Tag Archive for bicycle injuries

Teenage cyclist loses leg in collision, 3-foot passing law awaits Brown’s veto, and an 8-year old PCH bike reporter points a finger at Caltrans

We’ve got a lot of news to catch up on. So let’s not waste any time.

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In still more tragic news, a teenage Long Beach girl loses a leg, and nearly both, when her bike is struck by a Lexus and she’s pushed through a plate glass store window Monday afternoon.

According to the Long Beach Post, the girl was riding to the beach with her adult nephew when the Lexus allegedly ran a red light and struck another vehicle. The collision caused the Lexus to veer into the riders, who were standing with their bikes waiting for the red light to change.

Both riders were struck, though the other rider suffered less serious injuries.

In a sign of just how trivially traffic laws and dangerous drivers are treated, the driver was cited and released.

Meanwhile, his or her victim has been sentenced to a lifetime on one leg.

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AB 184, which would add one year to the statute of limitations for prosecutors to file charges once they identify a suspect in hit-and-run cases, moves forward in the state Senate.

Meanwhile, California’s third attempt at passing a three-foot passing law once again sits on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk, awaiting his signature — or perhaps a chance to veto it a third time. Texas Governor Rick Perry is the only other governor to veto a three-foot bill, and he only did it once.

There is simply no reason left to veto this watered down bill, after every objection Brown expressed to the previous versions has been addressed or removed.

So when if he vetoes it once again, I hope he’ll be honest with us and say he just doesn’t like bikes.

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Opus the Poet’s Witch on a Bicycle has long been one of my favorite bike-related websites, tracking cycling collisions and other bike news from around the world — and offering advice on how to avoid them yourself.

The collisions, not the news.

What many readers may not realize, though, is that he himself was briefly a bicycling fatality, brought back to life only by the miracle of modern medicine.

And, as he movingly explains, as a different person than he was before. Not necessarily better or worse, but very different.

It can be a damn long road back from a devastating collision, and not everyone has the courage to do it. He did, and does.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I admire that guy.

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Just heartbreaking.

Some despicable low life has stolen the bike that would been used by a San Pedro man in the cycling portion of last June’s Redondo Beach Triathlon — if he hadn’t died of a heart attack in the swimming leg that proceeded it. His adult son had been planning to ride the yellow Specialized Allez in next year’s race in his father’s honor.

If the schmuck who took it has any human decency left, he’ll put it back where he found it. If not, hopefully we can find some room for a lengthy stay behind bars for him.

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First the good news about the news, then the bad.

In a must-watch news report, an eight-year old journalist reports on Caltrans’ dangerous installation of K-rail along the shoulder of north/westbound PCH above Malibu.

The concrete barrier, installed in response to a recent brush fire in the area, dangerously forces riders in front of high speed traffic on a bend in the roadway. Funny how a child has a better sense of bike safety than the state Highway Department charged with keeping us all safe.

That is their job, isn’t it?

Then again, a group of riders recently took the lane on PCH instead of hugging the shoulder. And declared it the best bike lane in the world.

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Yellow journalism lives, as the anti-bike publisher of NELA’s Boulevard Sentinel accuses the LACBC of planning to pad the planned Eagle Rock bike count on September 14th.

Tom Topping, who has led a vociferous, if somewhat biased, opposition to planned road diet and bike lanes in Northeast LA, writes that a planned Sept. 14th bike safety class in Eagle Rock, as well as additional classes in Glendale and Pasadena, exist only so the Coalition can get unsuspecting participants to ride past the Eagle Rock bike count location scheduled for the same day.

Never mind that the two events are completely unrelated, or that the planned route for the Metro-sponsored safety classes go nowhere the bike count location. Or that the dates and times for the citywide bike count co-sponsored by the LACBC and Los Angeles Walks are the same for every neighborhood in the LA area, regardless of whether they face opposition from a local newspaper publisher intent on keeping bike lanes from besmirching his neighborhood.

Of course, by calling advance attention to this paranoid conspiracy theory, he’ll later be able to claim that he stopped the Coalition from cheating on the count when the class participants don’t go anywhere near where they never going to go in the first place.

Just like I can keep tigers away by snapping my fingers.

No, really. Haven’t seen one yet.

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Somewhere in between those two journalistic efforts, the Los Angeles News Group’s Summer of Cycling comes to a disappointing end.

The parent group of the Daily News, Press-Telegram, Daily Breeze, et al, finishes its short examination of bicycling in the Los Angeles area with a positive look back at the last 20+ years. Along with unexamined — and unchallenged — readers comments, including a call for every bicyclist to ride facing traffic.

I kid you not.

And a “can’t we all just get along” summation of the lessons learned in their feeble efforts over the past few months. One that mistakenly says bike riders must dismount and walk at crosswalks, ignoring state law that, confusing though it may be, allows bicyclists to ride along crosswalks.

The LAPD’s current interpretation of that law is that bike riders can ride in the crosswalk as long as they go in the direction of traffic; ignoring the bi-directional nature of both crosswalks and the sidewalks of which they are an extension.

Los Angeles cyclists and drivers could have both benefitted from an in-depth examination of the issues facing local cyclists and the impact of bikes on our communities. Instead, we got a series that barely skimmed the surface, offering less depth than the investigative efforts of a typical high school newspaper.

They apparently didn’t even contact any of the many bicycling advocates and city officials fighting for greater safety, acceptance and improved infrastructure for bicyclists on SoCal streets. Any series on local cycling that doesn’t mention Long Beach’s Charlie Gandy, CICLE or the LACBC, or examine the progress in Long Beach or Santa Monica, just to name a few, is a failure from the outset.

If this is the face of LA journalism, count me out.

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I’ve always wondered how any bike rider — or anyone else — could get hit by a train; a new Metro video dramatically drives it home. The Source talks with bike commuting LADOT employee Jon Overman, who helped the city score a grant for 43 miles of new bike lanes; when I started this blog, I don’t think most of the city’s traffic planners and engineers knew what a bike was, let alone actually rode one. LA’s city council takes a big step towards livability by voting to cap the 101 Freeway in Downtown LA with a park. A call for entries for Ghost Bikes of LA, a multi-media exhibition exploring the ghost bike phenomenon, hosted by red35 yellow#7. LAist offers tips for drivers and cyclists on how to survive around one another. Gary Kavanagh offers his input on the planned redesign of Santa Monica’s Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway (MANGO); loss of parking is a concern. A September 15th ride around the Santa Monica Airport is planned to consider its future after the city’s agreement with the FAA expires in 2015. Ten reasons to complete the survey for the Malibu PCH Safety Study. Pasadena police arrest two suspects for knocking a cyclist off his bike in an attempted robbery. The Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition is hosting a barbeque on Saturday, Sept. 21st to thank everyone for their support.

Cycling in the South Bay writes movingly about fallen Newport Beach rider Debra Deem. Four hundred competitors take part in the inaugural Temecula Grand Prix. A Cayucos CA driver is under arrest after allegedly running down two cyclists, killing one and critically injuring the other while under the influence; she already had an outstanding warrant for reckless driving, but apparently was allowed to remain on the road until she succeeded in killing someone. In a case that sounds like a surreal scene from a David Lynch movie, a Stockton man riding with his son is wacked eight times with a cane by a 20-something Asian man. Petaluma brothers repair bikes for the homeless. Bike riders go just partway on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge.

Twenty-nine riders have been named to the US World’s team. Family members say ‘70s cycling legend Dale Stetina is showing improvement. This is why you always carry ID with you on your bike, as an unidentified rider is killed in Wyoming. Eight months later, not a single citation has been issued under the new Dallas vulnerable road user law. A Lincoln NE bike rider ignores his injuries to aid the driver of the SUV that hit him. An Arkansas driver faces charges for the alleged distracted driving collision that took the life of a high school student on a cross country bike tour. Chicago’s bike friendly mayor shows just how friendly he is by aiding a rider who was injured in a collision. Evidently, she’s a Ramones fan, as an Ohio woman proceeds to beat on the brat with a baseball bat, oh yeah, after a 14-year old bike rider hits her in the face when she yelled an obscenity at him from her car; both were — deservedly — cited for assault. A New York state man is charged with hit-and-run after a road rider is found dead on the side of a street Sunday morning. New Jersey cracks down on New York bike riders. Boston wants to be the nation’s leading city for bicycling. If you think there’s been an increase in road raging drivers, you’re probably right. Florida confronts the state’s well-deserved killer reputation with protected and buffered bike lanes; it comes too late to help a tandem-riding couple critically injured by a hit-and-run driver.

A Vancouver area man is arrested in a fatal hit-and-run after his license plate is found next to the victim’s body; passersby tried heroically to save the victim’s life before paramedics arrived. Protesters surround the UK Parliament to protest cycling conditions; MPs respond by voting to Get Britain Cycling. Could a new London building be the ultimate weapon in the war on cars? Spandex — or rather, Lycra — clad thieves simply ride off on high-end bikes. A big hearted Liverpool cop teams with Walmart to replace a boy’s stolen bike. Clearly, hit-and-run is not just an LA problem. Tour de France riders live an average of 6.3 years longer than the general population; maybe because they get all the good drugs. Formula 1 star saves unpronounceable Spanish Euskaltel Euskadipro cycling team. New Varibike can be pedaled with feet or hands. A teenage Delhi boy is killed in a fight over bicycling courtesy; seems needlessly rude if you ask me. A young girl’s collarbone is broken in a collision with an Aussie cyclist on a shared pathway.

Finally, what it’s like to live in a town so bike friendly, even the chef at your soon to be ex-favorite restaurant can recognize a bike part in your food. You can now ride your bike up a tree. And if you’re going to walk off with the bike you just stole — complete with U-lock still attached to the rear wheel — don’t cross against the light.

Eastside teen cyclist critically injured; murder charge in last week’s Cathedral City DUI hit-and-run

The Eastsider reports a teenage bike rider was critically injured in a Glassel Park collision on Tuesday.

The student at the Alliance Environmental Science and Technology High School was making a left from westbound San Fernando Road to Fletcher Drive when he was hit by a car and dragged underneath the vehicle, suffering severe head injuries.

And no, he wasn’t wearing a helmet. In this case, it might have made a difference.

My prayers for a fast and full recovery.

Thanks to Patrick Pasqual for the heads-up.

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Twenty-seven year old Palm Springs resident Brandon Royce Melton has been charged with homicide in the DUI hit-and-run death of Edward James Shaieb in Cathedral City last Saturday.

This is Melton’s second DUI case; under California law, a previous conviction for DUI can elevate the charges to second degree murder. In addition, he faces charges for DUI, gross vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run resulting in death or injury.

Unless prosecutors completely screw up the case, he should off the streets for a very long time.

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LAist offers a list of the best bike rides in the L.A. area, including my all-time favorite L.A. ride. Great job by LAist’s Lauren Lloyd.

Meanwhile, SFist could only come up with five great rides by the Bay.

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LADOT Bike Blog implores you to stop running stop signs and red lights.

They’re right, though I might argue for different reasons; running stops greatly increases your risk of a collision — for which you’ll be found at fault — and virtually eliminates any chance of a financial recovery afterwards.

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I don’t usually link to fundraisers that benefit individuals unless they’ve been injured in riding collisions; after all, most of us could use a little help, myself included.

But I’m going to make an exception for this project for Michele Chavez, one of the top bike advocates in the Antelope Valley. She’s run out of funds after going back to school to develop the skills to work full-time in bike advocacy, and currently finds herself just under $800 short of her 4th quarter tuition.

I can personally vouch for Michele and the job she’ll do to make the world a better place for bike riders.

And maybe you followed the recent links to the heartbreaking, and ultimately triumphant, story of Patrick Brady’s newborn son. Now you can contribute to a Kickstarter project to publish a book of the Red Kite Prayer writer’s best work — some of the most beautiful bike writing anywhere — to help defray their heavy medical costs.

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The Veggie Grill is offering a free meal to anyone who bikes in during the next seven days.

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Everything you need to know for this Sunday’s CicLAvia, along with four feeder routes from South L.A. and more from the Westside. The Weekly says CicLAvia could see tightened security, including undercover cops mixed in with the crowd. And Will Campbell shows how CicLAvia can be used for an unusually pleasant bike commute.

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The LAPD asks If you see something, say something to fight terror; I wonder if that extends to the terror on our streets, where I see speeding and distracted drivers every day. USC’s Daily Trojan looks at the upcoming MyFig project, which should benefit the school’s many bike-riding students. Evidently, L.A. Street Services has figured out how to seal street surfaces without covering over sharrows, as they did in Westwood last year. Sign, sign, everywhere a sign — except on the L.A. River bike path, which will be the sight of a walk and bike-in movie on the 27th. Santa Monica will soon allow pedicabs, but not on the bike path. Popular cycling route Topanga Canyon Blvd could be designated a state scenic highway from PCH to the Ventura County Line. Another look at bike-centric Calabasas farm-to-table eatery Pedaler’s Fork, which opens next Monday, and will host the first ever Moots boutique. Black and brown bicyclists band together to demand justice in the Gardena hit-and-run that took the life of bike rider Benjamin Torres. Cyclists debate the safety of a planned two-way cycle track through Redondo Beach; thanks to Jim Lyle for the link. Long Beach will have have it’s own mini-ciclovía Thursday, courtesy of the Long Beach Grand Prix. Every bike shop should have a dog.

A call for justice for an Indio bike rider who was shot by police in a case of mistaken identity. Why shouldn’t Big Bear students ride a bike to school; why indeed? A San Diego program uses bikes to help keep ex-cons from returning to jail. If a San Diego brewer meets its Kickstarter goal, they’ll make a $2,200 donation to BikeSD. San Diego wants to know where you want a bike rack. The 28th annual Crusin’ the Conejo Bike Ride rolls through the Thousand Oaks area on May 11th. A Santa Rosa motorcyclist wasn’t at fault in a collision with a cyclist, but broke the law by fleeing the scene. An Apple bike is finally photographed in its natural habitat, and turns out to be underwhelming. Cyclelicious updates pending bike legislation in Sacramento; the much hated bill that would absolve government agencies for liability for defective bike lanes may be dead or dying. Bad grades turn a pending art school dropout to a life of bike crime.

People for Bikes is planning a bike hackfest next month. Apparently, riding can beat dementia; including the craziness of driving when you could ride. Bicycling reviews the latest city bikes. Denver city council makes bike and pedestrian safety its top budget priority. Boston cyclists will soon get enhanced sharrows. In light of the recent bombings in Boston, NYC’s Five Boro Bike Tour pulls ads showing flames at the starting line; good call. New York’s new bike share program sells 5,000 memberships in the first two days, leading New York’s bike-hating Daily News to call for panic on the streets. A road diet may be on the way for Brooklyn’s most dangerous street for pedestrians. Remarkably, a New York cyclist can’t sue for injuries following a collision with an unleashed dog, even though the owner called on the dog to cross his path. There is no war on cars, despite what some auto-centric AAA directors may tell you.

Actor Gerald Butler rides a bike share bike in Mexico. Brit bike scribe Carlton Reid provides a preview of his free e-book, the upcoming Roads Were Not Built For Cars. London’s Guardian looks at why male cyclists shave their legs; I’ve done it ever since I found myself trying to field shave a badly cut calf so I could get a bandage to stay on long enough to ride back home, besides, I’ve got the legs for it. London mayor Boris proclaims himself a wily, curb-hugging cyclist. Dutch bike riders are most likely to have their bikes stolen while shopping. Turns out Lance failed four doping controls in the ’99 TdF. Great read from the Wall Street Journal on an American woman supporting the budding yet banned women’s bike movement in Afghanistan. An Aussie rider says unsanctioned races could be the future of cycling.

Finally, the family of a fallen Albuquerque cyclist is understandably upset about repeated vandalism and theft of his ghost bike; but did they really have to post the story under Paranormal? And it turns out green bike lanes aren’t the only problem Hollywood has with today’s Downtown; it’s all those damn people.

Dangerous driver alert, cyclist critically injured in West LA, and your fresh summer solstice links

I received the following email last night, urging cyclists to be on the lookout for a dangerous driver who continues to drive despite a restricted — and possibly suspended — license.

And despite seriously injuring a cyclist in a collision late last month.

URGENT -Dangerous Driver Alert If you ride the Rockstore Loop you should be very concerned. (Agoura Road, Cornell Road, Mulholland Between Cornell & Lake Vista Dr.)

The Vehicle: 2012 Red Hyundai Elantra License 6TLN???* Damage to right front & right side. Missing right side mirror.

On 5/30/2012 @ 6:30 AM Local Cyclist Richard Harris sustained serious injuries and was Life Flighted to UCLA when he was run down from behind by a 45 MPH car while riding in the bike lane on Cornell Road � mile N of Mulholland. The 88 year old Driver of the car lives in Malibu Lake and is continuing to drive even though she has a restricted and possibly suspended license. She regularly drives back and forth between Malibu Lake & Agoura. This driver has been involved in multiple serious accidents in the last six months. The DMV has already been notified by the CHP that she needs a priority reexamination of her license. However she continues to drive in violation if the restrictions placed on her. If you see her driving call 911 so the CHP can impound her car.

*I’ve removed the last three digits of the license number to protect the online privacy of the driver; if you see a car matching that description with the first four digits of the license, contact the police and let them determine if it’s the right car.

And whatever you do, don’t try to deal with the situation yourself.

Thanks to Michael Byerts, Henry Hsieh and Steve Herbert for the heads-up.

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A UC Berkeley and Santa Monica College student is critically injured in a collision with an SUV while riding her bike home last week. Tragically, her mother and sister discovered her lying in the street no more than a minute after the collision; she’s reportedly doing well, despite suffering life-threatening injuries.

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Once again, the great helmet debate rears its ugly head. This time in our neighbor to the north.

No, further north.

The Ontario, Canada chief coroner gets it right by saying all of the 129 cycling deaths in the province since 2006 could have been prevented. And responds by calling for a 14-point plan to prevent bicycling deathsincluding a mandatory helmet law.

And that’s where the argument starts.

A writer for the National Post says prove helmets are effective before making them mandatory, while Quebec pediatricians call for a law mandating helmet use for children.

The Toronto Star says the coroner is right, while a Toronto writer likes most of the suggestions, except for that damn helmet law. Windsor cyclists say it’s a matter of choice; the local paper calls for better education — and maybe mandatory helmets. The Ottawa Citizen says it should be an adult’s choice, which is exactly my take on the subject, even though I never ride without one.

Meanwhile, cyclists call for easing British Columbia’s helmet law, while a letter writer says they must be brain dead. The Daily News says repealing the law would send the wrong message, noting the outcry that would occur if the requirement to wear a seat belt was withdrawn.

Then again, unlike bike helmets, seat belts are designed to offer protection in crashes above 12.5 mph.

And an Anchorage AK writer suggests bike lanes would do more to make riders safe than requiring — or even wearing — helmets.

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The San Francisco cyclist charged with killing a pedestrian while allegedly trying to beat his time on Strava enters a not guilty plea. Meanwhile, the family of a fallen cyclist files suit against Strava for encouraging dangerous riding. And Strava changes their terms and conditions to absolve themselves of any responsibility for anything anyone does using their service; good luck with that.

And Dave Moulton wisely advises riders not to play pretend racer on city streets — and somehow does it without using the words jerk, idiot or anything derived from four-letter words; I’m not sure I could show that kind of restraint.

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Bike share takes to the streets in Salt Lake City and New York, where the Post calls it a money-wasting crazed campaign backed by cycling-advocate groups and their stooges.

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The bikelash rises in an attempt to stop a planned road diet on Honolulu Ave in Glendale, so City Council members delay a decision until July 10th. A writer for Patch explains the arguments for and against.

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As noted here last week, Heal the Bay and Mountains Restoration Trust are calling for mountain bikers to help clean up sections of Malibu Creek State Park to remote to reach on foot this Saturday. The LA Sheriff Cycling Team hosts 350 riders for the second annual Ride 2 Recovery Honor Ride; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up. The long awaited Main Street bike lanes are on their way, while the Source questions whether it’s legal to park in them; short answer, not in Los Angeles, where parking in bike lanes in banned by local ordinance — even if the police don’t seem to know that. Over 200 riders took part in this year’s L.A. World Naked Bike Ride. L.A. riders recreate the famous flying bike scene from E.T. — without the flying, of course. Letter writers to the Times call for protecting pedestrians from cyclists, although one notes that you can’t blame all riders for the actions of a few. Richard Risemberg discovers the Graffiti Bridge. Four Santa Monica schools will take part in the Safe Routes to Schools program.

A harrowing report on a left-cross collision from Orange County’s cdmCyclist; oddly, the badly injured rider found a link to his own collision right here. San Clemente is seeking funding to develop smart bicycling signs riders can scan with a cell phone to get local information. A San Diego writer says biking in that city means literally risking his life, while another is stunned to discover cyclists have a right to use the whole lane. Two San Mateo men are charged with deliberately running two boys off the road, as well as threatening them with a knife. Three years in San Quentin and a lifetime driving ban for a Saratoga hit-and-run driver with one prior DUI. Sadly, the retiring Sonoma State University professor severely injured by a hit-and-run driver — who said he didn’t stop because he had to get to work — has died of his injuries. A not guilty plea from an accused Bay Area hit-and-run driver with three prior DUIs; why is someone with a record like that even allowed on the road? BART police arrest a Major bike thief.

AASHTO, the national association of state departments of transportation, updates its guidelines but leaves out cycle tracks. A Portland cyclist credits the movie 127 Hours with inspiring him to climb back up a ravine with a broken neck, eight broken ribs and both lungs punctured after he rode off the road at 41 mph. Grim stars join in on Portland’s partly naked bike ride. Issaquah firefighters buy a new bike for a 4th grade boy after his is broken by a careless driver. In a bizarre twist, a Washington town may not be able to afford its mandatory helmet law; thanks again to George Wolfberg for the link. Colorado’s Attorney General seizes $300,000 worth of bogus bike parts and jerseys; this is why you have to be careful about buying from unknown sources. Cyclists are divided on installing a protected bikeway in Lincoln NE. Springfield Cyclist looks back on a successful Ride the Rockies. It’s time to take back the bike lane in Chicago. Dottie of Let’s Go Ride a Bike declares jerk driver season officially open; it takes a real jerk to steal a bike from a Michigan boy with cerebral palsy. The police chief of Grand Rapids MI crashes into two boys on a bike. A New York paper points out pedestrians have little to fear from us pedalists, but everyone has to worry about cars. Why do police always assume a cyclist simply fell over when they find a badly injured rider on the road; sideswiping a rider could also result in serious injuries without damaging the bike.

Canada’s transport minister rejects a requirement for trucks to have side guards to protect cyclists and pedestrians; evidently, saving lives isn’t worth offending the trucking lobby. An Alberta cyclist asks local residents to control their dogs. The Economist says more UK residents are riding bikes, but it’s still a niche activity. London’s Boris Bikes bike share program is swindled out of £42,000. It takes a real schmuck to steal a man’s bike after he suffers a heart attack while riding. A 13-year old UK bike rider is killed by a driver racing his girlfriend at 80 mph, after his car flips and hits two girls riding on a bike path. With more people riding bikes, the Irish Times questions just how safe their streets really are. Even in Israel, deeply observant riders can’t compete in the national championships because their held on the Sabbath.

Finally, your next bicycle could fly; no, really. And a Massachusetts cyclist has his bike and jewelry stolen by a sausage-wielding attacker.

Update: 3 cyclists hospitalized after Seal Beach DUI hit-and-run; Palms Desert cyclist critically injured

Over the weekend, I heard numerous reports of a bad hit-and-run collision on PCH in the Seal Beach area Saturday morning.

It wasn’t until Sunday night, though, that I received an email from a member of Long Beach’s Lightning Velo bike club confirming that three cyclists participating in the club’s Saturday Social Ride had been sent to the hospital with moderate to serious injuries.

Fortunately, none were life-threatening, and the driver was quickly apprehended; I’m told this was her 2nd DUI offense.

From the reports on our email group – Our ‘C’ group (the slower group) was on Pacific Coast Highway on Saturday, in Seal Beach, near the Taco Surf going into Sunset Beach.  The bike lane is very wide there and our group was riding 2 wide completely in the bike lane. A driver swerved into the bike lane and hit several riders and then swerved back to the left and drove away from the scene. The group got a good description of the car and also had the side mirror in their possession. They reported it to the Seal Beach police, who spread the word and the Huntington Beach police were able to locate the car.  The police went back and got two of our riders to identify the vehicle. The driver failed a sobriety test (This was before 10AM!).

One of the cyclists involved stated today: “The Seal Beach police officer, Joe Garcia, is going to bring me my bike today, which is supposed to be in pretty bad shape. The officer stated that the driver was not only drunk, but she had cocaine and prescription meds in her car to go along with her two felony warrants and the hit and run. The case # is: 12-0246, in case anyone would like it.”

Three of our riders went to the hospital and two stayed overnight.  One reportedly had elbow surgery for a bad break. Another has a severe bruises & road rash all over, sprained elbow & ankle, neck & head trauma, and a concussion. The 3rd has a broken right thumb, hairline fracture of the pelvis, a large hematoma on his right hip, road rash, pain in his neck & back. All in all, they are VERY lucky to be alive.

We are discussing as a club how we can take our concerns to the justice system. This person should be taken off the roads.

It’s long been my belief that every hit-and-run driver should automatically lose their driver’s license — not suspended, but permanently revoked, since they’ve shown themselves unfit to be behind the wheel by failing to observe one of the most basic legal requirements for any driver.

Or any human being, for that matter.

I think any car used in a hit-and-run should be impounded as evidence until a trial is held. If the driver is convicted, the vehicle should be seized by the state and sold, with the proceeds going to the victim.

After all, we don’t let bank robbers keep the gun they used to commit the crime. And California law already allows seizure of a vehicle if it’s used in a drug crime or to solicit a prostitute.

Isn’t a hit-and-run that leaves an innocent person bloodied or dead in the street just a little more serious than asking a hooker for a blow job?

My prayers and best wishes go out to all the cyclists injured in this case; it was a large hematoma that laid me up for three months after the Infamous Beachfront Bee Encounter, and it was at least that long before my head finally cleared from the effects of the concussion I suffered.

So I know just how serious those injuries can be.

And I wouldn’t wish road rash on my worst enemy.

Update: An anonymous source identifies the driver as Juli Ann Brown. Brown reportedly was convicted of two separate DUI counts in 2003, one for drug use and another for a blood alcohol level greater than .08. In a sign of just how lenient  the courts are in what should be a serious crime, she was sentenced to just 10 days in jail — which as then stayed — 90 days of driving restriction, and fines and restitution. In addition, she was required to attend a nine month alcohol treatment program and a MADD victim impact panel.

In other words, not one day in jail. And she had her license back in just three months.

No wonder people continue to die when the courts refuse to get drunks off the road.

The Seal Beach Police Department is looking for more witnesses; contact Officer Joe Garcia directly at (562) 799-4100, ext. 1649

Update: The Orange County Register reports that Brown, a 46-year old resident of Anchorage, Alaska, has been arrested on suspicion of hit-and-run, suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of narcotics. She was arrested by Huntington Beach police near the intersection of PCH and 17th Street in Huntington Beach. Thanks to Duan Dao for the link.

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In related news, a Palm Desert cyclist was sent to the hospital in critical condition after a collision at Portola Avenue and Frank Sinatra Drive at 11:18 Sunday morning; no other information is available at this time. Also, a San Diego cyclist suffered a serious arm injury when he was hit by an 85-year old driver in a left cross around 1:20 pm Saturday.

And I’ve received an unconfirmed report — from a very reliable source — about a cyclist struck by a hit-and-run around 6 am Friday in Laguna Beach; let me know if you have any information.

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The call for bike safety inspired by the Times of London spreads, with a must-read letter from a business writer for the Independent to UK Transport Minister Mike Penning.

I should say, Mr Penning, I am also a motorist – or at least I was before I was seriously disabled by that tanker. And I can tell you that, as a motorist in London, the thing I’m afraid of is other motorists, not cyclists. That is because other motorists can hurt me even when I’m in a car. And when I’m on a bike, they can kill me.

Meanwhile, a New Zealand paper calls for taking cycleways — and cyclists — seriously.

Cyclists, in particular those who commute, are not obscure oddball hobbyists; they are the trailblazers of a transport future whom we should applaud and accommodate.

And be careful what you wish for — the new call for bike safety could go a little too far.

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After dragging his name through the mud for the past several years, we’ll never know the truth after federal investigators drop their investigation into seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong. However, even though US cycling officials welcome the end of the probe, the doping investigation may go on.

But do we really care?

Then again, by the time you read this, we may finally know the outcome of the Contador clembuterol-tainted meat case. Or not.

Update: In a major shock, Alberto Contado has joined Floyd Landis in being stripped of 2010 Tour de France title, and has been banned for two years. Très surpris!

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The Westside Cities Council of Governments wants your opinion on closing gaps in Westside bikeways. Rick Risemberg writes in praise of the new Main Street road diet and bike lanes in Venice, and suggests turning bus benches into bike racks. How can we stop bike thefts when police are doing the stealing? More grants for environmental projects — including bike paths — goes to NorCal than SoCal. Pomona plans a ciclovia of their own.

Frank Peters of cdmCyclist takes a ride up the coast. A San Diego cyclist may never walk again after he was run down by a 76-year old driver who never knew she hit him. Some schmuck fled the scene after running down three girls walking on a Ventura County bike path. Police say 70% of people killed in Petaluma in the last 25 years have died from traffic collisions, and 30% from criminal attacks; evidently, no one ever dies from accidents or other causes in Petaluma.

This year’s Ride the Rockies will travel 442 miles across the Colorado high country through two national parks, five mountain passes and the highest continuous road in the U.S. An Amarillo banker fights bikeway improvements in the city. A Louisville KY family moves two-and-a-half miles to a new home by bike. A Baton Rouge engineer says it’s time to put the brakes on the bicycling movement, and blames a biased liberal press for pushing it; an LSU Ph.D candidate seems a little more rational. Pennsylvania’s Governor signs a four-foot passing bill into law, unlike California’s governor who doesn’t seem to think we deserve three. A 79-year old PA woman gets a whopping $500 fine and six months suspended license for killing a popular Bethlehem bike advocate. A New York writer says it’s time to stop accepting the culture of traffic deaths. Writing in Bicycling, a copy editor for the Washington Post says you can’t trust other people to do the right thing. In a heartbreaking story, a 68-year old South Carolina man is killed while riding a tandem with his wife.

An Ontario study shows you’re three times more likely to have a collision in a roundabout than a signalized intersection — but three times less likely to be injured if you do. Ottawa authorities throw the book at an alleged drunk driver who critically injured a cyclist. Even so, cycling may make you a happier person. Some Japanese cyclists will be forced from the roads and onto a bike path. Eight years later, a daughter complains about the lack of justice in a notorious hit-and-run case that took the life of her father.

Finally, a great photo of a cyclist walking his bike through the weekend blizzard in the plains states.

Bad day in San Diego area, as one cyclist is killed and another critically injured

Just heartbreaking.

A 77-year old cyclist was killed while riding past a school in Chula Vista Thursday morning, and another cyclist suffered life-threatening injuries in a second collision Thursday afternoon.

In the first case, the victim was riding past Chula Vista’s Rice Elementary School when an employee of the school, described only as “elderly,” pulled out of the parking lot around 8:30 am, hitting the cyclist with her Jeep Cherokee. The rider, whose name has been withheld, was taken to a nearby hospital where he died about an hour later.

It’s unsure if the driver will face charges, though the police note the victim did have the right-of-way.

This is the 5th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in San Diego County. And we’re less than three weeks into the new year.

In the second case, a cyclist in his mid 40’s was riding in the bike lane on Sorrento Valley Blvd east of Whispering Heights Lane when he was rear-ended by a Toyota driven by a 75-year old woman about 1:05 pm.

The San Diego Union Tribune reports the rider was thrown from his bike and run over by the car, which ended up against a tree with the unconscious cyclist trapped underneath. A police spokesman said at least three witnesses saw the collision; one told police the driver was using a cell phone just before the collision.

According to the paper, doctors say he will be a paraplegic if he survives.

My heart and prayers to both victims and their loved ones.

Update: The victim has been identified as Robert Howard Marshall of Chula Vista, a 20-year Navy veteran of Korea and Vietnam. He leaves behind his wife, four children, 10 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

That’s what’s so heartbreaking about any traffic fatality. It’s not a statistic, but a real human being with a life and loved ones. And whose death leaves a huge hole that can never be filled in the live of everyone who knew him.

Thanks to Philip Young for forwarding the identification.

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A couple of other quick notes.

A memorial service will be held for Hollywood writer/producer Carol Schreder at noon Sunday, March 4th at the Aero Theater at Montana and 14th in Santa Monica. As you may recall, she was killed by an out-of-control van on Mulholland Hwy in the Malibu Hills last month; at last word, the CHP was still unwilling to take action against the driver, despite repeated reports that he was speeding and driving recklessly prior to the collision.

Bike advocate Richard Risemberg, aka Mr. Bicycle Fixation, writes to remind us about this weekend’s midnight bike movies at the Vista Theater in Silverlake, with four short films all set in the world of L.A. bicycling.

Finally, congratulation to new LACBC board members Herbie Huff, Lynn Ingram and Efren Moreno. Alex Amerri was elected board president at the board meeting on Wednesday, with Steve Boyd as Vice President and Greg Laemmle elected Treasurer; Scott Moore continues as Secretary. Alex replaces outgoing President Chet Kostrzewa, who has done a great job guiding the Coalition through a period of rapidly expanding influence over the past few years and will be very missed.

My apologies to everyone looking for an analysis of last year’s cycling fatalities, as I had promised on Twitter Thursday. Unfortunately, today’s bad news takes precedence; barring any further breaking news, I’ll have the story online Monday. Look for some very surprising findings, including the possibility that neither L.A. or the door zone is as dangerous as you might think.

Drunken Long Beach fire captain suffers a severe slap on the wrist

Is a single year in county lockup sufficient penalty for nearly killing a cyclist with a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit?

An Orange County judge seems to think so.

Yesterday, Santa Ana Superior Court judge Erick Larsh sentenced Long Beach fire captain John David Hines to four years and four months in state prison — then suspended the sentence in lieu of one year in the Orange County jail and five years probation.

Reports could not be confirmed that Hines responded by grabbing his wrist and yelling “Ow!”

And yes, that’s slightly bridled sarcasm, as I find myself censoring what I’d really like to say.

It was almost three months ago that Hines pleaded guilty to three felony counts — driving under the influence, driving with a blood alcohol level in excess of .08, and hit-and-run, as well as sentencing enhancements for having a BAC over .20 and causing great bodily injury.

Those charges stemmed from a bloody, drunken and reportedly urine-soaked April Fools Day episode that left cyclist Jeffrey Gordon struggling for his life.

And no, it wasn’t the least bit funny.

The scion of a leading Long Beach firefighting family, Hines spent the morning drinking at the Schooner or Later bar in Long Beach before climbing behind the wheel of his truck and attempting to drive home, despite a BAC measured at .24 over two hours later.

The legal limit in California is .08.

The bar should bear at least some responsibility for allowing Hines to get that drunk at their hands. Let alone letting him drive after serving him so much alcohol knowing full well how drunk he had to be at that point.

I hope Gordon has a great lawyer; if not, I’ll be happy to recommend a few. If there’s any justice, he’ll own the bar before this is done.

And hopefully, the first thing he’ll do is change that damn name.

As he reportedly wove his way across the roadway on Westminster Blvd, Hines lost control of his truck, drifting into the bike lane to hit Gordon’s bike from behind at an estimated 60 mph. The rider was thrown 70 feet through the air before landing in a crumpled, bloody heap.

His injuries were severe enough to require two weeks hospitalization, as well as limited mobility, and speech and memory loss that continues to this day. Then again, given the speed and severity of the impact, it’s a miracle Gordon survived at all.

Meanwhile, Hines continued to make his merry way to his Huntington Beach home, either unaware or unconcerned that he had nearly killed another human being. He was followed by two witnesses who reported his location to the police.

According to the Belmont Shore – Naples Patch, Billy Chisholm was a passenger in one of those pursuing vehicles.

“I was sick to my stomach the whole time,” Chisholm recalled. “He just hit him and left him to die like he was a skunk in the road. He had to have known he hit him because his truck was all busted up. That was a human being he left there to die. It’s not right.”

When police arrived, they found Hines in an obvious state of drunkenness, with a strong urine odor coming from his clothes. His parked pickup showed major damage to the front-end and hood — including blood spatter from the victim.

As so many scoundrels do these days, he immediately entered rehab after his release from jail, spending over five months in an alcohol rehabilitation facility.

Like Schrodinger’s Cat, whether that was a badly needed attempt to gain control over his apparent alcoholism or a blatant attempt at gaining leniency from the court depends on your perspective.

He also served a 90-day diagnostic evaluation — make that 86 days — in state prison to determine whether he is suitable to serve a sentence in the state penitentiary.

Maybe I’m just not up on current sentencing practices. But I doubt many gangbangers or bank robbers enjoy such sensitivity from the judge after pleading guilty.

Then again, not many felons come from such prominent fire fighting families.

And last but not least, Hines was ordered to pay $102,000 in restitution — most of which has already been eaten up in medical costs.

According to the Los Alamitos Patch, Gordon prepared a written victim impact statement to be considered at sentencing.

“I am a very active person who enjoys being outdoors with my family. I also have a very mentally and physically demanding job that I love. All of that was taken from me in just seconds.

“As a result of the impact, I was seriously injured, receiving an 18-centimeter head laceration, cranial bleeding, three broken vertebrae, a bruised kidney and multiple cuts, scrapes, and contusions over a large area of my body. Medical expenses are piling up from the long hospital stay and treatment from so many specialists… so far reaching nearly $65,000. The doctors are not yet sure when or if I will recover enough to return to full duty at work or to the quality of life that I had before.

“I have found myself becoming more and more upset by the possibility that the negligence of another person may have lasting effects on me, but the person who is responsible may suffer little or no consequences for his actions.”

An anonymous source who was in the courtroom for part of the sentencing hearing offers this assessment of Hines professional position, who has been severely criticized by many — including me — for causing exactly the sort of injuries he was trained to treat.

I wish to point out that although Hines undoubtedly responded as part of a pre-hospital care team to the type of vehicular crime he committed, he was not the one who would have been providing hands-on care to patients.  As a captain, he directed others on the response team.  In fact, Hines is not a paramedic; he holds only an EMT certificate (pending review), and this is probably the bare minimum medical education requirement for a person of his position within his agency.  At EMT level, he cannot even administer painkillers.  With his certification, he would not likely be the one in the back of an ambulance with a puking head trauma victim like the one he created last April, because injuries of that magnitude require paramedic-level response.  He could monitor vitals and provide oxygen in such situations, and that’s about it.

My opinion is that his interest in public safety is less about his interest, if any, in humanity than in the salary & inherent reputation of a firefighter, and the protection that such a reputation affords him as an alcoholic.  But this is just an opinion.

Meanwhile, the OC Weekly offers a scathing report on the lenient sentence.

As they suggest, current jail overcrowding problems make it highly unlikely Hines will serve the full year, joining local public enemy #1 Lindsey Lohan in the revolving door of SoCal jurisprudence.

And I’m sure her wrist is just as sore.

On the other hand, Hines acted as self-appointed judge and jury in sentencing the victim to a possible life sentence of disability.

As disgusted as I am by the apparent leniency, I honestly don’t know if a long prison sentence is the right answer in this particular case.

Alcoholism is an illness, and punishment in prison will do little or nothing to reform a dangerous drunk and return him to a productive member of society.

But I do know that until judges start taking cases like this seriously — and impose sentences that will serve as a warning and deterrence to other drivers — we’ll continue to experience the ongoing carnage on our streets.

And not everyone will be as lucky as Gordon.

Mandeville cyclists Jerry Browned, Dr. Thompson appeal denied, fight for your Expo bike station

Just a few quick notes before we get this week started.

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First up, I received word over the weekend about another dangerous incident in Mandeville Canyon.

A group of cyclists were descending the canyon at speed when they were Jerry Browned — passed too closely, in honor of our misguided governor’s veto of the three-foot passing law — at a high rate of speed by a Maserati Quattropote in what sounds like a deliberate assault.

Fortunately, the riders were all able to remain upright, and no one was injured.

But be careful out there.

It sounds like we’ve got a Dr. Thompson wannabe out there.

Update: I’ve heard from one of the cyclists involved, who promises full details on his own blog in the nest day or two. I’ll include the link as soon as it’s available.

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Speaking of the Good Doctor, word came over the weekend that the California Supreme Court has refused to hear his appeal. That means, barring any unexpected developments, he can be expected to serve out his term.

Which may have been what set out the Maserati owner, who may have been a neighbor of L.A.’s biking boogeyman.

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Frequent contributor Jim Lyle forwarded an email looking for more information about a cycling collision over the weekend.

The accident occurred shortly before noon yesterday (Saturday).  I believe the biker was turning left onto PV Blvd from Malaga Cove Plaza.  The car that hit him was turning left onto PV Drive West after coming downhill from PV Drive North.  The car should have stopped at the stop sign.  I saw the biker on the small grassy median being treated by paramedics.  The white car was parked 5 car lengths beyond the stop sign.  The left half of the front windshield was shattered.  There was an ambulance and a fire truck but no media.

Let me know if you find any news about the accident.

Let’s keep the rider in our prayers. If you have any news — hopefully good — about the incident, let me know.

And the Orange County Register reports that a mountain biker was airlifted out of Modjeska Canyon on Saturday with a possible head injury; no word on the condition of the rider.

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Rex Reese forwards the obituary for Frederik Meijer, founder of the Midwest retailing giant. And more pertinent to our discussion, the man who helped start a network of hiking and biking trails in western Michigan.

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Finally, Steve Herbert invites you to join the Culver City Bicycle Coalition in fighting for the previously planned bike station at the Culver City Expo Station, which is in danger of being cut from the plans.

You can express your concerns at the next meeting of the Expo Line Construction Authority:

December 1st, 2:30pm
Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
500 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Board of Supervisors’
Hearing Room 381B

And he forwards a look at a new ad on the Culver City green buses, which expresses an attitude I think most of us share.

A bloody few days in Long Beach — two cyclists critically injured, one intentionally

This has not been a good few days for Long Beach cyclists.

Two riders are critically injured — one because a driver ran a red light, the other because he was intentionally run down by a driver following a dispute.

In the first case, a 67 year old man, who has not been publicly identified, was riding east on Bixby Road at Cherry Avenue around 11 am Friday when he was hit by a pickup traveling south on Cherry. The Press Telegram reports that the driver of the pickup apparently ran the red light.

The rider was rushed to the hospital, where he remains in critical condition. The 66-year old driver was not charged at the scene; however the investigation continues. Anyone with information is asked to call Long Beach Police Department Accident Investigation’s detectives at 562-570-7355.

In the second, and in some ways, more serious case, the Press Telegram reports that a cyclist is clinging to life at a local hospital after being intentionally hit by a motorist, who then fled the scene.

The incident occurred around 3:20 Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of Bellflower Blvd and 23rd Street, following a dispute between the cyclist and a driver.

According to KCBS-2, there’s no word on what caused the dispute. However, the victim, who again was not publicly identified, was described as a homeless man who was known to be aggressive and violent.

The station says some accounts — they don’t say whether from the driver or independent witnesses — have lead police to believe that the victim may have attacked the driver by reaching into his van.

The Press Telegram writes that witness followed the van for several blocks before flagging down a police officer who detained the driver and eventually arrested him for assault with a deadly weapon.

Remarkably, KCBS disputes that account, not only reporting that the driver turned himself in, but that he may not face charges.

Running an unarmed man over with a van is not self-defense, and even belligerent homeless people have a right to live. Unless the driver can prove he was attacked in an unprovoked assault, then inadvertently struck the victim in an attempt to get away, he should face an assault charge.

Or murder if the rider doesn’t make it.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Long Beach Police Department’s Accident Investigations Detail at 562-570-7357.

Meanwhile, the KCBS story is so different from the Press Telegram article that it raises serious questions, going out of their way to paint the driver as the real victim.

Did they uncover the story that the local paper missed? Or are they letting a bias against the victim — the real victim — color their story?

It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds.

Thanks to Rex Reese for the tip.

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