Tag Archive for Cal Poly Pomona

A brief list of must reads for a perfect LA day

Just a quick note on a quiet news day in the bike world, as only a handful of stories stand out as must-reads this gorgeous Monday morning.

Over the weekend, London’s Telegraph newspaper offered an exceptionally one-sided newspaper report of people in the UK countryside complaining about those damn Wiggo-wannabe Lycra Louts ruining their peaceful roadways — without bothering to speak to a single cyclist, suggesting there is only one side worth considering in this multi-sided story. Fortunately, their competition at the Guardian skillfully deconstructs the anti-bike bias in the story, in typically polite English fashion.

There have been countless stories in recent years looking at why and how the Dutch have set the world standard for designing streets around the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians. The Boston Globe offers one of the best examinations I’ve yet seen, with an eye on how we can do it here. And throws in a look at laws holding drivers automatically at fault in a collision with a vulnerable road user; the only way we’ll ever stop the careless carnage on our roads is to adopt a modified of that here.

The Times discovers LA’s ovary gang sign flashing, fem bike centric Ovarian Psycho Cycles Brigade. But as Streetsblog’s Damien Newton points out, can’t bring itself to use the word “clitoral,” as in the recent Clitoral Mass ride.

After months of saying there was nothing they could do to improve safety on campus following the death of bike riding student Ivan Aguilar, Cal Poly Pomona breaks down and does the right thing, re-striping a major campus artery to restrict the use of cars on campus.

Finally, in case you missed it, DTLA’s Spring Street green bike lane ceased to exist over the weekend, with predictable results, even though the now-colorless, rough-riding buffered bike lane remains. LADOT promises the new, less garish — and presumably, less noticeable — treatment will be down in time for CicLAvia in two weeks.

Christine Dahab sentencing Friday, LA City Council takes up hit-and-run reform, Gardena police sued

Just a couple quick notes to wrap up a busy and exhausting day.

First up, a comment from Renee Andreassen sends word that Christine Dahab, the allegedly drunk and distracted driver who plowed into 13 bicyclists on a late night ride in Culver City in 2011, will be sentenced on Friday.

Christine Dahab, who hit 13 bicyclists June 2011 will be sentenced Friday July 26, 2013 at 
West District
Airport Courthouse,
 11701 South La Cienega Blvd.
 Los Angeles, CA 90045
 Dept D

I hope all of the victims will come to give their victim impact statements. 
I would appreciate any assistance this website can get out to those impacted by this horrible event

Dahab pleaded no contest to all charges last April, apparently including DUI causing injury and DWI with a BAC over .08 causing injury.

She was sentenced to a 90-day evaluation period in state prison pending final sentencing. So she’s already spent more time behind bars than most drivers do even in fatal collisions. And could face a lot more.

I have other obligations Friday, so if anyone attends the sentencing, please let us know how it turns out.

………

Hit-and-run rears its ugly head once again in L.A. But this time, they may actually do something about it.

From the blog of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition:

The Public Safety Committee will hear the LAPD report on Friday, July 26th at 8:30 AM in City Hall Room 1010.  Please join LACBC in requesting that the City take a leadership role to fix state law to increase penalties for hit-and-run.  You can also write the committee members at councilmember.englander@lacity.org, councildistrict15@lacity.org, councilmember.bonin@lacity.org, and councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org.

No matter how you parse the numbers — and the LAPD has been roundly criticized for attempting to put the best face on a dismal record — the city ranks at or near the top among major cities for cowardly drivers refusing to take responsibility for their actions behind the wheel.

Fortunately, the department appears to be taking the problem seriously. And they seem to have been listening to me, with recommendations including:

  • Automatic license consequences — hopefully including revocation
  • Possible hold or forfeiture of the vehicle used in the crime
  • More significant consequences, including tougher penalty enhancements
  • Limit civil compromises
  • Extend the statute of limitations for hit-and-runs that result in death or serious injury

………

Not surprisingly, Gardena police are being sued for civil rights violations and excessive force in the shooting death of Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino, who was killed by police while trying to help recover his brother’s stolen bicycle.

Diaz-Zeferino reportedly ran up to police as they held guns on two of his friends, shouting in English that they weren’t the thieves, but were trying to help find the bike.

And that’s when they shot him eight times, including twice in the back. As well as hitting one of his friends, resulting in permanent injuries.

Not that they overreacted or anything.

………

Finally, the arraignment for Gonzalo Aranguiz Salazar, the driver accused in the death of Cal Poly Pomona bike rider Ivan Aguilar, has been postponed until September.

Salazar faces a single misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. The relatively light charge may reflect the fact that was reportedly Aguilar riding against traffic, as many students do in that location, due to a lack of safe bicycling infrastructure.

Meanwhile, discussions are underway to make much-needed bike and pedestrian safety improvements on campus.

Hopefully before someone else gets killed.

Charge filed in death of bike-riding Cal Poly Pomona student Ivan Aguilar; is the university really at fault?

A bike-riding college student is dead.

The driver who took his life faces a relative slap on the wrist.

And the campus where he was killed appears to be doing little or nothing to protect cyclists on campus.

Instead, Cal Poly Pomona seems to be hiding behind California’s devastating 85th Percentile Law to justify plans to raise speed limits on campus, making it even more dangerous for anyone on foot or two wheels.

Or at least, that was the gist of a Twitter conversation I had with representatives of the school Wednesday morning.

The outpouring of grief that followed the death of Cal Poly Pomona student and cyclist Ivan Aguilar should have spurred immediate action to tame what is reportedly dangerously out of control traffic on campus, where numerous students have reported feeling unsafe walking or biking.

Yet four months later, no changes have been made to protect students and faculty — not even on the street where Aguilar lost his life. And none are currently planned.

In fact, the school’s new 2013 traffic study doesn’t even include the words bicycle, bicyclist or pedestrian, according to a story by Beau Yarbrough in the Daily Bulletin.

Kind of makes it hard to make meaningful improvements when nothing is considered except speeding motor vehicle traffic flow.

Although to be fair, they have talked about bikes.

Key word being, talked.

But traffic plans that don’t even consider non-motorized transportation show just how out of touch campus leaders are. And how far the school has to go to make it safe for anyone, let alone everyone, whether on two feet, two wheels or four.

Apparently, those students are right to be afraid.

Especially when the death of a popular and promising young man leads to nothing more serious than a misdemeanor charge with a maximum penalty of just one year in county jail.

According to the Daily Bulletin, CPP Civil Engineering student Gonzalo Aranguiz Salazar will face a charge of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence.

In other words, pretty much the mildest charge authorities could file under the circumstances, while still holding someone accountable for the death.

Is that justice?

I have no idea.

I’ve yet to see any description from any source of how the collision occurred. No word whatsoever on how fast the driver was going, or if he broke any traffic laws leading up to the impact with Aguilar.

Apparently, it’s on a need to know basis.  And no one with knowledge of the investigation seems to think you or I need to know.

We’re just expected to accept that the charges are fair and appropriate given the top secret circumstances.

Sort of like we’re supposed to trust that campus administrators have the safety of their students at heart, on a campus that does not include a single inch of bicycling infrastructure.

Beverly Hills, meet your collegiate counterpart.

In all honesty, I’m not sure Salazar is the one who should be facing charges.

But you can’t charge a college with living in the auto-centric past and favoring motorists at the expense of every other road user. As much as it may be deserved.

But something tells me Cal Poly Pomona won’t make the list of bicycle-friendly universities anytime soon.

Update: Gottobike forwards a quote from American bike racer Ted King that seems oddly appropriate to this discussion:

It is impossible to find solutions when you’re busy making excuses.

And Boyonabike reminds me of something I let slide from the Daily Bulletin story about the Salazar charge, and shouldn’t have. 

The story quotes Megan Chaney, director of Clinical Programs and Experiential Learning and Associate Professor of Law at the University of La Verne College of Law, explaining why a misdemeanor charge may be appropriate in this case.

“A lot of time when somebody plows into somebody in a crosswalk or an intersection, it’s just an accident,” Chaney said Wednesday. “We put the onus, the responsibility on the driver, not the pedestrian, unless they’ve done something really horrible….”

“You’re allowed to look at the radio; that’s why you’ve got a radio. You drop your water bottle and look down to pick it up,” she said. “You really weren’t acting with any sort of criminal culpability. “

That’s the problem.

As a society, we’ve chosen not to hold drivers responsible for all but the most extreme actions behind the wheel. The collisions that result from carelessness, distraction or relatively minor violations of the law are excused as mere accidents, and left for the insurance companies to deal with, with little or no consequences for the drivers involved.

And that’s why we continue to have 30,000 +/- deaths on American streets each year.

It may be the current legal standard. 

But actions that result in the death or serious injuries of others should never be accepted. Or excused. Motor vehicles are, by their very nature, dangerous machines, and their operators can and should be expected to use the same caution behind the wheel that we expect from those involved in any other hazardous situation.

When life is taken more seriously than simple convenience on our streets, then — and only then — will anyone be safe on our streets.

Maybe Cal Poly Pomona doesn’t care how many students die if they get to raise the speed limits

Evidently one dead cyclist isn’t enough, as a new Cal Poly Pomona traffic study completely ignores bike and pedestrian safety.

In fact, the study — released under a Freedom of Information request — actually urges raising speed limits for motor vehicles, rather than doing anything to encourage non-motorized transportation. Or protect the lives and safety of those who bravely choose to use it in spite of the campus administration’s apparent disregard for anyone who travels on less than four wheels.

According to an article in the Daily News,

The words “bicycle,” “bicyclist” and “pedestrian” do not appear anywhere in the 2013 traffic study document.

It’s the same story with the 2006-2007 traffic study, which was released a year after student Matthew Myers was struck and killed in a crosswalk on Kellogg Drive, a tenth of a mile west of University Drive, across from Parking Lot F-9…

The article quotes the university’s Executive Director of Public Affairs as saying people just don’t understand how difficult it is to add speed bumps or bike lanes on campus, saying a simple bike lane on Kellogg Drive would cause traffic to back up onto I-10.

Right.

Give me a brush and a bucket of paint, and I’ll show them just how easy it is.

It’s shameful when a major university, which is supposed to be dedicated to critical thinking, can’t manage to look past their own dangerously outdated auto-centric windshield perspective to develop safety solutions that would benefit everyone on, arriving to or leaving campus.

And then manages to talk out of both sides of their mouths by promising to improve bike and pedestrian safety while proposing to place students and staff even more at the mercy of motor vehicles by to increasing speeds on campus and refusing to lift a finger to calm traffic.

Seriously, if I was a parent, I would think twice about sending my child to a school that evidently doesn’t give a damn about the safety of their students. Especially the ones who choose not to travel by motor vehicle.

There are plenty of other California colleges and universities that do.

Maybe the students and faculty need to stop calling for improved safety. And demand a school administration that gets it, instead.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link.

………

On the first day of New York’s new bike share program, a writer for the self-proclaimed supportive but failure-fearing Daily News seems to like it, while another suggests the city will probably survive — even if the program doesn’t include helmets. Meanwhile, the frequently anti-bike New York Post gleefully announced the first Citi Bike bicycle theft occurred before the bike could even be installed. A protester claims Paris would never put a bike share station in front of the Louvre, but a photo proves him wrong. A writer for London’s Guardian says the clumsy Mikes Bikes just make him want a less clumsy one of his own. And the Times calls it a tie in four races across town.

The program is even popular with the city’s candidates for mayor, who have fallen over themselves in criticizing Bloomberg’s efforts to increase cycling facilities. And two days in, calamity has yet to strike.

The world hasn’t come to an end, either.

………

An Indiegogo campaign has two weeks left to raise $3000 to send an eight-member foster family to CicLAvia.

………

Local cyclist Weshigh captures a dangerous driver on video, as the jerk — which seems to be the mildest word appropriate to the situation — passes a small group of cyclists on their right using the parking lane, then flips them off as he drives away. Before getting stuck in traffic, that is, allowing them to capture his license number.

Maybe it’s just me, but I swear I can hear lawyers lining up to try out L.A.’s still untested cyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

………

The next in an endless series of community meetings to discuss planned bike lanes in Northeast L.A. takes place on Monday, June 3rd. Despite the hysteria over bike lanes in NELA., the fire department isn’t concerned. A business owner says parking is the real problem in Eagle Rock, not bike lanes. The top 22 bike stories so far in 2013; L.A. checks in at #19. Boyonabike — quoted in the Daily News article that kicks off today’s post — examines the recent LACBC panel discussion I participated in, along with the Bike Safe guide it promoted. Glendale could see $57 million in improvements, including new bicycle facilities throughout the city. Learn to ride safely in Long Beach this Sunday. Long Beach plans to separate bike riders and pedestrians on the beach bike path, which oddly brings opposition from beach advocates.

The Inland Empire checks in as the nation’s 6th most deadly areas for cyclists and pedestrians. Get $5000 to design and build an artistic bike rack, as Palm Springs works to become bike friendlier. While L.A. worries about protecting Hollywood locations instead of cyclists, San Diego riders get their fourth green bike lane in just weeks, including this good looking lane on Montezuma Road; thanks to Monet Diamonte for the heads-up. A series of bike corrals is coming to Coronado. A Fresno bike trail with get an underpass beneath a busy street, a year too late to save a seven-year old bike rider. Meanwhile, a 19-year old Fresno State student is killed in a collision with a big rig, while the battle over Fresno bike lanes goes on. NorCal’s MonkeyLectric ups their game with the programmable Monkey Light Pro wheel light system; I’m a big fan of their earlier, non-programmable Mini Monkey Light, which offers a fun, playful way to not get run over at night.

How not to buy a bike in seven steps. So much for contrition, as Lance still hasn’t said “I’m sorry” to the people he bullied or for the lives he ruined. An Everett WA writer says watch out for passer-aggressive motorists. Your guide to riding in Colorado; even I only did some of these rides when I lived there. Despite a significant decline in Colorado traffic fatalities, cycling deaths are going the wrong way — up 44% since 2002. Denver bike thieves are caught on camera. Signup begins for Chicago’s upcoming bike share. Boston researchers find helmet laws reduce deaths and injuries for riders under 16 by 20%, but fail to consider possible reductions in ridership levels that could more than account for their findings; oddly, though, it appears you actually have to wear one before it does any good. One of my favorite bike bloggers is now the proud owner of a new Boston bike shop. Florida’s governor shoots down a planned 275-mile cross-state bike and pedestrian trail.

Mexican TV shames people for driving in the bike lane; I wish someone would do that here. A Canadian writer points the finger at those murderous, spandex-clad cyclists speeding down the bike path; yes, you and I are apparently the root of all evil. Or maybe it’s just me. A British Columbia bike rider apparently collides with a pedestrian before fatally falling in front of a bus. A Victoria writer says the road to hell may be paved with good intentions, but it doesn’t have bike lanes. An Ontario driver gets 4-1/2 years for killing a cyclist while binging on coke. A Toronto bike commuter rants after a close call while riding. Top Gear’s frequent anti-bike ranter Jeremy Clarkson has become one of us, but still can’t resist a few digs. A London study shows free parking is less important than most retailers think. A quick-thinking London cyclist saves a toddler from drowning in the Thames. Police suspect a Brit fixie rider of bike theft because he wasn’t wearing Lycra. Another favorite sometimes bike blogger explains why Scot cyclists pedaled on Parliament. Biking in Britain is actually safer than you might think. Ten lessons from this year’s Giro, including the indisputable fact that 2013 winner Vincenzo Nibali is a badass. A careless Kiwi driver crashes into a kids bike safety class.

Finally, if you’re already facing a life sentence for having three strikes under Louisiana’s habitual offender law, don’t ride on the sidewalk with marijuana in your shoe and coke in your hat. Although I have to admit, that’s about the flimsiest excuse for a probable-cause pat down I’ve ever heard.

And an 11-year old astutely observes “When you drive, the Earth smokes.”

Update — 21-year old bicyclist killed on campus of Cal Poly Pomona

News is just coming in that a bike rider was killed early this afternoon while riding on the campus of Cal Poly Pomona.

According to the San Bernardino County Sun, the 21-year old student was riding north on Kellogg Drive near South Campus Drive around 1 pm when he was struck by a southbound motorist; the victim has not been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin. The driver is also a student at the university.

The victim was transferred to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

No other details are available at this time.

However, judging by the photograph that accompanies the article, it looks as though the victim may have been riding against traffic, as the skid marks and debris appear to be confined to the southbound lane.

This is the sixth bike rider killed in Southern California this year, and the third in Los Angeles County. That compares with 10 deaths in SoCal this time last year.

My sympathy and prayers for the victim and his family.

Update: The Cal Poly Pomona student newspaper has identified the victim as 21-year old communications student and Pomona resident Ivan Arturo Aguilar, putting the time of the collision at 12:45 pm.

“I think the whole campus is in mourning,” said Director of Public Affairs Uyen Mai. “Ivan was only 21 years old and was full of potential. It certainly feels like a tragic loss of life and we imagine his family and friends are going through an excruciating time. We want to share our deepest sympathies with his family and friends during this time.”

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link.

Counseling is available for witnesses, as well as any other faculty, students or staff disturbed by the collision. The Polycentric website lists times for Friday. 

Meanwhile, CPP professor and bike blogger Boyonabike foresaw something like this, writing just last week about the very same street where today’s collision occurred. He calls for bike lanes, as well as road diets and stop signs — and greater enforcement — on the campus’ three main access roads.

In addition to bike lanes, other traffic calming strategies should be employed, insofar as many drivers reach speeds upwards of 45 mph on these roads (the posted speed limits are lower, but there is little traffic speed enforcement on these roads, and the wide lanes and lack of stop signs implicitly encourage speeding).  Near collisions are a regular occurrence, as I witnessed one recent weekday when a car traveling an estimated 40-plus mph nearly missed another car making a left turn in its path (see photo below).  The high speeds understandably deter people from bicycling on these roads, despite the fact that they are the most convenient routes to the main campus.

The full post is worth reading — especially by campus administrators, who could have done something to prevent this tragedy.

Unfortunately, his warning came too late for Aguilar. 

Maybe now they’ll listen, and do something to improve safety for everyone on campus before it happens again.

We can hope, anyway.

Update 2: Friends of Aguilar have set up a memorial Facebook page offering a number of photos, while a another remembers him as a good guy who was always there for his friends. 

CLR Effect notes that a memorial ride and ghost bike installation has been scheduled for next Thursday, March 7th — one week from the day and time Aguilar was killed — starting at 11:30 am.

Update 3: The Daily News remembers Aguilar as a role model who lit up a room when entered. 

Update 4: I’ve added a notation above that Ivan Aguilar was a resident of Pomona; I’m told his family is from Azuza. KNBC-4 reports on the grief felt by his friends and fellow students.

Malibu PCH workshop tonight, hats off to Cal Poly planner, and psych test for road rager Louis Mraz

There’s still time to make it to Malibu for this evening’s public workshop to discuss the Bike Route Improvements Project along PCH through the west part of the ‘Bu.

Cyclists trying to get to that soon-to-be improved bike route by fighting their way through the east part of PCH are still on their own.

……..

A Cal Poly Pomona student has received a national fellowship for her research paper on Evaluating Demand for Bicycle Facilities in Community-Based Bicycle Planning, with an emphasis on minority and low-income communities.

Her work showed that bike use is higher in areas with household incomes less than $30,000 and commute times of less than 15 minutes. And that communities should target their efforts where there is both the greatest need and highest potential for increased usage.

Congratulations to Edna Cruz. Sounds like she’s got a great future in planning.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

……..

Following the death of San Diego cyclist David Ortiz — and the inexplicably inaccurate statements from the police — San Diego bicyclists will ride in his honor on Wednesday afternoon. And protest the unnecessarily dangerous conditions on the street where he was killed.

……..

Maybe he’s just nuts.

Road raging driver Louis Mraz, convicted of intentionally running down cyclist Winona Wacker in Highland Park, has been ordered to have a 90-day mental health evaluation before he’s sentenced; sentencing has been moved to June 29th.

……..

I love this piece from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on complaints about the new PA four-foot passing law. For a change, the writer clearly gets it when it comes to comparing the threat posed by cyclists and motorists.

I’ll point out here that I ride a bicycle from time to time, but almost never in traffic. It’s not because I’m scared to death of being mowed down by a careless, lawbreaking bicyclist.

Definitely worth the click.

……..

The first ticket for violating Pennsylvania’s new four-foot passing law comes just 15 hours after it goes into effect; hats off to the bus driver who blocked traffic to keep a hit-and-run driver from fleeing after he failed to give a rider four feet by running over his ass.

On the other hand, there are few things more ridiculous than comments from law enforcement that three — or in this case, four — foot passing distance is unenforceable unless there’s an actual collision.

A cop may not be able to to tell when a car is passing a cyclist at 2’8” instead of a full three feet. But any cop who can’t tell the difference between a foot or two and a yard or more has got serious problems.

……..

Damien Newton says the distracted driving zombies just aren’t going to cut it. More great photos from the recent Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer hill climbing stage race. LADOT wants your input on how to make Yucca Street bicycle friendly. The Real Rydaz are hosting a ride through South L.A. on July 1st, even if money and Metro is keeping CicLAvia from venturing there. Metro wants you to promise, cross your heart, that you’ll ride during Bike to Work Week next month. LADOT attempts to address an ongoing problem with a new campaign urging people to keep their trash bins out of the bike lanes. The newly issued Request for Proposals to reconstruct Santa Monica Blvd through the biking black hole of Beverly Hills includes instructions to consider bike lanes in both directions; it’s a start, anyway. Meanwhile, Beverly Hills announces public workshops for their upcoming Bike Route Pilot project; personally, I’d like to see separated cycle tracks on Rodeo Drive. Kick off the month-long lead-up to the BikeFest Tour of Long Beach with a free bike tune-up and tricycle races at Miller’s Children Hospital starting at Wednesday.

A Newport Beach cyclist is injured in a dooring; thanks to David Huntsman for the tip. Our neighbor to the south completes another 1.8 mile segment of what will eventually be a 24 mile bikeway around the San Diego Bay. Bike San Diego’s Sam Ollinger recaps day two of last month’s National Bike Summit. Visalia cyclists get their first sharrows, and unlike other cities I could name (cough: Los Angeles), an explanation of what they are. A San Francisco cyclist is severely beaten and robbed in an early morning attack. My favorite reality TV show are the L.A. police car chases that air intermittently on our local stations; now Cyclelicious offers proof that bicyclists can get in on the fun, too — even at 60 mph.

Ten things you need for a long-distance bike tour, starting with, yes, a bike. A new Albuquerque bike and pedestrian bridge will let cyclists cross I-25, while providing easy access to a strip club. Eight Denver cyclists are ticketed and their bikes impounded during the city’s first Critical Mass in four year. North Dakota cyclists push for bike lanes on a main street. The Springfield Cyclist calls your attention to the guy who didn’t crash in the Tour of Flanders. Chicago cyclists just want more police to enforce traffic laws — and stop parking in the bike lanes. Attention planning types, the bicycling director position for the city of Boston is about to open up; if they decide they don’t need an actual planner, let me know. That 90-year old New York trike rider is just a youngster compared to a couple riders here on the left coast. Louisiana considers legalizing sidewalk riding.

Toronto cyclists vow to fight the removal of existing bike lanes. A British bike rider complains about the lack of women in a bike company’s marketing brochure; seems to be a problem with a lot of companies that should know better. Helmet cams are bringing justice to UK streets. York city leaders step up to make their streets less safe for cyclists. England’s 125-year old Raleigh bicycle company is about to go Dutch. Edinburgh starts a new campaign to get cyclists in bike boxes, and keep drivers out. Germany wins the women’s world team sprint title, setting a new world’s record twice in the process. A badly broken collarbone has pro cyclist Fabian Cancellara down but not out, at least not for long. After being stripped of his title, and apparent time off for good behavior, ex-2010 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador plans to race in this year’s Vuelta. Oddly, the Tour of the Basque Country goes nowhere near Bakersfield; Spain’s Samuel Sanchez leads after three stages. An Aussie scientist gets 10 years for deliberately running down his bike-riding boss.

Finally, Good busts nine bike myths; then again, there’s at least that many reasons why you shouldn’t ride to work, right?

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