Tag Archive for Ballona Creek bike path

Junior SoCal cyclist gets funded for Glasgow, petition for Ballona Creek police patrols, and major linkage

Looks like I’m a little late with this one.

Seventeen year old SoCal cyclist and Olympic hopeful Tara McCormick qualified for the World Junior Championships in Glasgow, Scotland starting this Sunday, after she or her team won three events at the Junior Nationals.

But to make the trip, she needed to raise $2,000 for travel costs.

At last count, she’d raised a little over $2,400, so it looks like the trip is on. But I’m sure no one would mind if you wanted to contribute a little more.

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A new petition calls on Culver City to assign regular police patrols to the Ballona Creek bike path in light of recent attacks on bike riders. I’ve already signed it; hopefully you will, too.

Now we just need to ask for patrols in the LA City and County sections of the bikeway, as well.

And even if you don’t live there, you’re encouraged to sign this petition to increase penalties for vulnerable road users in Florida, still the nation’s most dangerous state for cyclists and pedestrians.

After all, you may find yourself riding there someday.

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Shockingly, LA doesn’t make the list of the nation’s top 10 bike commuting cities; yes, that’s sarcasm. But we are leading the way in new car-lite households. Revised designs for the Spring Street green bike lanes have received state approval. The Bird Wheel offers an in-depth look at last week’s city council hit-and-run hearing. A simple crosswalk could make a dangerous LA bridge safer. What LA can learn from Minneapolis about bike planning. Free bike traffic skills classes continue throughout the LA area. KNBC-4 catches a bike thief in action, and offers tips on how to thwart them. Youth perspectives on walking, biking and riding Metro; speaking of which, Metro unveils their new Safe Routes to School site. The LACBC’s monthly Sunday Funday ride tours Lakewood this weekend. Galco’s John Nese breaks the heart of a bike rider who just wants to do business with his store, while the Boulevard Sentinel resorts to PowerPoint to fight bike lanes on North Fig. BikeSGV invites you to their 2013 Awards celebration, aka a good time for a good cause. I’ve found lots of things in 30-some years of riding; thankfully, body parts haven’t been among them and I’d like to keep it that way.

Assuming it clears the legislature — and our anti-bike governor doesn’t veto it — state bike funding could increase by over a third. CicLAvia-style events spread throughout California, with up to 20 scheduled by 2017. San Diego joins LA as a member of NACTO. Santa Barbara police plan a crackdown on an annual cruiser bike run; seriously dudes, they’re cruiser bikes. Learn the basics for group rides before you join in. San Francisco police take to Twitter to fight bike theft.

Great article from a bike cop on how police should enforce bike laws; hint, it’s not the way most of them are currently doing it. Turns out even motorists prefer separated bike lanes. Protected bike lanes are finally coming to North America, while Mashable asks if you’d commute on a bike superhighway; depends on how well designed and implanted it is, mais non? The intersection of bikes and fashion in the pages of Vogue. A Seattle driver rams a pedestrian who told her to hang up and drive; Bike Portland offers advice on how to handle the situation. The silly season is in full force, as Wisconsin Republicans recoil from the horror of roundabouts, while the Missouri GOP is pushing a meaningless ban on Agenda 21. Actually, you’re not paranoid — Kentucky Senator Rand Paul really is out to get your bike funding. Lovely Bicycle is very attractive to bees; tell her I can relate. Bikeyface humorously calls for better bike racks. Sadly, Serrota bicycles will soon be no more, though the founder promises to come back. Looks like the New York Jets’ Kellen Winslow is one of us, as he rides his Specialized bike to practice. Following their founder’s twin heart attacks, Brooklyn Bike Patrol is back to escorting pedestrians safely to their destinations. Some rich Brooklyn neighborhoods hate bike lanes; most poorer ones don’t. It’s time for Miami police and motorists to respect bike riders; seems like that’s asking a lot under current circumstances, given the state’s serial killer status when it comes to cyclists.

A surprisingly rational look at new bike lanes from across the northern border. Builders are keeping bicyclists in mind, except in Vancouver, evidently, where building operators ticket a cyclist for actually using their bike racks, for fear of besmirching their “professional image;” so much for being a green building. Riding a bicycle in normal clothes should not be an act of rebellion. New study shows Oslo cyclists like bi-directional bike lanes, Oslo drivers not so much. Pro cycling prodigy Taylor Phinney gets his first stage win in the Tour of Poland with a bold solo breakaway; raise your hand if you knew there was a Tour of Poland. Admitted doper Jan Ullrich says Lance should get his titles back. A road raging pedestrian shoots a bike share cyclist in Paris. Bike riders explore Russian history on a nighttime Moscow ride. Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, evidently to get the Palestinian city’s first cycle track installed. Cycling could be Africa’s next big sport. Aussie cyclists are told to chill out and enjoy their ridiculously low 6.21 mph speed limit; yes, I did the math for you, and you’re welcome. This is big news, as the Australia government does the math, and determines every bike commute saves society $21; someone please tell that to Rand Paul and the anti-Agenda 21 folks.

Finally, teen girls everywhere are breathing easier, as the Bieb is cleared of hit-and-run charges. But now you can tell him what you really think just before he runs you down on your new twin-framed fixie in his chrome Fisker.

On the other hand, Cycling in the South Bay says some drivers are going to hate you no matter what you do.

Ignoring road rage in Santa Rosa, San Diego cyclists targeted, and LAPD accused of beating bike rider

Talk about the charges not fitting the crime.

A Santa Rosa driver identified as 22-year old Matthew Dewayne Hamilton is under arrest on a felony hit-and-run charge for what police describe as an accidental collision stemming from a roadway dispute.

According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Hamilton barely missed hitting a cyclist, who responded by yelling at him. So Hamilton backed up to continue the argument, colliding with the rider in the process.

Right.

It evidently wasn’t assault with a deadly weapon from their windshield perspective, even though the rider, who has not been publicly identified, suffered several broken bones, as well as internal injuries. And even though they themselves describe it as a road rage incident, police insist the driver just wanted to chat, if angrily.

Of course.

Then, realizing his error after plowing into the rider with enough force to cause significant injuries, Hamilton stomped on the gas and fled the scene, abandoning his car nearby. He was arrested while walking through the area.

You know, just another hit-and-run. Not a violent criminal fleeing the scene of his rage-fueled attack.

It’s all in how you look at it, evidently.

