Archive for Violence & Crime

They drive among us: Letter writer threatens all cyclists for the water-squirting actions of one

I recently received the following letter from an anonymous source.

I’m told the writer, a Hollywood screenwriter, has circulated it among his friends as a joke. Apparently, one of them didn’t think it was funny.

I can’t imagine anyone else would, either. Let’s hope he specializes in horror; if he’s a comedy writer, he’s in the wrong business.

My source also said he may be trying to get the letter published. So I’m going to do him a favor and publish it for him.

Read it for yourself, and we’ll discuss afterwards.

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Let’s answer that last question first.

No one who isn’t a psychopath is likely to accept that invitation.

Now let’s get this out of the way.

The cyclist who squirted his girlfriend was a jerk. By the simple act of squirting her with water, he committed misdemeanor assault, punishable with a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in county jail.

So let that be your warning.

But it was water. Unless his pretty 20-something girlfriend is a witch, she probably didn’t suffer any lasting injury.

And let’s not forget she was breaking the law by parking in the bike lane, which, despite the perceptions of some people — apparently including our humble letter writer — wasn’t striped on the street to provide a waiting zone or a secondary parking lane.

Under California law, a bike lane is a legal lane of traffic reserved for bicycles, just as HOV lanes are reserved for vehicles with two or more occupants.

And on a busy street like Main, blocking the bike lane can force riders out into traffic, risking their safety in front of drivers who are more focused on finding a parking space than looking for bikes where they don’t expect them.

If the guy on the bike had been hit by a car, she could have been held liable, at least in part, for any injuries he suffered as a result.

Yes, what the guy did was wrong. But so was what the woman in the car did.

And the writer of this letter clearly doesn’t get that.

Then there’s this notion.

Not a Saturday morning goes by that I don’t witness some menace on wheels screaming “Hey watch where you’re going asshole!” at a peaceful and law abiding driver.

Which, unless he encounters an unusual number of mentally unstable people on two wheels, is highly unlikely; few cyclists feel a need to yell at “peaceful and law abiding” drivers.

Unless maybe they’re yelling at him.

Perhaps he just doesn’t understand traffic law well enough to recognize when drivers put people on bikes in needless danger. Like his girlfriend’s parking issues, for instance.

Which leads us to the real problem with this letter, and the person who wrote it.

Back in my starving writer days, the convenience store where I worked nights was robbed by a couple of kids in their early teens. One of whom had to talk his friend out of shooting me to see what it felt like to kill a white guy.

That marked the beginning of a multi-week crime spree that culminated in their arrest for pistol whipping another clerk so badly that he lost an eye.

I could have concluded, as have some I’ve had the misfortune of knowing, that all members of that particular ethnic group, or maybe minorities in general, were somehow to blame.

Even though that would have included my boss, her boss, and the friend-of-a-friend psychologist who volunteered over two hours of his time to talk me through it. Not to mention the woman I was dating at the time.

Yet this writer somehow blames every spandex-wearing person on two wheels for the action of one.

Never mind that some of those who appear to be riding recreationally may actually be riding to work, as part of the group he immediately absolves of collective guilt.

And never mind that some people at the agency that represents him are undoubtedly cyclists themselves. Not to mention at least a few of the studio execs capable of greenlighting his projects.

Which is I’m withholding his name.

It would easy — and admittedly, tempting — to let his own words destroy his career. But rather than grasping just how foolish he was in writing this letter, it would probably just reinforce his belief that we’re the evil creatures he thinks we are.

That brings us to his self-professed life of crime, which ranges from vandalism and simple assault, to criminal stalking and assault with a deadly weapon. Not to mention inciting violence by encouraging others to do the same.

His plan to repeatedly brake-check groups of cyclists — what he calls the “speed up slow down tactic’ — is exactly what got Dr. Christopher Thompson sentenced to four years hard time for slamming on his brakes in front of three riders in Mandeville Canyon.

And we’ll ignore his final chloroform fantasy, which he should take a good whiff of the next time he’s tempted to dash off another letter like this.

So on behalf of recreational bike riders everywhere, I’d like to apologize to his girlfriend, while politely suggesting that she watch where she parks in the future. And maybe reconsider her taste in men.

As for the letter writer, maybe he’d like to join us for a bike ride some time. And see that there’s another way to see the world in which bike riders aren’t the bad guys he thinks we are.

Once he calms down, that is.

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Check back this afternoon for today’s Morning Links.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nice.

Thanks to Ed Ryder for the heads-up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Local

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

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

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

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

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

 

State

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

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

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

 

National

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

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

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

Minneapolis cyclists call for lowering speed limits to 25 mph.

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

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

 

Morning Links: Don’t confront angry drivers, salmon cyclist injured in Boyle Heights, near miss in OC, and CicLAvia!

Some stories are just too outrageous for words.

That was the case with yesterday’s murder of a bicyclist by a road-raging SUV driver who fled the scene after running down the victim near Expo Park following an argument.

