Tag Archive for County of Los Angeles

Morning Links: LA County candidate questionnaires, and insights and smiles from Cycling in the South Bay

Believe it or not, there’s yet another local election on the horizon.

And like last year’s race for LA mayor and city council, this one could have a long-lasting effect on your ability to ride safely and comfortably in the County of Angels.

As well as whether you’ll get a ticket for things like taking the lane or riding two or more abreast.

Two of LA County’s longtime supervisors are termed out, and the battle is on to replace them. District 1’s Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky in District 3 are both leaving office this year. And while they’ve both been bike supporters, this election provides an opportunity to ensure that we vote in bicycle friendly candidates to replace them.

Because whoever replaces them will play a big role in ensuring the roll-out of the new county bike plan, as well as ensuring bikes are considered in county spending and any new laws that get passed.

Like adopting a bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance on a countywide basis, for instance.

Perhaps even more important to your daily ride, at least in the short term, the county is also electing a new sheriff who will determine how laws affecting bicycling are interpreted by sheriff’s deputies patrolling the streets. And how seriously crimes affecting cyclists — from bike theft to hit-and-run — will be taken in the county and cities patrolled by the department, including West Hollywood and Malibu.

Working with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Planning and Policy Director Eric Bruins, the LACBC’s Civic Engagement Committee has developed a list of questions for the candidates in all three races to measure their support for cycling, and how they would address the issues facing bicyclists once they’re elected.

You can read the questionnaires for County Supervisor and LA County Sheriff by clicking on the links here.

And you can help by reaching out to the candidates for District 1, District 2, and County Sheriff and urging them to complete the questionnaires, and asking about them at any meet-the-candidate events.

Because you have a right to know where they stand on the issues that matter to you before you cast your ballot.

……….

It’s been awhile since we’ve checked in with the always entertaining Cycling in the South Bay.

Today’s offerings include a great remembrance of chasing down a rude roadie on a 30 pound bike. In flip flops. With a kindergartener on the back.

Along with a look at the “long term stress caused by being taken within an inch of your life, every day, multiple times a day, for the simple act of riding a bicycle on a public road,” which Seth aptly terms Post Traumatic Jackass Syndrome.

You know, I think I suffer from that one myself.

……….

Local

It’s been a busy bike weekend for LADOT and the Bureau of Street Services, with the first hint of new bike lanes installed in Highland Park and the York Blvd bridge.

Arch rivals USC and UCLA come together over bicycling, as the two school’s bike coalitions join together to host Bike Talk.

LADOT Bike Blog explains why this month’s Finish the Ride matters. And yes, it does.

Kidical Mass returns to Santa Monica April 26th.

CLR Effect looks at Sunday’s LA-Roubaix ride; the ride looks incredible, and as usual, Michael offers some amazing photos.

Downey’s Firestone Bridge is undergoing reconstruction and widening, with bike lanes to be added to connect with existing lanes on either side.

 

State

Two public meetings and a bike ride have been scheduled to consider a request to limit bike use on Newport Beach’s Back Bay Drive.

Roughly 150 San Diego cyclists turn out to remember fallen cyclist David Voigt.

A former Marine who lost his legs in Afghanistan finishes a 5,200 mile cross-country bike ride at Camp Pendleton. He may not have legs anymore, but that guy’s got some serious huevos.

Pedal Love talks with the director of People Power of Santa Cruz County.

Actually, you can ride with diabetes, as these competitive cyclists prove.

 

National

Sometimes it’s okay to create congestion if it leads to a seamless network of bikeways.

A DIY lighting project can turn your bicycle into something from TRON.

Even Topeka KS is investing in bikeways, leading to more respectful drivers and fewer scofflaw riders; just imagine what Illinois can accomplish with $52 million.

After raising $61 million to fight cancer through an Ohio bike ride, a cancer survivor starts a new company to stage similar rides across the country.

Speaking of which, you can raise money to fight childhood cancer by riding from Austin to New Orleans. Best part is, at the end of a great bike ride through the bayou country, you’re in the Big Easy.

Although that’s not always a good thing, as a firefighter from Atlanta is killed and another rider critically injured in a rear-end collision while training for a New Orleans triathlon.

We’ve mentioned this one before, but it’s worth repeating as a 10 year old boy celebrates his birthday — and devotes his spring break — to riding his bike across South Carolina to raise funds for safe drinking water.

 

International

Egypt’s likely next president sets off a firestorm by riding a bicycle; debate seems to center on the price of his bike.

A Philippine writer calls for an end to the language of neglect and denial, and urges everyone to stop calling collisions accidents. Couldn’t agree more, and I hope the LA press is listening.

Another day, another pro rider seriously injured in a car collision while training.

 

Finally…

Repeat after me. If you’re going to ride a bike at 3 am carrying burglary tools, dope and someone else’s ID and credit cards, put a damn light on it.

And a San Diego area man deliberately runs down a bike rider and gets away with it. Then again, the rider was attempting to flee after robbing a convenience store and attacking the clerk with a hatchet.

 

Former Pasadena councilman Sid Tyler dies after bicycling fall

Sad news this morning, as word broke yesterday that a longtime Pasadena city council member died after falling from his bike on Thursday.

Sid Tyler, who served on the council from 1997 to 2009, was disconnected from life support on Friday after family members arrived from around the country to be at his side. According to the Pasadena Star-News, he was in his early 80s.

Unfortunately, few details are available, and there are conflicting reports about just what happened.

The Star-News reports he was riding on California Blvd when he signaled for a left turn, lost his balance and fell into the street. He reportedly suffered a severe neck injury as a result.

The paper notes witnesses said he was wearing a helmet; unfortunately, a helmet offers no protection against a neck injury, and may exacerbate it under certain circumstances.

However, the Pasadena Now website suggests he may have suffered a heart attack and fallen into the path of an oncoming car. They place the site of the fall as California Blvd near Morengo Ave.

Tyler was a former Marine, and long-time employee of Tenet Healthcare, retiring in 1994 as executive vice president. He leaves behind his wife of 60 years, as well as four grown children.

According to Pasadena Now, flags were lowered to half staff at Pasadena City Hall in his honor.

This is the 27th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 12th in Los Angeles County. He is also the third Pasadena bike rider to lose his life in the last nine months.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Sid Tyler and all his family. 

Update: 70-year old Whittier bike rider succumbs to his injuries

Collision scene suggests Ornelas was riding in the street, not on sidewalk; photo by Danny Gamboa.

Collision scene suggests Ornelas was riding in the street, not on sidewalk; photo by Danny Gamboa.

More bad news.

Last night we mentioned that a 70-year old Whittier bike rider suffered severe injuries in a collision yesterday afternoon, noting that early reports said the victim’s injuries weren’t considered life-threatening.

Sadly, that wasn’t the case. Word came today that he died of his injuries.

According to the Whittier Daily News, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding on Lambert Road just south of in Washington Blvd around 1:30 pm when he was struck by a Toyota Ridgeline and dragged several yards.

The paper reports he was was riding to work with a co-worker when he was struck. They were riding against traffic, though it’s not clear if they were riding in the street or on the sidewalk at the time of the collision.

The driver, identified only as a man in his 60s, was leaving the Home Depot parking lot and making a right turn onto Lambert when the collision occurred. He claimed to be unaware that he had struck anyone, driving several yards before stopping when he heard a grinding noise coming from under the truck.

As others have pointed out, it’s possible that he was looking left as he turned right, and may not have seen the bike riders coming from the other direction.

He was alert and stable when taken to the hospital; what happened afterwards that led to his death is unknown at this time.

Hopefully, the Daily News will update their story with more information.

I’m told a ghost bike will be installed at the site of the collision at 9 pm tonight.

This is the 21st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth already this year in Los Angeles County. It’s also third cyclist killed in Whittier since 2012.

Update: The Daily News confirms that the victim, identified as 70-year old Whittier resident Arturo Alfredo Ornelas, died at County USC Medical Center less than an hour after the collision.

Update 2: After examining the scene, Danny Gamboa reports Ornelas was dragged approximately 150 feet — half the length of a football field. 

Update 3: This morning I received the following comment from a witness to the collision. 

Having a first hand account as an eyewitness to this tragedy. One thing that wasn’t included is that the driver rolled the stop. Working next door, I see drivers run that stop all the time. If the driver had come to a complete stop – he would have seen the cyclist riding on the sidewalk. Some of the simple rules of looking both ways when making a turn were not followed. It is easy to blame the cyclist when it’s convenient.

Meanwhile, Danny Gamboa forwards this comment from another witness.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Arturo Ornelas and his loved ones.

Groove carved in pavement by dragging bike under truck; photo by Danny Gamboa.

Groove carved in pavement by dragging bike under truck; photo by Danny Gamboa.

Ghost bike for Arturo Alfredo Ornelas; photo by Danny Gamboa.

Ghost bike for Arturo Alfredo Ornelas; photo by Danny Gamboa.

………..

On another note, my deepest sympathy to the LAPD on the loss of an officer in a traffic collision today, and my prayers for him and his loved ones.

Another LA bike rider run down and left to die in the street; fifth SoCal cycling death in last five days

Make that five.

On the day the LA Times columnist Steve Lopez examined the LA-area ghost bike movement, a heartless coward created the need for yet another in Downtown LA — the fifth bicycling fatality in Southern California in just the last five days.

According to KABC-7 and a number of other sources, the victim was struck by an unknown vehicle on Alameda Street at the offramp to the westbound 10 Freeway around 2 am this morning. Police responding to a call found him dead in the number two lane of the offramp with no vehicle in site.

The victim is described only as a man in his early 30s; no description of the vehicle or the driver who killed him is currently available.

Anyone with information was urged to contact the CHP at 213/744-2331.

The location of the victim’s body on the offramp seems odd, since a car exiting the freeway would be more likely to knock his body off the ramp, rather than onto it. That suggests the rider was either hit by a car driving on Alameda, rather than exiting the freeway, or was somehow riding on the offramp itself.

The location itself also seems problematic, since the westbound off-ramp from the 10 empties onto 14th Street well before it connects with Alameda.

The Times places the location near Alameda, rather than on it, and identifies the victim as in his 40s.

In my personal opinion, there is no lower form of scum than someone who would run away like a coward after a traffic collision instead of stopping — as the law requires — and call for the help that might have saved the victim’s life if it had come in time.

This is the 18th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 7th in LA County already this year. It’s also the 2nd in the City of Los Angeles since the first of the year, and the year’s first fatal hit-and-run involving a bike rider, compared to 10 in 2013.

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

Update: Bike rider killed in Claremont collision; 54% increase in LA County bike deaths this year

It’s happened again.

For at least the third time this month, a bike rider traveling in a designated bike lane has killed in an apparent rear-end collision, this time in Claremont.

According to KTLA-5, the victim was riding east on Baseline Rd at or near Bonnie Brae Ave around 10 am today when he — or possibly she — was hit by a vehicle traveling in the same direction. While road position is not mentioned, the story notes the presence of a bike lane; a wide, curbside lane is clearly visible in Google’s street view.

Another report put the collision site near the Vons at Baseline and Mills Ave.

The victim was declared dead at the scene. The driver remained at the scene and is reportedly cooperating with police.

This is at least the 86th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, compared to 74 last year, and the 37th in Los Angeles County — 13 more than each of the last two years.

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

Thanks to Michael Wagner, Erik Griswold and Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

Update: According to Michael Wagner of CLR Effect, the victim appears to be a man in his 70s, who was hit near the intersection with Edinboro Ave, between Baseline and Mills.

Claremont Patch reports the collision occurred at 9:54 this morning.

Update 2: KTLA-5 reports the victim is 76-year old La Verne resident Ali Mirage. The driver, a 54-year old woman whose name was not released, has not been charged pending the outcome of the investigation. 

Update 3: The Daily Bulletin reports Mirage was honored with a ghost bike on Tuesday. Family members remember him as a fearless free spirit who loved nature, life and exercising.

Update — bike rider killed in wreck with Sheriff’s patrol car

Word is just coming in that yet another bike rider has lost his life on Mulholland.

And this time, the police may be fault.

According to KCBS-2, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding in the bike lane on the 22000 block of Mulholland Highway in Calabasas around 1:05 pm today when he was hit by a Sheriff’s Department patrol car. Calabasas Patch reports that both the victim and the patrol car were traveling in the same direction, suggesting the rider was struck from behind.

The sheriff’s deputy behind the wheel was reportedly on routine patrol and not responding to an emergency call; a sheriff’s spokesman said speed was not a factor in the crash.

However, the driver was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor lacerations to his face and eye due to broken class from the impact, suggesting a significant impact. No explanation was given for why the driver apparently entered the bike lane to hit the cyclist; drug or alcohol use was not suspected as a factor.

This is the 82nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 34th in Los Angeles County; that compares with 71 in the seven-county SoCal region and 21 in LA County this time last year. And this was at least the fourth cyclist to lose his life on Mulholland Hwy in the last four years.

My deepest sympathy for the victim and his loved ones.

Thanks to Carlos Morales, Danny Gamboa, sonofabike and John McBrearty for the heads-up.

Update: KABC-7 has just identified the victim as 65-year old Milton Everett Olin Jr. of Woodland Hills; a well-known attorney in the entertainment field. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Anyone with information is urged to call the LASD Malibu/Lost Hills Station at 818/878-1808.

Meanwhile, the Ventura County Star reports that Olin’s bike somehow hit the patrol car, rather than the other way around — despite obvious damage to the car’s windshield. The LA Times confirms the car’s windshield was broken, making it virtually impossible for the rider to have struck the car if they were both traveling in the same direction. 

Update 2: KTLA-5 reports Olin and the patrol car were both traveling east on Mulholland Hwy when the collision occurred.

The Times fills in Olin’s work history, noting that he was Chief Operating Officer at Napster from 2000 to 2002, at a time when the file-sharing service was under fire from the music industry for enabling piracy, and forced to liquidate in bankruptcy court. 

He’d been a practicing attorney since graduating from UCLA Law School in 1975, and worked as vice president of business development for A&M Records — which was chiefly responsible for the lawsuit that led to Napster’s bankruptcy. He also served briefly as the senior vice president for business development for Firstlook.com before joining Napster.

The Star has corrected their story that repeatedly blamed the victim for the collision in a later report, although they’ve left the initial biased story online; thanks to Lois for the tip.

Update 3: Too often, we never learn anything about the victims of bicycling collisions, or the pain their loss leaves behind. But in this case, both the LA Times and KNBC-4 fill in the blanks with nice reports on a man who loved his family and riding his bike.

Although it does not build more confidence in the investigation to know the lead investigator in the case took yesterday off. Or that I’m told the CHP was willing to conduct an independent investigation, but wasn’t asked.

Meanwhile, a reader forwards an email exchange with the editor of the Ventura County Star in which he complained about the bias in the initial report. And received a very nice response promising to look into the matter — which resulted in the updated report correcting the misinformation, as well as changes to the initial story.

Too often, complaints like that get ignored. So let’s give credit to VC Star editor John Moore for doing the right thing.

Update 4: The LA Sheriff’s Department offers an apology, but doesn’t accept responsibility.

Update 5: The Daily News identifies the Sheriff’s Deputy who killed Olin on as a 16-year veteran from the Malibu/Lost Hills station, despite a lack of confirmation from the department. The collision is still under investigation; two weeks later, investigators still haven’t spoken to all the witnesses. 

Allegedly intoxicated, lightless bike rider fatally shot by Sheriff’s deputies in South L.A.

Yes, it’s against the law to ride a bike under the influence.

And yes, bike riders are legally required to have both a headlight, and at the very least, a rear reflector.

But the first is just a misdemeanor with a maximum $250 fine. And the second is usually just a fix-it ticket, often dismissed if the rider can prove he or she has put lights on the bike in question.

Neither usually punishable by the death penalty.

Yet that’s what happened over the weekend as a 50-year old bike rider was shot and killed in South L.A.

The L.A. Sheriff’s Department reports that the man, identified by KACB-7 as Terry Laffitte, was riding without lights and appeared to be drunk when he was spotted by Sheriff’s deputies at 9:12 pm Saturday on Miramonte Blvd in unincorporated L.A. County.

When the deputies tried to stop him, he continued riding to his home in the 6100 block of Miramonte. The officers followed him to the back of his home, where he reportedly punched one of them in the face, leading to a scuffle that eventually included members of his family who tried to pull the officers off Laffitte.

During the fight, he allegedly pulled out a gun, leading both deputies to fire a single shot each; Laffitte died at the scene.

The L.A. Times reports that two guns were found on the man, one of which was a replica.

According to the Sheriff’s Department, both Laffitte and members of his family who lived at the house are known gang members.

However, according to the report from KABC-7, family members say the shooting was unjustified.

“My brother was on the ground. They had his hands behind his back,” said Laffitte’s sister, Sandra Cotton. “He didn’t have a gun. Why would you shoot him if he was already on the ground and you guys had possession of him?”

Laffitte’s sister said the altercation was recorded on a cellphone, but she claims the device was confiscated by the sheriff’s department. Detectives said no cellphones were confiscated.

Family members said Laffitte had turned his life around and did not carry guns.

Of course, claims like that are easy to make.

But sometimes, they turn out to be true. Kern County Sheriff’s deputies are accused of illegally confiscating cell phones from people who witnessed a fatal police beating in the Bakersfield area — and allegedly deleting a video of the incident.

So let’s be clear about one thing.

You have a 1st Amendment right to record anything that occurs in public, whether or not it involves the police. And without a subpoena, they have no more right to take your phone or camera, or confiscate any photos or video on it, than anyone else on the street.

Less in fact, since police are required to protect the rights of the public and adhere to legal standards that the general public isn’t.

And while it happens far less often than some would suggest, it is also not unheard of for officers to plant a gun following an illegal shooting. I once knew a cop in another city who made a point of carrying a cheap handgun to drop at the scene in case he ever shot an unarmed person — and according to him, had used it in at least one case.

Of course, there’s nothing to suggest that’s what happened here, other than the statements of family members whose credibility has already been challenged by the gang accusations.

But even gang members have rights. And clearly, the LASD has some questions to answer.

Like how a simple misdemeanor traffic stop was allowed to escalate into fatal altercation.

And it’s not the first time it’s happened.

Update: Monday’s ride, in which I catch the county breaking the law

Just because they post a sign doesn't make it so.

Just because they post a sign doesn’t make it so.

Sometimes it’s the government itself that breaks the law.

A recent planned ride down to Manhattan Beach was interrupted by construction on the bike path, as barricades diverted cyclists onto busy Vista del Mar at Dockweiler State Beach.

That didn’t come as a surprise. The beachfront Marvin Braude bike path has been undergoing much needed reconstruction over the past several months.

Up to this point, however, riders were directed to virtually unused South Marine Avenue, providing a low-stress detour around the construction work.

However, that changed last week as the construction work moved further south, past the point where Marine Ave ends. South Bay cyclist Jim Lyle gave me the heads-up last week, so I knew the pathway would be closed when I got there.

I knew if I wanted to reach my planned destination, I’d have to ride a street that is notoriously unfriendly to cyclists. And pass the exact point where bike rider George Loudon was killed in a still-unsolved hit-and-run less than two years earlier.

The only accommodation to cyclists forced to detour around the construction were some newly added Share the Road signs on Vista del Mar. Not enough to tame the high-speed traffic, or make most riders feel safe on a roadway already known for dangerous traffic.

Myself included.

So rather than add needless stress to a ride intended to reduce it, I decided I’d gone far enough for one day, and would save Vista del Mar for another ride later in the week.

On a whim, though, when I turned back, I decided to ride through the county-owned RV park along the bike path to see if it would allow me to bypass the construction work. Or at least add a little more to my mileage count for the day.

And that’s when I saw it.

Right at the entrance to the park was a sign banning bikes, in clear violation of state law.

Under California law, bicyclists have all the rights and responsibilities of motorists, and are allowed to use any public roadway where cars are permitted. The only exception is some limited access freeways, where bikes can be banned as long as signs are posted.

And which some cyclists have been known to ride, anyway.

