Archive for Bicycle Safety

Update: Bicyclist killed in Santa Ana collision Monday evening

More bad news, as a bike rider was killed crossing a street in Santa Ana.

According to the Orange County Register, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was struck around 6:07 pm at the intersection of 17th and La Bonita Streets. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The New Santa Ana website reports he was north on La Bonita when he was hit by a pick-up; no word on which direction the truck was going.

The driver remained at the scene, and cited darkness as the reason he did not see the victim until it was too late. He was not suspected of being under the influence.

However, according to Google Maps, that address doesn’t exist, although it appears to be the intersection of La Bonita and Westminster Ave, which becomes 17th east of the Santa Ana River.

Assuming that is the correct location, a satellite view shows an uncontrolled six lane street on Westminster, with a 45 mph speed limit and the sort of wide lanes that too often encourage speeding. There is a stop sign on La Bonita at Westminster.

There’s no word on whether the victim had lights or reflectors on his bike. But there are street lights at the intersection, so the rider should have been visible if they were working. So the question becomes why the driver didn’t see the victim before it was too late.

Anyone with information is urged to call Investigator Bao of the Santa Ana Police Department at 714/245-8214.

This is the eight bicycling collision in Southern California already this year, and second in Orange County. It’s also the fifth in Santa Ana in just the last two years.

Update: The Register has identified the victim as 77-year old Huntington Beach resident Thuc Van Nguyen.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Thuc Van Nguyen and his loved ones.

Thanks to Ed Ryder for the heads-up.

Morning Links: Glendale driver brake-checks cyclists; Newport Beach legal settlement could fix deadly intersection

In case you haven’t seen it already, the big story of the day was a driver assaulting two cyclists riding in Glendale.

CiclaValley broke the story, reporting that the incident happened sometime last week as friends of his were riding on Chevy Chase Drive.

In the video, you can clearly hear an impatient driver honking from behind as the cyclists ride just outside the door zone, even though the bike computer visible at the bottom of the screen appears to show they’re traveling at 27 mph.

The driver then buzzes them at an unsafe distance, in clear violation of the three-foot passing law, before slamming on his brakes and brake-checking the riders, nearly forcing one off the road while the other has to swerve dangerously out into traffic to avoid rear-ending the car.

Yet even though this is an obvious case of assault with a deadly weapon — in fact, Dr. Christopher Thompson got five years for a similar incident — CiclaValley implies the Glendale police have been slow to act, at best.

Using a car in a violent manner should be no different under the law than if the driver had taken out a gun and shot at the riders. And should be taken just as seriously, especially since there’s video evidence of the assault.

The one problem with using video like this to press charges, according to officers at the last meeting of the LAPD bike liaisons, is that it’s difficult to prove who was behind the wheel.

Yet even that is not a factor here, since KNBC-4 tracked down the driver, who freely admits he was the driver in the video.

According to his version of events, he honked as he passed — for reasons he failed to explain, just as he failed to explain the apparent punishment pass — then slammed on his brakes after he heard something hit his car, suggesting that one of the riders hit it as he passed.

Yet the video clearly shows that never happened.

There’s no sound of a smack against a car, which should have been clearly audible. And there’s no wobble of the bike, which would have been inevitable if the rider had reached out and hit a hard object as it zoomed by.

The unidentified man, who says he’s a former cyclist himself, portrays himself as the victim in this incident, and says he was just trying to get away from those scary men who were attacking him.

Even though he was the one who honked for no apparent reason. And he was the one who passed dangerously close, even though he was legally required to be well out of their reach. And he was the one who slammed on his brakes directly in front of the two bike riders.

KNBC is no doubt patting themselves on the back for tracking the driver down and getting an exclusive interview with him. But they should be hanging their heads in shame for failing to confront him about the obvious holes in his story, accepting at face value an excuse that is both implausible and demonstratively false.

As should the Glendale police for failing to take action to protect people who are using the streets in a safe and legal manner.

They will most likely claim this is a case of he said/she said, and try to wash their hands of the matter.

But the evidence is right there on the video. All they have to do is look at it.

This just in: CiclaValley breaks down the driver’s statement in great detail, and doesn’t find a lot of truth to it. Or any, for that matter.

Thanks to Lois for the heads-up.

………

After the authorities refused to press charges, Philadelphia bicyclist posted video of a confrontation with a road raging hearse driver who hit him with the van’s mirror, and threatened him for the crime of kicking over a traffic cone.