Then again, according to the police report, it was the car that was in control of Hamilton at the time of the collision, rather than the other way around.

Thanks to @murphstahoe for the heads-up.

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San Diego cyclists are being targeted by jerks with a pellet gun.

The city’s 10News says police are investigating confirmed attacks in the La Jolla and Mount Soledad areas, as well as possible attacks in the Fiesta Island and Torrey Pines areas.

One woman suffered serious road rash when a pellet penetrated her shoulder and knocked her off her bike.

Police are looking for three men in a black sedan on possible felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

At least San Diego police get the charges right. Although I might argue for a domestic terrorism count.

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San Diego police are also looking for tips in last year’s shooting death of 19-year old bike rider Joseph Hutchins in the City Heights neighborhood. Hutchins was killed the day after his 19th birthday.

A successful tip could earn a reward of up to $1000.

Yeah, that’ll motivate someone.

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A Los Angeles man claims police beat the crap out of him for riding without lights.

According to KCBS-2/KCAL-9, Brian Cisneros was riding to work at the Ralphs market in Marina del Rey last Friday when he was stopped by two LAPD officers at the intersection of Ida and Redwood Avenues.

According to Cisneros, the officers exited their car with guns drawn and attacked him in a brutal assault that included choking, stomping and throwing him onto the hood of their car, despite his lack of resistance.

Then left him there with a ticket for not having lights while riding after dark.

Clearly, something violent happened.

Cisneros, who says he thought he was going to die, was treated for a dislocated shoulder and a fractured elbow, among other injuries. And looks like someone who took a serious beating in the photos that accompany the report.

But something tells me there’s more to the story.

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Manhattan Beach Patch offers the most detailed report yet on Manhattan Beach school board member Bill Fournell, the bike rider violently assaulted in an apparent attempt to steal his bike on the Ballona Creek bike path on July 19th.

The attack took place around 6 pm, one of the busiest periods on the pathway, as bike commuters use it as a virtual bike freeway connecting Culver City with the coast.

Fournell suffered a broken collarbone, broken ribs and punctured lungs, requiring a five-day stay in the hospital, after one of the assailants threw a bike at his front wheel, then struggled with him for possession of his Litespeed bike.

And Patch finally gives us a location for the attack, saying he was assaulted by three juveniles on the bikeway between the Higuera and Dusquesne bridges.

As others have pointed out, the east end of the bike path is far less used than the western sections. Anytime you ride in a secluded area, out of view of the public or other riders, you need to be alert to your surroundings and any possible risks.

Although three kids with a bicycle on a bike path wouldn’t necessarily look threatening or out of place.

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The LACBC reports the bike plan currently under development by the City of Carson has been watered down in the face of pushback from a pair of large local businesses.

The city’s Watson Land Company has argued that putting bike lanes next to the traffic lanes used by heavy trucks would increase the danger to bike riders.

Maybe someone should tell them that their self-proclaimed commitment to sustainability and philanthropy should extend to our streets.

Never mind that anyone wanting to ride through the city under current conditions already has to share those traffic lanes with those same trucks. And that the studies I’ve seen say bike lanes improve safety for everyone on the road.

Speaking for myself, I’d much rather ride beside a massive truck than in the lane in front of one.

No, far better to maintain the conditions that have already resulted in the death of a bike rider earlier this summer.

At least I can understand, if not accept, where they’re coming from in their desire to maintain the heavy truck hegemony over Carson’s streets.

Far harder to understand is the opposition from the StubHub (nee Home Depot) Center, home to the region’s leading velodrome. You’d think that an athletic center that features indoor bicycling events — including the upcoming USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships — would appreciate the desire of outdoor bicyclists to get there without getting killed.

But evidently, it’s inconceivable to them that bike racing fans, or their other patrons, might actually want to ride a bike there. Or maybe they just want to ensure that people continue drive to maintain that parking revenue.

The LACBC asks you to take action to preserve the Carson bike plan.

Take Action: Tell Carson City Council to preserve the Master Plan of Bikeways’ original intent of having a cycle-track on Albertoni and University, and preserving the proposed bike lanes on Avalon, Watson Center Road, and Wilmington.

If you cannot make the meeting on August 6 at 6 p.m., please call Mayor Dear at 310-952-1700 ext 1000 and email the rest of council at:

jdear@carson.ca.us
myfrancisone@yahoo.comail
lholmes@carson.ca.us
mgipson@carson.ca.us
arobles@carson.ca.us

I’d suggest taking it a step further.

And let the StubHub Center know it’s not acceptable for a bicycling venue to needlessly risk the lives of their bike riding patrons.

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Finally, Apple has evidently decided that American drivers aren’t distracted enough, and wants to incorporate iPhone functions — including texting and email — into car dashboards by the end of this year.

Which means you may be able to thank Steve Job’s successors for the distracted driver who runs you off the road next year.

If you’re still capable of thanking anyone.

Catching up on the latest news: LA tackles hit-and-run, more on Ballona Creek, off-base bike joke

It looks like City Council is finally taking LA’s hit-and-run epidemic seriously, including dropping use of the term accident to describe what is clearly a crime.

About time.

Most of the changes, such as increasing penalties for hit-and-run, revoking drivers licenses and seizing vehicles of drivers who flee collisions will have to be made on the state level.

But they’ll have a much better chance of succeeding with the backing of the state’s largest city.

Meanwhile, the city council can charge the LAPD with reprioritizing the crime and improving tracking so we know just how serious the problem really is.

Note to the LA Weekly. Seriously, we appreciate you calling attention to the problem of hit-and-run. But you didn’t discover it, and certainly weren’t the first to write about it. Try not to sprain anything patting yourself on the back.

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More information on the recent attack on a cyclist on the Ballona Creek bike path mentioned here last week.

Turns out the victim was a Manhattan Beach school board member commuting home from his job on Mid-Wilshire; still no exact location where the attack occurred other than Culver City.

Writing for Orange 20 Bikes, Rick Risemberg says the solution is more and better coordinated police patrols, with checks and balances.

Thanks to Paiwei Wei for the link.

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Scotland asks all road users to just be nice and get along; holding hands in a circle and singing Kumbaya is apparently optional. The organization behind it calls the campaign groundbreaking and the first of it’s kind.

Actually, similar “Be Nice” campaigns have been tried all over the world to limited success; local riders don’t seem too impressed.

Even if it does offer an opportunity to show some cute kittens.

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Then there’s this from comedian Neal Brennan:

“Bicycle helmets save lives. Because if you wear one, women will never have sex with you, so you’ll never get AIDS.”

Yeah, hilarious.

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Some jackass — which is the mildest term I can use under the circumstances — took down the Midnight Ridazz website over the weekend; you can help get it back online. Raising funds for Streetsblog’s new Santa Monica edition, Santa Monica Next. Speaking of which, Streetsblog will host a Google Hangout / YouTube discussion of bicycling this Wednesday at 5 pm. How to request repairs for LA City bike paths. No shortage of Hollywood films are coming out about cycling’s fallen seven-time hero. Temple City will remake Las Tunas Drive to de-emphasize cars and make it more attractive for bike riders and pedestrians. Pomona Valley Bikes hosts an all ages ride around Pomona this Saturday.

California’s third attempt at a three-foot passing law is still working it’s way through the state Senate; unfortunately, the clause allowing drivers to safely cross the center line to pass cyclists has been removed. If bike racks aren’t being used, they’re probably in the wrong place. Riverside considers a CicLAvia of their very own. The Press-Enterprise cites the right part of the state vehicle code to describe a bicycle, and still gets it wrong. Huntington Beach bike shop employee describes a chaotic night of fending off Surf City rioters. Eighteen-year old Dublin CA driver charged with killing one cyclist and seriously injuring her husband after losing control at 83 mph; his father was arrested on weapons charges after police searched for evidence in the collision. A look at the artist behind Sacramento’s new bike racks. Looks like the recent rash of bike path robberies has spread to Chico; or maybe it started there.

Evidently, traffic violations are a gateway crime. Seattle city council member suffers a broken shoulder blade when his bike is hit by a careless driver. US Pro Challenge bike art at Denver’s DIA. Not surprisingly, the way to get bike riders to obey traffic signals is to make them bike signals. This isn’t the first time bikes have been fashionable in New York. The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay gets a bike lane in front of his own house. A teenage Brooklyn bike rider is busted twice by the same cop, evidently just for the hell of it. Advancing the technology in the battle to be seen; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up. Bikeyface looks at bike racks that don’t fit, or don’t even exist. Washington’s MLS soccer team will host a bike night this weekend; has any LA sports team ever done that? Looks like anti-bike KY Senator Rand Paul has failed in his latest attempt to strip Federal bike funding.

Ontario doctors say cycling is a necessary part of the cure for the Canadian city’s commuting problem. A London borough proposes to be as bike-friendly as Holland, including a floating bikeway on the Thames. From the country that gave us WAGS comes the latest spat from British cycling’s significant others. Should Britain get a mandatory helmet law? A helmet probably wouldn’t have helped this Brit rider avoid a 16” branch through the throat; on second thought, maybe you don’t want to see that. By now, it should be clear that virtually every pro cyclist doped in the 90s and 00s, as Eric Zabel is the latest to ‘fess up after retiring. A passing Kiwi driver helps save a cyclist who’d been dragged under a truck. How to deal with road raging Aussie drivers.

Finally, the director of the Tour de France calls adding a women’s Tour impossible, which apparently is French for we don’t want to. But at least women will get a five-day Tour of Britain next year.

And if women’s pro cycling is going to succeed, podium girls need to get the boot.

Update: Bike rider mugged on Ballona Creek bike path; Redlands driver attempts to run down cyclists

Are the Ballona badlands back?

In a crime reminiscent of the bad old days of five years ago, when bike riders were attacked in two separate assaults on the Ballona Creek Bike Path, a cyclist was mugged on the popular bikeway Friday evening.

According to a comment from Mark Neumann, a friend of his was assaulted by three men in an attempt to steal his bike.

On Friday night about 6 pm while riding home from work, a friend of mine got assaulted on his bike riding the Ballona Creek bike path in Culver City on Friday. His words: “He threw his bike into my front wheel as I was about to pass him going about 20 mph. So that dumped me straight onto my shoulder and ribs. I hopped up and the guy was starting to pull my bike away. I told him no and grabbed it back. Wasn’t thinking straight with all the adrenaline cause he pulled it back and started reaching in his pocket. But then he let go and ran off. That’s when I started to feel the injuries and that I couldn’t breathe from the ribs and punctured lung. Feeling better today but the ribs hurt like a mother. Hope to get the chest tube out tomorrow and then get home.” Three guys caused him to crash and tried to steal his bike. He has 5 broken ribs, a broken clavicle, collapsed lung and some good road rash. He is doing well at UCLA but in lots of pain and unable to move.  Be careful on this path.

Unfortunately, things like this are nothing new.

And not restricted to the Ballona bikeway.

An August, 1990 article in the LA Times reports that the Automobile Club of Southern California had warned its bike riding members to avoid Ballona Creek due to dangerous conditions there — a risk made evident when a rider was shot to death on the bike path near Marina del Rey that July.

And it was just two years ago that riders were attacked in at least four separate incidents on the Greenway Trail in Wittier, including a woman who was severely beaten before her attackers ran off without taking anything. Or, thankfully, doing anything other than beating the crap out of her.

It’s a fear that leads many riders, especially women, to avoid off-road bikeways, particularly after dark or when other riders aren’t likely to be present. And may have contributed to the hit-and-run death of Erin Galligan in Santa Monica last year, as she chose to ride through a dangerous construction area on PCH rather than take her chances on the dark, secluded beachfront bike path just a few feet away.

It’s not that bike paths are inherently dangerous. It’s the fact that assaults like this are relatively rare that makes them so shocking.

But it’s an inherent problem with virtually any off-road pathway that while they offer protection from motor vehicles, large sections of the paths are likely to be out of public view and rarely, if ever, patrolled by the police, providing a secluded location for anyone with evil intent.

In fact, in the 2008 assaults, it became clear that the LAPD didn’t even know there was a Ballona Creek bike path, let alone where it was. A problem compounded by the three separate police agencies — LAPD, Culver City PD and LA Sheriff’s Department — responsible for various sections of the bikeway.

None of whom I have ever seen patrol the pathway while riding there myself.

That lack of police protection means it’s up to you keep an eye out for dangerous situations and people or circumstances that just don’t look right. Just as it would be if you were walking or riding through a secluded alley or parking garage, or any other place where an assault could be hidden from public view.

Though how you avoid someone throwing a bike at you is beyond me.

Update: Neumann forwards another report from a friend showing the long history of violence on the bikeway, this one dating back more than 20 years.