We won’t rehash the whole story here.

But it serves as a tragic reminder that you never know who you’re dealing with on the roads. And if you encounter an angry driver, it’s better not to engage if possible.

Just pull over, and let them go on their way. A lesson I learned the hard way, after bouncing off the bumper of a road raging driver when I made the mistake of responding to her anger with a single raised finger.

Rule #1: Never flip off the driver behind you.

If they come after you, try to ride to a public place. Take your bike into a store if you need to.

Make a public display of calling 911, or ask witnesses to call the police.

I’ve also found that taking a photo of the driver and the license of the vehicle with your smartphone will diffuse most situations. Although pointing out that you’re recording everything on your helmet cam seems to have the opposite effect.

Try to speak calmly. Don’t yell or get into a shouting match. Just find a way to get out of the situation as quickly and painlessly as possible.

I don’t mean to preach.

That advice is a reminder for me as much as it is for you or anyone else.

I’ve got a long history of standing my ground and fighting for my right to the road through words and gestures. Even going so far as to block offending drivers with my bike and body, and shoving car doors closed to keep drivers or passengers from getting out and kicking my ass.

I’ve somehow managed to get away it. Except for that one time.

But as that case and this one make clear, it’s just not worth the risk.

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A salmon cyclist suffered major injuries in a head-on collision in Boyle Heights Monday night.

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A drunk driver lost control of his car and went off PCH in Huntington Beach, coming to rest in the sand; the driver and a passenger were arrested trying to flee on foot.

A friend reports she would have been passing through that exact spot at the time of the crash as she rode her bike home along the beach, if she hadn’t stopped to watch the lightening display and ended up talking with a driver who’d pulled over to watch, as well.

It’s funny how often little things like that can make all the difference in getting home safely.

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CicLAvia returns to the scene of the crime for the fifth anniversary of the original Heart of Downtown event.

Speaking of which, the Militant Angeleno is back with his epic guide to Sunday’s CicLAvia route. Seriously, you need to memorize this, print it or download it to your phone before you head out on Sunday.

And there will be a feeder ride to CicLAvia from Culver City.

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In pro cycling, the Tinkoff-Saxo cycling team is now just Tinkoff, as the team lost Saxo Bank after eight years of sponsorship.

And it’s not just the riders facing a doping ban anymore, as USA Cycling extends a zero tolerance policy to its staff and contractors.

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Local

The Alliance for Community Transit is hiring an Organizing Coordinator, and a Campaign and Communications Coordinator. And they’ll be hosting a community event in Grand Park on Monday to discuss what a sustainable, transit-rich LA could look like.

Jimmy Kimmel gives a non-bicycling staff writer a bike riding lesson behind his Hollywood studio.

Great news from the Valley, as design work begins for another 12 miles of bike paths along the LA River. Although the story doesn’t say if it will connect with the existing LA River bike path.

CiclaValley says Metro has plans for a bigger, bolder, and hopefully more bikeable NoHo. Let’s hope those plans include the long promised Lankershim bike lanes that were squashed by the unlamented Tom LaBonge.

It’s official. South Pasadena will host the second stage of next year’s Amgen Tour of California.

Long Beach needs volunteers for its eighth annual bike count on Sunday, which unfortunately takes place the same time as CicLAvia.

 

State

A Huntington Beach bicyclist suffered critical injuries when he was rear-ended while riding in the bike lane on Warner Ave.

Newly bike friendly San Diego is ranked as the 12th greenest city in the US.

A Santa Cruz writer plays Miss Manners for mountain bikers for a day.

San Francisco cyclists have an interesting new transportation option, as they can now lease a $2000 e-bike for $79 a month, including a lock, theft insurance and unlimited maintenance.

A Rancho Cordova cyclist is lucky to survive a collision with a light rail train.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A Granite Bay man celebrated his 90th birthday by riding his 200,000th mile on his bike. By my calculations, I only have somewhere around 18,000 miles and a few more decades to go.

 

National

Microsoft is working on predictive intelligence to prevent bicycle collisions before they happen. Except when they have to reboot the system, download and install upgrades or fight off a virus, that is.

CNET looks at the growing popularity and expanding choices in e-bikes.

Next City offers eight images and videos it says will make you fall more in love with bikeshare.

A new Portland apartment building is only 80% leased, but the bike parking is already overflowing.

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho police are looking for a hit-and-run cyclist who plowed into a jogger after calling “on your left,” then not doing it.

The driver who nearly killed a Denver bike cop who was protecting protesting high school students faces up to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to vehicular assault; he lied about an existing medical condition when he applied for a drivers license.

An Arkansas county sobriety court has started their own bikeshare program — actually more of a bike library — to provide transportation for drivers who’ve had their licenses suspended for DUI.

The Minneapolis StarTribune talks with Stephen Clark, the bicycle-friendly community program specialist for the League of American Bicyclists.

