night the day…” there will also be good drivers whom aren’t perfect 100% of the time either.   How can this be? How can good drivers repeatedly kill cyclists, just like bad drivers? Turns out it’s not too hard… Stay tuned below.

To be clear, I have nothing against improving driver-cyclist education; it’s just not reasonable or sane to expect “education” to be a 100% solution, or even close. We need a reliable, sound strategy against bad, and good drivers alike.

This is our not so trivial task… HOW to protect ourselves and cope with this entirely unacceptable situation?   Is “it” beyond our control? If not, What strategies are available to combat the inherent risk to our cycling time on the road?

There is no amount of training or education, that will break through the fatigued, distracted, brain dead, or blind driver; either good or bad. This is just common sense. How are you going to reach any driver behind the wheel on an intellectual or even conscious level if they’re not there already? The answer is obvious and clear. You can’t. It’s Impossible.

Rule #1: IF someone is going to take responsibility for your own Life and Safety, it had better be YOU…it’s Not going come from anywhere else.

We need another tool. One not dependent upon the relative consciousness, awareness, intelligence, clarity, visual ability, or mental (incapacity) state of a driver.

To Reach, Jolt, and SHAKE/WAKE UP EVERY driver, bad and good alike, to our cycling physical presence and location, 100% of the time, we MUST make a HARD strike on an unconscious level. To hope and believe otherwise you might as well self-check yourself into Patton hospital, right now. (link provided below).

Now we are getting closer to an answer. We have to go much lower in the brain, Much, Much lower… Lower than cognitive cerebral conscious awareness.

We have to STRIKE at the lowest, most primitive, and strongest physiologically processes possible. We need to go “for the throat”… Straight to the core Survival Instincts that predate conscious thought. We have to go directly, to the primordial, primitive, primeval, Reptile brain.

Almost 100 years ago, this unconscious REACTION was termed “Fight or Flight” by a scientist named Walter Canon. We need to INCITE this innate, subconscious, uncontrollable visceral reaction that operates entirely outside consciousness and thought.

Getting back to the “good drivers” for a moment… We have to Fully grasp and realize something that none of us wants to admit. Even “good” drivers can entirely miss seeing us and cause accidents. “WHAT?” “WHAT ARE YOU talking about???” “The driver’s Always Wrong…!!!…”… you say….!

We ALL have inherent human perception weaknesses and frailties, regardless of our state of mind while driving.

We have to review and outline a few topics to illustrate the Full extent of this “invisibility cloak” we road cyclists all wear.

First; Human visual Perception and Atmospheric Physics…

  • Lack of our relative movement and perspective; between traffic and the driver. Humans, like most every member of the animal kingdom, detect and identify movement far easier and faster than identifying the source/nature of that movement.  If you’re moving at the same relative speed as the surrounding traffic “pattern”, and or in the same direction, there is every likelihood you will “blend in” and go completely unnoticed; “inside” the driver’s mind, even IF you are clearly in the line of sight and “visible”…
  • Bright, cloudless days, and very dark shadows. Do you know what I’m talking about? No clouds means no diffracted light, no gray areas; only distinct very dark and bright light borders. Do you know the average time it takes for a human eye to fully adapt (Adaptation) from bright light to the dark? Astronomers would knowingly answer 20-30 MINUTES ! So what chance do (any) drivers eyes (the rods) have of making the physiological/chemically time dependent change while driving from a bright daylight area, into a dark shadowed area? The answer is very little, in fact almost none… I rode to the scene of a fatality accident not long ago at the exact time of the accident, two days later. Tall trees on the east, created shadows across ALMOST the whole road. On a cloudless day, like the day of her death, the bright light was blinding, and the shadows, very dark… Seeing into the darkened bike lane line, never mind identifying a cyclist wearing black clothing, was difficult for me. And I was prepared for the physiological/perception drawbacks. She was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Now imagine the shadows cast by buildings, trucks, cars, etc… and you can “see” the problem.
  • Low blinding sun on the horizon. Most all of us have experienced these phenomena. The eyes become overexposed (and overwhelmed) by direct penetrating sunlight that is much brighter in the early morning and late afternoon (due to the reduced atmosphere and scattering). The windshield with inherent flaws creates bright and dark rays making it very, very difficult to see through.
  • Black and dark clothing against black roads… need more be said
  • Dirty or wet windshields and windows – “What is this rusty, dusty, dirty-looking thing over your window? Enough said.
  • Dark tunnels and shadows/overpasses on clear, cloudless, bright days… (see 20-30 minute Eye Adaptation time above). (Remember a decent US Pro cyclist that rode into a dark tunnel,,, without a helmet OR Lights…?… look at how well that turned out…
  • Higher “priority” distractions that forces and takes attention away from road outside (texting/email/phone), sirens, stopping traffic, lane changing trucks, peds, etc.. We will talk about this one in a bit.
  • You photographers/videographers already know where I’m going with this. Our eyes/brains process information pathetically slowly. A VERY SLOW incoming 24 frames per second is fast enough to completely fool our turtle slow brains. Adding to this problem is the ironic placement of our visual cortex at the very rear/back of our brain, the farthest possible position away from our eyes… We (read; drivers included) weren’t designed or meant for quick or efficient processing of visual information.
  • Our minds generally process less than 5% of what the eyes actually see. Again, pathetic but true… Most of the world around us is seen by our eyes, but unnoticed and unprocessed by our minds. I’m not just talking about the ease with which any skilled magician can fool our minds, but in everyday life observations. How much of what is in front of you, do you actually process and remember…? Very little it turns out…. So also for human drivers. Most people are completely (blissfully) unware of the complexity or enormity of the vision comprehension problem.