Since there were numerous cars and RVs visible right in front of me, it was clear that motor vehicles were allowed in the RV park. So the only question was whether the park was public or private property.

And a simple look online quickly answered that question.

In other words, an RV park owned and operated by the County of Los Angeles bans bikes from the roads, in clear violation of state law. That presumably applies to people paying to camp there, just as it does to any stray riders looking for a shortcut.

So if someone wants to ride their bike from their campsite to El Segundo or the LAX area via surface streets, and rides on the roadway through the park to get there, they’re in violation of the ban.

Which is in violation of the law.

Even if the RV park is privately operated under a county contract, the roads within it remain public property, and so are subject to state law.

Which brings up the question, when the government itself is either unaware of, or doesn’t care about, the laws of this state, who exactly is responsible for enforcing them?

Let alone protecting the rights of its citizens, on two wheels or otherwise.

Update: I just received the following notice from the county Department of Public Works:

Picture (Device Independent Bitmap) 1ADVISORY NOTICE
The County of Los Angeles will be closing a segment of the Marvin Braude Bike Path for reconstruction work until April 12th.  The limits of the beach bike path closure are from Imperial Highway in the City of Los Angeles to 45th Street in the City of Manhattan Beach.
To accommodate bike path users during this closure, a detour has been provided along Vista del Mar.  The most seaward of the 4 vehicle travel lanes (closest to the beach) will be barricaded and dedicated as a bike lane for both directions of bike path traffic for the duration of the work.
For information contact us at (626) 458-3110, (626) 458-4967 or visit http://dpw.lacounty.gov/bikepathclosures

Good news that they’re going to give cyclists a dedicated lane on Vista del Mar; however, that barricade did not seem to be place when I was there on Monday.

……..

One other quick note.

On Monday’s ride, I found myself chatting with a bike rider who had just flown in from Washington DC earlier that morning, and was enjoying a ride on a beautiful SoCal day.

Then last night, on a ride to a bike meeting in Downtown L.A., I struck up a conversation with a woman riding in her work attire, as she made her way from 7th and Fig to pick up the Gold Line for her commute home.

Nothing extraordinary about either event.

Except I can’t recall ever talking with a total stranger from behind the wheel of a car for any longer than it took for someone to ask directions before the light changed. Or exchange angry epitaphs with another driver.

That’s one of the rare joys of bicycling, as it allows a genuine interaction with our cities and those we share the road with, however briefly.

And helps make our city a better place to live, whichever and wherever that may be.

Bike rider killed in Long Beach last night; victim may have run a red light

Maybe it was the cold that kept less committed cyclists of the streets.

Whatever the reason, Southern California had suffered just one cycling fatality since the first of the year, compared to four this time last year.

Unfortunately, that unusual combination of good luck and — hopefully — safer streets came to an end last night, as a 50-year old bicyclist was killed while riding in Long Beach.

According to the Press-Telegram, the Long Beach resident, who has not been publicly identified, was riding west on Atherton Street at 7:17 pm when she allegedly ran the red light and was struck by a green 2002 Honda Odyssey headed south on Bellflower Blvd. The 19-year old driver stopped at the scene and attempted to render aid; unfortunately, the victim died of her injuries at a local hospital four hours after she was struck.

The Long Beach Post reports the driver was released at the scene, and no charges are pending.

What none of the stories answer is whether anyone other than the driver witnessed the collision. Reports that the rider ran a red light should be taken with a grain of salt unless it can be confirmed by independent witnesses. It’s a common problem in investigating bicycle collisions that police often only get one side of the story when the victim is unable to speak for him or herself.

A satellite view reveals a wide, complicated intersection that required the rider to cross 10 lanes of traffic get to the other side. It’s entirely possible that she started out with a green light, which may have turned red before she could get all the way across.

It seems unlikely that anyone would try to blow through the light at such a wide intersection, especially at such a relatively early hour when traffic could have been expected. But it’s always possible that she may have thought she could make it and didn’t see the car that killed her until it was too late.

Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Brian Watt of the Long Beach Police Department’s Accident Investigation unit at 562-570-7355.

This is the second cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in L.A. County; there were 24 bike-related fatalities in the county last year, and 74 in the SoCal region. There were no bicycling deaths in Long Beach last year, following five in the bike-friendly city in 2011.

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

Update: The Press-Telegram has identified the victim as 50-year old Susan E. Curtis of Long Beach. 

According to the paper, Curtis’ bike was her primary form of transportation, which she used to get to her two part-time jobs, as well as working as a pet sitter and dog walker. She leaves behind a dog and six cats, along with an assortment of other pets, which are now in need of a new home.

Belmont Shore – Naples Patch reports that her friends don’t consider her someone who would run a red light under any circumstances. 

Meanwhile, Opus the Poet, who writes the Witch on a Bicycle blog, crunches the numbers to suggest that Curtis if entered the entered the intersection near the end of the green light, she could have easily failed to make it across the wide 10-lane intersection before the light turned green on Bellflower Blvd. And leaving her stranded and vulnerable in the path of oncoming traffic.

I’m not say that’s what happened, but it’s possible.

And it makes more sense than the idea that a 50-year old safety-conscious woman would intentionally run a red light on such a wide, busy intersection. 

Open letter to Metro and LA County DPW — making the Marvin Braude Bikeway a transportation corridor

Pedestrians often block cyclists on the bike path, despite numerous bike-only signs

If you’ve ever tried to ride the beachfront bike path through Santa Monica and Venice, chances are, you know what the problem is.

Despite countless bike-only signs along most of its length, the path is plagued by the seemingly inevitable conflicts between cyclists, skaters, joggers and pedestrians, as we all fight for a few feet of space on what should be the crown jewel of SoCal cycling.

The problem stems from a traditional lack of enforcement, which has caused countless residents and tourists to believe the path is open to everyone. Not mention location, since the bike path is situated directly on the sand, while pedestrian walkways, where they exist, are often well away from where most people want walk.

Now the County Department of Public Works is preparing a proposal that might solve that problem for a relatively lengthy section of the bikeway.

The County is submitting an application in Metro’s Call for Projects for a pedestrian walkway that would parallel the bike path from Ocean Front Walk north to Will Rogers State Beach. Something that would provide other users a space of their own directly on the sand, while freeing room for bikes on a path that was built for our use — but which many riders avoid because it’s often too crowded to ride.

Problem is, they’ve made a similar request before. And were turned down because the project was seen as benefitting recreational riders, rather than commuters.

This, despite the fact that simple observation indicates that at least some commuter cyclists already use the bike path as an alternative to PCH and crowded Santa Monica streets. And more commuters would use it if there weren’t so many non-cyclists clogging their way.

As a result, I’ve written the following letter in support of the project.

I urge you to write a letter of your own asking Metro to fund the pedestrian walkway, and send it to L.A. County Bikeway Coordinator Abu Yusuf, who has agreed to forward our letters to the right people and include them in the application.

Since Metro’s focus is on transportation, rather than recreation, your letter should stress how a pedestrian walkway would make it easier for you to commute to work, class or other situations, and make you more likely to use your own bike as opposed to other methods of transportation; feel free to use my letter as a guide.

.………

January 11, 2011

Gail Farber
County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works
900 South Fremont Ave
Alhambra, CA 91803-1331

Dear Ms. Farber,

It has come to my attention that the Department of Public Works for the County of Los Angeles will be submitting an application for funding for the Marvin Braude Pedestrian Walkway Gap Closure Project in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 2011 Call for Projects.

As you are undoubtedly aware, the Marvin Braude Bike Trail is one of Southern California’s most popular bikeways, drawing a very high volume of bicyclists, pedestrians, skaters and other users. While there are nearby walkways along other sections of the bike path, there is no pedestrian walkway along the section between Ocean Front Walk in Santa Monica and Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades.

As a result, bike riders and pedestrians are forced to compete for a limited amount of space, creating inevitable conflicts between various users, as well as congestion that greatly reduces the path’s utility for transportation riders and dramatically increases the risk of serious injuries.

Closing the proposed gap closure between the existing walkways would allow both bicyclists and pedestrians to travel this section of the Marvin Braude bikeway with greater safety. It would also provide access to local transit hubs, as well as the Exposition Light Rail Transit line that is currently in the beginning stages of being extended to Santa Monica.

In addition, moving pedestrians onto a separate pathway would increase the viability of the bikeway as a transportation corridor for bicyclists by providing safer access for riders commuting to the many activity, shopping and employment centers in the Santa Monica, Venice and Malibu areas. It would also encourage people who do not currently use their bikes for transportation to consider it as an alternative to driving or other methods of transit.

I myself have often considered using my bike for transportation to work or meetings in the area, but have usually rejected it at least in part due to the congestion and safety hazards caused by pedestrians and other non-bike users on the bike path.

I strongly urge the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to move this vital project forward by approving funding for the Marvin Braude Pedestrian Walkway Gap Closure Project in the 2011 Call for Projects.

Sincerely,

Ted A. Rogers
BikingInLA.com

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UCLA will host a day-long Complete Streets workshop Downtown on Friday, February 25th; participation is open to registered attendees; thanks to @Maddz4planning and @kneel28 for the heads-up. Bikerowave is offering a free bike-fitting workshop at 6 pm Saturday, January 15th; few things will improve your performance and enjoyment more than a bike that fits right. CicLAvia ventures into L.A. cycling’s undiscovered country, scouting streets for a possible South L.A. route. Bikeside encourages cyclists to walk precincts for the newly beardless Stephen Box. LADOT Bike Blog introduces LADOT’s Assistant Coordinators. Flying Pigeon looks at the January Spoke(n) Art Ride; the next one takes place on Feb. 12. Gary writes about the lessons learned from Long Beach’s bike planning. One of L.A.’s best wrenches, who I never seem to get over to see even though he works just down the road, offers some breathtaking views of the city from a recent off-road ride.

A Huntington Beach cyclist sues the city after falling while crossing railroad tracks. San Clemente requests funding for a possible bicycle freeway. Would new bike racks encourage more San Diego cycling? Santa Cruz officials consider moving the 1800-mile Pacific Coast Bike Route off a busy main road and onto a quieter, more picturesque street. Even famed bike builder Gary Fisher is a victim of bike theft.

Streetsblog says we’re all pulling for AZ Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords; a vigil will be held for her and the other shooting victims on Tuesday evening. Commuting to work could save your life. Bike Portland’s Jonathon Maus says it’s time to tone down the rhetoric on our streets, as well as our political discourse; I couldn’t agree more. People riding bikes aren’t jerks, they’re just like you. Does the Mary Poppins effect keep cyclists in regular clothing safer? New Belgium’s Tour de Fat raises over $300,000 for bike non-profits, including C.I.C.L.E. and LACBC.  Ohio bike lawyer Steve Magas — one of the out-of-area lawyers you’ll find over there on the right — looks at the official stats for cyclists killed in that state in 2010, and lowers the count by two. Make phone calls directly from your bike with this awkward, butt-ugly innovative helmet with built-in phone; thanks to Just Another Cyclist for the link. Tips to quiet your ride. Fears of unbridled gentrification rise as streetcars return to Lego City; yes, it’s written with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

I confess, there were times I felt like a cowboy riding around the Mountain West, but turn my bike into a horsie? No. Just no. A top British barrister says the courts have to do more to protect cyclists. A Spanish mountain biker charged with doping offenses has committed suicide. The London Olympic Velodrome could be the world’s fastest track. British Olympian James Cracknell says he’s lucky to be alive after getting hit by a gas tanker near Winslow AZ last July; I think everyone who’s followed the story would agree. A Surrey cyclist raises over £90,000 for charity by riding 100,000 miles. Spanish cyclist Alejandro Valverde remains banned. A German biker didn’t think cycling through Siberia would be so darn cold.

Finally, the solution to dooring could be as simple as stop riding your damn bike on the street, according to antidooring.org, which also notes that every car on the road can replace up to six bicycles; I sincerely hope this is tongue-in-cheek. An Ohio used car dealer is willing to give joggers and cyclists a 15% discount if you just promise to stay the hell out of his way. Maybe it would help if we all took this pledge.

And RIP to Peter Yates, director of Breaking Away, the movie that got me on a bike three decade ago. Arrivederci, papa.

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