Tag Archive for distracted driving

Morning Links: LASD to bar deputy distracted driving before they kill again; successful South LA CicLAvia

About damn time.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department finally proposes cutting back on onboard computer use by their deputies, which would be illegal for anyone other than emergency workers. And for damn good reason.

Unfortunately, it comes too late for Milt Olin, killed by a deputy who was using his to text with another officer when he drifted into the bike lane Olin was riding in one year ago.

Not too surprisingly, the department’s union agues for the need for deputies to keep using their computers while they drive, rather than rely on the radios police officers have used with relative safety for decades.

Evidently, Olin’s death doesn’t mean any more to them than it did the DA’s office.

……..

South LA merchants wonder if CicLAvia would ruin business for the day; experience shows that businesses that reach out to participants thrive, while those who don’t, don’t.

An anonymous donor contributes $400,000 for future events.

Unfortunately, the Times gets it wrong; CicLAvia is not a bike festival, as they suggest, but an open streets event that welcomes anyone without a motor. On the other hand, KABC-7 gets it right, and has the video to prove it.

……..

Local

Glendale will hold a workshop on Thursday to discuss where to put a bridge connecting Griffith Park and the LA River bike path with the east side of the river.

A bike rider is critically injured in a fall while riding with a group of cyclists on a mountain road above Altadena; he was airlifted to Pasadena for treatment.

CICLE’s next adult bicycling class is scheduled for Sunday, January 18th; that might make the perfect holiday gift for the bike-curious person on your list.

 

State

Two San Francisco cops are convicted of stealing $30,000 from a drug dealer. But it’s okay, one of them planned to use his share to buy a bike.

A San Francisco writer says the new three-foot passing law hasn’t really changed anything.

 

National

Honolulu gets its first cycle track, while residents worry what effect it will have on pedestrians. Maybe they should read this report from People for Bikes.

A Seattle red light camera catches a car and a bike running the light, but only the driver gets a ticket.

The mother of a Boise girl killed while riding her bike in a crosswalk files suit against the local police department for blaming the victim, rather than the operator of the big dangerous machine.

Nice. A new Colorado bike path runs along a reconstructed highway, allowing cyclists to ride 18 miles car-free from Boulder to the Denver area.

A sleepy Iowa town gets rediscovered thanks to a shiny new bridge and bike trail.

A female ex-con New Hampshire bike rider is under arrest for stabbing two women in a road rage incident.

Vermont proposes a statewide bike plan; long past time Caltrans did more than consider it.

Bono wasn’t dressed as a Hassidic Jew when he had his New York bike accident after all; turns out band mate The Edge was just pulling our collective leg.

 

International

Lance says he and his teammates had to cheat if they wanted to compete with other doping teams. Problem is, given the pervasiveness of cheating during the doping era, he’s probably right. And we all believe it’s over, right?

Irish cyclists talk about the problems they face on the road. Sounds like nothing is really different over there than it is here.

The mayor of Paris proposes spending the equivalent of $122 million on bike lanes. And making the city center nearly car-free.

A round-the-world cyclist says Australia is the world’s worst place for bike riders. I’m sure we could nominate a few spots that might compete.

 

Finally…

A Florida man flees by bike after stuffing his pants with stolen meat; I really don’t want to go to his house for dinner. See what it looks like to ride a World Cup cyclocross from a first-person perspective.

And in case you’ve forgotten, this is what it feels like to ride a bike for the first time.

 

Morning Links: Automakers build in deadly distractions; CD15’s Buscaino multi-modals his way to work

It should come to no one’s surprise that a new study shows in-dash phone and computer systems are dangerously distracting to drivers (pdf).

And apparently, Apple’s Siri is the worst.

Automakers are rushing to keep drivers connected behind the wheel, from providing the turn-by-turn directions we’ve come to expect, to reading and dictating emails and text messages.

Never mind that, as the study above makes clear — and common sense suggests should been have readily apparent — the more distractions drivers face, the less aware they are of what is happening on the road around them. To the detriment of everyone with whom they share the road.

It’s bad enough we have to dodge texting drivers, without getting run down by a driver surfing for Chinese restaurants on the heads-up display.

The feds need to step in to prevent automakers from designing deadly distractions into the dashboards and center consoles of their cars.

Because vehicle manufacturers are clearly unable to resist the temptation themselves.

……..

Local

Streetsblog looks at plans for a new bike and pedestrian friendly Sixth Street Viaduct.

Caught on video: CD15 City Councilmember Joe Buscaino goes to work by bike, bus and train to discover what it’s like to be carless in LA. He’s turned out to be one of the most open-minded and supportive councilmembers when it comes to transportation alternatives, two-wheeled and otherwise.

An article reposted on City Watch examines new LADOT head Seleta Reynolds, who says LA is moving beyond auto-centrism. And that bikes are a big part of the solution.

 

State

Once again, a writer who just doesn’t get it calls for licensing cyclists and their bikes, and requiring riders to carry liability insurance. Never mind that most adult cyclists already have a drivers license and carry insurance through their auto policies, and that a license plate large enough to be easily read at a distance would be too large to fit on a bike.

Is it still hit-and-run if a drunk driver takes his victim with him? A San Francisco driver hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk and flees with his victim hanging out of the car’s sunroof, then attempts to cover up his drunken state by tossing booze out of the vehicle.

A woman is suing Sacramento for $3.5 million for allowing sidewalk riding after she’s hit by a cyclist while walking; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up.

 

National

A bike advocate says we should refocus on recreation, rather than biking to work, to get more people on bikes. How about if we just focus on making bike riding safer and more convenient for everyone, then let people decide for themselves how and where to ride?

The brother of fallen cyclocross champ Amy Dombroski is channeling his grief into creating more equity for female cyclists and empowering young women through cycling.

Seattle Bike Blog talks in depth with one of the countless survivors whose life has been dramatically changed by a collision with a driver who claimed she never saw him.

A Wyoming letter writer says yes, animal cruelty matters, but so do the lives of bicyclists.

A Chicago writer says bicyclists have rights too, even if some break the law. And no one notices the ones who don’t.

An Examiner writer says the unwarranted prosecution of Kentucky cyclist Cherokee Schill for riding — legally — in the traffic lane is bringing unwanted attention to a state with a backward reputation.

New York’s city council votes to lower the city’s default speed limit to 25 mph, something LA will need to address if it’s serious about the newfound commitment to Vision Zero.

 

International

Caught on video: The page may be in Spanish, but the message is clear, as a cyclist confronts a motorist for driving in the bike lane.

A Brit cyclist videos distracted drivers and turns them into the police. Meanwhile, a writer for the Telegraph says cycling vigilantes aren’t doing themselves any favors by capturing such videos of dangerous drivers, insisting that we’re more likely to break the law than motorists are.

UK police arrest a racist bike rider who assaulted a woman, verbally and otherwise. Jerk.

Authorities in the UK are also looking for rider who punched a woman in front of her children when she didn’t get out of his way. Ditto.

A Brit writer is heartbroken after giving up her favorite ride.

Looks like Formula One driver Fernando Alonso won’t be fielding a cycling team on the pro tour after all.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: If you drop your iPhone in traffic, let it go; or maybe, don’t ride like a maniac if you can’t see what’s in front of you. Streetsblog offers up a Neighborhood Council bike lane bingo card. And if you’re going to return a bike to the store, make sure you paid for it.

 

Morning Links: LA Weekly supports distracted driving; drunk driver kills bike riding reformed drunk driver

What the hell are they thinking at the LA Weekly?

In a remarkably wrong-headed piece, Weekly writer Hillel Aron writes that he texts while driving and doesn’t see a damn thing wrong with it.

First, effective July 1, 2008, came the bans on talking on your cell phone while driving – an act about as dangerous as drinking a cup of coffee whilst talking to a passenger.

Six months later came the drive-texting bans. Never mind the fact that we’d been changing the music on our iPods for years, and before that we were switching out CDs, and tapes and eight-tracks and lighting our cigarettes and God knows what else.

Now sending a text message, no matter how brief, or how slow the traffic, is a crime.

As well it should be.

Never mind that texting at highway speeds can take your eyes off the road for the length of a football field. Or that studies have shown texting is more dangerous than drunk driving, which Aron evidently would approve of, as well.

And never mind that nearly one in five injury collisions involve distracted driving. Or that even using a hands-free device to make a call dramatically increases the risk of collision; evidently, Aron is a very risky coffee drinker.

But he says he can do it, so it must be okay.

I’m sure his insurance company would disagree. As would his seemingly inevitable future victims.

The remarkable thing is he has confessed, in public and in advance, for any collisions he may be involved in for the rest of his life. Because any prosecutor or civil attorney will jump on this as proof of a cavalier attitude behind the wheel, at best. And search for evidence that he was doing exactly what he claims.

As cyclists, we see the effects of distracted driving on a daily basis.

Virtually every close call I’ve had on the roads in recent years, and most of the vehicular idiocy I’ve witnessed, has come from drivers whose eyes were glued to their cell phones instead of the road. Or at the very least, had a hand-held cell phone illegally plastered to their ears.

It’s bad enough that Aron is a tragedy waiting to happen; worse that he irresponsibly encourages other fools to follow his lead.

Because only a fool, and a dangerous one at that, would fail to grasp the dangers of distracted driving clearly demonstrates.

But worst of all is the irresponsibility of a formerly respected alternative weekly that has long since given up any hint of relevancy putting the lives of innocent people at risk as link bait to boost their sagging fortunes.

I don’t want my life — or that of anyone else — to be in jeopardy because the paper’s editors lack any ethical standards and encourage their readers to drive in a dangerous and distracted manner.

They owe us all a retraction and an apology.

And if you happen to see Hillel Aron on the road, grab his fucking cell phone out of his hands and throw the damn thing as far as you can.

Oh, and as for his assertion that we all text while driving, I have never, ever texted, tweeted or otherwise used a handheld device while driving. And never will.

Perhaps because I’ve written too many times about the needless heartbreak and devastation caused by those who do.

………

In a case of tragic irony, Haitham Gamal, the 38-year old bike rider killed in Dana Point last week, was a three-time convicted drunk driver who had completed rehab, sold his car and taken up bicycling in an attempt to turn his life around.

Only to be killed by a 19-year old drunk driver.

………

Local

The LACBC announces their Bike to Work Day pit stops, as well as post B2WD happy hours.

County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky profiles Danny Gamboa and Ghost Bikes LA, noting the group will receive the Golden Spoke award at Tuesday’s Blessing of the Bicycles.

San Marino releases their proposed bikeways map, including a possible Class 1 bike path; thanks to BikeSGV for the heads-up.

The Tour of Long Beach rolls this Sunday to benefit pediatric cancer research at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach.

 

State

The Orange County Register ranks the county’s eight most dangerous intersections; the killer conjunction of Jamboree Road and Santiago Canyon Road tops the list.

A letter writer says we all can coexist on Newport Beach’s Back Bay Trail.

Not surprisingly, San Diego’s bike share stations are going in the usual tourist areas rather than places with the greatest need.

 

National

American bike commuting has increased 60% in the last 14 years; not surprisingly, low-income Americans walk and bike the most.

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske discusses how to fight back with a civil suit against motorists who hit or harass you.

Ms. Magazine looks at how bicycles influenced women’s rights.

Tucson gets its first protected bike lanes.

A New York bike share rack is called a death trap that could block access to an emergency room — even though it’s around the corner and on a different block.

A Florida man is caught on video drinking heavily before he got in his truck and killed a couple on their tandem bike.

 

International

Remembering 1970s Irish cycling champ Billy Kerr.

On the eve of the Giro d’Italia, the BBC profiles three-time winner Gino Bartali, who risked his life to save Jews and aid the resistance in WWII. And who should be the first cyclist on a very short list for sainthood.

Interesting Norwegian share the road public service campaign; you don’t have to speak the language to get the idea.

A big-hearted Kiwi cyclist forgives the driver who hit him and asks the court to waive her $11,000 reparation fee.

Bicycle advocacy goes worldwide.

 

Finally…

Repeat after me. When you’re carrying drug paraphernalia and an ounce of cocaine on your bike at 1:30 in the morning, put a damn light on it, already. And a new foldable bike helmet allows you to carry it anywhere; personally, I’d rather have a clunky one if it’s built to a better safety standard.

 

Two of SoCal’s best bike advocates are finalists for national Advocate of the Year award

When I started this site, it seemed like you could count the female bike advocates on one hand.

And still have enough fingers left over for the inappropriate gesture of your choice. Wherever you chose to direct it.

Times, thankfully, have changed.

In only a few short years, women riders have risen to the ranks of the most notable advocates fighting for the rights and safety of cyclists with organizations throughout the US. As well as right here in suddenly soggy Southern California.

Two, in particular, have drawn attention for helping reshape the cities in which they live and ride. And I’ve had the privilege of watching both develop into people I would not want to meet in a metaphorical dark alley if I stood on the wrong side of support for bicycling.

Which is not to say Santa Monica’s Cynthia Rose isn’t one of the most pleasant human beings I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting.

Hard to believe that it was only a few years ago that she was asking me for advice on how to work with city officials to improve the lot of bike riders and improve relations with police in the LA area’s city by the bay. Fortunately for all of us, she didn’t take it.

Instead, she forged her own path, building close working relationships with city officials and forming Santa Monica Spoke — now an affiliate chapter of the LACBC — in the process. And leading to her election to the board of the California Bicycle Coalition.

Now she is one of the most knowledgeable, insightful and persuasive advocates anywhere. And the formerly less than bike-friendly city she represents is challenging, if not surpassing, Long Beach for supremacy as the area’s top bike city.

Whenever someone says change is too hard, if not impossible, I point to Cynthia as a perfect example of what one highly motivated person can do.

And yes, I know it’s not polite to point.

On the other hand, San Diego’s Sam Ollinger is a force of nature.

I first got to know Sam as a fellow blogger who I often linked to as she covered the nascent bike scene in our neighbor to the south with rare passion and intelligence.

It was enough to get her an invitation to join the board of the local bicycle coalition, just as it did me a seeming lifetime ago. But she soon found herself butting heads with the entrenched interests of vehicular cyclists who have long dominated the city John Forester calls home.

She also asked my opinion more than once in late night emails on how she should proceed against seemingly unbearable friendly fire. Frankly, I don’t know if she ever took it.

But she quickly went from board member of the SDBC to founder of BikeSD, the city’s first and only 501(c)4 bicycling non-profit dedicated to political action.

And in the process, has helped reshape the future of bicycling in San Diego, as well as the present. Including the recent election for mayor in which both candidates came out strongly in support of bicycling.

Like Cynthia, she finds also herself on the board of the state’s leading bicycling organization.

Together, they have already significantly improved bicycling in Southern California, and are working to put their stamp on the state as a whole. And inspiring women and bicycling advocates of all stripes throughout the US.

Especially now that both are finalists for next week’s Advocate of the Year Award.

I can’t speak for any of the other nominees. But based on from my own personal experiences with both, don’t ask me to choose between the two.

Each has grown to be among the most outstanding people and bicycling advocates it has ever been my pleasure to know.

And both Cynthia Rose and Sam Ollinger more deserve the award.

If it was up to me, it would end in a tie.

……….

Speaking of Cynthia Rose, the Spoke is asking for tax deductible donations to send her to next week’s National Bike Summit 2014. Just $1500 is needed to add her voice to the national bike congress.

……….

Now for the bad news.

In an incredibly misguided decision, a California appeals court has ruled that the next distracted driver who plows into a cyclist with face firmly planted in his or her cell phone map app won’t be breaking the law.

In a case involving a Sacramento motorist, the 5th District Court of Appeal said the state’s ban on hand-held cell phone use only applies to making calls or texting, rather than using it for any other purpose.

So in theory, a driver could be looking at a phone for virtually any purpose, from texting to reading email or downloading porn behind the wheel.

And if a cop happened to spot him or her, all they’d have to do is call up their mapping app before pulling over, making the hand-held cell phone ban virtually unenforceable.

Hopefully, this case will go to the California Supreme Court where, with any luck, the judges won’t have their heads planted so far up their own posteriors.

Because this wrong-headed decision just put the lives of everyone on our streets at risk.

……….

After years of complaints from lost bike riders, LADOT promises wayfinding signs throughout the city. And offers you a chance to check them out in advance.

A writer for the Times says less parking for cars, more parking for bikes. On the other hand, the usual bike-hating letter writers aren’t so understanding.

Loz Feliz locals say they’d rather keep all their traffic lanes on the Hyperion bridge, and screw anyone who doesn’t use a car to cross it.

Better Bike offers an open letter to the Beverly Hills City Council in support of bike lanes on a reconstructed Santa Monica Blvd through the city, which comes up for a vote before the council next Tuesday.

A Santa Monica police sting helps a theft victim get his stolen bike back after spotting it on Craigslist, along with two others.

The first local non-LA ciclovia could follow Huntington Drive through the San Gabriel Valley: thanks to BikeSGV for the tip. Maybe you were photographed at one of the previous CicLAvias.

A permanent memorial was installed on the Cal Poly Pomona campus today to honor fallen cyclist and Cal Poly student Ivan Aguilar, who was killed on the campus one year ago today.

When you’re riding in Carson with meth and a concealed shotgun, don’t commit vehicle code violations, whatever that means. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

Cycling in the South Bay looks at who brakes for whom. Or at all.

The Santa Clarita Valley Signal reports a cyclist was injured in a collision with an SUV on Thursday. But why do they insist on putting “Cannondale” in quotation marks when they don’t do that with “Acura RDX?” Not that bikes are treated like others or anything.

More on California’s proposed vulnerable user law. Personally, I’d much rather see a modified version of the European strict liability laws, which places greater responsibility for avoiding collisions on the operator of the more dangerous vehicle.

Introducing a new line of bike-to-boardroom bicycling business attire, and creative ways to light your bike at night.

Yesterday’s road raging Portland bike rider attempts to explain himself, sort of.

Yeah, let’s blame the victim for riding on the street, not the hit-and-run driver who killed him.

It’s not the New York bike lanes that cause double parking, even if the local press thinks the ones getting the tickets are the victims. And sometimes, it’s the cops doing the blocking.

Good thing the era of doping is over, as a Venezuelan pro tests off the charts in blood screening tests.

London will spend £300 million — the equivalent of $500 million — to fix 33 killer junctions; does LA even know where the most dangerous intersections for cyclists and pedestrians are?

A shocking Chinese study shows the higher the speed at which a car is travelling, the more likely it is to kill a cyclist or pedestrian. In other surprising results, water is wet and it gets dark when you turn out the lights.

An Aussie paper calls for a 6 mph speed limit for bikes to prevent injuries to pedestrians, but doesn’t suggest a mandatory helmet law for anyone on foot. Or slowing down drivers to prevent injuries to cyclists.

Another Aussie paper says there’s no suggestion that a fatal bike crash was deliberate. So why did they suggest it?

………

Finally, a bike-hating Chicago columnist says fuck cyclists because they — we — are worse than Hitler, and no one should be on a bike if they’re older than 13.  Or rather,

Bicyclists are worse than Hitler carrying a cancer death-ray shooting puppies, playing Justin Bieber music on repeat while your cell phone has 2 percent battery.

I realize he’s trying — and failing — to be funny. He should also fail at keeping his job.

Then again, he could take lessons from the semi-literate bike hater who called London cyclists wretched “Talebans” who poison people’s lives.

Cyclists-Talebans

Seriously, you can’t make this shit up.

Update: Fatal bike collision on Temescal Canyon in Pacific Palisades

The aftermath of today's fatal collision; photo by Clifford Phillips

The aftermath of today’s fatal collision; photo by Clifford Phillips

I’m still waiting on official confirmation, but the news doesn’t look good.

A tweet from West LA Traffic Division Captain Brian Adams reports that the LAPD is working a fatal traffic collision at Temescal Canyon Road and PCH in Pacific Palisades.

At the same time, I received an email from a reader who had just passed the intersection and saw a mountain bike with the rear wheel crushed, and a car stopped nearby with its windshield bashed in; the rider was nowhere to be seen.

Of course, that does not necessarily mean the rider was killed. But it sounds like prayers or good thoughts are in order.

More details as they come in.

Update: According to KCBS-2, the collision occurred around 9:15 Sunday morning when a vehicle drifted into the bike lane on Temescal Canyon and hit the rider from behind. The victim was declared dead at a local hospital, later identified as St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica; another report says he was taken to UCLA Medical Center in Westwood.

And yes, the driver remained at the scene. 

A comment from Lois below indicates the collision occurred about a quarter mile above PCH on the eastbound, uphill lane. 

Having ridden through there many times myself, that is one of the few bike lanes where I don’t feel comfortable, as many motorists drive far above the speed limit and drift from their lanes on the many curves, both up and downhill.

This is the 84th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 36th in Los Angeles County. It is also the 16th cycling death in the City of Los Angeles since the first of the year — over three times the number of bicycling fatalities last year.

Update 2: Pacific Palisades Patch reports the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was approximately 25 to 27 years old, and was hit hard enough to throw his body up to 20 feet through the air.  

One commenter on the site said she was told by an officer at the scene that the driver had been drinking — at 9:15 am — while the writer of the Patch piece says the driver himself suggested he was texting when the collision occurred.

John Rapley; photo from The Age

James Rapley; photo from The Age

Update 3: Police officials have identified the victim at 29-year old Australian tourist James Rapley from Victoria; the driver was 19-year old Mohammed Kadri of Santa Monica.

There’s something horribly wrong when someone can’t visit this country without returning home in a coffin.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for James Rapley and his family.

Update 4: Australian publication The Age confirms a comment from a friend of the victim that Rapley was just passing through Los Angeles when he was killed.

The paper quotes his father as saying Rapley, a software developer for Groupon in Chicago, had rented a bike during an extended layover on a flight back home to Melbourne for the holidays. An experienced rider, he may have enjoyed the challenge of tackling the steep climb, even on a rental bike.

His father also confirms the report that police said the underage driver had been drinking at that early hour.

“He was the sort of kid everyone hopes to have as a son,” John Rapley said.

“I just really want to get the message out that drink driving can affect you anywhere and it’s so stupid.”

No word yet on any charges the driver may face. Let’s hope the authorities take this one seriously — especially if reports that he was texting as well turn out to be true.

I can’t overstate the tragedy that someone just passing through our city is murdered by someone too young to legally drink, let alone be on the road in that condition. 

Update 4: The Santa Monica Mirror reports Kadri was arrested on an unspecified felony charge at 10:50 am, and released on $50,000 bail Sunday night — which seems low under the circumstances.

He is scheduled to appear in Downtown Municipal Court on January 16th; we should be able to learn what charges he’ll face then. Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

Christine Dahab enters guilty plea in 2011 Culver City Massacre, faces minimum 90 day sentence

Most of us who have followed this story from the beginning never thought this day would never come.

It was just less than two years ago that a car driven by an allegedly drunk and distracted Christine Dahab plowed through a group of cyclists stopped alongside a Culver City roadway, injuring 13 riders, some seriously.

The case took a turn for the worse almost immediately, as the initial, highly biased LAPD investigation blamed the victims for allegedly standing in the roadway — even though they were actually in the parking lane — and suggested that she could not have seen them there because of a blind curve that didn’t exist.

And some members of the media irresponsibly implied that the riders had been engaged in a drunken orgy, noting the presence of empty liquor bottles and condoms near the collision site. Yet failed to note the collision occurred near a popular lovers hangout or that the inflammatory items could have been there for days or weeks, let alone connect them to the riders in any way.

Meanwhile, some misguided motorheads applauded Dahab’s apparent efforts to decrease the excess cyclist population.

Fortunately, the Culver City Police Department took over the investigation after it was determined that the collision occurred just inside the CC city limits.

The CCPD investigators refused to give up on the case, even when it would have been far easier to follow the LAPD’s lead and let Dahab off the hook. Especially when many of the witnesses, some of whom may have been under-aged, were reluctant to come forward.

However, their painstaking investigation eventually led the L.A. District Attorney’s office to file felony charges of DUI causing injury and DWI with a BAC over .08 causing injury.

But in the 16 months since then, the case seemed to fall off the radar as a then-pregnant Dahab missed at least one court date, and other more recent and higher-profile cases took priority in the minds of local bicyclists.

Even I managed to forget the case was still ongoing as nothing appeared to take place.

But looks can be deceiving.

Frequent contributor Dj Wheels now reports that Dahab unexpectedly entered a guilty plea last week. And even more surprisingly, according to the cyclist and attorney, she did it without a plea deal in place, throwing herself on the mercy of the court.

On Tuesday, April 2, 2013, Christine Dahab entered a plea of no contest to all counts. She has pled “open to the court,” meaning she didn’t bargain for a lesser sentence but rather will ask for leniency from the Judge directly based on a diagnostic evaluation to be completed by the Dept. of Corrections while she is in custody.

She will surrender directly at a CA State prison on April 22, 2013.

She will remain in custody for the 90 day evaluation period, a report will be prepared by the Dept. of Corrections and sent to the Judge in Dept. D with its recommendations for sentencing.

April 22 is also on calendar as a probation/sentencing hearing, but they will probably just select a future date for the sentencing hearing which would have to be beyond the 90 day diagnostic period.

Victims will be notified of the actual sentencing date so that they can give their victim impact statements in court to the Judge to take into consideration when making his sentencing order.

So even if Dahab is released at the of her evaluation, she will have spent at least 90 days in custody — more than many drivers receive in fatal collisions.

And depending on the results, she could face considerably more.

Not bad for a case almost no one outside the cycling community, including the driver herself, seemed to take very seriously.

Thanks to Dj Wheels for the heads-up. And to the CCPD and DA’s office for fighting for a conviction few of us expected.

………

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition wants your help to keep the Spring Street green lanes green in light of continued ridiculous attacks from some in Hollywood who value their locations and free parking more than your safety.

The LACBC is also sponsoring a cash mob next Sunday in support of the provisional road diet and bike lanes on Rowena Ave.

Meanwhile, a bilingual newspaper group bizarrely fears bike lanes on York Boulevard could fuel a violent bikelash against bike riders.

………

BOLO Alert: Be on the lookout for a stolen black and white Cannondale SuperSix taken near Silverlake around 4 Sunday afternoon.

………

KCRW traffic maven Kajon Cermak discusses the effects of L.A.’s newly synchronized traffic signals; seems like if I get stopped at one light on my bike, I get stopped at all of them. Rumors are L.A. will soon merge the Department of Planning with Building and Safety. Not surprisingly, Los Angeles leads the nation in traffic congestion. The proposal for a $3 billion bond issue to fix L.A. streets is back; as I said before, as far as I’m concerned, it’s dead in the water unless it includes a provision for speeding up Complete Streets and fixing our broken sidewalks. The Emerald Necklace plan proposes 16 park and bike path projects along the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel rivers, while writer for the San Gabriel Valley Tribune says only CEQA can make a project like that sound bad; thanks to BikeSGV and Megan Lynch for the heads-up. Better Bike says take your money somewhere else as the Biking Black Hole punts on promised bike racks. Cycling in the South Bay writes beautifully about early morning rides on the city’s deserted streets. Santa Monica will host its first Kidical Mass this Saturday.

Peace activist Cindy Sheehan is biking cross country for her Tour de Peace, with stops in Santa Monica and Claremont on Sunday. New sharrows hit the road in Redlands. San Diego is slowly becoming more bike-friendly. Cyclelicious lists hearing dates for bike-related bills in this year’s legislature, while Calbike shares their 2013 legislative agenda; I don’t see the third attempt at a three-foot law anywhere on their list. A Salinas hit-and-run driver is under arrest after striking a man riding a child’s bike. A San Jose man is sentenced to a well-deserved 41 years in prison for killing two men and injuring another in a road rage assault; thanks to Ralph Durham for the link.

As any cyclist could tell you, bans on using hand-held cell phones or texting while driving aren’t working; an estimated 660,000 Americans use their cell phones while driving every day. Too many drivers don’t look for pedestrians — or bicyclists — when they turn left. Legendary 1920s baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis dropped out of high school to take up bike racing. People for Bikes discusses what to wear, or not, while riding, while an Oregon writer debates the need for underwear under bike shorts; kind of defeats the purpose of a good chamois, mais non? An Oregonian takes up bike commuting in response to rising gas prices. Seattle’s Department of DIY installs their own protected bike lane. An Anchorage man completes the 2,000 mile Iron Dog sled dog trail in 40 days on a fat tire bike. A South Dakota man tragically demonstrates the risks of off-road mountain biking. A Galveston driver gets a well-deserved 10-year sentence for fleeing the scene after killing a cyclist, even though the rider reportedly ran a stop sign. A Dallas councilmember suggests repealing the city’s mandatory helmet law to encourage bicycling. This Louisiana tour sounds like about as much fun as you can have on a bike. A Wisconsin legislator want to legalize some cases of drunken bike riding to allow pedal pub crawls. A Minneapolis cyclist survives an attack with a Molotov cocktail. If you’re carrying a loaded .38 with an outstanding New York warrant, don’t ride on the damn sidewalk, already.

A Vancouver writer looks into mandatory helmet laws, and changes his mind. In a horrible collision, a Montreal cyclist falls under a truck after hitting a stopped car, then is killed when the light changes and the truck pulls forward. Four in 10 Brits now ride bikes, including one out of every two men and over half of Londoners. The London Times corrects seven common bicycling myths. A UK council votes to remove a ghost bike three years after the victim is killed. Yet another British bike racer has been hit by a car while riding; this time, its gold medalist Joanna Rowsell. A Liverpool pedestrian dies a day after a collision with a bicyclist, after deciding not to wait to see an emergency room doctor. A Cambridge bike rider nearly has his belongings seized after he’s mistakenly fined the equivalent of over $1,000 for riding without lights. Eddie Merckx Cycles promises to advance bicycle design by investigating bike stability and possibly put an end to death wobbles. A young American cyclist gets a last-minute call to ride in Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix, won by Fabian Cancellara in a sprint over 24-year old Sep Vanmarcke. Spanish cycling legend Miguel Poblet passes away at 85; he was the first España rider to wear the yellow jersey. Women cyclists dread Aussie roads, while an Australian woman calls for more riders in dresses and heels; thank goodness I’ve got the legs for it. Canberra cyclists have doubled in numbers over the last nine years, while Adelaide cycling is up 10% over the last year after increasing 20% the year before. Yes, there should be fewer cyclists in Lycra, but only because there should be more cyclists wearing anything they please; couldn’t have said it better myself. Earthquake damaged Christchurch plans to rebuild with Copenhagen-style separated bikeways.

Finally, a bike riding Korean War chaplain is awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor, and may be considered for sainthood. And a Brooklyn writer offers advice to motorists on how to stop hitting him with their cars.

Police target distracted drivers for a whole month, Ventura farmers fear you’ll pee on their crops

Once again, police agencies around the state and across the country are targeting distracted drivers in the month of April.

Last year’s stepped up enforcement efforts lead to over 57,000 drivers being ticketed for texting or using hand-held phones behind the wheel. Not to mention another 3,800 nabbed for other illegal and unwise behaviors, such as eating, shaving and applying makeup as they sped down the roadway.

Not that you’d do anything like that, of course.

Which is why, like me, you probably wish police would dedicated themselves to the same level of enforcement the other eleven months of the year.

Because 60,000 tickets a month, every month, might actually get California drivers to put down their phones and pay attention behind the wheel. And maybe even save a few lives in the process.

Yeah, right. I know.

Here’s the press release from the LAPD. Thanks to Paul B. for the heads-up.

Distracted-Driver-Month-New

………

Ventura County farmers fear people and animals using a new rural bikeway will pee on crops and be sickened by pesticides, something that evidently never happens at farms located along rural roadways frequented by bike riders.

I grew up in farm country — no, really, my high school team was called the Lambkins for chrissake — and spent much of the first 30 years of my life riding in rural areas. And I can assure you that when the need arises, there are far better and less visible places to take a leak than the middle of some farmer’s cropland.

Even though it may not necessarily be a bad thing.

And if a farmer can’t manage to apply his pesticides in a manner that allows him to control where it ends up, he probably shouldn’t be using them in the first place.

Then again, as someone who has been crop dusted on more than one occasion, it hasn’t killed me yet.

Although, now that I think of it, it may explain a lot.

Thanks to Machiko Yasuda for the heads-up, and Bike SD’s Sam Ollinger for that number one link.

………

Today’s must read — an examination of design-oriented traffic safety vs. passive safety. It may be a little dense for us non-planners, but definitely worth the read.

………

I get a lot of emails from various people and companies wanting me to promote their products.

Some just don’t interest me, while others get lost in the shuffle. And many end up in the delete file for one reason or another; often because they have the audacity to offer me some small discount in a vain attempt to lower my editorial standards.

No, seriously.

If you’re going to bribe me, at least make it worth my while.

But every now and then, someone will approach me with an idea that actually makes sense. Like this one, attempting to raise funds for an ultra-reflective bike tire called LIT.

I rode something similar when I tested the Urbana Bike a couple of years ago. And never felt more visible; even without lights, the bike could be easily seen on the darkest streets.

Combine a reflective stripe like that with the durability of Gatorskins, and I’m there. Which, thanks to LIT’s puncture protection layer, it just might be.

So if, unlike me, you’ve got a few extra bucks to invest, this is one project I might just recommend.

In fact, I think I just did.

Meanwhile, this is one Kickstarter project that really should get funded, but probably won’t.

………

Here’s your chance to vote for funding for CicLAvia or Bicycle-Friendly Business Districts, among other projects for My LA2050; I cast my vote for the latter, since getting businesses on our side will do more than anything else to speed acceptance of bicycling in the City of Angeles. The proposed $3 billion bond issue to repair L.A.’s streets is being revived, with hearings throughout the city this month; I still can’t support it unless it includes provisions to repair the city’s broken sidewalks and speed up implementation of the L.A. bike plan as street get repaved. The latest Unity Ride will roll Sunday, April 28th to strengthen ties between L.A. and the San Fernando Valley — much of which is L.A. Letter writers weighing in with the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council were overwhelmingly in support of bike lanes on Colorado Blvd; I understand speakers at Tuesday’s meeting strongly backed the proposed lanes, as well. Update: In a bit of late-breaking news, the Eagle Rock NC voted to supported buffered bike lanes on Colorado Blvd. Bike lanes are proposed for Cal Poly Pomona, where cyclist Ivan Aguilar was killed a little over a month ago perhaps due to the lack of them. KCRW traffic maven Kajon Cermak wants to know if L.A.’s newly synchronized traffic lights have sped up your drives through the city; I can’t speak for driving, but I seem to get stopped at more lights when I ride these days.

Applications for Newport Beach’s new Bicycle Master Plan Oversight Committee are due Wednesday; meanwhile, donations to the city’s Bike Safety Improvement Fund totaled over $75,000, which Newport Beach will match on a three-to-one basis. A proposed bill would force drivers to acknowledge they understand the dangers of distracted driving when they get their license. Bike safety is finally coming to Bakersfield. Cyclelicious says those traffic light detectors work better if you lay your bike on its side. Specialized Creative Director Robert Eggers says the company is intoxicated by bicycles, and wants to spread the disease to everyone. Good advice on how to ride through parking lots. A cyclist is killed in Red Bluff traffic collision.

A writer for People for Bikes correctly points out that for every “FU” we cyclists utter, there’s an equal and opposite “FU” from motorists; the antidote, he says, is to say “careful” instead. This is another reason why it’s hard to get women excited about bicycling. Proper etiquette for group rides; a lot of experienced riders could stand to read this as well as beginners. No irony here, as America’s wounded warriors have until Friday to submit applications to ride with the man who sent them to war. A Minneapolis man is arrested for the apparent drunken hit-and-run death of a bicyclist. A Minnesota writer who previously opposed bike lanes commits to riding every day this month. Ohio redefines the word bicycle to include four-wheeled pedal-powered vehicles. That Philly man who rides with his cat on his shoulder is the new handlebar-mustached face of GoPro. A New York study shows most pedestrians are hit by cars while walking in the crosswalk with the light, and cabs are no friend to cyclists. The New York Post is shocked! shocked! to spot Alec Baldwin riding a bike sans helmet and talking on a cell phone; only the latter is against the law in New York. An open hate letter to Miami’s bike thieves, in which the writer wishes them a social disease.

Toronto’s notoriously anti-bike mayor is accused of public drunkenness and possible drunk driving. It ain’t easy to keep your cool when a professional cyclist grabs your ass. Oxford advocates call for more bike lanes, or not. Bucharest bike advocates fight the city’s dangerous bike lanes by adopting and eliminating them. A call for police to target New Zealand cyclists riding without lights at night. Sadly, an Aussie cop is killed while riding to celebrate his 52nd birthday.

Finally, continuing this week’s theme, a BMX-biking Colorado bank robber gets 41 months in Federal prison; probably a better getaway choice than yesterday’s beach cruiser. And a suspected drunk driver fled the scene after rear-ending a car near the Malibu Pier, then slammed into six parked cars and damaged a house; the driver turned out to be the son of Gone With the Wind star Clark Gable.

Frankly my dear, I do give a damn.

%d bloggers like this: