Tag Archive for bicycling

Weekend Links: Bike the Vote endorses Ramsay, bike protest at Malibu City Hall, and rough week for LA cyclists

Too much news, good and bad, for one weekend.

So let’s dive right in.

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Bike the Vote LA has officially come out in favor of Carolyn Ramsay in the May 19th election for LA’s Council District 4, which they describe as crucial for LA cyclists.

And as someone who lives in the district, so do I. Bike-friendly improvements can’t come soon enough to an area where there are far too few safe and comfortable options for cyclists.

Riders are invited to join Bike the Vote LA to canvass for Ramsay on Saturday.

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LA’s Mobility Plan 2035 goes before the Planning Commission on May 29th at the Van Nuys City Hall. The plan incorporates the 2010 bike plan, which has been gutted in some areas by a handful of city councilmembers, despite being unanimously approved the council in 2011.

Evidently, unanimous votes don’t mean what they used to. Maybe they had their fingers crossed.

You might want to consider showing up to tell the Planning Commission how you feel about that.

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If you ride PCH or the Malibu Hills, you owe it to yourself to protest the illegal mistreatment of cyclists by the motorists on the highway, as well as by members of the LA County Sheriff’s Department.

Join Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson at Malibu City Hall at 9 am on Saturday, May 9th, or meet him at Will Rogers State Park to ride into the city as a group. And hopefully not get any tickets for not riding in the non-existent bike lane along the way.

This has been an ongoing problem in the area, as bike riders work with the department to ensure fair enforcement, only to see new officers transferred in who don’t understand the basics of bike law, so the process starts all over again.

And it’s time it stopped.

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It’s been a rough week for LA cyclists.

According to a Facebook account, two bike riders training for the AIDS/Lifecycle Ride were mugged and robbed at gunpoint by three men on the LA River bike path Wednesday night.

One of the riders was eventually able to get away, but the other lost his bike and cell phone to the thieves.

Unfortunately, the account doesn’t say where it happened on the bike path. So be alert out there, especially at night. Thanks to Matt Ruscigno for the heads-up.

Then there’s this case, where a cyclist definitely didn’t get a three-foot passing margin.

In another Facebook account, a rider describes being passed by a vehicle so closely that the trailer it was pulling actually brushed his foot, scraping the side of his shoe — despite the fact that he was riding at the speed limit in a no passing zone.

Needless to say, the driver refused to take any responsibility, instead blaming his victim for being on the road. Or maybe the planet. Thanks to Mike Kim for the link.

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A Santa Ana cyclist is in critical condition after he was right hooked by a large truck when he came off a sidewalk into the street, and was caught under the rear wheels of the truck. He was dragged about 200 feet before the truck came to a stop.

As usual, the driver was not cited.

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Let’s catch up with the upcoming bike events.

Don’t forget Ride On! Bike Day at Amoeba Records from noon to 4 pm this Sunday, benefitting the LACBC.

All ages are welcome to the family friendly second annual Walk ‘N Roll Festival in Culver City this Sunday.

The Eastside Bike Club is hosting a breakfast ride on Sunday to kick off Bike Month.

Santa Clarita will host their free Hit the Trail community bike ride on Saturday, May 9th.

The LA edition of the worldwide CycloFemme Global Women’s Cycling Day movement rolls on Sunday, May 10th, starting at the Spoke Bicycle Café on the LA River bike path.

Tour LA’s iconic street art with the Eastside Mural Ride on Saturday, May 16th.

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Local

CiclaValley goes climbing.

Councilmember Jose’ Huizar calls for re-evaluating streets in Downtown LA to make them safer for bike riders and pedestrians.

A new bike from LA-based Pure Fix pays tribute to the late rapper Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls, and former NBA All-Star Rasheed Wallace. But could it support an extra large rider like Biggie?

Santa Monica businesses can join in the city’s 2015 Commuter Challenge: Bike Month to see which company can achieve the highest CO2 savings by having their employees bike to work through May. Which just happens to be National Bike Month, as well as the start of the National Bike Challenge.

Manhattan Beach residents raise a whopping 543% of their Indiegogo goal to market an affordable e-bike beach cruiser.

The long planned two-way bikeway connecting Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach should be rideable by Memorial Day.

Advice on bicycling in LA County from a student at Biola University.

 

State

Schedule your life around the TV viewing schedule for the Amgen Tour of California for the next few weeks. Needless to say, the women’s races won’t be televised — except for a one-hour 11 pm highlight show. So much for network support for women’s racing.

Unbelievable. San Diego police are looking for a road raging truck driver who hit bike rider in the head with a hammer during an argument. I repeat, he hit a bike rider in the head with a hammer. Proof that bike helmets really do help.

The San Diego Bike Coalition kicked off Bike Month a day early. Apparently, they were too excited to wait another day.

A Modesto driver gets six years for a hit-and-run that seriously injured a cyclist while she was high on meth; somehow, she was still allowed on the road despite two previous DUIs.

Sacramento considers putting more of their streets on a diet.

I’ve said it before: It takes a major schmuck to mug a small boy and steal his bike, this time in Calaveras County.

A proposed Merced bike path is the regional finalist in a $100,000 contest sponsored by Bell Helmets.

San Francisco buses get triple bike racks, something we’ve been promised down here now that the law has been changed to allow them.

A Marin equestrian says safely sharing every trail with bikes, hikers and horses is an illusion. Maybe so, but bike riders and hikers hardly ever poop on the trail.

 

National

Bicycling lists 10 mistakes for beginner bike riders to avoid.

A new bipartisan Safe Streets bill in Congress would give planners two years to adopt Complete Streets policies for all federally funded transportation projects.

Denver bike messengers adapt to a declining market, while a London bike courier spills his secrets.

Mountain biking ex-president Bush does his best Elvis impersonation while leading wounded vets across his Texas ranch on the first leg of a 100 mile ride.

A Milwaukee writer discusses how to transport your dogs by bike.

A Vermont website worries that Complete Streets safety improvements will make things worse for cyclists in the wake of recent bicycling collisions. Even though none of them had anything to do with Complete Streets.

Bono still can’t play guitar five months after his bicycling spill in New York’s Central Park; it could take him another 13 months to learn if he’ll regain feeling in his hand.

Baltimore’s hit-and-run bishop gets defrocked four months after the alcohol-fueled death of a cyclist.

Wal-Mart isn’t responsible for the injuries suffered when a Mississippi boy took one of their bicycle-shaped objects for the spin through the store.

A Florida rider discusses when to pack it in and call the SAG wagon.

 

International

Advice on how to ride around the world from a Scottish rider who set a record doing it; a fellow world traveler writes about his plans to cross Australia by bike.

Here’s something LA riders can relate to, as a hard-won Toronto bike lane is blocked by a film shoot.

Canadian teens ride from Auschwitz to a Netherlands Nazi transit camp to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation Holland.

A UK rider is nearly garroted by an extended dog leash while riding on a bike path.

Caught on video: This is why you need good brakes, as a Brit bike rider barely avoids becoming bus fodder.

Also caught on video: The owner of a Dutch cat litter company converts his bakfiets into a kitty carriage for a 300-mile journey from Amsterdam to London.

VeloNews asks if the Vuelta has lost its mojo.

German police thwart an alleged plot to bomb a Frankfurt bike race; the race was cancelled in the wake of the arrests.

Touring China by bike may be the best way to find clean air and quiet in the booming country; meanwhile, a 28-year old Pomona College student is honored for teaching Chinese people how to take control of their own lives by building bamboo bikes.

 

Finally…

If you’re trying to sell a stolen bike, try to make sure your coffee-drinking potential customers aren’t off-duty cops. An Indian cyclist credits his survival in a hit-and-run in part to his knee and elbow pads, while a badly injured Brit rider thanks his badly mangled helmet.

Your next bike could be made of carbon fiber, ash and mahogany, though that wooden saddle looks a tad harsh. And you may never have to look up while you ride again; although personally, I’d be more impressed if it showed what’s behind me, instead. Thanks to Ed Ryder for the tip.

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One last note. I’ve been told about a possible bicycling fatality in Granada Hills on Wednesday, but haven’t been able to get confirmation; both the CHP and the LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division say they aren’t aware of anything. 

Let’s hope this one’s just a false alarm.

Morning Links: Turning private tragedy into help for others, and a 3-decade old AG opinion on sidewalk riding

Donny McCluskey in better days.

Donny McCluskey in better days.

Okay, so this one made me cry.

You see, one reason I write about fallen cyclists is the hope that somehow, some good will come out of such senseless loss. Whether in the form of improved safety measures at the site of the collision, or in some other way.

Patti McCluskey Andre made sure that happened.

It was just over three years ago that her brother, Donny McCluskey, stood waiting with his bike, for a Palm Springs red light to change. He was in the right place, exactly where he was supposed to be, obeying the law so many motorists seem to think we break with abandon.

Yet in the intersection in front of him, a drunk driver was hit by a motorist running that same red light. One of the vehicles went ballistic, spinning out of control and crashing into him; with his feet planted on the ground, there was nothing he could do to avoid the impact.

In seconds, he became collateral damage to the dangers on our streets, a victim of actions beyond his control.

The remorseful driver who ran the red light was ultimately convicted and placed on three years probation and community service. This at the request of the victim’s family, who saw no benefit in putting him behind bars.

In most cases, that would have been the end of it.

They would have walked away, mourning the loss of someone so dear to them, and trying to find some way to put it all behind them.

But Patti wanted Donny’s life to mean something.

So she started a fund in his name, which this month awarded its first two scholarships.

Here’s what she had to say:

Yesterday I had the honor of awarding the first 2 in memory of Donny McCluskey scholarships. Both recipients, Lisa Ponsford and Wendi Swanson are family nurse practitioners graduating in May with their DNPs. As FNPS working in our communities — they have the power to promote change at every level. Lisa works in the ER and Wendi in college health plus both are educators at WesternU. Both recipients are physically active and dedicated to changing population health with lifestyle interventions.

Both recipients were honored and touched to be chosen for this scholarship. All I can say is that I am honored to know them and wish they had known Donny, he would have been honored to have his name associated with these two!

Just how big a heart does it take to turn your own private tragedy into something so positive? Let alone something that will not only benefit those who receive them, but everyone whose lives they touch?

Patti has thanked me more than once for the work I do here. But I am in awe of her, and what she’s done to not only channel her own grief, but make our world a better place.

She’s currently raising funds for an additional scholarship for a graduate or doctoral student of Health Science at the same university. And promises to match every donation dollar for dollar.

I can’t think of a better cause.

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In light of yesterday’s guest post about riding on crosswalks, I was forwarded this 1993 opinion from then California Attorney General Dan Lundgren, concluding that the rules of the road do indeed apply to bicyclists on the sidewalk, and that sidewalk cyclists can be required to ride with traffic.

We note that certain rules of the road concern the use of the roadway in particular rather than the highway in general (e.g., § 2165 [except in specified circumstances, a vehicle upon the highway is to be driven upon the right half of the roadway]). Although a sidewalk is a separate part of the highway from the roadway, we believe that, given the factors discussed above, the intent of the Legislature was for the operation of a bicycle on a sidewalk to be similar to vehicular travel wherever practicable. Therefore, to the extent that a vehicle must be driven on the right half of the roadway, a bicyclist riding on an adjacent sidewalk must travel in the same direction as the vehicular traffic. This interpretation of section 21200 provides pedestrians with some assurance as to the direction of bicycle riders on sidewalks at all times. Such statutory construction is consistent with the well-established principle that “[t]he courts must give statutes a reasonable construction which conforms to the apparent purpose and intention of the lawmakers.” (Clean Air Constituency v. California Air Resources Bd. (1974) 11 Cal.3d 801, 813.)

Of course, an opinion of the AG does not have the force law.

It’s up to the courts to interpret and rule on the meaning of laws guiding the use of bicycles on the sidewalk, as well as the crosswalks. And laws can be amended, and interpretations change, over three decades.

I don’t know of any California city where sidewalk riders are routinely expected to ride in the direction of traffic. However, many police departments — including the LAPD — believe bikes become vehicles once they enter the street, and so must travel in the direction of traffic when they enter a crosswalk, yesterday’s post not withstanding.

But it’s interesting to see such a different interpretation of the law from thirty years ago.

