Archive for Bikes & the Law

Morning Links: Red light-running bike rider severely injured in DTLA crash, and taking Montclair to task

This is why you always stop for red lights.

And observe the right-of-way.

According to the LAPD’s Central Traffic Division, a bike rider suffered what was described as severe injuries in a collision at Washington and Grand in DTLA yesterday, and was hospitalized in critical condition.

Traffic investigators report that multiple witnesses said the victim ran the red light before being struck.

Personally, I couldn’t care less if you roll a stop sign or two when there’s no one else around. Just be sure to always observe the right-of-way, and stop if there’s conflicting traffic.

But seriously, always stop for red lights — especially if there is cross traffic of any kind.

And never forget that even if there doesn’t appear to be any traffic on the street you’re crossing, that doesn’t mean a speeding driver won’t come out of view and try to make it through the intersection before the light changes.

Which happens far too often. And too often with tragic results.

So just stop and wait a minute or two. Push the beg button if the light doesn’t change. And hesitate for moment before crossing to make sure everyone else stops, as well.

Because it beats the hell out of waking up in the ICU.

Or not waking up at all.

I hope you’ll join me in offering a prayer or best wishes for the victim, and hope for a full and fast recovery.

Photo from LAPD Central Traffic Division.

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He gets it.

Writing for Streetsblog, Mehmet Berker does a great job of slicing and dicing the new Montclair distracted walking ordinance that bans the use of electronic devices, including earpieces, while crossing the street.

Never mind that most drivers have their windows up and sound systems blaring. If they’re not too busy texting.

More to the point, the Montclair ordinance is at best a well-intentioned but misguided attempt at making safer streets – legislated by city leaders who suffer from extreme windshield bias. It’s also one more example of our car-centric society’s tendency to classify city streets as spaces solely for automobiles and place the responsibility for safety on anyone who is not driving.

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Local

Pasadena plans to extend its biking and walking networks — although the latter is usually known as sidewalks — as well as increasing the density of the Metro Bike bikeshare to 800 bikes at three docks per square mile, to help met climate goals.

The latest SGV Connect podcast discusses the proposed Orange Grove Blvd lane reconfiguration, as well as attempts to halt the popular Rose Bowl rides.

La Verne is moving forward with development of a new Active Transportation Plan.

Santa Monica adopts an “emergency” law allowing it to impound shared mobility devices, aka Bird scooters and dockless bikeshare bikes, that pose a hazard to others when left on the sidewalk or in the street.

The LACBC is holding their March RideSELA community bike ride this Sunday through the Willowbrook and Florence-Firestone neighborhoods. Check to make sure it’s still on with this weekend’s predicted rain, however.

 

State

Encinitas commissioners unanimously support plans to convert a deadly section of Highway 101 to a complete street through the Leucadia neighborhood, including bike lanes and six roundabouts. This is the same stretch of roadway where Los Angeles randonneur Jim Swarzman was killed by a drunk hit-and-run driver in 2011; his killer was eventually sentenced to just two years behind bars.

A Santa Barbara bike rider gets caught for running a stop sign in the city’s latest crackdown, as a dangerous underpass prepares for a road diet.

San Francisco plans to replace its fleet of firetrucks with smaller trucks that can fit on narrower streets. Although the purpose of the change is not to reduce conflicts with bike advocates, as the headline suggests, but to save lives.

Bike East Bay reports there are a number of bike jobs available in the Bay Area, from bike shops and bikeshare to advocacy groups.

A trio of Oakland letter writers say there are actually road diets in the city that are safe and successful.

Officials will now spend $100,000 to study backing out of a promised bike lane across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, and converting it to car use instead. Which should tell you how bicyclists rank in their priorities, when drivers get 100% of the bridge, and everyone else gets zip.

 

National

US speed skater Mia Manganello credits bicycling with helping her win the first American women’s medal in the sport in 16 years.

A new study suggests the obsession cities have with bike helmets could actually be undermining more effective ways to improve safety, noting that the real problem is people getting hit by cars.

Portland is using bicycles to revitalize a strip mall district originally build around cars. Which sounds pretty much like most of Los Angeles. So if they can do it, so can we.

A small town in Washington state passed an ordinance requiring all bike riders and skaters to wear a helmet, regardless of age.

A University of Texas student insists the local bikeshare system should provide riders with helmets. Even though there have been only two deaths on all the bikeshares operating throughout the US.

Apparently Copenhagenize’s Mikael Colville-Andersen doesn’t love Minneapolis anymore, dropping it from his list of the world’s 20 best bike cities, even though he used to recommend it. And even though he’s never been there.

Fast Company looks at New York’s bizarre crackdown on ebike-riding delivery people, and how they are being abandoned by their employers.

A Jewish letter writer concludes that the reason his brother died in a 1971 bicycling wreck while his son survived another New York bike crash 44 years later is that his brother wasn’t wearing a helmet, while his son was. Or it could have something to do with his brother getting hit by a bus.

The father of a fallen Florida bicyclist calls for more sidewalks to protect riders. A better solution would be more bike lanes — especially protected bike lanes — since sidewalk riding actually increases the risk of a wreck.

Unbelievable. After a Florida driver gets arrested for the drunken, hit-and-run death of a man on a bicycle — at over 2.5 times the legal alcohol limit — he calls the victim a dumbass for riding in the lane, and says the police should go arrest the victim’s family instead.

Miami is about to get its first woonerf, where cars, bikes and pedestrians share the street on equal terms.

 

International

A St. John’s, Newfoundland college professor is using the BikeMaps platform to develop a map of dangerous locations for bike riders.

Torontoist is back, and says it’s time to make structural solutions to the roads, because our addiction to driving is costing us lives.

A new British study shows that bicycling can help keep you young in more ways than one, including protecting the immune system. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

The Guardian’s Laura Laker says yes, people on bikes to stupid things, but the real danger comes from the people wrapped in two tons of glass and steel. And a bill cracking down on dangerous cycling won’t help.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a van driver gets community service in the death of a bike rider, after making the equivalent of a left cross in front of the victim, who had the right-of-way.

Donors have raised the equivalent of over $33,000 for South African triathlete Mhlengi Gwala, who was attacked by three men who tried to cut his legs off with a chainsaw. There’s still no explanation for the bizarre attack.

A New Zealand columnist says shopkeepers are just being complete idiots for opposing a bike lane that could boost their business.

 

Finally…

When you bounce off the hood of a car, your stunt riding has probably gone just a tad too far. And who needs a ciclovía when you’ve got your own F1 track?

Morning Links: Justice for Deborah Gresham, bike settlements soar due to bad LA streets, and BAC meets tomorrow

Finally, there’s justice for a fallen bike rider.

It’s been 16 months since Walking Dead fan page author Deborah Gresham was hit by a driver while riding her bike in Stanton.

And left to die in the street, literally within site of her own home.

The driver, Ricardo Hernandez Sandoval, was arrested less than an hour later after horrified witnesses followed him to his home. He was booked on charges of felony hit and run, felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter.

Now I’ve been informed that he was sentenced on Friday to four years for vehicular manslaughter under the influence, and five years for the fatal hit-and-run, to be served consecutively.

In other words, nine years total, along with fines and restitution.

I’m also told the assistant DA had to wipe tears from his eyes when Gresham’s children gave their witness statements.

It won’t bring Deborah Gresham back. But for once, a fallen SoCal cyclist got justice from the courts.

If you haven’t yet, take a few minutes to read Peter Flax’s moving, must-read story about this tragedy. Photo from Ghost Bikes LA.

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Great story in the LA Times about the soaring cost of settlements involving bike riders who were injured due to the city’s failing streets.

According to the story, the City of Los Angeles settled with 17 bicyclists last year for a total of $19 million, over four times more than in any previous year.

That’s $19 million that could have gone to fixing the streets before anyone got hurt, rather than waiting until it was too late.

It was those settlements that inspired Councilmember Mitch Englander’s misguided proposal to ban the striping of bike lanes on any streets with less than an A pavement grade, and removing any existing ones from streets with a B or less.

Which would leave few, if any, bike lanes anywhere in Los Angeles.

And only serve to increase the city’s liability when bike riders continue to get injured on streets that used to have bikeways.

The story quotes me on that, as well as talking with BikinginLA sponsor and Calbike board member Josh Cohen.

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The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee will meet tomorrow night in Hollywood; the BAC is the only official voice for bike riders in the City of LA.

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The LACBC has unveiled a new video explaining who they are and what they do as part of their 20th Anniversary Celebration.

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Local

It shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s ridden a bike through there to learn that the intersection of Devonshire Street and Reseda Blvd is the most dangerous one in the state.

LA2050 is offering a total of $1 million in grants to five organizations for projects designed to make Los Angeles, “the best place to learn, create, play, connect and live.” Applications will start being accepted on March 1st.

A bike rider was hit by a car in Pacific Palisades last Wednesday; no word on how the victim is doing. The driver somehow claimed to be driving just 15 mph in a 45 mph zone at the time of the crash.

Tomorrow the UCLA Bicycle Academy intends to confront the members of the Regents Health Services Committee to demand that the statewide UC Health system lose its automotive bias and recognize the health benefits of bicycling.

LA celebrated the official opening of a one-block long Green Street in the Del Rey neighborhood, connecting Westlawn Ave with the Ballona Creek bike path.

 

State

Sad news from Hesperia, where a father drowned rescuing his nine-year old son from the California Aqueduct, after the boy slipped in as they rode their bicycles along the canal.

Caltrans is warning about construction delays on the the coastal bike path north of Ventura through the month of February, though the path will remain open.

A decision could be made this week on the proposed San Luis Obispo bike boulevard that has brought the anti-bikeway NIMBYs out of the woodwork.

For the first time, you won’t need a vintage bicycle to participate in the Eroica California in Paso Robles.

More sad news, this time from Oakland, where a man on a bike was killed in a collision with a big rig truck.

 

National

Slate says requiring bicyclists to wear sensors so self-driving cars don’t crash into them is cheating, and autonomous vehicles should be able to spot people riding bicycles on their own, without outside help.

Details have been released for this year’s Ride the Rockies bike tour through the Colorado high country; it will cover 418 miles and nearly 26,000 feet of vertical climbing in six days. And it will visit the tiny lakefront town where my mother worked as a waitress when she was just 18.

Seriously? The death of a Kansas cyclist competing in the state time trial in 2015 was the catalyst for a proposed state law prohibiting negligent driving. Except the penalty would be a whopping $45, which isn’t likely to change anyone’s driving habits.

Michigan is doubling the width of a four-foot bike lane and adding other safety improvements, after two women were killed there two years ago. Maybe they could try making improvements like that before someone gets killed. Which goes for Los Angeles, and everywhere else, as well.

New York news media goes berserk after mobs of “crazed, angry cyclists” swarm drivers, smashing a car window and punching a driver. Although it turns out it was really just 16 teenagers on bicycles, and the cop who was injured was hit by a car making a U-turn to go after them.

 

International

Canadian cross-country ski clubs are slowly opening their trails to fat bikes.

Ofo dockless bikeshare comes to London, as the Guardian says it will be to cycling what Uber is to taxis.

LA bike riders aren’t the only ones who have to deal with crappy pavement.

The economic impact of bicycling adds the equivalent of nearly $1 billion to the Scottish economy.

 

Competitive Cycling

The incomparable Katie Compton had to settle for second place in the women’s world cyclocross championships, finishing behind Belgian Sanne Cant.

Belgium’s Wout van Aert won the men’s world cyclocross title for the third consecutive year.

 

Finally…

Buy a bike, bore your dinner companions. UFC champ Connor McGregor is one of us.

And yes, you just got dropped by a priest on a folding bike.

No doubt staged, but still fun.

Morning Links: Legislature kills Idaho Stop law, bike hit-and-run law goes on, and Culver City council endorsements

This shouldn’t surprise anyone.

A bi-partisan bill that would have partially legalized the Idaho Stop in California, allowing bike riders to treat stop signs as yields, was killed in the state legislature.

Never mind that most bicyclists — and drivers, for that matter — already do that anyway.

And never mind that it has improved safety in Idaho since being adopted 35 years ago, and was approved in Delaware last year.

The idea that bikes aren’t cars just seems to be too much for the state’s motoring organizations to comprehend, including AAA.

Which is why I haven’t been a member for years.

Meanwhile, AB1755, a bill that AAA could undoubtedly support, continues to move forward.

The bill, which comes in response to a well-known Sacramento runner who was injured by a hit-and-run bike rider, would explicitly extend the hit-and-run statutes to apply to Class 1 bike paths.

Which seems like a law in search of a problem.

While the Sacramento DA couldn’t seem to figure out if the existing hit-and-run laws applied to a bike that, there is nothing in the statute to suggest that it doesn’t.

And CVC21200 clearly states that bicyclists have all the rights and responsibilities of motorists. Which would include stopping following a crash.

Thanks to Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious for the AB1755 heads-up.

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Bike the Vote LA has released their endorsements for the upcoming Culver City council elections, as the city transitions from its auto-centric past to a livable streets future.

The group has endorsed Daniel Lee and Alex Fisch to help continue that transition.

Evidently, council candidate Marcus Tiggs doesn’t want the bike vote, since he didn’t bother to respond to their questionnaire.

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LA’s road diet critics must have been comparing notes.

Just a week after “science-based” advice columnist Amy Alkon complained about being bullied by bicycling zealots, dermatologist and self-appointed urban planner Kenneth S. Alpern trotted out the phrase to describe those who happen to disagree with him.

Furthermore, even Portland has barely reached a 7% bicycle commute rate), and it is to be noted that those of us trying to compromise and encourage bicycle commuting that safely and conveniently works with cars and buses are met with NASTY anger in return from bicyclist zealots who DO NOT represent all bicyclists and DO NOT want compromise.

If nasty anger means not going along with their demands to undo the Venice Blvd road diet and Great Streets project, and comprise means turning every inch of pavement back over to motor vehicles, he’s right.

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Today’s common theme is bikeshare. And e-bikeshare. And even e-scootershare.

Santa Monica says not so fast to an e-scooter sharing startup.

Pasadena is hoping Metro Bikeshare will help it cut greenhouse gas emissions by 83%.

The Bay Area’s Ford GoBike docked bikeshare system will be adding 250 ebikes to their system.

Dockless e-bikeshare is coming to San Francisco, soon to be followed by LimeBike dockless ebikes, which should be coming to Los Angeles as well.

Spin is adding dockless ebikes to their bikeshare offerings.

Dockless bikeshare is helping to increase bicycling diversity in DC by drawing riders from the African-American community.

A Charlotte SC writer says dockless bikeshare is littering the city.

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing is entering the bikesharing market through its partial stake in Ofo and the recently bankrupt Bluegogo. Maybe it can merge them and call it Ofogogo.

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Local

Maybe LA’s auto-centric anti-Vision Zero drivers suffer from Dissociative Commuter Disorder.

CiclaValley reviews 2017 in pictures.

Burbank Realtors team with Bike Angels to refurbish and donate 117 bicycles to local kids.

A meeting is being held tonight to discuss options to replace the Santa Monica pier bridge, including one that would turn the existing bridge into a bike and pedestrian bridge.

 

State

A pair of San Diego letter writers are up in arms that a mother would dare to ride outside a bike lane with her child. Or maybe not. Thanks to Frank Lehnerz for the links.

 

National

Get on your bike. New research shows bicycling can reverse age-related heart damage.

Trek is working with Ford on a system that will enable driverless cars to recognize people on bicycles, in hopes of developing an industry standard. Some sort of standard is necessary, since so many companies are working on their own systems; otherwise, bike riders will have to wear 20 different sensors just to avoid getting run over.

On a related note, some sort of sensor can’t some soon enough, since a new study shows that we really are invisible to some drivers, even when they look right at us.

Red Bull offers tips on how to buy a used bicycle. A couple they missed, however: Check it against the Bike Index stolen bike listings, and always meet the seller in a public place — preferably the lobby of the local police precinct. And register it as soon as you complete the purchase.

Maybe you can get that bespoke Serrotta you always wanted after all, if you have a spare $7,600 to $15,000 laying around.

An Oregon woman was convicted of hit-and-run after she sideswiped a bicyclist, then demanded $200 for damage to her car.

Kindhearted Tucson sheriff’s deputies buy a new bicycle for an 11-year old girl after the one she got for Christmas was destroyed in a fire.

While LA drivers fight Vision Zero, New York is busy saving lives, with a 28% drop in traffic fatalities since 2013 — and a 45% reduction in pedestrian deaths.

This is why you don’t lock you bike to street signs. A New Orleans man lost his bike in less than two minutes when a thief unbolted the sign and made off with the bicycle.

 

International

Bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid discovers the best way to get fit from fast foods is to deliver it by bike.

A photographer catches the moment a Brit bike rider and his dog are soaked by a huge wave as they ride on a breakwater, but somehow manage to stay upright.

Invest the equivalent of $1,900 in a Brit bike startup, and you’ll not only get a piece of the company, you could buy a new ebike foldie for just thirteen bucks and change.

That’s one way to test a marriage. An English couple is touring the world by tandem bike, covering over 62,000 miles over the last four-and-a-half months. Note: As Mike Wilkinson observes below, that mileage figure is just this side of impossible, requiring them to travel nearly 460 miles a day. It’s possible that the paper may have added a zero to the 100,000 km figure they cited.

Caught on video: An Aussie bike rider is run down from behind by a driver who claimed to have the sun in his eyes. And the internet blames the victim for being in the road and accuses him of being a drama queen.

A yarn-bombed bike left outside the prime minister’s residence to celebrate marriage equality in Australia is headed for the country’s National Museum.

 

Competitive Cycling

Members of Britain’s Team Sky were stopped by police in Adelaide, Australia and lectured on how to ride safely.

 

Finally…

Don’t ride your bike in the winter, or concerned motorists may report you to the police. If you’re going to carry meth on your bike after midnight, put a damn light on it.

And record-setting French cyclist Robert Marchand retired from competitive cycling.

At 106.

And yes, I want to be like him when I grow up.

 

Driver uses car as weapon to murder San Bernardino bike rider in intentional hit-and-run

Once again, a bike rider has been killed in a San Bernardino crash.

But this time, it was not an accident — in any sense of the word.

According to a press release from the San Bernardino Police Department, 52-year old San Bernardino resident Elroy Preston was riding on the 1400 block of E. Date Street around 6:27 pm Sunday when he was struck by a driver, who fled the scene.

Preston was taken to a local hospital, where he died later that night.

Witnesses reported he was struck by a black Dodge Magnum driven by 34-year old Dominic Deshaun Simmons of Fontana; the two men had been at the same home just before the crash.

Police spotted a vehicle matching the description at a gas station in Rialto, and arrested Simmons on suspicion of murder. He is currently being held without bail.

Simmons has an extensive criminal record, as well as several outstanding warrants for failing to appear for hearings on various charges.

Preston also had a record, though no details are available; no word on what the relationship was between the two men, if any.

Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Oldendorf at 909/384-5619 or Sgt. Kokesh at 909/384-5613.

This is the 59th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 13th in San Bernardino County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Elroy Preston and all his loved ones.