Flashback to: Wed Nov 27, 1991 Ballona Creek bike path. Back then there was no fence between the projects and the bike path. I was attacked by a gang while riding home from my office in Beverly Hills. They pulled me off the bike. One of them cold cocked me. I took off running. They caught me. Struck me on the side of the head (with a bike helmet on – no less) with either a gun or a pipe. While on the ground that night I thoroughly believed it was going to be my last day on this planet. But, they grabbed my backpack and ran away. (They got my wallet and a Rolex.) I was in shock. I had a fractured zygomatic (temple) arch. They never caught the culprits. My doctor failed to diagnose my fracture. It healed broken. I had to have corrective surgery which resulted in an infection/abscess. More surgery. A week in Torrance Memorial on 24 hour IV antibiotics. Lost 20 pounds. Necrosis to my jaw bone. Followed up with corrective surgery and bone removal. I have permanent limited opening of my jaw. I never thought anything could rattle me but I could not walk down a street without looking over my shoulder for over a year. I refused to ride that stretch of Ballona Creek for over 15 years. I will only ride it now if I am with others. A couple of weeks after I was assaulted a guy was shot and killed on his bike in the same stretch. I knew him. He worked at that corner mini-mart up from the MB Pier (where Skechers is now). Anyhow, I hope your friend is OK. Truly.

Update 2: The victim of the assault has been identified as Manhattan Beach school board member Bill Fournell; he was released from the hospital after five days with a broken collarbone, broken ribs and punctured lungs. 

Manhattan Beach Patch places the assault at around 6 pm on July 19th, between the Higuera and Dusquesne bridges.

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Maybe they really are out to get us.

According to multiple reports, a Redlands man is under arrest for deliberately aiming his car at number of bike riders in a string of attacks this past weekend.

Redlands police arrested 26-year old John McDonald on charges of assault with a deadly weapon after he repeatedly attempted to ram bicyclists along Sunset Drive with his Honda Civic. In at least one case, he swerved across the roadway in an effort to hit a cyclist riding in the opposite direction, forcing the rider off the road.

More frightening, police responded to similar calls throughout the weekend, including two on Sunday, suggesting that the attacks continued over at least a two-day period.

Under the circumstances, it seems like a miracle that no one was seriously injured.

Or worse.

And yet, when they finally did arrest him, McDonald was held on just a $50,000 bond. I guess trying to kill someone with your car isn’t considered all that serious unless you succeed.

Anyone with information is urged to call Redlands police at (909) 798-7681.

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Finally, police are looking for the hit-and-run driver who plowed into a group of cyclists at the monthly San Jose Bike Party, injuring two riders and leaving one with a broken hip and skull.

Clearly, hit-and-runs are not just an LA problem.

They seem to occur with frequency wherever motor vehicles come in contact with soft and breakable flesh.

Big news in the local bike world that has nothing to do with stripping a certain cyclist of his titles

For once, cycling is the top news story around the world.

But not for reasons any of us would have wanted.

So before we get to the sad tale of yet another former Tour de France winner, let’s catch up on some bicycling announcements that have made their way to my inbox over the last few days.

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First up is what sounds like a very fun afternoon at Golden Road Brewing. And a chance to work on those 16 ounce curls in preparation for next month’s Tour de Fat.

The Pub at Golden Road Brewing is pulling out all the stops for Rider Appreciation Day on Sunday, August 26th – a finish line of sorts for their week-long celebration of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge with New Belgium Brewery. Cycling enthusiasts are invited to swing by The Pub, park their wheels at the complementary bike valet and grab a pint of Golden Road or New Belgium beer to watch the last leg of the race from 11:00am to 1:00pm. The first 100 riders to show up will receive New Belgium bike bells, and a New Belgium Fat Tire beach cruiser will be raffled off at the conclusion of the race.

Raffle tickets will be sold for $5, the proceeds of which will benefit the Bicycle Kitchen. A donation bin for spare bike parts for Bicycle Kitchen will be on site as well, with each spare part donated resulting in a free raffle ticket.

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Culver City announces that a section of the Ballona Creek bike path will be closed for maintenance next week.

We want to advise you that the Ballona Creek Bike Path will be closed starting Monday, August 27 through Friday, August 31 from 7 AM to 4 PM between the National Boulevard and Overland Avenue entrances. During this temporary closure, maintenance will be conducted including: tree trimming, graffiti removal, concrete repair, and the addition of trail markings using thermoplastic. Signage will be posted at the Overland, Duquesne and National entrances to alert path users about this closure.

Meanwhile, the L.A. River bike path will be closed for maintenance next week as well, from PCH to Anaheim Street.

The Los Angeles County Flood Control District will be performing environmental clean-up activities adjacent to the Los Angeles River Bike Path between Pacific Coast Highway and Ocean Boulevard from August 27 to September 7.

The Bike Path from Pacific Coast Highway to Anaheim Street will be closed from approximately 8 AM to 3 PM weekdays beginning August 27 and lasting until approximately August 31.  Riders will be detoured onto San Francisco Avenue, one block east of the path.

From Anaheim Street to Ocean Boulevard there will be intermittent delays due to these activities.

For information contact Mr. Dan Sharp, Flood Maintenance Division at (562) 861-0316 or visit http://dpw.lacounty.gov/bikepathclosures/

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Testimony in the murder trial of Anthony Ray Lopez indicates passenger Christopher Isenhower got out of the vehicle to yell at cyclist Armando Villalobos, and urged Lopez to hit him with his truck.

So why the hell isn’t Isenhower facing murder charges as well?

As I understand it, anyone who incites another person to violence shares full culpability for the crime under the law.

Unless the victim is a cyclist, evidently.

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Almost 41-year old Jens Voight wins the fourth stage of the USA Pro Challenge in a four-hour solo breakaway. Did I mention that he rode alone for four hours — and won by three minutes? Meanwhile, cycling prodigy Taylor Phinney hangs in there, despite a painful fall in the first stage.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Joaquim Rodriguez increases his lead over Chris Froome in the Vuelta by a factor of 10, from one second to a whopping 10 — despite gaining just five seconds on the day. And no, I can’t explain that.

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Lance Armstrong throws in the towel in the US Anti-Doping Agency witch hunt, and will be stripped of his titles; you can read his full statement here. World cycling body UCI is waiting for details before acting; it would be interesting if USADA strips Lance of his titles but they don’t. As usual, Red Kite Player nails it, while this simple chart puts it all in perspective.