………

Most legal settlements involving cyclists include a payment to the victim to help recover his or her loses.

It’s not often one tries to keep it from happening again.

Torrance law firm AgnewBrusavich announced a settlement with Caltrans and the City of Newport Beach over the death of 58-year old cyclist Debra Deem in 2013.

According to the settlement, Caltrans will pay $450,000, while Newport Beach will kick in another $225,000. But more importantly, both agreed to help fix the deadly intersection where it happened.

Deem had been riding north on PCH in Newport Beach around 4:30 pm on August 27th when she approached the intersection at Newport Coast Drive, where a freeway-style exit lane allows drivers to turn right without slowing down, and forces riders to cross high-speed traffic in order to go straight.

She was hit from behind by an 84-year old driver exiting PCH, and died the next day.

According to the lawsuit, Newport Beach was well aware of the dangers to cyclists at that intersection; in fact, a 2009 Bike Safety Task Force identified it as the intersection most in need of safety improvements.

Now that may finally happen.

The settlement negotiated by attorney Bruce Brusavich requires the city to cooperate with traffic safety experts selected by him and Deem’s husband, Cycle Werks owner Paul Deem, to design improvements to the intersection. And Caltrans will be legally required to consider those improvements in good faith.

Though evidently, not required to implement them.

It’s too late to help Debra Deem. But maybe this settlement can keep it from happening to someone else.

………

More bad news from the world of bike racing, as Claudio Clarindo, the world’s 12th ranked ultra-distance cyclist, was killed in a collision while training in Brazil, and his riding partner severely injured. Clarindo was a five-time finisher in the Race Across America, aka RAAM.

……..

Local

Continuing the theme of angry drivers, a Santa Monica cyclist encounters a driver who apparently wasn’t pleased with where he was riding. Maybe the fumes from that Porter Ranch gas leak is making drivers crazy; twice in the last week I’ve had drivers get out of their cars to physically threaten me while I’ve been walking.

LACBC board member and BikinginLA sponsor Jim Pocrass explains the new state laws affecting bike riders.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks with bike advocate Wes Reutimann, executive director of Bike SGV, about the proposed bike park at the former Puente Hills Landfill; you can sign the petition to support it here.

 

State

California is finally getting rid of the outdated LOS (Level of Service) requirement for environmental rules; the previous rules meant that removing bike lanes didn’t require an environmental review, while installing them often did.

The inventor of the cardboard-based Kranium bike helmet is suing a consortium of investors in San Diego, alleging they lied about contacts with retailers and failed to pay what they promised.

A new $5 million development in San Diego’s Imperial Beach will cater to bike riders and pedestrians with cafes, a bike shop and water station.

Police in El Centro say they don’t have enough evidence to get a warrant to look for a bike tourist’s stolen bike, even though they tracked the bike’s GPS to a house; when no one answered the door, they apparently gave up. Seriously, you’d think a GPS reading saying the bike was inside would be enough for a search warrant, but what the hell do I know.

 

National

The City Metric website asks if road diets are the next big thing for American cities, then suggests car culture may be too deeply entrenched for that to happen.

Vancouver WA gets its first green lanes.

A proposed Nebraska bill would repeal the state’s outdated must-use law requiring cyclists to use a bike path if one runs parallel to the roadway, although it may have a difficult time moving forward in the legislature.

A Dallas writer says cyclists and runners need to work together to make roads safer in the face of their common enemy, the motorist.

Nice program from a Connecticut school, allowing students to earn credit towards buying a refurbished bicycle, as well as establishing a bike club and teaching them to fix bikes.

A New York study shows that split-phase traffic signals that allow cyclists and pedestrians to cross an intersection before motor vehicles are twice as effective in reducing injuries as the more common mixing zones that send everyone through at once.

 

International

C is for Coffee, D is for Drafting, as Cycling Weekly offers the A to Z of bike riding.

A British letter writer complains about bicyclists blocking the sidewalk by chaining their bikes to posts and railings. If bike riders are locking their bikes up wherever they can, maybe it’s a sign that there’s not enough safe bike parking in the area.

If you can afford an electric car, you can now silently sneak up on cyclists in British bus lanes, where bike riders previously only had to contend with noisy buses and cabs.

Drivers usually get a slap on the wrist for killing a bicyclist; a UK German Shepard just won a three-year battle to overturn his death sentence for biting one.

Cyclelicious looks at a crowdsourced, lock-free bike parking solution in Latvia. And one that could easily work here.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could have an 18-speed front wheel drive, although pedaling while turning may be just a tad awkward. Getting out on your bike could improve your sex life.

And screw OKCupid and Tinder; all you need to find true love is Strava.

 

Update: Riverside bike rider killed in Sunday collision

Sometimes the news reports are as infuriating as the news itself.

According to the Riverside Press-Enterprise, a bike rider was struck and killed at the intersection of Meadowbrook Lane and Jurupa Avenue last night.

The police say the victim, who has been identified only as a man, was headed north on Meadowbrook when he “steered” into the intersection around 7:40 pm, and was struck by the eastbound pickup, whose driver was reportedly unable to stop in time.

The question is what does that mean? The implication is the victim was turning onto Jurupa; however, he also may have been attempting to cross and swerved to avoid the truck at the last minute.

The other question is why wasn’t the driver able to stop in time?

The police press release implies that the cyclist may have run the stop sign on Meadowbrook and ridden out into the path of the truck on the uncontrolled street, where the driver would have the right-of-way. However, that would depend on whether there were independent witnesses other than the driver who saw the victim ride out in front of the truck.

It’s also possible that he may have come to a stop, and simply misjudged the speed of the truck before riding onto the five lane, 45 mph street, or that the driver was speeding, giving the illusion that he had time to turn or cross the street. Or maybe the driver just wasn’t paying attention, and didn’t see the cyclist until it was too late.

Anyone with information is urged to call Traffic Detective Ken Madsen at 951/826-8723.

Hopefully their investigation will go a lot deeper than what’s contained in their press release.

This is the 7th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year,* and the first in Riverside County. It’s also the eight bicycling fatality in Riverside in just the last two years.

Update: Raw video from the scene shows the truck stopped in the center turn lane just beyond the intersection, with the bike stuck underneath, suggesting that the victim was crossing the street when he was struck. It also shows an open bottle of vodka standing upright next to his covered body, implying that he may have been drinking. But be forewarned, the video is very difficult to watch.

*I’ve added the death of a teenager who was killed while walking his bike on the train tracks near Oxnard.

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

Update: 44-year old bike rider killed in Spring Valley collision

Word is just coming in that a bike rider has died following a collision in the La Presa neighborhood of Spring Valley, east of San Diego.

Unfortunately, very few details are available at this time.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the victim suffered severe injuries when he was hit by a vehicle at the intersection of Jamacha Blvd and San Miguel Street at 6:07 pm today, and died after being taken to a trauma center.

No information is available on the identity of the victim, or how the collision occurred, though the paper notes the driver remained at the scene.

A satellite view shows a narrow, gutter zone bike lane in each direction on Jamacha, with San Miguel entering from a small hill, controlled by a stop sign. There appears to be a 45 mph speed limit on Jamacha.

This is the fifth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in San Diego county.

Update: The Union-Tribune has identified the victim as 44-year old Spring Valley resident Raymond Brown. 

The paper reports he was struck by a westbound SUV as the driver was approaching San Miguel Street; a CHP spokesperson said it was unclear which direction Brown was riding or who was at fault. 

However, there’s no word on exactly where the collision occurred; unless the driver was within 100 feet of the intersection, he should not have been driving in the bike lane — assuming that’s where the victim was riding. And even in that case, a cyclist in the bike lane would have the right-of-way.

The paper also notes that Brown was wearing a helmet, even though a collision at the speed posted for the roadway is unlikely to be survivable, with or without one.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Raymond Brown and his loved ones. 

Thanks to Richard Masoner for the heads-up.

Morning Links: An in-depth look at PCH bike wrecks, helmets make you blow up balloons, and they’re onto us

Let’s take a look at one of Southern California’s most popular riding routes.

And one of the most dangerous.

Ed Ryder* has taken a remarkable look at bicycling collisions on the coast highway, sifting through 12 years of SWITRS data complied by the CHP from 2004 through September, 2015. And by whatever name it’s known as it winds through San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles Counties, whether Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), Highway 1, Route 1, Coast Highway or Route 101.

Although you’d think someone, somewhere, would have the good sense to pick one name and stick with it.

As Ryder is quick to point out, local police agencies report injury collisions to SWITRS on a voluntary basis, which means it’s likely that some collisions don’t get reported, and therefore aren’t included in the database. In addition, data is still coming in from the years 2013-2015.

So all of these stats should be read as “at least;” actual figures may be higher. And the quality of information is only as good as what was included in their report.

Types of collisions involved in Ryder’s study include

  • bike vs. car
  • bike vs. bike
  • bike vs. pedestrian
  • bike vs. fixed/movable object
  • bike vs. animal

PCH-Chart-1

So let’s take a look at some of the highlights.

The most common type of wrecks were

  1. broadside collision, 34%
  2. undefined “other,” 23%
  3. sideswipe, 11%
  4. rear end, 9%
  5. striking an object, 8%,
  6. overturned, 6%
  7. collision with a pedestrian, 3%
  8. not stated, 3%
  9. head-on, 3%

The relatively low ranking of the last one may be due in part to the divided design of the highway in many places. And as he notes, when “other” and “not stated” reflect a combined 26% of the totals, it makes it hard to come up with solutions to prevent them.

PCH-Chart-4

Surprisingly, Malibu isn’t the most dangerous city for cyclists on the highway; even when combined with Los Angeles, they only rank second to Newport Beach, which is far and away the riskiest place to ride a bike on the coast highway. Only one city from San Diego County made the top ten.

  1. Newport Beach, 27%
  2. Long Beach, 16%
  3. Huntington Beach, 15%
  4. Los Angeles, 10%
  5. Malibu, 8%
  6. Encinitas, 7%
  7. Laguna Beach, 5%
  8. Oceanside, 5%
  9. Seal Beach, 4%
  10. Redondo Beach, 3%

PCH-Chart-3

Not surprising, however, is who or what is hitting people on bikes, or vice versa. The only surprise is that trucks rank so low on the list.

  1. Moving cars, 74.6%
  2. Solo crashes, 12%
  3. Other riders, 5.7%
  4. Parked vehicle, 3%
  5. Motorcycles, 1.8%
  6. Pedestrians, 1.8%
  7. Trucks, 0.8%

PCH-Chart-4

The good thing is it seems to be getting a little better out there.

PCH-Chart-5

As you would expect based on the earlier chart, Orange County leads the way in bike-involved collisions on the highway, followed closely by Los Angeles County.

PCH-chat-1a

Where fault was assigned, drivers got most of the blame in OC, and cyclists in LA, which could reflect the long-assumed windshield bias of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. San Diego County found more bike riders at fault, but blame was more evenly distributed than in the other two counties.

PCH-Chart-County

And with just a few exceptions, bicyclists were most likely to get the blame, regardless of the type of collision; only in the case of sideswipes were drivers most likely to be found at fault.

PCH-Chart-6

On the other hand, you’re more likely to be the victim of a hit-and-run in LA County.

PCH-Chart-Hit-And-Run

There’s a lot more information in the report — 30 pages worth, in fact. All of it fascinating.

And all of it should be required reading for city and county officials, and anyone else concerned with improving bike safety on one of Southern California’s most scenic and vital riding routes.

You can download the full report here.

*Ed Ryder describes himself as just another bike rider who would like to help make our transportation infrastructure safer for the variety of people who use it, by providing decision makers quality quantitative information with which informed decisions can be made.

Update: An earlier version of this piece mistakenly relied on a previous draft of Ryder’s report, that has been updated to reflect the latest draft.

………

A new study shows that if you wear a bike helmet, you’re more willing to over-inflate a balloon than if you wear a cycling cap. And somehow, extrapolates that to mean you’ll take more chances riding your bike, too.

Sure, let’s go with that.

………

They’re on to us, comrade.

A writer with a severe case of windshield perspective in convinced bicycle riding is just a series of microaggressions stemming from our hatred automobiles and fossil fuels, and designed to physically obstruct traffic.

Never mind that most cyclists drive cars, as well.

All because bike riders in Minneapolis have called for lowering the speed limit a whole 5 mph in order to improve safety for everyone, including those behind the wheel.

Maybe he’d feel better if he got out of his car a little more.

………

Local

A meeting will be held at 6 pm tonight at Venice High School to discuss LA’s Westside Mobility Plan. Show up to demand the bike lanes we were promised on Westwood Blvd, and other key routes in West LA.

LADOT Bike Blog offers a detour guide to get around the closures on the LA River bike path. If it looks complicated, don’t worry. It is.

The LACBC looks at how much bike and pedestrian funding is needed in a proposed transportation sales tax ballot measure, while Damien Newton talks with active transportation advocate Jessica Meaney about efforts to ensure the tax would be used to create stronger communities and address regional mobility needs.

West Hollywood moves forward with plans for putting bike lanes on Fairfax Ave between Fountain and Willoughby.