***

From Discover magazine2:

Vision, of course, is more than recording what meets the eye: it’s the ability to understand, almost instantaneously, what we see. And that happens in the brain. The brain, explains neurobiologist Semir Zeki of the University of London, has to actively construct or invent our visual world. Confronted with an overwhelming barrage of visual information, it must sort out relevant features and make snap judgments about what they mean. It has to guess at the true nature of reality by interpreting a series of clues written in visual shorthand; these clues help distinguish near from far, objects from background, motion in the outside world from motion created by the turn of the head. Assumptions are built into the clues–for example, that near things loom larger, or that lighting comes from above.

The brain must process an immense amount of information as fast as it can, using any shortcuts it can, says Anstis. It has to find a minimum hypothesis to cover a maximum amount of data. So it’s got to use any trick it can. His experiment reveals one of those tricks: We think the brain is programmed to use brightness the way it is in the world. That means shadows are always darker, and light comes from above.

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Rule #2. While cycling, like it or not, admit it or not, believe it or not… WE ARE often LITERALLY invisible, to bad and good drivers alike, no matter how alert and conscious they may be. Our presence often just doesn’t register in a driver’s mind. Why not?… is the question, this article seeks to answer.

Rule #3. We MUST find a way to unconsciously BE perceived as a THREAT by the driver to be NOTICED within the subconscious REPTILE brain.

The Reptile brain, first and foremost, identifies threats. We must create Relative Movement and/or change our perspective (frame of reference) relative to the driver. For reasons you are probably already aware, but that will soon be explained.

How can we completely bypass the conscious, perceptual, senses which are too often just plain blind, or dozing off asleep at the switch anyway?…

Let’s get back to the interviewed (killer) drivers’ statements. “I never saw them”. (Where I might also add “… until it was too late”)

The police have a very difficult legal problem here assigning fault to the driver. As I learned from personal experience with the police in my own near murder, a driver not “seeing” a cyclist IS (unbelievably) a valid, legal and very frustrating (for cyclists) defense.

Even though every interviewed driver repeated nearly identical statements, it is impossible for anyone to determine whether this was some mental defense mechanism, (a human rationalization/justification, as many have postulated) or in fact, was visually true. In this case, legally it doesn’t matter. And more importantly, in practice it doesn’t matter either. Dead is Dead.

Let’s get to the core of this legal problem. Wouldn’t it be great for cyclists if this invisibility “defense” variable was taken completely out of the equation?!?   It would seem unlikely, and seemingly extremely difficult to make the “invisible” case/claim when blinding lights are flashing from the bike.

Less than a year after my own near death experience, I mentioned that there were three cyclists that were killed in Newport Beach.   Together, they outline and illustrate each of the issues.

One of them a well-known doctor, was riding with her husband on Newport Coast, in dark morning tree shadows, at the wrong time. One of them, a young woman, had made a right hand turn onto Bayside Dr. from PCH (S). A following gardening stake bed truck ran her over. What is dangerous about this corner is that the turn is largely blind due to a wall and large tree. The driver, like all the others claimed to police, “I never saw her”… which may have been true… The police had no legal choice but to accept his statement, and not cite him. But what if the driver had clearly seen her, and been warned of her presence a minute, and half a mile earlier, Before she ever made the turn?… and undeniably reinforced it, after he made his turn behind her? Would the outcome have been different? Statistics say Yes, absolutely.

Most of you have been tracking where I’m going with this… and some are saying to yourself, “No, it’s too much trouble”… or “NO, it’s too expensive”, or “No, I shouldn’t have to worry about something that is clearly the driver’s fault/problem?”…

OK; good enough…. I only have two questions for you, to Ask yourself.

  1. How much is my (your) life worth? Yes, I‘m absolutely serious. How Much is YOUR LIFE WORTH?… to you, your family, your wife, husband, children, parents…? How MUCH? How much is your time worth? IF you’re hit, at the very least, you Will Very likely be missing work, paying medical bills, bike repair bills, be in a LOT of pain, etc… Isn’t it waaay better (AND A LOT CHEAPER) to avoid problems in the first place, than pay for the resulting outcome?
  2. If you lie BLEEDING in the street, dead or seriously injured, does it really matter who was/is right or wrong?… I’d like to ask every, single, dead, fatality victim, OR their family members, IF they REALLY care who was right or wrong?

Having been there myself, I can tell you definitively the short, quick, two lettered variety answer, for a FACT.

So; now that we have a better understanding of the “perception” issues and problems, for you H. Potter fans; What IS our “defense against the dark arts…”(DADA)… “Unconscious” and blind?

 

 

1Roughly 500,000:000002/10 years (about the same as getting hit by lighting)

2http://www.dsh.ca.gov/patton/

 

mark d. goodley

Near Fatality Survivor

Product Design Engineer

USA Cycling Licensed Pro Race Mechanic #325244

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Part 2 here.

 

BOLO Alert: Bike rider seriously injured in East LA hit-and-run

This one is hard to take.

Police are asking the public to be on the lookout for the driver of a white Toyota pickup who plowed into an East LA bike rider, then simply drove off without so much as slowing down.

KTLA-5 reports the wreck, which occurred at 9:15 am Monday, was caught on a security camera; fair warning, the video is stomach churning, to say the least.

The victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was riding east on the north sidewalk of Olympic Blvd when he attempted to cross Arizona Ave in the crosswalk. The driver of the pickup, which was headed south on Arizona, went through the red light, violently knocking the rider off his bike before turning right and speeding down Olympic.

The victim was transported to County USC Medical Center with major head trauma.

The CHP, which investigates major traffic collisions in unincorporated areas of the county, is looking for a white, mid-‘80s Toyota pickup with an extended cab, metal rack and black side graphics.

Anyone with information is urged to call 323-980-4600 or the Traffic Management Center (TMC) at 323-259-2010.

Let’s find this heartless jerk.

Morning Links: Cyclist hit by two cars in Beverly Hills, cobbles of Paris-Roubaix, and Orlando Bloom’s bike shorts

A 47-year old bike rider was seriously injured when he was hit by two cars in Beverly Hills on Sunday.

KABC-7 reports the victim was crossing the intersection of Robertson Blvd around 9:50 am when he was thrown through the air after being hit by a car. He landed in front of an SUV stopped at the light, which somehow managed to roll over him before speeding away.

Yet remarkably, his injuries were not considered life-threatening. And for a change, the station noted the victim didn’t do anything wrong.

The second driver was arrested about a mile away after he was followed by a witness.

Both collisions were captured by a nearby security camera. As of Sunday night, the station had not posted the video online; fair warning, it’s not easy to watch.

Update: The video is now available online.

The victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified, appears to be riding east in the bike lane on Burton Way as he crosses southbound Robertson. He appears to swerve at the last second to avoid the impact, though LAist says he was turning right onto Robertson. 

It’s unclear how the wreck could have occurred unless the first driver went through the intersection before the light changed.

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German rider John Degenkolb wins on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix after winning the San Remo classic last month.

British great Bradley Wiggins fails to end his career on a high note as he finishes 18th, while Slovakian cyclist Peter Sagan fell out of competition when his shifter broke.

And it’s not every day when the peloton is disrupted by a high-speed train; thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

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In today’s celebrity bike news, the gossip press freaks out when they catch of glimpse of the chamois in Orlando Bloom’s bike shorts as he pedals down PCH, suggesting he should wear a helmet and a jock strap. And keep his hands on the handlebars.

Meanwhile, Alec Baldwin looks angry when he gets a flat on his bike. Or maybe he’s just annoyed by paparazzi following his every move.

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Local

An animated GIF from KPCC shows how much LA’s bikeway network has changed in just 10 years, even though we still face a disconnected network filled with trash cans and mostly useless sharrows.

A seriously misguided Northridge letter writer questions the wisdom of devoting space to bicycling, insisting that only fit people ride bikes. And never at night.

Joel Epstein says Bicycle Coffee LA sets an example for the mayor’s new sustainability plan.

 

State

Huntington Beach police say they’ve busted the transient bike thief who’s been stealing expensive bikes from the pier. Although $2,100 is hardly expensive these days.

Hardly anyone bothers to show up when Escondido holds its first ciclovía. A little advance publicity or a longer course wouldn’t have hurt.

A San Bernardino bike rider is expected to survive after being shot several times.

Bike and safety advocates win one in Menlo Park, as the city’s planning commission chooses bike lanes over a third traffic lane.

A bike rider was killed when he was hit by a train in East Oakland on Saturday.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 96-year old Woodland cyclist plans to celebrate his 100th birthday by riding a century.

Two motorists collide head-on near Calistoga. Yet somehow, a cyclist falling off his bike when emergency vehicles speed past seven miles away becomes part of the story. Thanks to John Murphy for the link.

 

National

People for Bikes offers 10 ways to win the battle over removing parking spaces for bike lanes; a Vancouver restaurant owner who unsuccessfully fought one in front of his place says business is better than ever a year later.

Vox makes the case for lowering speed limits, including a 25 mph cap in urban areas.

A new helmet-mountable cam promises to capture a 360° view. Including things you may not want to see as drivers speed by from every angle.

A Denver columnist asks whether the Mile High city has a policy of cyclists first, ignoring how much of its infrastructure is dedicated to motor vehicles.

Wyoming will study bike paths and bicycle tourism, including a possible state-wide bicycle network.

A Texas politician who swears he’s not anti-bike is pushing a ban on using state or federal funds for road diets. Apparently, he’s not anti-safety, either.

An Arkansas minister will bike across the state to raise money for a new church building.

A Florida writer takes up bicycling again after 23 years, while a letter writer insists we should all ride salmon.

 

International

Dubliners worry the city is too bike-unfriendly for its new bike share system, as a new docking station is vandalized just days after installation.

Ten Israeli cyclists are injured when the car accompanying them is rear-ended.

An Aussie cyclist says the ineffectual Australian Cyclist Party needs to get its shit together.

A Korean bike lane is covered with solar panels to protect riders from sun and rain while generating electricity. But who wants to ride down the center of a freeway, covered or otherwise?

A Chinese cyclist gets his stolen bike back after it was taken just days from the end of an 18,000 mile journey around the country.

 

Finally…

An Alaska criminal ends up bikeless when his intended purse-snatching victim refuses to go down without a fight. Former golfing great Greg Norman says Lance is a frigging disgrace, while, an Irish cyclist refuses to take part in a charity challenge if the ex-Tour de France winner rides.

And MCippollini unveils a $54,000 gold, platinum and diamond encrusted bike, for when you just have to show the world you’re an over-privileged SOB with no idea what to do with your money.

 

Morning Links: Serial hit-and-run driver allegedly attacks three in Venice, including two people on bikes

Sometimes, the news barely makes the news.

Especially if there are bikes involved.

Yo! Venice reports that three people — two of them riding bikes — may have been intentionally targeted by a hit-and-run driver Saturday morning.

According to the website, a cyclist was riding with friends across the intersection of Speedway and Venice around 10:30 am when a red Honda CRV clipped the back tire of his bike; witnesses at a nearby restaurant reported the driver didn’t even hit his brakes before speeding off.

As the victim and his friends gave chase down Speedway, they called out a warning as they saw him approach another rider. After the second cyclist pulled to the side of the road, the driver appeared to intentionally veer towards him, knocking him to the ground and leaving him with a cut on his left side, his mangled bike lying in the roadway.

The site reports the driver then ran over a third victim around 25th and Speedway; no word on whether that person was riding or on foot. Both of the last two victims were transported to a local hospital.

The driver was taken into custody later that day.

Yet somehow, despite the serial hit-and-run and the apparent vicious nature of the alleged attack, the story failed to make a much of a dent in the local media.

Even though it’s reminiscent of another allegedly intentional attack in which a driver plowed through tourists on the crowded Venice boardwalk just feet from Saturday’s incident.

KCBS-2 was the only major media outlet to pick up the story, confirming that two victims, possibly cyclists, suffered substantial, but non-life threatening injuries.

The TV station also reports that the suspect was arrested when witnesses were able to provide police with the Honda’s license number.

Frighteningly, police say he knew he’d struck people when they contacted him, and that he did not appear to be intoxicated.

Thanks to Joe Ryan for the heads-up.

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Urbanful lists five fun social bike rides around the US, including our own CicLAvia; the next one walks and rolls through Pasadena’s Old Town on May 31st.

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Local

CiclaValley offers a recap of Thursday’s Griffith Park Advisory Meeting, where the recent opening to cars of popular biking, hiking and horse riding route Mt. Hollywood Dr. was discussed; Streetsblog’s Joe Linton provides a detailed report on the meeting.

Work begins on the city’s first parking-protected bike lane as part of the Great Streets program on Reseda Blvd.

Writing for Orange 20 Bikes, Richard Risemberg says more and better road diets are the solution to trash bins blocking the bike lane. That’s been a long and recurring problem in the City of Angels, even though it’s illegal to block a bike lane, period.