Fellow ex-Tour de France doper Floyd Landis — remember him? — settles with prosecutors to avoid fraud charges for lying to all of us to raise funds for his defense.

And it’s two down, one to go, as USADA is undoubtedly preparing to go after the last remaining American Tour de France winner, accusing Greg LeMond of gaining an unfair advantage from the shotgun pellets in his ass.

Don’t get me wrong.

It’s not that I’m defending Lance. I’m just sick of the whole damn thing.

And something tells me this will cause more harm to USADA — and anti-doping efforts in general — than Lance in the long run.

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L.A. Sheriff’s Detectives recover a stolen custom-built bike nearly three months after it was stolen, and sold to another man. USC students get portable separated bike lanes. Glendale’s Bicycle Transportation Plan goes before the city council for final approval on Tuesday. San Diego’s Union-Tribune asks if CEQA is bad for the environment; as long as environmental regulations can be used to stop bikeways, the answer is yes. A Visalia cyclist is severely injured in what appears to be a classic SWSS (single witness suicide swerve); police should be banned from considering the testimony of drivers who kill someone if they’re the only witnesses, since they have a clear motive to lie.

After Portland closes a street to save cyclists from too-frequent right hooks, a vindictive business owner responds with a state-wide ballot initiative to require licensing for cyclists because some run stops; when you can get drivers — who are already licensed — to obey the law, let me know. Cyclists have a rare opportunity to ride Colorado’s Pikes Peak on a trial basis next month; if you ride it, be on your best behavior, since we all know bikes and not cars are the real problem, right? It’s been awhile since we’ve checked in with the Springfield Cyclist, who notes bikeways sprouting up around town. A Chicago bike blogger dissects that anti-bike Chicago Tribune column I mentioned here Thursday. New Orleans police have a bike-a-day quota. Two New York cyclists chase down a strong arm thief to recover a stolen bike. Our NC buddy Zeke discusses the recent visit of Long Beach biking expats Russ and Laura.

Saskatoon police point speed guns at cyclists on a bike path in anticipation of a possible speed limit. A British police officer is found guilty of dangerous driving after rear-ending a cyclist at twice the speed limit. A UK woman is killed after falling from her bike as a bus passed; I would point the finger at a too-close pass, one more reason for a minimum three-foot passing law, which comes up for a vote in the California Assembly today. An African school principal accidently kills a cyclist; nice to know he didn’t do it on purpose.

Finally, Torrance opens a new extension to Del Amo Blvd — and bans cyclists and pedestrians in apparent violation of state law, which allows cyclists on all roads open to motor vehicles with the exception of some freeways and expressways; thanks to JG for the heads-up

Note to the Law Office of Daniel W. Dunbar — if you’re going to use so much of my work, it might be nice if you gave me credit. I’m just saying.

Hollywood blocked bikeways may be common, but not legal; moving story on fallen cyclist Alex Romero

It something we’ve all gotten used to living here in the greater metaphorical Hollywood.

And something we shouldn’t have to.

If you’ve ridden much around this city, chances are, you’ve found your way blocked by a movie crew, TV set or a commercial photo shoot at some point, forcing you to wait until the scene or shoot is over.

Or maybe you’ve run into my pet peeve — movie crews parked along the side of the road, with orange safety cones placed in the middle of the bike lane to protect their precious trucks from passing cyclists, forcing you out into traffic with little or no warning.

And often as not, with no legal basis.

Take the photo shoot Todd Munson encountered on his way home last week on the Ballona Creek Bike Path.

They were set up near the eastern end. When I rolled up they had a scrim set up that was a good 10 feet high and as wide as the path. Because of it, I had to come to a full stop and announce my presence before they even noticed I was there. Based on how “fashionable” they all were I’m guessing they came from the nearby Smashbox Studio.

When I realized how much I was “hassling” them by having to move their equipment to make some room, I asked if they had a permit for the shoot. Everyone just sort looked at each other and mumbled incomplete sentences. The guy who was apparently in charge was the one covering his face in the first photo. The amazing thing to me was that nobody including him was at all apologetic. The best they could do was “Hey man, we didn’t think anyone would be here.” And a couple of them even tried getting tough.

The other funny part was that girl in the red shirt in photo number 3 asked that I not take anyone’s picture.

Good times.

Problem is, unless they did have a permit, what they were doing was completely illegal. Section 21211 of the California Vehicle Code reads:

21211.   (a) No person may stop, stand, sit, or loiter upon any class I bikeway, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, or any other public or private bicycle path or trail, if the stopping, standing, sitting, or loitering impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist.

But it doesn’t stop there. It goes on to prohibit parking or placing anything on the bike path that would block it, as well.

(b) No person may place or park any bicycle, vehicle, or any other object upon any bikeway or bicycle path or trail, as specified in subdivision (a), which impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist unless the placement or parking is necessary for safe operation or is otherwise in compliance with the law.

Of course, there are additional subsections specifying a handful exceptions, none of which apply in the situation Munson encountered. Or to the overwhelming majority of cases you might encounter that would delay your ride more than a few moments.

Then there’s the matter of blocked bike lanes.

As we’ve discussed before, bike lanes are considered traffic lanes by the LAPD, just like the larger lanes to their left. And just as it’s illegal to block any other traffic lane, it’s against the law to block a bike lane — whether with trash cans, orange cones or double parked vehicles.

The question is whether L.A.’s favorite industry enjoys a special exemption when it comes to their trucks.

The afore mentioned Mr. Munson, who seems to be having a rash of bad luck with this sort of thing lately, reached out to myself and Tony Arranaga, who works in the office of 11th District Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, after a recent encounter with bike lanes blocked by a movie crew on San Vicente Blvd in the Brentwood area.

Tony was kind enough to connect us with Geoffrey Smith, Director of Community Relations with FilmLA Inc, the agency responsible for overseeing the massive amount of filming that takes place in this city on a daily basis.

Once again, I’ll let Todd explain the situation:

The specific incident I encountered occurred in Brentwood along San Vicente last Thursday morning (3/24). A film production had vehicles parked on both sides of San Vicente near the golf course and had laid out large cones along the respective bike lanes.