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Somehow I missed this column from an auto-centric writer in my otherwise bike friendly home state, insisting that bike riders are law breaking junior partners who deserve only a small share of the road. And of course, the usual complaints about a “subset” of arrogant, self-righteous, self-centered and condescending riders.

A cyclist responds by shouting tongue-in-cheek taunts at other riders when he’s behind the wheel.

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An article in a Boston College environmental law review makes the case for how strict liability could even the scales on our roads, improve safety and encourage more environmentally friendly forms of commuting.

Like bicycling, for instance.

Strict liability is based on the assumption that motorists, as the operators of the more dangerous vehicles, have a greater responsibility for avoiding collisions, and so are presumed to be at fault in a collision unless it can be shown otherwise.

Adopting it here is probably the biggest step we could take to reduce reckless behavior behind the wheel and stop the carnage on our streets.

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Local

Thieves made off with nine bikes in DTLA in a one week period this month; eight of the purloined bicycles had their locks cut.

Turns out there’s already bike share in Century City, while nearby Westwood’s new bike corral is being put to good use.

Fear of a more user-friendly future on our streets rears its ugly head, as the president of the Miracle Mile Residential Associations waves a red flag and LADOT’s senior planner appears to backpedal on the city’s draft mobility plan.

The first bike lane in the ‘Bu finally opens, but it’s just a tad shorter than earlier reports. Instead of seven miles long, it’s two miles, along with an improved seven-mile bike route.

Glendale police held a fundraiser for next week’s 300-mile Police Unity Tour to honor fallen officers.

 

State

Irvine police make their second bust in two days of thieves stealing copper wire from the lights along a bike path next to the 405 Freeway. But at least the crooks were on bikes, right?

No bias here, as the Press-Enterprise says a bike rider was badly hurt when he ran into a car; never mind that he was actually right-hooked. Note to the P-E: The victim was cut off, not passing on the right; thanks to sponsor Michael Rubinstein for the link.

No bias here, either. A Hollister newspaper reports a bike-riding child hit a car and fell over, but fails to mention if the car was even moving at the time. And in more Hollister news, if you’re a known gang member carrying a concealed weapon, ride to the right, damn it.

San Francisco police arrest the unlicensed hit-and-run driver who plowed into three bicyclists earlier this month; she’s scheduled to appear in court today.

In an exercise in sheer stupidity, a San Francisco man is arrested for stabbing another man to death in a dispute over a bicycle.

Police in Menlo Park are looking for a bike rider who whacked a driver in the head with his bike lock after throwing something at his car. Seriously, no matter how much you think someone might deserve it, don’t resort to violence. Ever. Period.

 

National

Bikes hardly ever catch on fire. Unless maybe you’re on a Pedego e-bike; the company just recalled their batteries due to a fire hazard.

A new study says bike shares are more successful when the stations are close together. Are you listening, Metro?

A website lists the three best American cities to tour by bike. No, Los Angeles isn’t one of them.

Here’s that full report on bike helmets from Consumer Reports.

A Portland website asks if bike locks of the future could end 120 years of thieving bastards. Their words, not mine, but I like the way they think.

An Oregon judge gives a repeat drunk driver yet another second chance, despite already spending time in prison for killing a cyclist in 2004. The driver, not the judge. This is how we keep drunks on the road until they kill someone. Or in this case, kill again.

Yuma AZ changes the city ordinance to require cyclists to ride with traffic, after two-thirds of bicycling collision victims in the town were riding salmon. Which makes you wonder what the hell the law was there before.

Mad City cyclists will get a new $3 million bike and ped bridge this September.

A off-duty Cleveland cop is punched in the arm by an 81-year old man for riding his bike on a multi-use bike path.

Residents of a New York neighborhood complain about scofflaw salmon cyclists, unlike all those law abiding drivers on Gotham streets. Evidently, New York moms don’t teach their kids to look both ways before crossing the street, either.

LA may be the mecca for food trucks, but Pittsburgh is about to get the Porkrind Bike, delivering 15-flavors of free-range chicharróns.

A three-time DUI loser is sentenced to over 10 years behind bars for the death of a Virginia bike rider, after a BAC two-and-a-half times the legal limit — then has eight years suspended. See above about why we can’t get drunks off the roads before they kill. Or kill again.

 

International

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, a sociologist explains that Europeans are more likely to be injured riding a bike, though we Americans are more likely to wear a helmet. And says he doesn’t, even though he thinks he probably should.

Quebec’s Transport Minister is leaning against a mandatory helmet law, saying it would be hard to enforce.

An amateur Brit bike racer spends the equivalent of nearly $40,000 competing in a single year. Many amateur racers would like to just have that much money, let alone spend it on racing.

That’s one way to get the streets fixed, as a UK graffiti artist draws attention to potholes by drawing a penis around them. Thanks to Topher Mathers for heads-up.

The Wall Street Journal offers five things to know about riding in Amsterdam.

At least we only have to worry about LA drivers, as a South African cyclist was apparently killed by a giraffe.

 

Finally…

Slowtwitch offers advice on group riding for triathletes attempting to infiltrate the peloton. Advice on how to tell another rider his ass is showing through his spandex shorts.

And an off-duty Houston cop with crappy aim shot at a man stealing a bike from his porch twelve times — yes, 12 — because he “thought” the thief was armed. Apparently without hitting anyone, though police briefly followed a trail of dried paint or tomato juice.

Seriously, you can’t make this crap up.

 

Guest post: BAC Vice Chair Glenn Bailey reports on efforts to undo the Chase Street road diet and bike lanes

Last week we alerted you to an attempt by the Panorama City Neighborhood Council to sneak in a last minute vote on removing the road diet and bike lanes on Chase Street through the San Fernando Valley neighborhood.

Despite the late notice, a number of bicyclists emailed to protest the blatant attempt to bypass legitimate discussion of the issue, and a handful of riders were able to attend the meeting.

Glenn Bailey, Vice Chair of the Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee, offers his report on the matter.

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Existing bicycle lanes in Panorama City were under attack last week as both the Arleta and Panorama City Neighborhood Councils voted to support efforts to “restore” two additional lanes of motor vehicle traffic along a one-mile stretch of Chase Street between Van Nuys Boulevard and Woodman Avenue. The bicycle lanes, installed a year ago, link a major commercial district in Panorama City with the existing bicycle lanes on Woodman Avenue, and will provide a future connection for the proposed bicycle lanes on Parthenia Street, which will extend west to Canoga Park. The Chase lanes also serve the adjoining Chase Street Elementary School and nearby Panorama Recreation Center.