Morning Links: Dennis Hindman found safe, terrorist attacks bike riders in New York, and Bruins joins Bonin’s staff

Let’s start with the good news.

According to his sister, longtime LA bike advocate Dennis Hindman has been found safe in a San Gabriel hospital after being missing for two months.

Apparently, the Toluca Lake resident has been in the hospital for the entire time he’s been missing.

No word on Hindman’s condition yet, or why his relatives were never notified.

However, a hospital stay of that duration is never a good sign; let’s keep him in our thoughts and prayers until we have more information.

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This time, it was us.

At least eight people were killed when a terrorist claiming an allegiance with ISIS drove 20 blocks down a New York bike path, leaving crumpled bikes and bodies in his path.

At least eleven others were injured.

Five of those killed were Argentine tourists who were visiting the city to celebrate their 30th high school reunion. One of the dead, and three of the people injured, were from Belgium.

The killer was shot by police after crashing his rental truck and exiting waving pellet and paintball guns; at last report he was hospitalized in grave condition after undergoing surgery.

The 29-year old native of Uzbekistan has been a legal resident of the US since 2010; he would have been unaffected by the recent travel bans.

The Associated Press lists other attacks where vehicles have been used as weapons.

Thanks to John Dammann for the heads-up.

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Congratulations to former LACBC Planning and Policy Director Eric Bruins, who is joining CD11 Councilmember Mike Bonin’s staff as Transportation Policy Director, replacing longtime aide Paul Backstrom.

Or maybe we should offer our congratulations to Bonin for landing him. And to the people of CD11 for the exceptional hard work and dedication they’re about to receive.

Let’s hope they have the good sense to appreciate it.

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Nothing like rounding a corner in San Clemente, and nearly getting hit head-on by a driver on the wrong side of the road.

Although that little honk from the scofflaw motorist was a nice touch.

Credit Eric Fleetwood for the video, and thanks to David Drexler for forwarding it.

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There may be a lot of cyclists looking for work soon, as UCI’s new president calls for reducing the size of pro cycling teams to just six riders, after next year’s reduction to eight.

And former LA pro Phil Gaimon offers the latest in his Worst Retirement Ever series, as he tackles Colorado’s legendary Mt. Evans Hillclimb, the highest paved road in North America.

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Local

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from Susanna Schick, who writes about Move LA’s efforts to keep the city moving, while noting that every time she’s tried to push back against traffic, the cars push back harder.

Selena Gomez is one of us, as she stops to talk with fans while riding her bike in Studio City.

Santa Monica’s Breeze bikeshare celebrates its second birthday with a day of free rides this Saturday.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson writes movingly about his friend Rob Dollar, who was killed by an allegedly drunk and stoned teenage driver while riding outside of Phoenix on Sunday.

Long Beach’s Beach Streets wants to know what you thought about this past weekend’s open streets event in the city.

 

State

California’s new twelve cent gas tax increase will kick in today.

San Juan Capistrano will widen Del Obispo Street to remove a bottleneck, adding a lane in each direction, along with bike lanes on either side.

Orange County will begin restricting access to the Santa Ana River Trail in order to control the homeless camps that have sprung up along the trail; starting today the path will be closed from 6 pm to 7 am through the end of February, then 9 pm to 7 am until next October 31st.

San Diego’s city council makes the tough choice to remove parking to make room for bike lanes on University Avenue as part of the city’s Vision Zero program, reducing a gap in the city’s bike network. Meanwhile, the city approved a new connector road that will split existing neighborhoods, which would help complete a regional bike network, even though they’ve failed to track whether they’re meeting ambitious bicycling and transit goals to reduce greenhouse gasses.

An Arroyo Grande man says bike riders aren’t paying the “overinflated vehicle registration fees” car owners do, and suggests an annual $75 fee to ride a bike on the road. Never mind that bikes cause virtually no wear and tear on the road. Or that most bike riders already pay those same vehicle registration fees for one or more motor vehicles.

A middle-aged man was shot in the face while riding his bike near a San Jose light rail station. Thanks to Lynn Ingram for the link.

San Francisco police are looking for a pair of brutal bike-riding San Francisco hat thieves.

 

National

A TV website lists ten things you probably didn’t know about American Flyers.

NACTO says a future of autonomous cars calls for a transportation blueprint that puts people first.

Forbes asks if private dockless bikeshare will become a fixture on college campuses.

Lil Kim is sort of one of us, too, as she teaches her three-year old daughter how to ride a bike.

The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for Colorado’s bike-riding bank robber, the Sneaky Cyclist Bandit. No word on what makes him so sneaky, though.

No bias here. A Denver TV station says the city’s efforts to become more bike-friendly may have hit a snag, because drivers don’t like a new sidewalk, calling it twice as wide as it needs to be.

A Dallas writer says the city can’t handle dockless bikeshare, where abandoned bikes are littering the sidewalks.

Chicago cab drivers are no longer required to drop passengers off at the curb, reducing their liability if someone doors a bicyclist.

