Tag Archive for Bouquet Canyon Road

Morning Links: Improving bike safety on Bouquet Canyon, less liability on bike paths, and doping gets mechanical

Anyone who has ridden Bouquet Canyon through the Santa Clarita Valley — or driven it, for that matter — knows it’s a fun ride, but far from safe.

Especially at the speed too many drivers take it.

Following the death of a teenage motorist on the roadway last month, the Santa Clarita Valley Bicycle Coalition has written an open letter to LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich urging safety improvements on Bouquet Canyon Road. Especially in light of its inclusion as a Class III bike route in the new county bike plan.

Their suggestions include better signage warning drivers of the possible presence of bicyclists, reducing the speed limit, and installing a rideable shoulder the full length of the road.

You can read the full letter here.

Let’s hope Antonovich does, too. Then actually does something about it.

And no, it’s not just drivers who have lost their lives there.


A California appeals court strengthens the concept of trail immunity, which holds that land owners and government bodies aren’t responsible for dangerous conditions on trails used for recreational purposes, including bike paths.

In Teresa Burgueno, et al. v. The Regents of the University of California, the 6th Court of Appeal ruled that bike paths that are used for both recreational and transportation riding are still considered recreational trails under the law.

Which means that if you’re injured due to dangerous condition on an off-road bike path, you can’t hold anyone legally responsible for your injuries. Even if they knew about it in advance, and failed to do anything about it.

And even if it’s used by people riding to school or work, in addition to people riding for fitness or enjoyment.


Caught on video: There is something seriously wrong with a driver who’d back up just to run a group of cyclists off the road; the incident occurred near Perth, Australia.

And yes, it’s been reported to the police.


After years of rumors, there’s finally been a confirmed case of motor doping.

A Dutch rider competing in the women’s Under 23 Cyclocross Worlds was forced to withdraw after race authorities found an electric motor hidden inside her bike.

Naturally, she claims it wasn’t her bike and she knew nothing about it.

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay calls it perhaps the goofiest scandal ever, while Bike Hugger accuses the cycling world of a Motor Omertà.



A bike rider in his 40s had to be rescued from rising waters in the LA River near Fourth Street due to Sunday’s rain. Which should serve as a reminder to avoid rivers and streams during and after a heavy rain, even if the path isn’t closed. And seriously, don’t go around the gate if it is.

You have just over a week to legally walk your bike across the Mariposa Street Bridge over the LA River; at the urging of horse riders, Burbank is scheduled to vote on the 9th to ban the mere possession of a bike on the bridge. Hopefully, they’ll listen to the Burbank Leader, which says they got it wrong.

Now here’s a good cause. The East Side Riders Bike Club has started a gofundme account to get a mobile bike shop. Their goal is to get kids hooked on bicycling, instead of something more dangerous.



A Highland man has his bike stolen after fleeing a man with a gun following an altercation.

There’s a special place in hell for someone who’d steal a bike from a legally blind former Marine in Eureka; prior to the theft, he was still able to ride using his peripheral vision.



A new study has shown what many of us already know. Riding harder doesn’t necessarily mean burning more calories or losing more weight, since metabolism tends to plateau at a certain level.

A Seattle writer places the blame for the failure of the city’s bikeshare system on a disconnected bike lane network, a lack of stations in popular places, and their bike helmet requirement.

Portland has now made protected lanes the default design for bike lanes; if city engineers recommend an unprotected lane, they have to be able to justify it.

Who knew sharrows were born in the Mile High City? No offense to my home state, but in most cases, they can keep them.

A Texas jury awards a cyclist injured by a distracted driver over $850,000, even without a finding of gross negligence. The victim and his wife hope this will inspire change in the state; remarkably, Texas still has not banned hand-held cell phone use while driving. Thanks to Steve Katz for the heads-up.

This is why you don’t chase after bike thieves. After an Ohio woman tries to use her car to chase down the man stealing her bike, he steals her car. And runs over her with it.