The removal of the bicycle lanes has been spearheaded by the Arleta “Looky Loo” Neighborhood Watch group, even though the lanes are located in Panorama City and not in Arleta. They claim traffic is delayed “up to fifteen minutes during rush hour.” (Alternatively, bicycling the route at any time of the day only takes four to five minutes.)

The Panorama City Neighborhood Council (PCNC) held its regular fourth Thursday monthly meeting last week but the Chase Street bicycle lanes item was not listed on the agenda distributed three days earlier. Instead, the PCNC issued a second agenda for a special meeting that was not publicly distributed via the City’s Early Notification System until less than 11 hours before the meeting start time.

Generally, these “special” sessions are only called pursuant to State’s open meeting law, the Brown Act, to consider items that become known within two to three days before a regular meeting. However, public records indicate that the Chase Street bicycle lanes have been agendized by the PCNC at least twice over the last two years: in April 2013 and in October 2014. The issue was most recently considered by the PCNC Public Safety Committee at a meeting held on March 11, 2015 and yet the item was not included on the agenda for the next full Board meeting held on March 26, 2015. Instead, it mysteriously appeared six weeks later with virtually no advance notice for the public.

Despite the lack of public notice, the PCNC President, Viviano Montes, reported that the Board had received about twenty emails that afternoon supporting the bicycle lanes.   Two bicyclists who live in Panorama City and who use the Chase Street bicycle lanes on a daily basis did attend and spoke passionately in favor of keeping the lanes.

Two persons spoke against the bike lanes and apparently neither live in Panorama City, but rather in neighboring Arleta.  One speaker said the bicycle lanes should be “shared” with motor vehicles, apparently unaware that a five-foot lane width is too narrow to accommodate cars and that such use is a violation of the State Vehicle Code. She claimed to have petitions with 250 signatures to remove the lanes, but apparently a copy was not provided to the Neighborhood Council so the Board doesn’t know if the signers are actually from Panorama City or not.

But that was enough to influence some of the PCNC Board members who said they would vote to represent the wishes of the “majority.”  The vote was 10-1-3 (yes-no-abstain) to “ask the city to restore Chase Street to four traffic lanes between Woodman Avenue and Van Nuys Boulevard” which would necessitate the removal of the bicycle lanes. (A similar motion was passed the previous Tuesday by the Arleta NC on a 7-1-1 vote.)

According to the U.S. Census, the current population of Panorama City is 70,749 so if the Neighborhood Council wants to represent a true majority, they will need to hear from at least 35,250 more of their constituents.

Instead of undoing the road diet and removing the bicycle lanes, the City’s Department of Transportation should conduct a traffic and safety study and make recommendations to improve the flow of traffic, if necessary.  For example, the complaints about delays at the four-way stop signs could be addressed by installing roundabouts at those intersections.

The bicycle lane opponents vowed to submit their petition signatures to the local City Councilmember Nury Martinez (6th District) so stayed tuned as this story unfolds.

 

Morning Links: LAPD ordered to turn over video of bike rider beating, and Redlands riders do the right thing

Local

A judge orders the LAPD to turn over video of the beating their officers allegedly gave South LA bike rider Clinton Alford.

An artist working on a bicycle-themed interactive art installation for the Los Angeles State Historic Park wants your bike story for the project.

Nice idea. A custom-made book bike operating out of the San Pedro branch of the Los Angeles Public Library can carry and display 200 pounds of books to encourage reading.

Gizmodo looks at LA’s fabled elevated bike highway and why it failed, blazing the trail for what would eventually become the Pasadena Freeway.

For a change, a Malibu motorist actually admires the bike riders making their way up Latigo Canyon.

A Metro panel discussion asks if bicycling is in your future on Monday, May 11th at Caltrans HQ in DTLA.

The same Caltrans HQ location will be the site of Color Wheels: A Bicycle Community Art Show featuring art works from LA bike riders on Bike to Work Day night on Thursday the 14th.

 

State

After a compromise agreement, a single e-bike bill moves forward in the state legislature.

Bike riders attending Sunday’s Orange County Transportation Authority Bike Festival say streets behind the Orange Curtain aren’t as safe as they should be. Sort of like streets everywhere, in other words.

No bias here. According to the local paper, a Riverside bike rider wasn’t hit by a police car, but rather, he collided with it.

Female cyclists don’t earn enough as it is. Yet the women competing in the recent Redlands Classic agreed to donate 15% of their prize money to the family of Erica Grief, who was killed in a car crash on the way to compete in the race.

San Luis Obispo County leads the state in per capita bicycling deaths.

Bad news from Sunnyvale, as bike rider was killed during the morning commute.

 

National

Consumer Reports rates bike helmets, with recommended models starting at just $12.

Here’s your chance to buy a rare bike from a Portland collection. Or maybe all 203 if the mood strikes.

Evidently, winter is officially over in Jackson, Wyoming when the bike racks come back.

Wisconsin drivers can’t seem to figure out how to use roundabouts without endangering bike riders and pedestrians.

A 70-year old Minnesota woman plans a two year journey by bike across the US. If you can call a fully enclosed, solar powered e-assist tricycle a bike, that is.

Vermont cyclists are mourning a leading local rider and bike shop employee killed in a collision with a 17-year old driver, who also died after going over an embankment.

Crain’s talks with the new boss of New York’s Citi Bike about how to turn around the financially troubled bike share program.

CBS News discovers last weekend’s Red Hook Criterium, which brought over 300 riders from 29 countries to compete on the streets of Brooklyn. Here on the Left Coast, it was all about the Waffle Ride.

The NYPD is cracking down on bike riders, making New York’s most bike friendly neighborhood significantly less so.

 

International

The leader of the UK’s Liberal Democrats promises to turn Britain into a cycling nation.

A British jury finds a dangerous junction guilty, along with the driver who killed a cyclist; the 70-year old motorist said the victim somehow blended in with the background, despite his hi-viz.

Ed Ryder sends word that sometimes diabetes can be beat, as bicycling helps save the life of an overweight Brit man after his sons intervene. Which almost makes me wish I was overweight.

Scottish officials promise to increase spending on bicycling, while cyclists call for presumed liability in bike collisions, which would require motorists to prove they’re not at fault.

Dubai police seize 11,000 bikes from law-breaking riders in just two months. Imagine how many cars they could seize if they applied the same standards to scofflaw drivers.

 

Finally…

In a world where advertising has become inescapable, bike lanes have become the latest marketing medium. Jared Leto takes his new Joker green hair for a ride around Toronto.

And beware doping drivers. A pair of Ohio grad students have developed a roadside test to determine just how high they really are; apparently, counting the number of empty Twinkie wrappers in the vehicle is not a legally valid standard. Thanks to Geri Wilson for the heads-up.

………

Come back later Tuesday morning for a guest post from LA Bicycling Advisory Vice Chair Glenn Bailey reporting on efforts to remove the bike lanes from Chase Street in the SFV.

 

Morning Links: LA Times picks Ramsay, LA bike plan site pushes rug padding, and how to pass a bike respectfully

Local

The LA Times endorses Carolyn Ramsay in LA’s 4th district. Without ever mentioning the word bicycle.

Evidently LADOT’s website got hacked. Or maybe someone forget to renew the domain registration for the 2010 LA bike plan, which now links to a spam site for rug padding. Thanks to Jonathan Fertig and Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

Speaking of LA’s DOT, they are currently reinstalling the bronze plaques honoring the late Alex Baum, which had been stolen from the bridge named after him. That would have provided a good opportunity to hold along-delayed public memorial for LA’s leading, long-time and much revered bike advocate if the city cared to, which they evidently don’t.

Rick Risemberg writes that you’ll now find bikes in every corner of LA, as the City of Angels slowly becomes a city for people.

Looks like even bike-challenged USC will get a bike share program before LA.

LA Magazine looks at the new seven-mile long bike lanes on PCH, which should be just the first of many in the ‘Bu. Let’s hope they help tame what has long been one of the area’s most dangerous roads.

Kick off National Bike Month with Ride On! Bike Day at Amoeba Records on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood this Sunday; the afternoon event benefits the LACBC.

 

State

The new California Streetsblog updates a couple of the proposed bills in the state legislature affecting bicycling, which are starting to look a lot better; Cyclelicious looks at some of the other nearly 40 bills currently before the legislature affecting bikes.

SoCal agencies gather to fight the rising tide of drugged driving. Although I’m told the OC crime lab doesn’t even bother to test for some common prescription drugs that can seriously impair driving.

As expected, the two men convicted of killing a developmentally disabled San Diego bike rider just for the hell of it have been sentenced to a well-deserved life with parole.

An Antioch boy was injured when a motorist drove into the bike lane he and a friend were riding in to get around traffic; the driver was arrested when he collided with another car after fleeing the scene.

 

National

Bicycling explains the problem behind the massive Trek recall, which could affect other bicycle manufacturers.

Triathlete site Slowtwitch examines the dreaded speed wobble.

Garmin sets out to challenge GoPro with an updated line of action cams. However, affordability doesn’t appear to have been high on their feature list.

Denver police are using GPS enabled bait bikes to battle bike theft.

A Wisconsin professor has written an academic history of the battle to give bikes a piece of the road.

Life is cheap in Ohio, where fleeing the scene of a collision — leaving a critically injured cyclist lying in the street — and tampering with evidence to cover up the crime isn’t worth a single day behind bars.

The New York Daily News says there is virtually no enforcement for bike riders who break the city’s law against riding on the sidewalk — except for the 10,000 people who were ticketed for doing it last year. The article also cites the 1,000 pedestrians injured in collisions with bicycles throughout the state each year, but fails to consider that maybe not all of the collisions were the bike riders’ fault.

A Philly columnist takes the city’s new bike share program out for a ride.

A video from Mobile AL demonstrates how to pass a bicyclist properly and respectfully.

 

International

A Toronto writer says cycling is synonymous to socialism, and compares bike riders to smelt. Seriously?

The owner of a Brit trucking company says cyclists are the worst users of the road, and truck drivers are the best. Sure, let’s go with that.

A Scottish writer suggests balancing the country’s books by taxing “odious” middle-class activities like bicycling and jogging. Never mind that that taxing cyclists would be self-defeating, and many poor people bike. In fact, some people even use them to transport trees.

Thousands of Scot riders Pedal on Parliament to encourage politicians to make the country more bike-friendly.

Alejandro Valverde wins Liège-Bastogne-Liège for the third time, just days after winning his third La Flèche Wallonne.

Smart idea. Finland fines law-breaking motorists more the more money they have.

Tens of thousands of people turn out on two wheels to promote bicycling in Budapest.

Japanese anime goes bicycling.

 

Finally…

Now you can do your laundry while you pedal, as long as you don’t want to actually go anywhere. Brits are urged to be on the lookout for the “evil” bike rider who ran over the royal-in-law Chihuahua.

And as every parent knows, it’s important to share bonding experiences with your kids. Like stealing bikes, for instance.

 

Weekend Links: Super-secret discipline for Milt Olin deputy; SD’s Fiesta Island wreck caused by invisible boyfriend

We’ve got a lot to catch up on today.

So feel free to take a break and go out for a ride. This could take awhile.

……..

The LA County sheriff’s deputy who killed former Napster exec Milt Olin has been officially disciplined by the department. But since it’s considered a personnel matter, we’ll most likely never know what that discipline is.

And there will be no discipline for the department, which reportedly encouraged its officers to use their onboard computers while driving, despite an official policy against it.

……..

A psychiatrist says the alleged meth-using wrong way driver who plowed into 10 cyclists on San Diego’s Fiesta Island, leaving one paralyzed, “has bipolar disorder with chronic or long-standing mania and psychotic features, but also depressive features.”

Oh. Well, okay then.

She reportedly blames the crash on an invisible boyfriend who somehow popped up, apparently inside her car, before disappearing.

And she had a bag of meth in her vagina when she was arrested.

Allegedly.

Update: Despite the testimony of the psychiatrist, Theresa Owens was found competent to stand trial on Friday. 

……..