Minneapolis has a bicycle-riding, unicorn-costumed candidate for mayor. Maybe Garcetti should consider that approach if he runs for president in 2020.

A Detroit bike co-op gave a new bike to a man with undisclosed medical problems, after the bike he used as his only form of transportation was stolen when he stopped to rest for a few minutes.

A Louisville KY bicyclist declares victory after authorities dropped charges of running a red light and obstructing traffic for not riding in a bike lane; he had claimed there was debris in the bike lane that could have given him a flat.

A New York bus driver was charged with a misdemeanor for the death of a bike rider last year, the first bikeshare rider killed in the city. But at least the driver honked before running him over.

 

International

You can now own your very own $815,000 cycling watch, which comes complete with a limited edition Colnago bike. For that price, it should also come with your own private bikeway to ride it on.

A bike-raging Toronto bike rider gets 18 months probation for an incident caught on video last August, in which a taxi driver intentionally turned into him after he had repeatedly slapped the cab and reached inside for the keys.

A road-raging London driver gets two years for intentionally running over a bike rider, breaking his back — then getting out of his car and telling the injured rider he’d run over him again if he had to.

Apparently they take repeated DUIs seriously in the UK, at least if you kill someone. A woman with three previous drunk driving arrests got eight years for the death of 17-year BMX rider after downing three pints of beer.

Caught on video: A British bicyclist confronts a motorist for driving on the sidewalk to get around a traffic diversion, who was none too happy about it.

 

Finally…

Seriously, don’t shoot your gun in the air while riding stoned, especially with a previous felony conviction. Your next ebike could run on hydrogen.

And you can now ride your bike through Graceland.

No, not that Graceland.

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Thank you to Alice Strong for her very generous donation to help support this site; you can make a donation anytime to help keep SoCal’s best bike news coming your way every day using the PayPal link.

 

Morning Links: Marin driver arrested for swerving into 4 cyclists, and traffic deaths up in US, including bicyclists

Call it attempted murder.

In just the latest horrifying attack on the streets, four cyclists participating in the Jensie Gran Fondo of Marin were injured when a driver allegedly swerved his truck into them.

The pickup driver fled the scene after smashing into them from behind, in an attack that witnesses described as intentional.

One of the riders is in stable condition after suffering major injuries; the other three were not seriously injured.

It’s probably not what any of them expected when they signed up to ride with cycling legend Jens Voigt.

Police later arrested 21-year old Novato resident Aaron Michael Paff, an off-duty maintenance worker for the Marin Municipal Water District.

He was taken into custody roughly 12 hours after the attack, and released on $50,000 bond. There was no word on possible charges as of Sunday night.

However, this should be a case of assault with a deadly weapon, at the bare minimum.

Dr. Christopher Thompson got five years in state prison for a similar assault, in which he intentionally brake-checked a pair of riders on Mandeville Canyon Road in 2008.

Photo of suspect vehicle from CHP. Thanks to everyone who let me know about this case.

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It shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that our streets are getting even deadlier.

In the latest report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic fatalities shot up another 5.6% in the US last year, coming on the heels of an 8.4% increase the year before.

According to the report, there was an increase in almost every category, from pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists, to DUIs and day versus night crashes.

A total of 37,461 people were killed on American streets last year, up from 35,485 the year before.

Four hundred ninety-two pedestrians lost their lives, the highest figure since 1990. And 840 bicyclists were killed, a 1.3% increase and the most since 1991.

It’s worth noting, especially in light of the next item, that an average of over 102 people died in crashes in the US every day — dwarfing the 58 killed in Las Vegas last week.

But no one is holding vigils. No one is sending thoughts and prayers.

And hardly anyone even seems to notice.

Or care.

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Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson has written a hard-hitting piece comparing gun violence with the violence on our streets.

In the first instance, Americans have decided that mass shootings are a reasonable and acceptable cost of being able to easily and legally obtain weapons of virtually any kind. In the second, Californians have decided that individual killings of cyclists are a reasonable and acceptable cost for being able to drive as fast as possible to get where they want to go.

Whether or not you agree with his premise, it’s worth the read. Because this is a conversation our country will have to have sooner or later.

And it’s already a lot later than it should be.

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A Belgian cyclist is lucky to walk away after flipping over a barrier at the Giro di Lombardia, as Vincenzo Nibali takes his 50th career win.

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Local

An LA company presents its vision for a four-mile section of the LA River, calling it the LA River Gateway.

One letter writer in the LA Times asks if drivers who object to bike lanes have a better solution, while another says traffic has always been bad in Playa del Rey, and it’s not the bike lanes’ fault.

 

State

New bicycle wayfinding signs go up in Highland.

The Southern California Association of Governments has approved nearly $10 million in funding for active transportation projects in the Coachella Valley.

Ventura County approves construction of bike lanes along Potrero Road near Lake Sherwood.

Sad news from Arroyo Grande, where a woman was killed while riding her bike on the popular Corbett Canyon Road; the driver played a variation of the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, claiming he couldn’t see her because the sun was in his eyes. Even though admitting something like that should be a confession, not an alibi. Thanks to Jeffrey Fylling for the heads-up.

A drunk San Francisco salmon cyclist was responsible for one of the 13 crashes involving GM’s driverless cars when he crashed into the car’s bumper after its human operator had stopped the vehicle.

 

National

A Spokane WA woman is considering a civil suit after a bike rider plowed into her on a multi-use trial; the rider yelled “hot pizza” as a warning, somehow thinking that would make her get out of his way. Pedestrians are unpredictable. So slow the f*** down around them and pass carefully. It’s not that hard.

Dozens of wounded vets joined 71-year old former president George W. Bush on his annual Warrior 100K mountain bike ride.

A driver in Austin TX says he only drove drunk, ran down a cyclist and fled the scene because there was a two-hour wait for a cab.

A Montana man is working to send bikes to Central America to be converted to pedal-powered machines.

An Indiana man rode 2,800 miles from Portland, Oregon to his home state, despite suffering from epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

Facing 35 years in prison for the drunken hit-and-run death of a bicyclist, a Kentucky driver tries to withdraw his guilty plea, saying it wasn’t fair because the crash wasn’t intentional. And the drinking — and getting behind the wheel afterwards — was probably an accident, too.

Over one thousand bicyclists turned out to ride with actor Patrick Dempsey at his annual fundraiser ride in Maine.

A New York man died a week after he was attacked with a hammer by five teenagers who were trying to steal his bike. We’ve said it many times before — no bicycle is worth your life, so just let it go.

A New York woman has died a month after she was struck by a drunk, unlicensed driver who plowed into several bicyclists who were on a fundraising ride. As I recall, there were allegation that this crash may have been intentional, as well.

A homeless man in Florida has been ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial in the stabbing death of a man who was riding his bike from Connecticut to Miami to propose to his girlfriend.

 

International

A Toronto columnist asks if there’s a war on cars in the city, why are drivers the only ones racking up a body count? It’s a question we should be asking here, and every city where drivers claim ownership of the streets. Which is pretty much everywhere. Thanks to Norm Bradwell for the link.

No bias here. Britain’s Daily Mail offers a breathless headline saying two pedestrians are killed or maimed by bicyclists every week. Then in smaller type mentions that there’s no information on who was at fault, and that it still amounts to less than 1% of pedestrian injuries each year on British roads.

Caught on video: A road raging London driver loses it because a bike rider had the audacity to be in front of him.

A London priest is urging his parishioners to pray to stop a bikeway from being installed in front of the church, claiming it would do more harm that the German Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain.

Caught on video too: A British man learns why you don’t ride under crossing gates.

A man in the UK rode his bike 450 miles through France and Great Britain to deliver a petition to the prime minister’s office to cancel Brexit.

A new Scottish study shows riding a bike on bad roads for as little as 16 minutes is enough to cause nerve damage in the hands and arms. Which means that most LA bike riders could have trouble just picking up a pencil.

An Australian state supreme court justice is one of us, too.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could be a boat. Any band can travel by bike between gigs, but how many perform along the way?

And if you’re going to suffer a heart attack while riding, do it in front of a restaurant full of medical professionals.

 

Update: Bike rider killed in Fountain Valley hit-and-run

Yet another bike rider has been killed by a heartless coward who fled the scene, this time in Fountain Valley.

According to multiple sources, 41-year old Fountain Valley resident Bihn Ngo was riding a mountain bike north on Brookhurst Street just south of Ellis Ave when he was struck at 12:54 am.

He was reportedly riding in the curb lane when he was struck from behind and thrown 50 to 60 feet into a parked car.

The driver fled north on Brookhurst, and was last seen turning right onto Ellis.

Police are looking for a red 1990s Ford Mustang with damage to the front end. Anyone with information is urged to call the Fountain Valley Police DepartKent at 714/593-4485.

This is the 42nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in Orange County.

It’s also the second fatal hit-and-run in Fountain Valley in the last three weeks, following the death of popular Orange County runner Juan Garcia; an arrest was made in that case.

Update: According to KTLA-5, 25-year old Huntington Beach resident Justin German was arrested later the same day after a tip from someone who recognized the car. Thanks to Peter for the heads-up.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Bihn Ngo and his loved ones.

 

Update: Van Nuys bike rider killed in double hit-and-run Wednesday night

Heartbreaking news from Van Nuys, where a woman was left to die by a pair of heartless cowards Wednesday night.

According to multiple sources, the victim was struck by a speeding driver around 11:23 pm at the intersection of Sepulveda Boulevard and Stagg Street, and thrown nearly 120 feet by the force of the impact.

The driver, later identified as 24-year old Van Nuys resident Erik Limon, fled the scene, leaving his victim lying unprotected in the street.

Another driver ran over her as she was lying in the street; that driver also fled without stopping.

The victim, who has been identified only as a woman in her 50s, died at the scene.

Police suspect her bicycle was stuck under Limon’s car as he fled, and disposed of later; as of this writing, it has still not been found.

His car was recovered, and he was arrested at his home around 3:15 Thursday afternoon.

The second driver, reportedly a woman in an older gold Camry, is still at large.

KABC-7 reports the victim was in a crosswalk when she was struck by Limon’s car. However, according to KCBS-2, she may have been riding against traffic.

Anyone who finds a damaged bicycle in the area, or who has other information about the crash, is urged to call the LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division at 818/644-8000.

There is an automatic $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the driver, or in this case, drivers, in any fatal hit-and-run in the City of LA.

This is the 40th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 19th in Los Angeles County. It’s also the sixth in the City of Los Angeles.

Fourteen of those SoCal deaths have been the result of hit-and-runs, half of those in LA County.

Update: Surveillance video on KNBC-4 shows the victim riding northbound in the southbound lane, where she was struck by the Limon’s car as he turned right. Despite earlier reports, he does not appear to be speeding at the time of the crash.

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

 

Update: Long Beach man killed by fleeing driver after crosswalk collision injures 2nd rider

For the second time in three days, an LA County bike rider has been killed by a hit-and-run driver.

And this time, it may have been intentional.

According to multiple sources, two men were either riding or walking their bikes across Long Beach Boulevard in the crosswalk at Bort Street in Long Beach around 1:20 a.m.

Depending on the source, one or both were then struck by the driver of an SUV headed south on Long Beach.

One of the men somehow ended up on the hood of the Ford SUV, and was carried several blocks before being thrown off by the fleeing driver.

He was severely injured, and died at scene after police arrived.

The other rider suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

KTLA-5 reports the driver circled the block once before abandoning his car and fleeing on foot. They also say police believe they know the identity of the driver, but have not yet made an arrest.

That is contradicted by a story in the Press-Telegram, which says authorities have the vehicle, but don’t yet know who was behind the wheel or have a description of the suspect.

KTLA also places the actual site of the wreck several blocks away at the Long Beach Boulevard offramp of the 91 Freeway, saying Bout was where the victim was thrown off and landed in the street.

There is also some dispute over how the victim ended up on the SUV.

Most reports indicate he either landed on the hood as a result of the crash, or jumped onto it in an attempt to stop the driver from getting away.

However, according to KTLA,

The second cyclist then jumped on the driver’s side running board of the SUV, reached into the window and tried to turn off the ignition before the driver took off with the man clinging to the side of the vehicle, a Long Beach police news release stated.

Earlier, Watt said the bicyclist jumped on the hood before police released additional information about the incident.

Either way, the driver had to know the victim was on his vehicle, and made a conscious decision to flee with the victim clinging to his SUV, resulting in the rider’s death.

Which means he should face a charge of vehicular homicide once he’s caught. If not 2nd degree murder.

This is the 35th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 16th in Los Angeles County. It’s also at least the 12th bicycling death in Long Beach since 2010.

Update: The LA Times has confirmed the details of the KTLA report

According to them, the SUV struck one of the victims at the Long Beach Blvd offramp.

The other rider, who was not hit, jumped on the running board of the SUV, and hit his head on a curb when he was thrown from the vehicle as the driver made a sharp right onto Bort.

The victim has been identified only as a 51-year old man. 

This is a reminder that it’s not worth your life to stop a fleeing driver.

Gather all the details you can — make, model, color, license and a description of the driver — as well as photos or video, if possible. Then get out of the way and let the police deal with it.

Update 2: The victim has been identified as 51-year old Los Angeles resident Odie Ervin. He was a popular member of a local lowrider bicycle club

Anyone with information is urged to LBPD Det. Brian Watt at 562/570-7355.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Odie Ervin and all his loved ones.

Thanks to James Johnson, John McBrearty, and Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up. 

 

Update: Man killed walking his bike across the street in South LA hit-and-run

Another human being has been murdered by a heartless hit-and-run driver, for the crime of crossing the street.

According to multiple sources, a man was walking his bike across Broadway at 88th Street at 2:30 am when he was killed by a hit-and-run driver.

A witness reports seeing the driver of a Chevy Tahoe plow into the victim while speeding up to go through the light after it turned red. Then flee the scene without slowing down.

The victim, identified only as a possibly being in his late 40s, died at the scene.

A street view shows a staggered intersection at 88th, with a red light and crosswalks at each corner. Broadway has two lanes and a left turn lane in each direction, with a wide parking lane, making it a very broad street to cross.

The City of Los Angeles offers an automatic $50,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the driver in a fatal hit-and-run. Information can be provided anonymously at LACrimeStoppers.org.

This is the 34th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 15th in Los Angeles County. It’s also the fifth in the City of LA.

Update: The victim has been identified as 57-year old Albert Arnold. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Albert Arnold and all his loved ones.

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