Tag Archive for Finish the Ride

Morning Links: Glendale legislator wants to mandate helmets and hi-viz; help Finish the Ride fight hit-and-run

Forget riding in regular clothes. Or going out for a quick ride without your helmet.

Or even building a successful bike share program.

All those are likely to be tossed out the window if Glendale State Senator Carol Liu has her way.

Not that she’s anti-bike. In fact, I’m told that she’s a regular supporter of bike initiatives.

But on Wednesday, Liu surprised everyone by introducing a proposed law that would require all bike riders, even those over 18, to wear a bike helmet every time they ride. Along with reflectorized hi-visibility clothing anytime they — that is, you — ride after dark.

And by surprised, I mean blindsided. Even people who regularly work with the senator on bike issues had no idea this bill was in the works.

The reaction was almost instantaneous. And universally negative.

Cyclelicious calls it the “Remove Cyclists From California Roads Law of 2015″ or, alternatively, the “Harass Minorities On Bikes Law of 2015,” both of which have been the result of misguided attempts to impose and enforce helmet laws elsewhere.

Longbeachize cites stats and studies to support the argument that the choice to wear a helmet should remain just that.

And Streetsblog points out it doesn’t address the actual dangers on our streets, like distracted driving and speeding.

Let’s ignore the fact that while requiring bike helmets has been shown to reduce the level of head injuries in other countries, it’s done so by reducing the level of bike riding. Fewer cyclists on the road mean fewer riders getting hurt.

And that helmet laws for riders under 18 in this country have been blamed in part for the dramatic drop-off in bike ridership by America’s youth.

Never mind that Australia’s restrictive helmet law has been blamed for the failure of bike share programs in that country, since no one can legally rent one without donning a helmet.

The simple fact is, bike helmets are not the magic safety devices many people wish they were.

Bike helmets are only designed to provide protection in impacts up to 12.5 mph. In other words, a relatively slow fall off your bike, not a collision with a speeding car.

Yes, they can offer some degree of protection in a wreck. But thinking of them as the bicycle equivalent of a seat belt or air bag is dramatically off base.

And while they can help prevent head trauma, they aren’t designed to prevent concussions. Or to protect against injury to any other part of the body.

Which is something Senator Liu should understand, since her own nephew was wearing a helmet when he was killed, and his girlfriend paralyzed, in a collision with a drunk driver in 2004.

Yes, I always wear a helmet when I ride. But I never count on it to save my life.

A bike helmet should always be seen as a last line of defense if all else fails, not the first. It’s far better to avoid collisions and falls in the first place.

And like the requirement to wear hi-viz after dark, it puts the responsibility for safety on cyclists, rather than on government officials, road planners and yes, drivers to ensure our roads are safe.

Just like those ridiculous flags pedestrians are expected to wave as they cross the street. And in a marked crosswalk, no less.

It leaves it up to us not to get hit, rather than up to drivers not to hit us.

A far better alternative would be to encourage, rather than attempt to force, helmet use allowing bike riders to discount the cost of a helmet on their taxes. And encouraging federal officials to raise the safety standards for bike helmets to do more good in real world situations.

Along with taking steps to educate both cyclists and drivers, and improve out streets to prevent collisions in the first place.

Let’s hope this wannabe law dies a quick and quiet death in the legislature. Before it ends up killing the bike boom we’re currently experiencing.

Thanks to Bill Davidson for the heads-up.

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Davidson also points out that other ridiculous proposed bike law, which would have required bikes to have a blinking white tail light after dark has been amended to require a blinking red light instead.

Probably because as originally written, it would have gone against traffic safety regulations for virtually every country around the world, which require white lights in the front and red lights on the rear of virtually every vehicle.

On the other hand, many cyclists are currently breaking the law by using a red tail light, rather than the red reflector our outdated laws currently require.

Bike riders should have the option to use a red light, blinking or steady, in place of a reflector. And to use lights, ankle straps or other means of signaling their presence in place of the wheel and pedal reflectors currently required.

The point should be to maximize visibility and safety.

Not adhere to obsolete regulations that do neither.

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Damian Kevitt’s Finish the Ride foundation is preparing to post their first billboards to fight the epidemic of hit-and-run.

But they need your help to raise the funds needed to put them up.