Better Bike reports the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills voted to make updating the city’s 1977 Bike Master Plan a priority for this year. The old plan, which was never implemented, called for routing bike riders through alleys in the downtown district.

Bike SGV is hosting a free two hour bike commuting and safety class this Saturday.

 

State

The Cal Health Report says, despite the Governor’s lofty rhetoric about climate change, his new budget focuses almost totally on cars and does virtually nothing to promote active transportation.

Family members remember Sidney Siemensma as someone who practically lived for bicycling, a day after his body was found on an Irvine bike path, the apparent victim of a homicide.

The madness continues in Coronado, where the city’s mayor refuses to do anything to improve safety on a dangerous street in apparent fear of self-multiplying traffic signals.

A Victorville bike shop lost nearly $13,000 of high-end bicycles in a burglary.

A judge rules 61 Santa Rosa homeowners have the right to ban bikes, but not pedestrians, from a pathway through their private development.

As expected, San Francisco’s mayor has vetoed the city’s proposed Idaho stop law; the SF Chronicle says it was the right move. Meanwhile, a state legislator tries to make running red lights more legal for motorists. Evidently, stop means stop only if you’re on a bike.

 

National

Bicycling says badass bike patches are back, and recommends five breeds of trail dogs for your next off-road excursion.

A new mountain bike advocacy group forms to fight for access to federal wilderness areas.

Good news from Colorado, as the USA Pro Challenge will go on as planned this year. Evidently, the Challenge refers to finding funding to support the popular, but money-losing race.

Boulder CO councilmembers demand more safety data before transportation officials install street treatments, only to remove them later.

Now that’s more like it. A bike shop in my hometown applies for a beer and wine license to serve suds to their customers.

People for Bikes says the Missouri proposal to require a 15-foot fluorescent flag on all bikes isn’t as funny as you think. I never thought it was funny, myself; idiotic, perhaps, but not funny.

A New York alternative transportation group says the city isn’t doing enough to stop traffic deaths, and at the current rate, won’t meet it’s Vision Zero goals until at least 2055.

A Baltimore letter writer says a recently painted bike lane won’t keep riders safe as long as it forces riders to switch lanes 15 times in 1.2 miles as it moves back and forth to accommodate parking.

 

International

Victoria BC merchants oppose bike lanes on a key street if it means the loss of parking spaces. Because as we all know, customers never, ever arrive on bicycles, and bike riders never spend money anywhere.

A Quebec coroner calls for side guards on trucks and more bike boxes, as well as making riders aware of the dangers of riding into a truck’s blind spot.

A writer for the Guardian wonders why Rapha is the brand so many riders love to hate. Meanwhile, another writer considers the propriety of wearing Lycra into the office following your commute.

Caught on video: Evidently running out of things to be offended by, the British press is shocked! shocked! when a bike courier goes on a profanity-laced tirade at the cab driver who ran over his bicycle — two months ago. As the owner of another currier service pointed out, while his reaction may have been over the top, the rider had a right to be upset since it could have been him under the van.

The former Governator plans to ride the streets of Edinburgh before attending a $2100 per plate black-tie dinner.

A tech website looks at Norway’s 450-foot long bike elevator.

 

Finally…

Your next bike shorts could tell you when you’re doing it wrong. You’re the reason they’re having trouble developing driverless cars.

And a Burbank burglary suspect kindly puts herself where bike thieves belong.

 

Morning Links: Possible murder on Irvine bike path; public meeting tonight to discuss traffic in Griffith Park

A bike rider may have been murdered along a popular bike path in Irvine.

Police responded to a report of a man lying on the San Diego Creek Trail, which parallels the 405 Freeway, around 7 am Tuesday.

They found a man death from multiple injuries; a bicycle was lying nearby, but it was unclear if it belonged to the victim.

According to KNBC-4, the victim was later identified as 51-year old Irvine resident Sidney Siemens. Police are investigating his death as a homicide.

The station reports that a resident in a nearby apartment complex hear a loud argument around 4 am and realized something was wrong, but didn’t do anything because it wasn’t her problem.

Nice.

Thanks to Ed Ryder for the heads-up.

………

The Parks Department has come up with a plan to ease congestion in Griffith Park, by providing a free shuttle service to encourage people to park at underutilized lots at the base of the park.

The downside is that the plan calls for running the shuttles along Mt. Hollywood Drive, which has been closed to motor vehicle traffic for the last few decades. CiclaValley explains why this could be a disaster for bike riders.

A meeting will be held at 7 pm tonight to discuss the plan at the Friendship Auditorium, 3201 Riverside Dr.

Be there if you ride or hike in Griffith park, since this could directly affect your safety and enjoyment of the park. Or if you can’t attend, email your thoughts to the officials listed on the CiclaValley link.

………

You’re invited to attend a Bicycle Awareness Event hosted by the LAPD’s South Traffic Division from 10 am to 1 pm today at the northwest corner of Jefferson and Hoover near the USC campus.

Officers from the South Traffic Division will be accompanied by Southwest Division Senior Lead Officers and representatives of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition to educate students and bike riders about bicycle and motorist safety, as well as the laws affecting bicyclists.

………

The man killed by a train while walking his bike along the tracks near Oxnard on Monday has been identified as 18-year old Oxnard resident Lisandro Licea; the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death an accident.

………

A national consumer watchdog group calls the proposed tunnel to complete the 710 Freeway one of 12 highway boondoggles in the US. Glendale’s mayor prefers an option that would convert the current freeway stubs into great streets, including bike lanes and transit.

The group is no fan of the failed 405 widening project either, which added HOV lanes through the Sepulveda pass at a cost of $1 billion without improving traffic.

………

Local

Not too surprisingly, as Downtown LA has boomed, so has crime, including bike thefts. So always lock your bike securely, and in a highly visable public place whenever possible.

Bicycling talks with the president of Los Angeles-based Bike Angels, which loans bikes to people participating in charity rides.

Pierce Brosnan and family are one, uh, three of us, as they go for a beachy bike ride in the ‘Bu.

Santa Monica Spoke invite you to welcome New York’s Jeffrey Tanenhaus as he completes his cross-country journey on a bikeshare bike.

The route has been announced for Long Beach’s Beach Streets Downtown ciclovía, aka open streets event, on March 19th; parts of Fourth Street, as well as Pine, Linden and Cherry Avenues will be opened to non-motorized traffic.

 

State

Oceanside officials consider a road diet on the Coast Highway in response to the death of a 12-year old boy riding his bike to school last year.

The count is now up to 53 bicycles and three motorcycles confiscated for riding on a San Diego Marine base.

An injured mountain biker was airlifted off a Thousand Oaks hiking trail Tuesday morning; no word on the rider’s condition.

 

National

It probably won’t come as a surprise to most bike riders that many drivers think “share the road” signs mean you’re supposed to get the hell out of their way.

City Lab looks at the worldwide boom in bikeshare, which will now include downtown Las Vegas. Meanwhile, a new study shows bikeshare systems in the US aren’t reaching the poor. Not too surprising, when you consider that most require a credit card and membership fees.

A Texas driver gets nine years after being convicted of drunk driving for the ninth time. Evidently, the other eight weren’t enough to convince authorities he doesn’t belong on the streets.

Minneapolis cyclists call for lowering speed limits to 25 mph.

An Ohio man gets nine years for the drunken hit-and-run death of a cyclist last year.

New York’s mayor says Vision Zero is working, even if others think the city isn’t moving fast enough. Meanwhile, a cyclist says sometimes conflict zones aren’t the fault of a bad bike lane, but rather an inadequate sidewalk.

WaPo looks at what riders need to know to keep riding through the winter.

 

International

Norway has begun deporting refugees who exploited a loophole by bicycling across the border with Russia.

While Copenhagen moves forward with a series of bike and pedestrian bridges, some complain they’re focusing on spectacular designs over practicality.

A 59-year old Italian jazz musician with a passion for cycling has been banned from the latter for doping.

A drug-sniffing Swiss police dog travels via his own custom cargo bike. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

A South African cyclist is recovering from severe injuries he received when someone shoved a stick through his spokes, then hit him with a brick to steal his cellphone.

When Brisbane’s city council refuses to take action to improve a dangerous intersection, cyclists commission their own plan for a $5 million bikeway.

Not content to hurl abuse, a carful of Aussie jerks came back to hurl a 1.25 liter soda bottle at a cyclist, denting her helmet and knocking her off her bike.

 

Finally…

If you still haven’t gotten your 2016 calendar, how about one featuring sober naked male cyclists? Who says bike helmets don’t grow on trees?

And maybe you could be a little more gracious when you ride your bike.

 

69-year old bike rider killed in Calexico; first bicycling fatality in Imperial County since 2012

Sadly, sparsely populated Imperial County’s three year record of no bicycling fatalities ended on Friday.

According to KXO radio, 69-year old Irineo Martinez Martinez was hit by a semi-truck as it was making a right turn while he was trying to cross the road at Cole and Rockwood in Calexico around 8:30 pm Friday.

He was pronounced dead at the scene. No other information is available.

A street view shows a major intersection with at least two lanes in every direction, along with multiple turn lanes; no word on which direction Martinez was traveling, or where the truck was turning.

This is the fourth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in Imperial County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Irineo Martinez Martinez and all his family. 

Morning Links: Examining 2015 SoCal bicycling fatalities, and San Diego mountain bikes seized by Marines

Seventy-three.

That’s how many people lost their lives while riding a bicycle in Southern California last year.

While far too many, that is a significant improvement over the year before, when 86 riders were killed on SoCal streets, and in 2013, when 89 people died riding their bikes.

Of those,

  • 29 died in Los Angeles County, compared to 31 in 2014
  • 17 died in Orange County, compared to 20 in 2014
  • 12 died in San Diego County, compared to 9 in 2014
  • 10 died in Riverside County, compared to 13 in 2014
  • 3 died in San Bernardino County, compared to 11 in 2014
  • 2 died in Ventura County, compared to 2 in 2014
  • No one was killed either year in Imperial County

Meanwhile, 11 riders were killed in the City of Los Angeles in 2015, which is the same as in 2014.

Of the 52 Southern California cases where there was enough information to reasonably assign blame, it was evenly divided, with cyclists at fault in 26 of the fatalities, and drivers at fault in the other 26.

A few other key stats from last year,

  • 59 bike riders died in traffic collisions
  • 8 bike riders died in solo falls
  • 3 bike riders died in train collisions
  • 2 bike riders died of natural causes while riding

In addition,

  • 32 of the fatal bicycling collisions occurred at night
  • 23 occurred during the day
  • 7 occurred at dusk
  • 3 occurred at daybreak
  • 12 of the fatal bicycling collisions were hit-and-runs
  • 10 involved drug or alcohol use; in two of those cases, it was the cyclist who was under the influence
  • 2 involved drivers cited for distracted driving
  • No cyclists died as a result of dooring

And in the cases where it was indicated,

  • 16 of the victims weren’t wearing a helmet
  • 9 of the victims were wearing a helmet

It should be noted that these stats are complied primarily through published reports, as well as other confirmed sources. It is likely that one or more fatalities may not have been reported, and therefore, not included in these totals. Not all amounts will add up to total since some factors, such as the time of the incident, are not always reported.

………

Seriously, you don’t mess with the Marines.

Roughly 45 San Diego-area mountain bikers learned that the hard way over the weekend when they were stopped by armed Marines, ticketed and had their bikes confiscated for trespassing on military property.

The riders had evidently strayed onto the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, formerly home to the famed Top Gun school before the base was transferred from the Navy to the Marine Corp.

According to a thread on the mtbr forum, riders had received plenty of warnings that the trails were closed to the public, since they were close to areas where live fire drills are conducted. However, many riders complained that they were poorly marked, if at all, even though the Marines indicated notices had been posted on all trails and the San Diego Mountain Biking Association has been warning about the closure for months.

The riders were escorted off the base, and forced to walk back to their cars or have someone pick them up. They can reclaim their bikes once the citations have been adjudicated and any fines paid.

………

Local

The Times reviews a sandwich shop just off the LA River bike path in Frogtown, where the dishes are named after public radio hosts.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson issues his recommendations for the governing body for SoCal bike racing.

 

State

A new parking structure in Old Towne Orange will include a bike plaza with bike racks and lockers.

Sad news from Oxnard, where a teenager was killed while walking his bike along a train track.

 

National

Bicycling talks with five cyclists — or maybe six, they can’t seem to decide — about how it feels to get hit by a car, and how it changed the way they ride.

If riding your bike isn’t environmentally-friendly enough, Grist talks eco-friendly bike lube.

Gear Junkie is the latest to discover the all-black company of bike-riding Buffalo Soldiers of the 1890s. Though someone should tell them quite a few non-elite cyclists ride more than 1,900 miles.

Oregon district attorneys want to make it a felony to hit a bicyclist with a car, presumably intentionally.

Boulder CO, a platinum level bike friendly community, is removing a pair of protected bike lanes, in part because of complaints from cyclists.

An Iowa paper looks at how Minneapolis became a bicycling mecca and asks why not us?

Eight years after a legally blind Columbia MO Army vet took up bicycling, he’s gained independence, improved his fitness and competed in his first triathlon.

Chicago tries, and fails, to have all the bike lanes in the city declared recreational zones to avoid liability for failing to maintain them. Under that standard, all the streets would be racetracks.

New York’s mayor agrees to reduce the number of horse drawn carriages in Central Park, while kicking out their pedicab competition. Thanks to Aurelio Jose Barrera for the heads-up.

North Carolina boy scouts offer advice for aspiring cross-county charity cyclists after raising $35,000 in memory of a schoolmate who died of cancer.

 

International

Rio, Brazil opens a beachfront bike path that the BBC calls one of the most beautiful in the world; the city plans to complete 450 kilometers of bikeways — roughly 280 miles — in advance of next year’s Olympics.

A pioneering new stem cell treatment is delivering “miraculous” results, enabling formerly wheelchair-bound patients to walk again; a former triathlete is even able to ride his bike.

Heartbreaking story of a young Toronto cyclist taking a tour through the Deep South looking for the roots of American music. And the half-assed investigation into his death that exonerated a truck driver who claimed he had committed suicide by riding head-first into the truck, while witnesses and evidence indicated the driver actually ran him down from behind.

A British website looks at suits specially made for bicycle commuting.

Denmark will install bike boxes at busy intersections to prevent right turn collisions.

An entrepreneurial Egyptian couple build their own bike-borne sweet potato street food cart for the equivalent of just $255.

The beat goes on, as a South African mountain biker is the latest cyclist busted for doping.

The woman riding through the Southern Hemisphere to collect 1001 stories about climate change pauses to catch her breath in New Zealand.

 

Finally…

It’s one thing to give 110% effort; it’s another to get overwhelming support for bicycling when a whopping 156% of local residents respond. Do you really need a new law to clarify that bike riders have the right-of-way when they have the right of way?

And what good is a cycling superhighway if a driver is going to tailgate you on it?

 

Update: 47-year old bicyclist killed in collision with semi in Downey Wednesday am

More bad news.

According to the Downey Patriot, a bike rider was killed in a collision with a semi-truck this morning.

The victim, identified only as a 47-year old Norwalk resident, was riding west on Stewart and Gray Road when he was struck by the truck traveling south on Bellflower Blvd.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver, a 59-year old Lakewood man, was questioned and released. He did not appear to be under the influence.

No word on how the collision occurred. A satellite view shows an intersection with four lanes in each direction, and right and left turn lanes on Steward and Gray.

This is the third bicycling fatality this year, and the first in LA County. And it’s the third in Downey in less than two years.

Update: The victim has been identified as 47-year old Norwalk resident Michael Keeler.

According

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Michael Keeler and his loved ones.

63-year old bike rider dies over a month after Burbank collision

Sad news from Burbank, as a bike rider has died more than a month after he was injured in a left cross collision.

According to a press release from the Burbank Police Department, 63-year old Henry Peter Kuen was riding east on Magnolia Blvd when he was hit by a car turning left onto Buena Vista Street at 2:25 pm on December 9th.

Kuen was hospitalized with a severe head injury, where he remained in critical condition. It’s unclear exactly when he died; the press release only notes that the police were informed of his death yesterday.

He was not wearing a helmet; in this case, it’s possible that it might have made a difference.

The driver remained at the scene, and police note that the driver was not under the influence. However, there is no word on who had the right of way, or why he or she apparently didn’t see Kuen on his bike.

A street view shows a typical urban intersection with traffic signals and four lanes, plus turn lanes, in each direction.

Police note that the case remains under investigation. Anyone with information is urged to contact BPD Traffic Detective Sam Anderson at 818/238-3100.

The press release ends with this, which should be a mantra for everyone on the streets:

The Burbank Police Department logged four fatalities in 2015 as a result of traffic collisions. We would like to remind the public to remain vigilant and avoid distractions while traveling on our roadways. Drive at a safe speed for conditions, don’t text/talk on your cellphone, always maintain safe distances and look twice for pedestrians and bicyclists.

This is the 73rd, and hopefully last, bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the 29th in Los Angeles County. Kuen appears to be the first person to die while riding a bike in Burbank since at least 2011.

My deepest sympathy for Henry Peter Kuen and all his lived ones. 

Thanks to Melissa Pamer and GhostBikes.org for the heads-up.

Kuen BPD Press Release

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