Tag Archive for Culver City

Dahab arraigned, CA cops under no obligation to investigate or report, and Santa left a bunch of links

Catching up on lots of bike and semi-bike related stuff left over from the pre- and post holiday madness.

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Cyclist and attorney Dj Wheels attended the arraignment hearing for Christine Dahab, the driver accused in the allegedly drunken/distracted collision that injured 11 or more riders in Culver City last June.

At the arraignment, Dahab’s attorney entered a not guilty plea on her behalf and set a date of January 13, 2012 for a preliminary setting at 8:30am in Dept. 142.

When the issue of setting bail came up the defense attorney suggested the bail NOT be set at the scheduled guideline amount of over 300k and that the court use its discretion in setting bail at an amount between 50-60k, which would be fair considering a number of factors that he says showed that Dahab was not a danger to society nor a flight risk, such as: she has a 7 yr old daughter to care for, she has lived and worked on the Westside of LA her whole life, currently works as a server at a restaurant in Marina Del Rey, the fact that the collision was the result of carelessness and not purposeful intent to harm, she has no prior convictions whatsoever, only had a .07 BAC, police reports indicate that perhaps cyclists were also at fault for being in the roadway and standing under a streetlight that was out.

After a sidebar with the Judge and attorneys, the prosecutor objected citing the numerous serious injuries, the fact that the .07 was recorded hours after the incident occurred and most likely was above the legal limit at the time.  The DA also noted that there were open containers of alcohol in the vehicle as well as empty prescription bottles for medical marijuana and even an empty Yoshinoya cup that also had traces of alcohol in it.  He insisted that the bail be set at the suggested scheduled amount per the guidelines.

Ultimately the judge agreed that bail needed to be set, but not at the amount suggested by defense counsel. So she set it at 100,000. Dahab was taken into custody at the end of the hearing. She had a group of five or six people there with her including what appeared to be a mother and a boyfriend.

Christine Dahab was released after posting a bond on her 100k bail sometime in the early afternoon, according to the Sheriff’s inmate locator page.

Wheels suggests it could take some time for Dahab’s attorney to dig through all the various — and possibly conflicting — reports from the LAPD and CCPD in this case.

So I wouldn’t count on an early resolution.

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Meanwhile, Century City bankruptcy attorney and cyclist Stanley E. Goldich sends word that a California court has ruled that police officers are under no obligation to gather information or file a report on a collision — even if they promise the victim they will.

A California Court of appeal ruling relating to a collision between a car and motorcycle on Encinal where the police officer covered up and destroyed the information on the driver of the car who hit the motorcyclist.  The Court held there was no liability because (1) there was no duty to file a report - the CHP Accident Manual requiring filing of a report did not have the force of law, (2) the fact that policeman promised to get the information on the driver and the injured motorcyclist relied on this did not create a special relationship and (3) there was no tort claim for spoliation of evidence because of the immunity of the government.

As Goldich points out, it’s worth knowing that you can’t always rely on the police to get the necessary information following a collision, even if there’s a serious injury.

Actually, it’s kind of scary.

He adds that he stopped at the scene of a recent collision on Ocean Ave in Santa Monica in which a rider in the bike lane was right-hooked by a driver attempting to pull into a parking space.

Since the rider was not seriously injured, the police told Goldich they wouldn’t be filing a report — leaving the cyclist on his own to gather information. And a little too late, since the only witness had already left the scene, and the driver was refusing to admit anything.

Fortunately, the victim had a working GPS which should provide evidence of how the collision occurred. But it’s just another example of how you can’t always count on the police to provide the information you need following a collision.

And it’s up to you to get the driver’s license and insurance information, as well as contact information for any witnesses — even if you’re still confused or in pain following the impact.

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A couple of interesting looks at becoming a bike commuter, as L.A. expat Amanda Lipsey relates her journey to a car-free lifestyle and Development Director for Adventure Cycling. And a DC writer says it takes a village.

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Writing for the Wall Street Journal, sportswriter Jason Gay says everyone should get lit this New Years. At least when it comes to biking.

Don’t let anyone tell you that lights aren’t cool. Here’s what’s not cool: ambulance rides.

This easy resolution may save your life, without you even realizing it.

I’ve kind of avoided the Journal since Rupert took over. But as long as Mr. Gay sticks around, I may want to take another look.

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Great feature in the new Los Angeles Magazine on UCLA professor and parking rock star Donald Shoup and the high toll automobile parking takes on cities — especially right here in Los Angeles, with more parking per acre Downtown than any other city on earth.

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L.A. bike advocate and recent candidate for city council Stephen Box celebrates the holidays as a proud new papa. Cyclists aren’t always the good guys, as a bike rider shoots and kills a man in South L.A. Richard Risemberg criticizes the same crumbling Imperial Highway bike lanes I wrote about last March. A Santa Monica columnist criticizes “arrogant creeps” and “clowns” on “multi-speed bikes” after a bad experience with a jerk on the beachfront bike path. Warner Center envisions new bike and walking paths to connect with the L.A. River. Canoga Park gets more bike racks. Claremont forms a new community bike group, with an inaugural ride Sunday, January 8th; link courtesy of the Claremont Cyclist. Claremont’s Safe Routes to School program will be sponsoring a League of American Bicyclists-approved bike safety training program for adult riders at the end of next month.

