Archive for Bicycle Safety

Update: 41-year old bike rider killed in Anaheim collision with tanker truck

April is already off the a bad start, after a remarkably safe first three months of the year for Southern California bike riders.

According to the Orange County Register, a bike rider was killed Wednesday evening in a collision with a truck in Anaheim.

Very few details are available at this point.

The victim was hit by a truck around 7:15 pm at the intersection of Orangewood Ave and Harbor Blvd. Anaheim police arrived at the location to discover that the victim had been pronounced dead at the scene by members of the Garden Grove fire department.

No word on how the collision occurred, or the identity of the victim. Needless to say, the truck driver was uninjured.

A satellite view shows a bike lane on Orangewood east of Harbor, but none to the west of the busy intersection, and no bike lanes in either direction on Harbor.

This is the 11th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in Orange County. That compares with 28 in SoCal, and five in Orange County this time last year.

Update: The Register reports the victim has been identified as 42-year old Timothy Binau; no city of residence was given.

An update to the original story says Binau was riding south on Harbor when he was hit by a southbound tanker truck. The paper reports investigators aren’t sure how the collision occurred.

Photos show he was riding a mountain bike, but don’t give any insight into the collision. 

However, raw video from the scene shows the covered body of the victim lying by the right curb several feet before the intersection, and police examining the middle of the rear tanker trailer of the truck. (Warning — the unedited video may be too graphic for some viewers.)

That suggests that the rider may have been sideswiped by the trailer or right hooked as the truck prepared to turn. However, there may be other possible explanations for how the wreck took place.

What is highly unlikely is the Register’s suggestion in the headline that the victim “crashed into” the truck.

Update 2: I’m told that Binau lived in the Anaheim area, and may not have had lights on his bike as the sun was setting at the time of the collision.

I’m also told the tuck driver was so disturbed by the collision that he was taken to a hospital for observation. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Timothy Binau and his or her loved ones.

 

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.

 

Weekend Links: Witnesses wanted in El Segundo death, Westwood votes for bike lanes, and more Valley CicLAvia

You’d think the life of a bike rider would be worth more than a single paragraph in the local paper.

Not to mention running it a month late — and incorrectly, at that.

The Daily Breeze has finally gotten around to mentioning that 25-year old Ricky Montoya was killed while riding in El Segundo on February 21st. And even then, only in the context that the police are looking for witnesses.

Never mind that Montoya was killed as he rode on Aviation at night, not 11 am as the paper reports.

Anyone with information is urged to call Officer Jeff Darringer at 310-524-2296 or email darringer@elsegundo.org.

Meanwhile, I’m told the El Segundo police have been conducting braking tests using what appears to be the same PT Cruiser the driver was in when he hit Montoya; you can see one of the tests below.

The same source tells me she overheard an officer tell a bystander the driver had to have been doing at least 60 mph in the 40 mph zone when he hit Montoya.

Note to the El Segundo Police Department: If you’d bothered to return my call asking for more information last month, it’s just possible we might have been able to find a witness already.

I’m just saying.

……..

Westwood bike advocate Calla Wiemer provided a short update on Thursday’s meeting of the Westwood Business Improvement District, which considered the much-needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

Here is a quick rundown on what happened at the Westwood Village BID meeting yesterday morning.

  • The board voted unanimously to request an LADOT engineering study of bike lane options for Westwood Blvd through the Village, and the message to Councilmember Koretz’s deputies was that they want it expedited and they want to make a decision quickly to endorse a plan once they get a report.
  • They ruled out requesting study of any alternatives to Westwood Blvd in order to laser focus city resources on the street that most needs improvement.
  • They took a straw poll to gauge sentiment on endorsing protected bike lanes – the more ambitious of two proposals put forth in Ryan Snyder’s “Remove Nothing Plan”, and five of ten board members indicated support even without the engineering study; the others want to see results of the study

A large number of bike lane advocates turned out, but the opposition was represented too. The results of the LADOT study will get careful scrutiny.

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A rider who prefers to remain anonymous emailed to report stumbling upon a new semi-separated and, apparently, mostly useless bike lane on Los Angeles Street in DTLA.

Don’t remember hearing/reading anything about new bollards & armadillos on Los Angeles St between First & Temple, but there they were! At first, I didn’t see them, because a texter in an SUV had pulled over to the curb (in his defense, he had his emergency blinkers on). I passed on his left, and swung back into the bike lane with enough time to swerve to the right of the bollards. There are several bollards, then several intact armadillos, then a couple smashed armadillos, then more cars parked in the bike lane which forced me back out into the “car lane.” Fun ride! I stopped in the middle of the bike lane to take pictures, ’cause you’re supposed to stop right there in the bike lane, that’s what it’s for.

I’m just gonna take the lane from now on.

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Game, set, match.

A Seattle road diet reduced high-end speeding (10+ mph over the limit) by up to 70% and reduced crashes by 45%. And at the same time, traffic volume actually increased without slowing travel times.

Show that to the next person who fears that eliminating a traffic lane will result in unspeakable disaster.

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The LA Times says there’s not enough data to mandate bike helmets, and recommends that SB 192, the proposed law that would require all bicyclists to wear helmets, be amended to require California to study whether a helmet law would even do any good.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog vets the Times’ editorial, and Calbike offers a list of Quick Facts explaining why the proposed law is off base.

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Bobby Close emailed to report that a member of his cycling club barely avoided a dangerous crash when some teenagers buzzed him, in clear violation of the three-foot passing law, as he rode on PCH. And that one reached out to smack the rider on the ass.

While the kids no doubt thought it was a pretty funny a prank, they actually committed an assault, which could have left them subject to prosecution.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get the car’s license, which is almost impossible to do when a riders is struggling to maintain control of his or her bike.

And it probably wouldn’t matter anyway; unless there was an independent witness, police would consider it a matter of he said/she said, except in the unlikely event the kids admitted what they did.

Close’s suggestion is that cyclists should use a bike cam to record such situations; he recommends the FLY6 and FLY12 bike lights that also incorporate an HD cam, including audio.

The FLY6, a taillight/cam combo is currently on the market — though sold out — while the headlight/cam FLY12 has already far exceeded its Kickstarter goal.

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If the media coverage is any indication, CicLAvia’s first-ever visit to the San Fernando Valley this Sunday could be one of the biggest ever.

Bike Walk Glendale is hosting a feeder ride with special guest US Congressman Adam Schiff; here’s your chance to ask for more bike funding in the federal budget, though I suspect you’d be preaching to the choir.

KPCC offers the top five things to know about CicLAvia.

The Daily News reports on the Valley’s first open streets event, citing the official CicLAvia Neighborhood Guide and Walk With Me app, along with links to comprehensive guides from CiclaValley and the Militant Angeleno.

CiclaValley adds to his intensive coverage with insider travel and business tips, aa well as a guide to where to eat and drink along the route. And yes, that includes booze; just remember BUI is against the law in California.

Speaking of which, Studio City’s Flask Fine Wine & Whiskey will be hosting a beer tasting from 11 am to 5 pm; 10% of the proceeds will benefit the LACBC.

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Let’s squeeze in a quick listing of upcoming events while we’re at it.

San Diego’s BikeSD will benefit from the Bikes & Beers ride on Saturday, March 28th; just remember the link above about biking under the influence when riding home.

It’s not quite a ciclovia, but the Orange County Transportation Authority invites you to celebrate the Coyote Creek bikeway on Sunday, March 29th.

If you’re one of the first 35 people promising to bike to Santa Monica’s April 16th Sustainability Awards, the Santa Monica Bike Center will pick up your tab.

While there won’t be another CicLAvia until October, Long Beach will step into the breach with Beach Streets Uptown along Atlantic Ave on Saturday, June 6th.

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Local

Ron Milam, one of the founders of the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition, talks mindfulness while bike riding and discusses the founding of the coalition in a Pedal Love podcast.

Flying Pigeon lays the blame for the latest collision in which a driver hit a bicyclist and a pedestrian on North Figueroa at the feet of Councilmember Gil Cedillo, who unilaterally killed a planned road diet for the street. Someone should show Cedillo the results of the Seattle road diet mentioned above, although facts and studies haven’t seemed to have influenced him yet.

Rick Risemberg observes that Huntington Drive is badly in need of a diet. Speaking of Risemberg, he now has a Facebook page devoted to his fiction writing.

If you’ve got a few extra bucks for a great cause, the East Side Riders Bike Club is raising funds on Indiegogo for BEAST — Bicycle Education and Safety Training — for kids in Watts. So far, they’ve only raised $45 out of a $2,500 goal; this would be a great opportunity for some business to step in with a sponsorship.

 

State

Laguna Beach votes to create the city’s first complete street, while the police, community and city council work to improve safety.

Camp Pendleton restricts access to the base by visitors arriving by car, but thankfully, the rules don’t seem to apply to bike riders.

Caltrain will add an extra bike car to accommodate their triple digit rise in bicyclists on board.

 

National

As if texting drivers weren’t bad enough, 27% of teens surveyed said they changed their shoes or clothes while driving. Do I really have to explain why that’s a bad thing?

City Lab’s Sarah Goodyear examines the recent report on bike lanes and social equity, with a decidedly SoCal spin.

Collecting Schwinn Sting Rays isn’t child’s play.

A tweeted tip leads to the arrest of two Seattle bike thieves, and the recovery of over two dozen stolen bikes.

A Kentucky congressman promises to keep the federal Highway Trust Fund solvent by restricting gas tax revenues for highways, and banning funding for bikeways, sidewalks and transit. Yes, it’s all those bike lanes that have busted the system, not the failure to increase the tax since gas prices were a buck a gallon.

A Massachusetts cyclist gets a $300,000 settlement after breaking his hip when a loose dog ran into his front wheel; no word on whether the dog was injured or or if it countersued.

Kill a New York cyclist, and lose your license for a whopping six months.

New York Vision Zero advocates call for redesigning the city’s major arterial streets to improve safety. Something that’s long past due here in LA.

A Florida writer says the key to safe bicycling is to minimize the risks you can, and prepare for the risks you can’t.

 

International

Olympic cyclist Chris Hoy calls on British political parties to make ambitious pledges to boost bicycling, saying bikes should be at the front of the queue when designing new roads and junctions. Or redesigning old ones, for that matter.

A new Kickstarter project promises a lightweight, flexible bike lock that withstands up to five minutes of hacking; the project is fully funded with over a month to go.

New headphones promise to improve safety by allowing riders to listen to music without blocking their ears.

There’s something seriously wrong here, as British school kids are being taught self defense to fend off bike-jackings.

UK police blame the victim, declining to pursue charges against a driver who couldn’t explain why she didn’t see the cyclist she ran down, because the rider wasn’t wearing hi-viz or a helmet.

Dutch rider Thomas Dekker retires from pro cycling when he can’t find a team to sign with after failing to set the hour record.

Is New Zealand’s new Bike Tree sculpture great public art, or a waste of bikes that could be fixed up and donated to those who can’t afford one? I love art, but bikes were made to ride.

Dahon unveils a new folding electric bike built in collaboration with Ford, and based on the 107-year old Tin Lizzy. At least it’s not yet another unneeded hi-end hi-tech concept racing bike.

Vietnam is hosting its inaugural mountain bike stage race.

 

Finally…

Seriously, you can’t make this shit up, as a Key West bike rider was arrested for duct taping three live iguanas to his handlebars. A study shows men who bike more than 8.5 hours a week have a higher risk of prostate cancer than those who don’t, except it doesn’t really.

And once again, Bikeyface nails it.

 

Morning Links: Westwood BID considers Westwood Blvd bike lanes, South LA cyclist critical after collision

If you hurry, you may still have time to make this morning’s meeting of the Westwood Village Business Improvement District, which will vote on the much needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

The proposed lanes have faced intense opposition from Westwood area business and homeowners, even though the latest proposal doesn’t remove a single traffic lane or parking spot, suggesting the real opposition is to having bikes on the boulevard, period.

The meeting begins at 8:30 this morning, at the Skylight Gardens Restaurant, 1139 Glendon Ave.

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KCBS-2 reports a cyclist is in very critical condition after being hit by a car in South LA Wednesday evening, following earlier reports that the unidentified rider had been killed

Sounds like prayers or good thoughts, whichever you are comfortable with, are in order.

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Are you excited yet?

Streetsblog offers detailed tips on how to get the most out of Sunday’s first San Fernando Valley CicLAvia.

Walk Bike Burbank is offering free safety checks on Saturday to help you get ready, while Flying Pigeon is hosting a feeder ride from Northeast LA.

We Like LA explains what a CicLAvia is for the uninitiated.

And the Militant Angeleno once again provides his incomparable guide to CicLAvia, proving he knows the Valley as well as he does the rest of LA. Although he’s got some serious competition from upstart CiclaValley this time around.

My advice is print out both guides and carry them with you.

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In a case way too reminiscent of the death of LA cyclist and former Napster executive Milt Olin, a Florida sheriff’s deputy is cleared of charges he killed a 15-year old bike rider while using his car’s onboard computer.

Then again, he only faced a $1,000 fine.

Evidently, life is cheap down there.

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Local

LADOT, LA Great Streets and Bureau of Street Services officials visit the Temple City cycletracks on Rosemead Blvd. Let’s hope they were taking notes.

Very cool Strava graph shows riders convening for, then riding, last Sunday’s Marathon Crash non-Race; Milestone Rides writes about riding the Crash for the first time.

Actress AnnaLynne McCord, who was blessed with an abundance of capital letters, dons a purple robe to ride her orange Townie on Venice Beach.

Glendale is about a year away from creating a bikeable recreational riverfront across the LA River from Griffith Park.

The Easy Reader names Hermosa Cyclery as the South Bay’s best bike shop.

 

State

Two bike riders are injured in Orange County collisions, though neither appears to be seriously hurt.

An SUV driver takes out a fire hydrant in San Diego, so naturally, a bike rider gets the blame.

A Central Coast TV station explains why green lanes are. Green, that is.

Two recent CSU Monterey graduates are riding cross country to raise funds for a homeless shelter.

Palo Alto opts for a more conservative and bird-friendly design for their new bike and pedestrian bridge.

A Napa Valley letter writer says it’s impossible to comply with the state’s three-foot passing law without risking a head-on collision with another vehicle, not realizing that the law actually allows drivers to wait until it’s safe to pass.

 

National

Nice to know the head of AASHTO, the organization representing state DOTs, says highway design has absolutely nothing to do with cyclist and pedestrian deaths. Odd that he could talk with his head buried so deeply in the sand, among other places.

More great research from the University of Duh, as a new study shows we ride our bikes because we like it better than driving.

Portland riders are about to get a new car-free bridge. And yes, we should be jealous.

A Maine driver gets 10 years for the drunken wreck that killed a bike riding father and injured his wife and 17-month old son while they were riding on the sidewalk.

The US pro national championships will return to Chattanooga for the third straight year. Let’s hope they train race moto officials a little better this time around.

After a DC cyclist has his bike stolen at gun point, he gets it back when the thief brings it into the same shop where he’d just gotten an estimate to have it fixed.

A Baton Rouge judge sentences a DUI driver to 25 years in jail for killing one cyclist and maiming another, then suspends all but 7.5 years; the driver had a blood alcohol level of .307 — nearly four times the legal limit — at the time of the crash.

Alabama considers giving cyclists a five-foot passing margin, rather than just three.

 

International

Two Cambridge UK councilors call for bike riders to be registered and insured, and have to pass a national proficiency test; an Aussie writer provides 18 reasons why that’s a bad idea, all of which apply here, as well.

France offers to pay people to bike to work. And almost no one bites.

Secretary of State John Kerry gets free service on his Serotta when it breaks down while taking a well-guarded ride during the Iran nuclear talks in Lausanne, Switzerland.

 

Finally…

Lance Armstrong is reportedly trying to get his lifetime ban reduced; let’s hope he has better luck than Pete Rose has. An NFL medical consultant says more kids get hurt riding bikes than playing football, but fails to note that a hell of a lot more kids ride bikes, too.

And new LA resident and former Bicycling Editor-in-Chief Peter Flax writes movingly about how a good ride can help you cope with life’s most heartbreaking challenges.

 

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.

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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

Bike rider killed one week ago in Chino

Sometimes it takes time for news to filter out from remote locations. Though you wouldn’t think that would apply to someplace like Chino.

Yet that’s what happened here, as news finally broke that a bike rider was killed while riding in the city last Sunday.

The weekly Chino Champion reports that 28-year old Pomona resident David Alas was riding east on Philadelphia Street at 6:51 pm when he was hit by a car traveling north on Benson Ave. He died a short time later at Chino Valley Medical Center.

No other information is available at this time.

A satellite view shows a four-way intersection controlled by traffic signals in every direction, suggesting that either the victim or the driver may have run the red light. It’s also possible that the light may have changed while the victim was in the intersection, and unable to make it across in time.

Anyone with information is urged to call Chino PD Traffic Investigator Scott Trosper at 909/334-3153.

This is the 10th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in San Bernardino County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for David Alas and all his loved ones.

51-year old San Diego police detective died from solo fall earlier this month after being taken off life support

Too often, when bike riders are seriously injured, it never makes the news.

Especially if there’s not a car involved.

That appears to be the case here, as a San Diego police detective died after being taken off life support earlier this month, following a solo fall.

According to a press release from the San Diego Police Department, Det. Tim Williams was seriously injured when he somehow fell off his bike on February 27th near the end of a 30-mile ride.

The 51 year old cyclist, a near 30-year veteran of the department, was revived at Palomar Hospital and placed on life support; he died minutes after being taken off on March 4th, surrounded by friends and family.

San Diego’s CBS8 places the location of the fall as near Carmel Ridge Road and Ted Williams Parkway, but doesn’t give a time of day or specify what road he was riding on. There’s also no word on what caused him to fall.

According to the department, it had been his wish to donate his organs in the event of his death; three people gained a new chance at life thanks to his kindness.

He leaves behind a wife and four children; a memorial service was held earlier today.

This is the ninth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third in San Diego County. He is also the first cyclist to die in a solo fall this year.

My prayers and deepest sympathy for Tim Williams and all his family, as well as his comrades with the SDPD.

Is California’s new three-foot passing law making a difference?

Things may be looking up for SoCal cyclists.

As noted at the end of last night’s story about the heartbreaking death of a 13-year old bike rider in Boyle Heights, bicycling fatalities are down significantly compared to this time last year.

Through March 11th, just eight bike riders have been killed in the seven-county Southern California region. That compares to 25 in 2014 — over three times as many — in what turned out to be a very bad year, with 85 bike riders losing their lives.

Although I hesitate to use the word “just” when even one death is one too many.

Yet even last year was an improvement over 2013, when 89 people died riding their bikes in Southern California — the highest total since at least 2005.

Which raises the question of whether California’s new three-foot passing law making a difference.

Maybe.

Though it’s too early to tell.

There has been a significant reduction in bicycling fatalities since the law took effect in September of last year.

From September, 2014 through February of this year, 29 bicyclist lost their lives, all as a result of traffic collisions.

In the same period through the fall and winter of 2013-14, 45 bike riders were killed, all but three in crashes with motor vehicles.

However, the reduction wasn’t instant; as the chart below shows, it wasn’t until December that any improvement in bicycling fatalities became apparent.

3-foot-law-deaths

Which suggests that it may have taken a few months for drivers to adjust to the new rules and start passing bikes more safely.

On the other hand, there’s no difference compared to September 2013 through February 2014, with 29 deaths in the same five month period.

So the jury’s still out.

A lot will depend on what happens from here, when spring and summer weather bring more riders, and more less experienced riders, onto the streets.

But it’s looking good so far.

Update: As Serge points out in the comments below — and I should have noted — correlation is not causation. While deaths are down since the implementation of the three-foot law, that does not necessarily mean it is responsible for the decrease.

The three-foot law won’t have any impact on left-cross collisions, for instance, or wrecks due to right-of-way violations. 

The data simply isn’t there yet to tell what, if anything, is responsible for the decrease in fatalities; it may be just a temporary lull, as we’ve seen before.

But it’s a question worth asking, and one we’ll want to keep an eye on.

 

13-year old boy killed while walking his bike in Boyle Heights

Somehow, I missed this one.

La Opinion reports that a 13-year old boy was killed when he was hit by a car in Boyle Heights on Monday.

According to the Spanish language newspaper, the collision occurred near the intersection of Sheridan and Cummings Streets while he was walking his bike. KCBS-2 places the time of the collision around 7:50 pm; both sources say he died about four hours later.

The driver remained at the scene. No other details about the collision are available at this time, though KCBS says the car “slammed” into the boy, suggesting a relatively high-speed impact.

The victim was identified by La Opinion as Chris Rodriguez, described as a cheerful boy who frequently rode his bike around the neighborhood.

An altar with flowers and a helium balloon had appeared at the site by morning; the paper reports family members gathered around it, weeping inconsolably.

Adding to the tragedy, Rodriguez’ father had asked him not to go out that night, but the boy went out for what would be his last ride anyway.

Speeding cars make the intersection dangerous for children riding their bikes and skateboards, according to people in the neighborhood, who say a simple speed limit sign might have made a difference.

This is the eighth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth in the County of Los Angeles; it’s also the first in the City of LA. That compares to 25 in the seven-county Southern California region this time last year, and 13 in the county.

As those numbers suggest, this has been one of the safest years in memory for SoCal cyclists so far.

But as this tragedy reminds us, even one death is one too many.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Chris Rodriguez and all his family. 

Thanks to LA Streetsblog‘s Joe Linton and Sahra Sulaiman for the heads-up.

Breaking news: OC lawyer guilty in 2013 DUI death of cyclist Eric Billings

Word is just coming in that an Orange County attorney has been convicted in the DUI death of cyclist Eric Billings two years ago.

According to a press release from the OC District Attorney’s office, Hasti Fakhrai-Bayrooti pled guilty to a single felony count of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated on Tuesday.

The DA reports the 41-year old Rancho Santa Margarita woman had prescription drugs — including Xanax and Suboxone — in her system when she ran down Billings’ bike from behind on March 15, 2013, as he rode in a marked bike lane on Santa Margarita Parkway in Mission Viejo.

Fakhrai-Bayrooti was apparently unable to plead down to a lessor charge; she was convicted on the same count she was originally charged with, which is unusual in cases that don’t go to trial.

According to the press release, she is currently out on $100,000 bond, and faces up to four years in state prison when she is sentenced on May 8th.

She also faces possible removal from the state bar following her conviction; she has been an active member of the bar since 2005.

Thanks to Edward Rubinstein, and Amy Senk of Corona del Mar Today for the head-up. (And apologies for misspelling Rubinstein’s name at first.)

 

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