Tag Archive for Foothill Blvd

Morning Links: Support Lankershim bike lanes, new buffered lanes in Sunland, and killer driver warns others

The LACBC is asking for people to come out on Wednesday to support plans to install bike lanes on Lankershim Blvd between Magnolia Blvd and Vanowen Street.

The meeting of the Mid-Town NoHo Neighborhood Council starts at 7 PM, at the Senior Citizen Center at 5301 Tujunga Blvd. RSVP to greatstreets@lacity.org if you plan to attend.

These are the same bike lanes former Councilmember Tom LaBonge blocked while he was in office; now that he’s gone, maybe we can finally make the street a little safer for everyone.

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Maybe there really is hope.

Michael Sullivan forwards photos of new buffered bike lanes going in on Foothill Blvd in Sunland, where Jeffrey Knopp was killed when his bike was struck from behind while riding on the narrow shoulder.

Looking west from Foothill and Riderwood towards Wentworth

Looking east from the same spot towards Sunland, next to the barriers that previously trapped riders next to fast-moving traffic

The road diet should slow traffic, while giving people on bicycles a safer and more comfortable piece of the roadway. Sullivan calls it a very welcome change on a street he regularly rides as part of his commute.

My understanding is that these plans were in the works long before Knopp’s death. But it’s good to see a dangerous road made a little safer.

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The 22-year old driver who killed Cal Poly Pomona student Ivan Aguilar four years ago is now speaking to high school students about the dangers of distracted driving, his probationary penance for what he calls the worst day of his life.

Gonzalo Aranguiz Salazar says the appearances mandated as part of his five-year probation have allowed him to help heal himself.

I sincerely hope he’s able to peace, and live with the knowledge that he needlessly destroyed an innocent life.

But I’m far more concerned that Aguilar’s loved ones are able to come to terms with his loss, and the fact that his killer wasn’t sentenced to a single day behind bars.

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Very sad news, as Peter Flax reports the husband of fallen OC cyclist Deborah Gresham — the subject of his moving piece on the creation of a ghost bike — has died unexpectedly, leaving their four kids without a mother or father.

Let’s hope there’s someone to take them in and comfort them. Because that’s just too much tragedy for any child to bear.

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A driver buzzes a bicyclist as he’s filming a trailer for a documentary. And proves once again that too many drivers don’t have a clue when it comes to the rights of cyclists, or how to drive safely around people on bikes.

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Spoiler alert: If you still haven’t seen Sunday’s Paris – Roubaix, skip to the next section. Or watch streaming video of the race courtesy of SoCal Cycling, then come back for the rest.

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Local

Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Mike Bonin call for using Measure M return funds to save lives through Vision Zero, noting that New York is spending $174 million on Vision Zero projects this year, while Los Angeles has committed to spending a paltry $3 million.

A writer for The Source notes that she feels safer on a Metro Bike than a regular bike, and that bikeshare has made her feel more comfortable riding around DTLA.

Help clean up the Ballona Creek for Earth Day on the 22nd.

A mountain bike rider had to be evacuated from the Lower Monroe Truck Trail in Angeles Forest following a crash. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Santa Monica is set to unveil the final draft of the city’s Downtown Community Plan on Wednesday. Hopefully, it will include a heavy reliance on bicycling, transit and walking over motor vehicles.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson relates the tale of a cycling wedding.

 

State

The LA Times recommends getting fit and doing good by joining one of several charity bike rides around the state, as well as one in Tucson.

A Huntington Beach event allowed people with disabilities to experience the freedom of handcycling for the first time.

A helmetless La Jolla woman suffered life-threatening injuries in a solo fall after losing control of her bicycle going downhill. Sadly, crashes like this are exactly what bike helmets are designed for.

Apparently, it was worth it to a San Diego driver to risk injuring a bicyclist to snag a prime beachside parking space; the rider slammed into the back of her car after she cut him off.

A Riverside driver turned herself in Sunday morning for fleeing the scene after crashing into two bike riders Saturday night. Which would have given her time to sober up if she’d been drinking.

Two Stockton teenagers were killed fleeing from police following a robbery after crashing into a bike rider and several cars; fortunately, the bicyclist and the people in the other cars weren’t seriously injured.

Seven months later, Sebastopol authorities still can’t prove — or disprove — that a fatal crash between two cyclists on an organized ride was caused by a careless driver.

Over 30 triathletes suffered hypothermia after swimming in a Napa County lake before getting on their bikes.

 

National

A new book from a Colorado woman describes her victory in the frozen 1000-mile Iditarod Trail Invitational bike race.

The Montana bill that included a tax on out-of-state bicyclists — which sponsors later said was a joke — passed out of committee without the provision attached.

Life is cheap in Massachusetts, where a hit-and-run driver gets a whole 18 months in prison for killing a bike rider, then claiming he hit a deer.

The New York Post questions why the city should spend $12 million to expand the Citi Bank bikeshare to outlying areas, when the coming dockless, app-based bikeshare systems could do it for them.

A writer for the Guardian describes his single week as an Uber courier, which ended when he discovered the hard way that Uber doesn’t ensure couriers’ bicycles against theft.

The World Cycling League will team with a Reading PA college to build a world-class, $20 million velodrome.

A kindhearted friend of a Virginia McDonald’s customer bought a new bicycle for one of the store’s employees after learning he was walking 10 miles each way to get to and from his job after his old bicycle gave out. Thanks again to Megan Lynch.

The Tampa Bay Times offers a strongly worded editorial calling for better safety for bicyclists and pedestrians, saying it’s time to stop accepting injuries and deaths as “collateral damage in a culture focused on cars.”

 

International

Here’s video of the Cuban cyclist stopped by police in his attempt to set a record for the world’s tallest ridable bike with the help of LA’s Ritchie Trimble, builder of the current record holder; builder Félix Ramón Guirola Cepero says he’s going to try it again. Got to hand it to Trimble; it’s a total class act to help the guy trying to beat your own record.

An 82-year old Brit man had the chutzpa to apply for a new driver’s license, just days after knocking a man off his bike, then driving over him at 3 mph.

The UK is about to be invaded by Chinese app-based bikeshare providers, extending their battle from the Middle Kingdom to foreign shores.

Caught on video: A British driver tweets that a bike rider should be prosecuted for riding through a red light when there was no traffic coming in any direction.

A Bollywood filmmaker plans several additional rides after finishing a 1,500 mile ride across India to promote mental health; he has been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder.

Australian police are closing in on a suspect in the 15-year old cold case murder of a man who was gunned down in his home weeks after finishing an eight-month tour of the country that ended when his bike was stolen.

 

Finally…

No, seriously. If you’re going to use a bike as your getaway vehicle after robbing a bank, try not to drop the cash you just stole. Your next bike helmet could fit in a water bottle, not that it would do a lot of good there.

And your latest bicycling jam comes courtesy of Frank Ocean, with an assist from Jay-Z and Tyler the Creator.

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Chag Sameach!

 

Update: Bike rider killed in Sunland crash; second rider killed on Foothill Blvd in less than a week

Yet another bike rider has been killed on deadly Foothill Blvd.

Just days after a bicyclist was killed on Foothill Blvd in Pacoima, another rider has lost his life in a crash just five miles away in Sunland.

According to the Daily News, a man was struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle on a 9100 block of Foothill Blvd at 5:15 pm Tuesday.

The victim, who has been identified only as a man approximately 60 years old, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver remained at the scene.

No other information is available at this time.

A street view shows a wide road with two lanes in each direction and a center turn lane, with a 40 mph speed limit and no bike lanes.

This is the 67th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 27th in Los Angeles County; it’s also the ninth in the City of Los Angeles. And this is the fourth bicyclist killed on Foothill Blvd in just the last three years.

Update: According to the LAPD, the victim, who has still not been publicly identified, was struck from behind while riding on the eastbound shoulder of Foothill Blvd.

The driver remained at the scene and called for help. He or she was found at fault for the crash, and the case will be presented to the DA’s office to determine if charges will be filed. 

Update 2: The victim has been identified as Jeffrey Knopp.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jeffrey Knopp and his loved ones. 

Bike rider killed in Pacoima collision Wednesday night

The LAPD is reporting that a bike rider was killed in a collision in Pacoima late last night.

According to the press release, the victim was crossing Foothill Blvd mid-block between Van Nuys Blvd and Carl Street around 11:10 pm when a driver headed south on Foothill struck the back of his bike.

The rider, who has not been publicly identified, was thrown a considerable distance by the force of the impact, coming to rest in the center of the roadway. He was taken to Holy Cross Hospital with injuries to his head and upper torso, where he was pronounced dead at 11:36.

The Daily News reports police estimate he was 39 years old.

The driver remained at the scene and was cooperating with investigators. The force of the impact would suggest the driver may have been traveling faster than the posted 35 mph speed limit.

There’s no word on whether the victim had lights and reflectors on his bicycle, which should have made him visible as he crossed the street.

Anyone with information is urged to call Valley Traffic Division Office Martinez at 818/644-8032 or Det. III Bustos at 818/644-8021.

This is the 65th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, the 26th in LA County and the eighth in the City of Los Angeles. He also the third bicyclist killed on Foothill Blvd in the last three years, which suggests a need for significant safety improvements.

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

lapd-pacoima-bike-death

Details on the August death of cyclist and scientist Doug Caldwell; driver walks with no ticket or charges

For months, it’s been one of the mysteries of L.A. cycling.

Late last August, word slowly broke that a popular cyclist and leading scientist had been killed while riding to work, and his companion injured.

Then nothing.

No news coverage. No additional information. Not one single mention in the local media. And nothing about what happened, or why.

For weeks afterwards, Google’s seemingly infinite well of information came up dry, returning only the story I’d written myself. Had it not been for a brief Facebook comment from the man who’d been riding with him, I might have questioned whether it actually happened.

However, I received confirmation from a number of sources, publicly and privately, that the information I’d reported was true. I held back one piece of information I’d received privately, though; I was told that Caldwell was married to KCRW host Chery Glaser, but because the family had not come forward, I left that out to respect their privacy.

Since then, people have come to my site almost every day looking for more information about what happened, and every few weeks I’d get an email asking for details.

And every time, I’d have to send my apologies, because I didn’t know any more than I did before.

Last weekend, though, I received an email from LAPD Sgt. David Krumer, who’d been asked to look into the matter by Colin Bogart, LACBC PLACE Grant Coordinator in the City of Glendale; evidently, he’d been getting the same requests for information that I had.

And after answering them, he forwarded the information to me, as well.

The driver of the vehicle was traveling eastbound on Foothill Blvd at approx 7:10 a.m. on 08/20/2010  He rear-ended Doug and another cyclist.  It appears he was going the speed limit but too fast for given conditions.  The driver indicated that he had the sun in his eyes and did not see the cyclists.  If glare was an issue then even if he was going the speed limit he was traveling at an unsafe speed and therefore he was in violation of 22350 VC (Basic Speed Law).  The driver was not cited because we can not write a ticket for a violation we did not observe.  The driver was not arrested as there was no evidence that a crime occurred.  Doug died the following day from massive head trauma.  The other cyclist had scrapes and abrasions with the most serious injury being the loss of some front teeth.

Right there, amid the dry details of the tragedy, you’ll find one of the biggest problems cyclists face on our streets.

There’s no shortage of laws already in place to protect us on the roads. But most are unenforceable unless a police officer actually witnesses the infraction. And while they can clearly conclude after the fact what violations occurred, there’s not a damn thing they can do about it unless the infraction rises to the level of a crime.

Sgt. Krumer goes on to note that the collision occurred on a clear day, and the riders were properly positioned in the right-hand lane. And while the driver failed to see two adult cyclists, he had not been drinking and wasn’t using a cell phone at the time of the collision.

And yes, they verified that.

And while it’s commonly assumed that a driver who hits someone else from behind is almost always at fault, that refers to civil liability, rather than criminal culpability. So even though the family may have a wrongful death case, the driver won’t face any criminal action.

It seems beyond comprehension that someone can continue driving — without slowing down — despite being unable to see what’s directly in front of him. And as a result, kill one cyclist and injure another, yet face no criminal charges. Or even a traffic ticket.

But that’s the way our laws are written.

And that’s something that has to change.

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In another horrible tragedy, seven cyclists were killed in Southern Italy on Sunday — early reports indicated eight deaths — when a driver hit the riders head-on as he was attempting to pass another vehicle.

Reports indicate that the driver was speeding; he also tested positive for marijuana and had been banned from driving just seven months earlier. Two additional riders were injured, one very seriously, as well as the 21-year old driver and his 8-year old nephew, who was also in the car (earlier reports indicated the injured passenger was the driver’s 10-year old son, which seemed unlikely given the age of both).

Road.cc quoted the one of the paramedics on the scene:

“What we found on our arrival this morning was a terrible scene. Indescribable,” said Silvio Rocco, one of the first paramedics on the scene. “Not even a bomb could have caused something like this.”

He continued: “We were had been alerted about an incident in which, according to initial reports, only one cyclist was involved. Arriving on the scene, however, we saw that we were dealing with a massacre. They were all people whom we knew personally, so the blow was even more distressing. We alerted other emergency staff and the helicopter. It’s something that is truly disturbing.”

Meanwhile, two brothers were killed Sunday in Britain’s Cumbria region when their bikes were run down from behind by a bus, on what is considered the most dangerous road in the country.

And a North Carolina woman remembers her late husband, killed while bicycling last October, by endowing a chair in his honor at the local symphony.

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The Elysian Valley segment of the L.A. River Bike Path is now open; Will suggests that we should all cooperate in not being an impediment to other peoples enjoyment on shared-use bike paths, while Bicycle Fixation points out the plusses and minuses of bike paths along the water.

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Fourth Street gets sharrows from Hoover to Cochran, while York Blvd gets new bike lanes from Eagle Rock to Highland Park. The UCLA Bicycle Academy revives to stir campus bike advocacy; next meeting is July 7th. Altadenablog looks at the kickoff of Saturday’s Tour of Altadena. Turning your trainer into an Epic Ride. Santa Monica’s Cynergy Cycles hosts Red Bull Pro Rebecca Rusch, the Queen of Endurance Cycling, on Wednesday the 8th at 7 pm. The Inland Empire Women Cyclists will hold a toy ride on Sunday, December 12th. A writer says a planned tunnel to complete a key Marin County bike route makes sense, just not right now.

Cycle chic circa 1945; raise your right hand, and repeat the Cycle Chic Manifesto. The Alliance for Biking & Walking opens nominations for their 2011 Advocacy Awards. People for Bikes says it’s time to make biking contagious, too. Learning to ride just below the sweat threshold. Evidently, human beings just look better on a bike. A planned Mississippi River Bike Route could take riders from the Minnesota headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico. Bike riders must rank below dogs in the moral zeitgeist. An OpEd in the Daily News says New Yorkers should learn to love their bike lanes, but the paper editorializes that NYDOT commissioner Janette Sadik Khan needs to back up bike lanes with facts; what, a 40% reduction in serious injuries and death isn’t good enough for them? In a classic example of government in action, a Boston neighborhood paints — then removes — bike lanes. Thanks to the efforts of local businesses, a sheriff’s supervisor and inmates at a county work farm, a six-year old girl with cerebral palsy will get a custom-made bike for Christmas.

Peter Gabriel rides a bike. How to stay safe on winter rides. Copenhagenize lists the world’s most bicycle-friendly cities based on usage; the only American city on the list is Davis, CA. Bike lane snow removal in Copenhagen. Auckland cyclists say they’re in an undeclared war, as a motorist is charged with careless driving in the deaths of three cyclists last month, and a widowed husband says the driver is a victim, too. A 19-year old Indian woman was killed for not bringing a bicycle as her dowry.

Finally, just a slight boo boo in London, as someone forgot to order the track for the 2012 Olympic velodrome. And a Tennessee PSA says you better be pimpin’ with that helmet on tight.

No really, I think they’re serious.

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