He’s also looking for input on which of the two alternative concepts you prefer. If you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments below and I’ll make sure he sees them.

H&R Billboard 1

H&R Billboard 2

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Must read piece by Stephen Corwin on LA’s disastrous addiction to cars, which he compares to cancer. And says driving less won’t fix it.

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Good advice from CABO on how to fight a bad bike traffic ticket.

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A webinar will be held on Friday, February 27th to discuss how stress level analysis can result in more effective bike network planning.

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Local

Flying Pigeon says South Pasadena officials deserve to be sued for blocking LA bike lanes from connecting with their equivalent on the other side of a dangerous bridge.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department recommends registering your bike to keep it from being a target for thieves.

CICLE is looking for Web Developer/SEO Engineer.

Santa Monica’s upcoming bike share program is officially named Breeze. Which will inevitably lead to comments like “Breeze blows” the any time a problem develops.

The monthly Spoke(n) Art Ride rolls this Saturday.

The authors of Where to Bike Los Angeles will host a ride with the LACBC this Sunday to the Pointe Vincente Lighthouse.

Malibu is hosting a public meeting on Thursday to discuss the PCH Public Safety Study. If you ride the notoriously dangerous highway, make plans to be there.

 

State

A Laguna Beach writer says the city has done a lot in response to recent bicycling fatalities, but there’s more to be done. However, sharing a bike lane with pedestrians is never a good idea.

A Riverside cyclist is severely injured in yet another hit-and-run.

Safety is the top priority for this weekend’s Tour de Palm Springs after Lavonne Koester was killed during last year’s ride.

Bike advocates say San Francisco isn’t doing enough to fulfill its commitment to Vision Zero. On the other hand, they’re doing more than LA is.

Bike racks sprout in downtown Merced.

 

National

CityLab takes an in-depth look at road rage, and says the solution may lie in better street design and road planning. Meanwhile a Seattle writer says middle fingers won’t solve anything.

An Arizona hit-and-run driver admits to smoking dope on a daily basis, but blames his eight-year old victim anyway.

My hometown newspaper concludes their devastating look at a local hit-and-run by asking if justice was done. Also a must read.

A Pennsylvania man rides his bike every day. And has for 32 years.

Now that’s more like it. A severely drunk Louisiana driver faces up to 30 year in prison for killing one cyclist and severely injuring another; the driver’s BAC was nearly four times the legal limit.

 

International

Today is International Winter Bike to Work Day. Which should be very easy to do here in LA.

Just in time for Valentines Day, Vancouver gets heart-shaped bike racks. Then again, so does London.

After a Canadian bike rider is seriously injured in a collision, he gets a $6,000 bill from the driver’s insurance company for damage to the SUV that laid him up for three months.

Twitter helps a London cyclist get his bike back four months after it was stolen and taken to Spain, while another Brit can’t seem to get rid of one.

Plans for that London bike superhighway hits a snag when British officials decide they don’t want bike lanes besmirching Buckingham Palace. But all those traffic lanes in front of the palace are perfectly okay.

Evidently, it’s a universal problem. After Egypt installs bike lanes, they turn into parking lots.

An Aussie website compares underground bike racing to the Fast & Furious, and uses LA’s bike scene as the prime example.

 

Finally…

You’re not a MAMIL, you’re a grown man on bike. A Montana lawmaker’s proposed legislation would ban yoga pants, among other “provocative” garments, in response to Missoula’s equivalent of the World Naked Bike Ride is appropriately laughed out of committee.

And when you buy this $52,000 bike basket they’ll throw in the bike for free.

 

Morning Links: Finish the Ride gets bigger for 2015; support the revised Beverly Hills Greenway on Tuesday

This is going to be my last post for a few day.

I’m moving to a new apartment in Hollywood on Sunday, leaving behind the Westside neighborhood my wife and I have finally been priced out of after more than 20 years. And unfortunately, Internet service won’t be installed in our new home for a few days after that.

So enjoy this post. Take your time reading the news and exploring the links. And I’ll be back later this week.

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Big news from Damian Kevitt and Finish the Ride, which not only offers the option of a more challenging route, but opens the event up to virtually everyone. Click on the images for a larger version. 

Finish the Ride Flyer for PRINT

Finish the Ride Flyer

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The Beverly Hills City Council is scheduled to discuss the planned remake of Santa Monica Blvd at Tuesday’s 2:30 pm council session, including installing much needed bike lanes on the boulevard through the city to connect with lanes in West Hollywood and Century City.

Something leaders of the Biking Black Hole have rejected more than once. Even though it already ranks as the most dangerous city of its size in the entire state.

And even though their decisions impact the city’s and people around them.

However, a new plan is on the table for what is now being called the Beverly Hills Greenway, which addresses many of the complaints previously raised to argue against the bike lanes. Or at least, the more rational ones.

Developed by Better Bike and the LACBC in conjunction with other cycling advocates, the plan would straighten out the varying widths of the boulevard, resulting in no net loss of parkland alongside — while making it safer and more inviting for everyone, including the tourists the city depends on.

You can show your support by signing the petition or attending the council session on Tuesday. Or better yet, both.

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Blame — or possibly thank, depending on your point of view — bicycling for the possible loss of Bono’s six string skills, as he says his new titanium elbow may prevent him from ever playing the guitar again.

Then again, as he points out, his band mates have reminded him that “neither they nor Western Civilization are depending on this.”

Thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up.

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Local

Caught on video: Flying Pigeon looks at the traffic hell that is North Figueroa during morning rush hour; notice the extreme lack of cars that makes bike lanes impossible. Or not.

LADOT is looking for a Community Affairs Advocate to serve as a liaison to the city council and other elected officials, as well as community groups.

Rick Risemberg explains why it takes so long to get bike racks installed in LA, let alone anything else bike related.

 

State

After a year of delays, San Diego’s long-promised bike share program is ready to roll this month, cross their hearts.

Turns out I’m not the only SoCal rider to have an unpleasant bee encounter.

San Jose introduces back-in diagonal parking to improve safety in advance of a planned bike lane.

As too often happens, an Anderson CA cyclist can’t remember the hit-and-run that sent him to the hospital with major injuries; evidently, according to the CHP, the victim was not wearing a flak jacket, hockey mask or other forms of safety equipment.

 

National

Next City asks why it isn’t against the law to kill a cyclist with a car. Damn good question.

Now that’s more like it. An alleged Wyoming drunk driver accused of killing one cyclist and critically injuring another faces a sentence of eight to ten years in prison, followed by ten years probation.

A Milwaukee writer looks at why drivers harass cyclists and pedestrians who aren’t even breaking the law.

A Connecticut writer complains about the $10 million cost to make a bridge safe for cyclists, but doesn’t seem to be concerned about the $33 million it will cost to rehabilitate it for cars.

Brooklyn’s Borough President says we need to embrace bicycling because cars are so old school, darn it.

 

International

Columbian pro Darwin Atapuma is recovering after being slashed by thieves attempting to steal his bike. Meanwhile, if you thought Lance wasn’t the only pro cyclist who doped, boy, were you right.

A year after a tooth-and-nail battle over a Vancouver bikeway that closed a street to motor vehicles, the plan has actually worked.

An English cyclist plans to break a seemingly unbreakable record by riding over 75,000 miles this year — over 200 miles a day, every day, for the entire year. Let’s hope he can avoid getting sick or hitting a pothole.

I love it. A UK cyclist hands out red cards to offending drivers; in this country, we’d need a whistle and a red flag.

The Irish Times takes a look at the 10 best international bicycling vacations, none of which are anywhere near the US.

The Economist looks at Sweden’s Vision Zero to reduce traffic deaths to, well, zero. Which is finally spreading to LA.

An escaped Greek hit man was busted while riding a bike.

Kiwi cyclists push to have the country’s helmet law repealed; someone should tell the country’s leaders it’s more effective to encourage helmet use without making it mandatory.

An Aussie cyclist is nabbed for biking under the influence on New Years Eve after blowing over five times the legal limit; on the other hand, I think we can all be glad he wasn’t driving.

 

Finally…

Instant karma caught on video: A drunk allegedly steals a bike, then loses several teeth crashing into a cement trashcan before getting arrested. A Brit woman whines about the mythical Cycling Widows Club instead of just getting on her bike and riding with her significant other.

And Bradley Wiggins reveals how pro riders stay warm on cold rides, and why their shorts may have a yellow tinge at the end.

Which is something I really didn’t want to know.

 

Weekend Links: Trucker blames victim in Chinese video, and registration opens for Finish the Ride 2015

Perspective is everything.

Recently, we linked to a horrifying security cam video of a Chinese bike rider being run over by a massive semi-truck; fortunately, the victim miraculously survived, apparently unscathed.

To a bike rider, it seems pretty obvious that the truck overtook the rider before right-hooking him.

Yet from a trucker’s perspective, it’s the cyclist’s fault for riding into the truck’s blind spot, and not looking over his shoulder before crossing the intersection.

And if that doesn’t scare the crap out of you, it should.

Because far too many people excuse dangerous driving and instead blame the victims; the writer even acknowledges that the truck driver never seemed to notice the cyclist on the road directly in front of his truck as he turned.

Yet somehow, it’s the rider’s fault.

It shouldn’t be up to the rest of us to stay the hell out of the way of the big dangerous machines.

Thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up.

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It’s happened again.

An Oregon driver faces manslaughter charges after hitting a man crossing a busy street, then driving 11 blocks with the dying victim on the roof of her car before stopping to dump his body and flee the scene.

At least this time it wasn’t a cyclist. Not that it makes it any better.

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‘Tis the season.

Fontana groups give new bikes to over 200 low income kids. Four hundred bicyclists take part in the second annual Riverside Christmas Ride. Volunteers in National City donate dozens of bikes to kids in the community.

Santa Cruz police replace a bike stolen from a middle school girl who had earned it by making good grades. Los Banos police donate seven refurbished bikes to fourth and fifth graders. Eighty-five Oroville kids get refurbished bikes in an annual giveaway program from the local sheriff’s office.

Chicago bike messengers help deliver over 1,000 toys donated to the Marines’ Toys for Tots program. And a North Carolina man gives more than a thousand new and refurbished bikes to kids.

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Registration is now open for the 2015 edition of Finish the Ride, now billed as a Ride, Run, Walk ‘N Roll, to call attention the epidemic of hit-and-run and make the streets safer for all of us.

Last year’s event had a huge turnout, and this year’s on April 19th event promises to be even bigger and better, with more options and more challenging courses available.

And yes, I plan to see you there.

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Local

Rick Risemberg says you’re not so special anymore, because more of them are becoming us.

The LACBC is asking for your signature on a petition to create a world-class Beverly Hills Greenway on Santa Monica Blvd through the Biking Black Hole, instead of keeping it the same dangerous street it is now, as city officials seems to prefer. And yes, I’ve signed it.

Streetsblog wants your help determining the city’s Livable Streets Business of the Year; personally, I’d throw the extremely bike-friendly Timbuk2 store in Venice into the mix, as well.

 

State

A petition urges Governor Jerry Brown to amend state law to allow drivers to briefly cross a double center line when safe to do so in order to pass a cyclist. Brown previously vetoed an earlier version of the state’s three-foot passing law because it contained that exact provision. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Riverside officials discuss a possible pedestrian bridge over Highway 91; it’s not clear if it would be open to bikes, as well.

Palm Springs is scheduled to become more bike friendly next year, including 250 miles of marked bike lanes.

A Santa Barbara cyclist suffered head injuries when she was hit by a car; for a change, police respond by urging everyone to slow down.

Sad news from Santa Cruz, as a bike rider was run down from behind and killed by a hit-and-run driver; it takes until the second paragraph of the story for the local TV station to acknowledge that the truck was not acting on its own. Thanks to John McBrearty for the tip.

A Calaveras woman’s bike is stolen six weeks before a planned cross-country ride, so she decides to backpack through Oregon, instead.

 

National

Honolulu struggles to keep drivers from parking in a new protected bike lane; it might help if they moved the parking meters next to the cars instead of leaving them on the curb next to the bike lane.

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske talks bike light requirements, at least as they apply in Oregon; most of what he says applies here, as well.

New York district attorneys prove to be the weak link in the city’s Vision Zero plan.

 

International

A British Columbia court awards $100,000 to a cyclist injured by a road raging driver.

The man who would be king, Britain’s Prince Charles, says streets must be reclaimed from cars.

A Danish study suggests hi-viz can reduce your risk of a collision nearly 50%.

Bike crashes are up in Melbourne, except on the city’s most popular street for cyclists.

 

Finally…

Bono brings the arm he shattered in a New York cycling collision out in public for the first time. Although it looks more like he’s trying to hide it and himself from the paparazzi than trying to show off anything.

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Thanks to Karen Scott for her extremely generous gift to help support this site

Finish the Ride results in a large check, a 9% drop in hit-and-run — and your chance to help take up the fight

Over a year later, Damian Kevitt finishes the ride; photo courtesy of Finish the Ride.

Over a year later, Damian Kevitt finishes the ride; photo courtesy of Finish the Ride.

I got to meet one of my heroes last week.

Okay, two.

I was at the LACBC Board of Directors meeting Wednesday night when someone stepped up behind me and said he wanted to introduce himself.

I turned to see a tall man with a huge smile and a face I knew from countless news stories. A quick, almost involuntary glance down revealed an artificial leg he made no attempt to hide, and suddenly no introduction was necessary.

For reasons I will never understand, Damien Kevitt wanted to shake my hand.

I think he had that backwards.

I’ve been wanting to shake his ever since he fought his way back from one of the most horrific hit-and-run collisions I’ve ever heard of. Just surviving what he went through took more courage than most of us will ever need in our lifetimes.

And that was long before his amazing Finish the Ride campaign made him the public face of the fight against motorists who run away like the cowards they are, rather than stopping to take responsibility for their actions.

Under similar circumstances, most people would be happy just to survive. Let alone display the determination to get back on his bike as quickly as possible, despite the loss of a leg.

And even more to start a movement dedicated to justice, if not for himself, then for others victims of hit-and-run.

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Crowds at start of Finish the Ride; photo courtesy of Finish the Ride.

Crowds at start of Finish the Ride; photo courtesy of Finish the Ride.

It was a little later, after he had made a presentation to the board, that I gave a hug to another hero of mine.

Kevitt was accompanied by a woman who turned out to be one of the most awe-inspiring people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.

His mother, Michele Kevitt Kirkland.

Her name popped up from the very beginning in news stories about his collision. And virtually every story after that as she spoke for — and fought for — her son until he was able to do it for himself.

I have no doubt that it was her will and determination, as much as the skill of his medical team, that helped bring Kevitt through the first few days when his survival was in doubt.

Let alone every seemingly impossible step that followed.

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Congressman Adam Shiff addresses the crowd; photo courtesy of Finish the Ride.

Congressman Adam Shiff addresses the crowd; photo courtesy of Finish the Ride.

Kevitt was at the board meeting because he had named the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition as one of the beneficiaries of the event, along with the Challenged Athletes Foundation — in the unlikely event there were any profits to benefit from — and the coalition provided the organizational support necessary to pull it off.

At the last minute, though, sponsors started pouring in, from local bike shops to a major car dealership, as well as BikinginLA sponsor Pocrass & De Los Reyes. And news started spreading, not just here in LA, but across the US and around the world.

In the end, the turnout far surpassed anyone’s expectations. And the ride not only broke even, it resulted in one of the largest private donations the LACBC has ever received.

  • Over 700 participants
  • Five elected officials both speaking and riding, including a US Congressman
  • Over 16 media outlets represented
  • 26 festival booths
  • 22 entertainers performing for the crowd
  • $25,000 raised for the LACBC and the CAF

But the biggest success may have come as a surprise to everyone.

According to LAPD Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff, after rising steadily for years, the rate of hit-and-runs in Los Angeles has declined 9% since the first of the year.

A drop he attributed in large part to the publicity Finish the Ride received, and the message of responsibility behind it.

Which goes to show that the battle to stop drivers from fleeing may actually be winnable after all.

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From left: Jennifer Klausner, Damian Kevitt, JJ Hoffman, Michele Kevitt Kirkland and Alex Amerri

From left: Jennifer Klausner, Damian Kevitt, JJ Hoffman, Michele Kevitt Kirkland and Alex Amerri.

After a victory like that, anyone else would sit back and relax. Or maybe start thinking about next year’s ride.

Clearly, Damian Kevitt is not like anyone else I’ve ever met.

He not only credits everyone else with the success of Finish the Ride, he’s taking the fight to the next level.

Tomorrow night he’s hosting the first Hit and Run Summit — Gathering of the Minds at a church in Hollywood. And inviting you, and everyone else committed to doing something about this deadly, life-shattering epidemic, to attend.

Join us Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 7:00pm for the first “Hit and Run Summit – Gathering of the minds.”

Gather your voices and be part of something that will help change the streets of Los Angels in a positive light for young and old alike.

Join in on a united mission to make Los Angeles County a healthy, safer, and fun place to walk, run, and ride bicycles.

Come and network with a diverse community of people that believes in advocacy, education, and community building over dinner.

Please share this with anyone that could possibly benefit from this event. We will be providing useful contact information for various groups, and organizations for volunteer and/or assistance purposes.

Schools, mothers, clubs, and non-profit organizations are highly encouraged to attend and participate.

Address:
Hollywood Lutheran Church, Rear Gallery
1733 North New Hampshire, Hollywood, CA 90027
 
Time:
7:00PM Summit Opens, 7:20 Summit Starts, 7:50PM Dinner Served
 

*Keynote speakers will include experts in the following areas.

  • CREATING SOLUTIONS TO MAKE LA STREETS SAFER FOR EVERYONE
  • CAMPAIGNING ON HANDLING HIT AND RUN
  • CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LAW AND HIT AND RUN
  • CURRENT AND FUTURE LEGISLATIONS REGARDING HIT AND RUN
  • STATISTICS AND FACTS OF HIT AND RUN
“Safer roads in LA County for everyone!”

I’m not making many commitments these days as I work to get my own health back under control. But I plan to attend even if I have to drag myself there.

And I hope you’ll be there, as well.

 

Morning Links: An inspiring and horrifying interview, outrageous bike news, and send a guy on Climate Ride.

Send this boy to camp. Or rather, Climate Ride.

Send this boy to camp. Or rather, Climate Ride.

Lots of news to catch up on before the weekend. So let’s jump right in.

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Sweet Ride USA’s Steve Isaacs offers an amazing, horrifying and ultimately inspiring interview with hit-and-run survivor Damian Kevitt in advance of Sunday’s Finish the Ride. Choose between the short 4:15 minute version and the full 16 minute one.

Unfortunately, it looks like illness is going to keep me from attending on Sunday, despite my best intentions. So if you’re planning to attend and would like to share your thoughts or photos, let me know.

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Here’s an intriguing invitation.

Inventor Eric F. has come up with what he describes as a “revolutionary bicycle safety device (US and international patent pending) that will save lives and visibly change the urban landscape.”

He’s looking for volunteers to participate in a focus group at Helen’s Cycles’ Santa Monica location, 2501 Broadway, on Monday, May 5th from 7 – 8 pm.

You can start your Cinco de Mayo celebration a little later. And it’s a good chance to check out the new green bike lanes in front of the shop.

Just watch out for drunks on your ride home.

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Congratulations to the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition’s Team LACBC on exceeding their fundraising goal for this year’s California Climate Ride.

But several of the team members are still short of the money they need to raise to participate in the ride.

I can personally vouch for everyone on the list, all of whom deserve to go on the bike adventure of a lifetime. And each of whom deserves your support for all they do to support your right to ride safely and enjoyably in the City and County of Angels.

In fact, I have never known a more committed and hardworking group of staff and volunteers, and as a board member for the past five years, I’m honored for the small part I play in supporting their work. Which is something I don’t say nearly enough.

But I’d like to call your attention to just one of those potential riders, and ask you to help him get from the California Wine Country to Sacramento next month.

Alex Amerri, President of the LACBC Board of Directors, has done an incredible job of guiding the organization through some turbulent times — often at the expense of his own career and personal life.

I’ve watched as he’s often put in more than full-time work in an unpaid, volunteer position. When he leaves the board — which hopefully won’t be anytime soon — he’ll leave the LACBC a far stronger, more stable and successful organization than he found it, positioned for even greater growth and influence in the years to come.

And you can’t ask any more than that of anyone.

However, the time he’s put in solving problems and creating opportunities for the coalition lately has meant he hasn’t had time to raise the funds he needs to participate in the Climate Ride. In fact, he’s less than a third of the way to his $3,500 goal.

So let’s send a boy to camp.

Or rather, a man to ride.

If you’ve got a little extra money laying around, make a donation to a good cause to support sustainability and improve our environment. And do it in the name of someone who truly deserves a few uninterrupted days on his bike.

And if not Alex, then help one of the other team members who do so much to help you.

Note: Alex has no idea I’m writing this. So let’s not tell him. Just let him be surprised when the donations start coming in, with no idea where they’re coming from or why.

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Prepare to be outraged.

It’s not unusual to find a story or two that makes a mockery of justice, and reminds us all that cyclists are still second-class citizens on our streets.

But today’s news carried three examples of just how far we have to go. And how self-centered, heartless and cruel some people can be.

First up, a Massachusetts woman is convicted of a reduced charge in a fatal hit-and-run when the judge rules that a second vehicle that hit the victim afterwards could have caused the fatal injuries. Never mind that the trailing vehicle would never have hit the rider in the first place if the hit-and-run driver hadn’t plowed into her and left her lying in the street.

Or there’s this, as Pennsylvania authorities refuse to file charges against a driver who killed a teenage cyclist — even though she was under the influence of cocaine and prescription drugs at the time. Nice to see them taking DUI so seriously.

And in a truly disgusting demonstration of genuine overly entitled, self-absorbed heartlessness, an Ontario — Canada, not California — driver sues the family of the teenage cyclist she killed for the emotional turmoil that taking his life has caused her. Evidently, she’s the real victim here, not the kid who lost his life, the parents who lost a child or the brother who OD’d because he couldn’t deal with the loss.

I never to wish ill on anyone. But I’m sorely tempted to make an exception in her case.

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Local

UCLA’s Herbie Huff and Madeline Brozen offer a rebuttal to the recent report showing bike lanes don’t cause traffic congestion if they’re put in the right place.

Cultural Weekly explains why CicLAvia has struck a chord with Angelenos. Although I’m not really sure that’s it.

Variety promotes this weekend’s first-of-the-year bike-in movie in Reseda Park.

KCRW’s DnA will host Reinventing the Wheel, a discussion on the future of mobility at the Helms Bakery complex on May 18.

Santa Monica police use a bait bike to get two bike thieves off the streets.

Long Beach offers a bike map of six downtown routes.

Santa Clarita plans a number of events around hosting a pair of stages in next month’s Amgen Tour of California.

 

State

The Idyllwild man who created the Stagecoach 400 mountain bike race finally finishes the route he designed after three failed attempts.

Streetsblog looks at last week’s California Transportation Choices Summit.

VeloNews rides the Amgen Tour of California route in reverse with the Rapha Women’s Ambassadors.

 

National

A new Strava map offers a detailed look at where people who use Strava run and ride bikes, which seems to be pretty much where people live. Then again, people who don’t use Strava ride everywhere.

A proposed MiniBrake promises to let parents stop their children’s bikes by remote control. Seems a little dangerous to stop a kid’s bike without warning, but it could keep them from riding into danger.

Treehugger lists five ways bicycling is getting better in the US. And one way it’s not.

A severely auto-focused Texas jerk letter writer says “You ‘need’ a car for business, shopping and taking your kids to Burger King. You only ‘want’ to ride your bike…” which places “an unreasonable safety burden on drivers of other vehicles.” Right. And maybe if those kids walked or rode to Burger King they might be healthier now, and as adults.

 

International

After a Brit thief steals a $4,200 e-bike, he calls the local dealer for advice on how to charge it. Which turns out to be the same guy he stole it from.

Lance says he’s still the winner of all those Tours de France, regardless of what anyone else says, while former Armstrong lieutenant George Hincapie promises an unvarnished look at pro cycling’s doping era in a new book.

Osaka police crack down on reckless cyclists — or any, for that matter — at the urging of local merchants.

 

Finally…

A cute 30-second video suggests the more you ride, the more calories you can take in. Not necessarily true, though, as I’ve learned the hard way.

 

No justice for a victim of road rage; hit-and-run victims urged join Damien Kevitt at Critical Mass next week

Evidently, tire tracks aren't sufficient proof of getting run over.

Evidently, tire tracks aren’t sufficient proof of getting run over.

Just a couple quick notes this morning.

First up, a painful reminder that justice for cyclists remains elusive, even here in relatively enlightened and bronze-level bike friendly Los Angeles.

You may recall last September we told the story of a bike rider who was harassed by a driver while riding home from work in Chatsworth.

He reported being passed in a dangerous manner, then repeatedly honked and yelled at after passing the car while it was stopped in traffic. When the rider paused to ask what the driver’s problem was, he was told bikes aren’t allowed in the street and threatened with a call to the police.

If only the driver had, he might have been quickly corrected and properly chastised. Instead, he got out of his car and physically threatened the cyclist. Then things got worse.

After that, he got back in his car and honked awhile longer. I was trying to explain to him my rights as a cyclist but he would not listen to me. He then drove slowly forward, making contact and slightly pushing my bike. I yelled at him, then he just nailed the gas. He knocked me to the ground and ran over my bike and right leg, then had to stop because there were two cars in front of him at the light.

As I got up, he got out of his car and told me that I am an asshole and I’m the reason people hate cyclists. I took the pic of him and his car about that time.

Fortunately, he wasn’t seriously injured, although it left him with leg pain that lingers today.

Unfortunately, it also left him with emotional scars caused by yet another failure of the justice system to take an assault with a deadly weapon seriously, when that weapon is a car and the victim is on a bike — despite having two witnesses to the attack.

I got this email from him last night.

I was just told today that the LAPD decided not to charge the driver who ran me over with any crime.  This news came as a extreme shock, to think that a driver can honk and yell at a cyclist then intentionally run him over, get out of his car, call that cyclist names then speed off, and not be charged with any crime.  It just makes me feel like I’m going to die riding a bike in LA and no one will care.  I trusted our system.  It has failed me and it has failed every cyclist in Los Angeles.  I don’t know if you care to update the story or ask anyone why he wasn’t charged; I’m told lack of evidence. But I had 2 witnesses, I had a smashed front wheel of my bike and badly bruised leg ankle and foot as well as tire tracks across my leg.  I was barely able to walk for 3 weeks and still to this day I have pain in my ankle and right foot. I’m just in so much shock right now.

Shocked is a good word for it.

Appalled, disgusted and mad as hell would be appropriate responses, as well.

He was clearly injured, he had physical proof of a collision and witnesses who could attest that the driver got out of his car and threatened him.

Yet somehow, that isn’t sufficient to file charges — even though I’ve been told by police that simply getting out of a motor vehicle is sufficient for a charge of assault in a situation like this

I can’t explain it. Except as a reminder of the bad old days when bike riders knew we couldn’t count on the LAPD for protection on the streets, let alone justice.

I thought we’d left those days behind as the cycling community established a better relationship with the police. But maybe I was wrong.

Meanwhile, I’ve strongly urged the victim to contact a lawyer to discuss filing a civil suit under LA’s still-untested bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

He would seem to have an ideal case.

And the best part is, he wouldn’t have to count on the police to lift a finger.

………

By now, you probably know the name Damian Kevitt.

He’s the man who riding his bike with his wife near Griffith Park exactly a year ago this week when a van driver stuck in traffic made an illegal U-turn, hitting his bike in the process.

If the driver had simply stopped, Kevitt might have suffered minor injuries. Instead, he floored it, dragging the trapped cyclist 600 feet onto the 5 Freeway before he was finally dislodged in front of high-speed traffic as the van sped away.

Fortunately, he landed near a doctor and an off-duty paramedic who were able to tend to him until paramedics arrived; otherwise, the outcome of this crime might have been much different.

As it was, Kevitt was among the most critically injured riders I’ve ever heard of who somehow survived their collisions.

And not only survived, but thrived.

A year later, Kevitt is back on his bike, an artificial leg replacing the one lost in the collision. And he’s inviting every cyclist to join with him on April 27th to Finish the Ride.

The easy, 12-mile ride will benefit the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and the Challenged Athletes Foundation. But more importantly, will allow us to honor the courage of an amazing man, while calling attention to the epidemic of hit-and-runs.

In addition, Kevitt is planning to hold a vigil in front of City Hall during the Critical Mass ride next Friday, February 28th. As part of that, he’s inviting anyone who has been the victim of a hit-and-run, as well as the families of those who have been lost to hit-and-run, to join him in calling for a stop to the crime, and justice for those who have been victimized by it.

If you’d like to join him — and I would strongly encourage it if you can — email him at damiankevitt@FinishTheRide.com, or leave a message at 206/495-3116.

As for justice, the heartless bastard who nearly took Kevitt’s life is still out there somewhere.

Despite a $25,000 reward.

 

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