Archive for Bicycle Safety

Morning Links: 77-year old victim of bike hit-and-run dies, arrest made in Expo Park road rage murder case

Sadly, the 77-year old Echo Park man injured in a collision with a bicyclist has died.

The Eastsider reports Levon Avetisyan was crossing Glendale Blvd on his way to Echo Park Lake on October 15th, when he was hit by a rider described only as a white man in his 40s. He was hospitalized in grave condition with severe head trauma, and passed away on Sunday.

While police have described this case as a hit-and-run, the rider initially did the right thing by remaining at the scene until paramedics arrived. However, he left before police arrived, without leaving his name or contact information.

It’s possible the rider may not have realized he needed to stay, just like he would in any other injury collision.

If you know this person, tell him to contact a lawyer, then come forward by calling LAPD Central Traffic Division detectives at 213-833-3713.


In case you missed it earlier, an arrest has finally been made in the alleged road rage death of a bike rider next to Expo Park last month.

Or more precisely, the arrest of the suspect has finally been announced.

Thirty-five year old Ruben Wharton Vanegas was killed after he reportedly got into an argument with the driver of an SUV on October 15th. A witness reported that the driver pushed him off his bike, then threatened to run over him, before doing exactly that.

Word broke today that police had actually arrested 32-year old Andrew Williams just four days after the fatal argument; he was held in lieu of $1 million bail.

Williams was scheduled to be arraigned on charges of murder and felony hit-and-run yesterday, but the hearing was put off until November 20th. He faces 25 years to life if convicted on all charges.

Why there was no public announcement of the arrest until now is unclear.


The breaking news overshadowed Wednesday’s guest post from LA BAC member Jonathan Weiss discussing when it’s legal to ride two or more abreast, and why.

It’s a must read for anyone who rides with friends or in a group. Not to mention law enforcement officers at every level, since the law is often misinterpreted and cyclists too often ticketed for something that is legal under California law.


The College of Environmental Design at Cal Poly Pomona is hosting a reception to honor famed alternative transportation advocate Gil Penalosa in DTLA on Tuesday the 17th.

This free after-hours reception/mixer is a great opportunity to meet Guillermo “Gil” Penalosa, the founder and chairman of 8-80 Cities, previously served as the commissioner of parks, sport and recreation in Bogotá, Colombia, leading a team that designed and built more than 200 parks and opened 50-plus miles of car-free city roads for biking, walking, running and skating. His team is responsible for initiating the “new Ciclovia” — a program internationally recognized and emulated — which sees 1 million people walk, run, skate and bicycle along 121 kilometers of Bogotá’s city roads every Sunday.

The event will be held at Diego Cardoso Gallery in downtown Los Angeles.  More details and tickets are available here.



LADOT is taking applications for more People Street projects, ranging from parklets to bike corrals.

Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman says there needs to be a larger discussion of the issues affecting mobility in lower-income communities than just how they fit into a bike-specific box.

CiclaValley gets psyched up for Sunday’s Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer hill climb competition.

BikeSGV calls for bike riders to turn out at a community open house next Tuesday in support of a proposed bike park at the site of the former Puente Hills landfill.



The 26th annual conference of the Bicycle Tour Network kicked off in San Diego on Wednesday, though some attendees had their flights delayed or diverted due to an active shooter near the airport.

Bicyclists present the results of a Lodi bike summit on how to make the city a cycling destination. Maybe John Fogerty wouldn’t mind being stuck in Lodi again then.

The victim of Tuesday’s Palo Alto bicycling collision was the 52-year old chief operating officer of a San Jose instrument company.

SFist complains that San Francisco police are once again blaming the victim in a fatal bike collision, while refusing to release video that could shed light on the crash; police say the victim should have been riding in a non-existent bike lane.

More bad news from the Sacramento area, as a bike rider was killed in a collision on Wednesday.



Writing for Bicycling Retailer, Rick Vosper looks at the culture of fear that inevitably blames the bike rider, and makes bicycling look more dangerous than it is.

Bike Snob Eben Weiss makes the case for replacing the word accident with the more accurate crash, saying the former is just a cop-out.

Interesting piece from Next City that says business-as-usual fails to engage low-income bike riders.

Former Ford CEO Bill Ford sees a world moving away from the personal car.

Bicycling wants to see photos of your bike-riding dog.

The Honolulu city council considers a proposal requiring any future bike lanes to be approved by the full council, following complaints over the city’s first protected bike lane.

Dallas advocates say the city needs more bike lanes to thrive; it currently has just 41.5 miles of bike lanes, compared to nearly 12,000 miles of lanes for motorized traffic.

Bicycling rates skyrocket after Detroit installs 150 miles of new bike lanes. Soon they’ll object to bike lanes by saying LA is no Detroit.

Actress Keri Russell is one of us, as she and boyfriend/costar Matthew Rhys ride through Brooklyn on his and hers Linus bikes.

A Miami man goes on trial for killing two cyclists while fleeing from the police following a botched car burglary.



Caught on video: Urban mountain bikers take a downhill run through the former stronghold of Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

In a first in North America, Calgary unveiled an entire network of protected bike lanes at once following five years of effort and community engagement; ridership is up 300% on one key corridor.

Ottawa city counselors compromise on a proposal to limit ghost bikes and other roadside memorials, approving a six-month limit rather than the three months recommended by city staff. Although they sort of make up for it with plans for a protected bike lane that takes advantage of barriers protecting the US Embassy.

Cycling Weekly offers up eleven bike maintenance mistakes and how to avoid them. I’m sometimes guilty of number seven, but only until noticing my brakes don’t work the first time I try to stop.

A writer for the UK’s Telegraph says cyclists other than himself are stupid and thoughtless, and giving us all a bad name. Yes, we should all obey the law and ride safely; many, if not most, of us do. But enough with the “I’m okay, you suck” BS.

City Lab looks at the success of the UK’s 20’s Plenty movement; nearly 25% of the country’s population now lives in communities where the speed limit has been lowered to 20 mph.

An Irish cyclist was wearing a helmet and had lights front, back and on his backpack, and a jury still absolves the truck driver who killed him, while calling for reflective wear for cyclists. Evidently, it’s not enough to light yourself up like a Christmas tree anymore.

The Netherlands presents the Tour de France with a bill for over $150,000 after allegedly getting stiffed for hosting the start of this year’s race.

A far reaching Turkish regulation is designed to encourage bicycling rather than public transport, ensuring that bikeways go onto streets with a topography suitable for riding, and connect with public transport.



Forget foam, soon you can protect your skull with helmet made of custom-fit mushrooms. But don’t despair, there may be other uses for your current helmet.

And why sleep outside when you can go bike touring with your very own 100-pound bike-pulled camper?

Other than having to pull 100 pounds plus all your gear, that is.


Update: Arrest made in Expo Park road rage attack; driver charged with murder, hit-and-run

Evidently, it was a secret.

In a surprise announcement, My News LA reports a suspect in last month’s fatal road rage assault near Exposition Park is under arrest — and has been since four days after the October 15th incident.

Thirty-two-year old Andrew Williams was scheduled to be arraigned today on felony counts of murder and hit-and-run in the death of 35-year old Ruben Wharton Vanegas, who had not been previously identified.

That confirms an earlier witness report that Williams had been arguing with Vanegas, and had threatened to run him over before doing exactly that.

Williams has apparently been in jail the past 16 days in lieu of $1 million bond. He faces 25 to life upon conviction, according to the site.

Update: Williams arraignment has been delayed until November 20th.

Morning Links: Calbike ranks LA area state legislators, and no charges in the Texas death of a San Diego cyclist

Great chart from Calbike showing the voting records of LA area legislators on bicycle issues in the recent legislative session.

I’m pleased to see my Assembly Member has a 100% rating.


Sad news from Texas, as a San Diego man on a cross-country ride to bring awareness to homeless vets was killed in a collision last week.

Stephen Michael Clift was riding eastbound on I-40 near Groom, Texas, when he was rear-ended by a driver who admitted looking away and never seeing Clift’s bike before he ran him down.

Apparently, that’s a good enough excuse for drivers in the Lone Star State, since police announced he won’t face charges. Evidently Texas drivers have no responsibility to pay attention while operating multi-ton machines, let alone avoid killing innocent people.

The former participant in the Occupy movement had reportedly given up everything he owned to take part in the March Across America for Homeless Veterans bike tour.



A video from Metro flies viewers through the plans for an improved Union Station, including a bikeshare station scheduled for next year, and a new Bike Hub due in two years.

CiclaValley details the first part of his journey from LA to San Diego by bike for the recent Calbike Bicycle Summit.

The Santa Monica Spoke offers details on the official launch of the Breeze bikeshare program a week from tomorrow in front of SaMo City Hall.

The Long Beach city council considers improving access to the LA River bike path, including a traffic signal opposed by some residents.

Former Long Beachers The Path Less Pedaled are headed back down to SoCal for a visit.



A student at Fullerton College explains why she is afraid to ride a bike to campus. Although she’s mistaken about one thing; bicyclists are allowed to ride in the full lane on any street where the right lane is too narrow to safely share with a motor vehicle.

San Diego responds to the death of a 15-year old boy by looking into safety improvements on the street, including bike lanes.

The San Diego Union-Tribune offers advice for runners and riders on how to stay safe after dark, including a warning to watch out for wild animals.

Still more news from San Diego, as the suspected bike thief who stabbed a cop trying to stop him pleads not guilty to four counts, including attempted murder of a police officer.

Sad news from Palo Alto, as well, as a bike rider was killed while riding on a popular bike route Tuesday morning.

The mother of a fallen San Francisco cyclist calls for safer streets in the wake of his death; police say he was thrown into the path of a bus after his bike got caught in streetcar tracks.

Napa County gets its first green bike lanes in St. Helena.

A Napa bicyclist suffered serious injuries after she allegedly went through a stop sign and was hit by a car. Once again, reports that she actually blew the stop should be taken with a grain of salt unless it can be confirmed by independent witnesses.



The Daily Beast looks at what it call the inevitable event when a self-driving car kills someone on a bike.

The next time you need a royalty-free photo of someone riding in a bike lane, People for Bikes has you covered.

Since Washington state legalized marijuana use, the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes with THC in their systems has nearly doubled.

Gizmodo explains how a former video game designer helped create Salt Lake City’s first-in-the-nation protected intersection.

An Aspen CO man is arrested for DUI twice in just three hours.

The cyclist killed in the Colorado Springs Halloween Day shooting spree was an Iraq veteran and a father of two. Sadly, it might have been prevented; a woman called police to report a disturbed-looking man walking down the street with an assault rifle prior to the shooting, only to be told they couldn’t do anything because the city has an open carry law.

Now that’s taking traffic crime seriously. A Michigan woman will spend the next 25 to 50 years behind bars for the DUI hit-and-run death of an eight-year old boy while he was riding his bike; she had heroin, cocaine and Xanax in her system at the time of the crash.

The Orlando paper offers a reminder not to buy a big box store bicycle-shaped object for the holidays, and suggests getting a clearance bike from your local bike shop for close to the same price instead.



Unbelievable. Not one day behind bars for a Vancouver cop convicted of punching a bicyclist in the head — while handcuffing him for running a red light. He also gets to keep his job, although he does have to pay a whopping $100 restitution.

Evidently, Edmonton’s bike corrals have to hibernate for the winter.

The Guardian looks askance at the crowdfunded proposal to build a floating bikeway through the heart of London on the Thames River. The people behind pseudo-visionary projects like this miss the point; one of the joys of bicycling is the ability to immerse yourself in the city and go wherever you want, rather than be totally isolated from it. Although it might be fun to ride on the famed river once or twice.

Scottish police are looking for a cyclist who pushed a 72-year old bike rider off his bike and punched him repeatedly while riding on a bike path. Sad to see the road rage that has become far too common among motorists spreading to the bike world.

PRI looks deeper into why some refugees are riding bikes across the border between Russia and Norway.

Olso, Norway is investing the equivalent of half a billion dollars in bicycle infrastructure.

A Turkish cyclist explains why he’s traveling the world by bicycle; he hopes to finish his journey by 2020.



If you swerve your truck to crash into your bike-riding friend because he took it the night before and owes you money, you’re probably not really friends. Evidently, an e-bike has to look cool before commuters will use it.

And TV’s Supergirl not only rides a bike, she has one tattooed on her ankle. Like they couldn’t have found a photo of it?


Come back later this morning, when we’ll have a great guest post from LA BAC member Jonathan Weiss explaining your rights to ride two or more abreast in California, reposted from the Velo Club La Grange newsletter.


Morning Links: LA asks drivers to stay after they hit someone; suspect identified in North Fig hit-and-run

Sometimes I don’t even know what to say.

I mean, their hearts are in the right place. And it’s nice to see an outdoor advertising company give back to the city, after decades of ignoring every law on the books regarding their business.

Although the largesse of Clear Channel Outdoor in donating billboard space to the city couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the new billboard regulations currently under consideration.

Regardless of their motivation, the city teamed with CCO on Wednesday to unveil a new outdoor ad campaign designed to tackle the epidemic of hit-and-run in the LA area, apparently developed without the input of the many people who have been working to solve this problem.

Or anyone with any experience in advertising, for that matter.

The billboards, which will be posted in English, Spanish and Korean, politely ask drivers to obey the rules of the road and stick around after a collision because it might save a life.

Copied from KPCC website

Copied from KPCC website

Sure, that’s really going to motivate someone who just ran down a pedestrian after downing a few too many.

No moral authority. No threat of consequences. And not a hint at LA’s hit-and-run reward system, which pays up to $50,000 for information leading to the conviction of runaway drivers.

Let alone the state’s new Yellow Alert system, which could mean countless more eyes on the street looking for suspect vehicles.

No offense, but I’ve seen harder-hitting ads asking toddlers to switch diaper brands. And don’t get me started on the art direction, which looks like it was done on a PC in someone’s basement.

Hit-and-run is a serious problem, with serious consequences for the victims.

And we seriously deserve something better than this.


AR-151029487Police have finally identified a suspect (scroll down) in the hit-and-run death of Irma “Yolanda” Espinoza-Lugo as she crossed North Figueroa on September 18th.

They’ve asked the public to be on the lookout for William Armando Portales, described as a 49-year old Hispanic male, 5’ 6” tall and weighing 165 pounds.

And yes, there’s a $50,000 reward for anyone who helps bring him to justice.


I haven’t gotten involved in the My LA 2050 Challenge Grant Challenge on here, simply because there are so many projects that deserve your support.

It seems like a waste to make them battle it out for public votes, when the goal should be to find funding for as many as possible.

However, one of the more interesting proposals is one to build a bike and pedestrian bridge over Ballona Creek at McConnell Ave, which would help make the bike path a more viable commuter link connecting Culver City with Playa Vista.

Voting ends Tuesday, November 3rd.



Not many artists get a chance to work in asphalt. LADOT is looking for an artist to provide creative thinking to help reduce traffic deaths; the position will pay $20,000 over two years. Which is about $20,000 more than most LA artists make.

The LA City Council approved a pilot program allowing people to lock their bikes to parking meters in Westwood Village and on some major streets. Assuming the world doesn’t end, it will hopefully spread throughout the city.

There’s only one thing worse than being stopped by the CHP for riding your bike on the 101 Freeway — having them call your mom to pick you up.

Caltrans will be teaming with SCAG and UCLA to host the 2015 California Transportation Planning Conference at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in DTLA this December; advance registration is a mere $400 unless you can manage to form a non-profit or get adopted by a tribal government before then.

Santa Monica’s Breeze bikeshare program — without the quotation marks, please — is set to officially open in two weeks.

Whittier has received funding to purchase land along a railroad corridor to extend the city’s Greenway Trail.



Newport Beach’s Avocado Avenue gets a road diet, with one lane in each direction and bike lanes with a buffer protecting riders from the door zone.

Eighteen San Diego County law enforcement agencies get nearly $5 million from the state to improve bike and pedestrian safety.

CiclaValley discovers riding in San Diego isn’t the Mayberry-like experience he envisioned.

Palo Alto continues to expand their network of bike boulevards. LA has a bike boulevard, sort of.

The Marin County cycling community remembers bike advocate and Safe Routes to Schools founder Deb Hubsmith, who died of leukemia this past August.



The majority of bicyclists in the US aren’t spandex-clad roadies, children or urban hipsters, according to a new report.

Already recognized as a gold level bicycle-friendly city, Scottsdale AZ looks to get even better, building on a long history with bikes.

A Denver magazine offers etiquette tips for riding the city’s streets, most of which have nothing to do with etiquette.

The University of Toledo offers students a free bikeshare program.

Formerly auto-centric Indianapolis reclaims its soul by transforming into a bikeable, walkable city. Just five years ago, they had one mile of bike lanes; today they have 90 miles of designated bikeways, including an 18-mile rails-to-trails conversion.

A New York physician reports on a study that shows the severity of bicycling injuries appears to go up after bike lanes are installed, contradicting previous studies; however, he stresses that bike lanes are still beneficial.

Seriously? The Philadelphia Enquirer enquires as to why low-income people use the city’s bikeshare program less than wealthier people. Maybe because they can’t afford it and don’t have credit cards?

A Baltimore bike shop joins REI’s #OptOutside movement in deciding to close on Black Friday. Let me know if any LA bike shops join in; I’ll be happy to promote your shop that weekend.

An Alabama writer asks why white people like Birmingham’s new e-bike bikeshare system so much, in a city that is 73% black.



British Columbia’s state insurance agency insists on blaming the victim in a bicycling fatality, even though the driver has been charged with driving under the influence, negligence and hit-and-run. The company first claimed the cyclist was drunk or high, then settled on claims that his brakes were bad, that he failed to ride far enough right, and didn’t warn the driver before the driver hit him.

A British bike safety group calls for allowing bike riders to make the equivalent of a right turn on a red light.

Not too shabby. An American cyclist becomes an Internet star in the UK mostly by saying “not too shabby” a lot.

Nice obituary for 86-year old Scottish cyclist Ian Steel, who won the 1951 Tour of Britain, as well as becoming the unwelcome winner of the Eastern Bloc’s equivalent to the Tour de France in the middle of the Cold War.

VeloNews talks with Dutch pro Tom Dumoulin after his near miss at winning the Vuelta.

It’s a painfully small world, as the wife of a New Zealand cyclist happens upon the scene just after her husband is hit by a car driven by a man who knows him.



When you’re riding with cocaine and marijuana on your bike, don’t go through the damn red light. If you’re going to steal a bike, don’t do it in front of a former college linebacker turned sheriff’s deputy.

And a new GPS-enabled bike compass promises to make bicycling fun again. Riding a bike is, was, and always will be fun, with or without electronic gadgets.


Morning Links: Caltrans takes another step forward; CHP wants to improve bike safety, while cycling deaths up

Let’s start with bike news from a couple of state agencies.

Caltrans moves beyond its auto-centric past by launching a website for the upcoming California Bike and Pedestrian Plan, which promises to guide the department’s efforts for active transportation. Let’s hope this doesn’t turn out like that scorpion trying to hitch a ride across a river.

The CHP has received a federal grant to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety; the department plans to use it for education programs for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. They could start by improving bicycle education for their own officers, who frequently misinterpret bike law.

The CHP also reports bicycling fatalities are up 10.6% in the state this year. My records show a 12% decrease in Southern California compared to this time last year, but news from other parts of the state hasn’t been as good — if you can call 65 SoCal deaths good news. Thanks to Melissa Pamer for the heads-up.


As Streetsblog notes, this Spanish spot promoting bike commuting doesn’t need subtitles to get its message across.


Today’s news includes a couple of painful reminders to always ride carefully around pedestrians.

  • The University of Delaware student paper offers more details on the pedestrian critically injured in a collision with a bike rider on campus.
  • A 62-year old London woman has to have a hip replacement after she’s knocked down by a hit-and-run salmon cyclist.

As most bicyclists can attest, it’s not always the rider’s fault when a collision with a pedestrian occurs; people can be unpredictable and can step into the path of a bike without looking.

But it’s up to you to anticipate that behavior, and ride slowly, safely and defensively around other people, giving them the same space you’d expect from a driver.



KPCC reports that Union Station has received a state grant to remake its front entrance to be more bike and pedestrian friendly, including a new plaza and Bike Hub.

Three LA intersections make a list of the most dangerous intersections in the US: Eagle Rock Blvd and W Avenue 41, Olympic Blvd and S Bonnie Brae St, and W Temple St and N Beaudry Ave. Your best bet is to avoid them if possible; if not, use extra caution when riding through.

Advocacy group Multicultural Communities for Mobility is hiring a part-time Program and Policy Coordinator.

Members of Santa Monica Forward call on residents of the city to commit to Vision Zero.



A petition calls for a flashing crossing walk across a deadly street in Newport Beach.

San Diego becomes the latest city to adopt a Vision Zero; like LA, they’ll attempt to eliminate traffic deaths by focusing on the most dangerous traffic corridors first.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton examines San Diego’s new $200 million bike plan; meanwhile, CiclaValley makes some snap judgments about biking in the city.

New Orleans police have finally identified a suspect in the road rage beating of a La Jolla bicyclist who was visiting the city; friends say the department showed no interest in the case that left the man paralyzed from the shoulders down until they were pressured by California media.

A 12-year old Victorville boy was airlifted with a head injury after he hit a parked car when he was apparently buzzed by a truck. Naturally, the victim was blamed for coming too close to the truck, even though it’s the driver’s responsibility to pass safely.

The Davis newspaper looks at road and track cyclist Jane Eickhoff-Becker and 1930’s six-day race specialist Al Crossley prior to their introductions to the US Bicycling Hall of Fame.



Streetsblog calls the proposed federal transportation bill a step backwards, even if it does contain a nod to complete streets.

Nice piece about a Seattle handcyclist using his ‘bent to overcome disabilities following a serious riding wreck and major health issues.

Powerful protest from Boulder CO as cyclists object to the removal of bike lanes by placing bikes on the street splattered with red paint to resemble blood; naturally, they were deemed abandoned by officials and given to the police.

The fight is usually over removing parking to make way for bike lanes, but officials in Austin TX are considering plans to remove a bike lane to make room for parking.

Minnesota authorities plan to respond to the death of a cyclist by installing rumble strips along a highway shoulder, even though many riders say they increase the danger without providing a significant benefit; as one man put it, once a vehicle hits the rumble strip at 65 mph, it’s probably too late.