Evidently, not everyone loves Detroit’s Slow Roll Bike Rides.

A New York truck driver was high on coke when he killed a cyclist in an apparent right hook.

The NYPD doesn’t just think bike lanes are for parking, they’re also a dump for precinct garbage.

A Brooklyn paper offers a by the numbers look at bicycling in the borough.

City Lab says that DC church’s claimed opposition to bike lanes for religious freedom is really all about free parking. Oddly, I don’t recall Jesus saying anything about being able to park right in front of a house of worship.

 

International

City and state governments around the world are finally using data to harness the benefits of the bicycling boom.

Two Winnipeg men are under arrest for attacking a car after the right-turning driver had hit a bike rider as she came off the sidewalk.

A Toronto writer reflects on the intersection of bicycling and jazz, including a hair-raising ride from Hollywood to attend a recording session in Studio City with the great Lee Ritenour, aka Captain Fingers. I’ve often thought riding through traffic felt like a jazz improvisation, as you slide in and out of ever expanding and collapsing spaces, speeding up and slowing down with the flow around you.

The UK’s Cycling Weekly offers advice on winter riding, some of which actually applies in sunny Los Angeles.

Horrifying crime from Austria, as four masked men push a bike rider to the ground and carve a swastika into his forehead.

A commuter in Malta tried five different forms of transportation before concluding that riding a bike was the most efficient way to get to work.

A Singapore judge suggests cracking down on rash cycling with jail time or a fine up to the equivalent of $1800.

Aussie cops take the country’s mandatory helmet law to a ridiculous extreme by fining a helmet-wearing woman $70 because her strap wasn’t tight enough.

Only in Japan would separated bike lanes be intended to protect cyclists from pedestrians instead of cars.

 

Finally…

If you’re carrying a knife, sawed-off shotgun, drugs and trafficking paraphernalia, don’t ride on the sidewalk and put a damn bell on your bike. If you’re hiding a meth pipe on your bike, maybe it’s better not to ride with a .22-caliber rifle strapped to it.

And it may be smart, it may be electric, it may be a foldie, but if it doesn’t have pedals, it’s a freaking scooter, not a bike.

 

Morning Links: 2nd officer faulted for beating of South LA bike rider, and a sad old song about careless drivers

According to the LA Times, another LAPD officer has been found at fault in the videotaped beating of a bike rider in South LA.

Clinton Alford fled from police when they ordered him to stop as he rode his bike on the sidewalk along Avalon Blvd last October; he claimed they failed to identify themselves as police officers, and only ran when someone grabbed the wheel of his bike.

Once they caught up to him, he reportedly laid down voluntarily and put his hands behind his back, making no attempt to resist as officers restrained him.

Despite that, an officer identified as Richard Garcia allegedly began kicking and beating him, reportedly lining up to kick his head like it was a football. Garcia faces an assault charge for the attack, which was captured on a nearby security camera.

Now the Police Commission has agreed with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck that a second unidentified officer also violated the department’s use of force policies by kicking Alford and standing on his feet.

It will be up to Beck to decide if either cop should face retraining, suspension or lose their jobs.

You can guess which one I’d vote for, although, as a personnel matter, we’ll probably never know what he decides.

Not surprisingly, charges against Alford for possession and resisting arrest were dropped once news of the beating surfaced.

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Evidently, careless drivers have been a problem for a long time, as this song attests.

Maybe it’s time for a more modern remake.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

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New Zealander Linda Villumsen won Tuesday’s women’s elite time trial at the world championships; American great Kristin Armstrong just missed the podium finish that would have guaranteed her a spot on the US team for next year’s Rio Olympics.

Germany’s Tony Martin looks to regain his world time trial title in Wednesday’s race, while Russia’s Artem Ovechkin pulls out due to the death of his mother. Former pro Matt Crane is content to watch from the sidelines of an event he competed in 11 years ago as a U23 rider.

Allie Dragoo was bumped from the American women’s team at the last minute in favor of her pro teammate Lauren Komanski after an arbitrator’s ruling; the explanation for the decision will come long after the championships are over. Something tells me one of them will have to find a new team for next year.

Cycling’s governing body announces reforms for the coming years; whether it is enough to stabilize the sport is TBD.

What happens when pro cyclists — and everyday riders — take a wrong turn or two. And things five pro cyclists do every day to stay on top of their game.

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Local

You’re invited to attend a press conference to support Central Avenue bike lanes and safer streets in South LA today, starting at 5 pm at the intersection of Vernon and Central Aves. This comes after recent efforts by Councilmember Curren Price to remove planned Central Avenue bike lanes from the Mobility Plan, despite the obvious need for them.

Streetsblog looks at how LA can create a more walkable Downtown, which translates into better livability and bikeability, as well.

A member of the Burbank Transportation Commission says the planned Western Channel Bikeway Phase II pathway will improve active mobility access for people walking and on bikes. They could come up with a catchier name, though.