Any film or journalism school graduates want to move to PA? Bicycling Magazine is looking for a video producer.

Once again, a bicyclist rides to the rescue, as a Florida man rolls his truck and an anonymous man on a bike helps pull him and his brother to safety.



Evidently, drivers are no better in Canada than they are here. And it’s about time someone pointed out it’s often the people behind the wheel who act entitled, rather than those on two wheels.

A Brit Olympic legend says scandal-plagued international athletics should follow cycling’s anti-doping example. Like placing tiny motors in runners’ shoes and springs in the vaulting poles, perhaps?

A Philippine filmmaker worries that her new movie, which promotes a love of biking, fitness and nature, may put riders at risk by encouraging them to take to the country’s streets.



Repeat after me: Don’t ride drunk with nearly two ounces on dope in your backpack. How about a rousing game of match the celebrity to the bike?

And that’s what I call a cargo bike. At least, China’s People’s Daily swears there’s a tricycle under there somewhere.


Come back later today, when we’ll announce the winner of our first-ever bicycle giveaway, courtesy of Beachbikes.net.


Just how many drunk driving deaths are one too many?

This last Saturday, Joseph Novotny of Stevenson Ranch became the latest local cyclist killed in a hit-and-run drunk driving incident. (Note that I refuse to call them “accidents.”)

It should never have happened.

According to the local Santa Clarita paper, the driver of the pickup had been reported to the police just minutes earlier after nearly sideswiping another car. After calling 911, the other driver followed him as he drifted across lanes, onto the sidewalk and the median, and into a fence.

He continued talking with the dispatcher as he followed the truck up Bouquet Canyon Road, then watched in horror as it crossed onto the other side and hit five cyclists riding on the opposite shoulder head on.

Unfortunately, sheriff’s deputies arrived just moments too late.

That wasn’t the first opportunity anyone had to stop him, though. That came in 2007, when the then 18-year old driver was first convicted of driving under the influence. Or they could have stopped him last year, after he knocked down a utility pole in another drunk driving incident.

They also might have gotten him off the streets for any of his multiple arrests for illegal drug and alcohol possession, selling tear gas and obstructing police officers.

Instead, this past Saturday he was allegedly driving drunk, with a suspended license — despite the early hour and being under-age. Now two cyclists face a long recovery from serious injuries, and another is dead, leaving behind a wife and devastated friends.

According to one of those friends, despite being a relatively new member of the Santa Clarita Velo Club — Novotny and his wife moved to the Santa Clarita area just last March after living in Minnesota and Belgium — Novotny was an experience rider and a great hill climber. In fact, he sold Novotny his first road bike over 20 years ago and they frequently rode together. Novotny had even been the best man at his wedding.

Now he’s dead because the authorities couldn’t — or simply didn’t — keep a repeat offender off the roads. And the driver is scheduled to be arraigned today on charges that may include murder, driving under the influence and hit-and-run causing death.

Since the driver was underage, it’s also possible that whoever supplied him with the alcohol and/or drugs, or sold it to him in violation of the law, could face charges if the authorities choose to pursue it.

Yet even if this young man spends the rest of his life in jail — which is a distinct possibility — it does nothing to stop the larger problem of intoxicated and/or hit-and-run drivers.

At least three L.A.–area cyclists have been killed in hit-and-run incidents by accused drunk drivers this year alone — Novotny, Jesus Castillo and Rod Armas. Add to that Patrick Shannon, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Orange County recently, as well as countless others who’ve survived their injuries, including local cycling leader Roadblock.

Then there are all the pedestrians and vehicle passengers who’ve been killed or injured in hit-and-run and/or drunk driving incidents this year alone, including Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, in 2007 alone, an estimated 12,998 people were killed in alcohol-related motor-vehicle collisions — and an estimated 50% – 75% of drivers whose licenses get suspended will continue to drive anyway.