A San Dimas stage race brought road racers from around the world, while mountain bikers race around Castaic Lake.

 

State

No bias here, as a San Diego TV station says plans for a bike lane through the Hillcrest neighborhood would destroy “prime” parking spaces.

Sad news from San Diego, as a 47-year old bike rider isn’t expected to survive after being shot in the city’s East Village neighborhood.

Mountain bikers are overwhelming the 20,000-acre Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, described as the Louvre for off-roaders.

No bias here either, as a San Francisco website accuses a seriously injured cyclist of smashing into a car on a Highway 101 onramp.

A 27-year old woman is honored as one of the Outstanding Women of Monterey County for her role in Ciclovia Salinas.

A Bay Area woman has taken over 25,000 kids back to nature on mountain bikes, often for the first time; her Trips for Kids non-profit now has 90 chapters around the world.

Seriously? A Petaluma website seems shocked that anyone would ride a century, while calling a bicycle seat the world’s most excruciating sitting device.

 

National

Bicycling lists 10 famous people who worked as bike messengers, nine of whom took me by surprise.

Two Yuma AZ cyclists were hit by a car, one injured critically, by a driver with a suspended license who admitted he just wasn’t paying attention.

A Utah cyclist on a training ride with a group of 100 other riders was somehow hit and killed by a semi-truck traveling in the same direction even though neither appeared to be distracted; a GoFundMe account has been set up to pay her funeral expenses.

Rocky Mountain National Park will open to mountain bikes for the first time.

Some people just don’t get the benefits of bike tourism; Kansas commissioners question why they would want a US Bike Route besmirching their county, especially if they have to pay for the signs.

A Chicago rider is suing after she was doored by a police officer while riding in a marked bike lane; naturally, the cop blames the victim.

The field is set for the Little 500 made famous by Breaking Away after qualifying for the men’s and women’s races.

 

International

A cyclist in his 80s rides over 6,200 miles across Canada, despite Parkinson’s and macular degeneration.

A new British study says bike riders are healthier and less stressed than non-riders. But while biking may be the new golf, London professionals are still afraid of the city’s streets.

Good read from the Guardian, saying what’s lacking from Lance’s attempt at rehabilitation is humility. If Armstrong really wanted to rebuild his reputation, he could start be becoming an advocate for bike safety.

We only seem to hear about pedestrians injured in collisions with cyclists, but the bike riders often get the worst of it. That was the case with woman in a London park, who was seriously injured when she collided with a runner.

That Brit bike rider attempting to ride over 75,000 miles this year was on target, riding a minimum of 205 mile a day; however, his attempt may be in jeopardy after his ankle was broken in a collision with a moped.

Danish bike riders get their own bike-through McDonalds, but only for a limited time. Sort of like McRibs.

 

Finally…

If you’re using a bike as a getaway vehicle following a burglary, it’s probably not a good idea to have a stolen weed-eater sticking out of your backpack. Put Carlos Santana in the Interested but Concerned category, as the guitar great is afraid to ride his new bike because of what happened to Bono, who fears he may never play guitar again after his solo bicycling crash in Central Park.

And a French mountain biker has set a new world record of over 138 mph.

Downhill, of course.

 

Morning Links: NoCal meat man meets justified anger from cyclists; getting ready for Sunday’s Valley CicLAvia

The too typical attitude towards bike riders in Wine County — and elsewhere. Photo by Janet Lafleur.

The too typical attitude towards bike riders in Wine County — and elsewhere. Photo by Janet Lafleur.

Once again someone who should know better has written an anti-bike screed in a failed attempt at humor.

And once again, it blew up in his face.

Adam Parks, the owner of Victorian Farmstead Meats in Sebastopol, posted the blog piece over the weekend — and on his company’s website, no less – apparently not considering that the people on “the $10,000 graphite-framed” bikes, clad in a “$500 spandex onesie,” are exactly the ones who could actually afford his high-end artisanal meats.

Never mind all the wine country chefs who ride bikes, who will now be significantly less inclined to by his products.

The single cyclist, he said, was bad enough; laying on his horn was enough to move a rider into the ditch.

Worse, in his mind, were the riders the peloton — a word he was proud to have looked up. Those should be considered fair game if they failed to ride single file or remain on the right side of the solid white line, in his humble opinion.

Even though cyclists have every bit as much ride to the road as he does. And even though anything to the right of the line is not legally considered part of the roadway.

Why some people that think inciting traffic violence against other human beings is funny will forever be beyond me.

Needless to say, his website, Facebook page and email inbox immediately blew up with thousands of angry comments.

His first reaction was to say on Facebook that he never apologizes for anything he writes, before doing just that and deleting the post.

If only someone, somewhere had save it as a pdf so you could download and read it.

Oh wait, I did: Cycle of Life | Victorian Farmstead Meat Company.

In his apology, which came after a long sleepless night, he said he was sorry for the hurt he had caused, anddonate $500 to a fund for injured cyclists, if one existed. Or start one, if it didn’t.

Actually, the only problem is selecting which of the many cyclists injured in traffic collisions most deserves his help.

Let’s hope he’s sincere in changing his beliefs, now that he’s been made aware of the dangers cyclists face on the road. And not just saying it to save his business, which went from a four star rating on Yelp to 1.5 overnight.

After all, others have make mistakes like that, and tried to turn it into something positive.

………

You are going to Sunday’s Valley CicLAvia, right?

CiclaValley has created an in-depth a guide to the ride, with stops both on and off Lankershim and Ventura Blvds.

The Source offers a list of discounts available along the route.

And if you get off to an early start, you can join a feeder ride with State Senator Bob Hertzberg. And maybe catch his ear about why that proposed bike helmet bill should find it’s way to the legislature’s trash bin.

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Every time a city suggests removing parking to make room for a bike lane, merchants rise up in anger insisting it will harm their business.

Which is exactly what happened on Westwood Blvd, where Councilmember Paul Koretz acceded to the demands of local business and homeowners to kill a much needed bike lane on the Blvd.

Yet those business owners may have shot themselves in the foot.

City Lab has complied a list of twelve studies from around the world showing that at worst, removing parking for bike lanes has no effect on business. And can even result in an increase in sales as the street becomes more accessible for everyone, rather than just those in cars.

We should all bookmark this page.

And cite it verbatim the next time someone claims we’re trying to kill their business.

………

Local

The Canyon News looks at Damian Kevitt’s successful completion of the LA Marathon on Sunday, and reports that Kevitt hopes the support he received translates to support for Finish the Ride next month.

Santa Monica’s City Council will consider accepting USDOT Secretary Foxx’s challenge to create safer streets at tonight’s council session. Sounds like something no one would oppose, which means someone inevitably will.

The Santa Monica Bike Center now offers guided tours of the city, with six options including a street art tour and a foodie tour of Main Street.

 

State

The California Bicycle Coalition lists 10 reasons why California is becoming a great place to bike.

Camp Pendleton’s Hellfire mountain bike race returns this Saturday.

A writer for Orange County’s Chapman University school paper opposes SB 192, California’s proposed mandatory bike helmet law. For many of the wrong reasons, but still.

A Santa Barbara truck driver who doesn’t get “that crazy pack riding” says everyone is safer when cyclists ride alone or single file, not realizing that often increases the risk for riders.

An 18-year old Sonoma woman prepares to meet the hit-and-run driver who killed her father when she was just seven years old.

 

National

A new national study finally breaks down that old “interested by concerned” statistic reflecting who would like to ride their bike more; actually, every demographic wants protected bike lanes.

Now that’s my kind of triathlon — an ultra marathon along Alaska’s famed Iditarod Trail by fat bike, foot and ski.

A former LAPD homicide cop now patrols the BYU campus by bike.

Colorado becomes the latest state to work towards eliminating traffic deaths; of course, the question is whether any of the over 35 states that have made that commitment will actually do what’s needed to stop the slaughter on our streets and highways.

Evidently, cops in my bike-friendly hometown could use a refresher course in bike law. Not unlike cops just about everywhere else.

Call it a cic-Yellowstone-lovia, as the National Park opens its roads to bike riders before the park officially opens in the spring.

The Idaho legislature passes a bill that would bar the use of eminent domain to build greenbelts and bike paths. But not, evidently, highways.

According to a Minnesota letter writer, people who want bikable and walkable trails are special interest groups, while those who want five lane streets aren’t. And says it’s the trails that will bankrupt the city, not the exponentially more expensive streets.

Connecticut considers modifying, but not removing, the requirement to ride to the right in order to allow protected bike lanes and contraflow lanes.

 

International

Toronto’s new cycling manager says women are the indicator species for cycling safety in the city. Actually, humans of all genders, orientations, ages, races and socio-economic status are; in other words, our streets won’t be safe until anyone feels comfortable riding them.

Once again, someone has strung wire at head level across a British bikeway, in what should only be seen as an attempt to seriously injure or kill unwary riders. Let’s hope police treat this like the serious crime it is.

An Aussie driver is just mortified at his “overreaction” after he deliberately crossed onto the wrong side of the road to run down the cyclist who cracked his windshield during an argument. I wonder if he’d be as mortified if he hadn’t been caught.

 

Finally…

Scofflaw cyclist Arnold Schwarzenegger rides the streets of Melbourne on a bike share bicycle sans the country’s mandatory bike helmet; the local police directed him to a nearby 7-11 to buy a $5 helmet. Evidently, money makes you mean; a social psychologist found all the drivers in inexpensive cars stopped for pedestrians in a beachfront LA crosswalk, while half of the drivers in expensive cars didn’t.

And thanks to my friends at CLIF Bar for sending me their new less-sweet organic energy foods to try out. Although I have to admit to approaching some of those flavors with just a tad of trepidation.

SAMSUNG

Morning Links: Unfortunate irony on the Milt Olin Ride, and still more on the proposed helmet law

Unfortunate irony, indeed.

A bike rider is hit by an apparently distracted driver on a ride to remember a bike rider killed by a distracted-driving sheriff’s deputy.

Fortunately, the cyclist should be okay, despite being pretty banged up.

………

It’s starting to look like this story isn’t going to go away.

A columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle says bike advocates are splitting hairs in opposition to SB 192, the bill that would mandate helmet use for all riders. Although someone should tell him that the law requiring helmets for minors, which he calls a success, is often blamed for why so few California children ride bikes, which is a major contributor to the obesity crisis in our youth.

The Daily News prints letters on both sides of the issue; once again, licensing people on bikes rears its ugly head even though it has nothing to do with the question at hand.

San Diego’s KPBS public radio station discusses both sides of the question, as well, while Santa Monica Spoke comes out in opposition to the bill. Digital Slurry echoes Copehangenize with a tongue-in-cheek call for walking helmets.

And if you still have any doubt whether the proposed helmet law is a bad idea, Streetsblog’s Melanie Curry nails it.

………

Local

USC’s Neon Tommy says a watered down MyFigueroa won’t be finished until the end of next year.

Next City is suitably impressed that Ed Begley, Jr. biked the Oscars in the rain Sunday night. So I am.

Move LA and the SFV Council of Governments are hosting a San Fernando Valley Town Hall on Thursday to imagine our transportation future in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys.

Westwood’s Hammer Museum invites you to design your own bike to suit the environment in a family friendly workshop this Sunday.

 

State

A Santa Ana coalition wants to empower local residents to transform the streets to make them safer for bike riders and pedestrians.

A Bakersfield driver faces four charges, including two felony counts, in the hit-and-run death of a bike rider.

A Modesto letter writer insists there will never be safety for bicyclists as long as we’re required to ride with traffic; someone should show him the safety stats for salmon cyclists.

The new director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition intends to push the fight for Vision Zero.

 

National

Kids added their voices to bike advocacy at the national Youth Bike Summit in Seattle.

Now here’s an idea LA should steal copy, as Houston opens a Bicycle Museum this week. I’d gladly pay to see Connie Carpenter’s gold medal-winning bike from the ’84 LA Olympics, along with one of the bikes that beat a JetBlue jet to Long Beach and made Wolfpack Hustle a household name among local cyclists.

An Omaha flying saucer-shaped building is set to become a new bike shop operated by a non-profit group. Actually, most local bike shops are unintentional non-profits these days.

A Minnesota man prepares to ride next week’s 350-mile Iditarod Trail Invitational along a portion of the famed sled dog trail.

An Ohio fat bike rider doesn’t let freezing temperatures — or a frozen beard — stop him.

Bike riders recreate the legendary Selma to Montgomery civil rights march on two wheels.

New York’s CitiBike workers want the raises they were promised by the bike share’s former owners.

 

International

Must be something in the water, as a racist UK jerk hurls abuse at a bike rider and threatens to set his dogs on him, and a big hearted Londoner is caught on video saying bike riders are their own worst enemy and deserve to die.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 93-year old British WWII vet still rides up to 5,000 miles a year; last year he notched 3,500, which is a lot more than I managed.

A Brit thief steals a bike, and uses it to break through the window of a toy store.

 

Finally…

Roseville bike thieves simply ride off with bikes being sold through Craigslist. An apparently anti-bike OKC city councilmember follows up on his failed attempt to force bike riders to keep three feet from cars with an ordinance allowing police to ticket lane splitting cyclists.

And if you’re drunk off your ass and get caught trying to take a shortcut through a fenced-off business lot, don’t ride salmon and crash into the police car trying to stop you from getting killed by riding into the path of a truck.

Seriously.

 

Morning Links: January was a good month for SoCal cyclists, walkability survey and still more bike events

Good news for a change.

To the best of my knowledge, only one bike rider was killed anywhere in Southern California last month.

One.

That’s ten less than lost their lives in the seven county region last January. And significantly less than the average of 7.25 deaths in the month of January over the previous four years. In fact, it’s the first time since March of 2012 that only one bicyclist has been killed in any month.

It could be a statistical fluke.

Or it could be that improvements in infrastructure, education and enforcement, as well as the much-touted safety in numbers effect, are finally beginning to pay off.

Lets keep our fingers crossed. And hope this soon leads to a month, or even more, with zero deaths. Something that has never happened since I began tracking SoCal bicycling fatalities in mid-2010.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ve finally turned the corner. And are on our way to safer streets, not just for cyclists, but for everyone.

We can hope.

……….

If you’ve got a few minutes, CSUN sociology master’s student Elizabeth Bogumil could use your help answering a few questions on walkability and livability.

The anonymous survey is designed to examine the relationship between the ability to walk in a community and its quality of life.

Here’s my short answer. If you can’t walk — or bike — safely and enjoyably wherever you are, there’s no point in living there.

Period.

………

Still more upcoming bike events, in addition to Friday’s long list.

The LACBC is hosting a Northeast LA organizing workshop on Wednesday to discuss options, including bike lanes, for a five block stretch of North Figueroa.

Join Multicultural Communities for Mobility and the East LA Community Corporation this Saturday for the extensively named Equity in Motion Bici Tour: A Look at Transit Oriented Development in Boyle Heights.

Bike Talk and the Feminist Library on Wheels invite you to the February 22nd Open Books “Lost Cyclist” ride to three independent book stores, including a talk by bike historian David Herlihy.

Head down to San Diego County on March 7th for the St. Paddy’s Palomor Punishment ride up the area’s favorite hill climb.

Or head north on April 25th for the Wildflower Century through northeastern San Luis Obispo County, sponsored by the San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club.

………

Local

The Times says the 3.5 pound, foldable Foldylock is serious about securing your bike. Then again, lock up your bike like they show in the photo, and you could kiss your wheels goodbye.

Santa Monica police arrest three 20-year old men with a truck load of stolen bikes.

Better Bike says file Beverly Hills’ dangerous Crescent Drive sharrows under C for crap facilities. Then again, that’s my take on most sharrows, anywhere.

The Glendale News-Press says not so fast on those ridiculous pedestrian crossing flags. Next they’ll expect us to wave a flag while we ride down the street.

An Azusa bike rider suffers serious injuries in a solo fall due to mechanical failure while apparently racing another rider. Yet somehow, the press seems to think the most important detail is that he might be a transient.

The Long Beach paper wants to know how the city treats its cyclists.

 

State

Laguna Beach installs five miles of sharrows in an attempt to route riders away from the Coast Highway.

Great idea. A San Diego program gives bikes refurbished by prison inmates to ex-offenders so they have reliable transportation while they transition back into society.

San Francisco’s SAFE Bikes program takes credit for a 20% drop in bike thefts in the city.

 

National

The Verge asks if it’s time for the Feds to mandate software to disable mobile phones while driving. That would be yes. Or maybe hell yes.

The US imported over $1.3 billion worth of bicycles through November of last year, compared to $140 billion worth of motor vehicles; then again, bikes are a lot cheaper.

A Phoenix man pleads not guilty to murdering murdering two bike riding women in the early ‘90s.

A petition calling for a three-foot passing distance in Wyoming gains over 1,000 signatures in just two days; the organization sponsoring it is named for one of the state’s fallen riders.

A Delaware website calls for boycotting the conservative Koch brothers over their opposition to funding active transportation and transit projects. Unfortunately, given the huge size and reach of their holdings, that would be almost impossible; a better tactic would be to pick one Koch company to target.

A US sailor chases her Olympic dreams in Miami, just months after suffering serious injuries while bicycling; thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up.

 

International

Bike riders Tweet about how they got into cycling. My origin story begins with a matinee showing of Breaking Away in a nearly empty theater, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

More people are riding bikes in London than ever before, while the Independent offers tips on how the city can keep the momentum going; actually, it’s good advice anywhere.

Famed Italian automotive designer Pininfarina jumps on the bike bandwagon. Nice try, but it doesn’t even come close to the world’s most beautiful bike, at least not in my humble opinion.

FC Barcelona looks back at the first great Spanish cycling champion, who wore the football (aka soccer) club’s colors when they had a bike team early in the last century.

A young South African cyclist offers bike tours through one of Johannesburg’s oldest townships; after less than five years, his company is now rated as one of the top five activities in the city.

Aussie great Cadel Evans calls it a career, while his countryman discovers attempting to set a new hour record really hurts.

 

Finally…

Here’s how LA can close its budget deficit; an Australian city collects nearly $50,000 in just four months by fining drivers who park in bike lanes. A Canadian cyclist uses his bike to fend off a charging cougar; I’ve used a similar technique to defend against angry drivers.

And a British ad encourages cab drivers to get a dash cam in case they run over a cyclist. Yeah, like that would ever happen.

 

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