 

State

Streetsblog California looks at the newly signed bill allowing bicycle ticket diversion classes, and notes that the LACBC has expressed an interest in conducting classes here in LA. Curbed LA takes a look, as well.

Fullerton decides to install temporary bike lanes and traffic circles to test out how they work on a city street, with a goal of eventually establishing a bike boulevard. Testing things like that prior to permanent installation provides an opportunity to overcome the inevitable bikelash by showing the sky will not, in fact, fall.

It’s war over Complete Streets in Encinitas, as one member of the city’s Traffic and Public Safety Commission is essentially blackmailed to resign by a fellow commissioner for promoting a “bicyclist agenda.” He also describes Complete Streets as a “recreational religion” that’s too radical for the city. Even though Complete Streets is the official policy of the state, and contained in the current federal transportation bill.

The Coronado Inn encourages people to enjoy a tandem bike ride in the city where residents nearly revolted recently over plans for a bike path. I’ll pass, thank you.

The battle between equestrians and mountain bikers moves up to the East Bay, as cyclists campaign for the right to ride Lamorinda trails currently reserved for horses.

Sadly, a bicyclist lost his life in a Sacramento collision Tuesday morning; no details were available as of this posting.

 

National

A Portland cyclist meets the Good Samaritan who saved his life when he collapsed with a heart attack following a ride.

An Indiana man is arrested for driving under the influence of a controlled substance after leaving a badly injured bike rider lying in a ditch. The schmuck driver first claimed he thought he hit a deer — even though deer seldom use a red blinkie and a reflective triangle — then changed his story to say the cyclist veered into his path while riding from the opposite direction; police determined the rider was actually run down from behind.

The rich get richer. New York hit 1,000 miles of bike lanes on Tuesday, though not everyone is happy about it.

Comcast turns to bikes to get around traffic problems caused by the pope’s visit to Philadelphia. Speaking of which, the formerly bike riding pontiff will get a new bike with angelic chain guard from Philly’s own Breezer Bikes.

North Carolina bike advocates beat down an attempt to ban road diets in the state legislature.

 

International

Now this I like. A British company has designed a bike parking system that allows members to secure their bikes with a specially treated one-inch steel bar.

London is creating three new bike and pedestrian friendly mini-Hollands it hopes will spread throughout the city. Maybe LA should try that approach; other districts might beg for road diets and walkable, bikeable streets once they see what a difference it can make for businesses and livability.

The Guardian looks at five of the best scenic bike rides in Wales. One day I hope to take the Corgi to visit to her ancestral homeland so she can watch the herds of wild Corgis roam the Welsh Serengeti.

Caught on video: A Brit bike rider captures a first-person perspective of flipping over an empty wheelchair that was pushed into his path without warning; you can see the speed gauge on his Garmin go from 24 to zero within seconds as he flops onto the street.

 

Finally…

When you’re wearing body armor and carrying a concealed handgun and a broken-down shotgun on your bike, don’t stop to break into someone’s home as you travel on your way. If you’re getting low on your wife’s favorite coffee, it’s worth taking a ferry across the channel and biking along the coast of France to bring back 64 pounds of it.

And caught on video: Why carry your cross bike up the stairs when you can just bunny hop them in rapid succession?

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In case you missed it, you can find yesterday’s late arriving and extremely lengthy Morning Links here.

Weekend Links: Bike rider killed in Compton, a Canadian slap on the wrist, and it’s a triple-video weekend

Somehow, I missed this one earlier in the week.

Yet another young man has been shot and killed while riding his bike, this time Monday night in Compton.

The Sheriff’s Department says the 27-year old victim was targeted by the shooters, while a woman standing nearby was injured, apparently as collateral damage.

Thanks to Jaime Kate for the heads-up.

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In case you need a reminder how much fun it is to ride a bike, this girl’s reaction should do the trick.

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Caught on video: My friends at the West Seattle Blog post a first hand view of what it’s like to get right hooked by a massive semi-truck. Remarkably, both the rider and his bike survived almost unharmed.

As they note, you may want to hit the mute button if innocent ears are around, since they finally found someone who swears at drivers more than I do. And with good reason.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9RvUpdBJiU

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Un-effing-believable.

A Canadian driver went to play the slots after hitting a cyclist, leaving him to die alone in a ditch. Common sense suggests she’d face a murder charge for her callous indifference to human life, and sped the next several years behind bars.

Instead, she was fined a whopping $2,000, sentenced to community service, and lost her license for a whole month.

Clearly, life is cheap north of the border. At least if the victim is riding a bike.

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If you don’t read any other link today, take a few moments for this fascinating obituary of the sword swallowing, prize fighting, blood drinking Irish cycling legend Mike “Iron Man” Murphy, who slept in hay to prepare for races, and rode 40 miles afterwards just to cool down.

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Just eight days till the first world championships on US soil since ’86.

The reining world champ explains why he’s not the favorite, and says the hilly course means anything can happen. The San Diego Union Tribune handicaps the favorites, precious few whom are Americans. But if you happen to find yourself in Charlottesville VA next week, you can hang out with the US team.

Alexis Gougeard won Friday’s stage of the Vuelta in a solo breakaway, setting up Saturday’s penultimate leg in the mountains around Madrid. After crashing early in the stage, second place Fabio Aru lost three seconds to leader Tom Dumoulin, doubling the margin between them to just six seconds; however, he may lose more time if he’s penalized for an assist.

Mark Cavendish crashes out of the Tour of Britain — yes, there’s another race going on — with a shoulder injury.

And Marina del Rey women’s cyclist Lauren Mulwitz accepted a six-month ban for failing a drug test at June’s Manhattan Beach Gran Prix after she tested positive for marijuana. Yes, she was banned for pot, which has never been known to enhance anyone’s performance.

Seriously, why should anyone care if she or any other athlete takes a toke? Especially in California, where’s it’s just this side of legal.

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Local

Writing in the Daily News, a former Republican candidate for state assembly says the new mobility plan is all about whining about cars, and declares the new Reseda Blvd Great Streets protected bike lanes a failure. Somehow, they’re accused of making traffic worse even though no traffic lanes were removed; although admittedly, they do force drivers to actually look before jumping out of a car for a change.

The LA Times looks at what it’s like to ride the seven-day AIDS/LifeCycle ride from San Francisco to LA. Including being surrounded by men on bikes in red dresses.

A Glendale rider describes getting hit by a car that didn’t leave any passing room, let alone the three feet required by law.

Thousand Oaks will host their own two-mile ciclovía on Halloween.

 

State

Don’t try this at home. A San Diego man tackles the man selling his stolen bike after tracking it down on Craigslist. There are too many similar stories that went dangerously wrong; just call the police and let them handle it.

San Francisco’s SF Gate asks if it’s time to charge bike riders a road use fee. Actually, if you’re going to be fair about it, they owe us a refund.

A California appeals court rules that the environmental assessment for a new Danville housing development should have considered bike safety.

 

National

The trailer has dropped for The Program, the movie about Lance the Doper, staring Ben Foster, the doper.

Bicycling talks with the founder of Advocate Cycles, which will donate 100% of their profits to bike advocacy groups.

Honolulu busts bicyclists who illegally ride the sidewalk for a whole 100 feet between a bike lane and a multi-use path.

A Colorado cyclist is riding 12,000 miles to raise awareness about sex trafficking, while a Virginia man is riding cross country to raise money for the homeless.

Boston makes changes to a street where a bicyclist was killed in a right hook by a semi while she was riding in a bike lane. Every city, everywhere, should study the cause of any fatal collision, then fix the problem to keep it from happening again.

Hugh Jackman, aka Wolverine, is one of us, as he rides the streets of New York on his Scott mountain bike. Why is it that the press criticizes anyone who doesn’t wear a helmet, but makes fun of anyone who does?

 

International

An Ontario, Canada website says investing in bicycling is the smart thing to do, saying the province doesn’t have a traffic problem, it has a health problem.

If you build it, they will come. Bicycling is booming in Vancouver BC, as the city invests $4 million a year in bikeways and greenways. Although it doesn’t help when even the mayor of nearby Victoria is a victim of thieves who stripped her bike during a meeting to approve bike parking in a new development.

A Brit woman charges a cyclist the equivalent of nearly $5 to refill his water bottle — from a garden hose, no less — then dumps it out when he can’t pay.

A Copenhagen firm wants to be the Uber of bikes for hire. Although they couldn’t have picked a much worse name than AirDonkey; maybe it sounds better in Danish.

Speaking of Copenhagen, maybe someday the anti-bike forces here will say LA isn’t Jakarta, instead.

 

Finally…

A South African cyclist swears he had a suitcase full of syringes to lance the boils on his butt, while an official says they were for filling bike tires with sealant. Sure, let’s go with that. It’s such a no brainer to use the term no brainer when talking about bike helmets that anyone who uses the phrase no brainer to talk about bike helmets is just showing their own need for an effing copy editor.

And nothing like a little sex shaming to sell boy’s bikes.

 

Bicyclist murdered in Winnetka early Saturday in apparent random attack

A bike rider was stabbed to death in Winnetka early Saturday morning.

The man, described only as 20 to 30 years old, was riding on Sherman Way near Lurline Ave around 12:30 am when he was dragged off his bike by three attackers. The victim was beaten before one of the attackers pulled out a knife and repeatedly stabbed him in the chest.

He was rushed to Northridge Hospital Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 1:40 am.

According to My News LA, police suspect the attack could be related to a robbery in the 7600 block of Mason Ave 15 minutes earlier, while KABC-7 says it’s unknown whether it was gang related.

Frighteningly, KTLA-5 suggests it may have been a random attack, quoting a police spokesman as saying the victim had no ties to the first crime, and may have just been in the wrong area at the wrong time.