Newly elected councilmember Paul Koretz addressed this problem on here recently, as did his opponent David Vahedi. MADD proposes a campaign along the lines of what Vahedi suggested, including increased police enforcement as well as interlock systems that can prevent drunk drivers from starting their cars if they’ve been drinking.

Personally, I think the solution is a strict two-strike and you’re out policy.

On the first offense, the driver’s license is permanently revoked; after a period of one to two years, he or she can appear before a judge and request permission to apply for a license — but only if they’ve successfully completed a counseling program and agree to place an interlock system on any vehicle to which they have access.

Meanwhile, any vehicles registered in the driver’s name will be impounded until the license is restored, or sold to compensate any victims. And no one, anywhere, for any reason, should ever get another chance after a second violation.

Anyone caught driving after their license has been revoked should face mandatory jail time, with no possibility of early release. And any person convicted of leaving the scene of an accident should lose all driving privileges permanently, forever. Even for the first offense.

Harsh? Maybe.

But nowhere near as harsh as what Novotny’s family and friends now face.

Full disclosure — My 16-year old cousin was killed by a drunk driver when she was thrown from a car driven by her own father, who then ran over her and drove home without ever noticing she was missing. Also, one of my childhood friends was killed just before our senior year of high school when a drunk driver jumped a 20-foot wide median strip on an Interstate highway and hit his car head-on at over 70 mph. She walked away without a scratch; he and his passenger were killed instantly.


The Wheelmen list all the finishers for this years Grand Tour, but there’s no mention of the two who didn’t make it, Rod Armas and his son. Am I the only one who thinks that’s shameful? Stephen Box examines the bikes on Metro controversy, while the Bus Bench takes the other side, and complains about those oppressed cyclists. Newport Beach beats L.A. to the punch on bicycle sharing. The cycling lawyer offers good advice for when tempers flare, while the other cycling lawyer notes that not one driver has been cited for violating Arizona’s three-foot passing law in Tucson this year. Two Milwaukee bike cops are struck in separate incidents. Evidently, it’s still illegal to park a bike on the sidewalk in Jacksonville. No bikes involved — thank God — but see how fast an accident can happen. Just Williams finally gets the instructions on how to fold his Ikea folding bike. Finally, a Berlin brothel offers a discount to anyone who arrives by bike.

Another weekend, another drunken hit-and-run, another ghost bike

This has to be the worst weekend for L.A.-area cyclists in recent memory.

On the heels of yesterday’s twin shootings comes word of yet another cyclist killed by an intoxicated hit-and-run driver.

Joseph Novotny of Stevenson Ranch was riding on Bouquet Canyon Road with a group of other riders Saturday morning. A pickup truck driving in the opposite direction crossed over the double yellow line and struck three cyclists, then continued on his way without stopping. Novotny was killed, and four other riders were injured, two seriously.

A 20-year old driver from Saugus was arrested about 90 minutes later, and is currently being held on suspicion of murder, hit-and-run and driving under the influence, with a bail of $1.1 million, according to the Times. (As a rule, I try not to name suspects because tempers tend to run high after something like this. Including mine.)

This comes just two weeks after another local rider was killed, and his son injured, in yet another alleged drunken hit-and-run incident on PCH in Malibu.

The simple fact is, there are far too many drunk drivers on the road, and far too many drivers willing to flee the scene after killing or injuring another human being. And far too many innocent lives shattered forever.

If you have a solution to this problem, I’d like to know.

Because frankly, I’m at a loss here.


Evidently, this was a bad weekend cyclists all around the country. Locally, a rider took a bad fall on a century ride over the weekend. A rider in Harlem was knocked off his bike and killed after a blow to the head. A Toledo rider was struck by a car, then spit on and beaten by the occupants — less than a week after another rider died of injuries he sustained when a 15-year old boy stole his bike. Finally, a little good news as a pro bono attorney fights for a group of riders who rolled a stop on a charity ride.

%d bloggers like this: