47-year old bike rider killed in Escondido collision

More bad news, this time from North San Diego County.

According to the Union-Tribune, a bike rider in his 40’s has died following a wreck in unincorporated Escondido. The Times of San Diego lists his age as 47.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding south on Mesa Rock Road north Windsong Lane just before 7 pm yesterday when he was struck by a Jeep Cherokee traveling in the same direction.

He was taken to Palomar Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

The 26-year old driver remained at the scene. The U-T reports it’s not yet known if drugs or alcohol were factors, or how fast the SUV was traveling.

A satellite view shows a two-lane road with no visible turning points, increasing the likelihood that it was a rear-end collision.

This is the fifth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in San Diego County. That compares with 17 in SoCal this time last year.

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

Morning Links: The Tour of California comes back to LA; Calbike petition opposes mandatory bike helmet law

The Amgen Tour of California announces the stages for this year’s race.

The courses include another ride up Mt. Baldy, along with a final stage from LA Live through NELA to the Rose Bowl. Maybe they can make the argument for bike lanes on North Figueroa while they’re passing through.

But former Tour of California winner Chris Horner’s team is snubbed this year.

Meanwhile, a North Carolina writer calls for an American Tour de France-style stage race, evidently never having heard of the Tour of California or Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge.

Then again, wouldn’t it be great if they combined the two into a single two week race running from the Rockies to the coast?

……..

HuffPo offers a pretty balanced look at SB 192, which would require all bike riders, including adults, to wear helmets and reflective hi-viz. Bakersfield cyclists are split on the issue.

Calbike has an online petition to oppose it. And yes, I’ve signed it.

Then again, more riders might voluntarily wear helmets if it would improve their Strava times.

……..

Local

A good job for a great organization. CICLE is looking for a Web Developer/SEO Engineer. And yes, I know CICLE is an acronym, but I got tired of typing all those periods all the time.

An LA cyclist lists the top 20 questions he gets asked as a bike commuter. I’ve gotten every one of those myself in one form or another.

LADOT wants your input on redesigning their website, which will include a new version of the agency’s bike blog.

KCET looks at the LA River bike path, and how it could be affected by plans to expand the I-710 Corridor.

The Hispanic-owned EGP newspaper chain becomes the latest to endorse Jose Huizar for re-election in CD14.

 

State

Red Kite Prayer’s Padraig makes a call for brighter colored bikewear to keep from getting run over.

A Santa Ana bike rider suffers non-life-threatening injuries when he’s hit by a car.

San Luis Obispo residents rise up against a utility box adorned with a brightly colored painting of a bike rider; I’m not sure if it’s the bright colors or the bike they find most offensive.

Turlock cyclists want safe, connected routes; then again, don’t we all?

More tragedy from the Bay Area, as a 14-year old bike rider is killed in Concord. As usual, the teenage victim gets the blame. Thanks to Anthony Ryan for the heads-up.

A hearing is set for next week for the San Francisco 49ers player charged with hit-and-run after striking a cyclist with his car, as well as possessing brass knuckles; he was driving on a suspended license at the time.

Two thousand Berkley bike riders have been hit by cars in the last 14 years, not counting the collisions that haven’t been reported.

 

National

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske moves back to VeloNews after writing for Bicycling magazine for the past several years.

Bike riders fear for their safety on Vegas roads.

People for Bikes says the lesson from Denver’s crowdfunded bikeway isn’t about raising money, it’s about raising a movement.

Even Wyoming is considering how to build a network of protected bikeways.

Montana considers scrapping the requirement for cyclists to ride to the right, replacing it with a standard allowing them to ride where they feel safest. The bill would also allow drivers to cross the center line to pass a bike when safe to do so, something our misguided governor vetoed a few years back.

Auto-centric Houston will get its first new bike master plan in 20 years.

One of the architects of New York’s Citibike bike share program says splitting a bike share network up into separate nodes — like how LA is planning to roll out its plan — is a recipe for failure.

 

International

The British Columbia woman charged with booby trapping a popular mountain bike trail now faces trial on a single count, after two other charges were dropped.

The Department of DIY is hard at work in Canada, where Halifax bicyclists designed their own network of protected bike lanes.

London advocates say cyclists are an afterthought when it comes to road safety standards.

A London cyclist suffers a broken pelvis when he’s shoved off his bike by another rider. Seriously, the last thing we need is road raging bike riding jerks; violently pissed off drivers are bad enough.

A UK van driver tells bike riders to stay awesome.

An Irish model is a bundle of nerves when she rides through Dublin; she may have reason for concern.

An Amsterdam designer builds a wood and aluminum bike using 3D printing, but that’s not nearly as cool as building a Louisville Slugger bike.

An Aussie writer questions whether parking adjacent bike lanes are havens or door zones of death.

Bangkok builds a new bike path under an expressway.

 

Finally…

Okay, so it’s not bike related. But Curbed has created a pretty good bingo card for when the New York Times — or pretty much any out of town newspaper — writes about LA. Win an Oscar, and get a statue of a little naked guy; lose, and you’ll get a new bike from Martone Cycling so you can #biketheOscars next year.

And a Brit cow evidently decides if it can’t ride a bike, it might as well wear one.

 

Update: 17-year old bike rider killed by DWP truck in Granada Hills

Philo-Ragni-Ghost-Bike-1

Ghost Bike for Philo Ragni; all photos by Danny Gamboa

There’s something seriously wrong when a kid can’t even ride his bike home from school.

According to KTLA-5, a 17-year old boy was struck and killed by a DWP truck Wednesday afternoon, just a block away from John F. Kennedy High School in Granada Hills, where he was a student. Other sources give his age as 16.

The victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was riding south on Woodley Ave at San Fernando Mission Blvd when he was hit the northbound truck, driven by an electrical worker for the department. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

There’s no word on how the collision occurred; however, since it happened at an intersection while they were traveling in opposite directions, it suggests that one or the other may have been turning onto San Fernando Mission.

The station reports there were several bikes lying on a corner of the intersection following the wreck, one with a mangled front wheel.

And yes, the DWP did offer a brief statement of sympathy.

This is the fourth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Los Angeles County. It’s also the first in the City of Los Angeles since the first of the year.

Update: KNBC-4 reports the victim was a senior at the school, and had been riding with a group of fellow students. However, the story is not online yet.

Update 2: KACB-7 has identified the victim as 17-year old Philo Ragni.

According to the station, the LAPD said the DWP truck was headed north on Woodley when a group of kids crossed the street going west on San Fernando Mission; no word on who had the right of way.

However, police report that a Metro bus was driving by at the time of the collision, and may have captured the collision on video.

Update 3: KCBS-2 contradicts the KABC report, suggesting that Ragni and his friends were riding south on Woodley when he suddenly turned across the path of the truck. The station says Ragni, whose given name was Philomene, was a popular student who friends say was always happy, though troubled by the recent death of his mother.

The station also reports he was not wearing a helmet; whether or not that is relevant depends on just what injuries he suffered, and whether or not the collision would have been survivable with one.

And I neglected to include earlier that the driver remained on the scene and was cooperating with investigators; he passed a sobriety test at the scene. He is said to be devastated by what happened.

Adding to the tragedy, KTLA-5 says Ragni died on his little brother’s birthday.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Philo Ragni and his loved ones.  

Philo-Ragni-Ghost-Bike-2

Philo-Ragni-Ghost-Bike-3

 

 

Afternoon Links: Kicking cars off H’wood Blvd, silly season for bike laws, and MyFig now a year behind schedule

Why think small?

Curbed asks what if Hollywood Boulevard was closed to cars all the time, or at least on weekends, rather than just for the Oscars?

But instead of just closing LA’s biggest tourist attraction to cars in front of the massively crowded Hollywood and Highland/Chinese Theatre area, why not close it down for the full length of the Walk of Fame?

It’s already scheduled for a road diet and bike lanes, which would improve safety and increase walkability for the many millions of tourists who stroll the street every year.

Turning it into a pedestrian mall with bike lanes and a trolley or shuttle buses would make it even more attractive to visitors, while increasing property values and giving a huge boost to businesses along the way. Including the dilapidated and increasingly vacant blocks west of Cahuenga.

Virtually all of the businesses on Hollywood rely on foot traffic, rather than customers arriving by cars. And the few that do can be easily serviced by the many cross streets along the way.

So why not cater to them, while eliminating the risk of pedestrians and bicyclist being hit by cars on the street once and for all?

……..

Speaking of the Oscars, no surprise here. Bike rider and environmental advocate Ed Begley Jr. is the first to say he plans to #biketheOscars this Sunday.

Although Megan Lynch and I are still the only ones to use that hashtag.

……..

Clearly, it’s the silly season for state legislatures, as bike laws good and bad come up for consideration.

KPCC’s AirTalk program discusses the proposed law that would require all California bike riders to wear a helmet, as well as requiring reflective hi-viz clothing after dark, while the Bay Area’s KQED holds a similar discussion. And the San Francisco Chronicle says the proposed law is intriguing, but needs work.

Another proposed CA law would require bike riders to have a flashing red tail light after dark; an earlier version of the bill, which called for a flashing white light, is put off as a typo. Note to reporters: Riding a bike in California is not particularly dangerous; while bad things can happen — just as they do with any other form of transportation — the primary reason the state leads the nation in bicycling deaths is because it also leads the nation in population, and possibly in bike riders.

A proposed Virginia law would prohibit highway funds from being used for transit projects, bike lanes or pedestrian trails, ensuring automotive hegemony for years to come.

Then again, it could be worse. Taking bike hate to the next level, a Hawaii lawmaker proposes prohibiting a driver’s insurance company from having to pay for injuries to a bike rider.

……..

Turns out the most sprawling city in the country isn’t.

Which means it should now be easier to ride from the West Valley to the Eastside, right?

……..

South Figueroa gets new lighting, and an extension.

The MyFig project, which had been scheduled to be finished this December, now won’t even begin until next January and be done by the end of 2016.

……..

Local

LA’s Downtown News becomes the latest to endorse CD14 councilmember Jose Huizar for re-election, raising the question WTF is up with the LA Times? Meanwhile, the very active CiclaValley covers the latest forum to replace Tom LaBonge in CD4.

KNBC-4 looks at the planned anti-hit-and-run billboard from Finish the Ride.

Now there’s a real bargain, as West LA’s Bikerowave co-op now offers unlimited wrench time for just $100 a year, and $80 for students.

CicLAvia hosts a community meeting in NoHo tonight to discuss next month’s Valley CicLAvia.

Santa Monica police will conduct another bike safety operation on Friday; as always, watch how you ride because they’ll be writing up law breaking riders, as well as drivers.

Malibu wil hold a public meeting to discuss safety on PCH tomorrow.

No surprise that bike-friendly Long Beach ranks as the nation’s 33rd most physically active city; more surprising that auto-centric LA checked in just three spots later.

 

State

A Washington Post article suggests California should take the lead in requiring carmakers to install collision avoidance systems to protect bike riders and pedestrians.

A Corona boy is back on his bike 18 months after he was mauled by two dogs while riding.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 92-year old Palm Desert man rides his bike 20 miles nearly every morning and is about to the inducted into the Triathlon Hall of Fame; thanks to sponsor Michael Rubenstein for the heads-up.

 

National

A new study shows even moderate exercise — like riding a bike, for instance — can help middle-aged women protect their hearts. Although anyone who calls a woman middle-aged may need to protect more than their heart.

An Oregon driver gets two years in prison and an eight year ban on driving for fleeing the scene after killing a cyclist while texting.

The man in charge of reinventing London bicycling visits Portland; we could use his help down here.

Seattle’s Vision Zero plan calls for reducing speed limits on certain streets to 25 mph in an effort to eliminate traffic deaths by 2030.

A Colorado lawyer says yes, the legal system is broken when it comes to bike riders, but sometimes we’re part of the problem, as well as the solution.

Caught on video: A 92-year old Wisconsin driver smashes into nine — count ‘em, nine — cars in a parking lot. Yet doesn’t get a single ticket.

 

International

AARP writes about the benefits of Open Streets, yet somehow fails to mention the largest and most successful Open Streets event in the US. Or any US event, for that matter.

The unsung star of British track cycling is now a British banker.

Ireland-based Lovely Bicycle looks at what’s normal wear and tear on your bike.

 

Finally…

In today’s edition of the trials and tribulations of our favorite ex-Tour de France winner, Lance pleads guilty to careless driving in Aspen, but gets away with the attempted cover up and possibly a DUI. A new study concludes bike riding may or may not contribute to erectile dysfunction; no, that helps, really.

And this is how you pimp a police bike.

 

Morning Links: Feeding the homeless by bike, a damaged OC Ghost Bike, and the LA Ride 2 Recovery Honor Ride

You can learn a lot on a bike.

It was on a ride through tiny town of St. Martinville, Louisiana, on the edge of the massive Atchafalaya swamp, that I stumbled up a beautiful little church, one of the first built in the state.

And first learned the story of St. Martin de Tours who, as an officer in the Roman army, used his sword to cut his own cloak in two so he could give half to a tattered beggar.

That image has stuck with me ever since, gnawing on the back of my mind as I wonder whether I do enough for others in need.

That’s why I was struck by this first person report from the Eastside’s Aurelio Jose Barrera, who gets up early a few times a week, loads up his bike with donated food, and rides out to feed those in need while the city is still sleeping.

I don’t know if that makes him a saint.

But in my book, it makes him a hero.

……..

I received the following report from an Orange County rider this morning, and thought it was worth sharing.

On Friday night, going southbound on Bolsa Chica, I noticed a length of purple ribbon lying in the gutter. I thought: Is that the purple ribbon from Michael Bastien’s memorial? And on approach, I noticed that the bike was kind of awry. It also looked unchained, but without time to check it out, I was left wondering all weekend. On Sunday morning I investigated, and sure enough… the purple ribbon wrapped around the power pole was drooping and the purple flowers were atilt. I tied a bow as best I could and started tidying up. The flowers in the hollow saddle had been flung to the ground, so I replaced them. The reflector had fallen from its conspicuous perch next to the cross nailed into the pole, and I couldn’t affix it so I just angled it between a spoke & the seat stay so it would catch headlights.

And then I just kind of stared. Because the busted lock and chain are just lying on the sidewalk. Dunno how long they’ve been there, or whether there’d been a theft attempt or what, but the ghost bike’s been unlocked & unmolested for at least the past three days.

Meanwhile, still no action by the DA against Bastien’s killer.

………

HR-Los-Angeles_15-PosterBy now, you’ve probably figured out that I’m a big fan of Ride 2 Recovery, a program that uses bikes to help wounded vets recover and make it all the way back after their service overseas, physically and emotionally.

On March 28th, you’ll have a chance to help out while enjoying some of the most scenic and challenging roads in Southern California when the first ever 103-mile Bear Claw Classic — aka Seven Canyon Climb — rolls through the Santa Monica Mountains.

There will also be a 55-mile route, and a much easier 25-mile Honor Ride Los Angeles, or Cub Route, through Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks.

Sounds like a good ride for a great cause.

………

Local

CiclaValley reports there will be two CicLAvia meetings in the San Fernando Valley tomorrow; motivated riders could make both.

Getting around the Hollywood and Highland area will be a challenge for the next week as they gear up for Sunday’s Oscar celebration — even blocking LA’s one and only Bike Friendly Street.

Speaking of which, will any of the many bike riding celebrities have the courage to ditch their limos and #biketheOscars? With all the street closures, they could have their own mini-CicLAvia.

 

State

A San Diego cyclist is hospitalized after he was hit while allegedly running a red light; as always, the question is whether anyone other than the driver who hit him actually saw him go through it.

San Francisco’s Vision Zero group maps out where you’re most likely to be hit by a car while walking or riding.

Petaluma cyclists are split over the proposed law that would require all bike riders to wear a helmet; so are Sacramento area riders.

 

National

Next City looks at what the last four presidents have done for bicycling, while the Atlantic points out Washington’s birthday used to be celebrated by bike. And Streetsblog offers photographic proof that most of the recent presidents rode, too.

Lance is ordered to repay $10 million of the $12 million he received from a promotions company.

