Archive for Legal Cases

Morning Links: Career criminal arrested in fatal San Bernardino County hit-and-run

Turns out the driver arrested in the April hit-and-run death of San Bernardino County bicyclist Troy Davids has a long criminal and traffic record.

Twenty-six-year old Casey Andrew Coltrain was already on probation for driving under the influence of drugs when he crossed onto the wrong side of the road, ran a red light and hit Davids as he rode his bike in a crosswalk on his way home from work.

In addition, Coltrain has prior convictions for misdemeanor reckless driving and drug-related charges, as well as speeding, failure to stop at a stop sign and not using a seat belt. Not to mention multiple convictions for burglary, possessing an illegal dagger and receiving stolen property; he was already in jail on his latest burglary and probation violation charges when he was arrested for the hit and run.

He faces second-degree murder and felony hit-and-run charges in the death.

It will be interesting to see if the DA tries to use this as a possible 3rd Strike.

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Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman digs into the latest tragedy in South LA, movingly capturing the devastating effect the hit-and-run death of 19-year old Oscar Toledo Jr — aka Snoopy — has had on his family and friends.

Meanwhile, an account has been set up to help pay for his funeral expenses.

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Local

Streetsblog reviews last week’s community meeting to discuss the North Figueroa road diet and bike lane, and finds it kind of boring.

The LACBC talks bikes on the Bike Talk podcast, with special guests Karen Kroener, Joe Linton, Don Ward and Josef Bray-Ali.

Neon Tommy joins the LA edition of the World Naked Bike Ride; LAist offers a photo array of the event. I’m afraid to look for fear of who I’ll know and what I might not want to see.

Celebrate the 4th of July with a West Covina bike ride; thanks to ride leader Cynthia Carter for the link.

 

State

An Orange County off-road rider suffered a serious head injury in a fall on a remote trail and had to be airlifted out. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

It’s not just us. An 81-year old marathoner is killed by a suspected drunk driver while running in a bike lane in Corona del Mar.

A drunk Sacramento driver intentionally runs down a cyclist after the rider punctures his tire in a dispute, then hits two more riders — accidently, apparently.

Glendale-area Assembly Member Mike Gatto introduces a bill to create an Amber Alert-style warning system for serious hit-and-run cases. Another Sacramento bill would increase penalties for drivers who injure cyclists and pedestrians.

 

National

That study showing head injuries increased in cities with bike share systems? Not so much, as it turns out, as both head and overall injury rates actually went down.

A Philadelphia rider receives a $2.4 million jury award after suffering life-changing injuries in a dooring.

Tragically, a 24-year old Maryland bike rider is killed when she stops to change a flat tire in Kentucky. The assistant basketball coach with the Catholic University of America in DC was on a cross country tour to raise funds for a cancer charity.

Caught on video: A Virginia bike rider is hit head-on by a motorist driving on a bike/pedestrian bridge; amazingly, the local police don’t give a damn, despite the video evidence.

Fair warning for California drivers. A new three-foot passing law goes into effect in West Virginia, and traffic does not come grinding to a halt.

 

International

American rider Andrew Talansky is the surprise winner of the Criterium du Dauphine after a successful breakaway on the final stage, but what does it mean for next month’s Le Tour?

A 19-year old French cyclist dies after riding his bike into the ocean on a Facebook dare.

Egypt’s new president leads a mass bike ride to urge his countrymen to ride more. And yes, only men were allowed on the ride.

Shocking! An Aussie newspaper clocks cyclists exceeding the advisory speed limit on bike and pedestrian bridge.

A New Zealand neurosurgeon says bike helmets are useless in high speed collisions, while a helmet manufacturer, who couldn’t possibly have any reason for bias, insists they’re effective.

 

Finally…

Your next high tech Samsung device could be a bike. And repeat after me: If you’re already on probation and carrying a virtual illegal drug superstore in your backpack, don’t ride your damn bike on the sidewalk.

 

Morning Links: 55 years to life for drunken hit-and-run, arrest in Eastdale hit-and-run, Fig4All drags on… and on

My apologies for the late post. Just too much bike news on a lucky Friday the 13th.

Well, maybe not so lucky for the New York Rangers.

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Now that’s taking hit-and-run seriously for a change.

Former substance abuse counselor Sherri Lynn Wilkins, who fell off the wagon and killed a pedestrian while driving under the influence — hitting him so hard she literally knocked him out of his boxers, and drove two miles with his body lodged in her windshield — was sentenced to 55 years to life.

Maybe if the heartless cowards who killed Andy Garcia and maimed Damian Kevitt, just to name a few in a shamefully long list, faced sentences like that, we might finally put an end to this horrible epidemic.

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San Bernardino authorities report an arrest has been made in the April hit-and-run death of Eastdale bike rider Troy Davids. More details when they’re released.

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KCRW covers the debate over the Fig4All bike lanes on North Figueroa, while a writer for KCET complains about the city’s incomplete streets exemplified by North Fig and Westwood Blvd, where Councilmembers Cedillo and Koretz have blocked bike lanes despite professing support for them.

Meanwhile Streetsblog looks ahead to the meeting that took place last night, and questions the motivations of CM Cedillo.

CedilloBallotBy all reports, the meeting was a total waste of time as Cedillo spent over an hour introducing his staff and patting himself on the back, while failing to take comments from the public on either side of the debate. Many people got bored and walked out long before the meeting was over.

Instead, attendees were asked to fill out a form indicating their preferences — the results of which will be compiled by the office of the same councilmember accused of trying to block the project.

Nothing fishy about that.

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Great read from a survivor of a cycling collision, who’s glad she didn’t die — not just for herself, but for the difference she’s made in other’s lives. And she wants your help for a great cause to raise $5000 to provide free legal services to low income veterans; she’s brought in over $3,200 so far.

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The Santa Monica Museum of Art invites you to design a critter on a bike (pdf) to serve as the logo for the August Tour de Arts.

And don’t miss the Bike Zone at this weekend’s Santa Monica Festival.

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Local

A committee recommends banning Segways from the Venice boardwalk, but continuing to allow them to risk your safety on the bike path.

An LA group wants to cap parking tickets at just $23. Or they could just, you know, obey the damn parking restrictions and not pay anything.

West Hollywood is teaming with the UCLA Triathlon Team to train 9 to 18 year olds to compete in the sport.

Cycling in the South Bay says it’s one thing to take the lane on PCH when you’re in a group, another when there’s just two of you.

The popular Kidical Mass bike ride continues to roll in Bixby Hills.

 

State

A father and son — 80 and 54, respectively — complete a 3,000 mile cross-country tour in San Clemente to raise money to fight Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

San Diego’s CBS8 looks at the Race Across America, which is already underway for solo riders; more on Pippa’s team RAAM ride.

Nice. A handicapped Yucaipa-area second grader gets a new custom-made hand cycle.

Seven people are under arrest after attacking, pistol-whipping and robbing a Bay Area cyclist riding on a BART bike path.

 

National

A new study says brain injuries are up an average of 14% in bike share cities. Which kind of makes sense since more people are riding, too.

A Fairbanks AK driver is under arrest for the drunken 7 am hit-and-run death of a bike rider. Yes, he was wasted and behind the wheel first thing in the morning; not surprisingly, it’s not his first DUI.

An Albuquerque cyclist says the hit-and-run driver who seriously injured another rider had deliberately attempted to run them both off the road; uncomprehending — or possibly uncaring — local police ignore her and call it just another accident.

Colorado’s governor signs a Safe Routes to School bill.

A Gillette, Wyoming cyclist recovers from harrowing injuries after he’s left-crossed while riding over 30 mph; other recent cycling victims in the area haven’t been as lucky.

A bicyclist travels 6,000 miles with his dog to raise awareness for animal shelters.

A heroic bike rider stops a suicidal man from jumping off New York’s George Washington Bridge.

 

International

Wow. A Yorkshire, England man turns down treatment after a recurrence of lung cancer, sells everything he owns and sets out to tour the world by bike; two years and over 21,000 miles later, he’s still doing well.

The UK considers restructuring the Highways Agency. And possibly indicating a shift in focus by renaming it the National Cycling and Highway’s agency.

The Guardian asks how the justice system can be rebalanced to support cyclists, and says Cyclists Stay Back stickers send a message that bike riders are second-class citizens. Thanks to Ralph Durham for the heads-up.

The president of the IOC says cycling is cleaning up its doping act. No really. And with a straight face.

A 21-year old cyclist takes a 3,000 mile journey through the Australian Outback — 100 years ago.

 

Finally…

Even if I could teach the Corgi to be a trail dog, who’s going to teach me to ride like that? A Glendale man leaves his car parked in front of a convenience store, then comes back on a bike 30 minutes later — and proceeds to throw the bike through the store’s window. And after a British rider is assaulted by another cyclist in a Team Sky kit, the Guardian assures us that the perp was not Brit bike heroes Bradley Wiggins or Chris Froome.

 

Weekend Links: Is the LA County Sheriff’s Department trying to hide the results of the Milt Olin investigation?

So what, exactly, are they trying to hide?

It’s standard practice in public relations that when you want to hide something bad news, you release it on a Friday afternoon where it can get lost on the weekend news cycle. And when you really want to hide something, you release it on a Friday just before a three-day holiday weekend.

That’s exactly what the LA County Sheriff’s Department did today.

The department has been highly criticized for investigating their own deputy in the December death of cyclist Milt Olin, rather than turn it over to independent investigators from the CHP, which usually handles traffic fatalities for the LASD.

Now, after sitting on the news for over a week, they finally announced that the results of their foot-dragging investigation into the former Napster executive and entertainment lawyer’s death were turned over to the DA’s office for evaluation on May 15th.

Why it took over five months to conduct an investigation that probably wouldn’t have taken five days if it was an average citizen behind the wheel is anyone’s guess. Let alone why the announcement wasn’t made last week, unless they were deliberately attempting to time it for the holiday weekend.

The incredibly cryptic announcement doesn’t offer a clue as to the results of the investigation, leading many in the cycling community to suspect the department may be attempting to cover-up its own culpability in Olin’s death. And hoping we won’t notice.

Good luck with that.

I’ve heard from a number of riders since the news broke late Friday afternoon, all of whom suspect something fishy is going on. And virtually all of whom question why the LASD chose to investigate itself, knowing the results would be held in doubt unless they unexpectedly come down hard on the department itself.

And yes, I’m told the CHP was more than willing to step in to assist or take over the investigation, but were never asked.

Meanwhile, the Times cites the coroner’s report as saying Olin appeared to be wearing earphones connected to an iPhone, which would be in violation of state law permitting an earpiece to be used in one ear only.

What bearing that could possibly have in the investigation is highly questionable, unless they’re trying to make a case that Olin should have somehow been able to avoid the patrol car that drifted into the bike lane and ran him down from behind.

Even eyes in the back of his head, let alone perfect hearing, probably wouldn’t have helped in that case.

The paper also notes that the Sheriff’s Department has publicly apologized to Olin’s family. As well they should.

But what they really owe them, and us, is an open and honest investigation, rather than a five month cone of silence followed by deliberately trying to bury the press release when it was most likely to go unnoticed.

On the later, they failed miserably.

On the former, the jury is still out. If it ever gets to one.

Thanks to everyone who reached out to me about this story.

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The US Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offer a new animated bike safety video; Copenhagenize’s Mikael Colville-Andersen says it was made by people who hate bicycling.

Seriously? Seems pretty innocent to me.

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You’ll find a free bike valet at the annual Fiesta Hermosa in Hermosa Beach, which makes biking along the beach by far the best way to get there.

I’ll try to catch up on updating the Calendar over the weekend.

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This weekend marks the US Cycling Pro National Championships in Chattanooga TN.

Cycling scion Taylor Phinney is a favorite, but can we please stop calling him the next big thing and/or the future of American cycling and just let him prove himself on the race course, or not, as the case may be?

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Local

Great news on the Westside, as the popular San Vicente bike lanes are being extended through Brentwood. I rode through there myself on Friday, and even unfinished, it feels a lot more comfortable than the usual Friday traffic madhouse.

A Burbank resident writes a paean to the Chandler bikeway.

More on the planned Downey Bicycle Master Plan, which plans to borrow ideas from nearby Long Beach. Good ones, I hope.

 

State

Red Kite Prayer looks at the recent Campy Gran Fondo San Diego.

CalBike lobbies the state legislature for protected bikeways and a vulnerable user law.

Merced police pitch in to buy a cerebral palsy patient a new bike after his is stolen.

This one definitely wins the prize for California’s best named bike tour. Welcome to the Tour de Manure.

Pedal Love’s Melissa Balmer says bike style has the power to capture the imagination.

 

National

The hit-and-run epidemic spreads to Seattle, as a bike rider suffers serious injuries while the cowardly driver flees the scene.

Denver’s mayor leads cyclists on a test ride of the city’s first protected bike lane.

The popularity of Chicago’s bike-friendly mayor sinks to just 29%, evidently because voters don’t like bike lanes.

Jersey City moves some bike lanes to the left side on one-way streets.

A speeding New Orleans driver is indicted on negligent homicide and negligent injury charges for killing an Atlanta firefighter in town for an Ironman competition and injuring another rider. Apparently they’re taking this case seriously, since he was taken into custody on a total of $600,000 bond.

After a North Carolina bike rider confronts a cop to deny running a red light, the officer takes him down, breaking his arm in the process.

 

International

A Montreal letter writer insists roads are for cars and bikes don’t belong there. So there.

A UK motorcyclist riding in a bike lane knocks down a bicyclist, then blames the victim before posting video of the incident online — which clearly shows his mirror clipping the rider’s arm.

Bike Radar profiles the essential kit for bike commuting. Yes, tires are essential; the rest, maybe not as much.

A Sydney newspaper calls a study showing bike lanes carried the same amount of traffic as the lanes next to them a two-wheeled fraud.

A Thai driver walks with a one year probation and a 10,000 Bhat fine — the equivalent of just $307 — for killing two bike riding British tourists on an around the world tour. I’d like to say life is cheap there, but I’ve seen just as bad right here in the US.

 

Finally…

A North Carolina TV station says Chapel Hill police seek expensive bike thief. So how much are bike thieves going for these days? And after an Alabama truck driver idiotically posts videos online showing himself threatening cyclists, he’s arrested on a charge of reckless endangerment; needless to say, other idiots rush to his defense.

 

Morning Links: New Santa Clarita bike safety campaign; Beverly Hills official calls you an organ donor wannabe

citys-bike-safety-campaign-raise-awareness-about-sharing-road-41943-2-288x322A new Santa Clarita bike safety campaign says Respect is a Two-Way Street.

But they lose me with the illustration of a bike crashing into a car. And the last line that seems to put responsibility on riders to avoid getting killed, rather than on drivers to avoid killing someone.

So what do you think?

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This is what cyclists are up against in Beverly Hills.

Better Bike’s Mark Elliot quotes Beverly Krasne, city council member and former mayor of the Biking Black Hole, in justifying her adamant opposition to bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd:

Cyclists are on a donor cycle mission – to give their organs to someone.

Somehow, though, her solution to our perceived recklessness is to keep the city as dangerous and anti-bike-friendly as possible.

Maybe someone should let her know most of us just want to get through her damn city without getting killed in the process.

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Police are reviewing the $100 ticket a DC cyclist got for following too closely after he’s buzzed, then brake checked by an angry truck driver — despite riding on sharrows at the time — after bike cam video of the incident is released.

Something tells me the officer needs a little retraining. Or maybe a new job.

And the driver needs to be behind bars.

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As long as we’re in DC, I somehow missed this one last week as the US Secretary of Labor says he just wants to ride his bike to work. And that the department is committed to making “cycling to work an affordable, easy and enjoyable option.”

Sounds good to me.

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Local

The Source says the new Metro bike map was released just in time for last week’s Bike Week.

The new Los Angeles Register looks at the Bike Kitchen.

The Bike League profiles LA’s own Miguel Ramos of Multicultural Communities for Mobility.

Free bike repairs and repair demos in Santa Monica on Saturday the 31st.

Santa Monica’s Cynergy Cycles is offering a discount on registration for the California Coast Classic Bicycle Tour benefitting the Arthritis Foundation. Which means I now have two medical conditions with their own benefit bike rides, and I’d like to stop there, thank you.

Long Beach’s monthly Kidical Mass continues to grow in popularity.

 

State

Ex-con Michael Reyes pleads guilty to killing Chula Vista bike rider Daniel Voigt while driving in a stolen car with a suspended license last month; he faces over 14 well-deserved years in prison when he’s sentenced in July.

San Diego considers building an enclosed bikeway under the Coronado Bridge, which currently bans bikes. I seriously want to ride that one.

Okay. The Tour de Cluck offers a bike tour of Davis-area chicken coops. Yes, chicken coops.

 

National

The problem with Same Roads, Same Rules is that neither was designed with bicyclists in mind. Amen, brother.

In an insightful piece, a rider says the bike industry shouldn’t forget the women who already ride in their efforts to reach the ones who don’t.

Ten reasons why Open Streets events like CicLAvia rock.

Only 1% of head injuries occur on bikes, while 48% occur in cars. But no one suggests helmets for automobile passengers. Or most business employees, for that matter.

Not surprisingly, Portland comes out on top in a new ranking of the best cities for bicycling; also not surprising is that LA is nowhere on the list.

My hometown bikes to work at 11 times the national rate. When I last lived there three decades back, it was pretty much just me.

Is anyone really surprised that a Nebraska football star won’t faces charges for stealing not one, not two, but seven bicycles? It’s long past time to stop coddling criminal athletes.

Evanston IL plans to encourage bicycling by banning bikes on some streets. Yeah, that’ll work.

 

International

Protected bike lanes are the best medicine for dangerous Winnipeg roads.

Great Britain honors the cyclists who lost their lives in World War I. That was the war so devastating it was supposed to end all wars. Despite their sacrifice, it didn’t.

Dover police knock a cyclist off his bike when he allegedly failed to respond to commands to dismount, then say he just fell off.

Bradley Wiggins wants to restore your faith in cycling. My faith in cycling is as strong as ever; my faith in pro cyclists, not so much.

IKEA is now offering an e-bike in some Austrian stores; no word on whether you have to build it yourself.

An Aussie writer debunks popular bicycling myths. And says yes, cyclists cause collisions but so does everyone else.

As China continues to re-enter the world, its citizens face the same dangers Westerners do, as a Chinese bike rider is kidnapped by Taliban militants in Pakistan.

 

Finally…

A Cambridge, Massachusetts bike safety campaign uses the local vernacular as it urges riders to Be Wicked Smaaht. And a British driver who killed a teenage passenger in a 130 mph crash — in a 60 mph zone, no less — has his sentence cut in half because he’s sorry. Oh, well okay, then.

 

Morning Links: Wrist slap for drunken hit-and-run killer; Breaking Away’s Dave Stoller was sort-of real

As expected, Wendy Villegas was sentenced to three years and eight months in an overly generous plea deal for the drunken hit-and-run death of Andy Garcia that left two other riders seriously injured, and robbed his fiancé of both her heart and future.

Yes, justice may have been served. But the time does not begin to suit the crime.

Especially for a driver who left Garcia laying in the road to be run over by a second vehicle, and was reportedly still drunk when she was arrested the next morning.

Had she stopped after the collision, it’s likely that the van that followed might have seen her and her victims, and managed to stop in time to avoid them. And Andy Garcia might — might — still be alive today.

We’ll never know.

Meanwhile, the judge made it clear that if Villegas did it again after she’s released, she’d face a minimum 15-years for murder.

So let’s get this clear.

You have to get drunk and kill a second person before the legal system takes it seriously. But you get a virtual pass on the first one.

Even if you don’t show any sign of giving a rat’s ass that you took the life of another human being, and shattered countless others.

Good to know.

If that pisses you off as much as it does me, join Damian Kevitt on Sunday as he finishes the ride interrupted by a hit-and-run driver last year.

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A preliminary hearing reveals 18-year old Sommer Gonzales had failed two drug tests while on probation for undisclosed crimes. And yet somehow, she was still allowed on the road to kill 21-year old cyclist Joe Robinson while driving under the influence.

Nice.

Gonzales has additional court hearings scheduled for May 19th and June 6th.

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Who knew?

Turns out there was a real Italian-obsessed, bike prodigy, Little 500-winning inspiration for the Dave Stoller character in Breaking Away, the movie that inspired my own lifelong obsession with bicycling. And Steve Tesich, who won an Academy Award for the screenplay, was his teammate in the winning race.

On the other hand, it looks like the hometown Cutters team was fictional, dammit. Although in a case of life imitating art, one was formed in response to the movie.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton looks at the city’s Second Year bike lane implementation list, offering the kind of detailed analysis only he can. And says there’s more low-hanging fruit out there, despite official denials.

Flying Pigeon looks at the real victims of Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s inaction on Figueroa bike lanes, and calls on riders to Bike the Vote for Saturday’s Neighborhood Council elections.

A new petition calls for passage of AB 1922 to promote California greenways, particularly along the LA River.

Another reminder that Kidical Mass is coming to Santa Monica on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Annenberg Community Beach House along SaMo’s beachfront bike path celebrates its fifth anniversary this weekend; bike valet will be provided.

 

State

The Daily Pilot says don’t force OC cyclists onto dangerous Jamboree Road — ban cars from the Back Bay Drive, instead. I like the way they think.

Orange County cities are urged to compete for new funding for bike and pedestrian projects, while OCTA officials argue that bikes aren’t just for recreation. Thanks to Nick Gerda for the heads-up.

An HIV positive hemophiliac cyclist is setting of from Newport Beach on his third cross-country ride to raise funds for people with bleeding disorders.

A Sacramento man uses his bike to bypass heavy traffic from a major highway repair project.

 

National

Train for your next — or first — century in just seven weeks. Probably a better approach than my first century, which came when I misread a map and rode about 60 miles further than I intended.

The Alliance for Biking and Walking looks back at the National Open Streets Summit held recently in Los Angeles. And check out their great GIF from the Wilshire CicLAvia.

A Las Vegas cyclist learns the hard way that bike riders have to stop for emergency vehicles, too.

Detroit isn’t the exclusively auto-centric hellhole it used to be.

The body of an upstate New York man has been found nearly four years after he disappeared while riding his bike.

The NYPD says screw you to owners of impounded bikes, including the family of a fallen cyclist.

 

International

One of two surviving ex-Beatles rides a rental bike. The cute one. The Beatle, not the bike.

London’s transport authority apologizes after a driver cuts off a cyclist and calls him a knob; I know a lot of cyclists who’ve complained to LA’s Metro, but none who ever got a mea culpa in return.

A road raging UK motorist is given 10 months in jail and called a danger to cyclists after knocking a rider off his bike because they were riding two abreast. He also loses his license for three years.

Behavioral Science could help motorists drive more safely around bike riders. Maybe it could help them decide if this is a pill or a 90 mph bicycle.

Even Abu Dhabi is getting a new walking and cycling master plan.

A Sydney paper lists the world’s top 10 bicycling cities. Shocked! Shocked! I am that not a single US city made the list.

 

Finally…

Chicago doctor declares fast cyclists unfit for military service due to “bicycle heart.” In 1898.

And repeat after me. If you’re riding your bike at 5 am with five outstanding warrants while carrying meth and a Billy club, put a damn light on it already. The bike that is, not the Billy club.

 

Morning Links: Torrance father rides for his daughter, and court hearings for Wendy Villegas and Jose Gonzales

Metro unveils their new Bike Week flyers. So what do you think?

Metro unveils their new Bike Week flyers. So what do you think?

A Torrance father is going the extra mile for his daughter.

Or rather, 300 miles.

On May 3rd, Joel Elliot will ride his bike 24-hours straight, with a goal of riding 300 miles in that time, to call attention to the rare disease that renders his daughter unable to speak.

The purpose of my ride is to bring attention to Hannah, to Selective Mutism, and to the failure of Torrance Unified to properly address Hannah’s needs.

My ride will take place on the 1-mile industrial loop just outside of the Strand Brewing Co tap room. I invite you all to come do the first few laps with me to kick off my 24 hours. After a few laps, I will continue solo and the group will move into the tap room to celebrate and prepare to help support my long ride. We will do something similar on Sunday when I finish. I would love to have a large group of riders as there is a good chance local news will be there.

Thanks to Lynn Ingram for the heads-up.

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A couple of important court hearings today.

First up, cyclists will ride to attend the sentencing of Wendy Villegas for the drunken hit-and-run death of Andy Garcia.

And riders are encouraged to attend the pre-trial hearing for Jose Gonzales, charged with vehicular manslaughter in the death of Pasadena cyclist Phillip O’Neill.

Sometimes it seems like justice moves slowly. And it doesn’t often seem sufficient in cases involving bike riders.

But at least prosecutors seem to be paying attention these days, in part because cyclists are turning out for cases like this.

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I plan to spend a lot of time checking out this website about Vintage Trek bikes.

My 33-year old steel-frame Trek is still parked in my office, waiting for the funds to fix it up and get it back out on the streets where it belongs. It may not be as fast as my LeMond, but it hugs the road like it’s on rails, and you won’t find a smoother ride anywhere.

My wife has suggested selling it more than once. But after roughly 130,000 miles stretching from LA to LA — Louisiana to Los Angeles — I’d no more get rid of it than I would her.

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Local

West LA Councilmember Mike Bonin helps a city work crew prepare for Backbone bike lanes on Manchester Ave.

Flying Pigeon says South Pasadena’s Public Works Commissioners should be sued for refusing to close a dangerous 528 foot gap connecting with LA’s new bike lanes on York Blvd.

The Hollywood Reporter reviews the new women’s cycling documentary Half the World, and finds it not to their taste.

The Eastside’s Ovarian Psychos Brigade will screen the Saudi Arabian bike-themed movie Wadjda as a fundraiser this Wednesday.

CICLE is looking for volunteers for next month’s Bike Week Pasadena.

The local mountain bike racing season starts at the end of next month.

 

State

Mad props to the 75 fifth graders — yes, I said 5th graders — who rode their bikes 267 miles from Yuma AZ to Carlsbad CA over spring break, riding up to 53 miles a day and up a five-mile climb. At that age, I was happy to ride to the other side of my own neighborhood without falling over much.

A new San Diego River bike path allows cyclists to ride from Ocean Beach to the 805 Freeway.

Frequent contributor and ghost bike documentarian Danny Gamboa will be curating the Bike Love Art Show next month in Ventura. Knowing Danny, I’d highly recommend checking it out.

Cyclelicious looks at the need to develop a traffic safety culture.

UC Berkeley student with Crohn’s Disease will ride to LA to raise funds for a cure.

A San Francisco cyclist is understandably critical of the way the city’s police deal with cyclists after they let the driver who rear-ended her and her son drive away without even a ticket.

Tiny Arcata CA — population 17,726 — could soon have one more bike boulevard than massive Los Angeles, which currently has none for its over 3.8 million residents. Correction: Richard Risemberg writes to remind me that LA does actually have a bike boulevard, aka bicycle friendly street on Yucca Street in Hollywood, though it doesn’t actually connect to anything.

 

National

The national traffic fatality toll is bad enough; now it turns out it doesn’t include motor vehicle deaths that don’t occur in traffic situations. So add another 6,483 deaths and 91,000 injuries from 2008 to 2011, 39% of whom weren’t in cars.

The publishers of Momentum Magazine says it’s time to move the conversation beyond helmets. I couldn’t agree more; there are lots of good reasons to wear one, but no adult should ever be compelled to.

Bicycling’s Heidi Swift says riding through a cemetery isn’t disrespectful, it’s showing respect for life. Someone should explain that to the director of the Los Angeles National Cemetery, which continues to ban bikes for reasons I will never understand.

A Texas woman gets a well-deserved 10 years for killing a bike rider while drinking, using her cellphone and falling asleep at the wheel.

Cincinnati proposes killing trees to preserve parking while making way for a protected bike lane.

A writer for the Times rides along with Boston’s equivalent of LA’s Marathon Crash Race.

 

International

Great Britain is opening a memorial to bicyclists killed in war; turns out the first British soldier killed in WWI was a 15-year old bike rider who lied about his age — and may have been killed by friendly fire.

The reward for recovering a stolen Brit bike is home-made banana bread.

Once again, a cyclist is caught on video narrowly avoiding getting hit by a train, this time in India; the rider had to abandon his bike on the tracks to get away.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to steal a bike, don’t park it at the local Walmart, then go inside and fall asleep on a bean bag chair.

And Gothamist totally freaks out over a helmetless Orthodox father riding a Citi Bike with his helmetless daughter on his hip.

 

Morning Links: Eleven years in drunken Victorville hit-and-run, great Arizona three-foot law video

Now that’s more like it.

According to the Victorville Daily Press, 28-year old Jason Thomas Scott of Victorville was sentenced to 11 years for the — allegedly — drunken hit-and-run that took the life of a cyclist two years ago.

Apple Valley resident David Epperson was walking his bike along Ridgecrest Road just east of Victorville when he was plowed down from behind by Scott’s vehicle, which dragged him over 60 feet before leaving Epperson to die on the side of the road.

Scott was reportedly driving with a suspended license due to a previous DUI conviction at the time of the collision. He’s been behind bars since his arrest in June, 2012; the paper reports he could be out in another three-and-a-half years with good behavior following his plea deal.

Five-and-a-half years behind bars barely seems sufficient. But it’s far more than many other drivers have served under similar circumstances.

And it’s nice to see the life of a bike rider taken seriously for a change.

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Great short video from Arizona looks at the state’s three-foot passing law. And clearly demonstrates just what three-feet looks like on the road.

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Local

Note to David Shaffer of Woodland Hills: It is perfectly legal to ride a bike on the sidewalk in Los Angeles, as long as it’s done in a safe and non-aggressive manner.

Streetsblog looks at the highlights from Thursday’s LADOT and City Planning webinar on the second year study corridors for the LA bike plan.

You could be the next director of LA2050.

A series of Hermosa Beach workshops could determine the future of bicycling in the city, among other things.

Something is seriously wrong when a cyclist gets run down from behind in Palos Verdes Estates, and sheriff’s deputies write it off as “just an accident” before the investigation is even complete.

 

State

An Orange County cyclist has to be recued from the Santa Ana River bed when he’s thrown 15 feet off a Katella Ave overpass after hitting an object in the roadway.

I like it. Silicon Valley bike riders are challenged to Bike to Shop during next month’s Bike Week.

Oakland’s famed Telegraph Avenue could soon sport parking protected bike lanes.

 

National

Arizona officials are trying to determine who killed a cyclist and how after the victim is found on the side of the road covered by a blanket, with his “unique” bike missing.

Boulder County CO officials tweak those ubiquitous black-tube vehicle counters to distinguish between bikes and other vehicles, which could revolutionize bike counts.

Cincinnati cyclists and business owners are engaged in a classic battle over protected bike lanes versus lost parking and reduced road capacity.

Not only is Beyonce one of us, she gives a shout out to a Chicago bike shop.

The Washington Post says more cyclists really does make for safer streets.

Turns out the Archbishop of New Orleans is one of us, too. Then again, he’s just following the Pope’s advice.

 

International

Bicycling is booming in Santiago, Chile even though bad road design forces many riders onto the sidewalk.

The Ottawa Bicycle Club offers a great decision matrix for deciding when to take the lane and ride abreast, and when to hug the shoulder single file.

British cycling legend Beryl Burton is finally getting the attention she deserves prior to the UK start of the Tour de France, with an amazing 122 national titles over five decades.

The UK’s Emma Pooley discovers winning a women’s world championship barely pays enough to pay the bills.

A road raging Brit van driver loses his job and gets convicted of assault after getting caught on helmet cam head-butting a cyclist.

Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert wins the Amstel Gold classic for the third time. No word on who won the Amstel Light.

An Aussie website asks if cyclists are fair game. Game, yes; fair, no.

 

Finally…

This is why you don’t spit in the face of a truck driver, even if he did almost hit you. Aside from the fact that it’s rude and disgusting — and illegal — and the driver will get away with stomping on your bike.

 

Morning Links: Settlement in Camp Pendleton bus collision could have far reaching bike benefits

We’ve got another long list of links this morning, so let’s get right to it.

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A settlement has been reached in the bus collision that injured cyclist John Edwards on Camp Pendleton last August.

As you may recall, rider Udo Heinz lost his life in the same collision when a North County Transit District bus rear-ended three cyclists who were riding single-file on the right side of the roadway, exactly where and how they should have been riding; the driver was reportedly distracted at the time of the collision.

Terms of the settlement weren’t announced, but the company that operates the bus line agreed to work with the San Diego Bike Coalition to improve bike safety training for their drivers.

According to Edwards’ attorney, Oceanside-based Richard Duquette, the company claims to be the largest bus line operator in the US. Which means the settlement could have ramifications far beyond Southern California by improving safety for riders throughout the county.

Maybe I should mention Duquette is a competitive cyclist.

Because it would probably take a fellow rider to ensure the settlement that benefits his client also benefits the rest of us.

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Local

The first ever Tour de UCLA celebrates National Public Health Week.

There’s still time to sign up for the LA Circuit Race this weekend near LAX.

Boyle Hieghts Beat looks at everyone’s favorite Eastside feminist cycling brigade.

Sunday’s successful CicLAvia points out the need for better bicycling infrastructure; clearly, there’s a pent-up demand for safe places to ride a bike. Especially with your kids.

Speaking of which, Downtown News calls on everyone to keep pushing for agreement on the My Figueroa plan.

KPCC asks what will it take to encourage people to ditch their cars? Besides making CicLAvia a daily thing.

Work is proceeding on the Expo bikeway.

 

State

Cyclelicious notes California’s proposed bike tax now has a more user friendly name, even if it wouldn’t bring in enough money to cover administrative costs.

Bike Newport Beach reminds us that a bicycle is a necessary part of any earthquake survival kit; works for the coming zombie apocalypse, too.

Santa Ana city officials plan to make it Orange County’s “most friendliest bike city,” which is not the same as bike-friendliest city, is it?

Fullerton’s bike share program expands onto the local CSU campus.

A tragic mystery in Modesto, as a cyclist with minor scrapes rides into a gas station and asks the clerk to call an ambulance, then passes out and later dies of a ruptured spleen before he could tell anyone what happened.

Bay Area bike share expands into the East Bay.

 

National

The Bike League announces a Bicycle Friendly America photo contest.

Seven reasons why bikes are for everyone. Okay, but can we quit denigrating “cyclists” already? Anyone who rides a bike is a cyclist, just as anyone operating a motor vehicle is a motorist. It applies equally to kids with training wheels, los invisibles, bike commuters or spandex-clad weekend warriors. Anything else is trying to force a meaning on the word that it just doesn’t possess.

Bike Portland explains why a woman arrested for intentionally ramming a cyclist — there’s that word again — was released without charges. And yes, you’re legally obligated to stop if you witness a road rage collision, at least in Oregon.

A bike manufacturer in my hometown introduces a reduced road bike for petite riders.

The Missouri legislature votes down a proposed anti-bike funding amendment.

Good interview with Streetsblog founder Aaron Naparstek.

New York police refuse to release impounded bikes for a year and a half. Couldn’t that be considered bike theft?

Now that’s more like it. A Virginia women faces 31 years in prison for killing a cyclist in a drunken hit-and-run; she was three times the legal limit when tested after the wreck.

Hats off to a Carolina 4th grader, who plans to celebrate his 10th birthday by bicycling 200 miles to raise funds for clean water around the world.

Gainsville FL city commissioner is just the latest to demand double taxation for cyclists, who already pay more than their fare share of the roads. Unlike cars, bikes cause virtually no damage to the streets and infrastructure they use, and most streets are paid for through general taxes, not gas taxes. You’d think an elected official would know that.

 

International

London will reduce speed limits to 20 mph. If they can do it, why can’t we — at least on residential streets and populated commercial districts?

Less than a year after a UK rider gave up his dream of becoming a pro cyclist when his heart stopped for 25 minutes, he’s back on his bike and riding 1000 miles through South America for charity.

Now that Lance has fallen, America’s only other Tour de France winner continues his remarkable comeback, becoming an on-air cycling commentator for the Eurosport network.

I want to vote for this guy. A Polish mayor makes a citizens arrest after watching a drunk driver kill a cyclist, calling the driver he struggled with a “murderer.”

Yet another young rider has been impaled on his handlebars, this time in Israel. Clearly, there’s a design flaw that needs to be addressed on children’s bikes; this should never happen, let alone as often as it does.

 

Finally…

In a truly bizarre case, a man escapes from a Miami mental health clinic after jumping into the ocean, then attempts and fails to carjack a driver before bike-jacking a passing bicyclist — then crashes head-on into the car he’d attempted to steal moments earlier.

And Washington state police have to take down photos of 60-plus recovered bicycles when pornographic images somehow get included

 

Morning Links: Not guilty pleas in OC meth hit-and-run, BFF KINDness, and fundraiser for OC’s Matt Liechty

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover today, so let’s not waste any time.

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Not surprisingly, 18-year old Sommer Gonzales pled not guilty to all counts in the death of cyclist Joe Robinson on Orange County’s Santiago Canyon almost exactly two months earlier.

As the chart below shows, she entered a plea of not guilty to four felony and two misdemeanor violations of the criminal code, and denied two felony violations of the state vehicle code.

I’m told she’s been remanded into custody pending trial. Her next court appearance is scheduled for April 21st.

Sommer-Gonzalez-Charges-2

Thanks to Jeffrey Fylling and an anonymous source for the tip.

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A relative of fallen cyclist Matt Liechty sends word that a fundraiser will be held in his honor this Saturday. The event will take place at Perry’s Pizza, 2108 W. Oceanfront Blvd in Newport Beach, with donations accepted from 11 am to midnight.

Liechty was the victim of yet another February Orange County hit-and-run, as the former OC Sheriff and Probation Department employee was run down in a Huntington Beach bike lane by an alleged drunk driver who fled the scene, leaving one of his wheels behind.

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SAMSUNGSnack bar maker KIND has come up with a clever promotion for this weekend’s Bicycle Film Festival.

Due to a delivery issue and a busy schedule, I’m a little behind in sharing this, but you still have one more day — today — to share a little kindness with a friend.

#kindawesome
Spread kindness in Los Angeles. Send a flower and KIND bars to a friend via bike messenger. www.KINDsnacks.com/kinddeliveries 
 
#bffworld 
Bring your friends to the Bicycle Film Festival coming to LA – April 4-5th! www.bicyclefilmfestival.com/city/los-angeles/
 
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BICYCLE FILM FESTIVAL:
Location: Aratani/Japan America Theatre (downtown)
Dates/Times: Friday, April 4th 7:30pm + 9:30pm; Saturday, April 5th 7pm + 9pm

The four unique screenings of narrative and cinematic films kick off with the premiere of HALF THE ROAD, BY Kathryn Bertine a highly anticipated feature about the highlights and challenges of women’s cycling, setting the tone for the following three programs of fun and poignant shorts illuminating the joys and perseverance riding inspires across cultures, ages and landscapes.

We also just added after parties for both nights, which will take place at Angel City Brewery just a few blocks away. (216 S. Alameda)

SAMSUNG

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A Santa Monica high school student has developed a handlebar mounted cell phone holder and speaker to give you access to all your aps, as well as music and hands-free calling. As of Wednesday, it was roughly $10,000 short of its Kickstarter goal with 10 days to go.

Personally, one of the many reasons I ride a bike is to get away from all the electronic demands on my attention, and experience the real world for awhile. And as far as I’m concerned, there are enough distracted motorists on the roads without adding distracted cyclists to the mix.

But you can learn more here.

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Local

KPCC says it’s never too late to learn how to ride a bike, thanks to CICLE’s adult Learn to Ride classes.

A guest writer for the Times Opinion page thanks LA drivers for safely sharing the road; your experience may vary.

Flying Pigeon asks for a little network elegance when it comes to LA bikeways, but despairs of the power council members have to stop it.

LAist reminds us that CicLAvia isn’t the only bike event this weekend, and that there’s more to life than bicycling. Meanwhile, LA Magazine offers advice on what to eat and see on Wilshire this Sunday.

 

State

Oceanside is about to open the next segment of a planned 44-mile bike trail from Oceanside to San Diego.

Less-than-bike-friendly CSU Sacramento considers on-campus bike lanes and enforcement of bike-free zones to improve campus safety.

A San Jose writer asks if racing culture has sucked all the fun out of riding a bike. That’s the great thing about bike riding, though; you can race or ride for recreation, exercise or transportation. Or all of the above, whatever works for you. And whether or not you pay any attention to other kinds of riders is entirely up to you.

An 18-year old Pleasanton man faces 2nd degree murder and felony reckless driving charges after losing control of his speeding car last June, and slamming into a couple bicycling in the opposite direction, killing the wife. He had previously invited his Twitter followers to join him on a “death ride;” meanwhile, his father faces a possible third strike for weapons and controlled substances that were found when conducted a search related to his son’s case.

 

National

In a truly bizarre case, a Missouri woman has pled guilty to hit-and-run in the death of a bike rider last year. She was reportedly fleeing from her ex-boyfriend at the time, who was chasing her in a stolen car while flashing a gun; he faces a second-degree murder charge for causing the death.

 

International

An English magistrate questions whether a law banning cyclists from riding drunk was intended to apply to bike riders; Parliament may have to make the final determination.

A UK man plans to ride the courses of the five European Spring Classics on a homemade Penny Farthing.

And in the last of today’s string of killer teenage drivers, an 18-year old British woman is accused of going crazy following a dispute at a party, then tracking down and killing her victim with her car as he rode his bike.

Evidently, the same three foot law that’s in use throughout the US becomes hopelessly impractical when converted to Australia’s metric system.

 

Finally…

It’s okay to carry a shovel on your bike, but don’t use it to threaten police and laundromat customers.

And if you’re riding drunk in Pennsylvania, put a damn light on your bike and don’t yell at passing patrol cars; bike lawyer Bob Mionske notes that his 15 day sentence is more than most drivers face for killing someone.

 

Your fool-free Morning Links, including a well-done bike film, and a book deservedly thrown by OC prosecutors

 

Yes, this post is dated April 1st, despite my best efforts to get it online earlier.

But no, you won’t find any April fools here.

Except possibly a writer/rider who keeps hoping the motoring public will somehow get it, and transform our roadways into the safe and welcoming streets they can and should be. That cyclists will assert their right to ride the streets in a safe and courteous manner.

And that both will form, if not a genuine friendship, as least a grudging détente that will allow us all to arrive at our various destinations in peace. And in one piece.

It could happen.

Right?

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Orange County prosecutors are prepared to throw the book at a young driver facing 15 years and nine months in state prison. As well as one year and six months in county jail.

And frankly, she couldn’t deserve it more.

Allegedly, of course.

That’s what 18-year old Tustin resident Sommer Gonzalez could potentially serve once she’s arraigned on Tuesday in the hit-and-run death of 21-year old cyclist Joe Robinson this past February.

Robinson, who worked at Jax Bicycle Center in Irvine, was riding in the bike lane on southbound Santiago Canyon in Orange when he was plowed down from behind by Gonzalez’ car. Gonzalez fled the scene, but was arrested an hour later based on the description of her car given by an off-duty fire battalion chief, who also found Robinson’s body.

According to Rancho Santa Margarita Patch, she will face a long list of charges.

  • One felony count each of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated
  • Driving under the influence of drugs causing bodily injury
  • Hit and run with death
  • Possession of a controlled substance
  • One misdemeanor count of use and under the influence of a controlled substance
  • One misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance paraphernalia
  • Sentencing enhancement allegations for inflicting great bodily injury
  • Sentencing enhancement for fleeing the scene of a crime

The real tragedy here is that two lives were destroyed that morning. A well-loved young man needlessly lost his life.

And a young woman willfully threw hers away.

Thanks to Jeffrey Fylling and John McBrearty for the heads-up.

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Great short film with a wicked twist if you have a little less than 10 minutes to kill. Thanks to John Murphy aka murphstahoe for the link.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton asks why Metro is looking at raising fares while giving away free parking. Damn good question if you ask me.

HuffPo talks with CicLAvia co-founder Aaron Paley.

The LA Weekly casts a questioning eye on the state’s proposed vulnerable user law; don’t bother reading the comments unless you’ve got a strong stomach.

Three perspectives on turning the Riverside bridge into an elevated park.

A walker is injured after looking over her shoulder but still turning into the path of a cyclist, leading a community leader says more must be done to prevent future collisions on the Elysian Valley section of the LA River bike path.

A cop in Watts pulls over a cyclist for a traffic violation, and ends up shooting a pit bull after its owner — not the bike rider — sics him on the officer. Thanks to Rick Risemberg for the heads-up.

 

State

Jeff Miller of the Alliance for Biking and Walking will speak about Building a Bike Friendly City in Santa Ana next Monday. Thanks to Frank Peters for the tip.

Brewcyclers will be riding to a new brewery in Anaheim at the end of this month.

Turns out San Diego’s new police chief is one of us.

 

National

A pair of BMX-borne bastards knock an  85-year old Las Vegas woman down and steal her belongings; there’s a special place in hell for people like that.

A Missouri woman faces up to seven years after pleading guilty to the high-speed hit-and-run death of a cyclist.

A New York artist offers an illustrated guide to the city’s stereotypical bicyclists.

Bike traffic just keeps growing on DC’s protected bike lanes.

 

International

A Brit band plans a full album of bike-inspired songs.

Once again, a British bike rider is seriously injured after someone strings a rope across the pathway he was riding on.

London buses will get new bike and pedestrian sensors to help avoid collisions.

A promo for a UK bicycling festival is pulled after people call it sexist. And yes, it is. Or was.

Ten things that put British residents off riding; I suspect those same reasons would hold true just about anywhere.

An Irish teenager says he was so drunk and stoned he had no idea what he was doing when he assaulted a cyclist, beat her viciously and stole her groceries. Maybe someone can save room for him in Hades next to those BMX bandits.

 

Finally…

An Aussie reporter offers five tips to avoid helmet hair — including just not riding.

And a photo from JoJointhe310 shows that there are exceptions to every rule.

Bike Parking Sign

 

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