The suspects were last seen fleeing in a dark, mid-sized SUV. Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD’s Topanga Detective Division at 818/756-4820.

Whatever the reason, be careful riding in the area since the suspects are still on the loose. And if someone tries to jack your bike, let them have it. No bike is worth your life.

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

Thanks to danger d for the heads-up.

Gardena police video released in shooting of unarmed man looking for his brother’s stolen bike

As expected, a judge has ordered the release of a video showing the Gardena police fatally shooting the unarmed brother of a bike theft victim.

Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino was trying to tell the officers that the men they had detained weren’t bike thieves, but friends who were helping to look for the bike.

But instead of releasing them, the cops opened fire when he took of his hat and lowered his hands, shooting Diaz-Zeferino eight times, and injuring one of his companions, who had his hands in the air the whole time.

Even though Diaz-Zeferino was unarmed, and as the video shows, made no threatening moves towards the officers.

He was shot, apparently, because they thought he might possibly be armed, and they were too afraid to wait to see if he really had a gun before blowing him away.

And somehow, that’s okay with the DA and the Gardena police department; KNBC-4 reports the officers are still with the force and patrolling the streets.

Even though the city felt there it had enough liability to settle with the victims’ families to the tune of a $4.7 million, paid out of the taxpayer’s pockets.

That’s a lot of guilt if no one did a damn thing wrong.

The city fought the release of the video, claiming it could result in a “rush to judgment” about the officer’s behavior, according to KPCC.

Or it could just let the public see what really happened. And realize that what sounded like a bad shoot by trigger happy cops, was.

It used to be that any cop who shot an unarmed person could expect to lose his or her job, at the very least. I once knew an officer, in another state, who freely admitted carrying a spare gun and a knife to drop by the victim if he ever shot someone who wasn’t armed.

And it used to be that fellow officers wanted bad cops off the force, because they made everyone else look bad and made the public lose faith in the officers charged with protecting them.

In fact, that officer was eventually fired, at the urging of his fellow officers.

Clearly, those days have changed.

So be careful riding through Gardena.

In other cities, getting stopped by the police could get you a ticket you might not deserve, from a cop who doesn’t understand bike law.

In Gardena, it could get you shot.

But it won’t get anyone fired.

Update: I was reminded this morning that Gardena is also where a group of Hispanic riders were illegally harassed by the police two years ago, while on their way to meet with the city manager to discuss the unsolved hit-and-run bike rider Benjamin Torres.

………

Warning: The video below, posted online by the LA Times, shows the full shooting from two separate angles. Decide for yourself whether you really want to see that before pushing play.

Morning Links: 19-year old bike rider shot in Commerce; more naked folks on bikes; and mobile LA bike repair

Yet another LA-area bike rider has been shot and killed.

According to KTLA-5, 19-year old Bryan Hernandez was riding his bike home from work when he was killed early Tuesday morning. His body was found around 2:50 am at the intersection of Eastern Avenue and Peachtree Street in Commerce.

KNBC-4 says police initially thought he was the victim of a hit-and-run.

Just 19 years old.

What an effing waste. This crap has got to stop.

Now.

………

It seems we can’t get away from naked people on bikes this week.

A fully dressed Neon Tommy reporter talks to participants in the recent LA edition of the World Naked Bike Ride.

Meanwhile, Portland’s WNBR was thought to have drawn over 9,000 people, though not everyone approved.

And Iceland remakes a recent Brit TV spot which suggests people actually can notice someone on a bike. Even if he’s not wearing hi-viz.

………

A new mobile bike repair service is coming to LA, and looking for franchise owners.

………

Women’s pro cyclist Carmen Small reflects on racing with the men at Minnesota’s North Star Grand Prix.

The Tour de France will offer fans more data than ever before, including the ability to track any rider in real time. And not wanting to give the wrong impression, a German shampoo maker will drop its “Doping for hair” slogan just for the Tour.

And speaking of doping, Tour favorite and ex-Tour de France winner Alberto Contador continues to build on his legacy, despite a previous two-year ban for doping.

………

Local

Streetsblog reports DTLA now has three bike corrals, with more to come.

CiclaValley points out that North Hollywood students actually biked to school in the 1920s. Evidently, they didn’t have helicopter parents with massive SUVs to drop them off.

Vox looks back at LA’s historic elevated bike highway, as well as other early bikeways.

Long Beach is hosting a series of free bike safety classes through the LACBC.

 

State

Thanks in part to support from cyclists, the proposed hit-and-run alert bill sailed through committee in the state legislature by a unanimous vote on Tuesday.

BikeSGV sends word that the Santa Barbara Bowl offers free bike valet. And wonders why the Hollywood Bowl, home to massive nightly traffic jams, doesn’t.

Three Sacramento-area cyclists were injured, one critically, when they were struck by a hit-and-run driver; police were later able to subdue a suspect using a police dog. No offence, but I hope that dog bit the crap out of him.

 

National

Bike League president Andy Clarke is stepping down after 12 years.

A simple fix could help reduce the risk of fatal collisions with trucks; credit BikinginLA sponsor Josh Cohen for the link. Although an even better solution would be to just not hit anyone.

My Colorado hometown ranks first for bike-friendly businesses. However, I should note that the city only became bike friendly after I moved away.

A Louisiana woman who was abducted and murdered while riding her bike home after a night out will have a new bike loop named in her honor.

That Florida cyclist seriously injured after skidding on an alligator carcass faces a long and painful recovery; he suffered a fractured face, broken ribs and clavicle and a collapsed lung when his riding partners ran over him after he hit the pavement.

 

International

Toronto’s chief medical official says speed kills, making the case for reducing speed limits to save lives.

Hundreds of London cyclists stage a die-in in the heart of the city to raise awareness for cycling safety.

A Brit radio presenter says wearing a camera does more to improve safety than a helmet does on the streets of London.

Following Alice, of Wonderland fame, on a bike tour through Oxford.

 

Finally…

The next bike rack you put on your car could blow up, but in a good way. Your next sport could be bike football, er, soccer

And if you thought Peter Sagan did some crazy shit on a bike, just get a load of Vittorio Brumotti.

LA bike rider attacked with machete, bad news from Hemet, plus Bicycle Coffee and pleasant private bike cops

In one of the most horrifying attacks in recent memory, a Los Angeles man may have kept his bike, but lost one of his thumbs.

And nearly his life.

According to multiple sources, a 43-year old man was walking — or possibly riding — his bicycle near the intersection of West 12th Street and South Burlington Avenue around 12:30 am Sunday, when he was attacked by four men who tried to steal his bike and wallet.

One of them hacked at him with a two-foot machete, resulting in a severe cuts to both arms, as well as a fractured skull, in addition to having his left thumb cut off; early reports suggest he was likely to lose his right hand, as well.

Despite his injuries, he somehow managed to run a few blocks to get help; at last report, he was hospitalized in critical condition. However, he was able to keep both his bike and his money.

The attackers were described only as young adult men, possibly 18 – 21 years old, who fled in a green four-door sedan. According to police, the attack did not appear to be gang related.

For some reason, the victim was initially described as an 18-year old man before police corrected the report.

Let’s hope he recovers quickly, and that police catch his attackers.

And let this be a reminder that no bike is worth your life.

………

Brace yourself for bad news.

A man was found dead on Hemet biking trail on Sunday, hours after a 33-year old mountain biker was reported missing.

The victim has not been identified yet, and here’s no confirmation yet that it’s the missing cyclist. But it doesn’t look good.

Hopefully, we’ll learn more soon.

Update: Authorities have identified the man found dead as 33-year old Hemet resident Shane Gainer, but for some reason, won’t confirm if he is the missing cyclist. No cause of death has been determined. 

………

Bicycle-Coffee-1Now let’s switch to a happier subject.

On Sunday, my wife and I made a short trip to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market at Ivar and Selma, just a few blocks from the Hollywood and Vine Metro station.

Sans bikes, since she doesn’t ride. And without the Corgi, since even well-behaved dogs aren’t allowed under LA County health rules.

The purpose of our journey was to find the elusive Bicycle Coffee Company.

Elusive, because the LA branch at Santa Monica and Western is only open Friday though Sunday. And despite our best efforts, we hadn’t been able to get there when the doors were open.

Bicycle-Coffee-3On the other hand, we knew they were at the farmer’s market every Sunday, just a short subway ride way from our apartment.

It took some searching to find their Nishiki-towed bicycle cart — yes, there’s a reason for their name — hidden back behind the other vendors near the Arclight, nee Cinerama, Theater, and just in front of Umami Burgers.

We left with a couple bags of what is reputed to be some of the area’s best coffee, each accompanied by a free cup of joe with purchase.

And the knowledge that next time, we can just order our beans and they’ll deliver by bike within a roughly 10-mile radius.

……..

On the way out, I stopped to admire a bike belonging to one of the security guards with the BID Patrol at the farmer’s market.

Rosales-1And found myself talking with retired LAPD officer and dedicated cyclist Jim Rosales, who was happy to point out the 29” wheels and disc brakes, as well as the rear rack for the panniers he usually uses but decided to leave at home that day.

We talked about his volunteer work patrolling the Santa Monica mountains, the road bike he rides in his spare time, and the fixie he’s currently building. As well as his favorite bike shops, including the Performance Bike his brother-in-law wrenches for in Pasadena.

Kanagi-bikeAll in all, a pleasant talk with another rider. And one more example of a conversation that would never have happened behind the wheel.

Then just as we were about to leave, I noticed the pink handgrips on his partner’s bike. So he called her over, and fellow BID security officer Cortney Kanagi was happy to show us her matching pink handcuffs and the pink grip on her handgun.

Proof that you can be feminine while riding a bike.

Or subduing a suspect.

Kanagi-2

Morning Links: Bike rider shot to death in LA’s Mid City; LADOT GM Seleta Reynold is new interim VP of NACTO

A bike rider was shot to death early Wednesday morning in the Mid City area of Los Angeles.

Twenty-five-year Kehende Lang was found dead from a wound to the head on the 1700 block of South Longwood Avenue after police responded to a report of gunshots around 3:30 am; his bike was lying nearby.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the LAPD West Bureau Homicide Bureau at 213/382-9470.

Sadly, shootings like this are nothing new.

Most turn out to be gang related in some way, rather than because the victim was riding a bike. And few ever seem to merit more than a few paragraphs in the paper, if that.

……..

Congratulations to LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds, who’s been appointed interim vice president of NACTO.

Which means she’ll help set the standard for street and bike infrastructure designs throughout the nation.

And hopefully, bring the best of them here.

……..

The plot thickens. That 23-year old pro cyclist cut from the Astana women’s may have been fired over a failed attempt to get her to ride for Kazakhstan in the 2016 Olympics.

After winning stage one of the Aviva Women’s Tour, Brit pro Lizzie Armistead loses her line and crashes into the finish line photographers; fortunately, she wasn’t seriously injured.

Sounds like the owner of the Tinkoff-Saxo team may be giving up on Tour of California winner Peter Sagan already.

Lance’s former manager says he’s not going to any more cycling events after the backlash over watching Wiggins set the hour record.

The great Eddy Merckx reminisces on his legendary cycling career as he turns 70; VeloNews offers a tribute while a German website looks back at The Cannibal in action.

A Swiss skiing champion will compete in RAAM with a defibrillator in his chest after a heart condition kept him from making it to the starting line last year.

And the schmuck man who presided over pro cycling during the worst of the doping era threatens to sue over a report that says he presided over the worst of the doping era.

……..

Local

DTLA gets its first bike corral.

Rick Risemberg says if transit officials build bike facilities right, people will actually use them.

Redondo Beach approves a new budget, including funding for bike lanes on Manhattan Beach Blvd.

 

State

The Orange County Register reports that Michiko Day was just one block from home when she was killed while riding in Laguna Woods last month; her riding partner confirms that a poor bike path design may have contributed to her death.

The Encinitas city council says a planned coastal rail bike trail shouldn’t run along the coast. Or along the rail line.

A Paso Robles street reopens after being rebuilt to add bike lanes and a sidewalk.

Victims’ relatives call it insensitive as Kern County tells bike riders to see and be seen so they won’t be roadkill. Once again putting all the responsibility for safety on cyclists, rather than the people in the big, dangerous machines.

 

National

People for Bikes will host a webinar next month on how to crowdfund a bike project.

A new handlebar-mounted device scans the road for potholes before they can take you down. Should be a big seller here in LA.

The guitarist for rock band Pierce the Veil will be out of commission for awhile after getting badly banged up mountain biking.

A Portland paper questions if the city can really eliminate traffic deaths by 2025 with a proposed Vision Zero plan. Vision Zero is about the journey, not the destination; even if traffic deaths can’t be eliminated, everyone benefits from the effort to try.

A Denver CEO loans his bike share bike to a passing cop to bring a fleeing suspect to justice. But did he still have to pay for the rental?

Caught on video: A Texas truck passenger faces a misdemeanor charge after hurling at a bike rider. A pipe, that is.

New York’s mayor signs a bill requiring side guards on all city trucks and garbage trucks to keep cyclists and pedestrians from getting trapped underneath. Every truck, everywhere, should be required to do the same.

Cars have been banned from much of New York’s Prospect and Central Parks. Now we need to do the same for Griffith Park.

Why rent New York’s Citi Bikes when you can steal them?

 

International

How to cheat at Strava.

Caught on video: A cyclist rides from Oregon to Patagonia to be in more control of his own life.

Toronto streets are getting increasingly more dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians; hopefully more separated bike lanes will help.

A London expat builds a 500 pound — currency, not weight — bespoke bamboo bike.

After receiving the heart of a fallen cyclist, a British transplant patient decides to honor him by keeping the heart cycling with a 342-mile bike tour.

A Dutch suburb shows bikes and cars can peacefully coexist, as long as you banish cars from the city core.

A new Swedish study says most injuries in car bike collisions come from hitting the pavement, so the solution is better crash avoidance and separating bikes from traffic.

Colnago may be recalling your Ferrari.

An anonymous group of guerilla bicyclists give Sydney, Australia bike lanes a failing grade.

 

Finally…

It’s not really the World Naked Bike Ride when you’re the only naked guy on a bike. Don’t get caught asking an undercover cop for a ride after selling him a hot bike. Or making your getaway by bike after burning down your own home to destroy a basement demonic portal or the aliens lurking in the walls.

And when you’re carrying crystal meth on your motorized bike, try not to crash into a James Franco film set.

 

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