Formerly auto-centric Detroit now has the fastest-growing rate of bicycle commuting in the US. Needless to say, Los Angeles didn’t even make the top 10.

A popular 60-year old Akron, Ohio man was shot while riding his bike 22 years after his son was shot in the same area.

Heartbreaking story from Ohio as a competitive cyclist suffers a life-altering injury when a driver slammed into him while trying to beat a red light; she was fined just $130 for the wreck that put him in a wheelchair.

New York’s unofficial Department of Transformation is crowdfunding efforts to create their own better bikeways.

A Pennsylvania man faces a vehicular homicide charge for killing a cyclist when he fell asleep at the wheel; he said there was nothing he could do after waking up to loud noises and noticing a bicyclist in front of his car. Nice to see authorities taking this seriously and not treating it as just an accident.

Heather Cook, the former Baltimore Episcopal bishop who killed a cyclist in a drunken, distracted hit-and-run, will spend the next seven years in prison after being sentence to 20 years, with 13 suspended. Thanks to F3nugr33k for the link.

The University of Delaware is the latest college to introduce their own bikeshare program.

A New Orleans bike advocate says everyone deserves to be safe on the city’s streets.



Snowy Calgary plans to make clearing the city’s new cycle tracks a priority this winter.

The four leading candidates to replace Boris Johnson as London mayor have all said they would consider changing the law to allow cyclists to go through red lights.

The widow of a British cyclist told the driver who killed him that he should be ashamed of himself for driving a truck a day after his doctor told him not to drive due to sleep apnea.

A cyclist is fined the equivalent of $300 for doing 38 mph in a 20 mph zone in a London park, even though a park official says the speed limit doesn’t apply to bikes. But still, 38 mph in a park? Seriously

An Irish cycling website says a bike-riding, but cyclist hating, commentator should have proof before blaming the victims.

PRI talks to director Haifaa Al Mansour, who has turned her movie about a young girl who upends Saudi society by riding a bike into a novel for young girls.




After a co-founder of Mozilla Firefox catches a confrontation between two cyclists on video, he writes a song about it, and sings it badly. Evidently, it’s not possible to ride bikes with a large group of other people without calling it a race, even if you’re a wounded vet.

And now you don’t have to choose between sleek furniture and a place to store your bike; a new line of Chilean furniture is made to hold it for you. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.



Update: Bike rider killed in Carson when shipping container falls off flatbed truck

You’ve got to be kidding.

A bike rider lost his life in Carson this evening, for no reason other than he was there.

According to KTLA-5, a man was riding his bike on Santa Fe Avenue near Warnock Way around 5:05 pm Tuesday evening when a shipping container fell off a flatbed truck and landed on him.

He was pronounced dead at the scene; he has not been publicly identified.

The LA Times reports the truck somehow struck a railroad bridge, dislodging the massive container.

To make matters worse, the victim was not even riding in the street. KTLA says he was on the sidewalk when it fell on him, most likely as the truck was passing him.

Based on the limited description, there was absolutely nothing he could have done to avoid it. The only question is whether the driver struck a support, or if the load was too high to pass under the bridge.

This is the 65th bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the 26th in Los Angeles County.

Update: KABC-7 reports that the coroner’s office has identified the victim only as an Asian male, and confirms that the truck was passing the victim when the load fell off. 

According to a witness, a similar wreck occurred the previous day; fortunately, no one was hurt in that one. He blames trucking companies for cutting corners because truck drivers are on strike at the ports of LA and Long Beach. 

As a result, the companies are hiring flatbed truck drivers who simply strap the containers on, and who are paid by the load, rather than the hour, encouraging them to take chances. 

Today, it may have cost a man his life. 

Update 2: The LA coroner’s office has identified the victim as 51-year old Long Beach resident Robert Castorena.

Update 3:  BAC member David Wolfberg forwards what appears to be Robert Castorena’s Facebook page

Meanwhile, the LA Times fills in details about shipping companies and how the collision occurred; the truck apparently scraped the underneath of the railroad underpass, breaking the cables that secured the container.

No word on whether the driver, or the company he worked for, will face charges. 

Update 4: Police report the driver may face charges depending on the outcome of the investigation; they appear to be looking into whether the load was too high for the bridge. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Robert Castorena and his loved ones.


Update: West Covina bicyclist killed in (alleged) drunken late-night hit-and-run

For once, there was a cop around when he was needed.

Unfortunately, it came too late for a bike rider in West Covina last night.

Multiple sources are reporting that a bicyclist was killed in a high-speed hit-and-run just before midnight, and the allegedly drunken driver arrested moments later just a few blocks away.

Forty-four-year old La Puente resident Jose De Jesus Ruiz-Villanueva was riding his bike north on the 1100 block of South Valinda Avenue, just above Merced Avenue, at 11:49 pm when he was hit from behind by a car traveling at a high rate of speed.

A police officer who was writing a report at nearby Melinda Elementary School heard the collision, and gave chase as the driver sped away, he stopped the car on Cameron Ave, where he noticed substantial damage to the vehicle.

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, a second officer went back to the scene, and found Ruiz-Villanueva dead at the scene.

The paper reports he had been on his way to work when he was killed.

Police arrested 25-year old Presley Danielle Rodriguez of Glendora on suspicion of felony driving under the influence causing great bodily injury or death and felony hit-and-run. She was booked on $100,000 bail.

Unfortunately, this occurred in Los Angeles County, where cases like this are usually plea bargained away, leaving the drivers to face little or no jail time.

This is the 64th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 25th in Los Angeles County.

Eight of those 25 deaths have been hit-and-runs.

Update: The driver, Presley Danielle Rodriguez, faces up to 15 years in prison on charges of hit-and-run and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. And for a change, the court appears to be taking this case seriously, increasing her bond to $150,000, $50,000 more than prosecutors requested.

The SGV Tribune reports Ruiz-Villanueva was on his way to work at A-1 Power Sweeping Co in Baldwin Park; his bicycle was his only form of transportation. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jose De Jesus Ruiz-Villanueva and his family. 

Weekend Links: Scary head-on GMR driver, bikes for the zombie apocalypse, and a beer keg messenger bag

Halloween is just a week away. So let’s start with something scary.

Like an SUV driver coming around a blind curve on the wrong side of the road on Glendora Mountain Road after an ill-advised pass, courtesy of Ron.


Washington Bikes spells out what I’ve been saying for years, with 13 reasons why you’re going to need a bike when the zombie apocalypse starts.

You can practice for the days of flesh-eating doom with Walk Bike Glendale’s 4th Annual Zombie Walk tonight.


Forget a messenger bag. What you really need is this Timbuk2 keg-carrying backpack.



DTLA’s new and still unnamed bikeshare system needs a General Manager. Why shouldn’t it be you?

Frogtown’s Spoke Bicycle Café wants your help to expand into a full-fledged restaurant, microbrewery and coffee roaster along the LA River bike path; they’re trying to raise $25,000 via Indiegogo

Talk about not getting it. A Santa Monica coffee shop owner strikes gold by having a Breeze bikeshare station placed directly in front of her business, and freaks out over the loss of one or two parking spaces. If people aren’t using the bike racks next to her business, despite the city’s boom in bicycling, that should tell her something. But probably won’t. Thanks to David Huntsman for the heads-up.

Santa Monica moves towards its own Vision Zero plan.

The Ride 2 Recovery will be wheeling into SaMo today if you want to help welcome the wounded vets at the end of their week-long ride down the coast.

Say goodbye to the iconic Sixth Street Viaduct today from 2 to 10 pm, with free bike valet courtesy of the LACBC.

Don’t forget the Grand Opening of the San Gabriel Valley Bicycle Education Center, complete with costume bike train, on Sunday.



There may still be time to get to Santa Barbara for its third annual Open Streets event today, offering two miles of beachfront boulevard free from cars.

An Oakland bike rider gets a $2.5 million settlement after she was hit by a left-turning bus just after escaping from another one.



Can a little green paint improve the lowly and much maligned sharrow? Probably not.

A website on governing looks at the Complete Streets movement spreading across the country.

A Spokane city councilman claims it costs $63,500 to paint one mile of bike lanes; he’s right, as long as you include all engineering costs and expenses to repaint the entire roadway after repaving. In other words, it’s impossible to break out the relatively minor cost of bike lanes from roadwork that would have been done anyway.

A member of the Denver Broncos is raffling an autographed, custom Broncos Trek to help make Colorado children better readers.

Nice. A 98-year old Wisconsin man gets one last bike ride on a three-wheeled rickshaw.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A Boston researcher killed while riding her bike this past August was part of a team that just announced a major breakthrough in using stem cells to grow a new thyroid.

Boston bike advocates are ambivalent about the possibility of an Idaho stop law.

Streetfilms looks at DC’s protected bike lanes, while African American churches in DC are joining in a fight to preserve 75 street parking spaces used primarily on Sunday. Instead of bike lanes that would be used every day, and could help fight obesity in the community.

A League Cycling Instructor in Virginia — not a Licensed Cycling Instructor, thank you — says forget better lights, electronic turns signals and bike lanes, just learn how to ride more safely.

A New Orleans man is under arrest for intentionally running down a bike rider he suspected of trying to break into his car.



Let’s face it. Pro cyclists are just flat out better riders than the rest of us.

A group of international scientists will run and bike to Paris from both poles to demand action on climate change; although people coming from the South Pole have a hell of a lot further to go.

Even drivers are more comfortable on streets with protected bike lanes, as a Toronto survey shows.

Caught on video: This one is tough to watch, as a UK cyclist shares a first-person helmet cam view of his epileptic fit while riding a mountain bike.

Despite the headline, a British lawyer’s comments about Chinese President Xi Jinping had absolutely nothing to do with his two-wheeled mode of transportation.

A 19-year old Brit career criminal stole a car, blocked the path of a bike rider, then get out and attacked him before intentionally ramming two taxis as he made his getaway; he got three years for his efforts.

Perth, Australia is about to get its first bike boulevards. Although for some reason, the rendering still shows cars tailgating the bikes.

Life is cheap in Singapore, as a speeding taxi driver gets a whopping two weeks behind bars for killing a slow-speed salmon cyclist; at least he’s banned from driving for the next three years.



Maybe the answer is bike therapy, or it could be better riding through hypnosis. You don’t have to understand Spanish — or maybe Portuguese, despite what the story says — to enjoy seeing bike thieves get punked; thanks  to Brian Dotson for today’s language lesson.

And now you too can buy your very own ice bike from Hammacher Schlemmer for just $2,500, plus shipping and handling.


Update: Twelve-year old Oceanside boy killed in collision with pickup while riding his bike to school

Sometimes you just want to scream.

A 12-year old Oceanside boy is dead, evidently because a driver neglected to look both ways before pulling out of a driveway.

According to multiple sources, the victim apparently struck the side of the driver’s pickup as he pulled out of an RV park driveway at 1510 South Coast Highway at 7:03 this morning.

The Seaside Courier reports the driver was turning left onto the Coast Highway when he heard a thump on the side of his truck. He made a U-turn into another driveway, and got out to find the victim lodged under his rear tire.

The boy’s bike was lying nearby, as other drivers helped guide the truck off of him, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. He was flown to Tri-City Hospital, but died a few minutes later.

Despite a lack of witnesses, police suspect the victim was riding against traffic in the bike lane, while on his way to a nearby school.

However, even if he had been riding the wrong way, he should have been clearly visible unless the driver neglected to look to his right as he prepared to pull into the center turn lane.

It’s also possible that the boy would have survived if the driver had simply stopped when he heard the thump, which was most likely the sound of his bike hitting the side of the truck.

A 12-year old boy is unlikely to have been riding fast enough to suffer significant, let alone life threatening, injuries by colliding with the side of the pickup. It’s probable that the fatal injuries were caused when the driver made his U-turn with the boy trapped underneath.

This is the 63rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 11th in San Diego County.

Update: The victim has been identified as Logan Lipton, a champion surfer who loved skateboarding and frequently rode to school. 

Tragically, though, his uncle says he was unusually apprehensive about going to school his bike on Thursday.

Update 2: A comment below from Barbara says the driver is a bicyclist himself, and is very torn up about this, which is only natural. 

She also says that he didn’t see Logan on his bike because the sun was just beginning to rise.

However, even at that early hour, there should still be enough light to see. And the sun could not have been in the driver’s eyes because the street runs north and south, and he would have been facing west. 

We can sympathize with the driver; something like this must be devastating to live with. But it’s far worse for Logan’s parents, family and friends.

It’s entirely possible that Logan may bear some responsibility for what happened if it can be shown that he really was riding against traffic. And he would have been more visible with a light at that early hour, if he didn’t have one on his bike.

But let’s not forget that cars are big, dangerous machines, and it only takes a momentary lapse in attention to have life altering consequences. 

Update 3: A gofundme account has been started to help the family pay for funeral expenses; Logan’s father is a Carlsbad police officer.

He was honored by his fellow surfers with a paddle out on Sunday.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Logan Lipton and all his family and friends.



Bicyclist killed in Compton collision

More bad news, as a Compton bike rider was killed in a collision Monday morning.

According to the Press-Telegram, the victim, identified only as a man in his 30s, was riding north on Compton Ave around 6:30 am when he was struck by a vehicle driving east on El Segundo Blvd.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver remained at the site following the collision.

A satellite view shows a signalized intersection with four lanes in each direction, with a center left turn lane; Compton narrows to two lanes south of El Segundo.

No other information is available at this time.

This is the 62nd bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the 24th in Los Angeles County.

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

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