Archive for Guest Columns

Happy anniversary to me, support the Rowena road diet, bike bills move forward, and a hot mess o’links

Maybe somebody should bake me a cake.

Remarkably, it’s been six years since I started this blog, mostly in an effort to blow of steam in response to the city’s unforgiving streets and uncaring leaders.

I had no idea I’d still be writing it over half a decade, 1413 posts and well over a million page views later. Let alone where it would take me.

Or that those mean streets would be a little safer, with bikeways that actually go somewhere, and plans for more. And with more bike riders on them. Along with city and county leaders who actually support them, and us, most of the time.

As opposed to those who say they do.

Back in those dark days, it was hard to find stories about bicycling in the press.

But as you can see from the links below, that’s changed, too.

………

Come out to support the Rowena road diet in a special evaluation meeting—  held just 90 days after its implementation — at 5 pm today at the Silverlake Community Church; nice of them to hold the meeting at a time most people won’t be able to attend.

Let alone demand results when it’s still too early to tell.

………

AB184, which would extend the statute of limitations in hit-and-run cases, moves on to the Senate Appropriations Committee, while the three-foot passing bill unanimously clears a final committee vote before moving on to the full Senate.

And, based on previous experience, a possible third veto by our bike-unfriendly governor who’s likely to Jerry Brown us once again.

………

Both Streetsblog’s Damien Newton and Melissa Balmer of Women on Bikes SoCal politely ask the owners of the Daily News, Daily Breeze, Press-Telegram and Star-News, et al, not to do a hatchet job on us in their Summer of Cycling series.

Based on the tone they’ve set so far, I wouldn’t count on it.

………

The Westside’s incoming and outgoing councilmembers join forces to fix a dangerous intersection on the Expo Line Bikeway, while a groundbreaking ceremony will be held Thursday at 2 pm for the accompanying Westwood Neighborhood Greenway. Flying Pigeon describes Sunday’s Wilshire CicLAvia as a Sea of Tranquility; works for me. Anti-bike bias is preventing a more pedestrian-friendly North Figueroa. Where’s the controversy over the First Street green bike lane; doesn’t Hollywood film in Boyle Heights? L.A.’s much vaunted Bike Nation bikeshare program won’t hit the streets until 2014, at best. Metro profiles a streets maintenance helper who’s biked to work through the mean, truck-laden streets of the City of Commerce for the past 10 years, which trumps anything I’ve done here on the Westside. You’re invited to the 3rd annual South LA, Peace, Love, and Family Ride & Fair 2013 on Saturday, July 6th. A fundraiser will be held for Ride2Recovery to support wounded vets Sunday, July 7th at Gem City Grill in Monrovia. Zócalo Public Square will host a discussion titled Will the Bicycle Kill the Car? at Grand Park on Friday, July 12th; odd that they’d talk about bicycling without inviting any bicycle advocates. Claiming the sun was in his eyes doesn’t absolve a driver for running into a cyclist, after all. Bike SGV will host a Bike Train BBQ and Celebration on Sunday, June 30th. The Pomona Valley Bike Coalition invites you to bike and hike Fish Canyon Falls this Saturday. CLR Effect has had it with salmon cyclists and cell phone talking girls with one hand on the handlebars.

The Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan Oversight Committee —NBBMPOC? Would that be pronounced Nubbumpoc? — meets at 5 pm on Monday. The San Diego Velodrome honors fallen cyclist Jackie Drake. San Diego’s Imperial Beach will soon get a bike path adjacent bikeway village. NYDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan urges bold action to remake the streets of San Francisco. Probably not a good idea to crash into a motorcycle cop making a traffic stop. A planned bike path around Lake Tahoe moves another mile closer to completion. Sure, an Oroville man killed three people with a shotgun and set their bodies on fire in a stolen car, but at least he rode a bike back from the dump site.

The Bike League looks at laws requiring bike riders to use separated bikeways. People for Bikes offers advice for successful group rides. Rutger’s famed bicycling professor John Pucher says riding in Seattle is worse than Manhattan. A Seattle public radio station asks if bikes could be part of the answer in disaster; all I know is, zombies can’t eat your brains if they can’t catch you — or if you’re wearing a bike helmet, for that matter. Turns out my hometown is first runner-up for most bike-friendly city in Colorado; tell ‘em to call me if they ever want to be #1. An Iowa man survives 28 years in the Marine Corps only to be killed riding his bike. A writer bizarrely claims 100-mile group rides represent the Chicago’s craziest bicycling subculture; dude, it’s only crazy if you’ve never done it. A Chicago bike lawyer discusses whether you need insurance when you ride. Maine cyclists decry a pro-motorist bias. Seriously, do we need a stock report on the car brand driven by a hit-and-run driver embedded in a story about his New Jersey bicycling victim’s death? Bike funding is under attack once again, this time in Pennsylvania.

Bicycling is up an estimated 7% worldwide. Trek gets back into big time bike racing, buying the RadioShack-Leopard team for next year, which means we can now pronounce it trek instead of lee-o-pard. Aside from the headline, a Vancouver writer makes some good points about scofflaw cyclists. A sidewalk-riding Canadian cyclist faces hit-and-run charges in the death of a pedestrian. A London writer asks why drivers are in such a hurry to kill bicyclists. In the face of a nearly 20% increase in cycling fatalities over the last five years, it’s time for real government action in Scotland. Bicycling collisions are up an alarming 64% in one Indian state. An enterprising Japanese bike thief auctions bikes off before stealing them back.

Finally, a bike-hating victim-blaming Charleston writer claims you’re more likely to die commuting by bike, so let’s not do anything to make it safer or encourage it; actually, your risk of dying in a car is nearly twice as high on a per hour basis, so maybe we should stop encouraging that, instead. Meanwhile, Toronto police says doorings are like a sunny day.

And there’s nothing like flatting in the hood on the way back from CicLAvia.

Catching up on CicLAvia, bike lawyer Dj Wheels unmasked, and I meet one of my few bike heroes

People have been asking me what I plan to say about Sunday’s CicLAvia to the Sea.

At this point, not much.

As a result of the delay caused by this week’s breaking news, others have already offered the insights I was going to give, and in some cases, better than I would have done.

Like this one for instance, in which a USC professor pretty much took the words right out of my mouth.

No, go ahead and read it.

I’ll wait.

………

One of the highlights of any CicLAvia is running into friends along the way.

And this one certainly didn’t disappoint, offering a chance to catch up with former LACBC board member Chet Kostrzewa, who followed up with some insights that might never have occurred to me.

