Just a few quick notes to start the week.
There’s good news on the safety front, as January saw just two bike riders killed in the Southern California region.
While even one fatality is one too many, this is notable because January has been one of the worst months for cyclists over the past few years, with seven cyclists killed in 2012 and nine in 2011.
Maybe it was the unusually cold and wet weather that kept all but the most committed bike riders off the road for much of the month. Or maybe motorists are finally getting used to looking for riders sharing the road with them.
Or perhaps it’s just a fluke. Although it seems to have continued into the first weekend of February, when we were blessed with near perfect riding weather.
And that’s not to say that riders aren’t being injured; I’ve seen multiple reports of riders seriously hurt, both in collisions with vehicles and solo falls throughout the region.
But whatever the reason, let’s hope it continues. After the carnage of the last few years, with over 70 riders losing their lives in the seven county region each year — including unacceptably high fatality rates in Orange and San Diego Counties — we could definitely us a break.
Hopefully a permanent one.
Thanks to Eric Griswold and Ralph Durham for the heads-up.
A San Diego cyclist is being hailed as a hero for rescuing a 14-month old toddler from the collision that killed his nanny.
The anonymous rider was one of the first people on the scene following the fatal collision, and noticed the child dangling from the straps of his stroller underneath the vehicle. So she freed him from the straps and pulled him away from the SUV, where he could get treatment for injuries including multiple fractures and a ruptured spleen.
Of course, it raises questions why police have not taken action yet when they say the driver ran a red light — in fact, she allegedly hit the nanny and child while they were walking with the light in the near crosswalk, pushing them across the intersection to the opposite crosswalk.
And initial reports indicated the driver said she looked up at the last moment and saw them in her path, which is about as close to a confession to distracted driving as you’re likely to see.
The SDPD has a reputation for blaming cyclists for collisions while ignoring violations by drivers. Let’s hope that doesn’t extend to pedestrians in this case.
Yes, there’s reason to show sympathy to the driver, who reportedly had just given birth herself in the previous 24 hours.
But maybe that’s why she shouldn’t have been on the road to begin with.
Good news from Colorado, where courts have ruled that bikes cannot be banned by local governments.
The historic mining town of Black Hawk, which has sold its soul to legalized gambling in recent years, banned bikes from the only street connecting local highways. Effectively preventing riders from passing through the city, and blocking a long-popular riding route that I’ve taken myself many times before gambling was legalized in the area.
The reason the tiny, 100-resident town gave sounded almost reasonable, as they cited the high number of oversized tour buses on the narrow mining-era streets, saying it was in the riders’ best interest to avoid the area.
Even if they had to be forced to do so.
Of course, what that really translates to is that bikes slow down tour buses and make drivers actually pay attention, so let’s get them out of the way so gamblers can lose their money and fill city coffers that much quicker. And don’t even consider limiting the size of buses so they don’t pose as great a risk to humans who happen to be in the vicinity.
Fortunately, rational minds ruled on the state level, as the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that bicycles are a matter of state concern, and that local governments can’t ban bikes from any roadway unless there’s an alternate path available within 450 feet.
Finally, hidden in the middle of that fisheye helmet cam grab blow is a blurry sign reading (Bikes) May Use Full Lane.
No big deal, really. Especially since it’s lost in the construction site at 7th and Figueroa in Downtown LA, where it’s unlikely to be seen by virtually anyone at the intersection.
But it’s the first one I’ve seen in the City of Los Angeles.
And hopefully, far from the last.