Residents of a low-income Baton Rouge neighborhood will finally get sidewalks along a dangerous street, with a multi-use bikeway on one side. And yes, that street was pretty hair-raising when I lived down there a few decades back.

The hit-and-run epidemic has hit Florida, doubling the number of incidents in Pensacola over the last three years.

Nice. After a 12-year old Florida girl’s bike is badly damaged in a collision, sheriff’s deputies not only ticket the driver, one arranges to get the girl a new bike from Walmart.

 

International

Now that’s more like it. A Brit teenager gets a year in jail for injuring a bike rider by throwing a bottle at him from a moving car. Note to US police: he only pled guilty after his DNA was found on the bottle, proving it is possible to actually investigate assaults against cyclists like you would any other hate crime.

Alberto Contador plans to hang it up after the 2016 season; interesting that so many journalists conveniently forget he was stripped of one of his titles, just like Lloyd and Lance.

In LA, you’re lucky if you can even find a bike rack; in Japan, cyclists get fully automated underground bike storage systems.

 

Finally…

Evidently, DC bike lanes are even a hit with street walkers. A London flashmob cheers on bike commuters as if they were in the Tour de France; not the first time we’ve seen something like that.

And a new kind of steel promises stronger, lighter bike frames, replacing titanium for high-end bikes at a fraction of the cost.

……..

On a personal note, many thanks to C.S. Meszler. Your note made my day.

Morning Links: Gloria Molina wonders where all the poor cars will park, and KFI’s John and Ken go on the attack

It’s going to be a very interesting election year.

While my attention has been focused on the race to replace outgoing councilmember Tom LaBonge in CD4, bike-friendly councilmember Jose Huizar has been fighting for his political future in the face of a challenge from termed-out county commissioner Gloria “Where are we all going to park?” Molina.

That was her response to a recent debate question over development replacing parking lots in Downtown LA — even though DTLA already has more parking spaces per hectare than the downtown of any other major city on earth, according to UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup.

Oh, the poor cars.

While Huizar stood on his record as a champion of complete streets, Molina criticized his support of bike lanes, saying the community hadn’t been adequately consulted. That despite the extensive public meetings held in the multi-year process that lead to the adoption of the city’s 2010 bike plan.

Simply put, if anyone feels they weren’t adequately consulted, it’s because they didn’t care enough to get involved.

Evidently going after the afraid of change demographic, Molina complained about the increased density that has finally brought DTLA back to life after decades of decline. And has previously called for completion of the unneeded and largely unwanted 710 Freeway — which she later recanted after the forum, apparently after realizing most of the voters in the district oppose the project.

In effect, it was a debate over Huizar’s efforts to move forward to a more livable city based on complete streets, and Molina’s desire to turn back the clock to LA’s auto-centric past.

You can probably guess where I stand on the matter.

And yet the Times has inexplicably endorsed Molina; DTLA Rising’s Brigham Yen endorses Huizar.

Molina has also been endorsed by CD1 Council Member Gil Cedillo, singlehandedly responsible for killing the long planned, full funded and much needed road diet on North Figueroa.

Which should be the final nail in Molina’s coffin.

At least it is for me.

So if there’s any doubt, let me make it perfectly clear. Huizar has been one of the most effective members of the city council in recent years. And with the possible exception of Joe Buscaino, has done more to improve the quality of life in his district than any other councilmember.

Which is exactly what his constituents elected him for. And why he has my unqualified support in next month’s election.

Meanwhile, Bike the Vote LA has released a complete slate of endorsements for multiple candidates in races throughout the county.

And yes, Huizar is on the list, along with Nadine Diaz, who is also running in the district.

……..

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton somehow managed to keep his cool when KFI shock jerks — excuse me, jocks — John and Ken repeatedly misrepresented the facts on bicycling and bike advocacy in LA. Then kept interrupting Newton to insist he was lying when he tried in vain to correct them.

You can listen to it here if you have the stomach for it.

Personally, I couldn’t take more than a few minutes; frankly, I have better things to do than listen to that kind of crap.

The problem is too many people don’t. Presumably, they believe the kind of kneejerk anti-bike, auto-centric misinformation — to put it kindly — John and Ken were trying to shove down Newton’s throat.

Joe Linton politely took them to task afterwards for incorrectly insisting that half of the roadway on some unnamed streets in Downtown LA had been given over to bicycles.

Of course, the thing to remember is that John and Ken, and other blowhard TV and radio hosts like them, are entertainers, not journalists.

Their job is to draw listeners and increase ratings for the station. And any controversy, real or imaged, helps do exactly that.

The truth has nothing to do with it.

……..

More reaction to SB 192, the proposed legislation from Glendale State Senator Carol Liu that would make California the first state to require helmets for all bike riders, as well as requiring reflective high visibility clothing after dark.

CiclaValley says the law would place a financial burden onto bikes but only have a trace impact on safety, while Boyonabike says it’s not the bikes, the helmets or the hi-viz, it’s the cars, stupid.

San Francisco’s SFGate says a mandatory helmet law would deflect attention from more pressing road dangers, like all those dangerous streets and drivers.

And the Fresno Bee tries to have it both ways, saying Liu should look at incentives to encourage, rather than requiring, helmet use. But that cyclists need to clean up their act or a helmet law may be necessary, as if being forced to wear a helmet is somehow punishment for bad behavior.

……..

Mark your calendar for May 15th to meet retired Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Robert Friend as part of a fundraiser for Ride 2 Recovery.

If you’re not familiar with them, the Tuskegee Airmen were not only among the greatest heroes of World War II, but paved the way for the Civil Rights Era by proving they were as good, if not better, than anyone else in the air. On either side.

My dad, who fought in both Europe and the Pacific, always wanted to meet one of them so he could thank him for the job they did in the face of incredible racial injustice.

If I get the chance on May 15th, I’m going to do it for him.

……..

Local

Caught on Video: The previously mentioned LA Councilmember Joe Buscaino works with the LACBC to distribute bike lights through Operation Firefly.

Metro’s presentation from the recent Bicycle Roundtable is now available online; CiclaValley offers the condensed version — including coming arrival of Bike Hubs, along with Complete Streets and the long-desired triple bike racks on buses.

Tres shock! Police in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills are filming a bike safety video; a clip posted online shows an impatient driver harassing a cyclist. And no, not to encourage that sort of behavior. I think it was Helen’s Cycles Dan Weinberg who sent that to me; please forgive me if I got that one wrong.

Cycling in the South Bay has a great suggestion on what to do with that unused mountain bike gathering dust in your garage — a bikeless South LA high school mountain bike team needs it if you don’t.

The next Women Bike, Women Lead event sponsored by Multicultural Communities for Mobility will be a ride from Downtown to South LA.

Ride or walk for a great cause, with the 2nd Annual Bike-A-Thon and Hike-A-Thon to raise funds for Bikes4Orphans.

Bust out your woolens, CICLE is hosting their annual Tweed, Moxie and Mustaches Ride on Sunday, March 1st.

 

State

Newport Beach’s popular Back Bay Drive will be closed for resurfacing through the end of the month.

The hit-and-run epidemic has spread to our neighbor to the south, as 23 San Diegans lost their lives to drivers who fled the scene last year. Thanks to sponsor Michael Rubinstein for the heads up.

A San Diego writer says you can save $12,000 a year just by kicking your car to the curb.

Palm Desert cyclists ride to remember handcyclist Rose Peters, who lost her life earlier this year.

If you’re selling a bike, Santa Barbara police say don’t accept a set of keys as security for a test ride.

Unbelievable, or at least I wish it was. An Antioch driver is under arrest for getting out of his vehicle and stabbing a bicyclist in a road rage incident; fortunately, the victim’s injuries were not life-threatening.

A writer for the Modesto Bee says cyclists need a share of the road, and not just in the form of ghost bikes.

 

National

I don’t think this is what Springsteen had in mind when he wrote Blinded by the Light, as a Washington driver plays the universal Get Out Of Jail Free card after running down a bike rider.

Seattle is trading parking spaces for bus and bike lanes. And needless to say, not everyone is happy about it.

A Michigan group wants your help to provide adaptive bikes to special needs kids. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Maybe you recall the case of the asthmatic Chattanooga cyclist who was harassed, nearly run off the road, and pepper sprayed by a group of teenagers in a truck, then threatened with arrest himself after he reported the crime. Now he’s filing suit against the teens and their parents, as well as the local sheriff’s department and the cop who tried to coerce him into dropping the charges.

A Baltimore letter writer says bike riders should share the costs, responsibilities and accountabilities of motorists, conveniently forgetting we’re not the ones in the big dangerous machines that kill people, damage the roadways and harm the environment.

 

International

Yet another way cyclists are vulnerable on the streets, as a Manchester, UK rider is subjected to racist abuse, knocked off his bike and punched in the head as he made his way to work.

Women’s pro cycling continues to gain a foothold in the Grand Tours, with a women’s race scheduled before the final leg of the Vuelta. Although it would be nice if they were given more than a single token race at any given tour.

Syrian women fight to stay on their bikes in the war torn county.

Tasmanian cyclists get the equivalent of a three-foot law on roads with speed limits up 37 mph, increasing to nearly five feet at higher speeds.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: A Brit motorist defends her actions after being caught reading a book while driving. The Desert Sun says the Tour de Palm Springs is not a race, then calls it exactly that in the caption.

And this is so not the way to promote women’s cycling.

 

Morning Links: Glendale legislator wants to mandate helmets and hi-viz; help Finish the Ride fight hit-and-run

Forget riding in regular clothes. Or going out for a quick ride without your helmet.

Or even building a successful bike share program.

All those are likely to be tossed out the window if Glendale State Senator Carol Liu has her way.

Not that she’s anti-bike. In fact, I’m told that she’s a regular supporter of bike initiatives.

But on Wednesday, Liu surprised everyone by introducing a proposed law that would require all bike riders, even those over 18, to wear a bike helmet every time they ride. Along with reflectorized hi-visibility clothing anytime they — that is, you — ride after dark.

And by surprised, I mean blindsided. Even people who regularly work with the senator on bike issues had no idea this bill was in the works.

The reaction was almost instantaneous. And universally negative.

Cyclelicious calls it the “Remove Cyclists From California Roads Law of 2015″ or, alternatively, the “Harass Minorities On Bikes Law of 2015,” both of which have been the result of misguided attempts to impose and enforce helmet laws elsewhere.

Longbeachize cites stats and studies to support the argument that the choice to wear a helmet should remain just that.

And Streetsblog points out it doesn’t address the actual dangers on our streets, like distracted driving and speeding.

Let’s ignore the fact that while requiring bike helmets has been shown to reduce the level of head injuries in other countries, it’s done so by reducing the level of bike riding. Fewer cyclists on the road mean fewer riders getting hurt.

And that helmet laws for riders under 18 in this country have been blamed in part for the dramatic drop-off in bike ridership by America’s youth.

Never mind that Australia’s restrictive helmet law has been blamed for the failure of bike share programs in that country, since no one can legally rent one without donning a helmet.

The simple fact is, bike helmets are not the magic safety devices many people wish they were.

Bike helmets are only designed to provide protection in impacts up to 12.5 mph. In other words, a relatively slow fall off your bike, not a collision with a speeding car.

Yes, they can offer some degree of protection in a wreck. But thinking of them as the bicycle equivalent of a seat belt or air bag is dramatically off base.

And while they can help prevent head trauma, they aren’t designed to prevent concussions. Or to protect against injury to any other part of the body.

Which is something Senator Liu should understand, since her own nephew was wearing a helmet when he was killed, and his girlfriend paralyzed, in a collision with a drunk driver in 2004.

Yes, I always wear a helmet when I ride. But I never count on it to save my life.

A bike helmet should always be seen as a last line of defense if all else fails, not the first. It’s far better to avoid collisions and falls in the first place.

And like the requirement to wear hi-viz after dark, it puts the responsibility for safety on cyclists, rather than on government officials, road planners and yes, drivers to ensure our roads are safe.

Just like those ridiculous flags pedestrians are expected to wave as they cross the street. And in a marked crosswalk, no less.

It leaves it up to us not to get hit, rather than up to drivers not to hit us.

A far better alternative would be to encourage, rather than attempt to force, helmet use allowing bike riders to discount the cost of a helmet on their taxes. And encouraging federal officials to raise the safety standards for bike helmets to do more good in real world situations.

Along with taking steps to educate both cyclists and drivers, and improve out streets to prevent collisions in the first place.

Let’s hope this wannabe law dies a quick and quiet death in the legislature. Before it ends up killing the bike boom we’re currently experiencing.

Thanks to Bill Davidson for the heads-up.

……..

Davidson also points out that other ridiculous proposed bike law, which would have required bikes to have a blinking white tail light after dark has been amended to require a blinking red light instead.

Probably because as originally written, it would have gone against traffic safety regulations for virtually every country around the world, which require white lights in the front and red lights on the rear of virtually every vehicle.

On the other hand, many cyclists are currently breaking the law by using a red tail light, rather than the red reflector our outdated laws currently require.

Bike riders should have the option to use a red light, blinking or steady, in place of a reflector. And to use lights, ankle straps or other means of signaling their presence in place of the wheel and pedal reflectors currently required.

The point should be to maximize visibility and safety.

Not adhere to obsolete regulations that do neither.

……..

Damian Kevitt’s Finish the Ride foundation is preparing to post their first billboards to fight the epidemic of hit-and-run.

But they need your help to raise the funds needed to put them up.

He’s also looking for input on which of the two alternative concepts you prefer. If you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments below and I’ll make sure he sees them.

H&R Billboard 1

H&R Billboard 2

……..

Must read piece by Stephen Corwin on LA’s disastrous addiction to cars, which he compares to cancer. And says driving less won’t fix it.

……..

Good advice from CABO on how to fight a bad bike traffic ticket.

……..

A webinar will be held on Friday, February 27th to discuss how stress level analysis can result in more effective bike network planning.

……..

Local

Flying Pigeon says South Pasadena officials deserve to be sued for blocking LA bike lanes from connecting with their equivalent on the other side of a dangerous bridge.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department recommends registering your bike to keep it from being a target for thieves.

CICLE is looking for Web Developer/SEO Engineer.

Santa Monica’s upcoming bike share program is officially named Breeze. Which will inevitably lead to comments like “Breeze blows” the any time a problem develops.

The monthly Spoke(n) Art Ride rolls this Saturday.

The authors of Where to Bike Los Angeles will host a ride with the LACBC this Sunday to the Pointe Vincente Lighthouse.

Malibu is hosting a public meeting on Thursday to discuss the PCH Public Safety Study. If you ride the notoriously dangerous highway, make plans to be there.

 

State

A Laguna Beach writer says the city has done a lot in response to recent bicycling fatalities, but there’s more to be done. However, sharing a bike lane with pedestrians is never a good idea.

A Riverside cyclist is severely injured in yet another hit-and-run.

Safety is the top priority for this weekend’s Tour de Palm Springs after Lavonne Koester was killed during last year’s ride.

Bike advocates say San Francisco isn’t doing enough to fulfill its commitment to Vision Zero. On the other hand, they’re doing more than LA is.

Bike racks sprout in downtown Merced.

 

National

CityLab takes an in-depth look at road rage, and says the solution may lie in better street design and road planning. Meanwhile a Seattle writer says middle fingers won’t solve anything.

An Arizona hit-and-run driver admits to smoking dope on a daily basis, but blames his eight-year old victim anyway.

My hometown newspaper concludes their devastating look at a local hit-and-run by asking if justice was done. Also a must read.

A Pennsylvania man rides his bike every day. And has for 32 years.

Now that’s more like it. A severely drunk Louisiana driver faces up to 30 year in prison for killing one cyclist and severely injuring another; the driver’s BAC was nearly four times the legal limit.

 

International

Today is International Winter Bike to Work Day. Which should be very easy to do here in LA.

Just in time for Valentines Day, Vancouver gets heart-shaped bike racks. Then again, so does London.

After a Canadian bike rider is seriously injured in a collision, he gets a $6,000 bill from the driver’s insurance company for damage to the SUV that laid him up for three months.

Twitter helps a London cyclist get his bike back four months after it was stolen and taken to Spain, while another Brit can’t seem to get rid of one.

Plans for that London bike superhighway hits a snag when British officials decide they don’t want bike lanes besmirching Buckingham Palace. But all those traffic lanes in front of the palace are perfectly okay.

Evidently, it’s a universal problem. After Egypt installs bike lanes, they turn into parking lots.

An Aussie website compares underground bike racing to the Fast & Furious, and uses LA’s bike scene as the prime example.

 

Finally…

You’re not a MAMIL, you’re a grown man on bike. A Montana lawmaker’s proposed legislation would ban yoga pants, among other “provocative” garments, in response to Missoula’s equivalent of the World Naked Bike Ride is appropriately laughed out of committee.

And when you buy this $52,000 bike basket they’ll throw in the bike for free.

 

Morning Links: LA finally gets tough on hit-and-run, Calimesa driver convicted in fatal DUI hit-and-run

Now that’s more like it.

After years of rampant, unsolved hit-and-runs that have made this the City of Fallen Angels, Los Angeles is finally getting tough on fleeing drivers.

Streetsblog reports LA will establish its own Amber Alert-style emergency notification system after Governor Brown vetoed a similar statewide system last year. Alerts will be sent out on social media, including Facebook and Twitter, to warn the public to be on the lookout for drivers responsible for serious hit-and-runs.

In addition, the city is establishing a standing reward for information leading to the conviction of runaway drivers, ranging from $1,000 for a collision resulting in property damage with no injuries, up to $50,000 for fatal collisions.

It won’t remove the incentive to flee.

But maybe if more drivers are convicted of the crime, others may think twice about flooring it following a wreck.

……..

William Donald Johnson has been convicted in the allegedly booze and drug-fueled hit-and-run death of cyclist Phillip Richards in Calimesa at the end of 2013. He reportedly fled the scene after crossing the center line to hit Richards head-on.

Johnson faces up to 15 well-deserved years in prison.

……..

Local

The next Bicycle Roundtable is scheduled for 6:30 pm this Thursday at Metro headquarters. The agenda includes updates on bike share, bike platform symbols and complete streets policy; the latter earned them national recognition for last year’s efforts.

A USC student was hit by a car while she was riding in a marked intersection near campus, while those darn cops refuse to play fair, hiding behind cars and trees to catch law-breaking Trojans.

Ciclavalley examines the Forest Lawn Death Trap as part of a series on the worst bike lanes in Los Angeles. Which sadly seems to be a much longer list than the best ones.

South Pasadena’s Monterey Road may be up for a road diet.

 

State

San Diego finally hit the on switch for its long-delayed bike share system.

A salmon cyclist suffers two broken wrists in Brea collision when she’s hit by a car pulling out of a parking lot; drivers seldom look for anyone coming against traffic.

Participation will be off at this weekend’s Tour de Palm Springs due to a lack of available hotel rooms, while riders taking part in the tour may have to wait for the presidential motorcade to pass.

A Texas man and his dog bike from Main to Monterey the long way.

 

National

An Anchorage man averaged a speedy six mph on a 225 mile fat bike race along the frozen Iditarod trail.

Someone is removing ghost bikes from the streets of Houston. But at least the city is getting green lanes downtown.

Only 18 bicyclists have been injured using Chicago’s bike share system since it was introduced 2-1/2 years and 3.2 million rides ago. Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s successful bike share is expanding into neighboring Kentucky.

The seemingly endless battle of bikeways versus parking rears its ugly head once again, this time from St. Paul business owners. Because only motorists could conceivably spend money, not bike riders. Right?

Wisconsin’s conservative governor takes aim at funding for bike and pedestrian projects.

Stickers saying “I parked in a bike lane” are called too passive aggressive for New Yorkers, who are more likely to simply bash a windshield with a U-lock according to one Gotham cyclist.

How to ride a Mississippi roundabout.

A road raging West Palm Beach driver intentionally crashes into a bike rider, then gets out and punches him, apparently just for being in his way.

An Orlando writer discovers biking to work is more fun than driving, though a DC writer might disagree after giving up biking to work following a solo crash he can’t remember.

 

International

A look at the history of bicycling superhighways, both real and vaporware, starting with the elevated bikeway that eventually became LA’s first freeway. Meanwhile, City Lab criticizes all those farfetched plans to remove bikes from the streets, because it’s not the bikes that are the problem.

Safety fears keep British kids from bicycling.

London cyclists stage another massive die-in to call for safety.

Talk about distracted driving. A Scottish driver is photographed using headphones, a mobile phone and a laptop computer while he drove, all at the same time.

Greg LeMond handicaps this year’s Tour de France, saying Froome is the favorite but don’t Quintana count out. And says cycling needed Lance to crash and burn.

A cold-hearted Aussie woman actually bragged to family and friends about fleeing the scene after hitting a bike rider, leaving him to die of hypothermia in a ditch.

Caught on video: riding on top of a car may be taking sharing an Australian road just a tad too far.

 

Finally…

You might have to wait awhile to print your own bike, at least if you actually want to ride it.

And Walmart’s newest bicycle shaped objects are assembled in the US from foreign-made parts, while Scottish kilts come from Long Beach, courtesy of a cyclist who evidently wanted to air things out after a hard ride.

 

Bike share unexpectedly opens in DTLA

All photos by Patrick Pascal

All photos by Patrick Pascal

But maybe not the way we expected.

LACBC board member Patrick Pascal sends word of what may be the city’s first real bike share system, which opened recently in Downtown LA.

No, not the Live Nation system promised by then-Mayor Villaraigosa what seems like ages ago.

And no, not the one promised by LA Metro, which is supposed to open sometime in 2016, even though a vendor hasn’t been selected yet. And even though it may or may not be compatible with the upcoming system opening soon in Santa Monica.

515-S-Flower-Bikes-3This one offers a single location, inside the office tower at 515 S. Flower. And membership is limited to the bankers, lawyers and other professionals who work within.

According to the sign inside, they just need to present their security badge to check out a bike, complete with optional helmet, for a free three hour ride through the city.

I don’t know about the men and women who work there, but I can go a long way in three hours.

Although presumably, the bikes will be used mostly to run errands, run out to a quick meeting or go to lunch in the immediate area.

But whatever they’re used for, it’s nice to see the building’s operators step up and provide a useful service for its tenants, without contributing to Downtown traffic.

Maybe some other businesses will follow suit.

And maybe, just maybe, we’ll actually see a public bike share open up one of these days.

Because it’s damn hard to ride promises.

515-S-Flower-bikes-2

 

Morning Links: Waking the sleeping giant in LA and Pasadena, and a gut-wrenching Colorado hit-and-run

Lots of news leading up to next month’s elections.

LA’s Bike the Vote reviews Thursday’s Livable Streets forum for candidates running to replace termed-out Tom LaBonge, while Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers his detailed analysis, along with sound recordings of the event.

My take on night was that Tomas O’Grady and LaBonge staffers Sheia Irani and Carolyn Ramsey stood head and shoulders above the rest, although Mexico City native Fred Mariscal got the biggest applause of the night for insisting LA has to move past its overdependence on cars.

On the other hand, I had major concerns about the ability of the two LaBonge staffers to step out of the shadow of their bike-friendly-in-name-only boss to actually support bicycling and other non-automotive transportation the way they promised.

But in talking to them afterwards, both seemed sincere in wanting to improve safety and make room for bikes on our streets. And while I disagreed with Ramsay on a few points, I came away convinced she would actually listen to bicyclists and be willing to change her mind if presented with compelling arguments, unlike the man she’s running to replace.

Then again, Gil Cedillo made some pretty good promises, too.

But all eight candidates deserve a degree of support for simply showing up, unlike the other six who apparently had better things to do that night.

Meanwhile, Orange 20’s Richard Risemberg seems sold on O’Grady, while the Daily News splits their endorsement between O’Grady and Teddy Davis, who was one of those who didn’t bother to show up on Thursday.

……..

The LACBC offers great information on how to bike the vote, including responses to candidate questionnaires for council district 4, as well as district 14, where termed-out County Supervisor Gloria Molina is challenging incumbent Jose Huizar, one of the best friends bike riders have had on the city council in recent years.

Personally, I won’t vote for anyone who doesn’t complete the LACBC’s questionnaire. And I hope you’ll base your vote on their responses, as well.

……..

The candidates in CD 14 talk housing costs and basic services in Boyle Heights. And several candidates, including Molina, O’Grady, Irani and — apparently grudgingly — Ramsey, pledge to take a pay cut if they get elected.

It should be noted that LA city councilmembers receive the highest pay of any large city in the US. Which is one reason the office seems so attractive to politicians who have been termed out of other seats.

……..

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition has posted audio of the complete streets portion of a recent mayoral candidate forum for their city, as well as responses to their own candidate questionnaire.

……..

Why does all this matter?

Because bike riders remain, potentially, one of the largest voting blocks in the City and County of Los Angeles, capable of swaying elections to ensure safe streets for all of us.

But only potentially, until we finally manage to wake the sleeping giant.

……..

My hometown newspaper offers a gut-wrenching look at the effects a violent left cross and hit-and-run had on a triathlete and father; an exceptionally well written piece almost guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye. Or at least, it did mine.

On Monday, they follow-up with a story asking if justice was served.

That would be a no.

Hell no.

……..

Local

Confirmation that LA Times automotive writer Jerry Hirsch is one of us. I can personally attest he’s one of the good guys.

A Lakewood bike rider saves the life of a newborn baby who had been abandoned by her mother, scooping up the infant and racing to a nearby fire station. She can be grateful her rescuer wasn’t in a car, or he might not have heard her cries. Thanks to Margaret Wehbi for the heads-up.

 

State

UC San Diego is building a new Class 1 bike path on campus.

A non-cyclist rides the bike lanes of Redlands.

 

National

The bike that Seattle Seahawk Michael Bennett commandeered from the local police to celebrate winning the NFC championship raises $10,000 for charity.

A Michigan bike rider survives a head-on collision with a truck in France to come back and rescue the medical company he built.

A good Samaritan who helped a Florida woman after she fell off her three-wheeled bike ends up stealing it.

 

International

Drawing a thread through today’s news, a proposed mandatory helmet law draws mixed reviews in Saskatchewan; The Netherlands is unlikely to require bike helmets for the young and elderly despite the recommendations of a recent report, and a New Zealand writer says those irritating cyclists need to get over themselves and wear one, already.

The Economist says London is slowly becoming a better place for bicyclists.

Australia’s Rohan Dennis becomes the third cyclist in the last few months to break the previously long-standing hour record, as Bradley Wiggins waits in the wings.

Thai authorities are building bike lanes to accommodate a bicycling boom in Chiang Mai.

 

Finally…

A 13-year old paracyclist sets a new world record for the second time, but it won’t count because doping authorities failed to show up. And a cake, ale and cigarette-loving plump Paddy — his word, not mine — rebels against hectoring from “broccoli-loving cycling fascists.”

Actually, I’m more of a spinach guy, myself.

 

%d bloggers like this: