Tag Archive for Danny Gamboa

Morning Links: OC Register writer shows ignorance on road diets, and a look at ghost bikes and bicycle safety

This is the final day of our first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive. And your last chance to get some great bike swag when you sign up or renew your membership with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

We’re up to 29 members who’ve signed up as part of the drive. So we just need two more to make it one a day for the month of May, with 31 members by the end of the month. Or better yet, get your entire riding club to sign up today to help make our original goal of 100 new members by the end of this month.

So don’t wait. Join or renew now to help make this a more livable, bikeable city and county.

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Let’s keep things short today — relatively, anyway — to kick off the week after a far too busy three day weekend. We’ll get back to our regular link-filled format tomorrow.

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This is what happens when someone doesn’t have a clue what he’s writing about.

But doesn’t let that stop him.

Fifty-two years after Bob Dylan warned “don’t criticize what you don’t understand,” indignorant Orange County Register columnist Joel Kotkin attempts to create a public panic over road diets, without apparently bothering to understand what they are or how they’re used.

Kotkin warns that Governor Brown has a secret plan to reduce greenhouse gases by making traffic congestion so bad that it will force Californians out of their cars. And into a “high-density, transit-oriented future.”

And the tool to accomplish this “Soviet-style social engineering?”

Road diets.

That’s right, comrades. He’s onto us.

Never mind that road diets have absolutely nothing to do with reducing global warming or getting people to leave their supposedly non-polluting electric cars at home. (Note to Joel Kotkin: Electric cars cause pollution, too. That power has to come from somewhere, like coal and gas-fueled power plants in most cases.)

Despite his extremely off-base protestations, road diets are performed on streets with excess capacity in order to reduce speeding and improve safety. And in many, if not most cases, can actually improve traffic flow, while making the street safer for bicyclists, pedestrians and, yes, motorists. They can even increase property values by improving livability along the street.

In other words, everyone benefits. Even the bourgeois capitalists in their motor vehicles.

Making matters worse, Kotkin apparently thinks the state’s plan to encourage road diets will a) prevent the widening of freeways, and b) actually be used to narrow said freeways. Although it’s hard to tell with his jumbled, nearly incoherent mixing and mangling of unrelated subject matters.

So just to clarify, road diets are used on surface streets. Period.

They have absolutely nothing to do with freeway projects, nor do they in any way increase freeway congestion. Although they may reduce congestion in the surrounding area by providing people with viable alternatives to driving.

All of which he could have discovered with a simple 30-second Google search.

If he cared enough to actually understand what the hell he’s talking about.

Thanks to Mike Wilkerson for the heads-up.

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Mike also forwards this piece about Southern California Ghost Bikes founder Danny Gamboa.

It tells the story of how Gamboa, a photographer and filmmaker, became involved in the ghost bike movement when his neighbor’s six-year old son was killed while riding his bike.

And how the purpose of the bikes is to call attention to the need to ride safely, and drive carefully around bike riders.

Vincent Chang, who started Bike San Gabriel Valley, remembers two ghost bikes he helped place in Pasadena.

“It’s to honor the individual who passed,” Chang said. “Also, there’s hope that it brings to light the need for safety improvements. They act as a reminder to vehicles that we have to share the road.”

Gamboa’s been asked if he has a morbid fixation. It’s a question he quickly shrugs off.

“Our goal is to be put out of business so we don’t ever have to do this again,” he answered.

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The author of that story, Steve Scauzillo of the Los Angeles News Group, also wrote a piece about bicycling fatalities in Southern California, in which he quoted me extensively, along with Danny Gamboa and the LACBC’s Colin Bogart.

And got it right.

Despite the scary headline, he offers a fair and balanced piece, making it clear that while too many people die on our streets, the rate of bicycling deaths is actually going down as ridership goes up.

And that the odds of returning safely from a ride are overwhelmingly in your favor.

It’s worth noting that Scauzillo, a bike rider himself, spent over an hour on the phone with me to get the story straight. Unlike, say, his colleague above.

I spend a lot of time talking with reporters about bicycling and bike safety, on and off the record. And it’s nice when a reporter goes to the effort to make sure he quotes me accurately and in context.

So whether or not you like what I said, I said it. And meant it.

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Hopefully it’s not a spoiler at this point. But if you still have the last few stages of the Giro or the Nats on your DVR, skip this section.

Still here?

It was a big upset in Friday’s stage 19, as Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali won the stage — and eventually, the tour itself — after Dutch rider Steven Kruijswijk, who seemed to have an insurmountable lead, hit a snow bank and wiped out in spectacular fashion.

Back on our shores, the US National road title was taken by virtually unknown 21-year old Greg Daniel. Megan Guarnier cemented her position as America’s leading women’s roadie by winning her second US road championship, and her third in five years.

And Taylor Phinney completed a nearly impossible comeback from a devastating crash caused by a race moto in the 2014 road championships by winning his second national crit title; doctors weren’t sure he would ever walk again, let alone ride a bike. Carmen Small won the women’s title.

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Sad news from Spain, as former pro David Cañada died after colliding with another rider in a sportiv, just six years after retiring from racing.

And race motos cause yet another massive crash, as two lead motorcycles collided in a Belgium race, causing dozens of riders to go down and leading to the cancellation of the stage. At last report, Belgian rider Stig Broeckx was still in a coma after suffering a skull fracture in the crash; it was Broeckx’ second wreck involving a race moto just this year.

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Over the weekend, my wife and I happened to stumble on another new bicycle-themed coffee shop when we stopped to check out a restaurant in West Hollywood.

The Black Bicycle Café opened two months ago on Havenhurst Drive and Santa Monica Blvd; the name comes from the idea that just like bicycles get you where you’re going, coffee fuels you to your destination.

Black Bicycle Cafe

Black Bicycle Cafe Interior

And they make a pretty good cup of joe.

Tell ‘em I said hi if you stop by.

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Finally…

Your next bike could be a blimp, if they can actually get it off the ground. Or maybe a lawnmower.

And it’s bad enough when a kangaroo knocks you off your bike; worse when it ruptures both your breast implants.

 

Morning Links: LACBC Open House tonight, Sunday’s South LA CicLAvia, and KPCC talks ghost bikes

Don’t miss tonight’s LACBC Open House in Downtown LA.

From the LACBC’s email:

LACBC Open House
Thursday, December 4, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
LACBC Headquarters, 1st & Mezzanine floors – 634 S. Spring St., DTLA
FREE for LACBC Members, $10 General Admission
RSVP here

Please join us tomorrow evening to celebrate 2014 and look forward to 2015! You’ll have the opportunity to:

  • learn more about our programs, campaigns, and local chapters,
  • bid adieu to our fearless leader and executive director Jennifer Klausner,
  • honor some special folks who have made a difference in the local bike community,
  • dance to the funky sounds of DJ Starskee Suave,
  • capture the night’s merriment (and shenanigans) in our photo booth,
  • enjoy libations from Angel City Brewery,
  • feast on modern Mexican Cuisine from the Border Grill,
  • marvel at and then eat cake from Sweet Lady Jane,
  • and find out what the new year has in store for you from prognosticator Madame Pamita!

And yes, you’ll see me there, as I say goodbye to a good friend.

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Excitement is building for Sunday’s CicLAvia.

USC’s Daily Trojan looks at the first ever South LA CicLAvia. Flying Pigeon will host a feeder ride from Northeast LA. And the Los Angeles Post-Examiner offers a preview of can’t miss sites along the way.

You are going, right?

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KPCC’s Sharon McNary offers a great first person look at Danny Gamboa and the Ghost Bike Foundation, responsible for memorializing fallen riders throughout Southern California.

But should we be offended when a company pimps ghost bikes to promote its product?

Uh, yes.

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Local

The LACBC reports the discussion over bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills has been continued to the January 6th city council meeting; Ryan Snyder Associates offers an idea of what the street could look like if local officials get their shit together.

Day One reports Monterey Park is the fourth city to officially adopt the San Gabriel Valley bike plan.

Metro wants your help to determine where bike share stations should go in LA County.

 

State

Calbike offers their monthly round-up of what the state’s leading bike advocacy group is up to.

Newport Beach police are starting a new safety campaign in areas frequented by bike riders, pedestrians and motorcyclists; the department will direct education and enforcement efforts at all road users.

A San Jose writer says the city was right to ban bikes on some downtown sidewalks, even if it is a token gesture.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has hired Noah Budnick, Deputy Director and Chief Policy Officer of New York’s Transportation Alternatives as their new Executive Director. Meanwhile, the LACBC is currently interviewing candidates for their opening, and expects to announce their choice before the month is over.

A San Ramon business park opens its own bike share program for employees.

 

National

Momentum Magazine offers an infographic illustrating five reasons why riding a bike is safe.

Now you can show allegiance to your favorite baseball team while riding your roadie to the stadium. Although that might give supporters of opposing teams one more reason to run you off the road.

A Reno man is finally headed home after circling the globe by bike five times from five directions.

A Denver bike cop monitoring a protest march is in critical condition after he was hit by a car; three other officers were injured.

No bias here. A Minneapolis paper credits the bike lobby with pressuring city officials; after all, it couldn’t just be bike riding city residents contacting the people elected to represent them.

A Boston bike startup plans to unveil a $500 weather- and theft-proof bike next year.

 

International

A new Kickstarter smart bike project promises to add over 100 intelligent features to your bike for just $159.

Subliminal messages in your videos can make you train harder without knowing it.

Bono is recovering in Dublin after going over his handlebars in Central Park last month; U2 band mate The Edge says no one recognized him following the wreck because he was dressed like a Hassidic Jew.

Not surprising. An American expat working in the Netherlands admits to impatience riding her bike behind slow moving tourists.

 

Finally…

Now that’s more like it, as a bike riding California high school football player not only survived a head-on collision, he totaled the car. If you’re riding your bike with a BAC over twice the legal limit, don’t crash into a road construction sign.

And a Spanish man sets a new record by riding 1,739 miles in six days. Without going anywhere.

 

Good news and bad news: LAPD makes hit-and-run arrest; bike rider killed in Compton

Ghost bike for Compton victim Pete; photo by Danny Gamboa

Ghost bike for Compton victim Pete; photo by Danny Gamboa

Let’s start with the bad news.

No details yet, but I’ve received confirmation that a bike rider was killed in Compton Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

As if the photo that’s circulating online wasn’t confirmation enough. And no, I’m not going to share it here.

According to the reports, he was killed while riding his bike at Compton Blvd and North Dwight Ave. Friends of the victim, who identified him only as Pete, confirm that he was hit by a car sometime before 5 am Wednesday morning and died at the scene; the driver remained at the scene following the collision.

Judging by the photo of the victim, he appears to be a bearded white male with grey hair, possibly in his 50s or 60s.

No other information is available at this time.

This is the 7th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, as we maintain the horrific every-other-day pace since the first of the year. And it is the third cycling death in LA County this year, which suffered an intolerable 39 bike-related deaths in 2013.

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

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

Update: I didn’t recognize the corner, but Gamboa points out it’s the same intersection where Ovidio Morales was killed in a still-unsoved hit-and-run in 2010; his ghost bike is still there across the intersection. 

He reports one of the victim’s friends said he was a good man who struggled with alcohol, and was in and out of treatment programs.

As the photo suggests, neighbors have placed candles in his memory.

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Gamboa also forwards word that an arrest has been made in the hit-and-run death of a Panarama City man, who has not been publicly identified at the request of the man’s family.

According to a press release from the LAPD,

Fatal Hit And Run Driver taken into custody

On January 13, 2014 at 6 PM Valley Traffic Division Detectives arrested a 46-year old male, Rene Amaya of Panarama City on suspicion of the felony hit and run (20001(a)VC) death of a bicyclist, which occurred on December 23, 2013, at the intersection of Burnet Ave and Lanark St in the Community of Panarama City, California. Bail was set at $50,000.

Maybe someone can explain to me why we continue to grant such a low bail to someone who has already demonstrated a willingness to flee after taking a life.

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