I wanted to pass on some of my own thoughts and observations I made, while teaching basic bike skills to a group of very young riders and watching the inspiring sight of upwards of 150,000 people enjoying taking the street for those few hours. CicLavia has very quickly grown to be an institution, an event to look forward to and count on as an antidote to the traffic fatigue that too many of us endure on a daily basis. As inspirational as CicLavia has become, however, what seems to me to be missing is an inherent motivator in the event that empowers people to see this as a game changer in their lives and not just a rare distraction from the routine on our streets. The sad reality is that starting the next morning and succeeding days until the following CicLavia, River Ride or other bike event, only a very small fraction of those bikes will be getting much new mileage on them.

There are probably as many good reasons to ride regularly and to ride often as there were bicyclists between downtown and Venice yesterday, here is a short list that came to my mind from talking to a variety of bicyclists yesterday:

  1. All the young riders I coached yesterday were, without exception, excited about riding their bikes and taking the challenge of trying out new skills. Unfortunately, without a broad based bicycle skills curriculum in our schools, such learning opportunities offer only a single snapshot in what should be a gradual and incremental development process. The challenge and opportunity here, would be for the parents of these beginning riders to take on the task of role model and long term coach, guiding their development over an extended period toward becoming fully street smart and confident cyclists. The game changer for these parents is to improve their own skills, such as through a confident cycling class, such as taught by League Certified Instructors (LCIs) from the League of American Bicyclists.
  2. While teaching beginning cyclists during CicLavia, I had the opportunity to talk to parents and other adults who stopped to comment and, in some cases, ask for tips to improve their own cycling experience. Many of these casual riders were on bikes that were clearly poorly maintained and which did not fit their riders. One woman I spent some time coaching started our conversation by complaining about how physically difficult the ride down Venice Blvd. was for her. It was quickly evident that her immediate problem was that she had no idea how to shift out of the highest gear on her bike. Her total exposure to cycling was to drag her rusting bike out for just one or two days a year and muscle her way through just a few miles in high gear, before calling it quits until the next CicLavia. With a basic tune up and brief lesson on how to use her bike, it would be a small step to an easy game changer. Instead of just dragging the bike out for those very rare occasions, find weekly opportunities to make a bike ride special. Maybe breakfast out on Sunday morning by bike, or a short daily ride as a stress busting habit right after the evening commute home.
  3. Use technology to facilitate riding and as a feedback tool to improve your riding and fitness level. A basic bike computer provides a wealth of data to measure your results, while providing a tool for setting new goals for improvement. Other technology makes it increasingly easy to insert a bicycle in place of a car in our daily routines. The bus bike racks and increasing number of bike lockers along key transport routes make it easy and economical to start to use a bike for part of all of a commute. Recent bike design technology, such as the highly engineered folding bikes Tern Bicycles was demonstrating at CicLavia make it possible to take your bike with you anywhere. This opens a whole new world of bicycling opportunities, whether as part of a daily routine, or an easy way to enhance a vacation getaway. The game changer here is to realize that technology makes the bicycling experience more flexible, convenient and economical in many scenarios than the typical paradigm of transport being limited to where your car can take you along with a just a few additional blocks you can conveniently walk once you get there.

CicLavia is a fantastic enabler to get rarely used bicycles out of garages and on the road. All most of us need is just a little help and a couple of mental and physical tools to experience a major paradigm shift to move the bicycle from a toy of last resort to become a key tool for enhancing our daily lives. Hopefully a few other of the 150,000 on Venice Blvd yesterday are having similar thoughts tonight and will be changing the urban roadscape in the days and weeks ahead.

………

Another friend I ran into along the way was someone most readers of this blog should know by now, at least by his bike de plume.

Dj Wheels has been a key contributor here for the past several years, offering legal updates and insights on many of the cases involving bicyclists.

It was Wheels who broke the news that Christine Dahab had pleaded guilty and was going to jail; in fact, he told me she started her 90 day evaluation behind bars on Monday.

And it was Wheels who reported from inside the courtroom in the trial of road raging L.A. bike boogeyman Dr. Christopher Thompson, enabling me to scoop the major media and break the news to the world when he was convicted.

So I’ve long been frustrated that I couldn’t tell you who he really is while a court case he was involved in dragged through the legal system. But Sunday, he let me know the case was finally finished.

And I was free, finally, to reveal his identity.

Granted, it may not be a big secret in some circles of the Los Angeles cycling community, where he has long been a popular member.

But for those who don’t know, allow me to introduce Daniel F. Jimenez, Esq.

Jimenez is one of the few lawyers I know who has made bike law his specialty, rather than just an area of practice. And unlike many lawyers, he doesn’t limit the cases he takes on to potentially high-payout liability lawsuits.

Yes, he takes the cases of injured cyclists on a contingency basis, just like most other lawyers. But he has also represented riders in everything from criminal cases to simple traffic violations, and even defended a rider who collided with a pedestrian and was being sued for the injuries he suffered.

Southern California cyclists are lucky to have a number of excellent bike lawyers; I can personally recommend many of the men and women you’ll find listed over there on the right.

But any time someone asks me for a good lawyer to represent a bike rider, you can bet that Daniel Jimenez will be on the list.

………

The Times offers a look at CicLAvia and decides it gives L.A. a small town feel, even though some motorists grumble; then again, I’d grumble too if I was stuck in my car when so many Angelenos were out having fun. Many people complained about the bike congestion caused by closing just half of Venice for CicLAvia; outgoing Councilmember Bill Rosendahl says plans are already in the works to repeat CicLAvia to the Sea next year — and this time, with both sides closed to vehicular traffic.

Streetsblog offers a lively discussion of the day, and notes that for some it was more than just fun. For others, it was the smells that were most memorable. Even the Mayor rode on Venice once again, this time without falling down. Leading mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti rode at CicLAvia; if opponent Wendy Gruel was there, I haven’t seen any sign of it yet. Flying Pigeon offers suggestions to make L.A.’s happiest day even better. A road racer does her first CicLAvia and asks WTF just happened? KPCC’s Larry Mantle talks CicLAvia with co-founder and Executive Director Aaron Paley.

And clearly, the Stoopidtall bike was the hit of the day.

………

Finally, I’m not much on heroes.

I learned early in life that they too often turn out to be human, and so, likely to let you down. See Armstrong, Lance; Hart, Gary.

But one exception has always been track cyclist and US Bicycle Hall of Fame member Nelson Vails, who captured a silver medal in the 1984 Olympics and helped prove that Americans — and African-Americans — could hold their own at the highest levels of the traditionally white European sport.

So excuse me if I was just a little awed — rather than merely odd, which I freely confess to — when I ran into Eastside bike advocate Carlos Morales, the new owner of Stan’s Bike Shop in Monrovia. And he introduced me to the man sitting next to him in the bike car they rode at CicLAvia.

And if Nelson Vails wants to give a shout out to his friends at Stan’s, far be it from me to say no.

Guest post: A review of high-intensity rear lights for improved safety, day or night

Awhile back, OC cyclist Mark Goodley wrote a guest post calling for cyclists to ride with ultra bright bike lights both day and night for increased safety, following his own near-fatal riding collision

At the time, he mentioned he was working on a review of some of the brightest lights on the market, which would be easily visible in daylight. So I offered to post his review once he got it finished. 

And here is it, representing an exceptional amount of work and out-of-pocket expense.

……..

STAY WELL LIT and You Won’t be HIT!!!

In other words

SAVE YOUR Life, Ride Ultra BRIGHT, DAY And night”

A Bicycle Light Review

By Mark D. Goodley

Introduction: As a quick start; I was hit and almost killed last year by a car making an illegal turn… I was a lucky survivor. Many are not so fortunate. Even though I ride an average of 10K miles/yr., I’d never been a bike advocate or activist before; but seeing your own blood draining onto the street changes you. Within weeks of being released from the hospital, I started looking for a solution to the carnage. We had two more fatalities the next month further raising the stakes. What was the most expedient, reliable, and cost effective mechanism to preventing/stopping the fatalities?

You can say and preach all you want about driver and rider safety and education, but the truth is, you’re never going to get to every driver or rider. There had/has to be other options. I looked in all directions and researched numerous possibilities, and one statistic I found leapt out against all the others… To date, I have not found one, not a single fatality, hit from behind accident, (which out number all other cycling fatality accidents 2:1), when the cyclist was riding with today’s ultra bright rear lights turned on… that started me on the trek…  If you can give the driver 5-10 seconds (.1-.2 tenths of a mile at highway speeds) advance warning of your presence, you will not (at least statistically) have problems. In fact, from my and many others reported experiences, most every driver that passes you will appreciate the simple and effective “heads up” warning.

Cutting directly to the chase scene: Wear multiple ultra brite lights, day and night..  As a good rule of thumb; If  you can look directly at the light, it’s not even close to being brite enough. All the lights in this article are retina searing, some, more  than others.

The bottom line is, that after many months of searching police and sheriff records following my accident this past June, I still can’t find one rear end cycling fatality where the rider had ultra-bright rear lights flashing at the time of the accident. That is an impressive statistic to say the least; and one that no cyclist should ignore, take lightly, nor not heed.

Abstract:

Determining which rear end lights were most effectively seen, day and night by drivers. There are many dozens of lights to choose from. Which lights can be seen most easily? Which are the best Price/Performance options?

The minimum lighting standard I set for inclusion in this review was the light must be clearly visible flashing, in the daytime  .1 mile (one-tenth of a mile). At highway/road speeds, that represents between 10 and 20 seconds warning to the driver. An eternity in reaction time, and an early warning system to drivers.

A total of only 11 lights met this criteria, many more did not. Any of these lights will greatly enhance your chances of staying alive on the road. But there are profound differences between Good, Better, and Best, as you will see.

Prices ranged from $25-$200.

I intentionally did not make it easy to meet this standard. For the visibility tests, I chose early morning, around 8-8:30AM, bright cloudless days, when the sun was low on the horizon. The lights were placed roughly only 10 degrees east (North) of being directly into the sun. This is exactly the time when most cyclists have been killed, early morning or late afternoon, riding towards the sun.

Determining which is the best light is impossible. It would be the same as saying which bicycle is the “best.” Everyone has their own needs and budget. What works best for Fred doesn’t for Wilma, etc.

Please note, that as a matter of practical usage, ALL lights/batteries tested were rechargeable, in one manner or another. The intent was/is to take the typically heard excuse for not using lights, “I didn’t want to run my batteries down”, completely out of the equation.  Some lights were tested with rechargeable AA/AAA batteries, while others were USB rechargeable… In any case, no one can use that excuse again. Lights that did not have a rechargeable option were not tested, and in fact, are being erased from the market.

A power meter

A power meter

One light characteristic and function that becomes important to note to the reader is “lensing.” A light can appear to be extremely bright from one angle, but quickly loses effectiveness only a few degrees off this primary angle. To further complicate matters, more LED’s in a light may or may not be perceived as brighter, depending upon the relative photon count coming out from the individual LEDs. Therefore every light is a compromise of LED brightness, lensing focus brightness, viewable angle brightness, # of LEDs, and battery runtime.

P1020098

Testing LED lights is technically challenging. Numerous methods have been used over several decades. For this study I roughly followed the Modified Allard method for effective intensity. This calibrated protocol was combined with visual comparisons at .1 mile and .25 mile. The  empirical results of these protocols, were averaged.

Newport Corporation Optical 1918-R Power meter for determining overall light power, and Newport Corp optical table

Newport Corporation Optical 1918-R Power meter for determining overall light power, and Newport Corp optical table

Next, while the flashing color red denotes a heightened state of awareness in our minds, red lenses typically reduce overall perceived power by a significantly large factor. Again, everything is a compromise. Lastly; runtime of each light was tested and noted. The minimum was approx. 2 hours, which is usually acceptable  for a commuter who can and will recharge their lights at work, but not so good for the road cyclist who’s putting in 4-6 hours, and will be left unprotected.

Lastly,  note that all lights were paid for. None were “donated.” I wanted to eliminate any potential or possibility of the results being questioned or perceived as “bought” or “mailed in.” When multiples of light from a given mfg were tested, some were purchased at a discount which was appreciated to save my personal wallet a bit, but all were bought. Many of the lights were purchased at retail, multiples from some mfg’s.

  1. Best Overall Combined Brightest Light
  2. Best Price/Performance Light
  3. Brightest Single Angle tested Light
  4. Most Innovative light (and likely to be copied by competitors)
  5. Best Commuter Light

So, due to the large number of variables in testing, it seemed fairest to set several categories to list the order of finish, and “award” the winner, and hence for you to choose from: Each light has its own Strength and Weaknesses. What’s important to note is that all lights in this review passed the most basic of tests: Can the light be clearly seen flashing by a driver from a minimum of .1 mile (one-tenth of a mile)?

This is a non retouched pic showing a light at .1 mile distance.  You can see even from this singular, non-flashing photo that the light is clearly visible.  The pic does not do the flashing, justice.

This is a non retouched pic showing a light at .1 mile distance. You can see even from this singular, non-flashing photo that the light is clearly visible. The pic does not do the flashing, justice.

Quickly (skip this paragraph if not interested in testing protocols).

How do you test for brightness? This is not as EZ as it map first appear. There are numbers of industrial, military, auto, and FAA lighting standards, and none for cycling. I chose to loosely follow the Modified Allard method which is the most common, and augment the approach with visual confirmation. This incorporates very high end testing equipment such a Lab spheres, CCD spectrometers, Optical power meters, and finally, after the numbers were in; good ole’ eyeballs. Lights were tested by observers at .1 mile and then at .23 mile, both directly line of sight, and then approx.. 30 deg. off axis center line. All lights were tested with full charges, either from their own USB batteries, or fully charged Li+ rechargeable purchased from Costco. Lights and mounts were weighed and noted in grams.

For a complete analysis description, protocol, data taken, etc., please see website or write.

Newport Corporation

http://www.labsphere.com/products/light-measurement-systems/led-ssl-systems/lcs-led-characterization-systems/default.aspx

LabSphere

http://www.labsphere.com/products/light-measurement-systems/led-ssl-systems/lcs-led-characterization-systems/default.aspx

1.  The Top 11 lights tested (in OVERALL combined viewpoint- Brightest order)

  • DINOTTE 300L $200 USD This light is very bright (though not the brightest) from all possible viewing angles.  It also has the longest battery life, USB rechargeable, and nicest flashing pattern. It suffers in cost and weight.
  • SERFAS TL-60  $60USD WOW doesn’t seem to do justice to this little dynamo. Placing first in brightness both on the meters and visually, USB rechargeable, decent runtime, weight and EZ mounting options for frame and helmet. This guy was the surprise entry. Suffers only in viewing angle. Ride with two or three and you’re set.
  • NIGHTRIDER Solas USB http://www.niterider.com/ This is a Great Light. A Very Bright, and Very Well built light.  This  was the third brightest light. The light angle spread is wider than most of the others, including the TL-60 above it. The design works well on both helmet and frame. I used electricians tape to cap off the end when using it on my helmet. Can’t go wrong here.
  • PLANET BIKE Turbo Super Flash $30USD I’ve bought at least half of dozen of these over the years… They’re reliable, bright, good flashing patter, affordable, run forever, and EZ to mount. Close on the Price/Performance curve, but not in the same brightness category as the two above it.
  • CATEYE Rapid 5 This all-time favorite is historically one of the best lights ever manufactured and set the standard for many years, and can still holds its own.
  • NIGHTRIDER Cherry Bomb  Another strong entry from NightRider, not in the same briteness category as the others above, but a good light nonetheless. A very nice light, extremely well built, you can feel the quality of everything about this light.
  • BONTRAGER Flare Nothing wrong with this guy,  good briteness, just not in the same category as the first few… Good mount and EZ to use.
  • PLANET BIKE Super Flash My defacto standard for many years and still a very reliable, long running worker… Briteness has been passed in the last year by it’s Turbo sibling and the others above.
  • SERFAS Thunderbolt Yellow; SERFAS Thunderbolt Red These two lights have taken the world by storm. Instead of a string of singular, tightly focused LED bulbs, the Thunderbolts utilizes an entirely different technology emphasizing a new Wide Beam approach. Although not as intrinsically bright as the top entries, the Wide Beam pattern really gets your attention as you get closer… and it’s the only light tested that is meant to be attached to the seat stays and forks… This light is a revolution. It suffers only in runtime, about 2 hours, which is more than enough for most commuters, but not in the running for road cyclist needs.
  • CATEYE Rapid 3 A decent light in a pinch and fine at night. But nowhere in the same category as the above top Escalon. It just barely made the minimum criteria.

2. Best Price/Performance Light

3. Brightest Single Angle tested Light

4. Most Innovative light (and likely to be copied by competitors)

  • THUNDERBOLT Pair of RED/YELLOW

5. Best Commuter Light Conclusion:

  • THUNDERBOLT RED/YELLOW COMBINED
  • TL-60
  • CATEYE Rapid 5
  • ALL the ABOVE
Pic below; from top left clockwise: 1. Dinotte 300, 2. Serfas TL-60, 3. Planet Bike Turbo 4. Planet Bike Flash, 5. Nightrider Cherry Bomb 6. Blue Test light (not reviewed), 7. Night Rider Sola, 8. Serfas Thunderbolt Yellow, 9. Serfas Thunberbolt Red, 10. Cateye Rapid 5, 11. Bontrager Flair

From top left clockwise: 1. Dinotte 300, 2. Serfas TL-60, 3. Planet Bike Turbo 4. Planet Bike Flash, 5. Nightrider Cherry Bomb 6. Blue Test light (not reviewed), 7. Night Rider Sola, 8. Serfas Thunderbolt Yellow, 9. Serfas Thunberbolt Red, 10. Cateye Rapid 5, 11. Bontrager Flair

While any of these lights will greatly increase the odds of avoiding mishaps on the road and help to SAVE YOUR Life, there is a definite pecking order…  Buy the best that your wallet can afford. Increasing Brightness means early warning distance, and distance means time to avoid you.

I highly recommend riding with multiple flashing lights. You will not be missed. One on your helmet, one on your seat post pointed level, slightly to the left towards traffic (to the right in UK), and at least one on your back seat stay. If you wear a backpack, at least one if not two more.

 List Review Spreadsheet  
  Mfg Model BRITENESS Retail Weight Battery Runtime
    RATING 1-5 $ USD      
DINOTTE 300L

4.5

200

  USB 4 hr+
SERFAS TL-60

5

60

  USB 4 hr+
NIGHT RIDER SOLA

4

45

  USB 4+ hr.
PLANET BIKE SUPER FLASH TURBO

3

30

  AAA 4+ hr.
CATEYE RAPID 5

3

30

  AAA 4+ hr.
BONTRAGER FLAIR

2.5

30

  AAA 4+ hr.
SERFAS THUNDERBOLT

2

45

  USB 120 min
NIGHT RIDER CHERRY BOMB 1 W

2

25

  AAA 4+ hr.
 
Mark D. Goodley
USA Cycling Pro Race Mechanic
markdgoodley@aol.com

Today’s post, in which I post elsewhere

Just a quick note.

I’ll be writing a series of articles on bicycling in Santa Monica for LA Streetsblog over the next several days. The first, an apology to the city and people of Santa Monica for opposing the city’s designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community, appears today; others will appear next week.

Meanwhile, no more information yet regarding the cyclist killed in San Diego last night. I’ll update the story as details become available.

Tonight’s post, which is not about bicycling at first, though I try to make up for it later

Some days, life just doesn’t make sense.

And this was one, in spades, as the unfolding joy of the holiday season was shattered once again by yet another madman with a gun.

I won’t make the comparison, as some have done, to the carnage on our streets. Yes, both needlessly waste precious human life, snatching innocent victims from their loved ones breasts.

But this is different.

This was an intentional choice to kill and kill again. It was not the result of distraction or drunkenness; it did not stem from carelessness or flaunting the laws that govern the roads we all share.

This was an act of gut-wrenching insanity. A heinous crime against God and man.

No rational person could point a gun at a child and pull the trigger. Let alone do it 20 times, then take the life of another eight adults.

Yes, there is madness on our streets.

But it doesn’t begin to compare to the madness that allows this to happen over and over, all over the country.

There will be other nights to address the long list of problems on our streets. But not this night.

This is a night for prayers for people we don’t know. And now never will.

And for those who loved and nurtured them, and now face an eternally aching hole in their lives and hearts that can never be filled.

We are all devastated.

And yes, I’ve said it before.

But let’s not let another day pass without telling those we love that we do. Hug those you can; call those you can’t.

Share the simple joy of having one another in our lives in this season of miracles.

Do it now, before it’s too late. Because one day it will be.

Tomorrow we can all commit to doing all we can to ensure that this will never happen again.

Because it’s happened too many times already.

And it will again.

If we don’t.

………

image004

Burbank Bike Angels hard at work

Nothing warms my heart more than people who go out of their way to share a little joy with kids who might not otherwise find anything under the tree on Christmas morning.

That’s why I’m a big fan of things like the 7th Annual All City Toy Ride that — hopefully — took place on Friday if the rain held off long enough.

And even more when bikes are involved as more than just a form of transportation.

Like the work of volunteers with the Burbank Bike Angels, who spent the last three months refurbishing bikes and restoring them to like new condition. And resulting in the delivery of 150 bikes to the Salvation Army to distribute to kids in need, along with another 50 bikes for other organizations.

Their work is just about done for this year.

But there’s always next year. They’re asking you for any used bikes — especially children’s bikes — and monetary donations so they can give away even more bikes next year. As well as volunteers to turn those unloved bikes into sparkling new gifts to inspire better health and a love of bicycling in a new generation.

If you can offer any help, whether bikes, money or time — or all of the above — call the Burbank Recycle Center at 818/238-3900.

Love the bike riding bear in the lower right

Love the bike riding bear in the lower right

………

Fifty-eight candidates qualified for next March’s L.A. city elections; all but eight are running for city council seats. The LACBC’s Operation Firefly brings bike lights to South L.A. Flying Pigeon says North Fig doesn’t have to be a killer neighborhood. Getting back on a bike isn’t always like riding a bike. Orange County motorists discover ghost bikes, far too many of which have taken root in the county this year. San Diego counts bikes countywide, while the San Diego Bicycle Coalition says this was the year bikes boosted local business. Thousand Oaks gets a new semi-green bike lane. Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor train line may be looking into a bike share program.

If you’re wondering what to buy your bike riding — or bike curious — friends, consider this review of Elly Blue’s Everyday Bicycling. Nevada begins work on an off-road bike path on their side of Lake Tahoe. Bicyclists, pedestrians and transit users all outspend Portland drivers at area small businesses; NBC picks up the story, as well. A high Seattle driver is charged with attempting to run over a bicycling off-duty cop after he tells her to stop smoking heroin. A 62-year cyclist from my hometown is recovering from a hit-and-run he can’t even remember. A man gets a whopping 30 days for threatening a Montana cyclist with a switchblade. Chicago cyclists get a new two-way cycletrack. Road riding can bring up all kinds of emotions, most of them good. A writer for the New York Times Magazine offers an insightful and very funny sequel to the year-old piece we linked to yesterday, in response to the anti-bike screed from the New York Post’s Steve Cuozzo. New York’s upcoming bike share program is just the latest sign of the city’s revived bicycle culture. If you’re a convicted felon carrying a concealed weapon, don’t ride your bike while drunk.

A Canadian driver right hooks a cyclist, so naturally police ticket the cyclist for riding in a crosswalk — even though the driver had a suspended license. The GranFondo Banff has to develop a new wildlife plan after grizzly bears forced a 40 kilometer reduction in last year’s route. A London driver is acquitted of fatally dooring a cyclist, despite having tinted windows that only allowed 17% visibility. The bike riding journalist whose near-fatal collision inspired the London Times CycleSafe campaign remains hospitalized 13 months later, while the distracted truck driver who put her there gets off with a £2,700 fine and eight months suspended license. An open letter urges the British Judiciary to give a damn about the lives of cyclists in response, while a London blogger struggles to understand. Cambridge police crack down on anti-social cycling; apparently, anti-social driving is still okay. YouTube offers a new bike channel in conjunction with a British bicycling communications channel. A UK writer says cyclists need to give respect in order to get respect; odd that no one ever says that about motorists. The 100th edition of the Tour de France will start in Corsica, while the 101st begins in Yorkshire, England; after most of the recent titles have been vacated, does anyone still care? Your next mountain bike could come from Andorra; no, not the tv witch. In honor of the holidays, the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer tandem bike, of a sort. Bike commuting in Rio. Celebrate the birthday of the man who invented the modern bicycle 158 years ago.

Finally, Red Kite Prayer sums up the day’s tragic events nicely, as always.

Don’t miss ARTCRANK LAX at Orange 20 Bikes on Saturday, December 8

ARTCRANK LAX logo, designed by Big Table Studio

A couple weeks ago, I received an email from Patrick Murphy of Minneapolis-based ARTCRANK, the international traveling showcase for bike art.

He was writing to let me know about the upcoming ARTCRANK LAX exhibition at Orange 20 Bikes, featuring the work of 31 local artists.

Unfortunately, my world had just been turned upside down. So rather than adding more to my plate, he graciously agreed to write a guest post to tell you all about it. 

It sounds like a great time, for a great cause. And one I’d highly recommend.

……..

International bike poster show coming to Orange 20 on Dec. 8

ARTCRANK, billed as “A poster party for bike people,” will make its long awaited Los Angeles debut with bikes, art and beer at the newly-minted Best Bike Shop in L.A. —Orange 20 Bikes on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012.

ARTCRANK LAX will feature hand-made, bike-inspired posters created by 31 local artists. Admission is free, and limited edition, signed and numbered copies of all posters will be available for $40 each.

A selection of craft beers by Widmer Brothers Brewing will be available in exclusive ARTCRANK pint glasses, with proceeds going to L.A. Streetsblog.

“Los Angeles has always been a beacon for creative people,” said ARTCRANK founder Charles Youel. “But even two years ago, nobody would’ve thought of it as a big bike town. So it’s exciting for ARTCRANK to hold our first show here at a time when more people than ever are taking to the streets on bikes, and the city is becoming more bike friendly. We can’t wait to see how that comes through in the posters that our L.A. artists are creating for the show.”

ARTCRANK LAX Details
 
When:
Saturday, December 8 – 6:00p.m. – 11:00p.m.
 
Where:
Orange 20 Bikes
4351 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA
 
What + Why:
  • Original, limited edition prints from local artists – all sold for $40
  • Custom pint glasses and beer specials by Widmer Brothers Brewing
  • Proceeds from pint glass sales go to benefit L.A. Streetsblog
  • Neenah Paper will donate proceeds from the ARTCRANK LAX show poster to L.A. Streetsblog
  • Free valet bike parking courtesy of Clif Bar

 For more information, please visit: http://artcrank.com/losangeles

About ARTCRANK

ARTCRANK is a show of bicycle-inspired poster artwork that introduces people to talented local artists and sends them home with affordable, original works of art. Since its 2007 debut in Minneapolis, ARTCRANK has held shows in bike-friendly cities in the US and UK, including Portland, San Francisco, Austin, New York, Denver and London. In 2012, we held our second show at Interbike, a cycling industry showcase that attracts attendees from around the world. ARTCRANK uses creativity to change how people think about bicycles and grow the cycling community. Find out more about ARTCRANK at artcrank.com.

……..

I should mention that in that original email, Patrick took the time to express his concern for my wife before moving on to other matters — a sign of real class and compassion that made me like the guy right off the bat.

As for my wife, the news couldn’t be better. Despite a major heart attack, there doesn’t appear to have been any permanent damage to her heart.

Sometimes, life is good.

A poignant and angry remembrance of a fallen cyclist, and a tale of justice denied

Yesterday, I received the following email from a reader named Kate.

In it, she describes a death of a dear friend in a San Bernardino County cycling collision two years ago today, and the apparent lack of justice that followed. Which may sound familiar if you’ve followed the case of pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado and the two drivers charged with his death.

She hadn’t intended to make it public; she just wanted to vent her frustration and anger.

But I thought she had something important to say. So I asked for her permission to share it with you, which she graciously granted.

I am writing to you because Sunday, November 4th is the 2 year anniversary of the death of a dear family friend, Lynn Pletcher.  He was killed in Cherry Valley while riding in a bike lane with two other buddies.  Lynn was 70. He was fit (he had completed a 400-ish mile ride across Oregon for his 70th birthday a month prior). He was experienced and extremely safety conscious. He was a husband, father of two, grandfather of 2 (now 3).  Lynn was a retired educator who was very active in the local Rotary Club.  He was also my parents’ next door neighbor for almost 20 years, and my father’s closest friend. http://www.swrnn.com/2010/11/06/bicyclist-killed-in-beaumont-identified/

I know this is not current cycling news, but I guess I just want to vent my frustration about how this was handled. I know you don’t print names or details that aren’t already known, and I’m not looking for that.  I just want to vent.

The man who killed Lynn was never named publicly.  The man who killed Lynn was never charged with anything.  It took the cops more than a year to complete their accident report, and then it was determined that the accident was Lynn’s fault, and that the skid marks showed that he was out of the bike lane when he was hit.  The two men (one a retired postal worker and one a retired physician) who were riding with Lynn didn’t see the accident, as Lynn was last in the pace line.  Lynn was hit from behind, so regardless if he was in the lane or out of it, he was still rear-ended. The bike lane in that particular spot is 6 feet wide, wide enough to ride two abreast if you wanted to, and still be well within the lane. Rumor had it that the guy who hit Lynn was somehow connected to law enforcement, and even that he may have known the cop who came to the accident scene. He had a cell phone in his hand when he got out of the car. I heard this from Lynn’s family, but you can see that there are others out there who heard the same info. http://www.myvalleynews.com/story/52256/ .

The guy who killed Lynn got away with everything. He was never named publicly, never reported in the paper or online, he was never charged.  He never had to face Lynn’s family.  He declared bancruptcy to avoid any kind of law suit. He kept his house. The only thing he has to do is make a monetary contribution to the scholarship fund set up in Lynn’s name.  He writes the check to Lynn’s wife each month.  So far he has made 10 payments, as it took that long to get the final police report, and determine what the penality (if any) would be.  At least he has to think about Lynn every month.  Lynn’s sons are both attorneys, and after having other attorneys look over the case, they were told that based on the evidence, Lynn was most definitely not at fault, but that fighting the system would be expensive, lengthy, and likely a losing battle, so his sons and his wife opted to have the donation made to the scholarship fund each month. They are tired and sad, and don’t want to pursue anything else, which I understand and respect. Lynn’s family has been through so much in the last 2 years, they are glad the checks have been coming regularly so far, but wonder how long it will last.

Sunday will come and go, we wil leave flowers at Lynn’s ghost bike and on his grave, then we will go to lunch with his widow and one of his sons.  His killer might watch football, maybe he’ll work an extra shift and get paid overtime, maybe he’ll spend the day with his family.  Lynn no longer has that option.  I am disgusted at the how this was handled.  I am angry at the lack of accountability.  I am outraged at the blue wall protecting their own.

I will continue to read your blog faithfully, although, I have to say, some days I just want to put my bike in the garage and forget about it. Nope. I won’t let the morons of the world dictate what I do, and I will continue to do my small part to spread awareness when I can.

Thanks for listening,

Kate

Ride this Saturday to benefit injured cyclist Russell Moon; trial begins in DUI death of Nick Haverland

I received an email today from Dan Weinberg of Helen’s Cycles, announcing the Russell Moon Ride this Saturday to benefit a mountain biker who suffered a life-changing injury last year.

He makes a compelling case for why we all should participate.

So I’ll let Dan tell the story.

RUSSELL MOON RIDE

7:30 AM, Saturday, November 3, 2012
Ocean Ave & San Vicente Blvd, Santa Monica

Overview

Just over a year ago, Russell Moon was returning home from a mountain bike ride when a driver turned directly across his path and made contact. Russell sustained a serious spinal cord injury and is now a quadriplegic.

Prior to his life-changing injury, Russell had a thriving dental practice and taught dentistry at UCLA. He now focuses on his recovery participating in intensive physical therapy throughout the week.

Russell loved cycling, not only for the fitness benefits, but because of the sense of community it exuded. This non-competitive ride is the opportunity to ride for Russell, and honor his love for cycling.

Russell climbed effortlessly and was a confident descender. Whenever he sees his cycling friends he often says goodbye with the accompanying request; ‘Ride for me’.

All participation fees and additional donations will go directly to Russell for physical therapy and rehabilitation. If you can’t participate in the ride, please sponsor someone who is riding or you can donate here. Thank you.

Course Description

The 62-mile course will start at Ocean Ave and San Vicente Blvd at 7:30 AM on Saturday, November 3rd and take PCH to Encinal Canyon Rd, we will then take a right on Decker, then a left down Mulholland and back on PCH, to the original starting point. Click here for route map.

Helen’s Cycles will provide food and water the top of the 5.9-mile climb located at Decker Canyon Road and Mulholland Hwy.

If you choose not to climb, you can ride on PCH to Trancas Canyon Rd (at the west end of Zuma Beach) and return for a total of 41 miles.

Russell Moon will be at the end of the ride from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM

The plan is for Russell to be on hand at the end of the ride at Ocean Ave and San Vicente Blvd. You will have a chance to give him encouragement and acknowledge his courage over the past year.

Registration
$25 donation on line.
 
Day of Event Registration
7:00 AM at the start of the ride – Ocean Ave and San Vicente Blvd, Santa Monica
$25 cash or check.

Registration & donations

Course map

………

Satnam Singh, accused of killing Ventura cyclist Nick Haverland in a drunken hit-and-run collision spree, is finally on trial. Singh had a BAC of .39 when he was arrested at his home, nearly five times the legal limit. And he was involved in another drunk driving collision just three months before killing Haverland — even if he tried to blame it on his wife.

Hopefully, he’ll get the sentence he deserves following his conviction, which seems inevitable.

………

Sigh.

Try as I might, I just can’t manage to ignore the whole Lance Armstrong doping scandal. Bicycling says even if he did dope — or maybe, even though he doped — the penalties imposed in l’affaire Lance may have broken the rules. Red Kite Prayer offers a 23-year trail of ignored clues that Lance was dirty, and suggests that the real hope for cleaning up pro cycling may come in the form of a reporter’s lawsuit.

………

Maybe we got his attention, as Calbike says Mayor Villaraigosa is ready to try one more time to get a three-foot law passed. Streetsblog looks at UCLA’s new bike box. LADOT Bike Blog reviews last month’s BPIT meeting. Bikerowave hosts a class on basic bike fit on the 18th. Better Bike comes out against Measure J. Will Campbell plays leapfrog with a safe and courteous Dash Bus driver, while Boyonabike! offers tips on bike commuting. Santa Clarita launches a new bike website; we’ll know they’re serious about cycling when they link to this site, right?

The Orange County Bicycle Coalition offers an in-depth look at OC bike injury stats. You don’t expect good things to appear at midnight on Halloween, but the sharrows on the coast highway in Corona del Mar may be the exception. Two-thousand cyclists are expected to participate in Oceanside’s Bike the Coast Ride this weekend. San Diego could get reverse-angle parking spots to improve driver visibility and eliminate dooring. If you want to ride on Edwards Air Force base, you’d better wear a helmet — and be prepared to yield to any motor vehicle, whether or not you have the right-of-way. A 12-year old Santa Cruz rider is intentionally doored on Halloween night. A San Francisco cyclist is wanted for a violent assault on a Muni station agent who tried to stop him from bringing his bike into the station.

Three ingredients for a world-class bicycling network from People for Bikes. Slate says riding with headphones is incredibly dumb. For once, AAA offers motorists good advice on how to drive around cyclists and pedestrians. Good infographic on the nation’s first protected bike lane in NYC. Great series of photos on bicycling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The Wall Street Journal says novice New Yorkers are dusting off their bikes, while the NY Times observes it’s an effective way around the post-hurricane traffic mess; now the city just has to keep everyone riding once things improve. And even gas station owners are telling people to try bikes.

Ottawa considers lowering the speed limit on a dangerous roadway to protect cyclists, and confronts the classic conflict between bike and pedestrian advocates and city planning engineers; seems like every city eventually has to fight that battle. An RAF pilot says maybe that driver really didn’t see you. A UK rider punches another cyclist after they collide in a tunnel. If you think you have it rough, try biking in Yemen.

Finally, a Bakersfield driver was twice convicted of DUI and arrested at least three times for driving with a suspended license — yet remained on the road to kill an 18-year old driver on Monday.

And it turns out the bike wasn’t stolen, but the rider was wanted — and carrying nearly 10 grams of drugs.

Memorial ride for fallen Newport Beach cyclists — and a fundraising drive for bike safety

I’ve often heard that Newport Beach is a dangerous place to ride a bike.

That was driven home when two cyclists were killed less than 24 hours apart last month, as nutritionist Sarah Leaf was killed by a right-turning truck, and Dr. Catherine Campion-Ritz died in a hit-an-run as she was riding in a bike lane with her husband; a suspect has been charged in her death.

That’s why I’ve been following reports that the city was planning a memorial ride for the two cyclists later this month.

And more importantly, raising funds for safety improvements, with Newport Beach matching any money raised on a 3-to-1 basis — and our friend Frank Peters of cdmCyclist pledging the first $10,000.

I’ve been waiting for full details, which entered my inbox tonight in an email from April Morris, who gave me permission to share it with you.

I am one of the volunteers (and a cyclist) helping organize the Newport Beach-sponsored Memorial Ride on October 28, 2012. The ride starts at 8 am and it is open to riders of all levels, since it is only 1.2 miles. It will be a processional-paced ride to honor those who have fallen as well as those who survived collisions. As you probably know, in September 2012 within 24 hours two cyclists (women) were killed on the streets of Newport Beach from automobile collisions. A third woman (within a 3 day period) was critically injured. Three incidents in three days is just too much for our cycling community to sit still for.

The cycling community is up in arms and wants change. We want to be viewed as a cohesive group and part of the solution to the problem. I, and Joan Littauer, volunteered on behalf of all of our cycling brethren to help the city organize this Memorial Ride. A large attendance at this ride is important. We want the city to see how large our numbers are (the Mayor and several councilmen will be present).

Subsequent to these three collisions, we have pressed the City to start making advancements in bicycle lane improvements – since cyclists from all around So. Cal use the Newport Beach streets on their routes. We are pleased to report that as of last night, at the City Council Meeting, the City of Newport Beach agreed to match all of our funds raised, $3 to $1, up to $450,000 specifically for Bicycle Safety Improvements. This means if we raise $150,000, the City will put in $450,000 giving us $600,000 in the fund.

A special fund has been established by the City so that any donations are tax deductible. Can you help us spread the word about the ride and the need to generate $150,000 so that we can get ALL of the $450,000 matching funds for bicycle improvements? We have a website established for the ride with information on our fund raising activities: www.NewportBeachMemorialRide.com

Thank you so much for any help you can give us in publicizing the Memorial Ride and giving information on the fund raising element.

If you live or ride in Orange County, I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday morning; you can go to brunch, catch the game or attend church to repent your failings afterwards.

Or a better cause to donate to, since the life you save may be your own or someone you love.

It’s definitely worth a few bucks if you’re on a tight budget, or more if you’re not. And maybe it’s time for bike-friendly businesses and wealthier riders to step up and make a donation big enough to make a difference.

Update: I’m told an unofficial ride with follow the official memorial ride, taking a longer route to visit the sites of local collisions that have left riders dead or seriously injured, as well as the site of the upcoming CdM sharrows on PCH.

………

One other quick note.

I’ve been busy curating LA Streetsblog this week, which has kept me too busy to ride as I’ve done my best to keep up with two busy blogs. And Thursday is my last day as guest editor for new father Damien Newton, since I have a prior commitment on Friday.

But there’s one more project waiting in the wings. Or actually, in the corner of my office where the bikes sleep.

Sometime in the next week or two, I’ll be writing a review  at the request of Critical Cycles, makers of a solid and surprising affordable single-speed/fixed gear bike.

And no, I won’t be riding brakeless.

Not me.

Not ever.

This…

Turned into this… (Note the hand brake on the handlebars)

Which, with a little effort — and an old water bottle cage — turned into this.

Could extra bright lights save the lives of SoCal cyclists?

A few months back, Mark Goodley nearly lost his life in a left hook while riding in Corona del Mar.

Since then, we’ve exchanged a few emails as he continued to recover from his injuries and return to riding. Most have focused on the subject of safety, and how to keep more riders from suffering his fate. Or worse.

Lately, he’s settled on a bold campaign to put multiple bright lights on the backs of bikes to demand attention from motorist, and overcome the common SMIDSY (Sorry Mate, I Didn’t See You) excuse that too often serves as a Get Out of Jail Free card for killer drivers.

To be honest, I can’t say I agree with the approach, for a number of reasons. But I thought it was worth letting Mark explain his program and let you decide.

……..

SAVE YOUR Life, Ride Ultra BRIGHT, Day AND night

I’m not going to get into the political/legal quagmire and entanglement of the who’s right and who’s wrong debates… I AM going to try and make a strong case for how you can greatly increase the odds of NOT being killed (or seriously injured) while riding your bicycle in our streets.

TODAY/ NOW; we will determine and ENGAGE; the quickest, cheapest, and most effective solution to avoid the horrific carnage of cycling’s fatality collisions… This letter applies to both cyclists and drivers. Today… not days, weeks, months, or years into the future… Everything else can/will come with time… safer roads, better drivers, smarter cyclists…

But we’ve GOT to start stemming the tide against the collisions, fatalities and injuries, NOW, TODAY…

I’m becoming more and more convinced, with each day, that the only expedient, practical, affordable, and immediately effective means to reduce the terrifying carnage on our streets is for cyclists to “Ride Ultra BRIGHT, DAY and night.” That is, ride with Multiple Ultra Bright FLASHING LED lights, DAY and night… This is not the ‘ole’ school’ approach of which I have been a staunch advocate in the past. But you’ve got to ask yourself a very real and important question: “which is more important, to look cool or stay alive?” The older (and wiser) we get, the more the response sways to the latter…

It is said that a smart man learns from his own mistakes… while the brilliant man learns from the mistakes of others… So PLEASE, PAY ATTENTION.

BRIGHT FLASHING LED lights are highly visible a minimum of 200 yards away during the DAY TIME! That’s TWO Football fields away… allowing ample time for a driver to spot, identify, move and avoid a cyclist... that’s many, many seconds of time to react, rather than mere fractions of a single second for a driver to see, and avoid YOU which is often otherwise the situation… IMPORTANT Note: Almost EVERY single driver interviewed by the police after a bicycling fatality makes nearly the same exact statement:I never saw them”… (I would add…until it’s too late)… This is no coincidence as we’ll see below. I am absolutely convinced that most often they are telling the truth.

If we want to be completely honest, ALL of us drive comatose at times, our IQ’s barely register, and what is EQUALLY true, is that often times cyclists ARE literally invisible; we’re in the dark shadows of tall trees on bright sunny cloudless days, riding directly into a sunrise/sunset, behind a wall or building, hidden amongst  the cars and trucks in traffic, etc… Combining these two factors together in any proportion is a recipe for DEATH. Half of the world’s population has a below average IQ, increasing a drivers reaction time.  (This is not being rude, nor a sociological commentary, but a simple statistical fact). The visual cortex is in the back of the brain, not the front, where it really should be, also lengthening response time. Our eyes’ pupils take a long time to adjust to changing light and dark conditions…. MOST drivers that hit cyclists are not bad people, they ARE human. You get the point… We, as cyclists MUST help them see us.

What’s the answer?

Ultra BRIGHT FLASHING Lights provide and communicate an effective Early Warning Defense System to the driver, giving them time to adjust to our presence. It also subconsciously tells the driver that “we care about our own life and welfare,” a surprisingly powerful and real human response/reaction.

SAVE YOUR Life, Ride ULtra BRIGHT, DAY And night… Attach at least three Flashing BRIGHT LED rear lights to you and your bike… Why three? That is the minimum number of distinct reference points in ‘space’ that our brain’s visual cortex needs to quickly and immediately “lock on” to detect distance, direction and speed… There is no time consuming overhead for the brain to waste many seconds triangulating a position or calculating paths, direction, speed, etc… as with a single point source for example. Why lights on the rear? Because hit from behind collisions outnumber all other fatalities 2-1, and we have to start somewhere. Would it be best to mount more on the front for example? Certainly; but START somewhere.  I recommend starting with one on the seat post, one on the left seat stay, and one on your person, the left jersey pocket if possible.

When you go fishing, do you fish with a dark black lure, or do you use a BRIGHT FLASHING LURE?  Imagine ALL drivers are just stupid fish, you have to get their attention first, to avoid you…

Ask yourself, why are ALL government/city trucks required by law to have multiples of flashing lights?  And THEY’RE HUGE TRUCKS… not easily missed relatively small cyclists…

So far I have only been able to find one rear hit, fatal collision accident (the jury is still out as the  Freedom of Information Act info trickles in) where a rider was hit from behind while cycling with light(s) ON (I don’t yet know  the brand/model)… (That was Danae Miller on San Joaquin, Newport Beach, last year). Therefore the overwhelming number of fatalities have happened WITHOUT Multiple FLASHING Lights ON… We had two in one weekend here last month! That seems VERY IMPORTANT to me…

Helpful Tips; Light Selection 1. If you can look directly at a flashing light at arm’s length, it’s NOT BRIGHT enough. 2. Get rechargeable batteries and you will quickly form the habit of always turning them on without worrying about “wasting them”… (Costco sells cheap packs). Isn’t your life and health worth more than a package of batteries? (I did it too).

Personally, for the moment, I’m not trying to change the roads, laws, public mindset, driver/cyclist education or habits, etc… and I really don’t care who’s at fault… (from personal experience, I can say with some assurance, that no one lying in the street in their own blood does)… for the moment, I’m trying help you save your own life and that of your family and friends… by preventing horrible accidents like mine… today/now!… and this “solution” clearly seems to be the lowest hanging fruit that’s quickly reachable…

Sometimes, “Might IS RIGHT,” and 2,000-10,000 pounds of hard, fast moving steel is ALWAYS going to be “right” against a cyclist.

Until we live in a perfect world, with perfect drivers, and on perfectly designed and built roads, this is the BEST, EASIEST, FASTEST, and CHEAPEST way to push and skew the odds HIGHLY in your favor.

Keep the rubber side down.

Ciao,

Mark

Note; I was in a near fatality accident on PCH in Corona del Mae three+ months ago, which was outlined in this blog. I ride about 10,000 miles/year, mostly with my wife on PCH. I went to France to see my first TdF in 1976. We’ve ridden stages of all three Grand Tours. I’ve been hit and thrown in Huntington Beach.

Professionally, I am an industrial product designer and teach design/engineering at IVC, but I am also a licensed USA Cycling Pro Race Mechanic and serve on the local Amgen Tour of California Stage Planning Committee in charge of the VIP tents. I studied pre-med at USC with one of my majors being Bio-Psychology, today’s topic.

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