Three bikes take a 100 year journey to Bike Week LA, coming next month.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link.

……..

Update: I’ve been reminded that the OCTA Bike Festival will be held this Sunday from 9 am to 1 p in Huntington Beach.

Although how I can be reminded of something I didn’t know about to begin with is beyond me.

……..

Local

Note to CMs Gil Cedillo, Tom LaBonge and Paul Koretz: A Virginia study confirms what we’ve been trying to tell you. More bikes on the streets will actually increase traffic congestion unless we have bike lanes to ride in. But hey, go ahead, keep blocking those planned bike lanes on North Figueroa, Lankershim and Westwood until traffic improves.

If you’re looking for a new job, CicLAvia is hiring a new head honcho; meanwhile, the Times talks with outgoing exec and founder Aaron Paley. Although I wish he could remember the role the LACBC played in assisting the birth of CicLAvia; one of the first votes I cast as a board member involved approving a cooperative agreement to help get the first event off the ground.

Caught on video: Streetsblog’s Joe Linton looks a Malibu’s new bike lane on PCH, a first for the formerly bike-unfriendly city. Speaking of the LACBC, the coalitions’s Eric Bruins deserves much of the credit for the coastal city’s change in attitude.

 

State

California Streetsblog interviews Assemblyman Mike Gatto, who insists Governor Brown will sign a Yellow Alert hit-and-run notice this time around; he vetoed a similar bill last year.

Caltrans effectively unblocks protected bike lanes; the state transportation agency will hold a summit on the newly legalized Class IV bikeways next month.

Is someone targeting bike riders in OC? After a Santa Ana bike rider is shot in a possible gang-related driveby, he continued riding to a nearby residence for help; another man riding a bike was shot in the same city just a day later.

Huntington Beach police are looking for a man and woman who tried to steal a purse from a bike rider’s basket, then ripped it out of her hands when she fought back. Thanks to Louis for the tip.

The cities of Highlands and Redlands in San Bernardino County are working together to build a proposed bike lane connecting the two; a separated lane is one possibility.

Sad news from Palo Alto, as the 61-year old woman hit by a cyclist while crossing the street has died. The rider was descending around a blind curve at about 25 mph when he crashed into her; he has not been charged. The victim, Kathryn Green, was a noted philanthropist with local ties to the LA area; she was born in Santa Monica and grew up in the Palisades. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Streetsblog SF picks up the story of the Belmont bike rider blamed by auto-centric police for talking on a cell phone and riding sans-helmet — both legal — when he was left crossed by a car; the 90-year old motorist who illegally violated his right of way wasn’t held responsible in any way.

The Uber driver who allegedly ran down a San Francisco bike rider in a road rage dispute has surrendered his drivers license.

San Francisco’s director of transportation and public health director team up to explain the city’s Vision Zero policy. It would be nice if we could see something like that here; most Angelenos have no idea what Vision Zero is, let alone that the city has adopted it.

NorCal’s Arcata posts a YouTube video explaining the new bicycle boulevard running through the center of town. So why can’t we have nice things like that? See Cedillo, et al, above.

 

National

Phoenix cyclists agree with the city’s low ranking for bike-friendliness.

Organizers unveil the route for this year’s Tour of Utah, which includes a whopping two whole days of women’s racing. Which is better than none, I suppose.

A Houston bike rider has become the latest cyclist to be killed in a collision with a police car; the victim reportedly ran the red light.

Ever wondered what happened to the guy who inspired Breaking Away by almost single-handedly winning the 1962 Little 500?

An Ohio driver gets probation for the hit-and-run crash that left a bike rider seriously injured, and tampering with evidence to hide the crime afterwards. Evidently, life is cheap there. And the law seems pretty meaningless, too.

To celebrate the launch of Philadelphia’s bike share program, Uber brought bike riders a new helmet for just $10. Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the tip.

Bike riders in South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island say harassment is common, after the arrest of a driver for yelling at a woman to get on a bike path, then getting out of his car and grabbing her arm to scream some more.

Caught on video: A Georgia truck driver gets out of his vehicle and pushes a bike rider over after the rider flipped him off for passing too closely; the driver claims he was in fear for his life after the rider kicked at his massive, multi-ton steel truck. Sure, let’s go with that.

Unbelievable. The 2013 police shooting of a Florida bike rider was caught on dash cam video; he was left paralyzed from the waist down — even though his only weapon was a cell phone.

The Justice Department will review the Tampa Bay police department’s ticketing of African American bike riders, who received 79% of the city’s tickets for bicycle violations even though they make up just 26% of city residents. The paper that broke the story asks if police will now stop the biased enforcement while the review is underway. Thanks to BikinginLA sponsor Michael Rubinstein for the heads-up.

 

International

They never learn. A young British driver becomes the latest to lose her job after tweeting about hitting a bicyclist without stopping.

A Brit woman may have suffered permanent scars resulting from a collision with a grinning hit-and-run cyclist.

A formerly morbidly obese man from the UK loses 210 pounds in a single year after taking up bicycling; he’s now planning to run a half-marathon — and have 14 pounds of excess skin removed.

Now that’s what I call fleeing the scene. An Irish driver gets six-and-a-half years for causing the death of a cyclist. He first fled to the UK, then Australia; he was arrested after being recognized in an ill-advised return to the UK.

Join the Army, and you too can experience the German equivalent of a ciclovía.

Kazakhstan-based pro cycling team Astana somehow manages to keep its top-tier racing status, despite a number of team members busted for doping.

Unbelievable. An Aussie man jailed for killing a cyclist in a 2011 hit-and-run killed another man in a second hit-and-run the same month, and hid his body under some bark and leaves.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: A llama joins the peloton. In Canada, no less, where the animals aren’t exactly native.

If you’re going to climb into a driver’s vehicle and drive off after coming to blows in a road rage dispute — with the owner still clinging to the outside of his car — try to make a clean getaway without crashing into a parked car. But if you want to experience just one angry, honking driver on your ride to work, make sure you have a police escort.

And Bo Jackson says nobody’s perfect. Not even his buddy Lance.

 

Action Alert: Panorama City NC sneaks in agenda item to remove bike lanes on Chase Street at tonight’s meeting

I just received news that the Panorama City Neighborhood Council will discuss removal of a recently installed road diet and bike lanes on Chase Street.

The group has already requested removal of the lanes in one section; now they’re planning to ask for removal of the entire road diet.

Worse, they’re trying to sneak this past the public without any real discussion by inserting a last-minute “special agenda” at the end of the previously published agenda. And allowing only eight minutes to consider the matter, effectively eliminating any possibility of legitimate discussion.

5. Consideration and possible action on the recommendation of the Public Safety committee that the Board ask the city to restore Chase Street to four traffic lanes between Woodman Avenue and Van Nuys Boulevard. The Board has already taken action to request a return to four lanes between Wakefield Avenue and Van Nuys Boulevard. The council had opposed lane elimination in that area when the street restriping was still in the proposal stage. Now that the restriping has occurred, a dangerous condition has also arisen at the Woodman end, where parent traffic blocks the street while waiting to turn into the alley behind Valor Academy Middle School to pick up children. The through-street’s traffic capacity reduction is also causing huge backups along the street during rush hours, and a dangerous diversion of cut-through traffic to Parthenia Street between Woodman Avenue and Van Nuys Boulevard. That section of Parthenia has now changed from a quiet residential street to an arterial street. For all of these traffic disruptions, very few bicycles are ever seen occupying the two bike lanes that replaced the two traffic lanes. [8m]

If you live, work or ride in the area, you’re urged to attend tonight’s meeting:

PANORAMA CITY NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING AGENDA

Thursday, April 23, 2015, 6:30 PM
Mission Community Hospital, Medical Office Building, 2nd Floor, Room 208 14860 Roscoe Boulevard, Panorama City, CA 91402

If you can’t make it, email your comments — and your outrage at the sneak attack — to PCNC@EmpowerLA.org; blind copy (Bcc) LA BAC Vice Chair Glenn Bailey at glennbicyclela@gmail.com.

Demand that they allow legitimate public discussion before taking any action.

And that they allow the bike lanes to remain until people in cars and on bikes both have a chance to adjust to the new road design — and give up this ill-advised attempt to revert the roadway back to a more dangerous state.

 

Morning Links: Turns out running a red light is no big deal, and you really can ride with your kid to Dodger Stadium

No major stories today, so let’s get right to the links.

………

Local

Unbelievable. A driver runs a red light and slams into three teenage girls in a North Hollywood crosswalk, and walks away without charges. Evidently, traffic laws really are merely suggestions for California motorists.

Caught on video: Flying Pigeon owner Josef Bray-Ali and his daughter ride a cargo bike to Dodger Stadium. Proving it is possible to ride a bike when you have children, even if it entails climbing a (small) mountain.

Smart marketing. When tourists stay at the Farmer’s Daughter Hotel on Fairfax, they not only get free use of a bicycle to tour the area, but a free pair of sneakers to encourage walking, as well.

More proof that bike riders aren’t always the good guys, as a Pasadena woman has her purse stolen by a passing cyclist; thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Something we left off yesterday’s long list of bike events — Malibu officially cuts the ribbon on the newly installed two-mile long PCH bike lanes at 10 am on Thursday, April 29th at the Zuma Beach Parking lot, PCH and Morning View Drive.

Talented fixie riders are invited to skid, track stand and put a foot down at the DTLB Bike Fest in Long Beach starting

 

State

Calbike offers their monthly report; turns out that Caltrans shares, or maybe stole, their goal of tripling bicycling in the next five years. Does that mean I get to buy two more bikes?

Laguna Beach police are cracking down on distracted driving. Let’s hope every other department follows their example.

Nice story from Newbury Park, as a bike shop owner gives a homeless man a hand up by promoting the business.

The San Francisco school district becomes the latest city agency to adopt Vision Zero.

 

National

Trek recalls over one million bikes equipped with front disc brakes; three people have been injured when the quick release interfered with the brakes, including one who was left a quadriplegic.

Turns out you can use a hands-free device and still drive dangerously distracted.

Despite what you may have read, Millennials are 36% less likely to buy a car than GenXers, while AARP says transit, bicycles and feet are moving us to a brighter future.

USA Today suggests planning your next vacation around the nation’s top 10 bike share cities. Needless to say, LA is not on the list.

A Seattle cyclist files suit against a former city councilwoman who seriously injured him in a left cross crash.

No bias here, as a Tucson paper blames the victim of a right hook for crashing into the car. But at least he was wearing a helmet, right?

Caught on video: A Texas father tackles a man trying to ride off on his daughter’s bike after seeing the thief grab the bike on a security camera.

New York’s mayor says everyone has to yield to pedestrians and bike riders — even bus drivers, who apparently feel they have the right to run over either with impunity.

A Brit blogger provides his perspective on bicycling in New York, potholes and SUVs included; he says riding here explains why only .5% of American journeys are taken by bike. Thanks to Brian Myers for the link.

 

International

A stationary exercise bike developed in LA is helping paralyzed Calgary residents ride by stimulating the muscles in their legs.

Edmonton business owners demand the removal of a bike lane, saying it killed their business when it was installed two years ago.

A Montreal paper says no one should have to die before safe, adequate cycling infrastructure is pushed up the city’s priority list.

A bike tour through the French wine country goes flat. Five times.

The great anti-bike conspiracy? Vested automotive interests are working to suppress cycling, according to a Swedish filmmaker.

 

Finally…

As usual, Bikeyface nails it, saying we don’t need glow in the dark spray for bike riders, we need attention boosting mist for motorists. Caught on video: Stunt cyclist Danny McAskill fixes a flat. And jumps a pair of cows, too.

And the founder of Rapha says bicycling is the most important thing in many customers lives. Which is silly, of course, because that implies there’s something in life other than riding a bike.

 

Morning Links: Upcoming bike events, new sustainability webisode, and a driver beats a bike rider with a bat

Let’s start with a long list of upcoming bike events.

DTLA’s pedal-powered Peddler’s Creamery celebrates its 2nd Anniversary on Saturday, from 4 to 8 pm.

Pico Rivera will host a bike festival from 9 am to 1 pm this Saturday, including bike tune-ups, obstacle coarse and a group ride.

The LACBC is hosting a ride this Sunday as part of the Car Free SFV Earth Day Event as Valley residents are urged to go without a car from just one day. The ride assembles at 9:30 am along the LA River at Fulton and Valleyheart in Sherman Oaks.

Also on Sunday, the Volkswagen City of Angels Fun Ride rolls out from the UCLA campus to benefit the UCLA Hospital’s Blood & Platelet Donor Center; nice to see a kid’s ride honoring the late Alex Baum as part of the event. Thanks to Peter for the heads-up in a comment below.

Culver City will celebrate active transportation on Sunday, May 3rd with the Walk and Roll Festival at El Marino Language School.

BikeSGV will hold their monthly meeting on May 5th at Mulhall Elementary School.

The LA edition of the worldwide CycloFemme Global Women’s Cycling Day movement rolls on Sunday, May 10th, starting at the Spoke Bicycle Café on the LA River bike path. And yes, men are welcome as well.

The annual Bike Week LA runs May 10th through the 16th, with events every day from Sunday through Friday; Bike to Work Day — aka the adult equivalent of Trick or Treat for commuter cyclists — is on Thursday the 15th, with pit stops throughout the city.

One of the highlights of Bike Week every year is the non-denominational Blessing of the Bicycles at Good Samaritan Hospital on Tuesday, May 12th. A little divine intervention can’t hurt on the mean streets of LA.

Once again, Metro is hosting Bike Night at Union Station after work on Friday, May 15th to celebrate the end of LA Bike Week.

The Eastside Mural Ride will roll through Boyle Heights on May 16th to explore the area’s iconic public art.

………

In honor of Earth Day, LA filmmaker Erica M. Hart unveils her new web series Mindful American.

The pilot episode focuses on Angelenos who are working to build community and reduce dependence on cars, from teenage cargo bike builders in Boyle Heights, to CicLAvia and a talk with Bicycle Kitchen founder Jimmy Lizama.

Hart used the insurance payment from when her car was totaled to fund the episode, and says she can’t imagine ever owning a car again after experiencing LA without one.

You can see the trailer here, or watch the full 20-minute episode online.

Lets hope she gets the funding to keep the series going. Without having to wreck another car.

………

Local

CiclaValley explains why Thursday’s meeting of the Griffith Park Advisory Board matters; the answer is more than just the ill-advised opening of Mt. Hollywood Drive to cars. A mass ride to attend the meeting will set out from Sunset Triangle Plaza at 5:30 pm Thursday.

Santa Monica police will conduct another bike and pedestrian safety enforcement crackdown this coming Friday and Monday. Try to observe the letter of the law when riding in the city, so it’s only the dangerous drivers who get ticketed, not you.

Here’s your chance to work for a more bikeable LA, as the LACBC is hiring a new fulltime membership manager and a part-time volunteer and education coordinator.

 

State

In case you missed it, Sommer Nicole Gonzales was sentenced to 11 years in state prison after pleading guilty in the meth-fueled hit-and-run death of cyclist Joey Robinson in Orange last year.

Cyclelicious calls on members of underserved cycling communities to represent at Calbike’s street-level advocacy days in Sacramento on April 28th and 29th.

A Sacramento bike rider was killed when he was rear-ended while riding in a bike lane or on the shoulder of the roadway; the investigation is ongoing, but how the driver could not be at fault in that situation is beyond me.

A Belmont bike rider is injured when he’s left hooked by an elderly motorist, yet for some reason, the story focuses on his lack of a helmet and that he was talking on a cell phone while he rode. Both of which are legal, if not always smart, in California.

 

National

Strava and Competitive Cyclist team up to pay people a dollar an hour to ride their bikes. Or maybe not.

A close call with a red light-running truck that totaled a Portland bike rider’s bicycle sparked the movement to downgrade the city’s platinum bike-friendly status.

A Bozeman MT paper calls on motorists to just put down the phone and drive. Amen, brother.

Already bike-friendly Minneapolis will build 30-miles of protected bike lanes in the next five years.

Pedestrian injuries drop 61% following a New York road diet, but making it permanent will make it more difficult to add bike lanes later.

 

International

The Windsor, Ontario city council votes to put in bike lanes called for in the bike master plan over the objection of local residents, who will lose street parking.

Caught on video: A British bike rider records a driver reading a book — yes, reading — while driving.

Mazda is the latest car mark to get into the vapor ware concept bike business, unveiling a track bike in Milan featuring a frame forged from a single piece of metal.

A new Korean study says bike lanes should be at least 2 meters — or 6.5 feet — wide in each direction.

 

Finally…

A new wind-powered bike bell makes constant noise when you ride, for when you want to annoy the crap out of yourself and everyone around you. Now that’s a collapsible bike helmet, folding flat enough to stuff into a laptop bag.

And this is why you don’t want to retaliate against drivers. A Bridgeport CT driver is accused of chasing down a bike rider who threw a rock at her car during a roadway dispute, running over his bike and beating him with a baseball bat.

Maybe she was a Ramones fan.

 

Update: Lakewood bike rider killed in early morning collision with suspected drunk driver

Sad news today, as a woman lost her life in an early morning collision.

According to the Press-Telegram, a woman was hit by a car while riding her bike on the 11700 block of Del Amo Blvd in Lakewood around 2 am Sunday morning.

The driver went on to hit a telephone pole, and was later arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.

No word on the identity of the victim or how the collision occurred, though a satellite view shows a bike lane on the street.

This is the 14th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in Los Angeles County. That compares to 33 in SoCal this time last year and 14 in LA County.

Update: KNBC-4 reports the victim was trying to cross Del Amo at Pioneer Blvd, rather than riding on Del Amo. That intersection is controlled by a four-way traffic signal, which suggest that someone most likely ran the red light.

She died at the scene. The driver was also injured, and taken to Long Beach Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Update 2: The suspect has been identified by KABC-7 as 24-year old Emmanuel Camacho. The station reports that he hit a telephone pole two blocks away from the collision that killed the bike rider, yet for some reason, sheriff’s deputies were not calling it a hit-and-run.

Update 3: The Press-Telegram has identified the victim as 33-year old Lakewood resident Crista Contreras; her Facebook page has turned into an online memorial. 

The paper also reports Camacho has been released on $100,000 bond, and is due in court on Tuesday, April 21st.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Crista Contreras and her loved ones.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link to her Facebook page. 

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