Tag Archive for Ballona Creek bike path

Morning Links: Bike rider mugged on Ballona Creek; LA Times criticizes selfish drivers fighting traffic safety

Cars aren’t the only threats people on bikes have to face.

One of the constant themes repeated by the people fighting bike lanes in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey is that, in their humble opinion, bike riders would be better off riding away from traffic on the Ballona Creek bike path than risking getting hit by cars on the streets.

Never mind that Ballona Creek bypasses all the shopping and employment centers between Culver City and the beach. Or that limited access points makes it harder for people to get where they need to go.

Which makes it more practical for recreational riding than for people who need to get somewhere, in most cases.

But there’s another recurring problem with the Ballona Creek bike path.

The isolation the path, below public view, makes it an ideal hunting ground for criminals. Which has been a problem on the path since at least 1990.

Every few years, there seems to be another rider attacked on Ballona Creek. And every few years, calls go out for police patrols on the pathway.

But nothing ever happens. And no government agency ever seems to want to take responsibility for the path.

Which leads up to what happened two weeks ago, when Jesus David Orozco was riding home after attending to Mar Vista Community Council meeting to discuss the Venice Blvd Great Streets project.

Something has to be done to ensure safety for everyone on the Ballona Creek bike path.

And done quickly.

Because just like on the streets, people won’t use it if they don’t feel safe there.

Especially if they actually aren’t.

Update: I’m told that Orozco posted on Facebook that he has returned to work today, and that, thanks to the physicians that treated him, is feeling good and looking like himself again. 

I’m not sharing the post, since I haven’t requested his permission to use it.

But the only things that would make this news any better is if the police caught the people who did this, and the county and cities along the trail committed to improving safety so it doesn’t happen again.

Thanks to Jonathan Weiss for the heads-up.

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The LA Times really nails it this time.

In a surprising editorial, the paper calls on LA leaders to find the courage to fight back against “selfish” motorists opposed to street safety projects.

And let’s be clear. This is the official editorial voice of the publisher and paper, not merely an Op-Ed.

The paper complains about the callousness of too many commuters, and the risk that kneejerk opposition to change will override good policy. And possibly even reverse the city’s Vision Zero plan.

Vista del Mar wasn’t an official Vision Zero project – it didn’t go through the standard community outreach and input process that is an essential part of any road reconfiguration. Still, it quickly became the rallying cry for opponents of road diets and other projects that might slow traffic. It’s worth noting that some of the loudest critics of the Vista del Mar reconfiguration and another nearby Vision Zero project in Playa del Rey don’t live in the community; they commute through it to avoid 405 traffic.

The paper goes on to criticize Roadkill Gil Cedillo’s cynical effort to gain veto power over any road diet or lane reconfiguration in CD1, as well as Paul Krekorian’s backtracking on the Great Streets project proposed for Lankershim Blvd.

Typical City Hall. It’s easy for Garcetti and council members to tout their progressive credentials and sign off on ambitious policies to transform L.A. It’s much harder to implement those plans. Too often city leaders fold in the face of opposition. We’ve seen this with the city’s Bicycle Plan. We’ve seen it with homeless housing. And that’s why so many ambitious plans remain unfulfilled.

City leaders, and Garcetti in particular, have to continually make the case that Vision Zero is about making the streets safer for walkers, bike riders, motorcyclists and, yes, even drivers. The mayor has been far too quiet in defending his program and council members who face blowback when they support road safety efforts. Projects downtown and in Silver Lake have demonstrated that road diets can help reduce injuries without significant traffic delays. There is a learning curve, and over time as more Vision Zero projects are completed, residents will likely see that the benefits of safer streets outweigh the lane losses and any effect on traffic flow.

Not to mention the attitude they attribute to motorists at the start of the piece is no exaggeration. It’s exactly what I’ve been dealing with on social media and in the comments on this site.

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In Orange County, they’re not actually attacking bike riders, just pretending to.

And likely, scaring the crap out of innocent people in the process, for the sake of a stupid prank.

An OC law firm reports that people in cars are zooming in close to bicyclists, then making a gun with their hands and yelling “Butt dart!” at the rider.

It’s just pure luck that someone hasn’t been startled or frightened into falling or crashing, with potentially serious consequences.

Thanks to F Lehnerz for the heads-up.

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Someone needs to explain the meaning of sharrows to the driver of a San Diego pickup. And remind him that brake checking a pair of cyclists was what got Dr. Christopher Thompson five years behind bars.

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LA’s own Coryn Rivera topped the women’s field to win the 2017 RideLondon Classique. More on the RideLondon festival in the International section below.

More proof that motor doping is a real thing, as an Italian masters rider was busted for having a concealed electric engine hidden in his bike.

More bad news on the ultra-endurance front, as endurance cyclist Frank Simons has been killed near the start of the European Transcontinental race, just 51 miles into the 2,500-mile race; he’s the third rider killed competing in an ultra-endurance race this year.

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Local

LA County is offering a $10,000 reward for the capture of the bike-riding jackass who sexually assaulted a woman in the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department’s Altadena Station rescued a mountain biker in Arroyo Canyon early Saturday. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

The Easy Reader posts great photos of kids participating in Sunday’s Manhattan Beach Grand Prix.

The Press-Telegram provides a full construction schedule for the new bike boulevard being built on 6th Street in Long Beach

 

State

Meet the Huntington Beach man who invented the beach cruiser in the 1970s.

Mazda helped build and donate 120 bicycles for foster families in Orange County.

No bias here. The San Diego Union-Tribune wants to hear from readers about the city’s mythical war on cars.

A Fresno letter writer calls for greater enforcement of “maniac” drivers who put bicyclists at risk.

Sad news from San Jose, where a bike rider was killed in a collision with a train.

Chico proposes a dramatic new bike and pedestrian bridge over a wide, busy street.

 

National

No surprise here. A new federal study shows speed was a factor in 31% of all traffic fatalities; the study recommends making the penalty for speeding equal to the penalties for drunk driving.

The Colorado legislator who called for an annual registration fee for bicyclists, then backed off after a massive backlash, now says maybe there needs to be a crackdown on scofflaw cyclists. And suggests it’s not fair if owners of ATVs, boats and snowmobiles to have to buy registration stickers, and bicyclists don’t. Never mind that all of those have motors; if they’re going to tax cyclists, maybe they should make hikers, skiers and pedestrians pay a fee, as well.

Someone is sabotaging ebikes in Aspen CO.

Touching story from Texas, where an entire family is wearing bike helmets in solidarity with their new baby, who has to wear a helmet to treat flat head syndrome.

Nebraska’s governor is riding 150 miles with a group of mental health professional to help end the stigma surrounding children’s mental health. It’s a kickoff event for Break the Cycle, a 5,000 mile ride from Seattle to DC to raise funds for child and adolescent mental health initiatives.

More victim blaming. Minnesota police say a cyclist ran a stop sign before she was hit by a van; her GPS shows she actually slowed to 1.1 mph before accelerating again.

Kindhearted Duluth MN cops pitch in to buy a new mountain bike for a man when his was destroyed in a crash, after they discovered he lived in an assisted living home and it was his only means of transportation.

Just two weeks after launching in South Bend, Indiana, bikes from the new LimeBike dockless bikeshare are already ending up in a local river.

Off-duty police officers will patrol multi-use trails in an Ohio town, as residents say they’d be more likely to use them if there was a police presence, even though there hasn’t been a crime problem. Which might be an answer for Ballona Creek, and other off-road paths in the LA area.

A Tennessee hit-and driver caught on bike cam ramming a bicyclist on the Natchez Trace Parkway has been indicted on federal charges of reckless aggravated assault, lying to a federal agent, and obstruction of justice; he could face a total of up to 37 years in federal prison. Apparently, they didn’t buy his excuse that someone on the side of the road had thrown a bicycle at his Volvo. Thanks to Allyson Vought for the link.

The New York Times says bicycling has become part of the city’s culture, with over 450,000 bike trips every day; the city has committed to building an additional 50 miles of bike lanes every year — including ten miles of protected lanes — after more than doubling the number of bike lanes over the past ten years. Thanks to Victor Bank for the tip.

 

International

The massive annual RideLondon cycling event was expected to draw 100,000 participants this past weekend, with 24,000 riders taking part in the century ride, a decrease of 3,000 riders over last year to improve safety.

Caught on video: An Aussie bicyclist pulls an endo and just barely avoids falling in front of an oncoming car. Note to Daily Mail: Going over the handlebars isn’t caused by going too fast, but by squeezing the front brake hard before the back one, causing the front wheel to lock before halting the bike’s momentum.

Apparently “hordes” of Brit runners are taking up bicycling to protect their knees, including an Olympic 1,500 meters star.

The Guardian says swapping cars for bicycles will make a bigger difference in the fight against pollution than switching from diesel engines to electric.

Israel’s railway authority will be installing automated bike parking garages at heavily used stations across the country.

The Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai is one of us, as Sheikh Mohammed stops to rescue a woman rider with a twisted chain.

The authoritarian president of Turkmenistan is one of us too, as he leads 7,700 riders, including government officials, on a nine-mile route through the nation’s capital; cars were banned from most major Turkmen cities for the day.

The war on bikes continues, as someone has been pouring oil on bike paths in Melbourne, Australia, in an attempt to make riders slip and fall, which could result in serious injuries.

 

Finally…

Who needs a water bottle when you can weld a cup holder into your top tube. How to explain why you never forget how to ride a bike without really explaining anything.

And someone please tell the LA Times we have a Critical Mass down here, too.

 

Morning Links: Upcoming Ballona Creek closure, LA fixed on Sports Center, and a descending nun

Culver City has announced that a section of the Ballona Creek Bike Path will be closing down for maintenance work next month.

Upcoming Ballona Creek Bike Path Closures

On August 7 to August 11, the Culver City Public Works Department will be performing maintenance on the Ballona Creek Bike Path between Duquesne and National. Work will include pavement repairs, graffiti abatement, and vegetation trimming.

During this work, the bike path will be closed upstream of Duquesne from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM each day. Consider using Lucerne or Jefferson as alternatives during the closure.

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ESPN’s Sports Center takes a look at the SoCal Fixed Series fixie racing competition.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember who sent me this link, but thank you, anyway.

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The only reason I’m linking to this story about an abandoned Scottish hotel is the amazingly cool photo of an ancient bike leaning next to a window.

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Of course, the only thing better than that would be a nun in full habit descending a hill on her bike.

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The war on bikes goes on.

A Canadian driver faces charges after being recorded beating the crap out of a 74-year old man with a club, as the victim’s bike lay in the roadway in front of his truck.

The attack only stopped when a woman intervened, telling the driver she was recording it.

The driver’s only response was “I tried to walk away.”

Which was meaningless since he had to get out of his truck to confront the other man. Then walk back to his truck to get the club before returning to attack him.

Not exactly walking away. Or driving, for that matter.

Let’s hope he gets the time he deserves.

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If you don’t know who won this year’s Tour de France, you haven’t been paying attention. Although the real winner may have been French rider Cyril Gautier, who proposed to his girlfriend during the final stage.

Taylor Phinney survived his long-delayed debut Tour. Alberto Contador points next month’s Vuelta after a disappointing Tour.

Cycling Tips provides a photographic wrap-up of the just finished race.

Irish sportswriter and former cyclist Paul Kimmage, who helped bring down Lance Armstrong, says cycling’s omerta still rules the peloton, 50 years after Tom Simpson died near the summit of Mont Ventoux during the ’67 Tour de France.

The Guardian looks at how Irishman Stephen Roche ruled cycling for one year in 1987.

A sports website examines why Americans have disappeared from the podium at the Tour; Bicycling says there’s a new crop of Yanks waiting to step up.

The head of cycling’s governing organization pinkie swears the organization is working towards equal payouts for women and men.

The UK’s version of GQ asks if British cycling is sexist. Seriously, if you have to ask the question, you already know the answer. And not just British cycling.

Great article from Quartz on Eritrea’s love of cycling, and the rising success of the country’s young cyclists.

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Local

LA’s neighborhood councils were born during a bike ride.

Streetsblog says, despite Metro’s comments, Vision Zero traffic calming is not the cause of their declining bus speeds.

The LA Weekly ranks bike lanes #4 on the list of things that drive NIMBYs crazy in the City of Angels.

The Pomona Fairplex is trying out on employee bikeshare workers can use to ride to distant areas on the site. Although that description sounds more like the bikes are employee vehicles than an actual bikeshare.

A quadriplegic man completed a 1,200-mile ride from Oregon to the Santa Monica pier with his family to raise money for people who need wheelchairs.

 

State

A new California/Dutch study says don’t waste time trying to talk people into bicycling; make it safe and convenient, and they’ll figure it out for themselves.

Maybe the DMV should read their own statutes before tweeting. Their advice to ride as near to the right edge of the roadway as possible directly contradicts CVC 21202, while riding on the sidewalk is legal in many cities, if not advisable. Thanks to Brent for the heads-up.

A 33-year old woman was injured in a hit-and-run while riding her bike in Camarillo.

The host of the Bay Area’s People Behaving Badly segment says bike lanes are not for parking, even for a little while.

Pleasanton police are looking for a thief who took an $8,400 bicycle out for a test ride from a local shop and never came back.

A local paper approves of the new LimeBike dockless bikeshare at Lake Tahoe. Let’s hope they have a better experience than some other places.

Sad news from Chico, where a bike rider was killed in a collision Friday evening.

 

National

Merriam-Webster lists ten words every true cyclist should know.

Bike Snob discusses his love of genuine, brick and mortar bike shops.

Your next ebike could look like the skeletal version of a 1920’s racing motorcycle.

A Seattle website questions whether the city’s DOT is trying to kill bikeshare again by limiting the two new dockless bikeshare suppliers to just 500 bicycles in the entire city.

Park City UT has launched the nation’s first e-bikeshare system. Unfortunately, the bikes don’t look like 1920’s racing motorcycles, though.

No bias here. After a pair of bike riders were hit by cars, Fargo ND authorities offer several safety tips for bicyclists, including to wear a helmet. But their only advice to drivers is to give bicyclists a three feet passing distance.

No victim blaming here. A San Antonio driver won’t face charges for a head-on collision with a teenage bike rider because victim wasn’t wearing a helmet.

The Department of DIY comes to Dallas, where a protected bike lane made from two-by-fours and PVC pipes lasted three days before the authorities took it down.

Minneapolis authorities have found the bike rider who apparently witnessed, and may have filmed, the police shooting of an unarmed Australian woman.

A Detroit bike rider was the innocent victim of a car-to-car shootout.

Former All-Star catcher and Cleveland 1st base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. is one of us, riding in a charity ride before heading to the ballpark on Sunday.

 

International

Road.cc offers a one-word analysis of whether homeopathic remedies will make you a fitter, faster, healthier cyclist.

Canadian pickup drivers come to the rescue of a touring cyclist about to be a bear’s lunch.

A Canadian woman says she’s ashamed to be a “cycling enthusiast” after watching a bike rider run a stop sign. She must really be ashamed to be a driver, then.

Riding salmon in a bike lane is illegal in Canada, too. But some people do it anyway.

Not surprisingly, the Calgary man who claimed he’d been clotheslined by barbed wire while mountain biking has been arrested on fraud charges.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A British man is celebrating his 70th birthday by riding 70 kilometers a day for 70 days — the equivalent of 43 miles a day, or 3,045 miles total.

Heartbreaking news from the UK, where a 91-year old cyclist was killed in a collision while trying to set a new age-group speed record; he was just two miles from the finish when he was hit by a van.

The Irish Times visits Groningen in the Netherlands, where bikeways are heated and no cars are allowed in the city center.

A former child bride in Malawi credits a bicycle she received from charity group with helping her graduate from high school after leaving her husband.

Australian cycling great Phil Anderson was hospitalized following a solo crash while riding, saying it could have been caused by a pothole. Or a wallaby.

 

Finally…

Why just be a fan of Pee Wee Herman, when you can build his bike from scratch? Evidently, cycling really is the new golf — literally.

And I’m a little weak on my theology, but I’m pretty sure when a bike gets stolen while the owner is at mass, it’s soul goes straight to heaven.

Or does the thief’s go the other way?

 

Morning Links: Feds adopt bike/ped Vision Zero; Emerald Necklace Gateway opens; partial Ballona Creek closure

One quick note.

It’s come to my attention that the email notification informing subscribers about new posts on this site has stopped working for some reason. So if you’re not getting emails when new posts go up, we’re working on it.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll just keep coming back every day until we can get it fixed.

Thanks to Marvin Davis for the heads-up.

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Big news from DC, as the Federal Highway Administration has adopted Vision Zero.

At least for people on foot or two wheels.

The FHWA’s new strategic plan calls for reducing bicycling and pedestrian deaths by 80% by 2031, and eliminating them entirely in the next 20 to 30 years.

It also calls for a 50% increase in trips under five miles for bicyclists and one mile for pedestrians by 2025.

All by promoting better design standards, better data collection and reducing traffic speeds on urban streets.

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Thursday marked the opening of the first phase of the Emerald Necklace Gateway.

The 1.1 mile bike path connects the Metro Duarte/City of Hope Gold Line station with the existing San Gabriel River Bike Trail to form a 28-mile long route linking the upper part of the San Gabriel Valley to Seal Beach.

However, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports the bikeway is only half finished, despite being in the works for more than a decade; the full path is not scheduled to be completed until 2021 at best.

Bike SGV offers photos from yesterday’s opening.

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Speaking of bikeways, don’t plan on riding the eastern section of the Ballona Creek bike path during the day next week.

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Today’s common theme is cross-country bike riding.

Hats off to Ivan Schmidt; the 16-year old Long Beach teen rode 1,800 miles from British Columbia to Tijuana, raising $2,500 to fight rheumatoid arthritis.

A 67-year old man rode 2,400 miles from Chicago to San Bernardino, after surviving two open heart surgeries, six bypasses and an aortic valve replacement.

A retired fighter pilot is riding from Maine to Key West to honor fallen and disabled service members and their families.

A Canadian cyclist has raised over $150,000 for cancer research, traveling more than 3,500 miles since beginning a trans-Canada ride in June.

And 41 cyclists set off on a 1,325-mile self-supported ride down the length of Sweden, beginning 200 miles above the Arctic Circle.

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VeloNews talks with cycling legend Eddy Merckx about bike design, his favorite riders and the evolving standards of cool in the bike world.

Wired looks at the dramatic evolution in handcycles used by Paralympic athletes, leading to today’s $10,000 carbon fiber bikes.

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Local

According to the Census Bureau, bike commuting in LA County has finally reached a full 1%. Just imagine what it could be if we had safe places to ride.

CiclaValley can barely control his excitement over two Valley CicLAvias in 2017.

Santa Monica police will conduct another of their bicycle and pedestrian enforcement days today, followed a second one on Monday. Standard rules apply; obey the letter of the law while riding in the city so you’re not the one who gets ticketed.

Long Beach’s unnamed bikeshare program has seen 3,500 people ride 35,000 miles in its first six months; it will eventually have 500 bikes at 50 stations.

Cycling in the South Bay calls for cyclists to turn out in support of Bikes May Use Full Lane signs at the Palos Verdes Estates city council meeting on Sept. 27th, even though it may require a lot of sitting.

 

State

Pink’s five-year old daughter is one of us.

Work has begun on two bridge widening projects in Carpinteria required to widen Highway 101, which will eventually include two new coastal bike lanes. Isn’t it cute how officials pretend widening highways will actually solve their traffic problems?

Holy one-man crime wave, Batman! A Ventura man is under arrest after stealing two crucifixes from the San Buenaventura Mission, then using them as weapons to attack people, before busting the window of a thrift shop and stealing a bicycle.

Other football programs get in trouble with the NCAA because their players tool around in Escalades and sports cars someone bought for them; at Stanford, it was a $3,500 bicycle.

A San Francisco woman was beaten and robbed by three bike riders when she approached them at an intersection to talk. Seriously, 3:24 am is probably not the best time to engage strangers in conversation, whether or not they’re on bikes.

Pleasanton officials approve safety changes to an intersection where a 72-year old bike rider was killed in June.

Marin drivers break out the torches and pitchforks over fears a proposed road diet will snarl traffic, even though studies show they often improve traffic flow.

A Chico letter writer calls on local cycling clubs to take the lead on cleaning up a bike path and reclaiming it from homeless squatters.

 

National

Bicycling explains how to sneak in a midweek overnight bikepacking trip. And enjoy your new women on bikes emojis.

NPR looks at how tactical urbanism is making a difference with small, incremental DIY changes throughout the US.

Bike rooms are the latest must-have amenity for any well-turned out luxury apartment building or condos.

Portland Police are looking for a spandex-clad road cyclist who yelled racial slurs and pepper sprayed a family of black kids. There is simply no excuse for crap like that. Ever. Period.

A 74-year old resident of a Wyoming senior home made his escape by bicycle after shooting three people before taking his own life.

The Wall Street Journal says it can be a struggle to find a bikeshare bicycle in New York at rush hour, as people are often greeted with empty racks. Probably because they’re being used to practice operatic arias.

It takes a real lowlife to steal a Mobile AL bicycle coffee cart used to raise funds and awareness for human trafficking victims.

The distracted driver accused of killing a Georgia bike rider while high on prescription drugs had two other DUIs in the last three months, and had a severe drug dependency problem for at least four years. And yet she was allowed to keep driving until she actually killed someone.

 

International

What’s the point of building what may be the world’s tallest bicycle if you can’t get the bike chains you need to ride it through the Cuban embargo? At 33 feet, it’s 13 feet taller than the current record holder, LA’s STOOPIDTALLER, which is even taller than the famous STOOPIDTALL.

Bicycles donated through World Vision and World Bicycle Relief can be key to reducing teen pregnancy and keeping girls in school in Kenya.

A Masai elder is one of us, as he leads a group of bicyclists through Tanzania as part of the 7,500 mile Tour d’Afrique.

 

Finally…

Just because no one needs a VCR anymore, don’t stuff it in a briefcase and drop it off in front of a federal courthouse while riding your bike. Mooning rush hour traffic in China.

And if you already have an outstanding felony warrant on a weapons charge, don’t ride your bike with an open booze container.

And whatever you do, don’t tell the other inmates you were subdued by an 81-year old man.

 

Weekend Links: Sentencing delayed in emotional drugged driving case, rider reportedly robbed on Ballona Creek

Before we start, here’s one video you want to watch. Trust me on this.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

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Just gotten word that the sentencing of Hasti Fakhrai-Bayrooti in the drugged driving death of cyclist Eric Billings has been delayed due to a technicality.

Fakhrai-Bayrooti unexpectedly pled guilty to a single felony count of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated last March, and was scheduled to be sentenced to up to four years in prison today. The judge delayed sentencing until June 10th to allow the defense time to review the probation report.

However, he revoked bail and remanded her into custody to be evaluated prior to sentencing.

According to the OC DA’s office, Fakhrai-Bayrooti had Xanax and Suboxone in her system when she ran down Billings’ bike from behind on March 15, 2013, as he rode in a marked bike lane on Santa Margarita Parkway in Mission Viejo.

According to My News LA, Billing’s daughter, who was six month’s pregnant when he was killed, gave birth to a son who will never know his grandfather. And one her brothers is getting married Saturday without a father to stand by his side.

Mark Billings said he too had struggled with addiction, but it was his brother’s unconditional love that helped him overcome his own drug problems.

Eric Billings “was the kind of guy who carried extra shirts and sweaters in his car to give to someone out in the cold,” Mark Billings said.

I’m told the judge wept openly in the courtroom listening to the impact statements from family members. And the court reporter recorded it all with mascara running down her face.

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Once again, there’s bad news from Ballona Creek.

A rider writing on Reddit reports that he saw another cyclist being robbed by four men on the bike path near the National/Jefferson exit Tuesday evening.

This has been an ongoing, if infrequent, problem over the years; in fact, crime alerts on the pathway date back to at least 1990.

It’s not that the bike path is particularly dangerous. However, just like any other place in the city where you’re out of public view, you have to be alert to the circumstances around you.

If you don’t feel comfortable, wait for other riders to catch up, or go back to the previous exit and ride around the problem area.

Just don’t hold your breath for the police to respond. There’s been an ongoing debate over which police agencies have jurisdiction where on the path.

And riders have complained that 911 operators can’t seem to find it on a map to send anyone, anyway.

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CiclaValley offers a preview of the next week’s Amgen Tour of California, which starts on Sunday. The Sacramento Bee explains seven things you’ll want to know about the Tour of California; eight actually, since an update mentions that Marcel Kittel has pulled out.

American Tyler Farrar is one of the riders to watch. And tour officials are working to keep the routes safe for the riders, unlike several recent racing calamities that left riders badly injured.

Meanwhile, the women in these photos finally get four days in the AToC, which started Friday. Second-year UnitedHealthcare pro Katy Hall dreams of charging up Mt. Baldy just like the men, while Alison Tetrick looks forward to joining a deep field charging through the snow.

While this year’s women’s tour is a big step forward, it’s long past time to let women racers compete on equal terms. And put them on TV, for chrissake.

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A sign on LA garbage trucks urges homeowners not to turn bike lanes into garbage lanes.

I’m told the LAPD has gotten several complaints about people blocking bike lanes with their garbage cans. And yes, that is illegal.

A new Toronto app allows riders to report cars blocking bike lanes. Maybe we need an LA version that lets us report trash cans, too.

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Local

South La Brea is making a comeback. And a local bike shop is helping lead the way.

USC’s Story Space interviews the LACBC’s Eric Bruins and Michael McDonald of Bike the Vote LA; thanks to Streetsblog LA for the link.

The Westwood Village Farmers’ Market is giving away a “sleek” new commuter bike from Helen’s Cycles to celebrate the new bike corral on Broxton Ave. Which would be the perfect place to park your bike to attend the Westwood Village Farmers’ Market. I’m just saying.

Santa Clarita hosts the free nine-mile family friendly Hit the Trail bike ride on Saturday.

Former Olympic cyclist Tony Cruz will lead Saturday’s Tour of Long Beach, with rides from 30 to 100 miles, benefitting pediatric cancer research.

Speaking of Long Beach, bike ridership is up 21% in the downtown area from 2013, suggesting that the city’s emphasis on building bike lanes is working.

Women are invited to tell their story explaining why you need a new bike, and possibly win one from Pedal Love and Made in Long Beach.

 

State

Red Kite Prayer remembers Bay Area bicycling legend Jobst Brandt, who passed away at age 80 after a long illness.

San Bernardino deputies recover a Loma Linda boy’s $1,500 stolen bike after his father discovered it for sale on Craigslist.

Bakersfield police release surveillance video of burglars who knocked off a local bike shop last month.

Great idea for a bike ride, as the San Jose Public Library host the Gira de Libro, visiting five of the city’s 23 libraries. Rumor has it that LA has public libraries, as well, though few residents have actually been inside one.

After the local Marin paper refused to even consider the possibility a bike rider might not have been at fault in a collision with an 80-year old woman, it turns out the rider did what he could to avoid hitting her. An estimated 15 to 17 mph sounds way too fast for a narrow bridge shared with pedestrians, though; we need to slow down when passing people on foot, just like drivers should slow down when passing bikes.

A Sacramento bike rider was killed in a collision with a train. By far the easiest type of wreck to avoid, since trains have to travel on tracks and have warning lights, bells and/or crossing gates to tell you they’re coming.

A Mariposa cyclist suffered major injuries when he was left crossed by a motorist; according to the comments, the victim is the principle double bass player for the local orchestra. Let’s hope makes a fast and full recovery.

 

National

Performance Bicycle is named a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Business. Then again, if a bike shop isn’t bike friendly, something is seriously wrong.

America’s biggest bike share operator has now gone into the manufacturing business.

As we’ve said before, people don’t ride on the sidewalk if they feel safe on the streets, as shown by a new protected bike lane in Honolulu that’s cut sidewalk riding by 65%.

Salt Lake will build the nation’s first protected intersection, designed to keep bike riders and pedestrians safe.

A texting teenage Chicago driver could get off the hook for hitting a cyclist because the police never read the driver her rights.

Turns out Chicago’s favorite sport of the late 1800’s wasn’t hockey or baseball. So when, if ever, is that long-rumored Major Taylor movie coming out, anyway?

Once again, a bike rider is collateral damage in a wreck between two drivers, this time in Milwaukee; the victim was an ice cream vendor on a three-wheeled bike.

Kids, don’t try this at home. An off-duty New Hampshire cop was killed riding his bike down a flight of stairs — inside a house.

 

International

The pope attends a singletrack bike fest. Oh, not that pope.

A new study from the University of Duh says bike commuters really do lose weight, as long as they ride 30 minutes each way.

Expect serious bike lust at this weekend’s Spin London bike show.

A UK court is told a cyclist killed in an unsafe pass by his own father’s truck would have survived if he had only been wearing a helmet. Which is impossible to say with any certainty, despite the investigator’s apparent certainty.

Sweden’s Princess Estelle looks like any other adorable three-year old bike rider with her pink helmet and training wheels.

A new German safety campaign encourages cyclists to wear helmets, just like Darth Vader. Do they seriously think equating a bike helmet with crossing over to the Dark Side will actually work?

As bicycling grows in Egypt, it’s even becoming safer for women to ride alone.

Bangkok cyclists call for stiffer penalties for drunk drivers in the wake of two collisions in which drivers plowed into group rides, killing four people; police promise to step up safety measures.

 

Finally…

How many times do we have to say it? If you’re riding your bike with an outstanding felony warrant, stay off the damn sidewalk in Santa Monica, already. Now you too, can have a truly tasteless bike taillight dangling from your seat, just like the big boys in their trucks; the sad thing is, it was actually funded.

And Bremerton WA police have apparently developed a new technique to stop fleeing drivers by throwing out a bike strip; no word on whether they use roadies, fixies or mountain bikes.

 

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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:

[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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/

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

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