The cones were placed on the outer edge of the bike line cutting down its width to the point that it was no longer safe to use. Any cyclist who chose to stay in the bike lane was faced with a lose-lose situation as they were forced to ride dangerously close to parked vehicles. Should a door swing open or a crew member walk out from between the vehicles, the tightly spaced cones to the immediate left eliminated any chance for a safe escape.

The only option for a cyclist wishing to avoid this mess would be to exit the bike lane and ride in traffic. This option was equally undesirable and dangerous as motorists tend to treat San Vicente as a mini freeway- especially during the morning rush hour.

Attached is quick diagram I made with the help of Google Street View illustrating the dangerousness of the situation.

To reiterate what Ted stated, those cones served no functional purpose other than creating a life-threatening situation for cyclists. Should the status quo be allowed to remain, it’s not a matter of if but when a deadly accident will occur.

That drew the following response from Smith, who answered promptly the next morning:

1)      No, the company should not have put cones in the bike path. It seems that the Transportation Captain was perhaps a little overzealous in trying to let everyone know that there was a trailer parked on the street. Why he felt that the general public would fail to see a trailer 8’ wide by 7’ high will undoubtedly remain a mystery.

2)      Yes, a company can close a bike path BUT, it requires submitting a traffic plan to DOT, showing what alternate route(s) are being created, via cones, barricades, signage, so that bicyclists are not forced into traffic. DOT has to approve of the closure before it will be allowed.

3)      As an FYI, FilmL.A. is 24/7. If you should run into this situation again, PLEASE call us 213/977.8600 ASAP. Let us check and see a) if there is a permit and b) if they have a closure of the bike path.

4)      I am also annoyed if they were parking on both side of San Vicente. Parking on the north side is not allowed.

I don’t know about you, but I’m putting that phone number in my speed dial.

.………

Dj Wheels, who has been very busy keeping up with local bike-related criminal cases lately, shares the news that 19-year olds Patrick Roraff and Brett Morin will face trial for the death of rising pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado in Highland one year ago.

Roraff and Morin were allegedly street racing at around 70 mph when Roraff lost control and hit Alvarado, who died on the side of the road, far from his family and friends in Mexico.

According to the Press-Enterprise, the two will be arraigned on May 12th on a single count each of vehicular manslaughter.

.………

Chances are, you’ve never heard of the San Fernando Valley Sun. But maybe you should.

Once again, they’ve written movingly about the death of yet another teenage Valley cyclist murdered by a hit-and-run driver.

Just six months ago, it was Danny Marin*; this time, it’s Alex Romero, run down by a speeding driver on De Soto Avenue in Canoga Park last week.

Consider the heart-rending pathos in the first paragraph alone:

Tomorrow, April 29, Maria De La Paz “Pacita” Romero will have to find the strength to bury her teenaged son. “Empty. I feel empty,” Maria said as she attempts to describe the loss of her son, German Alex Romero, a 17-year-old promising soccer player whose life was tragically cut short last week when he was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Canoga Park.

Remarkably, Romero’s family doesn’t bear any animosity towards the still unidentified driver; his mother saying “God bless him” of the man who killed her son.

The family would also like Romero’s death to serve a positive purpose. Their desire is for new bicycle markings to be placed on the street where he was killed, as well as additional lighting, a traffic light and cameras.

“We would like Alex’s sacrifice to be worth something,” Fuentes said. “He came to this earth for 17 years to give light to everybody, motorists and bicyclists, so that we may be more careful to make ourselves aware of everybody who’s on the road.”

Seriously, stop whatever you’re doing, and take just a few minutes to read a very well-written story about the massive hole a heartless driver has left in what appears to be a remarkable, and remarkably forgiving, family.

But don’t be surprised if you find a few tears in your eyes before you’re done.

*Unfortunately, the original Sun story is no longer available online.

.………

Finally, the LACBC reports that the peak hour restrictions limiting bikes on Metro trains have been lifted, effective immediately. While the bike ban has been widely ignored in recent months, the action of the Metro Board means you can now take your bike on any Metro train, any time, to any destination.

As train cars come in for servicing, they will have seats removed to create additional standing and storage room to provide more space for bikes, as well as other large objects such as strollers and shopping bags.

Culver City backpedals on new bike/ped master plan, Ballona Creek Bike Path reopens

Cyclists in front of CC City Hall; did the Culver City Council have their fingers crossed when the voted for the new master plan?

Breaking news from Culver City —

First the good news:

After long delays due to this year’s unusually wet winter, the new and improved Ballona Creek Bike Path is scheduled to reopen just in time for weekend riding — and the weekend’s expected rain.

The project includes a newly paved section of the bikeway — something the rest of it desperately needs — as well as drought-tolerant landscaping, improved lighting and security cameras, and a separated pedestrian path.

That dull roar you hear is the sound of cyclists across the city cheering.

Now for the bad news:

Just months after approving the city’s first Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, Culver City’s City Council could be contemplating kicking the teeth out of it.

A motion by Councilmember D. Scott Malsin would replace planned bike lanes on Washington Blvd with sharrows, and amend the bike plan to allow the council to override the approved bikeway designations based on economic and safety considerations. And in government speak, that covers just about any reason under the sun.

If the motion passes, the city wouldn’t have to commit to anything in the plan, using trumped-up safety fears, as well as real or imagined budget concerns to kill anything — or everything — in it.

That includes complaints from over-privileged NIMBYists who just don’t want bikes or walkers on their street, and can claim an unreasonable fear of hitting one as justification for killing a planned bikeway or pedestrian crossing.

And it could turn the entire plan into nothing more than a bunch of lines on a worthless piece of paper, just like L.A.’s failed 1996 plan.

The city wrote the plan, with input from the public. The Council approved it.

Now it’s up to us to make sure they stand behind it.

The motion is scheduled to be considered at the City Council and Redevelopment Agency Meeting on Monday, March 28th at 7 pm in the Council Chambers of Culver City City Hall, 9770 Culver Blvd.

A room full of bicyclists and pedestrians — in other words, just about everyone who doesn’t blow through the city on four or more wheels — might help them maintain their backbone.

And make sure they didn’t have their fingers crossed when they adopted the plan.

Follow the Culver City Bicycle Coalition for future updates.

.………

Council President Eric Garcetti offers a great photo from the L.A. River Bike Path; you can almost ignore the massive cement wall in the background. A short L.A. River bikethon is scheduled for Saturday the 26th to protest widening of the 710 Freeway, which could soon be obsolete anyway. LACBC kicks off a campaign for bike lanes eventually along the entire length of Downtown’s 7th Street. Bicycle Kitchen hosts a basic wrenching class this Saturday. Turns out L.A.’s new fire chief rides a bike; maybe we can talk him into joining us for a ride sometime — how about an LACoFD contingent for CicLAvia? Beat L.A. Marathon traffic by riding your bike this Sunday. Joe Linton interviews the Hombres of Bici Libre, aka the Bike Wranglers. Frank Peters of cdm Cyclist interviews Long Beach Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal. More on the victims of Wednesday’s Long Beach plane crash, which took the life of bike advocate Mark Bixby and four others. San Francisco sharrows are removed after being unpopular with cyclists and ignored by drivers. Nineteen elite teams are committed for the 2011 Amgen Tour of California.

Bob Mionske looks at ride liability waivers, while Lance takes on Big Tobacco. Easy to read graphic map of bicycling trends throughout the U.S. Twelve reasons to use a bike for transportation. How to balance biking and family time. A Tucson mayoral candidate has 13 traffic tickets since ’92 — including killing an 18-year old woman when he ran a stop sign. Kansas’ proposed three-foot passing law moves forward. A Minnesota cyclist gets a ticket for running a red light after getting hit by a car; I hope they relied on witnesses other than the driver to determine who ran the light. New Yorkers thank the city for three years of traffic improvements and better road safety. In response to the NYPD’s crackdown on cyclists, two council members propose flashing yellow traffic lights in some parks when they’re closed to cars. DC cyclists gain access to a popular bikeway through the Navy Yard — but not when it would do bike commuters any good. A Republican Congress might actually be good for bicycling; only if they stop saying no to everything.

Evidently, pothole patching is sufficient for London’s Olympic road course; I hope they do a better job of it than they do here. Cyclists have been victimized by fraud after visiting a popular UK-based website. Experts thought a little girl would never walk or talk after she contracted bacterial meningitis at age 6, now she’s a 10-year old road racer. A proposed Northern Ireland mandatory helmet law will drive cyclists off the road without improving safety. Bicycling offers a preview of Saturday’s 102nd Milan-San Remo classic. Taylor Phinney hopes to bounce back from a rough start to his first pro year.  Apparently, tainted meat is the new get out of jail free card for cyclists accused of doping with Clenbuterol, but Human Growth Hormone will get you busted. A network of bike lanes are planned for Namibia. Now this is what I call a bike path. Eight Bangkok bicyclists will take on five other means of transportation to prove which is more efficient in rush hour traffic. In case you missed it, CNN offers a report on an 83-year old woman who escaped last week’s tsunami by bicycle.

Finally, for all you guys suffering from the problem of highly stressed huevos — and frankly, who doesn’t? — a new nose-less saddle from Taiwan promises testicles relaxing, as well as buttock sore no more. And a one-wheeled cyclist sues over tickets for violating a ban on two or three-wheeled devices on sidewalks.

St. Anne’s Toy Ride, Festival of Lights Bike Night and other bike-related news

A lot of news items have crossed my desk this week, with a number of bike rides and other assorted groups and activities for the cycling set.

Looks like it’s going to be a very busy weekend.

First up, I want to remind you about this Sunday’s easy, family-friendly El Niño (para las niñas) Toy Ride, sponsored by LA Greensters to benefit the children of St. Anne’s. The ride kicks off at 1 pm Sunday, December 6th, from the Red Line Metro Station at Santa Monica and Vermont; just bring a new, unwrapped toy to be delivered to St. Anne’s in time for their annual Christmas party. With your help, no child will go home empty handed.

Tonight is the first night of DWP’s Holiday Lights Festival, the annual event in which only people in cars are usually allowed to inch along a Griffith Park street staring at the light displays, even though state law requires that every street be open to cyclists. However, this year, the opening night — tonight — is a bicycle-only Bike Night, and the festival will be vehicle-free and pedestrian-only from the 4th to the 17th before they kick people out and let cars in.

My contribution to Sunday's Toy Ride

Next up is the dedication of the new ornamental bike path gateways on the Ballona Creek Bikeway at 10 am Friday, December 4th, sponsored by County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority. The event takes place at the Inglewood Boulevard Bridge over Ballona Creek, and includes a community tree planting and 1.5 mile bike tour of the new gates. RSVPs are recommended but not required; call 323/221-8900. (Thanks to Joe Linton for the heads-up.)

While you’re in the area, you might want to join up with the award-winning Santee Education Complex Debate Team, which is riding down Venice Blvd to Venice High School to deliver trees for planting. The event kicks off at 11 am Friday at Santee High; if you hurry, you’ll have just enough time to get there after the Ballona gate dedication, or you can meet up with them as they ride along Venice. Read more at Illuminate LA and Westside Bikeside.

Later Friday, it’s time to party with the good folks at West L.A.’s Bikerowave bike co-op as they celebrate the inaugural Pedal With Me group ride, sponsored by the United Steps, a non-profit organization dedicated to seeking unique solutions for homelessness. The party starts at 8 pm at the Bikerowave on Venice Blvd in Mar Vista, promising good music, volunteers, bike repair tools and live art. Not to mention a great time.

On Saturday, you have your choice of two group rides. First up is the the Pedal With Me event to address homelessness in Los Angeles, with two rides departing from the Bikerowave beginning at 9 am and 11 am. More details and volunteer opportunities are available on the Bikerowave website.

Also on Saturday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Altadena Sheriff’s Station and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Athletic Association present the 2009 Tour of Altadena Bike Ride from 9 am to 1 pm this Saturday, December 5th. The ride kicks off at 9 am at Bronco Pavillion in Loma Alta Park, with a 10 mile Family Fun Ride or a 12.5 mile Hill Challenge. There is a $10 entry fee, and a $6 barbeque at 11 am; all proceeds benefit the L.A. County Sheriff’s Annual Charitable Giving Campaign.

On Sunday, December 6th, Bikerowave celebrates the holidays with its first ever swap meet, promising good deals on bikes and parts. Coffee, donuts and fruit will be provided; add a little pasta — or maybe beer — and you’ve got the four basic food groups of cyclists. One of the city’s best farmer’s markets will be right across the street, as well. Email stevenhma@gmail.com if you have items you’d like to sell.

And mark your calendar for next Wednesday, when the City Councils Transportation Committee will hold a bicycle-only session beginning at 2 pm at Downtown’s City Hall. Topics will include a report from LAPD on bicycle incidents, the Sharrows pilot project and a proposed anti-harassment ordinance.

Last but not least, not an event but a new cycling group. Thanks again to Joe Linton for letting me know about the newly formed South Bay Bicycle Coalition, which held its first meeting at the Manhattan Beach REI on November 17th with 30 cyclists in attendance. The group was born out of a Manhattan Beach group dedicated to safer cycling; if you’re down in the South Bay, check ‘em out.

………

In case you missed it, C.I.C.L.E.’s Joe Linton (yes, the same Joe Linton) was featured on KPCC’s Air Talk program yesterday talking about L.A.’s planned CicLAvia — definitely worth clicking the link to stream the segment or download the podcast. Streetsblog says the LAPD is looking into last weekend’s Critical Mess. Flying Pigeon notes that local cycling craftsmen Greg Townsend and Mr. Jalopy are featured in the current LA Magazine. Bike San Diego interviews local cycling visionary Sky Boyer. Our Missouri cycling reporter is anything but Surly about his new commuter bike. Biking in Heels discusses the important winter-time topic of proper lighting. A great dooring animated video courtesy of Urban Velo. Witch on a Bicycle lets Philadelphia’s knee-jerk leaders have it with both barrels. A debate sponsored by the UK’s Spectator magazine concludes that cyclists are not a menace. Finally, also from the UK — and the Department of Duh — comes a study showing roads should be made safer for cyclists. Anyone who didn’t know that, please raise your hand.

Bike paths: Ride at your own risk.

Most experienced cyclists know that we risk our safety every time we venture into the traffic lane.

But maybe you didn’t know that you’re also at risk when you ride in a designated off-road bikeway (Class I). Except the risk there isn’t from careless or aggressive drivers.

It’s from a bottom-line obsessed bureaucracy that has little or no incentive to protect your safety, or even your life. Because they have no liability whatsoever for the condition of that bike path.

Trip on a misaligned manhole cover on the sidewalk — as my wife did a few years ago — and the company or government agency responsible for maintaining it is legally responsible. Get into an accident on the street because of a missing traffic sign or a dangerous road condition, and the city, county or state agency responsible can be held liable.

But suffer an injury because of a massive pothole or botched patch job in a bike lane, or a huge crack — or even criminal activity — on an off-road trail, and you’re on your own.

Swerving around the frequent bumps and cracks in the bike path around the Marina, I always assumed that someone would be injured there sooner or later — if they haven’t already. And that the county, which is responsible for most of the Marina del Rey area, would be sued as a result.

But I never knew that such a suit would be summarily dismissed.

It wasn’t until I read the statement from Council District 5 candidate David Vahedi that I had the slightest clue that no city, county or state government, nor any private enterprise, bears any legal responsibility for maintaining safe riding conditions on a Class I or Class II bikeway. (I’m assuming they’re still responsible for conditions on a Class III bike route, since those usually require riding in the traffic lane. But I could be wrong.)

When I asked Vahedi if her had any more information, he was kind enough to pass along the law that removed liability on off-road paths and trails, as well as the California appellate court ruling that greatly expanded it.

It’s clear that the original intent of the law was to encourage property owners to grant access to the public by removing liability for conditions they didn’t intentionally cause, and may not be aware of. For instance, DWP might not be willing to provide a trail leading to one of their reservoirs if they had to worry about being sued any time someone slipped and fell on a wet rock.

The problem came when the courts began to interpret any off-road path, trail or sidewalk — including heavily traveled Class I bikeways, such as the Marvin Broad Bikeway along the beach from Santa Monica to Palos Verdes — as being covered under the law. Or on-road bike lanes for that matter, such as the bike lane through the Sepulveda Pass, as Vehedi notes in his comments.

And even, as in his example from the Venice bike path, if they are fully aware of the problem and have done nothing to correct it.

So if you’ve wondered why things never seem to get fixed along our bikeways, that’s why. Problems get corrected when the agencies responsible face liability. If there’s no risk to them, it usually falls to the bottom of a long list of things they intend to get around to eventually, when and if their budget allows — even if that poses a greater risk for everyone else.

Yet while government and corporate lawyers have been quick to capitalize on their new-found freedom from liability, one section of the law has been universally ignored — the one that says warning signs have to be posted if there are any known health or safety hazards along a paved pathway.

So if authorities know that the lights are out along the L.A. River bikeway, they are required to post signs warning riders about it. If L.A. is aware — and they are — that the Ballona Creek trail runs through known gang territory and that riders have been subject to assaults, they have to provide a warning to anyone who might consider riding there.

And if Los Angeles and Santa Monica refuse to enforce the No Pedestrian signs on the beachfront bike path through their respective cities, they have to warn riders about the presence of pedestrians.

Otherwise, they can — and should — be held liable for any injuries that may result.

C.I.C.L.E. reposts an article tracing the early history of the bicycle. Bike craftsmen exhibit their work at the North American Handmade Bike Show. Once they clear the snow, Yellowstone opens its roads to cyclists and other non-motorized traffic for several weeks of car-free riding, starting in mid-March. A woman and her children are hit head-on by a car while riding on a popular bike path on Hawaii’s North Shore. And finally, Bike Date reposts a list of great bike safety tips from the Onion.

Bike law change #8: Require regular police and maintenance patrols of off-road bike paths

It should be the perfect place to ride. Instead of fighting our way through traffic or dodging drivers who can’t seem to grasp the concept of a bike lane, an off-road, or Class 1, bike path should offer the perfect opportunity to just relax and enjoy a good ride.

But too often, it doesn’t work out that way.

While many of these paths meander through common public spaces such as parks, lake shores and beaches, others are hidden from view. Which means that any problems along the path will be hidden, as well, from massive cracks and potholes in the pavement, to ugly graffiti and criminal activity. Eventually, many cyclists decide they’re better off taking their chances on the streets — abandoning the alternate routes they fought so hard to get, and leading to further deterioration. Or forcing organized efforts — or somewhat less organized efforts — to reclaim them.

But it shouldn’t be up to us to reclaim the bike paths, any more that it’s up to drivers to reclaim the 405 freeway or Ventura Boulevard.

So let’s demand regular safety and maintenance patrols of all off-road bike paths, both by the local police and the appropriate maintenance agency, whether city, county or state — and require that at least some off those patrols be done by bike. Because as we all know, things look and feel completely different behind the handlebars than they do from behind the wheel.

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