Tag Archive for bicycling fatalities

Morning Links: Life is cheap, as killer Palm Desert and Paso Roble drivers get off with gently slapped wrists

The May BikinginLA LACBC Membership drive is up to nine new members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. But we really need to pick up the pace if we’re going to reach 100 new or renewing members before the end of this month. So sign up now and let’s get this into double figures today.

Even if you’re already a member, you can renew to extend your membership to support biking in the City of Angeles, and get some great bike swag courtesy of the LACBC.

And a huge thank you to everyone who’s joined so far.

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Once again, the universal Get Out of Jail Free Card worked its magic, as an 81-year old Palm Desert woman walked after admitting to killing a 73-year old handcyclist last year.

Judy Mae Purcell pled guilty plea to a single misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence in the January, 2015 death of Rose Peters, just as her trial was set to begin.

And as usual, she got off on probation by claiming she just didn’t see Peters before she left-crossed her, even though Peters, who was in a bike lane, was riding with the right-of-way.

Purcell received three years probation, and may lose her driver’s license; she also says it’s had a big impact on her life.

Purcell elected to speak at her sentencing, tearfully telling Lee and Peters (Peter’s daughters), “There’s nothing I can really say, I’m just so sorry.” She said the crash was “truly an accident. I just didn’t see her. I’ve lost a lot of friends over this,” Purcell told them. “I relive that minute every day of my life. Every night, you’re in my prayers.”

At least she’s been held accountable in other ways. Oceanside lawyer Richard Duquette, a cyclist himself, forwards word that Peters’ family has reached a substantial, but undisclosed, settlement in the case.

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A 20-year old Paso Robles driver got off almost as easy, as he’s sentenced to just 75 days in jail and 50 hours of community service for killing an LA cyclist and severely injuring a second rider in a 2014 collision.

That’s despite a long history of traffic violations, and being on probation for a speeding conviction at the time of the crash.

Joseph Mondo was driving a massive GMC Yukon when his phone slipped off his lap, where it shouldn’t have been to begin with. When he looked down to retrieve it, he nearly struck a vehicle stopped to make a left turn, barely avoiding it by swerving onto the right shoulder at 60 mph.

Then, in an astounding display of carelessness and stupidity, he once again took his eyes off the road to find his phone, this time killing 62-year old Los Angeles resident Lee Hekyung Craig, as well as leaving her riding companion, 59-year old Newport Beach surgeon Lawrence Chong, with life-changing injuries.

As Chong said,

“What hurts the most is that I lost (Craig) because of the negligence on the part of someone else,” Chong said, according to the report. “All he had to do was pull over after he nearly rear-ended a car while reaching for his phone. If he had done so, my life would still be good and I would still have Lee. Instead my life is now a mess.”

Granted, Mondo seems to get it.

When he was interviewed by a probation officer following his no-contest pleas, Mondo reportedly said: “What happened has happened. If I could change places, I would. It has changed my life. Someone’s life was lost. I do not need to argue my innocence. I am guilty. I want to move on with my life. I will deal with the repercussions as they come.”

Then again, Craig will never get to move on with her life and Chong may never regain the life he had, while Mondo may have a sore wrist for a few days from the slap the judge gave it.

This is what happens when traffic crimes and prior tickets aren’t taken seriously.

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Grand Rapids MI unveils a new $600,000 bike safety campaign, urging motorists and bicyclists to obey the law and look out for one another.

Although the TV spot does look kind of familiar.

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Local

A 0.8-mile stretch of Van Nuys Blvd in Pacoima will get a road diet, with a buffered bike lane on one side and a parking-protected lane on the other, connecting to the San Fernando Road rail-with-trail bike path on the north end. Part of the city’s Great Streets Initiative, the Complete Streets makeover is intended to reduce speeding and improve safety on one of the city’s most dangerous streets.

LA City Councilmember Joe Buscaino argues that part of the Metro R2 transportation funds should be used to repair LA’s crumbing streets since they form the foundation for all other elements of the transportation system, including bicycles. One of the city’s most bike friendly elected officials, Buscaino will be honored with the Golden Spoke Award at this year’s Blessing of the Bicycles at Good Samaritan Hospital.

Speaking of Good Samaritan, Downtown News profiles Good Sam CEO and dedicated bike commuter Andy Leeka. And a pretty nice guy too, if I say so myself; thanks to Richard Risemberg for the link.

The LA Weekly lists Sunday’s semi-inaugural Los Angeles Bicycle Festival at Grand Park as one of their 21 things to do this week. Although it’s not on Metro’s list of Bike Month events.

Bicycling recommends the annual 30-mile Stan’s Bike Shop/Eastside Bike Club’s Tour de Tacos as one of the 27 best places to find tacos in the US. But they somehow failed to include the Trump Towers taco bowl.

Ride with Metro and Bike SGV to the Huntington Library and Gardens this afternoon.

Wolfpack Hustle’s annual Shortline Crit rolls tomorrow in Long Beach.

Also on Saturday, Finish the Ride and Velo Studio will host a free Tour de Griffith Park: An Introduction to Safe and Fun Riding.

Team LACBC will host a training ride for this year’s Climate Ride tomorrow, heading up Glendora Mountain Road before visiting The Donut Man on the return leg.

 

State

Laguna Beach mountain bikers get to ride with their heroes.

Fortunately, an Apple Valley bike rider was sitting upright and talking after being hit by a pickup Wednesday night.

As if dodging dangerous drivers isn’t bad enough, Turlock police are looking for a man who stabbed a bike rider in the chest in an apparently random and unprovoked attack.

The Menlo Park city council votes to keep El Camino Real dangerous by sending plans for bike lanes back for further study until neighboring cities agree on a common design. “Sending plans back for further studies” usually means they don’t want to piss off motorists by approving it, but don’t want to piss off bike riders by saying no, either.

Sacramento police are looking for the owners of 60 stolen bikes that were recovered when a bike thief was busted.

 

National

Bike riders may be the only ones enjoying the closure of a Seattle viaduct. Meanwhile, you know Seattle’s bikeshare program is in trouble when the people responsible for running it aren’t even members, despite a discount for city employees.

After a cyclist competing in New Mexico’s Tour of Gila broke his bike crashing into a pile of riders who collided with a dog, he traded bikes with a fan and finished the race on an ‘80s era Specialized stump jumper. No word on how the dog made out, though.

Des Moines IA police are looking for two men who attacked a 65-year old bike rider for no apparent reason.

A new report says bicycling is booming in New York City, up a whopping 320% since 1990, even though advocates say the city isn’t doing enough to protect cyclists and keep up with demand. Which just goes to show what can happen when you build an actual bicycling network rather than a few nice lanes here and there.

Count Woody Allen, who used to be funny, among those who think New York has done too much to accommodate bike riders and that bike lanes don’t belong anywhere in his upscale Upper East Side neighborhood. But he’s likely to get them whether he likes it or not.

A Pennsylvania bike rider is charged with stabbing a man who he claims stole his bike.

 

International

A new international study confirms that the health benefits of bicycling and walking far outweigh the risks from pollution. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

A British man gets seven years for the drunken hit-and-run death of a cyclist; he initially told police his car had been stolen and someone else was driving it, leading to the false arrest of an innocent man.

If you build it, they will come. This tweet really says it all about a new London bikeway in the shadow of Big Ben.

Researchers hope da Vinci’s DNA can explain his genius, which included sketching out a bicycle centuries before they were invented.

Bikes are the star of a planned Oslo office building.

An Indian man got a bizarre 10-petaled flower-shaped cataract in one eye following a helmetless collision with a car.

A Taiwan proposal would classify ebikes as scooters, requiring riders to have a helmet and a license.

 

Finally…

Nothing like a $341 40-mile ride in the rain. I don’t care what they say, it’s not a bike friendly town if kids are barred from riding bikes to school.

And luxury hotels may be fascinating, but you’re better off watching the road.

 

Update: Fontana bike rider killed in early morning collision; no details available

A bike rider was killed in a collision in Fontana early this morning, though no details appear to be available at this time.

The San Bernardino Sun reports the driver of a car struck a person riding a bike near the intersection of Sultana Avenue and Foothill Boulevard around 1 am Wednesday morning.

There was no information on the identity of the victim, or how the collision occurred.

A story from the Fontana Herald News says the vehicle crashed on the side of the road after hitting the rider, and shows a photo of a silver sedan smashed against a light pole.

This is the 18th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in San Bernardino County. It’s also the fourth bicycling death in Fontana since 2011.

Update: Not surprisingly, the driver has been arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence. He reportedly drifted into the bike lane, knocking the victim onto the hood of his car, then catapulting him 40 feet after striking the light pole. 

The unidentified victim was pronounced dead at the scene. He’s described only as a Hispanic man in his 40s or 50s, who was riding a red bicycle.

Anyone who may know the identity of the victim is urged to call Fontana police at 909-350-7700.

Update 2: The San Bernardino coroner’s office has identified the victim as 67-year Rafael Macias Herrera of Fontana.

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

Morning Links: An in-depth look at PCH bike wrecks, helmets make you blow up balloons, and they’re onto us

Let’s take a look at one of Southern California’s most popular riding routes.

And one of the most dangerous.

Ed Ryder* has taken a remarkable look at bicycling collisions on the coast highway, sifting through 12 years of SWITRS data complied by the CHP from 2004 through September, 2015. And by whatever name it’s known as it winds through San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles Counties, whether Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), Highway 1, Route 1, Coast Highway or Route 101.

Although you’d think someone, somewhere, would have the good sense to pick one name and stick with it.

As Ryder is quick to point out, local police agencies report injury collisions to SWITRS on a voluntary basis, which means it’s likely that some collisions don’t get reported, and therefore aren’t included in the database. In addition, data is still coming in from the years 2013-2015.

So all of these stats should be read as “at least;” actual figures may be higher. And the quality of information is only as good as what was included in their report.

Types of collisions involved in Ryder’s study include

  • bike vs. car
  • bike vs. bike
  • bike vs. pedestrian
  • bike vs. fixed/movable object
  • bike vs. animal

PCH-Chart-1

So let’s take a look at some of the highlights.

The most common type of wrecks were

  1. broadside collision, 34%
  2. undefined “other,” 23%
  3. sideswipe, 11%
  4. rear end, 9%
  5. striking an object, 8%,
  6. overturned, 6%
  7. collision with a pedestrian, 3%
  8. not stated, 3%
  9. head-on, 3%

The relatively low ranking of the last one may be due in part to the divided design of the highway in many places. And as he notes, when “other” and “not stated” reflect a combined 26% of the totals, it makes it hard to come up with solutions to prevent them.

PCH-Chart-4

Surprisingly, Malibu isn’t the most dangerous city for cyclists on the highway; even when combined with Los Angeles, they only rank second to Newport Beach, which is far and away the riskiest place to ride a bike on the coast highway. Only one city from San Diego County made the top ten.

  1. Newport Beach, 27%
  2. Long Beach, 16%
  3. Huntington Beach, 15%
  4. Los Angeles, 10%
  5. Malibu, 8%
  6. Encinitas, 7%
  7. Laguna Beach, 5%
  8. Oceanside, 5%
  9. Seal Beach, 4%
  10. Redondo Beach, 3%

PCH-Chart-3

Not surprising, however, is who or what is hitting people on bikes, or vice versa. The only surprise is that trucks rank so low on the list.

  1. Moving cars, 74.6%
  2. Solo crashes, 12%
  3. Other riders, 5.7%
  4. Parked vehicle, 3%
  5. Motorcycles, 1.8%
  6. Pedestrians, 1.8%
  7. Trucks, 0.8%

PCH-Chart-4

The good thing is it seems to be getting a little better out there.

PCH-Chart-5

As you would expect based on the earlier chart, Orange County leads the way in bike-involved collisions on the highway, followed closely by Los Angeles County.

PCH-chat-1a

Where fault was assigned, drivers got most of the blame in OC, and cyclists in LA, which could reflect the long-assumed windshield bias of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. San Diego County found more bike riders at fault, but blame was more evenly distributed than in the other two counties.

PCH-Chart-County

And with just a few exceptions, bicyclists were most likely to get the blame, regardless of the type of collision; only in the case of sideswipes were drivers most likely to be found at fault.

PCH-Chart-6

On the other hand, you’re more likely to be the victim of a hit-and-run in LA County.

PCH-Chart-Hit-And-Run

There’s a lot more information in the report — 30 pages worth, in fact. All of it fascinating.

And all of it should be required reading for city and county officials, and anyone else concerned with improving bike safety on one of Southern California’s most scenic and vital riding routes.

You can download the full report here.

*Ed Ryder describes himself as just another bike rider who would like to help make our transportation infrastructure safer for the variety of people who use it, by providing decision makers quality quantitative information with which informed decisions can be made.

Update: An earlier version of this piece mistakenly relied on a previous draft of Ryder’s report, that has been updated to reflect the latest draft.

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A new study shows that if you wear a bike helmet, you’re more willing to over-inflate a balloon than if you wear a cycling cap. And somehow, extrapolates that to mean you’ll take more chances riding your bike, too.

Sure, let’s go with that.

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They’re on to us, comrade.

A writer with a severe case of windshield perspective in convinced bicycle riding is just a series of microaggressions stemming from our hatred automobiles and fossil fuels, and designed to physically obstruct traffic.

Never mind that most cyclists drive cars, as well.

All because bike riders in Minneapolis have called for lowering the speed limit a whole 5 mph in order to improve safety for everyone, including those behind the wheel.

Maybe he’d feel better if he got out of his car a little more.

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Local

A meeting will be held at 6 pm tonight at Venice High School to discuss LA’s Westside Mobility Plan. Show up to demand the bike lanes we were promised on Westwood Blvd, and other key routes in West LA.

LADOT Bike Blog offers a detour guide to get around the closures on the LA River bike path. If it looks complicated, don’t worry. It is.

The LACBC looks at how much bike and pedestrian funding is needed in a proposed transportation sales tax ballot measure, while Damien Newton talks with active transportation advocate Jessica Meaney about efforts to ensure the tax would be used to create stronger communities and address regional mobility needs.

West Hollywood moves forward with plans for putting bike lanes on Fairfax Ave between Fountain and Willoughby.

Better Bike reports the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills voted to make updating the city’s 1977 Bike Master Plan a priority for this year. The old plan, which was never implemented, called for routing bike riders through alleys in the downtown district.

Bike SGV is hosting a free two hour bike commuting and safety class this Saturday.

 

State

The Cal Health Report says, despite the Governor’s lofty rhetoric about climate change, his new budget focuses almost totally on cars and does virtually nothing to promote active transportation.

Family members remember Sidney Siemensma as someone who practically lived for bicycling, a day after his body was found on an Irvine bike path, the apparent victim of a homicide.

The madness continues in Coronado, where the city’s mayor refuses to do anything to improve safety on a dangerous street in apparent fear of self-multiplying traffic signals.

A Victorville bike shop lost nearly $13,000 of high-end bicycles in a burglary.

A judge rules 61 Santa Rosa homeowners have the right to ban bikes, but not pedestrians, from a pathway through their private development.

As expected, San Francisco’s mayor has vetoed the city’s proposed Idaho stop law; the SF Chronicle says it was the right move. Meanwhile, a state legislator tries to make running red lights more legal for motorists. Evidently, stop means stop only if you’re on a bike.

 

National

Bicycling says badass bike patches are back, and recommends five breeds of trail dogs for your next off-road excursion.

A new mountain bike advocacy group forms to fight for access to federal wilderness areas.

Good news from Colorado, as the USA Pro Challenge will go on as planned this year. Evidently, the Challenge refers to finding funding to support the popular, but money-losing race.

Boulder CO councilmembers demand more safety data before transportation officials install street treatments, only to remove them later.

Now that’s more like it. A bike shop in my hometown applies for a beer and wine license to serve suds to their customers.

People for Bikes says the Missouri proposal to require a 15-foot fluorescent flag on all bikes isn’t as funny as you think. I never thought it was funny, myself; idiotic, perhaps, but not funny.

A New York alternative transportation group says the city isn’t doing enough to stop traffic deaths, and at the current rate, won’t meet it’s Vision Zero goals until at least 2055.

A Baltimore letter writer says a recently painted bike lane won’t keep riders safe as long as it forces riders to switch lanes 15 times in 1.2 miles as it moves back and forth to accommodate parking.

 

International

Victoria BC merchants oppose bike lanes on a key street if it means the loss of parking spaces. Because as we all know, customers never, ever arrive on bicycles, and bike riders never spend money anywhere.

A Quebec coroner calls for side guards on trucks and more bike boxes, as well as making riders aware of the dangers of riding into a truck’s blind spot.

A writer for the Guardian wonders why Rapha is the brand so many riders love to hate. Meanwhile, another writer considers the propriety of wearing Lycra into the office following your commute.

Caught on video: Evidently running out of things to be offended by, the British press is shocked! shocked! when a bike courier goes on a profanity-laced tirade at the cab driver who ran over his bicycle — two months ago. As the owner of another currier service pointed out, while his reaction may have been over the top, the rider had a right to be upset since it could have been him under the van.

The former Governator plans to ride the streets of Edinburgh before attending a $2100 per plate black-tie dinner.

A tech website looks at Norway’s 450-foot long bike elevator.

 

Finally…

Your next bike shorts could tell you when you’re doing it wrong. You’re the reason they’re having trouble developing driverless cars.

And a Burbank burglary suspect kindly puts herself where bike thieves belong.

 

Morning Links: Examining 2015 SoCal bicycling fatalities, and San Diego mountain bikes seized by Marines

Seventy-three.

That’s how many people lost their lives while riding a bicycle in Southern California last year.

While far too many, that is a significant improvement over the year before, when 86 riders were killed on SoCal streets, and in 2013, when 89 people died riding their bikes.

Of those,

  • 29 died in Los Angeles County, compared to 31 in 2014
  • 17 died in Orange County, compared to 20 in 2014
  • 12 died in San Diego County, compared to 9 in 2014
  • 10 died in Riverside County, compared to 13 in 2014
  • 3 died in San Bernardino County, compared to 11 in 2014
  • 2 died in Ventura County, compared to 2 in 2014
  • No one was killed either year in Imperial County

Meanwhile, 11 riders were killed in the City of Los Angeles in 2015, which is the same as in 2014.

Of the 52 Southern California cases where there was enough information to reasonably assign blame, it was evenly divided, with cyclists at fault in 26 of the fatalities, and drivers at fault in the other 26.

A few other key stats from last year,

  • 59 bike riders died in traffic collisions
  • 8 bike riders died in solo falls
  • 3 bike riders died in train collisions
  • 2 bike riders died of natural causes while riding

In addition,

  • 32 of the fatal bicycling collisions occurred at night
  • 23 occurred during the day
  • 7 occurred at dusk
  • 3 occurred at daybreak
  • 12 of the fatal bicycling collisions were hit-and-runs
  • 10 involved drug or alcohol use; in two of those cases, it was the cyclist who was under the influence
  • 2 involved drivers cited for distracted driving
  • No cyclists died as a result of dooring

And in the cases where it was indicated,

  • 16 of the victims weren’t wearing a helmet
  • 9 of the victims were wearing a helmet

It should be noted that these stats are complied primarily through published reports, as well as other confirmed sources. It is likely that one or more fatalities may not have been reported, and therefore, not included in these totals. Not all amounts will add up to total since some factors, such as the time of the incident, are not always reported.

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Seriously, you don’t mess with the Marines.

Roughly 45 San Diego-area mountain bikers learned that the hard way over the weekend when they were stopped by armed Marines, ticketed and had their bikes confiscated for trespassing on military property.

The riders had evidently strayed onto the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, formerly home to the famed Top Gun school before the base was transferred from the Navy to the Marine Corp.

According to a thread on the mtbr forum, riders had received plenty of warnings that the trails were closed to the public, since they were close to areas where live fire drills are conducted. However, many riders complained that they were poorly marked, if at all, even though the Marines indicated notices had been posted on all trails and the San Diego Mountain Biking Association has been warning about the closure for months.

The riders were escorted off the base, and forced to walk back to their cars or have someone pick them up. They can reclaim their bikes once the citations have been adjudicated and any fines paid.

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Local

The Times reviews a sandwich shop just off the LA River bike path in Frogtown, where the dishes are named after public radio hosts.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson issues his recommendations for the governing body for SoCal bike racing.

 

State

A new parking structure in Old Towne Orange will include a bike plaza with bike racks and lockers.

Sad news from Oxnard, where a teenager was killed while walking his bike along a train track.

 

National

Bicycling talks with five cyclists — or maybe six, they can’t seem to decide — about how it feels to get hit by a car, and how it changed the way they ride.

If riding your bike isn’t environmentally-friendly enough, Grist talks eco-friendly bike lube.

Gear Junkie is the latest to discover the all-black company of bike-riding Buffalo Soldiers of the 1890s. Though someone should tell them quite a few non-elite cyclists ride more than 1,900 miles.

Oregon district attorneys want to make it a felony to hit a bicyclist with a car, presumably intentionally.

Boulder CO, a platinum level bike friendly community, is removing a pair of protected bike lanes, in part because of complaints from cyclists.

An Iowa paper looks at how Minneapolis became a bicycling mecca and asks why not us?

Eight years after a legally blind Columbia MO Army vet took up bicycling, he’s gained independence, improved his fitness and competed in his first triathlon.

Chicago tries, and fails, to have all the bike lanes in the city declared recreational zones to avoid liability for failing to maintain them. Under that standard, all the streets would be racetracks.

New York’s mayor agrees to reduce the number of horse drawn carriages in Central Park, while kicking out their pedicab competition. Thanks to Aurelio Jose Barrera for the heads-up.

North Carolina boy scouts offer advice for aspiring cross-county charity cyclists after raising $35,000 in memory of a schoolmate who died of cancer.

 

International

Rio, Brazil opens a beachfront bike path that the BBC calls one of the most beautiful in the world; the city plans to complete 450 kilometers of bikeways — roughly 280 miles — in advance of next year’s Olympics.

A pioneering new stem cell treatment is delivering “miraculous” results, enabling formerly wheelchair-bound patients to walk again; a former triathlete is even able to ride his bike.

Heartbreaking story of a young Toronto cyclist taking a tour through the Deep South looking for the roots of American music. And the half-assed investigation into his death that exonerated a truck driver who claimed he had committed suicide by riding head-first into the truck, while witnesses and evidence indicated the driver actually ran him down from behind.

A British website looks at suits specially made for bicycle commuting.

Denmark will install bike boxes at busy intersections to prevent right turn collisions.

An entrepreneurial Egyptian couple build their own bike-borne sweet potato street food cart for the equivalent of just $255.

The beat goes on, as a South African mountain biker is the latest cyclist busted for doping.

The woman riding through the Southern Hemisphere to collect 1001 stories about climate change pauses to catch her breath in New Zealand.

 

Finally…

It’s one thing to give 110% effort; it’s another to get overwhelming support for bicycling when a whopping 156% of local residents respond. Do you really need a new law to clarify that bike riders have the right-of-way when they have the right of way?

And what good is a cycling superhighway if a driver is going to tailgate you on it?

 

Morning Links: Bad news isn’t the problem, a Breeze-y day in SaMo, and bikes aren’t a priority in Beverly Hills

No.

Writing for Bicycling Retailer, Rick Vosper discusses what he says is a nationwide decline in bicycle sales, and places the blame in an unexpected place.

Press coverage of bicycling fatalities, which he says has driven down the rate of bicycling in this country by scaring people off their bikes.

Even though his own stats show bike sales increased 13% from 2000 to 2012.

His response is that, taking inflation into account, retail sales at bike shops actually dropped 9% over that same period when measured in constant dollars.

However, that fails to consider a little thing called the Internet, which became the go-to place for many shoppers over the same period. Just ask local book stores what effect online sales had on their business.

If you can find one.

It also fails to account for the Internet’s role in facilitating used bike sales, which have boomed over the same period.

And sales have been affected by the drop in prices for many items, as improved manufacturing techniques and overseas manufacturing have driven down the price of everything from carbon frames to high-powered bike lights, even as high-end bike prices have skyrocketed.

He goes on to argue that the perceived drop in sales is driven by a 37% decline in the number of bike riders in the US from 2000 to 2014, as 7.5 million Americans have stopped riding their bikes.

In fact, according to Vosper, just 11% of people in this country rode bikes in 2014, down from 15% in 2000, and 21% in 1995.

Except no one else seems to believe that.

In fact, by every appearance, ridership is booming in this country. And not just anecdotally.

The Statistica website traces a rise in bicycling from 47.16 million people who had ridden a bike in the previous 12 months in 2008, to 67.33 million in 2014, before dropping slightly to 66.72 this past spring.

Meanwhile, the 2012 National Survey of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Attitudes and Behaviors reported that 18% of Americans over the age of 16 rode a bike at least once that summer.

People for Bikes cites even higher numbers from a benchmarking survey taken last fall.

According to their study, over one-third of all Americans over the age of three rode a bike at least once in the previous year. That’s 100 million people.

Hardly a decline by any measure. So whatever forces may be limiting bike shop sales, it’s not due to a drop in ridership.

However, even if the numbers don’t support his conclusions, he still raises a point worth discussing.

When I started writing about bicycling fatalities in 2010, it was because no one else was doing it.

Too many times, the loss of a rider’s life wouldn’t merit more than a few lines in the local press, if that. And too many times, the victim was blamed when the circumstances pointed to a different conclusion.

So I set out to shine a light on these tragedies in order to memorialize the victim, shame the press into doing a better job, and hopefully force our governmental leaders to do something to stop the carnage on our roads.

It can be argued that those last two goals have been met, at least in part.

The press is finally paying attention. Maybe too much attention, by Vosper’s account. Most, though not all, fatal bicycling collisions are now reported in the press, though there’s still not enough focus on the person who was killed in the crash.

And with the commitment to Vision Zero currently spreading across the country — including right here in Los Angeles — our leaders are finally committing to ending the deaths, not just of people on bikes, but everyone who travels our roads.

So maybe we don’t have to shine that light anymore. Or at least, not as brightly.

I know these stories are hard to read. Trust me, they’re even harder to write.

It’s worth thinking about, and a discussion worth having as we move forward.

………

The Breeze finally blew into Santa Monica today, as the city’s new bikeshare system officially opened; Streetsblog offers some great pictures of the grand opening.

However, the LA Times notes that the system may not work seamlessly with Metro’s coming system, while Streetsblog’s Joe Linton says that doesn’t really matter.

And hopefully, users won’t ride them down a flight of stairs.

………

Just incredible.

Better Bike’s Mark Elliot explains that after four years of failed promises, Beverly Hills has finally admitted that updating the Biking Black Hole’s nearly 40-year old bike plan just isn’t a priority.

Then again, it never has been, since none of it was never implemented.

It will be interesting to see what happens when scores of foreign tourists take to the city’s bike-unfriendly and largely infrastructure-less streets when the Santa Monica bikeshare system expands to the city.

It may be a good thing it’s just a straight shot down the road from Cedars Sinai.

………

You may need to rethink your riding plans for the weekend. Both Glendora Mountain Road and Glendora Ridge Road in the Angeles National Forest will be closed all weekend due to high winds.

………

Local

Nice gesture from the East Side Riders new ESR Bike and Skate Shop, as they replaced the bike stolen from an 11-year old boy by a man who pushed him off the bike he’d just won in a raffle.

Good to see the LACBC’s blog make a comeback, with a detailed explanation of LA’s new Mobility Plan 2035 and what you can do to support it. Meanwhile, UCLA’s Daily Bruin takes an in-depth look at the current state of the plan. Although I’d expect better from former LA County Commissioner Zev Yaroslavsky, who says the plan was “cooked up in an ivory tower” and rushed through the political process; evidently, an over five-year public process wasn’t good enough for him.

KPCC looks at the new Go Human campaign that puts a human face on traffic safety.

Bicycle Retailer continues their tour of LA-area bike shops.

Santa Monica parents are pushing for crossing guards at dangerous intersections to protect children walking and biking to school.

 

State

A San Diego captain offers advice on how to prevent bike theft for the marina crowd.

A new Palo Alto bike and walking trail would form the spine of a Bay to Ridge Trail running through the Stanford campus.

Here’s your chance to get involved if you live in San Francisco, San Mateo or Santa Clara counties, as Caltrain is looking for bicyclist representatives for their advisory committee.

San Francisco messenger bag maker Timbuk2 offers a new line of bike bags for women.

Natomas cyclists now have a shiny new bike fix-it station.

Advice on how to safely share the road and pathways from the active transportation coordinator in Davis.

 

National

Amtrak expands bike service to the New York to New Orleans Crescent Line this week, even if it does bypass bike-friendly Anniston AL.

A Seattle-area paper argues that shifting to bikes would be a big benefit to the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing climate change; a new study shows a shift to transportation cycling could save cities $25 trillion — that’s trillion, with a T — while reducing CO2 emissions 10% by 2050.

Kentucky senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul may enjoy riding his bike, but thinks federal funding for bike lanes belongs in the same category as turtle tunnels and squirrel sanctuaries. But at least he’s skilled at alliteration.

Maybe we’re making progress, as New Yorkers don’t complain about a proposal to remove a traffic lane and parking spaces to make room for a protected bike lane.

The Washington Post looks at why bike lanes have become heated symbols of gentrification, in the wake of a dispute over a planned bike lane in front of an African American church; leaders of the church have claimed it would violate their freedom of religion by removing parking. Thanks to Allyson Vought for the heads-up.

 

International

A British man who stabbed a bike rider to death in a random attack has been sentenced to an indefinite term in a psychiatric hospital for treatment of schizophrenia.

London’s Telegraph offers 11 rules for commuting by bike. It may be a sponsored post, but the first 10 tips aren’t bad.

An English driver has pled guilty to killing a cyclist during a road rage dispute.

Someone stole a Brit triathlete’s $17,000 Trek.

A Philippine professor says the way to reduce congestion in the country is to get people out of their cars and onto bikes and feet.

A Singapore taxi driver gets nine months, and a 10-year ban from driving, for the DUI death of a bike rider after falling asleep, crashing into a parked car, then backing into the cyclist.

 

Finally…

Presenting the perfect bike lock for people who are all thumbs. The real winner of a British cycling sportive will be whoever figures out how to hold two versions of the same race at the same time in the same place.

And world road champ Peter Sagan got married in Slovakia over the weekend in a ceremony that involved a top hat, tight rope and a chainsaw.

 

Morning Links: Hermosa backs safety improvements; San Diego details deaths in the county, including on bikes

A reader sends word that Hermosa Beach is backing up its commitment to bike safety.

Literally.

A married couple were exploring the new bikeways on Harbor and Herondo linking Redondo Beach and Hermosa when they came upon some odd markings on the street next to a new bike lane.

Photo by Allison Sheridan

Photo by Allison Sheridan

A quick look online confirmed they are reverse-angled parking spots, designed to improve bike safety by increasing visibility for drivers as they pull out of the spots (scroll down to pages 26-29). Although I neglected to ask just which street they were on.

I’m told these could be the first reverse-angle parking in the South Bay. And one of the few anywhere in the LA area.

So hats off to Hermosa for reversing the usual risky angled parking to help keep riders safer.

Update: A comment from Margaret says the street is Herondo; this is what it used to look like. And Vince points out that the south half the street is actually in Redondo Beach, so they should get credit, as well.

Thanks to Margaret for the heads-up and the correction.

……..

Philip Young of the San Diego Wheelmen forwards a series of annual reports from the San Diego Medical Examiner examining the causes of deaths in the county for the years 2011 through 2013; he notes the 2014 report hasn’t been released yet.

According to Young, the reports show nine bicyclists were killed in San Diego County in 2011, ten in 2012 and seven in 2013.

Although my records indicate a higher bicycling fatality rate for each year — twelve in 2011, eleven in 2012 and eight in 2013.

I haven’t had a chance to dig through the reports to figure out the reason for the discrepancy yet. However, they may classify bicycling fatalities more conservatively than my records; I include anyone who was riding or walking a bike at the time of their death, including solo falls and bike-related medical conditions, as well as traffic collisions.

Update: Ed Ryder sends word that SWITRS shows 15 bicycling fatalities in 2011, which makes more sense.

I track fatalities primarily through news reports, as well as other sources, so my records may undercount the actual totals if the death of a cyclist never makes the news; that often happens if the victim dies several days or weeks after a collision.

The real question is, why does the Medical Examiner’s report undercount bicycling fatalities for that year by over 50 percent?

……..

The Women’s Tour of Britain is helping to bridge the equality gap in pro cycling, while a writer for Britain’s Guardian says it’s time for cycling to lose the podium girls.

Let alone bikini girls at women’s races.

Twenty-three-year old Astana women’s pro Anna Solovey has been canned by the team for “unprofessional behavior;” she was previously banned for two years for doping before she was even in her 20s.

And you’d think someone who once sponsored a major bike race would get that 72 years old isn’t too old to race, let alone ride. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

……..

Local

A Metro survey shows 37% of LA voters think separated bike paths are very important, while only 10% say they’re not important at all.

Pasadena gets that intersections are dangerous places for bike riders; the city is painting a new bike lane that remains green all the way through the intersection of Marengo and Orange Grove.

CiclaValley tells you why to get excited about the upcoming LA River Ride, set to roll on the 28th. And if you’re not too worn out from the River Ride, join CICLE, the Bike Oven and Metro for the Spintacular Fireworks Neighborhood Ride later that day.

 

State

Dozens of Santa Ana homes will be demolished to widen a dangerous Santa Ana street, including wider medians and sidewalks. And yes, bike lanes. I guess performing a road diet and keeping the houses would be out of the question in auto-centric OC.

Oceanside police will team up to compete in RAAM; the team competition starts on Saturday.

A San Diego County supervisor may have committed an ethics violation in nixing a bike lane that could have affected the value of a restaurant he’s a partner in. Although as a new study shows, he may have shot himself in the foot.

Coachella Valley bike riders are urged to donate old bikes, locks and helmets to benefit the local Boys and Girls Clubs.

 

National

A writer for People for Bikes says you don’t have to give up your car to live mostly car-free. I’ve put less than three hundred miles a year on mine for the last five years.

Someone is groping and harassing women riding on Phoenix bike paths; one woman was punched in the face by a homeless man.

Boulder CO moves forward with right sizing three major streets to make room for wider bike lanes.

A Chicago runner and firefighter makes a commitment not to use his cell phone when he drives.

Don’t believe everything your GPS tells you. A Minnesota girl learned that the hard way after her smartphone guided her and her bike onto a freeway.

Evidently, it takes concrete barriers to keep New York drivers from parking in bike lanes, green or otherwise. Maybe we could use some here to keep cops out.

Bike commuting in the DC area jumped 450 percent in just three years, while auto commuting has remained steady; now another area county plans to ramp up their bike network.

 

International

Twelve reasons why you should take a foldie when you explore Cuba. Which is sort of legal for Americans these days. Visiting Cuba, that is.

A group of 17 friends will team together to finish the epic ride a UK man had planned before he was killed in a collision earlier this year.

A British woman can ride a bike for the first time after being fitted with the world’s most lifelike bionic hand.

An Irish mom says yes, cyclists face dangers on the roads, but pedestrians run a risk from us, as well.

Tim Robbins casually rides a bike in Milan. Just don’t ask him about The Shawshank Redemption.

Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan is riding his new bicycle on his Bulgarian set as he recovers from knee surgery.

Reckless Japanese bike riders can now be required to take safety lessons, and can face steep financial liability for injuring others.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: Eating behind the wheel is one thing; eating cereal out of a bowl is another. Eight years old may be just a tad too young for a naked Brit bike ride, by about a decade or so.

And when your name is Outlaw, it’s probably not a good idea to steal a bike, unlocked or otherwise.

Or anything else, for that matter.

 

Is California’s new three-foot passing law making a difference?

Things may be looking up for SoCal cyclists.

As noted at the end of last night’s story about the heartbreaking death of a 13-year old bike rider in Boyle Heights, bicycling fatalities are down significantly compared to this time last year.

Through March 11th, just eight bike riders have been killed in the seven-county Southern California region. That compares to 25 in 2014 — over three times as many — in what turned out to be a very bad year, with 85 bike riders losing their lives.

Although I hesitate to use the word “just” when even one death is one too many.

Yet even last year was an improvement over 2013, when 89 people died riding their bikes in Southern California — the highest total since at least 2005.

Which raises the question of whether California’s new three-foot passing law making a difference.

Maybe.

Though it’s too early to tell.

There has been a significant reduction in bicycling fatalities since the law took effect in September of last year.

From September, 2014 through February of this year, 29 bicyclist lost their lives, all as a result of traffic collisions.

In the same period through the fall and winter of 2013-14, 45 bike riders were killed, all but three in crashes with motor vehicles.

However, the reduction wasn’t instant; as the chart below shows, it wasn’t until December that any improvement in bicycling fatalities became apparent.

3-foot-law-deaths

Which suggests that it may have taken a few months for drivers to adjust to the new rules and start passing bikes more safely.

On the other hand, there’s no difference compared to September 2013 through February 2014, with 29 deaths in the same five month period.

So the jury’s still out.

A lot will depend on what happens from here, when spring and summer weather bring more riders, and more less experienced riders, onto the streets.

But it’s looking good so far.

Update: As Serge points out in the comments below — and I should have noted — correlation is not causation. While deaths are down since the implementation of the three-foot law, that does not necessarily mean it is responsible for the decrease.

The three-foot law won’t have any impact on left-cross collisions, for instance, or wrecks due to right-of-way violations. 

The data simply isn’t there yet to tell what, if anything, is responsible for the decrease in fatalities; it may be just a temporary lull, as we’ve seen before.

But it’s a question worth asking, and one we’ll want to keep an eye on.

 

Morning Links: January was a good month for SoCal cyclists, walkability survey and still more bike events

Good news for a change.

To the best of my knowledge, only one bike rider was killed anywhere in Southern California last month.

One.

That’s ten less than lost their lives in the seven county region last January. And significantly less than the average of 7.25 deaths in the month of January over the previous four years. In fact, it’s the first time since March of 2012 that only one bicyclist has been killed in any month.

It could be a statistical fluke.

Or it could be that improvements in infrastructure, education and enforcement, as well as the much-touted safety in numbers effect, are finally beginning to pay off.

Lets keep our fingers crossed. And hope this soon leads to a month, or even more, with zero deaths. Something that has never happened since I began tracking SoCal bicycling fatalities in mid-2010.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ve finally turned the corner. And are on our way to safer streets, not just for cyclists, but for everyone.

We can hope.

……….

If you’ve got a few minutes, CSUN sociology master’s student Elizabeth Bogumil could use your help answering a few questions on walkability and livability.

The anonymous survey is designed to examine the relationship between the ability to walk in a community and its quality of life.

Here’s my short answer. If you can’t walk — or bike — safely and enjoyably wherever you are, there’s no point in living there.

Period.

………

Still more upcoming bike events, in addition to Friday’s long list.

The LACBC is hosting a Northeast LA organizing workshop on Wednesday to discuss options, including bike lanes, for a five block stretch of North Figueroa.

Join Multicultural Communities for Mobility and the East LA Community Corporation this Saturday for the extensively named Equity in Motion Bici Tour: A Look at Transit Oriented Development in Boyle Heights.

Bike Talk and the Feminist Library on Wheels invite you to the February 22nd Open Books “Lost Cyclist” ride to three independent book stores, including a talk by bike historian David Herlihy.

Head down to San Diego County on March 7th for the St. Paddy’s Palomor Punishment ride up the area’s favorite hill climb.

Or head north on April 25th for the Wildflower Century through northeastern San Luis Obispo County, sponsored by the San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club.

………

Local

The Times says the 3.5 pound, foldable Foldylock is serious about securing your bike. Then again, lock up your bike like they show in the photo, and you could kiss your wheels goodbye.

Santa Monica police arrest three 20-year old men with a truck load of stolen bikes.

Better Bike says file Beverly Hills’ dangerous Crescent Drive sharrows under C for crap facilities. Then again, that’s my take on most sharrows, anywhere.

The Glendale News-Press says not so fast on those ridiculous pedestrian crossing flags. Next they’ll expect us to wave a flag while we ride down the street.

An Azusa bike rider suffers serious injuries in a solo fall due to mechanical failure while apparently racing another rider. Yet somehow, the press seems to think the most important detail is that he might be a transient.

The Long Beach paper wants to know how the city treats its cyclists.

 

State

Laguna Beach installs five miles of sharrows in an attempt to route riders away from the Coast Highway.

Great idea. A San Diego program gives bikes refurbished by prison inmates to ex-offenders so they have reliable transportation while they transition back into society.

San Francisco’s SAFE Bikes program takes credit for a 20% drop in bike thefts in the city.

 

National

The Verge asks if it’s time for the Feds to mandate software to disable mobile phones while driving. That would be yes. Or maybe hell yes.

The US imported over $1.3 billion worth of bicycles through November of last year, compared to $140 billion worth of motor vehicles; then again, bikes are a lot cheaper.

A Phoenix man pleads not guilty to murdering murdering two bike riding women in the early ‘90s.

A petition calling for a three-foot passing distance in Wyoming gains over 1,000 signatures in just two days; the organization sponsoring it is named for one of the state’s fallen riders.

A Delaware website calls for boycotting the conservative Koch brothers over their opposition to funding active transportation and transit projects. Unfortunately, given the huge size and reach of their holdings, that would be almost impossible; a better tactic would be to pick one Koch company to target.

A US sailor chases her Olympic dreams in Miami, just months after suffering serious injuries while bicycling; thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up.

 

International

Bike riders Tweet about how they got into cycling. My origin story begins with a matinee showing of Breaking Away in a nearly empty theater, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

More people are riding bikes in London than ever before, while the Independent offers tips on how the city can keep the momentum going; actually, it’s good advice anywhere.

Famed Italian automotive designer Pininfarina jumps on the bike bandwagon. Nice try, but it doesn’t even come close to the world’s most beautiful bike, at least not in my humble opinion.

FC Barcelona looks back at the first great Spanish cycling champion, who wore the football (aka soccer) club’s colors when they had a bike team early in the last century.

A young South African cyclist offers bike tours through one of Johannesburg’s oldest townships; after less than five years, his company is now rated as one of the top five activities in the city.

Aussie great Cadel Evans calls it a career, while his countryman discovers attempting to set a new hour record really hurts.

 

Finally…

Here’s how LA can close its budget deficit; an Australian city collects nearly $50,000 in just four months by fining drivers who park in bike lanes. A Canadian cyclist uses his bike to fend off a charging cougar; I’ve used a similar technique to defend against angry drivers.

And a British ad encourages cab drivers to get a dash cam in case they run over a cyclist. Yeah, like that would ever happen.

 

Guest post: Detailed analysis of 2013 bike collisions in the City of Angels

Now the study is complete.

A few weeks ago, long-time LA bike advocate Dennis Hindman wrote a detailed analysis of the city’s bike-involved collisions, based on partial data for the year 2013. 

Now he has finished his analysis of every bike collision listed in the state’s SWITRS traffic collision database last year.

The results are eye opening, and should give insight on how safety efforts should be directed for the greatest impact.

Or better yet, no impact between cyclists and motor vehicles. 

But let’s be clear about one thing.

As impressive as Hindman’s study is, it shouldn’t be up to a single person, or organization, to analyze how collisions occur on our streets. 

It should be the responsibility of our city government. Because if they don’t know how these collisions happen, they have no idea how to prevent them. 

And traffic safety shouldn’t be left to guesswork. 

……..

I have finally completed a list of all the types of 2,421 bicycle involved collisions that were reported by the LAPD in 2013. This was mainly done by just manually counting them. All of these collisions involved injuries.

There were 2,597 pedestrian involved collisions with motor vehicles and 2,277 for bicyclists (some of the reported 2,421 bicycle collisions for the year did not involve motor vehicles). Eighty of those pedestrian involved collisions were fatalities and fifteen were fatalities for bicyclists. There was one bicyclist collision with a train that was fatal. That brings the total reported collision fatalities for bicyclists reported by the LAPD at 16 for 2013.

Bicyclists riding the wrong way are 569 of the collisions. Drivers turning right were involved in 239 (42%) of these collisions. I did not count all the different ways the collisions occurred in this case since the bicyclists were not traveling in the correct direction. Its rather obvious from the raw data that the main danger when riding the wrong way is motor vehicles turning right.

A bicyclist will sometimes ride through a crosswalk in the opposite direction of motor vehicle traffic. From what I have observed, a motorist turning right will frequently just look to their left to see if a motor vehicle is coming and not to their right before proceeding.

Subtracting the wrong way riders from the total leaves 1,852 bicycle involved collisions.

From experience I know that the vast majority of bicyclists are riding between the parked motor vehicles and the front right quarter panel of moving vehicles. Few are riding directly in front of moving motor vehicles in the middle of the moving lane. Since that’s where most of the bicyclists are riding, then it would make sense that most of the collisions would involve cyclists riding in that position on the road. That does not necessarily mean that it is much more dangerous to be riding this way.

The following information does not include the raw collision data of wrong way bicycle riders.

According to some bicycle riders, the danger of being right hooked by drivers is greatly increased when you ride between the parked vehicles and moving vehicles because drivers are much less likely to see you there compared to riding directly in front of them in the middle of the motor vehicle lane. I counted almost as many collisions for bicyclists with motor vehicles turning left (326), as there were for motor vehicles turning right (337). It would appear that drivers tend to not see the bicyclist when turning in either direction before colliding with them.

Parked cars are also sighted as a major hazard by those advocating riding in the middle of motor vehicle lanes. I counted 155 collisions involving bicyclists and parked motor vehicles. I don’t know how many of these involved doors swinging open in front of the bicyclists.

If that sounds particularly hazardous, there were also 55 bicycle collisions with motor vehicles stopped, 125 sideswipes, 16 collisions involving drivers backing up, 7 drivers slowing and the bicyclist hitting them, 6 improper passes by drivers, 5 drivers parking, 17 unsafe driving speed, 72 rear end collisions, 23 lane changes by drivers and 20 lane changes by a bicyclist. That’s 346 collisions. Well over double the amount of bicycle collisions involving parked motor vehicles.

Another argument against riding to the right of moving vehicles and next to parked vehicles is the danger from cars exiting driveways. There were 78 bicycle involved collisions with motor vehicles entering traffic. I presume those to have mainly occurred due to vehicles pulling away from the curb, exiting driveways and freeway off-ramps. Adding this to the parked vehicle collisions still doesn’t come close to the amount of other types of collisions I mentioned above.

There were also 20 head-on collisions where the direction of travel was either E/W or N/S and 367 collisions where both driver and bicyclist were heading straight (typically intersections) but in different directions (not head-on).

Drivers making a U-turn collided with bicyclists 12 times and 3 U-turns by bicyclists involved a collision with a motor vehicle.

Four collisions involved bicycles passing motorists and 6 were unsafe turns by bicyclists.

Bicyclists entering traffic involved 104 collisions.

Right turns by bicyclists were 25 of the collisions and left turns 47.

LAPD reported 29 pedestrian collisions with bicycles. No pedestrian was killed.

Bicyclists hitting an unknown object, slipping and falling or hitting a pothole involved 39 injury reported collisions.

Bicyclist involved in a collision with another bicyclist was reported 7 times.

There were 12 collisions where the primary factor was unknown.

There was one case where a bicyclist hit the driver and the driver (88 years old) was the only one with an injury and also one collision where the passenger of the vehicle was the only one who had an injury when it involved a bicycle rider.

Lastly, a bicyclist injury occurred from colliding with an animal.

My total count is larger than the 2,421 bicycle involved collisions due to counting such things as entering traffic, turning by bicycles and motorists separately for each collision. Each collision could involve a turn by both bicycle and motorist or entering  traffic and a turn.

The variety of types of collisions reinforces to me that the Dutch safety principle of separation by mass, speed and direction when possible is the way to go to improve safety. Bicycle riders should not be mixed with motor vehicles that have a much greater mass and are going at a much greater average speed than the bicyclist.

Having more than one motor vehicle lane in each direction on a street increases the likelihood of a higher motorist speed, increases the chance of lane change and also increases the possibility that the driver will get distracted by all of the different actions going on around them. That’s why the Dutch national Crow manual for bicycle infrastructure advises to have a cycle track or bike path built if there is more than one motor vehicle lane in each direction on a street.

……..
Hindman followed-up with a look at the bicycling fatalities reported to the state for 2013 in the city of LA.

Here’s a list of the 16 reported bicycle collision fatalities by the LAPD in 2013 and the primary factors for the collisions:

  • 1-bicyclist unsafe speed
  • 1-driver unsafe speed. Both driver and bicyclist headed west. Hit and run driver.
  • 1-train
  • 2-parked vehicle
  • 1-driver alcohol/drugs. Both driver and bicyclists headed east. Three bicyclists involved.
  • 1-driver alcohol/drugs. Both driver and bicyclist headed east.
  • 1-driver headed east/bicyclist headed north.
  • 1-stop sign/signal. Driver moving south/bicyclist headed west. Hit and run driver.
  • 1-stop sign/signal. Driver headed west/bicyclist headed south. Hit and run driver.
  • 1-stop sign/signal. Driver headed south/bicyclist headed west.
  • 1-stop sign/signal. Driver headed north/bicyclist headed west.
  • 1-stop sign/signal. Driver headed south. Direction of travel for bicyclist not indicated. Bicyclist 90 years old. Hit and run driver.
  • 1-unknown primary collision factor. Both driver and bicyclist making left turn.
  • 1-right turn driver/bicyclist entering traffic.
  • 1-right turn driver/bicyclist proceeding straight.

This shows some of the wide variables in collisions. A bicyclist cannot avoid all of these situations. A barrier between the bicyclist and driver would decrease the potential for drivers and bicyclist to hit each other when changing lanes, rear-end collisions or merging. Removing the parked vehicles from arterial streets or a buffer between the bicyclist and parked vehicles would reduce some of the conflicts. Different signal phases for bicyclists/pedestrians and drivers at the intersections would decrease the potential conflicts further.

……..

Thanks to Dennis Hindman for caring enough about your safety and mine to assume this responsibility himself.

 

Morning Links: Governors’ safety group discovers rising bike fatality rates, but fails to provide necessary context

For the past few years, I’ve joined with a few others to wave the red flag warning about a dramatic increase in bicycling fatalities.

Now finally, a national organization has joined us in sounding the alarm.

A new study on bicycle safety from the Governors Highway Safety Administration cites a 16% increase in bicycling fatalities in just three years, from 2010 to 2012.

The Times’ Jerry Hirsch offers a detailed, yet easy to understand report on their findings.

The problem is, the study presents the bare stats without the necessary context for them to have any real meaning or usefulness.

For instance, they note that 69% of bicycling fatalities occur in urban areas, which correlates to a 62% increase in bike commuting since 2000. But fail to note that the 16% increase in overall bicycling fatalities no doubt corresponds to an increase in overall bicycling rates.

In fact, it’s entirely possible that bicycling is actually getting safer, since no one has any clue how much ridership has increased in that same three-year period, since virtually no one bothers to count it.

Though there are a few exceptions.

They also say that California has the highest number of bicycling fatalities, with Florida coming in second. However, they fail to mention that California has the largest population of any state, so it could be reasonably expected to have the most fatalities.

They repeat the same mistake in observing that six states — California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Michigan and Texas — represent 54% of all bicycling fatalities. Yet don’t bother to point out that those are also the five most populated states, with Michigan coming in at a close ninth, representing over a third of the US population and most of the major urban centers.

Far more meaningful is the fact that bicycling deaths represent just over 4% of all traffic fatalities in California, twice the national average. At least that figure is in context, and clearly sends a message that far too many bike riders are dying here in the late, great Golden State.

Now that’s something we can work with to demand safer streets.

Unfortunately, it goes on.

The study observes that two-thirds of fatally injured bike riders weren’t wearing helmets in 2012. Which sounds significant, until you consider that nowhere do they attempt to determine how many of those fatal injuries resulted from head wounds.

Helmets are useful items — I never ride without mine — but they are designed to protect against relatively slow speed impacts, not high speed traffic collisions. And they don’t do anything to protect against internal injuries or bleeding.

It is worth nothing that 28% of the bike riders over the age of 16 that were killed in 2012 were over the legal limit for drunk driving. A clear indication that booze and bikes don’t mix, since it impairs your judgment and slows your reflexes — exactly the opposite of the skills you need to survive on the streets.

On the other hand, I would much rather see drunks ride their bikes, where they are a danger primarily to themselves, than get behind the wheel of a car and pose a danger to everyone around them.

Finally, the study correctly notes that our current roadway system was not designed with bicyclists and pedestrians in mind, and that integrating the streets poses challenges. They conclude that cyclists are safest on separated cycle paths, but note that such separated facilities are rarely feasible.

That’s true.

But only because our current leadership doesn’t have the courage or political will to make it happen.

It hasn’t proven to be a problem in places with strong leaders committed to improving safety on our streets, like New York and Chicago, which have somehow found a way to shoehorn those “infeasible” bikeways onto the streets, for the benefit of everyone — cyclists and drivers alike.

I’m not saying the study has no value. It clearly points out that too many of us are dying on American — and Californian — streets.

Then again, one is one too many.

And it’s long past time we did something about it.

……..

A new PSA gets people across LA to promise not to text and drive. Or at least to lie about it, anyway.

……..

Local

LA Bike Trains helps Los Angeles bike riders get to work safely while inspiring similar programs around the country.

The LAPD and USC’s DPS take victim blaming to a new level, attempting to protect bike riders and pedestrians by — wait for it — ticketing bike riders and pedestrians, rather than the people in the big, dangerous machines. And bizarrely, they ticket a cyclist for entering an intersection while the red Don’t Walk hand is flashing, which is just as legal for bicyclists as it is for motorists.

A new UCLA study points out the many public health and economic benefits of pathways along LA’s rivers; improving health and fitness is a lot cheaper than treating diseases like obesity, hypertension and diabetes.

A Vancouverite goes bicycling on some of the best bikeways the City of Angels has to offer, and not surprisingly, finds it not to her liking.

Calbike invites you to party with them at the Queen Mary next Monday.

 

State

Good news, as San Diego’s recent Ocean Beach hit-and-run victim is making a remarkable recovery from a major traumatic brain injury.

A Stockton teen has his bike stolen in a strong arm robbery.

San Francisco’s blast to the auto-centric past Prop L is called a right-wing attack on bicycling and safe streets.

A San Francisco bike rider gets shot in the foot.

Sad news, as a Cupertino teen is killed by a big-rig gravel truck while riding to school Monday morning.

 

National

Scary news, as a writer for City Lab says your U-lock is pretty much useless.

New York cuts speed limits to 25 mph in all five boroughs to improve safety; needless to say, not everyone approves. If LA’s leaders had the courage to do that and actually enforce it — which they don’t — it would not only improve safety but most likely, traffic flow as well.

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber ride through New York on their family-sized Dutch bike.

Bicyclists have to invent devices to overcome bad road planning.

In an OpEd piece for the Washington Post, a cyclist asks why people who don’t drive have to subsidize parking for those who do. Maybe we deserve a discount on rent and shopping.

Russell Crowe rides a bike to the set of his new movie in Atlanta.

 

International

The Guardian asks if it’s possible to look stylish while riding to work; not to spoil the surprise, but it would be a very short story if the answer was no.

Once again, saying they just didn’t see a cyclist proves to be the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, as not one, but two Brit drivers get off after claiming the sun was in their eyes.

Caught on video: A rare double — and possibly triple — bird, as a UK cyclist and motorist flip each other off after the later drives right at the former.

Caught on video: In case you’ve been wondering how the new Fly6 rear facing bike cam and tail light works, a Sydney cyclist catches a rear view of a major flip following a collision; he wasn’t badly hurt but his bike is a goner.

Two years after a Kiwi cyclist warned about the installation of bollards on a bike path, they’re being removed after his wife was seriously injured falling on them.

 

Finally…

A simple 25 question quiz to determine if you’re overly obsessed with cycling; looks like I’m only mildly obsessed. Halloween costumes for you and your bike. And a new bike tire promises to never go flat because it doesn’t have any air in it.

 

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