Archive for Injuries and Fatalities

Update: Bike rider killed in North Hollywood Monday evening showing a kindness to a stranger

Sad news tonight, as yet another bike rider has been killed in LA County.

Unfortunately, very little information is available at this time.

According to the LA Daily News, a bike rider was killed in a collision at 12500 Strathern Street, at the intersection with Whitsett Ave. KCBS-2 places the time of the wreck at 6:31 pm.

The victim died at the scene.

There’s no word on the identity, age or sex of the victim or the driver, or on how or why the crash occurred.

A street view shows both Strathern and Whitsett are four-lane streets with left turn lanes, controlled by a traffic signal; there are parks on both sides of Strathern on the west side of the intersection.

This is the sixth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year; all but one of which have occurred in Los Angeles County. It’s also the second fatal crash involving a bike rider in the City of LA since the first of the year.

Update: Now that a few details are in, the story seems even sadder. 

According to a source with the LAPD, the victim was riding his bicycle southbound on Strathern when he saw a basketball roll into the street from the nearby park. So he walked his bike to the middle of the street, laid it down to toss the ball to someone on the sidewalk, and was struck by a van. 

He died at the scene. 

His death will go down in the official stats as a pedestrian, rather than a bicyclist, since he was not on his bike at the time of the crash. But he was one of us, doing what so many of us have done so many times in an attempt to show a little kindness and courtesy to a stranger.

The driver was not suspected of being under the influence; no word on whether he or she will be cited for the crash. 

Update 2: The victim has been identified as 54-year old Stanley Martin Digerose.

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

Morning Links: Eight teenage riders killed in horrifying Malaysian tragedy, and the war on bike riders continues

Heartbreaking news from the other side of the world, where eight Malaysian teenagers participating in a late night bike ride were killed and eight injured, two critically, when a 22-year old driver plowed into them, claiming she just couldn’t stop in time.

However, one of the survivors said they were stopped at the side of the road at the time of the crash, and that the driver had been speeding and using her mobile phone. Despite that, she was out on bail within hours of the crash, while police threated action against the victim’s parents.

The Malaysian National Cycling Federation said it was up to parents to ensure their kids ride safely, while other voices condemned the parents for allowing their children to be out on the streets at 3 am.

The prime minister expressed his condolences, while a member of parliament urged past and present leaders not to politicize the tragedy. The state education department promised to look into the group of riders like the one involved in the crash, but a government minister said they’d known about the problem for ten years, but hadn’t come up with a solution to the late night rides.

The state government will give the equivalent of $225 to the families of the eight injured riders.

Meanwhile, an editorial calls on the government not to stifle the creativity of students who modify their bikes to express their individuality, and accommodate them by closing certain roads late at night to give them a safe place to ride.

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The war on cars may be mythical, but the war on bike riders goes on.

San Jose police are investigating a pair of blow gun attacks, including one man who was struck as he was riding his bike.

Someone stretched plastic wrap across an Omaha NE trail in an apparent attempt to injure bike riders.

A British rider was pushed off his bike by a car passenger and beaten with a bat.

A British man was fined the equivalent of just $261 for punching a bike rider in the face after the rider pulled out in front of his girlfriend’s car.

A group Britain’s top riders say they were attacked by a driver they recognized as the co-owner of a Taiwanese wheelmaker, who allegedly brake checked one rider and deliberately swerved into the group of riders two times, striking one man.

Two South African cyclists believe they were deliberately targeted by a driver who crashed into them, then may have hit a third rider just a few minutes later.

A 74-year old Australian man was shot six times while riding on bike trail; he survived the shooting in serious, but stable condition.

But no, really, let’s talk about how bike lanes take away a few parking spaces.

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Retired Luxemburg pro Andy Schleck ties the knot, walking out with his new wife under a canopy of handheld bike wheels; Schleck backed into the 2010 Tour de France title when Alberto Contador was stripped of his win for doping.

Speaking of doping, legal or otherwise, former Team Sky pro Michael Barry discusses what he calls the team’s unethical use of the painkiller Tramadol.

Britain’s Cyclist Magazine looks at the 12 toughest men in cycling history, including America’s first Giro winner, Andy Hampsten. Except they left off Greg LeMond, who twice won the Tour de France with a body full of buckshot.

Pro cyclists are complaining that competitors are drafting behind race motorcycles.

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Local

A photo blogger reports on last week’s CD1 debate, which did not appear to go well for anti-bike incumbent Gil Cedillo.

CiclaValley reports there’s an open house this Wednesday for the Lankershim Great Street. This is your chance to correct the mistakes made when former Councilmember Tom LaBonge killed the bike lanes planned for the street, in an apparent attempt to keep it dangerous for everyone.

The Bikerowave bike co-op is hosting a movie night this Friday, showing Adaptation.

There’s just one week left to nominate someone for the LACBC’s Diversity Program for this year’s Climate Ride.

Speaking of the LACBC, they’re hosting a feeder ride to the San Gabriel Valley’s 626 Golden Streets open streets event on March 5th.

The Irwindale Lions Club is hosting a 75-mile Rooting for Kids Along Route 66 fundraising ride on March 11th.

Santa Clarita wants to know if you want a bikeshare system in the city. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

 

State

North San Diego County cities are working to make PCH safer and more welcoming for people on bikes, despite the inevitable auto-centric bikelash.

In an effort to cut traffic, Moreno Valley is buying ebikes for city employees to use for short errands instead of driving.

Exploring Ventura’s waterfront by bike.

A Fresno letter writer tells bike riders to stay in the city and keep off foothill roads with no bike lanes. Apparently local motorists are incapable of slowing down and driving safely on winding roads.

The battle over bike access in Marin County goes on, as the executive director of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition says mountain biking is here to stay, and saying no to every potential legal trail just won’t work any more.

A Sacramento bike rider is expected to survive after riding in front of a light rail train. Yet another reminder to always wait until the lights stop flashing before attempting to cross the tracks.

 

National

A writer for City Lab says the best thing about commuting by bike is the chance to go full caveman by screaming at offending drivers and righteously riding away. Um, no. Let’s hope this was intended as satire.

A heartless jerk faces a felony hit-and-run count for hitting a teenage bike rider in Las Vegas, then driving for two and a half miles with the bicycle still stuck under his truck before tossing it into a trash bin.

A Denver website looks back at the successful efforts of a local bike club to bring the national championships to town. In 1894.

A Texas writer discusses what it takes to ride 200 miles without stopping as he prepares for a RAAM qualifier.

A Minnesota man upcycles old bicycles by turning parts in jewelry and art.

The bicycle belonging to the late bike-riding fashion photographer Bill Cunningham has been donated to a New York historical society, along with his books and other items.

This is why people keep dying on our streets. A North Carolina man killed a woman riding her bike, despite having his license permanently revoked ten years earlier. Clearly, taking away a license — even permanently — isn’t enough; we’ve got to find a way to keep the most dangerous drivers out of their cars and off the streets before they kill someone.

 

International

London’s new bike czar insists the city is safe for cyclists, allowing his own children to ride on the streets.

A new study from the UK shows that the earlier you teach your kids to ride a bike, the more likely they are to keep riding.

A unlicensed British driver gets five years for killing a 71-year old bicyclist while high on crack and fleeing from police.

Caught on video: UK readers blame a cyclist for slamming into a trailer when the driver cut him off, because he wasn’t riding in the bike lane that was blocked by parked cars. And never mind that the driver didn’t bother to stop.

Brit riders compete in the annual Penny Farthing championships.

A moving story from Liberia, where a 12-year old boy wants a bicycle. But first he had to get a new leg to replace the one he lost when he was shot as a baby.

South African police offer good advice for riders everywhere — keep an eye on your bike if you stop for something to eat or drink after your ride.

A former Kiwi criminal is helping young gang members turn their lives around by taking up mountain bike racing.

A Japanese teenager faces charges for taking a stolen bicycle on a 560-mile joy ride.

Better news from Malaysia, where one city is setting up a free bikeshare program; bikes can be checked out for 24 hours using a card issued by city hall.

 

Finally…

If you don’t want to get hit by a driver while riding your bike, don’t steal his truck. Sometimes it takes Mother Nature to build a protected bike lane.

And who says you can’t carry heavy things on a bike? Like an 82 pound stolen safe, for instance.

 

Update: LA bike rider killed in Eastside hit-and-run, driver detained by residents after crashing into parked cars

Another bike rider has been killed by a heartless coward who tried to flee the scene.

But this time, he didn’t get very far.

According to My News LA, a 35-year old Los Angeles resident was rear-ended by the driver of an SUV at 7:31 last night, on Concourse Avenue just past Allston Street in Montebello.

However, Google identifies the the location as being in East LA, which is supported by the CHP responding to the crash instead of the Montebello PD.

The southbound victim, who has not been publicly identified, died at the scene.

The driver attempted to flee, but crashed into a number of parked vehicles a few blocks away, where he was detained by local residents until CHP officers took him into custody. They identify him as 35-year old Montebello resident John F. Salvidar, noting that he did not appear to be under the influence.

A street view shows a divided roadway with a single lane in each direction on Concourse, with a 30 mph speed limit.

Anyone with information is urged to call the CHP’s East LA office at 323/980-4600.

This is the fifth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth in Los Angeles County.

Update: The San Gabriel Valley Tribune places the location on the border between Montebello and East LA, and gives the age of the driver as 18, not 35.

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

Thanks to Rory Montenegro for the heads-up.

Morning Links: Happy 200th bike birthday, US traffic fatalities jump, and DMV says no parking in bike lanes

If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t miss yesterday’s guest rant on why motorists hate bicyclists.

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Stop whatever you’re doing, and read this.

Hollywood Reporter editor Peter Flax has written a truly exceptional piece on the 200th birthday of the bicycle. Or the forerunner of the bicycle, if you prefer.

And the star-crossed German inventor who brought it into existence.

What is the soul of a bicycle? Is it a pedal-driven drivetrain? Or is it more elemental than that — a human-powered, two-wheeled machine that must be balanced and steered? These questions seem to underscore the doubts many cyclists have when they ponder Drais’ invention — or a modern e-bike. Is it actually a bike if it isn’t entirely powered by pedals?

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

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If you thought American roads were getting worse, you’re right. After a decade-long downward trend, traffic deaths in the US jumped to an estimated 40,200 last year — the highest total in more than 20 years.

The news is no better here, as California traffic fatalities rose at more than double the rate of the US as a whole.

Authorities blame increased driving, prescription drugs and distracted driving.

Then again, there could just more people of color on the streets. According to a study from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, drivers are more likely to stop for a white person in a crosswalk than they are blacks.

Or if they’re rich, they’re less likely to stop, period.

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Came across this piece from the DMV while researching parking restrictions in bike lanes.

As it says, a bike lane is a dedicated traffic lane, and must be treated like any other traffic lane. That means parking in a bike lane is clearly prohibited, just like it is in an HOV lane, turn lane, or the #1, 2 or 3 lanes.

Remember that the next time you see someone parked in one. Although you might have to explain it to the local authorities.

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More endorsements for LA City Council from Bike the Vote LA, as they call for re-electing Mitch O’Farrell in CD13 and Bob Blumenfield in CD3.

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After most Russian athletes were tainted by charges of systematic doping, they’re recruiting Australian former world track champ Shane Perkins to ride for them.

The UK’s Cyclist Magazine explains everything you need to know about Europe’s one-day classics.

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Local

After years of discussion, Metro approves a budget for a Bike Hub at Union Station.

CiclaValley goes riding in Griffith Park.

The Monterey Park Police Department is the latest to step up enforcement of violations that can lead to serious injuries to bike riders and pedestrians. Observe the usual protocol today; ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits.

A new survey says Agoura Hills residents like bike lanes, but they hate traffic.

Redondo Beach considers beautifying the bike path at the north entrance to town with drought-resistant plants, as well as widening it to accommodate more people on foot.

 

State

Even tiny Joshua Tree is about to get its first bike lane. Although putting it behind traditional angled parking is just asking for trouble; back-in angled parking would be much safer.

Santa Barbara police blame a bike rider for colliding with a car, saying he gained too much speed coming out of a driveway; fortunately, he seemed okay other than some road rash.

A Fresno rider calls for improving the relationship between motorists and cyclists.

San Jose’s traffic columnist explains what sharrows are, but misses the opportunity to explain what they mean.

More sad news from Northern California, where a 77-year old man riding a bike was murdered by a hit-and-run driver; it’s the second Sacramento bicycling death in two days. And a Napa man was found dead on the side of a highway in what appears to be a solo bike crash.

Davis police bust the bike-riding mosque bacon draper.

An Oroville man was reunited with the bike and trailer he abandoned on the side of the road when everyone downstream from the damaged dam was evacuated. Although you’d think a bike would have been the best way to get out.

Horrible news from Redding, as a bike rider was shot and killed by a motorist in a road rage dispute. But the man had a concealed carry permit, so that makes it okay, right?

 

National

US News & World Report says ditch your car if you want to save real money. Who even knew they were still around?

Ditching your car could also save your life; heart disease is expected to be a $1.1 trillion dollar problem by 2035, with 45% of Americans suffering from some form. Fortunately, the cure could be as simple as getting more people out of their cars and onto bicycles. Thanks to my brother Eric for the heads-up.

PeopleForBikes looks at my already very bike-friendly hometown, as it prepares to get even more so. Every place I’ve ever lived has made great changes to become bike-friendly only after I left. Maybe I need to leave Los Angeles so it can finally make some real improvements on the street.

Bicycling Magazine looks at the nation’s first glow-in-the-dark protected bike lane at Texas A&M.

West Virginia considers stronger penalties for hit-and-run by making it a felony with up to three years in prison; right now it’s just a misdemeanor.

Sad news from DC, as the founder of the Rails-to-Trails movement has died from acute myeloid leukemia; David Burwell was 69.

The Big Easy demos the city’s coming bikeshare system.

 

International

Life is cheap in Britain, where a star player for the Southampton soccer team faces just a driver’s education class after admitting to careless driving in a collision that left a bike rider with critical injuries; the victim got a equivalent of a $37 fine for going through a red light.

An Irish man with schizophrenia says he doesn’t remember punching a man in his 60s and knocking him off his bike, but he’s very, very sorry.

The Copenhagen-based makers of the Bullitt cargo bike hire an illustrator to turn their cargo boxes into works of art, too.

A Kiwi cyclist was knocked cold in a moped hit-and-run. A she was helmetless, after her bike and helmet were stolen last week.

Caught on video: A Jeep driver cuts off a sidewalk-riding Aussie bicyclist in the right-hand drive equivalent of a right hook. Despite what the story implies, there’s no question who is at fault. And it ain’t the guy on the bike.

 

Finally…

Forget scofflaw cyclists; Millennial drivers are the real road terrors. If you run over protesters, you’re the victim.

And don’t smash mirrors, dude.

 

Morning Links: Tell ‘em what you really think, and remembering recent victims of traffic violence

PeopleForBikes wants to know what you think about biking in Los Angeles, or wherever you ride.

They’re asking everyone to complete a brief, 10 minute survey with the goal of ranking every city in the US in terms of how safe and pleasant it is to ride.

Which means LA is bound to be one of the top rated cities, right?

Okay, you can stop laughing now.

You’re welcome to answer anonymously, or you can provide your name and email, and be entered for a chance to win a $1,500 Trek bike.

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Today’s common theme is a sad one.

Friends and family members remember Agustin Rodriguez, Jr., who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Whittier last month. The woman who so needlessly took his life with her erratic and aggressive driving remains at large, though police say they do have some leads.

San Juan Capistrano father of five Steve Schenkenberger remains in a coma, ten days after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver; a crowdfunding site to help pay his medical expenses has raised nearly $86,000 of the $250,000 goal.

Friends remember Laguna Nigel school teacher and triathlete Scott Clark, who died two weeks after he was collateral damage in a collision between two drivers as he was crossing a street in a crosswalk; he was the second pedestrian killed in the city since the start of the year, along with the collision that critically injured Schenkenberger.

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The pro cyclists union is trying to stop the current disk brake trial over safety concerns.

British racing great Chris Hoy says the future is bright, despite cycling’s “challenged’ reputation.

Cycling’s golden couple find a clever way to announce they’re expecting their first child, posting a photo of a kids bike next to theirs. He or she should have some good bike racing genes, since Laura and Jason Kenny have 10 Olympic gold medals between them.

A rider with the all-diabetic Team Novo Nordisk tells children with the disease that it doesn’t have to mean career death for elite athletes.

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Local

Los Angeles Magazine says the long-delayed MyFigueroa Complete Streets project offers a glimpse into LA’s transportation future. Let’s hope that’s a glimpse at what our streets can be, not how long it will take.

626 Golden Streets lists the activities at the eight hubs along the 26-mile route through the San Gabriel Valley for the March 5th open streets event.

Laura Friedman, who represents La Cañada Flintridge in the state legislature, says collaboration is key to transportation projects, but fails to mention any form of alternative transportation.

Santa Monica will host Parks Day, Come Play! on the 25th of this month, featuring the grand opening or dedication of several parks, along with a bike ride with the mayor.

 

State

Apparently San Diego’s Bikeway Village project is hostile to hostels, as the Coastal Commission votes to go with a brewery on the site instead.

The bike-riding buddy of the San Bernardino terrorists will plead guilty to charges he illegally provided them with a pair of rifles.

More controversy over the inexplicably controversial plan to build a 50-mile bike path around the Coachella Valley, as residents of a seniors community express concerns that bike riders will peer into their bedrooms and break into their homes. Because peeping Toms and burglars never come by car.

Ventura police bust a bike-riding burglar.

It’s legal to ride a bike on the sidewalk in Cupertino, as long as you have child under 13 with you.

Sad news from Sacramento, as a middle school student was killed in a collision while riding his bike; a CHP spokesman said he died because he wasn’t wearing a helmet. No, he died because he was hit by a car.

 

National

Self Magazine considers what cycling, including the indoor kind, is doing to your vagina. For those who have one, of course.

Lifehacker offers advice on what to look for when you’re buying a used bike. First thing to look for: make sure it’s not stolen.

North Dakota voted down the bill that would have allowed drivers to run down anyone who was intentionally blocking traffic, without fear of prosecution. Which could have included cyclists taking the lane, if police concluded they didn’t belong there.

A bike-riding Houston editor says there’s no one simple answer to safer streets, and the city needs to put the same energy and ambition they demonstrated in hosting the Super Bowl behind making the city safer for everyone.

Kentucky considers a mandate for kids to wear bike helmets, but only if they’re 12 or younger. They’re also moving forward with a three-foot passing law that, unlike California, allows drivers to briefly cross a yellow line to pass a bike rider.

 

International

The Toronto paper explains right-of-way rules for bike lanes, stressing that drivers turning right have to yield to bicyclists.

An Ontario man was lucky to avoid jail for his third DUI offense. On an ebike. On the other hand, everyone who has to share the road with him, not so much.

British dog owners are looking for the man crashed into a small dog with his bike, then kept on going; the three-year old dog lost all but two of its teeth as a result. Seriously, it takes a heartless jerk to keep riding after injuring any animal; but it’s the owner’s responsibility to keep their dogs safe and out of harms way.

A new study shows the world’s most dangerously polluted cities, where the health risks of riding a bike outweigh the benefits, include Zabol, Iran, Allahabad and Gwalior, India, and Doha, Qatar.

A group of Tasmanian cycling legends in their 60s and 70s ride together every week; an 85-year old rider is still one of the fastest and fittest members of the group.

Now that’s performance art. A Zimbabwean history professor will be riding around Cape Town on a bicycle with bull horns and speakers, delivering lectures and spinning records.

 

Finally…

So what do you call the person who sits on the bottom of a bamboo tandem? Even government ministers get their bikes stolen.

And a man was fired for not pushing his bike across a plaza instead of riding it; then again, it’s hard to push a bike when you don’t have any arms.

 

Morning Links: Sorry Mr. Garcetti, no endorsement from Bike the Vote; and LA County releases collision study

Still more election news, as Bike the Vote LA released their endorsement for mayor in next month’s election.

Or rather, didn’t.

The group graded each of the mayoral candidates who responded to their questionnaire, but concluded that no one reached a sufficient level to earn their endorsement.

And yes, we’re looking at you, Mr. Mayor.

The first term of Mayor Eric Garcetti has been a surprising disappointment for livability advocates. Garcetti clearly understands the health, equity, quality of life, empowerment, and economic benefits to making city streets safer for all road users. But beyond splashy announcements and wonkish technical studies, there has been a frustrating lack of visible action to improve mobility options for those on foot and on bikes….

Like other major metropolitan mayors, Mayor Garcetti’s name is frequently floated as a future national political contender. So far on safe streets, he does not meet the standards set by mayors Michael Bloomberg of New York, Rahn Emanuel of Chicago, Michael Hancock of Denver, Betsy Hodges of Minneapolis, Bill Peduto of Pittsburgh, or Charlie Hales of Portland. If Garcetti earns a second term as Mayor, Los Angeles residents deserve a more impassioned and resourceful effort on active transportation to build a healthier, more sustainable, and more livable city.

Here’s how they rated each of the candidates, with a link to the candidate’s response the questionnaire.

Although the F grade for government gadfly Zuma Dogg shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s spent much time around City Hall.

My take is that Eric Garcetti has done enough to earn a second chance. But he has to do a lot more in this next term to justify that faith in him.

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LA County has released a study of traffic collisions in the county, for the period from January, 2011, to August 2016. These figures will be used to form the basis of the county’s Vision Zero program, due to be released in June of 2018.

A few of the more interesting points from the study:

  • Collisions resulting in death or serious injury are headed in the right direction, dropping from 309 in 2012 to 275 in 2015, although partial figures from 2016 suggest it may have gone up last year
  • Bicycles were involved in 5% of injury crashes, but accounted for 7% of deaths or serious injuries
  • Most serious bike collisions appear to be centralized around East LA, and the areas around Huntington Park/South Gate, Hawthorne/Gardena, La Mirada, and West Covina/City of Industry
  • The primary cause of serious collisions were unsafe speed, followed by improper turning, and driving under the influence
  • Approximately 25% of all collisions were hit-and-runs

It looks like a good start. The question is how this will influence the next steps, and whether they will come back with a more concrete Vision Zero plan than the city did.

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Today’s common theme: bike thieves.

Santa Monica police bust a bike thief after the victim watched the thief make off with her bike; he was arrested while ghost riding the bike, and carrying meth and burglary tools.

A Bay Area bike thief gets busted when the bike’s owner spots it for sale on Craigslist.

A former around-the-world bike rider had all of his belongings, including his “entire life’s work” stolen when someone took his bike in London.

A group of bored kids are blamed for breaking into an Australian school for children with intellectual disabilities and stealing 15 bikes and helmets.

That’s a good boy. A bike thief is busted Down Under when a police dog tracks him down after he fled from police.

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As long as you don’t mind moving to Gotham, New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare is looking to fill eight positions.

Or if you’re not doing anything this summer, Rapha is looking for someone to run their mobile clubhouse at events throughout Europe.

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VeloNews asks if there’s a home field advantage in cycling. It certainly can’t hurt to be familiar with the local roads.

The Paralympic Movement offers a brief history of para cycling leading up to the world championships in LA next month.

Lance Armstrong’s seemingly endless legal battles continue, as a judge rules the feds’ $100 million case against him will go to trial. Cycling in the South Bay does not seem very sympathetic.

Evidently, a lifetime amounts to just 14 years in pro cycling, as former cyclist Tammy Thomas has her lifetime suspension for doping cut to time served.

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Local

Los Angeles officials break ground on the Venice Blvd Great Street, which aims to transform a typically over-engineered, auto-centric roadway into a Complete Street that benefits everyone; it will eventually include a parking protected bike lane.

Evidently, Bella Thorne got her flat fixed. And this time, appears to have actually ventured off the sidewalk.

Los Angeles Magazine asks why we aren’t doing the Dutch Reach here.

Popular pub Tony’s Darts Away becomes the location for Burbank’s first bike corral.

Next month’s 26-mile 626 Golden Streets ciclovía/open streets event through the San Gabriel Valley now has it’s own app, available for Android and Apple devices.

An appeals court ruled that a judge was correct in releasing dash cam video of trigger-happy Gardena police shooting the unarmed brother of a bike theft victim; despite the mistaken identify and lack of a weapon, no one was ever held accountable for the shooting.

 

State

Redlands and Highland are working together to improve connectivity for bike riders, using a $3.6 million state grant to build a bike route between the two cities across the Santa Ana River.

Sad news from Visalia, where a bike rider was killed in a collision with a semi-truck.

 

National

Seattle’s city council is pushing for bike lanes in the downtown area. Unlike, say, Los Angeles, where a trio of councilmembers demanded the removal of bike lanes from the city’s Mobility Plan.

My now bike-friendly hometown still has a pedestrian-unfriendly problem with narrow sidewalks.

Houston is moving towards approving an ambitious $500 million bike plan; as always, the problem is figuring out where the money will come from.

The first — and probably only — transgender mayor in Texas is one of us.

Chicago police blame the victim when an officer in an unmarked car hit a bike rider last month, but her lawyer suggests dash cam video may tell a different story; a witness says police stood around questioning her after the crash, rather than getting her medical attention.

 

International

Over 7,000 people demonstrate for safer streets in Costa Rica, and form a human graphic calling for respect.

A pair of British men get their father on a bike to save his life from complications from type 2 diabetes.

Not surprisingly, eight of Britain’s most dangerous locations for bike riders are in London, including a roundabout that’s the country’s worst spot.

A Russian triathlete has gone into hiding after beating his cyclist ex-wife in a dispute over child support. Seriously, there’s not a pit in hell deep enough for jerks like that.

Caught on video: An Aussie rider goes on a swearing rant at a driver who passed him with about a foot clearance; the uncomprehending driver says he slowed down and “left plenty of room.”

Shanghai, China is blocking kids from renting bikeshare bikes; the city bans children under twelve from riding on the streets.

 

Finally…

How to explain bicycling to your dog. If you’re going to steal a purse while riding double on a BMX, make sure your victim is not carrying hot coffee.

And don’t try this at home. Seriously.

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Happy Valentines Day to all you lovers out there. And happy riding to everyone, regardless of your relationship status.

Morning Links: An open letter on LA’s Vision Zero Action Plan, and OC hit-and-run victim needs your help

The Vision Zero Alliance has written an open letter to the Los Angeles City Council’s Transportation Committee, which will consider the city’s proposed Vision Zero Action Plan at today’s meeting.

While they support the city’s efforts to eliminate traffic deaths, the Alliance, described as “a coalition of over 20 community organizations dedicated to ending traffic deaths and serious injuries in Los Angeles,” takes issue with some parts of the plan.

The Action Plan serves as a critical step to ensuring that the Vision Zero initiative remains grounded in transparency, accountability, and evaluation. It also represents the City’s commitment to protecting the safety of all road users. The Los Angeles Vision Zero Alliance applauds LADOT for its efforts in completing the Action Plan, which reflects extensive coordination among multiple agencies and organizations. We particularly appreciate the department’s ongoing commitment to engaging with and being accessible to the Vision Zero Alliance throughout the development of the Action Plan.

However, we remain unsatisfied with a number of elements of the plan. Our primary concerns relate to enforcement, data transparency, and community engagement. Additionally, we are worried by the lack of attention paid to speed and to the weak commitment in funding.

I’m particularly glad they share some of the concerns I’ve expressed, which are reflected in that last sentence.

We have additional concerns regarding speed and funding. Despite vehicle speed being a primary predictor of crash severity, the Action Plan lacks a bold and coherent strategy to manage it. We appreciate that the City intends to “consider legislation on automated speed enforcement” in 2017, but would like to see a more comprehensive set of actions to address local control of speed limits and the implementation of engineering projects specifically intended to slow traffic. We are also displeased with the low level of funding allocated to Vision Zero projects this year. A serious commitment to ending deaths and severe injuries on Los Angeles streets demands serious funding. Only with a realistic investment in robust engineering projects, education, engagement, and enforcement will Los Angeles ever realize Vision Zero.

It’s worth reading the full letter.

And demanding that the city adopt a plan that is fair for everyone, and will truly take the steps necessary to end the plague of traffic violence in out city.

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An Orange County bike rider needs your help.

The Orange County Register reports that Steve Schenkenberger, a father of five from San Juan Capistrano, was struck by a hit-and-run driver near Niguel Road and Ridgeway Avenue on Super Bowl Sunday.

Newport Beach Patch is more specific, placing the time of the crash at around 8:56 pm. There were no reported witnesses, he was found by passersby who called for help. Luckily, one of those was a paramedic and his wife, who cared for him until help arrived; she describes it in heartbreaking detail.

According to a fundraising website, Schenkenberger suffered injuries throughout the left side of his body, along with a severe brain injury resulting in emergency surgery. He’s reportedly improving, but remains unconscious and heavily sedated.

As of this writing, the fund had raised over $34,000 of the $100,000 goal to help pay what are sure to be massive medical expenses, as well as care for his family, for which he is the sole provider.

Clearly, they have a long way to go.

Anyone with information about the crash or driver is urged to contact the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in Aliso Viejo.

Thanks to Rod Daryabigi and Lois for the heads-up.

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Frenchman Roger Walkowiak, the world’s oldest surviving Tour de France winner, passed away Tuesday at 89; the unheralded son of a Polish factory worker won the 1956 Tour with a solo breakaway on the famed Croix de Fer.

Cycling Weekly talks with 19-year old US junior cyclist Adrien Costa, calling him the next Greg LeMond. Sad that they had to go all the way back to the 1980s to find a scandal-free American cycling icon to compare him to.

VeloNews looks at the dangers of Tramadol, a less potent opioid painkiller that’s legal to race on under current doping rules.

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Local

Traditionally bike-unfriendly USC is working on a beautification project to increase capacity for bicyclists and pedestrians on the Trousdale Parkway entrance to the campus.

A sidewalk-raging Santa Clarita transient was arrested on suspicion of vandalism for throwing an object at a driver who had apparently cut him off as he existed a driveway.

 

State

A California sustainable transportation website launches a new series titled Bicyclists Are Human. Something that shouldn’t have to be said, but too often does.

Six California rides make the list of the nation’s 15 top Gran Fondos, including the Malibu Gran Fondo, and the one-year old Phil’s Cookie Fondo hosted by LA’s own former pro and cookie monster Phil Gaimon.

San Diego cyclists hope to repurpose a boarded up 1940s building next to a bike path as a bicycle center.

Ebikes are moving into Santa Cruz. And La Quinta, too.

A 56-year old bike rider in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district faces charges after allegedly punching a 20-year old woman and rifling through her pockets.

A San Francisco bike shop owner is crowdfunding a parklet he wants to build in front of his store.

An injured San Francisco bike rider offers a reminder that rain-filled puddles can disguise hidden dangers.

 

National

Here’s a chance to get technical, as VeloNews explains how differences in bicycle geometry affect how a bike rides and handles.

A British Columbia researcher says bicycle education in the US is in desperate need of an update, questioning whether bicyclists are really safer riding in the traffic lane.

Wired says ride your bike like a kid and make it fun again. Which is a great idea, except they get most of it wrong. Spandex clothing is actually designed to wick away sweat, while reducing wind resistance and chafing; flat pedals only allow you to apply force on the down stroke, reducing efficiency. And the health benefits of riding far outweigh any risk of heart damage from extreme training, which most people will never do anyway.

Colorado cyclists will have to keep stopping for stop signs, as a bill to approve the Idaho Stop Law in the state, legalizing what many bike riders already do, was killed in a legislative committee; a Durango paper blames Senate Republicans.

The Texas Medical Alliance gave away 400 bike helmets to four and five-year olds.

Wisconsin cycling icon Chris Kegel passed away from a rare form of liver cancer; the owner of a regional chain of bike shops had been on the founding boards of PeopleForBikes and the League of American Bicyclists.

A bike-riding Illinois reporter is suing the local police department for false arrest after they busted him for filming them. You have a 1st Amendment right to record anything that occurs in public, whether the actions of police or anyone else, as long as you don’t interfere with an officer in the conduct of his or her duties. And no, standing across the street recording an arrest is not interfering.

A cyclist in Illinois ask why bikes can’t evolve like cars have. Except pretty much all the improvements he calls for are available in one form or another, from disk brakes and belt drives to automatic gearing.

Bicycling rates continue to climb in New York despite slower growth in the city core, as riders respond to the continued expansion of the city’s bicycle network.

Why is it always Florida? A man in his late teens or early 20s exposed himself to a group of people by going naked from the waist down, then took a public poop before riding away on his bike.

 

International

Two brothers from Mexico are planning to ride the entire west coast of the US from Tijuana to Vancouver, in part to challenge stereotypes of Millennials as apathetic and superficial.

A Canadian city legalizes scofflaw cyclists by designating the raised roadways they’re already riding on as cycling facilities.

Caught on video: A bus driver with the official title of Britain’s Most Hated Cyclist catches a woman FaceTiming behind the wheel.

British police finally capture a bike-riding serial groper who allegedly attacked 24 women.

In yet another attack on bicyclists from London’s bike-hating Daily Mail, a writer asks if anywhere is safe from the Lycra louts. Cycling Weekly responds that it includes every anti-cycling cliché known to the human race, and some new ones, too.

A new Scottish safety campaign urges drivers to slow down.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 77-year old British man will ride the full route of this year’s Giro d’Italia, covering 2,100 miles across Italy.

A British writer rides through the tip of Africa on the first South African Eroica.

A 15-year old junior cyclist finds himself a man without a country after forfeiting his German passport, then getting booted out of a Malaysian school.

A Philippine website looks at the causes of road rage and what drivers can do about it. Which can apply to those of us on two wheels, too.

 

Finally…

Four words: speed dating on bikes. If you’re going to buy a hacksaw to cut a bike lock, don’t try to return it afterwards — and make sure it’s not a bait bike.

And make sure your damn shoe fits before you get behind the wheel.

 

Owner of Santa Monica’s Bicycle Ambulance killed in late December collision in Playa Vista

It’s not always enough to know that something bad happened. And sometimes, confirming it can be very difficult to do.

That was the case here, as we first reported the death of Anthony Barnes on January 18th, but were unable to get official confirmation until now.

The LA County Coroner’s office confirmed today that Barnes, better known as Tony, was killed in a traffic collision in LA’s Playa Vista neighborhood on December 29th of last year.

According to sources with the LAPD, Barnes was attempting to cross Jefferson Blvd northbound near Inglewood Blvd around 8:50 am when he was struck by a car headed east on Jefferson. After the impact, his bike continued onto the westbound side of the street, where he was struck again by a second vehicle.

He was taken to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, where he was pronounced dead.

The police report that both drivers immediately stopped and attempted to render aid, and that multiple witnesses assisted in the investigation.

The initial conclusion was that Barnes failed to observe the right-of-way. However, the collision remains under investigation.

A satellite view shows a wide, six lane street on Jefferson, which would have been very busy at that hour.

Tony Barnes was the owner of the Bicycle Ambulance bike shop on Lincoln Blvd in Santa Monica, and had a reputation as a very caring, giving and helpful person. A Facebook post describes how he took a young man under his wing when he wanted to learn how to fix bikes, allowing him to shadow Barnes as he worked in the shop to develop his skills.

A GoFundMe page started by his daughter describes him as a mechanic on the successful US Cycling Team at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, and the fastest wrench in the West.

As of this writing, the page has raised a little less than $2900 of the $5,000 goal to help defray funeral expenses and help keep his daughter in the home they rented while she remains in school.

Maybe we can help her meet that goal.

I’m also told the bike shop will remain open, at least for the time being.

Barnes’ death raises the umber of bicycling fatalities in Southern California last year to 73, 33 of which were in Los Angeles County. This is also the 13th bicycling death in the City of Los Angeles last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Tony Barnes and all his loved ones. 

Thank you to everyone who alerted me to this death and helped in tracking down the facts and putting this story together. 

Update: Bike rider killed in Whittier hit-and-run this morning; police looking for woman in newer pearl-colored Lexus

Yet another person has been left to die by a heartless coward in a motor vehicle.

According to the Whittier Police Department, a man was riding a bicycle on the 9100 block of Calmeda Ave when he was struck by the driver of a newer pearl-colored Lexus around 7:30 this morning.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, died at the scene.

The woman who struck him fled the scene, and was last seen traveling west on Lambert Road.

Calmeda is a two lane residential street which should provide a safe place to ride. However, it connects two major streets and could offer a convenient cut-through route to avoid rush hour traffic.

The car is described as a four door with tinted windows and paper license plates, and is likely to have front end damage. Anyone with information is urged to call Officer Richard Jensen at 562/567-9261, Officer Esteban Medina at 562/567-9259 or the Whittier police Crime Tipline at 562/567-9299.

Once she’s caught, she should face a lifetime ban on driving as well as a lengthy prison sentence. Anyone without the common decency to stop for another human being, let alone observe the law, doesn’t belong on the streets.

Let’s hope that one day lawmakers, prosecutors, judges and the DMV will finally figure out that out.

This is the fourth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third in Los Angeles County; it’s also the seventh fatal bike crash in Whittier in the last four years.

Update: According to a reporter for KABC-7, the victim, who was on a BMX bike, was dragged 600 to 800 feet by his killer. Let that sink in — at least the length of two football fields. 

That should elevate the case from simple felony hit-and-run to second degree murder. But it won’t.

Update 2: KTLA-5 confirms the victim was dragged across two city blocks, while police report the bike rider appears to have done nothing wrong that would have caused the crash.

Update 3: The victim has been identified as 46-year old Whittier resident Agustin Rodriguez Jr.

Update 4: KCBS-2 reports Rodriguez was killed when one driver paused to let him go by, and a driver following behind went around the stopped car, hitting him head-on. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Agustin Rodriguez Jr. and his loved ones.

Thanks to Jeff Vaughn for the heads-up.  

Update: Bike rider killed in early morning Stanton hit-and-run

And then it happened again.

Just three months and four days after Deborah Gresham was killed in a Stanton hit-and-run, another person riding a bicycle has lost his life to another fleeing driver, just two and a half miles away.

According to the Orange County Register, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Chapman Avenue and Beach Blvd in Stanton around 2:40 this morning by a driver who fled the scene.

He was transported to UCI Medical Center in Orange 17 minutes later, where he died shortly after arrival.

No word on how the collision occurred, if the victim had lights on his bike, or who may have been at fault. However, judging by the taco’ed rear wheel on the victim’s badly mangled beach cruiser, it appears he may have been struck from behind with considerable force.

Garden Grove police stopped a 44-year old man whose car matched the description of the suspect vehicle at 3:15 am. KCBS-2 reports he was arrested for an alleged probation violation, but as of midday, had not been charged with the hit-and-run, though an OC sheriff’s spokesperson said no other suspects were thought to be at large.

A satellite view shows a eight lane road with double left turn lanes on Beach Blvd, and four to five lanes with turn lanes on Chapman, depending on direction; the Register ranks it as one of the ten busiest intersections in Orange County.

This is the third confirmed bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in Orange County. It’s also the third in Stanton in less than 18 months, and the second on busy Beach Blvd.

To learn more about Deborah Gresham’s tragic death, read this heartbreaking piece by former Bicycling Magazine editor-in-chief Peter Flax.

Update: The Orange County Coroner has identified the victim as 38-year old Paul Hurst.

Update 2: The Orange County Register says Hurst was a transient; the area in which he was killed has a heavy homeless population, and a number of low cost hotels frequented by people with no fixed address.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Paul Hurst and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Mike Wilkinson and Robert Peppey for the heads-up.

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