An Orange County cyclist was critically injured in a Santa Ana collision Christmas evening. A 12-year old San Diego boy suffers a broken leg when his bike is struck by a hit-and-run driver. San Diego’s Brown Girl in the Lane strikes a chord with readers around the world as she takes Vehicular Cyclists to task, and more than once. Cyclocross comes to Cal State San Marcos next month. Cyclelicious looks at the conflicts between cyclists and the Santa Cruz Sierra Club. San Jose firemen fix up a tricycle to give to a disabled friend.

Bob Mionske takes Californian Governor Jerry Brown to task for endangering cyclists by joining Texas Governor Rick Perry as the only state leaders to veto the three-foot passing law. Apparently, American youth have fallen out of love with the automobile. Bicycling (upper case) offers 101 things they love about bicycling (lower case). Bicycling’s Neil Bedzek says maybe it’s time to hang up his headphones for good. How to straighten steel bike forks. A Minnesota cyclist gets left hooked, then ticketed for improper crossing of a roadway. A New York Councilmember promises a continued crackdown on cyclists next year. Next on your reading table, a new collection of short fiction centered around bikes.

A secret Canadian base trained bicycling spies in WWII. The BBC names reigning world champ Mark Cavendish as their sports personality of the year. Fascinating views of an empty London on Christmas morning. London fails — by a wide margin — to meet their target goals for reducing bike fatalities and serious injuries by half over 1990’s levels. UK stats suggest bike fatalities increase during economic downturns; SoCal figures for this year certainly support that thesis. A new Aussie study suggests Sydney cycling rates could double if mandatory helmet laws were repealed. A Chinese ebike rider survives a direct hit by a speeding truck in a graphic video.

Finally, great advice on what to do if you’re the victim of a collision.

When the police ask if you’re injured, the correct answer is always yes; as the article notes, injuries that aren’t apparent at the scene often show up later. The right response could protect both your health and your legal rights.

The weather promises to be great here in L.A. the next few days; get out on your bike and enjoy it.

Catching up on the latest bike news — fighting for an Expo Bike Center, and a new Dutch bike site

After a linkless beginning to the week, here’s your chance to catch up before I batten down the hatches on a very blustery day.

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The Expo Line Authority has made a very misguided decision to delete a planned bike center from the new Culver City Expo station, saving a relative few pennies now while creating untold costs down the line.

The whole point of the Expo line is to provide an alternative to driving. Yet omitting the bike station will only encourage more people to drive — whether to the station or their destination — while discouraging people from biking to the train. And it will undoubtedly cost a lot less to build it now as part of the station than to add it on later.

The Santa Monica Spoke says it’s time to hold them to their earlier promises, whether in person at Thursday’s Expo Line board meeting or by emailing key officials. And Better Bike’s Mark Elliot shares his letter (pdf), and dissects Expo’s last mile problem.

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I got a press release yesterday from And Dutch, a UK-based website now intent on bringing authentic Dutch bikes and gear to the US and Canada through their new North American site.

With exclusive & award winning gents, ladies and children designs, www.anddutch.com, offers amongst its large product range —

  • Original Dutch Town bicycles for gents, ladies and children by BURGERS (The Netherlands oldest and first bicycle brand since 1868!)
  • Unique chainless & folding bikes by Dutch BEIXO
  • Colourful children’s balance bikes by KIDDIMOTO
  • Fixed / Free wheel bikes by FOFFA (+ free launch gift: front & rear KNOG lights worth $40)
  • Beautiful bicycle helmet designs by SAWAKO and HARDNUTZ
  • Saddles by world oldest independent Dutch saddle maker LEPPER
  • Stunning bags and panniers by Dutch NEW LOOXS
  • More (exclusive Dutch) brands to follow soon!

And also supplies other award winning brands by —

  • Dutch BASIL – with a  large array (over 70 different products!) of beautiful & high quality accessories
  • Elegant and renowned English saddle maker BROOKS
  • Must have  AXA locks
  • …and many more!

This could be a good resource for those hard to find Ditch bikes and accessories. However, you can already find some of those items right here in L.A.

Personally, I’d start your search at Flying Pigeon LA, where you’ll find a wide selection of Dutch bikes, some of which have even been road tested uphill.

If anyone knows of another local bike shop in the SoCal area that’s a good source for Dutch bikes and accessories, let me know.

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A great read from a Chicago cyclist refuting the absurd concept that supporting bikes means a war on cars. Definitely word reading.

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The county Board of Supervisors votes unanimously to request a more progressive bike plan; maybe it’s just me, but I’m starting to like these guys. The Times’ Hector Tobar takes a ride down Downtown’s new green bike lanes on Spring Street. Those quickly faded green lanes will soon be repainted; the damage occurred because the paint didn’t have time to set before the recent rains. Streetsblog names L.A. Planning intern Rye Baerg Government Worker of the Year. An overnight biking trip to Leo Carrillo State Beach. L.A. cyclist Alex de Cordoba writes for HuffPo on why more driver’s license checkpoints are needed. Two roundabout projects are moving forward on 4th Street. Practical bikes call for more practical racks; I’m just happy to find any usable rack when I get to my destination. Flying Pigeon’s next brewery ride takes place this Saturday. As if cars aren’t enough to worry about, a Burbank mountain biker encounters a black bear. Long Beach gets a new bike shop. Outside magazine names local bike scribe Patrick Brady’s Red Kite Prayer as the best of the nation’s top 10 biking blogs; can’t argue with that choice.

