Morning Links: Tragedy in Santa Clarita, LA announces Vision Zero, and too much racing news for one day

Sad news from Santa Clarita, as a man apparently rode his bike to commit suicide Sunday morning.

According to the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, the unidentified man jumped to his death off the bridge on White’s Canyon Road at Via Princessa in full view of several people. Deputies said an overturned bicycle behind the yellow sheriff’s tape belonged to the man who jumped.

As others have said before me, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

No matter how bad things may look today, it will change. Maybe not now, maybe not soon. But it will. That’s the way life goes.

Hopefully the good, in the end, will outweigh the bad.

And you are not alone.

There are people who care. If you need help, call. Or talk to someone you know. Not tomorrow, not next week.

Now.

I want to see you back here tomorrow. And many more tomorrows after that.

NOTE: I heard from a relative of the victim who complained that the line about the permanence of suicide was glib. It was not intended that way; I learned it from a psychiatrist who specialized in treating depression. And it has helped me get through some very bad days.

I didn’t say this last night in my rush to get this online, but my heart and prayers go out to the victim and all his family and loved ones. Regardless of how he died, he was one of us.

Update: The victim has been identified as 23-year old Phillip Michael Griffin; a search had been underway since he went missing on Wednesday. 

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This is a big day in LA.

According to Los Angeles Walks, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will formally announce the city’s Vision Zero initiative to end traffic deaths in the City of Angels within the next 10 years. He’s set to make the announcement at the intersection of Cesar Chavez and St. Louis in Boyle Heights at 12:30 pm.

Of course, the question is whether the city is willing to make the tough choices that will require. As the recent controversies over Westwood Blvd, North Figueroa and the Glendale-Hyperion bridge make clear, many Angelenos — and a handful of elected representatives — still favor convenience over safety, and maintaining the automotive hegemony on our streets.

And are more than willing to twist that safety argument to preserve the status quo and keep our streets dangerous.

It will take strong leadership to make a dent in the number of deadly collisions in our city, let alone eliminate them in 10 years. And it can’t be done if we continue to carve out certain streets, neighborhoods or council districts.

We haven’t seen that yet from our city leaders. In fact, we haven’t heard from the mayor on any of those controversies, or any of the other streets where opposition to bikes has blocked much needed safety improvements.

Hopefully, that will change today.

In fact, it has to.

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Way too much racing news today.

Taylor Wiles won the second stage of the women’s USA Pro Challenge; Kristen Armstrong ended up winning the short three-day tour by 29 seconds over Wiles on Sunday. Taylor Phinney’s mom — who was a pretty decent cyclist herself — is thrilled to see how Colorado has embraced women’s bike racing.

Saturday’s men’s stage was taken by Roman Kreuziger after a long breakaway, while BMC’s Rohan Dennis finished with the main pack to hold a 44 second lead. He held that lead to win the Pro Challenge, with teammate Brent Bookwalter taking second.

Earlier in the race, Dennis had chucked his panini at a rider who attacked when the peloton stopped to pee.

Across the Atlantic, BMC won the team time trial on the first day of the Vuelta a España; however, no individual times were recorded due to a dispute over the unsafe conditions of the sand-covered route. On the other hand, at least they didn’t have to outrace a tank.

After all the rumors about motor doping over the summer, Vincenzo Nibali did it old school, getting bounced from the race for holding onto a team car to catch up to the peloton after a crash. Astana teammate Paolo Tiralongo posts a nasty eye injury he suffered in that same crash. All of which supports Deadspin’s observation that the Vuelta is the best race of the season, calling it “as spectacular as a relatively tame sport gets.”

And for future reference, you might want to keep your eye on a 16-year old racer from San Diego’s Torrey Pines High School.

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Sometimes, cyclists really are heroes.

On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Washington Post tells the story of professional cyclist Ken Bellau, who returned to his New Orleans home after competing in the Tour of French Guyana, hopped in a boat, and saved over 400 people from the flooding caused by the hurricane.

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Local

South Pasadena neighbors team up to chase down a one-man bike theft crime wave; the thief had been busted three times for similar crimes in just the last 45 days.

Pasadena’s newly passed general plan calls for increased density in the urban core while encouraging people to walk, bike or ride transit.

 

State

A Laguna Beach website asks if it’s possible for hikers, mountain bikers and wilderness habitat to co-exist.

A Coronado letter writer says beaches and bicycles are not at match. A statement disproven daily at pretty much every beach, everywhere.

Those anti-bike Coronado people couldn’t have been happy on Sunday, as 3,400 cyclists rode around the bay, through the town and across the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in a fundraiser for the San Diego Bicycle Coalition.

A reminder from Santa Cruz that drivers are required to make a right turn from the farthest lane to right, which means merging into a bike lane rather than turning across it. But make sure to check for bikes first.

Deb Hubsmith’s hometown newspaper says the late founder of Safe Routes to School showed the impact one person can have in a short lifetime.

The Bay Area’s Bicicletas Por la Paz is a band, bicycle advocacy group, awareness collective and food kitchen rolled into one.

The Sacramento paper says it’s long past time to make safe, easy bicycling a priority.

A South Lake Tahoe cyclist is back home after riding through Iran to meet with school children to promote peace, although not everyone in this country welcomed his efforts. Or in that one, probably.

 

National

Now that’s more like it. A Reno man gets 20 years for the drunk driving death of a 16-year old bike rider; he was nearly twice the legal limit when he was arrested. Similar cases here seldom result in more than a couple years.

A Chicago writer rides Missouri’s 238-mile Katy Trail with her husband, even if their starting point was under water. Meanwhile, the Windy City has a shiny new three-mile elevated rail-to-trail conversion.

The Chicago man who was brutally beaten by five honor students was selling the bike to raise money for school; his attackers reportedly believed the bike was stolen.

Cleveland prepares to paint a buffered bike lane on a newly resurfaced street. And bizarrely puts the buffer next to the curb, instead of next to the traffic lane where it might actually do some good.

Sad news from Massachusetts, as a bike rider hit by a drunk driver in 1996 dies after 19 years in a coma; his family has forgiven the driver, but the DA has yet to determine if additional jail time is warranted as a result of the death.

President Obama and family ride their bikes through the drizzle on Martha’s Vineyard. Although judging by the photo, daughter Malia isn’t too happy about it.

A PA paper offers advice on how to teach someone to ride a bike safely. But despite what they say, might does not make right; drivers don’t have a superior right to the road because they’re in the larger vehicles.

If you really want your employees to ride to work, try offering a free bike valet like this New York company. But discourage them from stealing a bikeshare bike to commute with.

A Baltimore driver hits a cyclist while trying to pass on a curve, then gets out of his SUV and hits him some more. With his fists. Showing how non-seriously authorities take traffic violence, he’s out on just $25,000 bail.

 

International

A musician rides 1,800 miles across Canada to perform, while supporting a movement for clean air, food and water.

Bicycling looks at how Bogotá’s ciclovía changed the world. I’m not sure the new Mobility Plan would have passed without CicLAvia, which is based on the Bogotá event.

Better bike routes and more bicycling could solve the traffic problems in Manchester UK.

A British bike rider was lucky to get away with a broken wrist and hand injuries after someone sabotaged his bike by disconnecting his brakes; the local government councilor crashed into a lamp post after careening down a hill at 30 mph.

A private postal service in Edinburgh delivers the mail by bike for a third less than conventional services; not surprisingly, business is growing by booming 20% a month.

A Chinese tourist who was kidnapped by Taliban militants while bicycling through Pakistan over a year ago has been freed by Pakistani security forces.

 

Finally…

It may not be safe for Florida kids to bike to school, but at least they can pedal at their desks. A new smart helmet could help avoid wrecks. Too bad we can’t get drivers to wear it.

And while the driverless car is still in development, the riderless bike is here today.

 

Weekend Links: Making a difference 50 years after Watts, and a SoCal dozen of America’s best bike shops

Fifty years after the Watts Riots, KCET looks at people and organizations working to re-imagine a part of the city that usually gets ignored unless something bad makes the news.

Among the groups they profile are the Eastside Riders Bike Club, using bikes to make a difference in South LA.

“We will educate our community and hope to bring a sense of pride. We hope to increase ridership and educate all safety components when it comes to walking, cycling and driving. We must all live together, work together and play together, ” says Jones.

The group is planning to open the Eastside Riders Bike & Skate Shop on September 5, 2015, at Central Avenue and 114th Street.

………

The National Bicycle Dealers Association listed the best bike shops in America for 2015, and Southern California was well represented.

The list includes four in the Los Angeles area, three in Orange County, four in San Diego County and one in Redlands. Interestingly, none of the LA area shops are on the LA Weekly’s nominees for the city’s best bike shops.

  • Bike Attack, Santa Monica
  • Pasadena Cyclery, Pasadena
  • Bicycle John’s, Santa Clarita
  • Topanga Creek Bicycles, Topanga
  • Rock N’ Road Cyclery, Mission Viejo
  • A Road Bike 4U, Irvine
  • Jax Bicycle Center, Irvine
  • Nytro Multisport, Encinitas
  • Revolution Bike Shop, Solano Beach
  • Bicycle Warehouse, San Diego
  • Black Mountain Bicycles, San Diego
  • Cyclery USA, Redlands

Congratulations to all. And next time you’re in one of these shops, remind them they need an ad on here.

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You still have time to learn how to ride a bike safely this weekend.

Bike SGV’s Dorothy Wong is teaching classes in Pasadena and East LA today, with additional classes available through Metro and the LACBC throughout the county through the end of September.

………

Rohan Dennis added to his lead in the USA Pro Challenge by winning the time trial. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong won the women’s race; the 42-year old Armstrong has retired twice before coming back to beat riders half her age.

Today’s sand-covered beach time trial won’t count for individual standings in the Vuelta, following complaints from riders, while a record number of Americans will hit the starting line in Spain.

And Cycling Weekly looks at the top father and son combinations in bike racing. Or mother and daughter, as the case may be.

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Local

New bike rider Ryan Seacrest talks with his bro Eric Garcetti about riding a bike in the City of Angels and LA’s new Mobility Plan; Bike Style LA posted the five-and-a-half minute segment online. Someone should tell Seacrest if he’s going to ride in LA, he needs to read BikinginLA. Right?

A Los Feliz neighborhood councilmember explains why LA’s nearly 100 NCs should support the Mobility Plan.

The LA Times posts responses to the recent OpEd from a Santa Monica businessman complaining about the Mobility Plan.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton interviews Assemblymember Richard Bloom about transportation issues coming up in the legislature.

West Hollywood will be getting a 20-station bikeshare system next spring, part of the same system that just opened in Santa Monica, and which will extend to UCLA, Long Beach and inexplicably, bike-unfriendly Beverly Hills. Meanwhile, the local paper says Santa Monica’s bikeshare makes traveling around town a Breeze, pun apparently intended.

CicLAvia explains their outreach process for the upcoming return to the Heart of LA on October 18th.

 

State

Smart. San Clemente plans two-way bike path separated from El Camino Real by a median of decorative rock and landscaping, along with painted bike lanes on the roadway for faster riders.

Now that’s more like it. Santa Rosa police ticket 30 drivers for violating the right-of-way of cyclists and pedestrians. Nice to see a department focusing on operators of the more dangerous vehicle for a change.

Menlo Park debates adding bike lanes or more travel lanes to a major transit corridor through the city; the local fire chief says bike lanes will slow response times.

Auburn brags about besting bike-friendly Davis in bike miles per capita.

SF Gate profiles the Oakland cyclist who set a so-far unofficial record for most vertical feet climbed in 48 hours.

A Bay Area TV station catches Redwood City bicyclists behaving badly by running stop signs and riding on the sidewalk. Of course, we all know what would have happened if they’d turned the camera onto motorists, instead.

 

National

A great new animated video clearly illustrates how road diets work.

Bicycling explains how a quick-release works, and why you may be doing it wrong.

Last June, a Denver man handed his bikeshare bike over to a cop chasing a suspect down a bike path; yesterday, the police returned the favor by giving him a new bike.

A dangerous Minnesota street that took down a reporter will get a complete streets makeover. In 15 or 30 years.

An Ohio man is sentenced to four years for killing a cyclist while under the influence; he was somehow driving with a life-threatening alcohol level four-and-a-half times the legal limit. And had to go home to change clothes before coming back to get arrested.

The Hartford CT paper calls for more road diets, after plans are announced for the state’s first one on a deadly stretch of roadway.

A Brooklyn writer says the arrival of bikeshare isn’t synonymous with gentrification.

No bias here. A salmon cyclist was killed when he allegedly struck the side mirror of a U-Haul truck that was stopped at a stop sign in Queens, NY. He must have been hauling ass to suffer “severe trauma about the body” by hitting a stationary object like that.

 

International

The CBC talks with the director of Bikes vs Cars, a documentary examining the conflict on streets around the world, including right here in LA.

Wired offers a fascinating look at how the McLaren Technology Group applies the technology behind Formula 1 racing to various industries, including their partnership with Specialized.

A 76-year old Brit cyclist has been racing bikes since 1976.

The Guardian looks at five innovative ways to get people on their bikes in the UK. I vote for the cake ride, myself.

A British driver fled the scene after knocking a bike-riding reverend out cold. But at least he stopped long enough to move the victim’s bike out of the road before driving off, right?

There have been a lot of stories about people riding bikes, accidently or otherwise, on major freeways lately; a South African rider paid for it with his life when he was hit by a motorcycle.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: Take a stomach-churning two-minute ride down an abandoned Sarajevo bobsled track. That’s one way to get into the classic bike business; just keep buying bikes for parts until your wife insists you sell them.

And the LA Weekly says if New York’s mayor doesn’t want topless, body painted women besmirching Times Square’s pedestrian plazas, just send ‘em here.

Morning Links: A reminder to always ride with water, and why drivers continue to flee following crashes

Got an email late Thursday telling me I almost lost a friend last week.

Long story short: Heatstroke.

I rode from Seal Beach to Azusa, then “rested” under a bridge by the San Gabriel River, viciously under-hydrated, out of water, with the temperature climbing, because I’m a moron.

I banged up my shoulder tripping against the concrete pier. I hallucinated. I blacked out. I threw up the first bottle of water that a good stranger gave me. Retrospect terrifies me: I actually could’ve passed out permanently under that bridge.

I’m heading back this afternoon to put up a thank-you poster because I never got the name of the guy who rescued me, got me water/Gatorade/ice, put me in his air-conditioned car, and kept me from wandering off. If he didn’t save the coroner a bunch of work, he at least spared me from crushing hospital bills.

Let that be a reminder to always carry more water than you think you’ll need. And remember to actually drink it, especially on hot days.

You should also make sure to have a little cash with you, so you can duck into a store or gas station to buy more in case you run out.

And always carry some form of ID when you ride, just in case a stranger finds you passed out under a bridge somewhere.

………

Evidently, there’s no reason not to flee after collision.

A Whittier woman got less than a slap on the wrist — more like a pat on the back — for last year’s South Pasadena hit-and-run wreck that injured a couple and their baby, and killed the family dog. While driving on a suspended license, no less.

None of that seems to matter, though, as she threw herself on the mercy of the court. And was richly rewarded with just three years probation and 30 days Caltrans duty.

That’s it.

So as long as the courts refuse to take hit-and-run seriously, let alone a license to drive, why should anyone else?

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

………

Looks like frequent contributor danger d now has his own blog. And the first post is a complaint about the problem of having to beg for a green light if you’re not driving a car.

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The often anti-bike LA Weekly offers a great profile of a third-generation, six-year old lowrider bicyclist. With training wheels.

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Now this should be interesting. The Vuelta a España kicks off with a team time trial on Saturday on a course that’s partly dirt and sand. The former director of Team Sky says put your money on Chris Froome.

BMC’s riders just switched places after the fourth stage of the USA Pro Challenge as Rohan Dennis won in a breakaway, taking the leader’s jersey from teammate Brent Bookwalter. But if you’re not going to win the stage, you might as well pop a mid-race wheelie.

The women’s three-stage version of the Pro Challenge kicks off today, offering prize money equal to the men’s race. And apparently not comprehending the message it sends, the same podium girls, too. Yahoo looks at women’s cycling’s token appearance at the Tour de France and the problems still facing the sport.

The new head of USA Cycling wants the organization to be vehemently anti-doping, with an increased focus on grassroots and women’s cycling.

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Local

LA Weekly wants your vote for your favorite bike shop; Helen’s, Golden Saddle and Flying Pigeon are the nominees.

CiclaValley professes profound indifference to the new bike lanes on Vineland. Here’s what usually happens: They put bike lanes where no one wants them, so no one uses them. Then say there’s no point in building more bike lanes, because we don’t use the ones we’ve got.

A great Vine illustration clearly shows how Pasadena’s proposed two-way, buffered cycletrack on Union Ave would work.

 

State

A Santa Ana cyclist suffered major injuries when he reportedly lost control of his bike and veered into the path of an oncoming pickup Wednesday night. The story reports he was riding east in a bike lane on the 900 block of East McFadden Ave; however, there aren’t any there for him to veer out of. Thanks to Lois for the heads-up, and thanks to David Huntsman for pointing out the lack of bike lanes.

Costa Mesa police revive their bike patrol after 15 years to deal more effectively with homeless people and drug abusers.

Garden Grove will hold their second annual open streets festival on October 10th.

Coronado residents rise up in opposition to a proposed multi-use path along the beach. And apparently, bike riders in general.

A dangerous Orinda bike lane will get a coat of green paint, rather than moving a turn lane leading to a freeway onramp to improve safety.

San Francisco police ride along with the city’s cyclists in an effort to mend fences after a recent crackdown on bike riders.

San Fran’s 2nd Street will get a road diet with raised, curb-protected bike lanes. And we get to be envious.

Nice. A 17-year old girl scout raised $8,000 to give every sixth grader at an Oakland Catholic school a new bike, helmet and assorted gear.

After police stop a man for suspicion of riding a stolen bike, they discover he skipped out on a Marin County drunk driving charge 21 years earlier.

The Marin County paper offers an in-depth obituary of Deb Hubsmith, founder of Safe Routes to Schools.

 

National

People for Bikes kids infographicA new infographic from People for Bikes provides stats on children and bicycling; despite the perception that kids don’t ride bikes anymore, 57% ride an average of 40 days a year. That could show a lot of improvement if more parents felt safe letting their children ride to school and more administrators would allow it.

Bicycling offers tips on how to finance your new bike. Just don’t buy more bike than you can afford, or go into debt if you can’t comfortably manage the payments.

This is so not what bicycles are for. A Montana man is under arrest for repeatedly punching his girlfriend and whacking her with his bike. Hopefully, she’ll get the hell out before he makes bail.

Five college-bound Chicago teens show up in a Mercedes to beat and pepper spray a man in an attempt to steal the $500 bike he was selling. That scholarship to Cal Poly won’t be used anytime soon.

The parents of a soldier killed in Afghanistan are fulfilling his dream of building a parking lot where Minnesota cyclists can safely unload their bikes away from a busy roadway.

A Minnesota writer pens an ode to the best month to ride a bike.

It takes a pair of real jerks to shoot a Detroit bike rider with a paint gun. And a couple of idiots to follow that by shooting it at a police SUV.

New York’s mayor is considering undoing the highly popular Time Square pedestrian plaza by reopening the street to cars to fight the scourge of body-painted breasts. Yes, breasts.

 

International

Caught on video: More than a half dozen people pitch in to lift a car off an injured British bike rider; a basket decorated with flowers is attached to the unseen bike and rider trapped under the car.

After she’s knocked off her bike by a hit-and-run driver, London novelist says the city’s cyclists are being scared off the road. Although maybe someone might explain the meaning of TMI to her.

A bike-riding Catholic nun is changing the lives of former sex slaves in the Congo.

An Aussie driver faces a minimum of 18 months for plowing into a pack of riders; somehow, he couldn’t see the seven cyclists directly in front of him for a full 17 seconds.

Thailand’s Crown Prince gives the equivalent of $2,200 to the family of a man killed in a collision while training to for a bike ride in honor of the Queen’s 83rd birthday.

 

Finally…

No point in working as a dog walker when you can do it by bikeshare. Now you can get a KOM while working on that new IPO.

And it’s okay if a man wants to ride a women’s bike.

No, really. It is.

 

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Thanks to Jeffery Fylling for his generous donation to help support this site.

Morning Links: The Mobility Plan bikelash has begun, and I go off on an unintended rant

The bikelash has officially begun.

In an OpEd for the LA Times, the owner of a Santa Monica luxury gift business says the city’s plan for road diets on some streets is a terrible idea.

Bruce Feldman suggests that what works in Stockholm, where the “Swedes are smart and good looking,” won’t work in LA. Where evidently, the residents aren’t.

Instead, he suggests banning all parking along major thoroughfares to make more room for cars, and yes, bikes, while providing parking lots on every block in business areas — apparently, tearing down some of those businesses to make room for idle cars.

He also trots out the failed proposal made by former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, before he fell off his bike and saw the light, to transform Olympic and Pico Blvds into parallel one-way streets. An idea so bad it was one of the few things that could unite virtually everyone who lived, worked, shopped or owned a business anywhere near those streets in opposition.

And says that people move to LA to live in tidy sundrenched bungalows far from work and shopping. Which certainly explains why DTLA — and even Downtown Santa Monica — are thriving.

Meanwhile, LA Times’ readers say the death of a pedestrian on Rowena Ave is just an anomaly, and doesn’t justify changes to the roadway to improve safety if it means a slower drive. This is what we’re up against; people are so used to traffic violence that it’s accepted as the cost of driving.

All of this stems from the city’s remarkable failure to control the narrative surrounding the passage of the Mobility Plan.

Virtually every single news story and talk radio program both before and after the plan was passed focused on bike lanes, and the possibility of removing some traffic lanes to make room for them.

Even my own 15-minute interview with a local news station, in which I discussed the nuances of the Mobility Plan and the importance of Vision Zero, was edited down to “Bike lanes are great!”

Which is not what the plan is about.

It’s about improving safety for everyone, with a goal of eliminating traffic fatalities within the city by 2035. Not just for cyclists and pedestrians, but for all those who travel by any means.

It’s about improving traffic flow by creating a true multi-modal transportation network, where people can get from here to there conveniently — and yes, safely — by bus, train, car, bike or feet. Wherever here and there may be. And reducing congestion by allowing those who prefer not to drive to travel by other means, making more room on the streets for those who do.

It’s about increasing the livability of our city by creating more walkable, bikeable neighborhoods where people choose to live and work, and where businesses thrive, while reducing the blight caused by inducing drivers to blow through neighborhoods at excess speeds without stopping. Or even noticing what’s on the other side of the curb right next them.

It’s not about bike lanes. Or forcing anyone out of their cars.

In other words, what we have here, as the movie says, is a failure to communicate.

One that starts at the top, with a mayor who was missing in action when the plan was being debated in the city council. And missed his opportunity, not only to support the plan in the face of opposition from some councilmembers, but to properly position it in the minds of the public after it was passed.

Maybe we can discuss that with him on Monday.

And extending down through LADOT, whose spokesperson could only defend it meekly as “aspirational,” suggesting that much of it would never be built in the face of community opposition, rather than explaining why it needs to be.

In fact, the best explanation of the Mobility Plan came from the LACBC’s Tamika Butler, as KPCC’s Larry Mantle kept trying to switch the conversation back to bike lanes.

The new Mobility Plan is a sweeping roadmap to a far better City of Angels to come.

But one that is doomed to failure if the city leaves it to people like us to explain.

………

Better Bike offers their own response to Feldman’s OpEd, asking why would you double down on yesterday’s failed planning paradigm.

And the LACBC sends word the Highland Park Neighborhood Council will consider a motion to support the Mobility Plan as is at tonight’s meeting, opposing efforts by a handful of councilmembers to gut the plan.

Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council

Regular Meeting and Agenda

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Highland Park Senior Center 6152 N. Figueroa St.

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Item #16 (15 mins): Motion to file a community impact statement (CF #15-0719) in support of “Mobility 2035” as proposed, and opposing all amendments to the plan as proposed by Councilmember Cedillo, Councilmember Koretz, and Councilmember Price. – H. Slater.

**The item will be discussed in the second half of the meeting.**

………

Sad news today, as Deb Hubsmith, founder of Safe Routes to Schools, passed away from acute myeloid leukemia.

………

Two days into the USA Pro Challenge, the BMC team has taken control behind stage 2 winner Brent Bookwalter and Rohan Dennis.*

It took an act of Congress to allow the second stage of the Pro Challenge to finish on Forrest Service land. A Denver TV station looks at the nine — or maybe eleven — types of cycling fans you’ll see at the Pro Challenge.

And this year’s race includes the first Israeli team to race in the US.

*Yes, stage 3 is already in the books, but the news stories seem to be running a day behind this year.

………

Local

A lawyer in the San Fernando Valley discusses the need for children to wear bike helmets. But neglects to mention they’re required for anyone under 18.

The Santa Monica police department is cracking down on violations that affect bike and pedestrian safety today and Saturday. Enforcement is targeted at any traffic violations, regardless of mode of travel, so stick to the letter of the law if you ride through the city.

South Pas rejects bike safety in favor of parking.

Richard Risemberg discovers the rumors of a Redondo Beach cycletrack really are true, and finds it much to his liking.

There’s a fundraiser tonight for Great Streets projects in South LA, Boyle Heights and Pacoima.

More free bike safety classes this weekend in West Covina, East Los Angeles, Cudahy, South Los Angeles and DTLA, courtesy of Metro and the LACBC.

Santa Monica is offering free bike repair, as well as fixing other items, this Saturday.

 

State

Pedal Love offers a podcast explaining Vision Zero with Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the Vision Zero Network for North America.

San Diego’s City Beat questions the city’s partnership with Miami-based DecoBike to provide bikeshare service.

BikeSD is planning to Bike to the Border on September 19th.

San Raphael opens a new multi-use pathway connecting downtown with a coming SMART Transit Center. Meanwhile, we can’t even get a bike lane connecting Westwood with the coming Expo Line.

A San Jose letter writer really doesn’t get it, complaining about a new road diet, despite years of reporting collisions on the street. As noted above, road diets aren’t done to install bike lanes; they’re done to slow speeding traffic and improve safety. And bike lanes are just one of the tools used to do that.

A Cottonwood bike rider suffered major injuries in a hit-and-run collision with a motorcyclist. Even in a small NorCal town, motorists don’t seem to feel a need to stick around after a wreck.

 

National

The CDC suggests treating traffic violence like a public health issue, with the cure consisting of slowing drivers and building better bike infrastructure. Sort of like LA’s new Mobility Plan.

A writer for Care2 offers up eight ways to make our cities bike-friendly. Never mind that by making cities more inviting for bike riders, they can also reduce congestion and improve safety for everyone.

A cyclist on a cross-country tour has his bike and gummy bears stolen in Portland.

Life is cheap in Alaska, where a teenage driver gets a whopping one year and 10 days for the hit-and-run death of a cyclist while driving drunk and on drugs.

Three months later, still no arrest in the apparently random shooting of a bicyclist near my Colorado hometown.

A “normal, decent guy” goes for a bike ride in Minnesota. And is surprised to learn bikes aren’t allowed to take the lane on a busy interstate highway.

The Kentucky State Fair is encouraging visitors to ride there instead of driving, but evidently can’t be bothered to provide secure bike parking.

An upstate New York letter writer says killing a cyclist should have consequences. Amend that to killing a human being, regardless of mode of travel, and I’m onboard.

Now that former mayor Michael Bloomberg is gone, New York cyclists are questioning Gotham’s commitment to improving bike safety.

A former Rockette discusses bicycling sans spandex in NYC, and that you don’t have to be a certain type of person to ride a bike.

 

International

Bicycling discusses how bikes are changing lives around the world — and in some cases, saving them.

An Ontario — no, the one further north — cyclist says we’re all just people, so drive like it around bicyclists.

A Quebec cop faces charges in the death of a salmon cyclist last year; the officer was trying to intercept him when he collided with the rider.

London’s black cab drivers are trying to scuttle the city’s plans for an East-West Cycle Superhighway, even though construction has already begun.

Sometimes you just can’t win. A Brit bike rider was clubbed over the head by a road raging driver when he slowed for a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Too often drivers blame us when we break the law, then get pissed off when we don’t.

Welsh cyclists petition to save a key bikeway from closure due to budget cuts.

Italian stunt cyclist Vittorio Brumotti was brutally attacked by three men while riding.

An Aussie woman still traumatized by her previous experiences says it’s time to toughen up and join her family on two wheels.

 

Finally…

No matter what kind of gesture a taxi driver makes your way, don’t get off your bike and jump on the hood of his cab. Then again, don’t make a double-handed rude gesture after nearly knocking a cyclist off his bike if you want to keep your bus driving job.

And don’t Silly String a cyclist.

Period.

 

Morning Links: Bikeshare finally besmirches Santa Monica, and the disappearing American bike shop

Bikeshare is finally here.

No, really.

After years of promises, Santa Monica has officially won the race for Los Angeles County’s first bikeshare program, with seven test hubs hitting the street as a pilot program for the Breeze bikeshare system that will hopefully turn into a gale by the end of the year.

And unlike some city’s we could mention, SaMo actually put a full bike network in place to protect riders before planning to throw bike renters to the traffic wolves.

Meanwhile, LA’s long-promised bikeshare system could finally make an appearance next year, just in time to take riders to see LA’s long-promised pro football team make its — or their — debut at the Coliseum.

And yes, it really is starting to feel like bikeshare is popping up everywhere, much to the chagrin of some who dread the besmirching of their fair cities, to cite a classic.

No one appears to have risen up in opposition to bikeshare in Los Angeles yet.

But there’s still plenty of time.

………

Red Kite Prayer explains why 38% of American bike shops have gone out of business in the last 15 years, despite the recent bike boom.

Meanwhile, a new bike maker has an interesting idea to help change that by charging more to buy direct than to buy the same bike from your local bike shop. They also promise to donate all their profits to bike advocacy programs.

………

Good thing the doping era is over. An Italian rider for Team Katusha has been provisionally suspended for using EPO back in 2012. Don’t you love how cycling teams are always shocked! shocked! to discover one of their riders is cheating?

………

Local

The Times’ Sandy Banks says that it’s up to us to hold city officials accountable for living up to the lofty promises of the Mobility Plan and Vision Zero.

The LA Explorers Club hosts their annual bike ride from the Garden of Eden to Devil’s Gate this Sunday, led by guest host Tom Carroll of the Tom Explores LA web series. The ride starts with New Belgium beers and ends with a stop at a brew pub, so this might be a good time to brush up on how alcohol affects your ride.

Nice interview with Wolfpack Hustle’s Don Ward, aka LA’s legendary Roadblock.

Metro wants to know your top priorities for improving walking and bicycling to train stations, bus stops and along regional bikeways or shared-use paths.

CicLAvia offers a photographic wrap-up of the recent Culver City to Venice event, where a good time was had by all.

 

State

Not surprisingly, a Camp Pendleton Navy man has pled not guilty in the hit-and-run death of cyclist Philip White.

San Diego’s Bike the Bay rolls through five bay-adjacent cities and across the Coronado Bay Bridge this Sunday.

Riverside considers replacing four-way stops with traffic circles, as well as building berms that will allow bike riders to bypass stop signs.

So much for the myth of scofflaw cyclists, as San Bernardino police write 95 tickets during a crackdown on bike and pedestrian safety, with just seven going to the people on two wheels, and 49 to those on two feet.

Palm Springs police go undercover to bust three thieves with a bait bike.

A Santa Barbara writer offers advice on essential tools for bike riders. I concur — especially about the cell phone, which can be a life saver in an emergency.

San Francisco unveils secure bike parking at the Civic Center BART station; users pay $5 for an access card and user verification, then just three cents an hour to park their bike. Can we pretty please get that down here? Please?

A Lodi bike summit aims to make the city a destination for bike tourism.

 

National

Biking to work is growing fastest among the richest Americans. Perhaps because the poorest have already been doing it.

Bicycling offers advice on how to take better pictures of your bike.

Portland distinguishes a bikeway from a sidewalk by painting the former green.

Santa Fe is planning a $3.8 million tunnel to allow cyclists and pedestrians to pass under a six-lane highway.

An Iowa driver had a blood alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit when he killed a cyclist during a Sunday morning ride. So instead of cracking down on drunk drivers, the city naturally goes after unpermitted group rides.

A Minnesota driver faces up to 10 years for allegedly killing a bike-riding mom while texting.

At least they take drunk driving seriously in Illinois. A driver from that state faces up to 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to killing a cyclist while driving with a BAC 2.5 times the legal limit.

A full year after a New York bike rider was seriously injured in a hit-and-run, the NYPD still hasn’t spoken with the owner of the vehicle — and left it to the victim to track him down. Nice to know the police really don’t give a damn there.

 

International

This is why you never lock your bicycle to a street sign, as a Canadian rider returns to find thieves had unbolted the sign post to get his bike.

A British actress had to wait two hours for an ambulance after she was impaled on her own handlebars after a collision with another rider.

Floating bus stops designed to protect London bike riders could endanger blind and partially sighted people, according to one writer.

A London mayoral candidate insists riding a bike in the city is taking your life into your own hands, saying he doesn’t ride because he doesn’t want to leave his children without a father. No point in being overly dramatic or anything.

A writer for the UK’s Guardian explains why Manchester is a rubbish city for cycling.

A British cyclist saves the lives of several other people when his organs were donated, after he died from an apparent solo fall. I’ve signed my donor card just in case; if the worst ever happens, I want some good to come from it.

An Irish soccer player faces charges of drunk driving and hit-and-run after crashing into a bike rider, followed by driving into a gas pump.

Seriously? A test of the road race course for next year’s Rio Olympics is deemed a success, despite being rerouted for a protest and the mugging of photographers covering it. But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, the play was a huge success.

Singapore has plans to become Asia’s first bicycling city, with plans to add over 430 miles of bikeways, including shaded paths to compensate for the city’s hot temperatures.

 

Finally…

Shape offer 30 reasons why bicycles are better than boyfriends. When is a three-month suspension for punching a fellow member of your national cycling team not a suspension? When there are no races scheduled to compete in.

And repeat after me: When you’re riding with a gun and a small amount of drugs on your bike, don’t ride salmon, already.

 

Morning Links: LAPD handcuff South LA cyclist over traffic ticket; Taylor Phinney makes amazing comeback

Is it really necessary to handcuff a young black man to give him a traffic ticket?

Several LAPD officers are caught on video demanding that a 16-year old bike rider come out of his home, where he apparently fled when police tried to pull him over.

Despite the incessant anti-cop tirade by the man shooting the video, the young man eventually comes out voluntarily. And is promptly cuffed and led to a patrol car, where he is presumably ticketed.

For not wearing a bike helmet.

Yes, he broke the law.

And yes, he fled from the police.

But it looks like this could have been handled a lot better, with less antagonism on both sides.

In talks with the LAPD going back over five years, representatives of the bicycling community have repeatedly asked that the practice of routinely handcuffing bike riders — usually young minority men — during a simple traffic stop be halted.

The police have responded that their policy is to allow the officer making the stop to determine if handcuffs are warranted, such as if the bike rider appears to be a threat or may attempt to flee.

And yet drivers are seldom, if ever, ordered out of their cars, frisked and handcuffed because they ran a stop sign or neglected to use a turn signal.

Yes, it’s possible this young man might have tried to run away, though it’s unlikely since he came out of the house on his own accord. And he clearly didn’t pose much of a threat surrounded by over a half-dozen officers.

The LAPD has made great efforts to improve relations with minority communities under Chief Beck, as well as with bicyclists.

But it doesn’t take much to undermine those efforts.

And a little respect from both sides would go along way.

………

Now we know cycling scion Taylor Phinney is really back.

In the most exciting pro cycling news this year, Phinney came back from last year’s devastating crash — so bad that doctors told him he’d never ride again — to outsprint the field and win the first stage of Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge. His BMC team commemorated Phinney’s victory with a series of photos from the first stage, including a shot of his surgically repaired leg.

The Denver Post says this year’s Pro Challenge could be anyone’s race. Though not Ian Crane’s, who needed over 3,000 stitches after going chin first through the back of a support vehicle in last year’s race; he’s back on his bike, but a return to racing is a long way off. If ever.

The first black African cyclists to compete in the Tour de France say there are even better riders to come from bike-mad Eritrea.

Great news from Ivan Basso, who is back on his bike after recovering from testicular cancer. I wonder how many men have checked themselves after reading about Basso? Besides me, I mean.

Two cyclists set new course records in the legendary Leadville 100 off-road race. Sadly though, an experienced competitor died of an apparent heart attack just short of the finish line; Scott Ellis was a 19-time competitor in the race.

Women pros say the new pro tour format is a big step towards bringing equality to bike racing.

………

Local

UCLA’s Daily Bruin offers a good look at the city’s new Mobility Plan. Although seriously, enough with the 1% bullshit; the plan is designed to provide alternatives to driving, which will benefit everyone — not make it impossible to drive, or force anyone out of their car and onto a bike.

Those new buffered bike lanes on Vineland in the Valley seem to work better as a traffic bypass lane for impatient motorists.

 

State

A Vallejo man is under arrest for intentionally ramming a couple with his rental car as they rode on the sidewalk.

 

National

Somehow, it seems sadly inevitable that the popularity of fat bikes would lead to plus-sized bikes.

GQ offers advice on how to bike to work without ruining your suit. Yes, biking is exercise, but so is walking. A simple bike commute doesn’t have to be treated like it’s a century ride.

A Wyoming man travels 11,000 miles in a decade of riding across the country, assisted by an e-bike and an oxygen tank for the past two years.

It takes a real jerk to steal a home-made motorized bike from a disabled Oklahoma man.

A writer from Dallas discusses what she learned riding unsupported in Iowa’s RAGBRAI. Including that she can do it, and doesn’t want to do it again.

A Dallas-area teenager is pushing to require bike helmets for all bike riders under 18, after a 16-year old classmate is killed in a collision with a car driven by her sister. Yes, helmets are a good idea; not running over people on bikes is a better one.

A Michigan bike rider was killed in a collision with a pedestrian.

Unbelievable. A hit-and-run driver plowed into an Indiana family while they were riding on a bike path.

There’s a special place in hell for someone who would steal a Rhode Island man’s bike as he lay unconscious following a collision. Fortunately, a local company has offered to replace it.

The Boston Globe calls on the city to take aggressive steps to improve safety for bicyclists.

 

International

Gizmodo explains the evolution of the bicycle.

Once again, someone has sabotaged a Brit road with thumbtacks, putting bike riders at risk of serious injury.

A pair of Indian teenagers on a speeding motorcycle kill a bicyclist crossing the road on his way home. So naturally, an official blames the bike rider for not using a crosswalk.

A “tired, sleepy and dreamy” Singapore taxi driver gets three months in jail and a seven-year driving ban after killing a cyclist when he fell asleep and drifted onto the wrong side of the road.

The Voice of America says the bike boom has come to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

 

Finally…

If you try to keep kids safe on their way to school by teaching them to ride in the gutter and the door zone, they may need that bike helmet. If you already got away with stealing four bikes in two separate break-ins from the same bike shop, don’t go back for the third time.

And Arlington VA police offer advice about who is allowed to park in a bike lane.

Arlington Police

Morning Links: Shaming the fat shamers, USA Pro Challenge starts today, and more Mobility Plan fallout

Just keep it to yourself.

In a blog post that went viral over the weekend, a self-described curvy British bike rider recites the pain the comes from being told to get “off the fucking road you fat bitch” by a pair of spandexed riders.

Then later on the same ride, she’s told to “get that fat ass up here” by another.

Seriously.

I remember a few years back, I was riding along the beach when I came upon an extremely large woman riding with a friend. Someone whose weight could have easily been measured in the multiple hundreds of pounds.

I admit, my first thought was how ridiculous she looked atop that tiny bike.

Then I shamed myself with my second, as I realized the courage it took for her to get out there and risk the ridicule of total strangers. And how she could be saving her own life by riding that bike, improving her health with every pedal stroke.

And that, if she kept it up, she might not be that large for long.

I kept those thoughts to myself.

But as I passed, I gave her a smile, along with the same nod I would any other rider. Because she was one of us, just as much as any fixie rider or spandexed roadie.

And maybe more so, because it took more effort just to get on that bike to begin with.

So if you see someone whose body doesn’t fit your image of what a bike rider should be, give him or her a nod or smile, or a maybe a word of encouragement.

And if you can’t manage that, just keep your damn mouth shut.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

………

Aussie rider Rohan Dennis is one of the favorites in the USA Pro Challenge that kicks off today, after achieving all of his long-range goals in just six months; the three-day women’s tour starts Friday.

The young Norwegians are coming on strong.

And Tour de France winner Chris Froome wants to be the spokesman for clean cycling. Which is only a little ironic since so many fans — and at least one previous winner — accused him of cheating during the tour.

………

Local

The Times offers a look at the Rowena road diet as a model for what the new Mobility Plan hopes to achieve. Let’s not forget that reducing serious collisions benefits motorists, too.

LA Times’ reader’s react to the passage of the plan with a couple of well thought-out letters. Then there’s the other kind, with one saying getting people out of their cars is like trying to get Charlton Heston to give up his guns, and another suggesting we should emulate Shanghai’s switch from bikes to cars — neglecting to mention that didn’t turn out so well. Thanks to John Lloyd for the last link.

A writer in the Daily News says rip out all those road diets and the bike lanes that came with them to make more room for cars.

Three groups have just 23 days to raise funds for their Great Streets challenge grants, including a musical intersection at Florence and Crenshaw and a complete streets demo on Cesar Chavez.

 

State

A San Diego woman was seriously injured when she reportedly turned her bike into the path of a tow truck after she’d been drinking, although the description of the collision just doesn’t add up. Thanks to San Diego’s Mark Ganzer for trying to help figure this one out.

Virgin Atlantic lists the ten best bikeways in San Diego.

A Fremont cyclist was killed when he — allegedly — suddenly turned into the path of a car. In the absence of independent witnesses, in many cases like this, it’s more likely the driver simply didn’t see the bike rider in front of them until it was too late.

Marin County is about to open a 17 acre bike park.

 

National

A Maui letter writer asks the mayor why volcano bike tours are allowed to endanger the lives of local residents. Although it sound like the real danger comes from impatient drivers.

An SMU student’s design for a portable, inflatable bike rack, which took second place in the university’s innovation competition, ships this month after a successful Kickstarter campaign. So what the heck finished first?

Big hearted Omaha gang detectives buy a kid a new bike after he scrapes his knee trying to ride a girl’s bike with a flat tire.

This is why people continue to die on our roads. An allegedly drunk Iowa driver fled the scene after running down three cyclists on a group ride; he had a previous conviction for DUI, as well as convictions for drug offenses, assault and child endangerment. Yet somehow, he was allowed to keep driving until he nearly killed someone.

The Amish in Kentucky have recently received the okay to ride their bikes, much to the consternation of local drivers.

Sad news from Rhode Island, as an 80-year old masters racer died after crashing into the back of a truck that had broken down on the side of the road.

It’s not fast delivery if it never gets there; a New York e-bike delivery man was arrested for riding salmon through the Holland Tunnel.

Props to a Virginia driver for rushing an injured hit-and-run victim to the hospital. On the other hand, don’t just leave the guy’s bike lying in the middle of the street.

The family of a cyclist murdered by a homeless man while riding from Maine to Florida to propose to his girlfriend last year plan to finish the ride in his honor.

 

International

More problems for the upcoming Rio Olympics, as a team of photographers were mugged while covering a road cycling test, after the route was changed to accommodate a street protest.

A writer for the Guardian says it’s not satanic to say cyclists get a raw deal. It’s actually a pretty good look at the polarization of modern society. And equally valid on both sides of the Atlantic.

Heartbreaking story from the UK, as some low-life scum stole the bike a seven-year old girl was given as a birthday present by her father, who died just 12 weeks ago.

A group of British bystanders may have saved the life of a critically injured 18-year old cyclist by lifting a car off him after he was struck during a sportive ride.

Long promised Brit bikeways were never built because infrastructure for cars is considered a national priority, while bikes aren’t.

Something’s going on in Helsinki. A bus drove into a crowd of bicyclists protesting the road rage death of a bicyclist earlier in the week, followed by a fight between the driver and protesters.

The bike boom is even spreading to Putin’s Russia.

In a truly sickening case, 13 Bangladeshi men have been arrested for torturing and killing a 13-year old boy suspected of stealing a bike, and posting the video online.

Austrian doctors urge the country to dump its mandatory helmet law, saying it’s keeping people off their bikes. And an Aussie researcher says the country’s roads are fundamentally unsafe, and big decisions have to be made about the real value of on-street parking. Seriously, is a more convenient parking space worth a human life?

The Thai crown prince leads thousands — perhaps hundreds of thousands — of cyclists on a ride honoring his mom’s 83rd birthday.

 

Finally…

Can you really call it a cycle superhighway if it’s just a third of a mile long? A judge with a keen insight into the law says a father went to far when he bashed a helmeted cyclist over the head with a wrench. Gee, you think?

And don’t even think about riding your bike naked in Anchorage.

 

Weekend Links: LA bike thieves caught on video, and volunteer for September’s LACBC bike/ped count

Sometimes, even bike thieves get caught on video.

The LAPD has issued a BOLO alert for a ring of bike thieves captured on security camera stealing bikes from an apartment complex at La Brea and Wilshire.

The group of two Hispanic men and a blonde woman act carefully to avoid detection, first casing the underground parking lot, then coming back with bolt cutters to cut the locks, and returning a third time to walk out with the bikes.

Anyone with information is urged to call Wilshire Area Burglary Detectives Officer Noble at 213/922-8253.

And on a related subject, the Spoke N’ Wheel Bicycle Shop in West Hills had a distinctive mountain bike stolen in a break-in this week, so be on the lookout. This one should be easy to spot. Thanks to Rex Reese for the heads-up.

………

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is looking for volunteers for September’s bike and pedestrian count.

Yes, this should be the city’s job. But since they don’t do it, the LACBC’s count is the only way we have to know whether more people are riding bikes, and where they’re riding in the City of Angels.

………

Colorado native Taylor Phinney will make his second start after returning from catastrophic injuries at next week’s USA Pro Challenge; last year’s champ Teejay van Garderen will ride the Vuelta, instead. Phinney’s return to race in his home state is remarkable, given that doctors said he’d never ride again.

A new women’s world tour is taking shape, based on the current men’s tour. Hopefully, with less doping and more integrity.

………

Local

City Lab’s Sarah Goodyear says the new Mobility Plan is another sign it’s not the old LA anymore, even if some don’t seem to get it.

Streetsblog gives Eric Garcetti a B- for his work on livable streets since becoming mayor, with a C+ on bicycling issues. Not sure I’d rate him that high after his disappearing act on Westwood Blvd, North Figueroa, Mt. Hollywood Drive and the Glendale-Figueroa bridge.

A writer for Bike Walk Burbank says crashes aren’t accidents, and neither is traffic enforcement.

The Argonaut talks with CicLAvia founder Aaron Paley, who says it’s not about bikes, it’s about reclaiming public space. Then again, so is the new Mobility Plan.

The Culver City Bicycle Coalition wants your help to clean up the Ballona Creek bike path on September 19th as part of the Coastal Cleanup Day.

 

State

The battle over bikeshare at San Diego’s Pacific Beach goes on.

A new Pleasanton green lane aims to improve safety along the “Valley of Death.”

The San Francisco police captain behind the hugely unpopular crackdown on law-breaking cyclists explains his evolving priorities.

 

National

A writer for HuffPo suggests 19 reasons why bicycling is the best exercise. Many of those reasons focus on bikes as transportation, rather than simply exercise. Which is the real beauty of bikes, since they can serve as transport, exercise and recreation — often all at once.

An Indian website profiles the Marine vet who is riding a handcycle across the US after losing both legs in Afghanistan.

“Magic dirt” is turning Helena MT into a destination for mountain bikers.

A man stops in Kansas as part of a nationwide bike tour after beating cancer twice.

Now this is a protected bike lane, as the state of Illinois installs a curb-protected lane in response to the death of a Chicago cyclist. That is what should happen with every bike and pedestrian death — first determine why it happened, then fix the street so it won’t happen again.

A Boston reporter writes about his alternately thrilling and perilous bike commute.

New York pedestrians and bike riders advocate for a safer route through a bike-desert in Queens. And another bike lane planned for Amsterdam Ave survives opposition for now.

A North Carolina driver had meth and heroin in his system when he went across multiple lanes of traffic to hit a cyclist head-on.

An Athens GA cyclist receives an $850,000 settlement after being hit by a man pulling out of his driveway while she was riding to work.

Louisiana has the third highest rate of bicycling fatalities, behind Florida and Delaware. The rate reflects the number of deaths per 100,000 residents.

 

International

A writer for the Guardian takes the new $15,000 Jaguar-designed Pinarello out for a spin on British roads.

Britain’s Green Party calls for adoption of a European version of the Idaho Stop Law.

A Helsinki, Finland driver is under arrest for deliberately running down and killing a bike rider, then fleeing the scene.

An Aussie cyclist appeals a $1.7 million judgment for crashing into his riding partner after he hit a wooden stake in the bike lane. Seems like whoever was responsible for maintaining the bike lane should be held at fault, instead.

 

Finally…

Denver drivers rant about “idiot drivers” in the fast lane, neglecting to consider that the speed limit is the maximum allowed, rather than mandatory. If you’re going to ride off with an $1,800 bike from a New Orleans bike shop, it’s probably best not to leave your own invalid credit card as security.

And we only have to worry about dodging LA drivers; Brit bicyclists have to avoid ramming sheep.

 

Morning Links: Reflections on crappy cyclist, sailor charged in fatal hit-and-run, and more Mobility madness

Sometimes, drivers have a point when they complain about bike riders.

And sometimes, people on bikes survive the streets, not because of their own skills, but because of the caution shown by those around them.

The other day, I found myself driving down Santa Monica Blvd to attend a meeting in West Hollywood.

As I drove, I watched a fixie rider make his way through traffic, buds firmly affixed to both ears, his lack of skill — and presumably, experience — evident by the way he awkwardly swayed from side to side with every pedal stroke.

I passed him, moving into the next lane to give him plenty of space, even though he was hugging the door zone.

About a block later, I found myself behind a line of stopped cars in the right lane. So I put on my signal, checked my mirror and started to pull to my left. Then jammed on my brakes, as he swung out around me, apparently blind to my change in direction.

He split the lanes, weaving through traffic before cutting suddenly to the right, the driver he’d just cut off narrowly averting a rear-end collision as he was forced into a panic stop.

A block or two later, I watched as he first jumped a light, weaving through vehicles coming from both directions, despite their far superior claim to the right-of-way, then swung around a Brinks truck without warning as it was pulling away from the curb.

In each instance, a collision was avoided, not through any skill of the guy on the bike, but through the alertness of those he shared the road with.

This is not intended as a rant against fixie riders, many of whom can put my own skills on a bike to shame. Nor is it intended as a complaint against riders who cut through traffic, even though I can’t recommend it; I’ve seen some who can slice and dice through moving cars like a chef at Benihana.

This guy was neither of those.

He lacked the skill to pull off the moves he made. Yet somehow survived his trip, not through the grace of God, but because others on the road were watching out for him when he wasn’t watching out for himself. And seemingly oblivious to the close calls he’d had.

Proof that those behind the wheel aren’t always the bad guys. And that our streets work best when we all look out for one another.

On the other hand, his reckless riding and lack of skill did not reflect on me.

Or anyone else who takes to two wheels, anymore than a crappy driver makes every other driver look bad.

………

It took awhile, but there may be justice for Philip White after all.

The hit-and-run victim was found lying next to his crushed bike in an Oceanside cul-de-sac early one morning last September. Police quickly identified a suspect, but no charges were filed.

Until now.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports Christopher Noah, an active duty sailor stationed at Camp Pendleton, has been arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run.

According to the U-T, personnel on the base noticed the damaged to Noah’s car, and convinced him to contact police.

He admitted to being the driver, while insisting he didn’t know he had hit anyone. However, evidence at the scene reportedly contradicted his statement, including indications that White’s body appeared to have been moved.

The paper questions why it took 10 months to file charges; I’d question why Noah doesn’t face more serious charges, since White might have had a chance if his killer hadn’t left him to die alone on a deserted street.

………

KPCC interviews Venice Councilmember Mike Bonin about the city’s newly approved transportation plan.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton weighs in on the plan on KCRW’s Which Way LA, along with Eastside Councilmember Jose Huizar, UCLA’s Madeline Brozen and a spokeswoman for the group threatening to sue over it.

An attorney writes on City Watch that the Mobility Plan is based on fatally flawed data and wishful thinking, and the city failed to follow proper procedure — even though it was based on over five years of public process.

KFI’s John and Ken rage over the Mobility Plan, riling up their listeners by misrepresenting both it and bicycling in the City of Angeles. And you know the plan’s on the right track when Rush Limbaugh bloviates against it.

It’s important to remember that radio personalities like those mentioned above aren’t reporters, they’re entertainers. Their job is to anger their listeners enough to keep them coming back for more in order to drive up ratings; in doing so, they’re no more committed to the facts than any internet troll.

………

Bicycling fatalities among children under 15 have dropped 92% since 1975. Which would be good news except the decrease may be due to fewer kids riding bikes these days.

………

Local

The Great Streets section of Venice Blvd will get a road diet, protected bike lanes and mid-block crossings, though maybe not all at once.

CiclaValley says biking to Dodger stadium is the fast and easy way to get there.

Bike Portland visits CicLAvia, and says we have some things to teach our friends up north about open streets.

Santa Monica police are conducting another bike and pedestrian safety enforcement operation today, and more in the next few weeks. So observe the letter of the law when riding through the city.

LAist offers 39 reasons why they love Long Beach; the city’s embrace of bikes is just one of them.

Wolfpack Hustle’s annual Civic Center Crit races around City Hall this Saturday.

UCLA Lewis Center and Institute of Transportation Studies will host a webinar this Wednesday on Streetscape Design to Improve Walking and Cycling.

The second-annual Santa Monica Bike Expo will take place at the pier on October 10th and 11th, and will include a 15-mile Tour of Santa Monica bike ride.

 

State

Calbike says the legislature’s extraordinary session to find money to fix the state’s crumbling streets and highways should include funding for bikeways.

Some people in Coronado really, really don’t want more bikes or a bike path on the beach.

Menlo Park may remove parking along the bay to make way for bike lanes.

Only the state can legalize the Idaho stop. So instead, a San Francisco supervisor has introduced an ordinance to make enforcement of cyclists riding through stop signs the police department’s lowest law enforcement priority.

Bike traffic on San Francisco’s Market Street sets a new record, with over 100,000 bike trips recorded in July.

The Marin County cyclist convicted of the road rage beating of a motorist now faces a personal injury lawsuit, as well as his upcoming sentencing.

 

National

Good article intended for police officers on the how’s and why’s of enforcing bike laws.

How to prevent the most common bicycling injuries.

Denver’s Streetsblog says public bike infrastructure shouldn’t have to depend on private money.

A 75-year old Kansas ‘bent rider hits the 120,000 mile mark.

Texas police officers don’t have a clue who to ticket for a right hook collision. Hint: the same right-of-way violation applies if a driver turns in front of a bike as it does if he turns in front of a car in the next lane; thanks to Cyclelicious for the link.

Ohio police want to know why a cyclist was riding salmon in the traffic lanes of an Interstate highway in the middle of the night. If they find out, I hope they tell us.

A 17-year old Indiana driver had a blood alcohol level of .28 — 3.5 times the legal limit – when she plowed into two cousins out for bike ride, killing one; prosecutors plan to charge the teenager as an adult.

A Boston researcher says the city should calm traffic and improve lighting, education and enforcement to increase safety for cyclists.

A Florida bike rider thanks the stranger who gave him a ride home after an early morning flat.

 

International

Calgary cyclists who have survived collisions share their frustration with the attitudes of drivers.

Caught on video: A London rider stops for every red light, yet manages to keep up with a guy who jumps them all. A lot of us have had that same experience.

No bias here. When a British man and his family are arrested for planning to join ISIS in Syria, the press identifies him primarily as a “keen cyclist.”

A Brit women’s racer says riding in London is safer than it seems, but women riders need to be more assertive.

Mashable goes behind the scenes of London’s secretive pedicab industry.

A new Dutch track bike only looks like it’s made of wood.

The founder of what was once the world’s largest bicycle maker has died in India; OP Munjal started the company because he was tired of sharing a single bike with his two brothers.

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons insists there’s no scientific evidence that Australia’s mandatory helmet law has had an adverse effect on health by discouraging people from riding.

Aussie site Cycling Tips goes behind the scenes to look at pro cycling’s financial model. And it’s not a pretty picture.

 

Finally…

A Texas driver slams into a Walmart, so naturally, there’s a bike involved. Someone smashed the glass on a Clovis bike shop to steal a Stolen bike. Putting that in the window is just tempting fate.

And anyone can climb Colorado’s 14,000 foot mountains; these guys are riding up them.

 

Morning Links: Newport hit-and-run driver turns himself in, and more fallout from the new LA Mobility Plan

More on the 14-year old girl who was critically injured when she was struck by a hit-and-run driver while riding in Newport Beach Tuesday night.

Thirty-six-year old Anthony Michael George turned himself in to police at around 2 pm Wednesday, which would have given him plenty of time to sober up.

Assuming he had been drinking, of course, which only seems like a given.

That was after his badly damaged car was discovered by a sharp-eyed Newport resident out for a run.

His victim, who was riding a beach cruiser with a group of other riders, was on vacation with her family from San Carlos; she’s now fighting for her life after she was hit head-on with enough force to shatter the car’s windshield.

She was not wearing a helmet, despite state law requiring them for anyone under the age of 18. Whether it could have made a difference, given the description of the collision, is questionable.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link about the car discovery.

………

The Daily News says the newly passed Mobility Plan offers promise, but questions whether the city is dictating new habits or anticipating them. Neither, actually. It’s aimed at improving safety while giving people the option of how they want to travel, rather than how they currently feel they have to.

LA Times readers offer surprisingly rational responses to yesterday’s story about the shift in LA transportation priorities.

KNBC-4 misses the point, saying community groups oppose taking travel lanes — not auto lanes, thank you — from streets like Westwood Blvd, even though current plan for Westwood don’t involve removing a single lane or parking spot. Which makes you wonder what the real reason for their opposition is, along with that of Councilmember Paul Koretz, who appears to be in the pocket of wealthy homeowners.

Larry Mantle discussed the passage of the Mobility Plan on KPCC’s Air Talk; the LACBC’s Tamika Butler made some good points by stressing it’s not just about bike lanes, although the remarks by motorhead Jay Beeber — and many of the comments — are infuriating.

Speaking of which, I’m told you should only read the comments on KFI’s Facebook page, home to the bike hating John and Ken, if you want to lose all hope for humanity.

And Bicycling wants to arm you with responses to the typical anti-bike comments you’ll find to any online story about bicycling.

Meanwhile, this is what the story looks like from an overseas perspective.

………

Brenda Miller of the Alliance for a Healthy Orange County writes to say they’re looking for vendors with experience in hosting bike rodeos.

Orange County will be holding bike rodeos the month of September, 2015, and is seeking bids from vendors experienced with such bicycle education events. Funding for the rodeos is provided by the non-profit, Alliance for a Healthy Orange County, as part of a community health grant received from the CDC. Contact info, details/specs, and a list of Q&A’s submitted by potential vendors is downloadable via Dropbox HERE.

………

Matt Brammeier, the cyclist injured in that horrific Tour of Utah crash, as been released from the hospital.

………

Local

Councilmember Mike Bonin’s office is preparing a pop-up Great Streets installation on Venice Blvd in Mar Vista early next year, including improved — and possibly protected — bike lanes.

Richard Risemberg says even if we get bike lanes, once the paint dries, we’re on our own.

Bike thefts continue in DTLA, as six people have their rides taken, four after the locks were cut; one man was arrested trying to take one.

There will be a pop-up community open house for the Cesar Chavez Great Street, which doesn’t appear to include anything to improve bike safety, this Saturday. Maybe you can point out the error of their ways.

 

State

San Francisco police back off their heavy-handed crackdown on scofflaw bike riders in the face of angry bicyclists, after 200 riders were ticketed for rolling stops, running lights and not stopping for pedestrians in just a two-day period. A petition protesting the crackdown drew over 19,000 signatures.

The Yolo County driver who intentionally ran down three cyclists in succession behind the wheel of a stolen car now faces attempted murder charges and a sanity hearing. That’s Yolo, not YOLO.

 

National

Bicycling talks to the people behind everyone’s favorite bike comic.

VeloNews asks what the rise of e-bikes means for the world of bicycling. Less pedaling, for one.

Bloomberg notes that crowdfunding is the latest way to get bikeways built, but questions just what the purpose of taxes is, then.

Not a bad idea. A new light attaches to your brake cable, giving you an automatic brake light for just $10.

If a judge agrees, an Anchorage teen could get less than three years in juvie for the DUI hit-and-run death of a bike rider. The collision came just eight days after she completed — and evidently failed — a drug abuse program; she was on Ecstasy, coke and marijuana at the time of the crash.

A car is a man’s — or woman’s — castle in Kansas; just reaching inside could entitle the driver to use deadly force. Good thing that personal space doesn’t extend to the air around it.

Caught on video: This is what a dangerously close pass by a Texas driver looks like.

A fifth Minneapolis bike rider has been attacked by a rock-throwing SUV driver; the latest victim suffered a broken clavicle.

The Cleveland Clinic offers advice on how to avoid neck pain caused by cycling. Or maybe you suffer from hay fever while riding, instead.

An Ohio driver gets a lousy three months in jail for sideswiping a cyclist with his trailer after following behind a group of riders for several hundred feet, honking and yelling at them out his window.

The athletic director at Middle Tennessee State University considers himself lucky after breaking two neck vertebrae and a wrist when he went off the road while riding his bike.

Bicycling casualties are raising red flags in Boston, where 13 people have been killed riding bikes in the city in the last five years. Nearly that many died in Los Angeles last year alone, with 11 bicycling deaths within the city limits in 2014.

A Florida man faces a manslaughter charge after killing another man with a single punch in a dispute over a stolen bike. Seriously, recovering your bike isn’t worth taking a life. Or spending the next several years behind bars.

 

International

Hundreds of cyclists formed a funeral procession for a popular British bike advocate who was killed in a road rage assault while driving his car.

Add this to the list of things you wouldn’t see while driving, as Town Mouse spots a very hidden young deer on her ride to town. And note that her definition of a busy road is spotting half a dozen vehicles in four miles.

The next time you’re in Amsterdam, look bikes with a yellow rack for a free ride on the back from an unofficial bike ambassador.

Australia’s Senate is told that mandatory helmet laws do more harm than good.

New Chinese augmented reality glasses currently raising funds on Indiegogo promise to give you a heads-up display while you ride. Because it just takes too much effort to look down at a Garmin.

Over 40,000 Thai cyclists have registered for a ride this Sunday to honor the country’s Queen on her 83rd birthday.

 

Finally…

Seriously, when a driver tells you to get off the road, just flip ‘em off if you have to respond, instead of causing $300 damage to the jerk’s car. If you’re riding a stolen bike armed with burglary tools and a stun gun, don’t ride on the damn sidewalk.

And caught on video: A Chinese bicyclist just barely avoids serious injury when he hops off his bike milliseconds before it’s hit by a driver making a dangerous U-turn in a busy intersection. Naturally, police conclude it wasn’t really the driver’s fault.

 

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