A memorial will be held Thursday for Anthony Martinez, the 6-year old Oxnard bike rider killed on Thanksgiving Day; nice to see a ghost bike has been installed in his honor and heartbreaking that it was necessary. A 10-year old San Diego bike rider is injured in a left cross, while another cyclist is seriously injured after getting Jerry Browned when a car tries to pass at far less than three feet. San Diego’s People’s Photographer takes a look at a bike commuting family. Take a short drive — or long ride — south to meet and ride with Mia Birk, president of Alta Planning + Design and former Portland Bicycle Program Manager. Or you can just wait until the 15th and meet her in Long Beach. A left cross is caught on camera; fortunately, the rider wasn’t seriously hurt. A San Francisco bus driver could face charges in the death of a cyclist last August. A Santa Rosa cyclist is killed after being hit by two cars. Palo Alto could get a bike bridge over Hwy 101. A bike novel by a Mill Valley writer is headed for the big screen. This is nothing to be thankful for, as California saw 27 traffic fatalities and 1475 arrests for DUI over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Biking could be beneficial to your brain. Congress may be trying to kill TIGER funding for bikes and pedestrians; can someone please tell me when and why the GOP became anti-anything but cars? New Federal regulations require consideration of cyclists when rumble strips are installed on highways. Bicycling explains how to quiet a noisy bike. A Tucson Trader Joe’s listens to complaints and installs better bike parking. Nevada is working on statewide bike plan; now there’s a concept worth exporting from the Silver State. A Salt Lake City columnist says it’s bad enough when vehicle to vehicle collisions occur, and worse when one party is totally vulnerable; amen to that. Fifty-six percent of cyclists run red lights in a new Portland State study. A Seattle driver is under arrest after running down a cyclist who refused to buy him a beer. My hometown is partnering with Colorado State University to study the economic impacts of cycling; that’s one study I’ll look forward to reading. Can a city that bans ebikes from paved trails be considered bike friendly? The city of Detroit offers great biking; some of the suburbs not so much. NYPD prepares for their latest crackdown on bicyclists, this time on the killer bikers of Prospect Park, while transportation advocates more rationally demand the city crack down on dangerous drivers. Maybe the solution is haiku traffic safety signs. Performance Bicycle has joined Bikes Belong. The right bra makes all the difference for winter riding. A long list of don’ts for women wheelers. Using your bike wheel to create animation, or using animation to explain cycling.

Canadian cyclists need more protection, and think side guards on trucks could help. Yet the country has a serious disconnect when it comes to biking, as 73% think cyclists deserve more respect from motorists, while four out of five Canadians think they won’t get it until they respect the rules of the road. British onlookers rush to the rescue when a cyclist is trapped beneath the car that hit him. The UK’s Department for Transport says slowing motorists is the best way to increase safety for cycling, yet London cyclists oddly object to being used as human speed bumps. Four people are under arrest for a hit-and-run collision that left a Brit bike cop injured. Call him Mark Cavendish, MBE. Bike journalist Carlton Reid discusses his upcoming book, Roads Were Not Built for Cars. Don’t criticize anyone until you’ve cycled in their shoes. Bicycling is vilified in Australia, despite being a nation of bike riders, but it’s getting big in Bangalore.

Finally, I haven’t always agreed with the OC Register’s David Whiting, but his latest column is dead on, noting that recent cycling deaths point out the importance of truly sharing the road. And a Santa Monica cyclist is behind bars after running two red lights with an outstanding warrant for DUI — and someone else’s wallet.

Seriously, if you’re wanted by the authorities and carrying stolen property, stop for red lights already.

BOLO Alert: Two bikes stolen from Culver City bike valet (updated)

Just received word that the euphoria of Wolfpack Hustle’s win over Jet Blue has been marred by a couple of jerks who stole two bikes from the bike valet at Culver City’s Eat Real festival on Saturday.

Jim Shanman of the Culver City Bicycle Coalition offers the details:

Sadly, 2 bikes were stolen by 2 punks late in the day. Both of the bikes are pictured below. The other is a really nice Kestrel road bike. A reward has been offered for either one of the 2 bikes if returned or for information leading to their return. I’d like to get the word out and maybe shame the punks who took them. Definitely a buzz kill to an otherwise great day.

The CCPD police report number is 11-26009, although this will be turned over to the LAPD if it hasn’t already

One of two bikes stolen from Culver City Eat Real Festival on Saturday

This is the other bike that was stolen

Shame the punks?

I’ll go one better. Anyone who would steal a bike is the lowest form of slime in the biking world. And anyone who’d steal from a bike valet jeopardizes one of the few conveniences L.A. cyclists enjoy, and puts to risk a system that encourages Angelenos to enjoy the city while leaving their cars at home.

You may think you got away with a bike or two tonight. But your selfish and destructive actions harm the entire L.A. cycling community on what should be one of our happiest days.

If you’re reading this, contact me and I’ll arrange for you to return the bikes to their rightful owners, no questions asked.

If not, you’re going to have an entire city of pissed off cyclists watching for you, and a couple of hot bikes you won’t be able to ride or sell.

Give it up. And get a life.

Update: Photo of second bike added Sunday evening.

Evidence spring has sprung along the 10 Freeway; bike lawyer says CicLAvia streets aren’t safe to ride

Funny how much beauty you can find in the most unexpected places when you ride a bike.

I spotted this on a recent ride to check out the newly rebuilt section of the Ballona Creek Bike Path in Culver City; I doubt the drivers speeding by have any idea it’s there.

Im not sure what the wooden structure was originally intended for, but it makes a lovely rustic wildflower planter.

Viewed from the other side, the planter disappears and youre left with just a hillside covered in flowers.

Its only on closer inspection that you realize its a rare island of beauty on the edge of an ugly freeway.

Then again, the new section of the bikeway looks pretty good, too; maybe someday, it will look like that all the way into the Marina.

.………

A Los Angeles attorney says it just isn’t safe to ride the recent CicLAvia route when cars are allowed.

Event participant Greg Pincus stated that it is Los Angeles is a different place without all of the vehicles. But Attorney Ehline says: “Los Angeles has a long way to go before anyone should consider riding a bicycle on that 7.5 mile stretch that they shut down last Sunday.”

Lawyer, please.

I usually ride that exact route along 4th, 6th and 7th Streets when I go Downtown, and I’m not dead yet. In fact, I choose those streets because I feel a lot safer there than I do on busier boulevards just a few blocks away, even at rush hour. As do hundreds, if not thousands, of other cyclists every day.

And while I’m not exactly a cheerleader for L.A. streets, I’ve ridden with relative safety throughout the city for nearly two decades, as have countless other riders.

Yes, bad things can and do happen.

Despite the recently adopted bike plan, L.A. stills lacks proper infrastructure, and will for decades to come until the plan is finally built out. Even then, it will take a massive investment to repave and patch the city’s crumbling streets before they offer the safety Angeleno cyclists deserve.

Then there’s the city’s notoriously careless, aggressive and distracted drivers, many of whom seem would seem to require major surgery to pry their precious cell phones from their faces. Let alone their foot off the gas pedal.

Yet in the overwhelming majority of cases, it only takes a modicum of care to get from here to there safely. And enjoyably.

I don’t know Michael P. Ehline, Esq. For all I know, he may be an excellent and caring attorney, exactly the sort of person every cyclist wants in his or her corner when it all hits the fan.

But to suggest that cyclists take their lives in their hands to ride on what are actually some of the city’s better bike streets isn’t exactly the best way to demonstrate expertise in the subject.

I mean, seriously.

.………

No surprise as Danae Marie Miller pleads not guilty in the February death of world class triathlete Amine Britel, Miller was allegedly under the influence and texting when she ran down Britel as he rode in a Newport Beach bike lane, and had at least 15 traffic citations in the previous 6 years; thanks to Lois Rubin for the link.

Meanwhile, the deputy who initially stopped Marco Antonio Valencia confirmed on the witness stand that Valencia told him “Shoot me, my life is over” as he was being detained. The arrest came minutes after the hit-and-run collision that took the life of Joseph Novotny and seriously injured three other riders, suggesting that Valencia was well aware of what he had just done.

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Yo! Venice! sounds the alarm over bike theft by the beach; if you’re looking for suspect, you might want to start with Bill Effing Murray. Santa Monica Spokers Brian and Cynthia ride foldies in Oregon with the Long Beach bike expats. Retailers are gearing up to meet the needs of female triathletes. Richard Risemberg says the real junk miles are the ones spent racing and training, as opposed to actually going somewhere; personally, I say there are no junk miles. Damien Newton says thanks to everyone who attended or helped make an amazing Friday fundraiser possible. More great photos and video from Thursday’s Bike Night at the Hammer Museum. A new TV and online show follows a cyclist touring the country car-free, by whatever means available including an odd assortment of bikes. Actors Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen ride through Studio City. Santa Monica’s Cynergy Cycles plans a special charity event on May 9th featuring the 2011 Tour of California HTC-Highroad men’s team, benefitting Right to Play. A Confident City Cycling course will be held in Culver City starting April 30th; maybe a certain lawyer might benefit by attending.

A few fond looks back at this month’s San Diego Custom Bike Show. A driver leaving a San Jose party hits and kills his own friend; initial reports indicate the cyclist was riding in the middle of the street, despite bike lanes on either side of the road. A Vallejo man was killed when he hit a power pole support cable while riding on the sidewalk. A Monterrey paper reports on last weekend’s Sea Otter Classic.

Now you can ride with no air down there. Former framebuilder Dave Moulton tells physicists nice experiment, but that’s a push toy, not a bike. Bike Noob says you’re going to fall sooner or later so learn how first, citing my advice on the subject in part. Bike Hugger looks at this year’s Bicycle Leadership Conference. Elly Blue makes the economic case for secure on-street bike parking. Advice on what to do if you’re chased by a dangerous dog — and a first hand view on what happens if it catches you. Illinois offers new Share the Road license plates. The Cutters win Indiana’s Little 500 for the 5th year in a row. A civil rights attorney says you can’t be arrested for talking back to a cop, at least in New York, while the Post continues its smear campaign against cycling in the city; any pretense of journalistic objectivity went out a window a long time ago. A wheelchair-bound Florida man is accused of ramming a female cyclist after chasing her through a parking lot the previous two days.

In Montreal, everyone thinks they have the right-of-way. A writer for the London Mail says Lycra Louts should not be above the law. A cheap mirror could save the lives of London cyclists. A drunk cyclist has to be pulled out of a UK river. Maserati is the latest high-end automaker to produce their own bicycle. Police in the United Arab Emirates begin a bike safety campaign; why is it that bike safety campaigns always focus on cyclists, rather than the drivers who can, and sometimes do, kill us? South Korea’s president says bicycling is a key component of the country’s green growth. A Philippine Senator files a bill calling for bike lanes and bike parking throughout the island nation. Aussie cyclist Matthew Lloyd is confident he’ll be back after being fired from the Omega Pharma Lotto team.

Finally, a truck-driving Bakersfield father asks other drivers not to hit his son anymore when he rides in a local bike lane. And advice from my hometown on how cyclists and horses can share the trail; oh wait, L.A. equestrians say that’s impossible.

Evidence spring has sprung along the 10 Freeway; bike lawyer says CicLAvia streets aren’t safe to ride

Funny how much beauty you can find in the most unexpected places when you ride a bike.

I spotted this on a recent ride to check out the newly rebuilt section of the Ballona Creek Bike Path in Culver City; I doubt the drivers speeding by have any idea it’s there.

Im not sure what the wooden structure was originally intended for, but it makes a lovely rustic wildflower planter.

Viewed from the other side, the planter disappears and youre left with just a hillside covered in flowers.

Its only on closer inspection that you realize its a rare island of beauty on the edge of an ugly freeway.

Then again, the new section of the bikeway looks pretty good, too; maybe someday, it will look like that all the way into the Marina.

.………

A Los Angeles attorney says it just isn’t safe to ride the recent CicLAvia route when cars are allowed.

Event participant Greg Pincus stated that it is Los Angeles is a different place without all of the vehicles. But Attorney Ehline says: “Los Angeles has a long way to go before anyone should consider riding a bicycle on that 7.5 mile stretch that they shut down last Sunday.”

Lawyer, please.

I usually ride that exact route along 4th, 6th and 7th Streets when I go Downtown, and I’m not dead yet. In fact, I choose those streets because I feel a lot safer there than I do on busier boulevards just a few blocks away, even at rush hour. As do hundreds, if not thousands, of other cyclists every day.

And while I’m not exactly a cheerleader for L.A. streets, I’ve ridden with relative safety throughout the city for nearly two decades, as have countless other riders.

Yes, bad things can and do happen.

Despite the recently adopted bike plan, L.A. stills lacks proper infrastructure, and will for decades to come until the plan is finally built out. Even then, it will take a massive investment to repave and patch the city’s crumbling streets before they offer the safety Angeleno cyclists deserve.

Then there’s the city’s notoriously careless, aggressive and distracted drivers, many of whom seem would seem to require major surgery to pry their precious cell phones from their faces. Let alone their foot off the gas pedal.

Yet in the overwhelming majority of cases, it only takes a modicum of care to get from here to there safely. And enjoyably.

I don’t know Michael P. Ehline, Esq. For all I know, he may be an excellent and caring attorney, exactly the sort of person every cyclist wants in his or her corner when it all hits the fan.

But to suggest that cyclists take their lives in their hands to ride on what are actually some of the city’s better bike streets isn’t exactly the best way to demonstrate expertise in the subject.

I mean, seriously.

.………

No surprise as Danae Marie Miller pleads not guilty in the February death of world class triathlete Amine Britel, Miller was allegedly under the influence and texting when she ran down Britel as he rode in a Newport Beach bike lane, and had at least 15 traffic citations in the previous 6 years; thanks to Lois Rubin for the link.

Meanwhile, the deputy who initially stopped Marco Antonio Valencia confirmed on the witness stand that Valencia told him “Shoot me, my life is over” as he was being detained. The arrest came minutes after the hit-and-run collision that took the life of Joseph Novotny and seriously injured three other riders, suggesting that Valencia was well aware of what he had just done.

.………

Yo! Venice! sounds the alarm over bike theft by the beach; if you’re looking for suspect, you might want to start with Bill Effing Murray. Santa Monica Spokers Brian and Cynthia ride foldies in Oregon with the Long Beach bike expats. Retailers are gearing up to meet the needs of female triathletes. Richard Risemberg says the real junk miles are the ones spent racing and training, as opposed to actually going somewhere; personally, I say there are no junk miles. Damien Newton says thanks to everyone who attended or helped make an amazing Friday fundraiser possible. More great photos and video from Thursday’s Bike Night at the Hammer Museum. A new TV and online show follows a cyclist touring the country car-free, by whatever means available including an odd assortment of bikes. Actors Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen ride through Studio City. Santa Monica’s Cynergy Cycles plans a special charity event on May 9th featuring the 2011 Tour of California HTC-Highroad men’s team, benefitting Right to Play. A Confident City Cycling course will be held in Culver City starting April 30th; maybe a certain lawyer might benefit by attending.

A few fond looks back at this month’s San Diego Custom Bike Show. A driver leaving a San Jose party hits and kills his own friend; initial reports indicate the cyclist was riding in the middle of the street, despite bike lanes on either side of the road. A Vallejo man was killed when he hit a power pole support cable while riding on the sidewalk. A Monterrey paper reports on last weekend’s Sea Otter Classic.

Now you can ride with no air down there. Former framebuilder Dave Moulton tells physicists nice experiment, but that’s a push toy, not a bike. Bike Noob says you’re going to fall sooner or later so learn how first, citing my advice on the subject in part. Bike Hugger looks at this year’s Bicycle Leadership Conference. Elly Blue makes the economic case for secure on-street bike parking. Advice on what to do if you’re chased by a dangerous dog — and a first hand view on what happens if it catches you. Illinois offers new Share the Road license plates. The Cutters win Indiana’s Little 500 for the 5th year in a row. A civil rights attorney says you can’t be arrested for talking back to a cop, at least in New York, while the Post continues its smear campaign against cycling in the city; any pretense of journalistic objectivity went out a window a long time ago. A wheelchair-bound Florida man is accused of ramming a female cyclist after chasing her through a parking lot the previous two days.

In Montreal, everyone thinks they have the right-of-way. A writer for the London Mail says Lycra Louts should not be above the law. A cheap mirror could save the lives of London cyclists. A drunk cyclist has to be pulled out of a UK river. Maserati is the latest high-end automaker to produce their own bicycle. Police in the United Arab Emirates begin a bike safety campaign; why is it that bike safety campaigns always focus on cyclists, rather than the drivers who can, and sometimes do, kill us? South Korea’s president says bicycling is a key component of the country’s green growth. A Philippine Senator files a bill calling for bike lanes and bike parking throughout the island nation. Aussie cyclist Matthew Lloyd is confident he’ll be back after being fired from the Omega Pharma Lotto team.

Finally, a truck-driving Bakersfield father asks other drivers not to hit his son anymore when he rides in a local bike lane. And advice from my hometown on how cyclists and horses can share the trail; oh wait, L.A. equestrians say that’s impossible.

Culver City backpedals on new bike/ped master plan, Ballona Creek Bike Path reopens

Cyclists in front of CC City Hall; did the Culver City Council have their fingers crossed when the voted for the new master plan?

Breaking news from Culver City —

First the good news:

After long delays due to this year’s unusually wet winter, the new and improved Ballona Creek Bike Path is scheduled to reopen just in time for weekend riding — and the weekend’s expected rain.

The project includes a newly paved section of the bikeway — something the rest of it desperately needs — as well as drought-tolerant landscaping, improved lighting and security cameras, and a separated pedestrian path.

That dull roar you hear is the sound of cyclists across the city cheering.

Now for the bad news:

Just months after approving the city’s first Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, Culver City’s City Council could be contemplating kicking the teeth out of it.

A motion by Councilmember D. Scott Malsin would replace planned bike lanes on Washington Blvd with sharrows, and amend the bike plan to allow the council to override the approved bikeway designations based on economic and safety considerations. And in government speak, that covers just about any reason under the sun.

If the motion passes, the city wouldn’t have to commit to anything in the plan, using trumped-up safety fears, as well as real or imagined budget concerns to kill anything — or everything — in it.

That includes complaints from over-privileged NIMBYists who just don’t want bikes or walkers on their street, and can claim an unreasonable fear of hitting one as justification for killing a planned bikeway or pedestrian crossing.

And it could turn the entire plan into nothing more than a bunch of lines on a worthless piece of paper, just like L.A.’s failed 1996 plan.

The city wrote the plan, with input from the public. The Council approved it.

Now it’s up to us to make sure they stand behind it.

The motion is scheduled to be considered at the City Council and Redevelopment Agency Meeting on Monday, March 28th at 7 pm in the Council Chambers of Culver City City Hall, 9770 Culver Blvd.

A room full of bicyclists and pedestrians — in other words, just about everyone who doesn’t blow through the city on four or more wheels — might help them maintain their backbone.

And make sure they didn’t have their fingers crossed when they adopted the plan.

Follow the Culver City Bicycle Coalition for future updates.

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Council President Eric Garcetti offers a great photo from the L.A. River Bike Path; you can almost ignore the massive cement wall in the background. A short L.A. River bikethon is scheduled for Saturday the 26th to protest widening of the 710 Freeway, which could soon be obsolete anyway. LACBC kicks off a campaign for bike lanes eventually along the entire length of Downtown’s 7th Street. Bicycle Kitchen hosts a basic wrenching class this Saturday. Turns out L.A.’s new fire chief rides a bike; maybe we can talk him into joining us for a ride sometime — how about an LACoFD contingent for CicLAvia? Beat L.A. Marathon traffic by riding your bike this Sunday. Joe Linton interviews the Hombres of Bici Libre, aka the Bike Wranglers. Frank Peters of cdm Cyclist interviews Long Beach Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal. More on the victims of Wednesday’s Long Beach plane crash, which took the life of bike advocate Mark Bixby and four others. San Francisco sharrows are removed after being unpopular with cyclists and ignored by drivers. Nineteen elite teams are committed for the 2011 Amgen Tour of California.

Bob Mionske looks at ride liability waivers, while Lance takes on Big Tobacco. Easy to read graphic map of bicycling trends throughout the U.S. Twelve reasons to use a bike for transportation. How to balance biking and family time. A Tucson mayoral candidate has 13 traffic tickets since ’92 — including killing an 18-year old woman when he ran a stop sign. Kansas’ proposed three-foot passing law moves forward. A Minnesota cyclist gets a ticket for running a red light after getting hit by a car; I hope they relied on witnesses other than the driver to determine who ran the light. New Yorkers thank the city for three years of traffic improvements and better road safety. In response to the NYPD’s crackdown on cyclists, two council members propose flashing yellow traffic lights in some parks when they’re closed to cars. DC cyclists gain access to a popular bikeway through the Navy Yard — but not when it would do bike commuters any good. A Republican Congress might actually be good for bicycling; only if they stop saying no to everything.

Evidently, pothole patching is sufficient for London’s Olympic road course; I hope they do a better job of it than they do here. Cyclists have been victimized by fraud after visiting a popular UK-based website. Experts thought a little girl would never walk or talk after she contracted bacterial meningitis at age 6, now she’s a 10-year old road racer. A proposed Northern Ireland mandatory helmet law will drive cyclists off the road without improving safety. Bicycling offers a preview of Saturday’s 102nd Milan-San Remo classic. Taylor Phinney hopes to bounce back from a rough start to his first pro year.  Apparently, tainted meat is the new get out of jail free card for cyclists accused of doping with Clenbuterol, but Human Growth Hormone will get you busted. A network of bike lanes are planned for Namibia. Now this is what I call a bike path. Eight Bangkok bicyclists will take on five other means of transportation to prove which is more efficient in rush hour traffic. In case you missed it, CNN offers a report on an 83-year old woman who escaped last week’s tsunami by bicycle.

Finally, for all you guys suffering from the problem of highly stressed huevos — and frankly, who doesn’t? — a new nose-less saddle from Taiwan promises testicles relaxing, as well as buttock sore no more. And a one-wheeled cyclist sues over tickets for violating a ban on two or three-wheeled devices on sidewalks.

Rolling down Rodeo Drive and the best of the Westside with the LACBC last Sunday

Some of the riders before the start, including the Spoke's Cynthia Rose in the purple top; photo courtesy of Harry Dougherty

Okay, so it turned out to be a very long ride.

When I mapped out a route for the I ♥ the Westside ride, the second in the LACBC’s new series of Sunday Funday rides, I rode the 28 mile route in about two hours without breaking a sweat.

So I added another hour to my estimate to allow for a series of five minute stops to discuss different cities and issues along the way. And then added another half hour just to be safe, and assumed everyone would be on their way home to watch the Super Bowl commercials by 1:30.

Paul Backstrom discusses the proposed Main Street road diet in Venice

Like the song says, it ain’t necessarily so.

What I hadn’t counted on was the need to stop — repeatedly — when riders were cut off by traffic or red lights. Not mention an unexpected encounter with the Sweet E’s Bakeshop truck in Culver City.

I learned a long time ago never to come between cyclists and their cupcakes.

In the end, we got back to our pier-side start point over an hour after what I thought was a very generous worst case scenario.

Rick Risemberg of Bicycle Fixation discusses native plants on Ballona Creek

On the other hand, we made it without a single flat or mechanical problem. And everyone who started out either made it to the finish with the rest of the group, or left along the route to meet other obligations.

That alone made it a successful ride in my book.

I also learned that leading a ride is a lot like hosting a party — you spend so much time looking after everyone that you barely spend time with anyone.

There were a lot of great people that I didn’t get to spend as much time with as I wanted. And some I didn’t get to meet at all, much to my regret. In fact, 42 riders started out, including four new members of the LACBC who signed up that morning.

An unexpected Culver City food truck encounter made it a very sweet ride

And everyone seemed to have a great time, myself included. Then again, any day on a bike is a good day, and the perfect Westside weather and great guest speakers just made it that much better.

We started off with a brief presentation from the LACBC affiliate Santa Monica Spoke’s Cynthia Rose, who offered a brief overview of the many projects the Spoke is working on to make L.A.’s city by the bay live up to it’s bike-friendly status.

After a brief jaunt down Main Street, I asked if anyone could tell me when we left Santa Monica and entered Los Angeles; not surprisingly, almost everyone was able to pinpoint the exact spot where the bike lanes ended, the road widened to two lanes and traffic sped up.

Jim Shanman discusses the work of the recently formed Culver City Bicycle Coalition

That lead to Paul Backstrom from Councilmember Bill Rosendahl’s office speaking for a few minutes about the proposed road diet that would tame the L.A. section of Main, by creating a mirror image of the Santa Monica stretch. He noted that the city is working on solutions to move the bike lanes that would result out of the door zone, which has been fairly criticized in the original plans.

As we rode up Ballona Creek, Rick Risemberg, aka Mr. Bicycle Fixation and one of the city’s leading bike advocates, volunteered to talk about the native plants and rest area that had recently been installed along the bikeway, as well as a water filtration system designed to keep pollutants out of the bay.

Bikes roll down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills; photo courtesy of Joni Yung

When we got to Culver City, Jim Shanman spoke briefly about the efforts of the newly formed Culver City Bicycle Coalition and their work on the new Culver City bike plan. And invited everyone to come back to participate in the LACBC-affiliate group’s next monthly Family Ride on the 27th.

One of my first thoughts in planning this ride had been that I wanted to see bikes rolling down Ferrari, Rolls Royce and Bentley-choked Rodeo drive. But I regretted that I hadn’t had time to reach out to Mark Elliot of the group Better Bike Beverly Hills — yes, yet another LACBC affiliate — to join us on the ride.

Mark Elliot talks about Better Bike Beverly Hills' work to make the city friendlier to bikes

So while we were stopped in Culver City, I asked if any of the riders were from Beverly Hills. When one man raised his hand, I asked if he was involved with the BBBH.

He introduced himself as Mark, and said “I founded it.”

That was how I finally met Mark Elliot, one of my personal heroes among local bike advocates, if only because he’s taken on one of the hardest battles in the L.A. area.

So when we got to Beverly Hills — which currently lacks a single inch of bike lane — Mark spoke about the work his group has been doing to transform the Westside’s bicycling black hole into something more ridable. Including the group’s efforts to capitalize on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to restructure Santa Monica Blvd to make it, not just safe for cyclists, but actually inviting for the countless riders who now go out of their way to avoid it.

I talked about the decline of Westwood and biking through the VA; photo courtesy of Joni Yung

At our stop in Westwood Village, I spoke briefly about the decline of one of the city’s most beautiful neighborhoods, and my personal vision to turn Westwood Blvd into a pedestrian walkway from Wilshire to the UCLA campus. We also discussed the new Veterans Administration master plan and the importance of regaining bike access through the Los Angeles National Cemetery, which was closed to bikes after 9/11 — evidently because of the threat that bicycles would pose to all the people buried there.

LACBC Executive Director Jen Klausner talks about the perils of riding and walking in Brentwood

Finally, Jen Klausner, Executive Director of the LACBC, spoke about the dangers that cyclists and pedestrians face in the Brentwood area, as well as the lack of adequate infrastructure to protect them from the dangerous behaviors and sense of entitlement displayed by many Westside drivers.

In the end, it was a great day, combining a fun, beautiful ride with an overview of local advocacy.

LACBC board member Alex Amerri (in white) will lead the next Sunday Funday ride March 6th

And it sets the stage for next month’s Sunday Funday #3, in which fellow board member Alex Amerri will lead a fast-paced 62-mile ride through the north San Gabriel Valley.

And riders on that one probably won’t have to worry about the group being broken up by red lights.

My thanks to everyone who turned out for the ride, especially Cynthia Rose, Paul Backstrom, Jim Stanman and Mark Elliot for their help in discussing the issues and opportunities for bicycling on the Westside. And special thanks to the LACBC’s Jen Klausner, Joni Yung, Alex Amerri, Greg Laemmle, Carol Feucht and Martin Lopez-lu for making it a success.

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Photo courtesy of Harry Dougherty

 

Harry Dougherty offers a great set of photos from Sunday’s ride — definitely better than my feeble attempts and worth the click to take a look.

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LAB calls on Colorado cyclists to support proposed legislation to fight the Black Hawk bike ban. I’d go a step further and encourage any cyclists to write in to support the legislation; Colorado’s economy depends on tourism, so your opinions on the misguided ban on bikes that could affect your decision to visit the state matters.

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The LACBC notes that a second workshop will be held Thursday night on the proposed redesign of the South Figueroa Corridor that could result in the city’s first true Complete Street, incorporating real pedestrian and bike access.

And don’t forget Wednesday’s 2:30 pm joint meeting of the City Council Transportation and Planning and Land Use Committees at Downtown City Hall to consider the city’s draft bike plan; this is the last public hearing before it goes to the full Council for approval. At the moment, it looks like illness will keep me away, but I urge you to show your support if you can make it.

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Kids, don’t try this at home! A cyclist was injured in a collision with a Blue Line train on Monday. According to authorities, he was holding onto a moving bus while wearing headphones and turned into the train when he let go.

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Long Beach finally eliminates their illegal bike licensing law. A driver sticks her neck out to support the Wilbur Ave road diet (scroll down). RSVP now for a free bicycle inspection and safety check workshop at the Bike Oven Wednesday night. The city’s first bike corral will be officially unveiled Friday morning in front of Café de Leche in Highland Park. CicLAvia invites you to help extend its route into South L.A. Flying Pigeon blogger Mickey Wally offers more of his great urban cycling photos. Green LA Girl talks with Jessica Meaney of Safe Routes to Schools. Car-less Valley Girl asks drivers not to mess with the balance on the street. How to contest a bad police collision report. Charlie Gandy talks about Long Beach’s bike-friendly successes in Corona del Mar. Tracking San Francisco’s most dangerous streets for cyclists. The Bay Citizen analyzes two years of bike collision data, and finds riders responsible for most wrecks — with the chief cause pedaling too fast. Huh? Now this kind of harassment from a passing car I wouldn’t complain about.

Dave Moulton says learn something from DC’s Swanson case, and don’t let matters surrounding the death of cyclist Ben Acree in San Diego last weekend drag on for three years. Better food and bicycling could be the cure for childhood obesity. If there’s a war on cars, then why are so many of the victims pedestrians (and cyclists)? Portland authorities search for the hit-and-run schmuck who ran down a stage 4 cancer patient. A Seattle lawyer jumps head-first into the Great Helmet Debate, concluding skid lids leave a lot to be desired. A Washington woman wins a lawsuit against REI for a defective bike part one day after she died in a backcountry accident. A Minneapolis study clearly shows the rate of bike crashes goes down as ridership increases. New York cyclists are up in arms over a citation to a rider for not wearing a helmet — even though that’s not illegal under New York law. A HuffPo writer urges a backlash to the New York anti-bike backlash. More than half a million New Yorkers ride more than once a month, but the Daily News hasn’t seemed to notice; makes you wonder what other stories they might be missing.

Brit blue-eyed soul singer Adele rides a bike. Pro cyclist Riccardo Riccò is hospitalized with kidney failure after allegedly botching a transfusion in an attempt to kick-start his comeback from a 2008 doping ban, while TdF winner Alberto Contador plans to fight the relative slap on the wrist Spanish authorities are reportedly planning to give him. Somehow, people shocked! shocked! to discover the windshield perspective of the host of the BBC’s top-rated Top Gear show; BBC radio is starting a 10 part series on the history of the bike.  L.A. cyclists have to contend with big ugly cars, while Dutch cyclists have to worry about big friendly dogs. The 2012 Olympic road course will finish with a sprint ending at Buckingham Palace; no word on whether the Queen’s corgis will be in attendance.

Finally, a non-bike related conclusion as a motorcyclist’s helmet cam shows exactly what it’s like to get rear-ended at stop, but without the pain, courtesy of Cyclelicious. Will Campbell plans a train-assisted March March through the real Eastside along historic Whittier Blvd; knowing both Will and Whittier, this one you won’t want to miss.

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