Tag Archive for hit-and-run

Morning Links: AAA says hit-and-run crashes rise nationwide, and BOLO Alert for a stolen bike

No surprise here.

A new study from AAA shows that hit-and-run crashes are at an all-time high in the US. Something that is born out by simple observation these days.

It should also come as no surprise that the overwhelming majority of fatal hit-and-run victims — nearly two-thirds — were bicyclists or pedestrians.

And 20% of all pedestrian deaths are the result of hit-and-run drivers.

The only surprise is California was not one of the worst states for the crime, which was led by New Mexico, Louisiana and Florida.

Then the report dips into absurdity by offering drivers advice on how not to flee the scene following a crash.

AAA said drivers can avoid hit-and-run crashes by being aware of their surroundings, yielding to crossing pedestrians even if they’re not in designated crosswalks and giving cyclists “plenty” of space when passing them on the road. Should drivers get involved in a crash with a pedestrian or cyclist, AAA State Relations Director Jennifer Ryan said they should stay on the scene because the penalties for fleeing are “significantly” more severe, regardless of who is at fault for the crash.

Actually, the way drivers can avoid being involved in a hit-and-run is to just take their foot off the gas and stop their damn car.

Seriously, is that so hard?

But the problem is, while the penalties for fleeing may be more severe than the drivers might otherwise face, they may be less severe than other factors, such as driving under the influence or without a valid license or insurance. Which can actually give a driver an incentive to flee.

And some drivers just assume that they’ll never get caught — and in most cases, they’re right.

Of course, while AAA did a great job of highlighting the problem, they were silent on any real solutions.

I’ve already offered my suggestions.

But something has to be done. Now.

Because politely asking drivers to stick around just isn’t good enough.

………

Be on the lookout for a beautiful 2017 Specialized Allez DSW DL Sprint Expert stolen from the CSUN campus Wednesday.

This one belongs to a friend of a friend, so I’d consider it a personal favor if you spread the word.

………

Local

The LA Daily News reports that bicycling deaths have tripled in Los Angeles this year, compared to just two this time last year.

Best wishes to endurance cyclist and nutritionist Matt Ruscigno for a full and fast recovery, after he was seriously injured when he was left-crossed by a driver while riding his bike two weeks ago. Ruscigno is the founder of LA’s legendary hill climb competition Feel My Legs I’m a Racer.

Continuing today’s theme, no surprise here either, as car-supremiscist traffic safety deniers Keep LA Moving is trying to fight long-standing plans for a road diet and bike lanes on Aviation Blvd near LAX.

As we mentioned last week, nonprofit group Bikes 4 Orphans is holding a fundraising concert next week to raise money to provide 110 bicycles for an all-girls school in Kenya. You couldn’t ask for a better cause.

 

State

Costa Mesa tries out a pop-up protected bike lane on Merrimac Way.

San Diego students and faculty morn the Grossmont College professor killed by an allegedly sleeping driver while riding his bike last week.

Men’s Journal looks at the coolest bikes and gear they saw at last weekend’s Sea Otter Classic.

San Francisco’s Tenderloin District gets its first protected bike lane.

The formerly staid Wall Street Journal says adults on tiny electric scooters are terrorizing San Franciscans. Yes, we’ve all seen the news reports of panicked Bay Area residents fleeing what remains of the city laid waste by cute little dockless scooters.

Napa Valley will be home to CampoVelo this weekend, described as a three day celebration of “food, wine, cycling, music and philanthropy.”

 

National

Vision Zero has just gone national. The US National Safety Council has set a goal of eliminating all traffic deaths nationwide by 2050.

The American Prospect calls for limiting cars in American cities to shift the focus on our streets to moving people, not cars.

Apparently there’s not much reasoning going on at Reason these days, as the conservative website says don’t blame WAZE for shifting traffic onto neighborhood streets, blame local officials for not building more freeways and traffic lanes. In other words, keep doubling down on the auto-centric planning and induced demand that got us into this mess.

A new documentary examines a coast-to-coast bike tour dedicated to living beyond diabetes.

Next City asks if congestion pricing can be equitable, as Seattle considers becoming the first US city to implement it.

Houston bike advocates are calling for changes at the intersection where a woman was killed while riding her bike, at the same spot another rider died a year earlier. Meanwhile, an Op-Ed from a Houston writer says why bother writing yet another Op-Ed about yet another bicycling fatality.

A community college instructor complains about the abysmal bike infrastructure in Port Huron MI.

No surprise here, as the survivors of the 2016 Kalamazoo massacre say they have little memory of the crash allegedly caused by an allegedly stoned driver now on trial for the alleged murders.

Philadelphia plans to fight bicycling deaths by quipping all new trash trucks with side guards, larger mirrors and 360 degree cameras.

They get it. An Op-Ed in the New York Times says cars are ruining our cities.

 

International

Mark your calendar for June 3rd, which is now officially World Bicycle Day.

A leading climate change expert says don’t bother making a case for bicycling because we’re all doomed anyway.

A Columbian town has banned gravity biking, and will confiscate any bike with modified handlebars for maneuvering around sharp curves.

Cars built in the European Union will now include a cyclist detection system developed by the Netherlands.

Dublin bicyclists stage a die-in to call for safer streets, as over 100 people participated.

Apparently having nothing else to be afraid of, Edinburgh residents are living in fear of scofflaw bicyclists riding on the sidewalk.

For the first time, more people in the Netherlands are now being killed riding bicycles than in cars, led by a rising tide of older men riding ebikes involved in solo crashes.

Twelve Israeli cycling trails to add to your bike bucket list.

Dubai plans to build over 500 miles of bikeways in the next 12 years. Let’s remind them that sharrows don’t count.

An Aussie state scraps a proposal for presumed liability after police stats show bicyclists were at fault in 41% of traffic collisions involving bikes. Which has little to do with it, of course; presumed liability simply assumes the driver of the more dangerous vehicle has a greater responsibility to avoid crashes, and should be held at fault unless it can be shown that the other party was responsible. But that last part usually gets ignored in the resulting uproar anytime someone proposes it.

 

Competitive Cycling

San Diego’s Barrio Logan cycling race returns on Saturday.

Once again, the Cutters team that was made famous in the film classic Breaking Away has won the famed Little 500 at Indiana University.

Austrian cyclist Bernhard Eisel had emergency surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain caused by a subdural hematoma, apparently resulting from a crash in the Tirreno-Adriatico classic back in March.

Former Dutch pro cyclist Karsten Kroon admitted to doping during his career, which ended four years ago. At this point it probably makes more sense to do breaking news stories on the riders who didn’t dope. If they can find any.

Colorado Public Radio talks with ex-Tour de France winner Floyd Landis, who went from disgraced doper to medical dope entrepreneur.

Sad news from USA Cycling, which announced that pro cyclist Jacquelyn Crowell has died after battling a brain tumor.

 

Finally…

Evidently, shorts-clad bike cops chasing miscreants is comedy gold. When you have no idea what the hell you’re doing, the easiest solution is just to ban something — like ebikes, for instance.

And who says you need skis to go skiing?

Update: Yet another bike rider killed in South LA hit-and-run; third death in last week on LA’s High Injury Network

It’s happened yet again.

Another bike rider has been killed in a South LA hit-and-run, the third person murdered by heartless, cowardly drivers in the last week.

All on streets identified as part of the city’s High Injury Network.

And all in CD8 Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s district.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, the victim was struck by one driver and run over by at least one other motorist at the intersection of South Avalon and East Century Boulevards — all of whom left the scene.

KNBC-4 adds more detail, saying the victim, identified only as a man who appeared to be in his 60s, was crossing Century headed south in the crosswalk on Avalon when he was struck around 12:15 pm.

Both drivers fled the scene, before a second driver in a Lexus SUV, eventually returned and talked with police.

Which means the first driver should face a murder charge for leaving his victim lying in the street to be run over at least one other time.

We’ll never know if the victim might have survived if the first driver had stopped. What we do know is that after leaving him sprawled and bleeding in the road, he probably never had a chance.

We’ll also never know if he would had survived if the city had moved forward with the safety improvements called for as part of the LA Vision Zero’s High Injury Network.

But we do know that the failure to take any action after identifying the problem could leave the city with a greater legal liability for this death, as well as the two previous deaths in the district this past week.

Not to mention the bicyclist seriously injured in a deliberate hit-and-run assault while participating in a protest Wednesday afternoon.

And never mind that the City of Los Angeles is well aware of the hit-and-run epidemic, but done little to address it other than passing a standing reward program.

This is at least the 17th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the ninth in Los Angeles County; it’s also the seventh in the City of Los Angeles.

There is an automatic $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect in this case.

Update: The victim has been identified as 60-year old Christopher White, no town of residence given.

While the story mentions the $50,000 reward for the hit-and-run death of Frederick Frazier, there should also be a similar reward in this case under the city’s hit-and-run reward program. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Christopher White and his loved ones.

Thanks to Michael MacDonald for the heads-up.

 

Morning Links: Bike rider injured in hit-and-run protest; driver charged with murder in Tour de Palm Springs death

Just one day after Frederick Frazier was killed in a brutal hit-and-run in South LA, another rider was struck in the same intersection.

During a protest over Frazier’s death.

And yes, that driver fled the scene, too.

A group of Frazier’s friends gathered to block the intersection at Manchester and Normandie with their bicycles to call attention to the death and demand justice for their fallen friend.

The protest got out of hand after several people attacked an LAPD SUV when police arrived to break it up, smashing its windows with their bikes.

According to Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman, the young men were angered after graphic photos of the man they knew as Woon were posted online overnight, showing their friend splayed out on the street as another rider attempted to comfort him in his final moments.

A woman in a tan car, who had previously gotten out to argue with one of the protesters, forced her way through the intersection, running a red light in the process, and deliberately slammed into a rider identified as Quatrell Stallings, throwing him into the air.

She then gunned her engine and fled the scene as Stallings stumbled to the curbed.

He was taken to a local hospital; reports are he was not seriously injured.

Now police are looking for two hit-and-run drivers.

One with a $50,000 bounty on his or her head for leaving Frazier to die in the street; another who could — and should — be facing a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

A memorial ride will be held for Frazier this Friday.

Thanks to Evan Burbridge for the heads-up.

………

A Desert Hot Springs man has received a well-deserved murder charge in the death of Washington man participating in this year’s Tour de Palm Springs.

Twenty-one-year old Ronnie Ramon Huerta Jr. is accused of driving up to 100 mph while stoned before slamming into 49-year old Mark Kristofferson, killing him almost instantly. He was taken into custody after the arraignment hearing, and held on a $1 million bond.

He’s also charged with driving on a suspended license and driving under the influence of drugs.

Thanks to Victor Bale for the link.

………

The LAPD’s Van Nuys Division misses the mark with a bike safety awareness flier.

The piece tells bicyclists to “Always ride in single file,” even though there’s nothing in state law that prohibits riding two or more abreast. And riding abreast is often safer in lanes that are too narrow to share with a motor vehicle by increasing visibility and preventing unsafe passes.

The piece also says riders should walk their bikes across busy intersections, which increases the risk by decreasing mobility and exposing riders to careless and distracted drivers for a longer period of time.

And never mind that a bike helmet may be a good idea, but it’s not required for anyone 18 or older.

But if the point is to increase awareness of bike safety, where is the companion piece telling drivers to always watch for bikes, pass with at least a three foot distance, and open doors with your right hand to prevent dooring?

………

Local

Metro released their draft strategic plan for the next ten years, as they transition from a transit provider to focusing on the entire mobility ecosystem.

CiclaValley explains what it’s like getting cut off in the bike lane by a Metro bus driver in DTLA.

A writer in Azusa encounters a 43-year old gang member at his local bike shop, realizing that bikes bring everyone together.

 

State

A pair of UC Santa Barbara graduates are nearing the completion of their self-supported bike tour from California to Columbia.

The bizarre anti-bike hysteria continues in San Luis Obispo, where the city council is accused of dirty tricks after re-affirming plans for a bike boulevard. Meanwhile, older SLO residents are up in arms over plans for an e-bikeshare system with a hub on the coast, worrying about whether they’ll be run off the sidewalk.

The San Francisco Chronicle shares the five best bike rides around Santa Cruz.

Testimony in a preliminary hearing fills in some of the blanks in the death of a San Francisco woman run down in Golden Gate Park last year, one of two people killed in the city by hit-and-run drivers just hours apart.

 

National

Another good piece from Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss, who considers the ethics of breaking traffic laws, noting that obeying the letter of the law isn’t always the safest way to ride.

Wired says Uber’s acquisition of dockless ebike provider Jump means they want to control every way you move, while Bicycling examines dockless bikeshare in the wake of Uber’s entry into the field.

Curbed says cities need to step up to the challenge of controlling streets and sidewalks as bikeshare and shared scooters begin to take over.

Don’t count on glowing infrastructure lighting the streets anytime soon.

A local news site says Honolulu drivers are complaining about the loss of a few hundred parking spaces to make room for bike lanes, somehow blaming that for the traffic congestion in the city.

No bias here. Police in Portland OR ignored a road rage assault on a bike rider that left him with a broken jaw, refusing to even file a report on the case.

A local weekly says Portland’s bike renaissance begins now.

A Lincoln, Nebraska man gets three years behind bars for the drunken hit-and-run that left a city councilmember from a nearby town lying badly injured in the street.

The Catholic bishop of Davenport, Iowa is one of us; he’ll be riding across the state in this year’s RAGBRAI.

Three Illinois priests are riding across their Diocese to promote religious vocations.

Seriously? A road raging North Carolina man gets a gentle caress on the wrist for punching a bicyclist in an attack caught on video, as he’s sentenced to just three days behind bars. That will certainly send a message — one that says go ahead and attack other people on the roads.

 

International

A British man has been charged in the death of a 91-year old cyclist, who was killed while trying to set a national age record.

A transportation technology project from the University of Melbourne says to improve safety and performance on our streets, we’ll all have to be connected in a single network including cars, buses, pedestrians and bicyclists.

An Aussie ultracyclist set a new record by riding 555 miles in 24 hours.

 

Competitive Cycling

The head of cycling’s governing body says women cyclists deserve more than they’ve been getting, and he dreams of a Paris-Roubaix Feminine.

An autopsy concludes that Michael Goolaerts suffered a heart attack while riding in Paris-Roubaix last Sunday; there had been speculation that his heart stopped as a result of the fall.

Writing for Cycling Tips, Jonathan Vaughters reminds us that bike racing is a dangerous sport, where tragedy can happen any day.

 

Finally…

Hit a pothole on your bike, and get a bill for breaking it. Your next wheel could weigh ten pounds and make riding easier.

And no, dockless bikes don’t belong in trees.

 

Update: Bike rider killed in South LA hit-and-run

Yet another LA bike rider has been killed by a heartless coward who fled the scene.

According to a tweet by LAPD Capt. Jonathan Tom, a person riding a bicycle died after being struck by the driver of a white Porsche Cayenne at Manchester Blvd and Normandie Ave in the Manchester Square neighborhood.

A photo from the scene shows a shattered bike with debris scattered across the roadway.

No other information is available at this time.

Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD South Traffic Detectives at 323/421-2500, or anonymously at 800/222-TIPS (8477)

This is at least the 16th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth in Los Angeles County; it’s also the sixth in the City of Los Angeles.

Update: The victim has been identified as 22-year old Frederick Frazier.

KABC-7 reports the crash occurred around 12:47 pm today; they place it in the 1300 block of West Manchester Ave.

Update 2: Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman has written a moving — and graphic — description of the final moments of the man known as Woon to his friends, described as a strong an experienced cyclist. 

She also reminds us that, thanks to LA’s hit-and-run reward system, there is a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of his killer.  

And in a tragic irony, after several people blocked the intersection where Frazier was killed in an impromptu bike protest the next day, one person suffered minor injuries when a driver deliberately slammed her car into his bike

And naturally, fled the scene.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Frederick Frazier and his loved ones. 

Morning Links: 15 years for Oceanside drunk driver, ebike regulations, and young cyclist dies in Paris-Roubaix

For once, the charges — and the conviction — fit the crime.

An Oceanside woman faces up to 15 years behind bars after she was convicted of second degree murder for the drunken hit-and-run crash that took the life of a homeless man.

In an extreme case of heartlessness, she drove over a mile with the victim’s body embedded in the seat next to her. Then parked the car around the block from her house and walked home.

And did all that after her friends warned her she was too drunk to drive, but got behind the wheel anyway.

At least she’s not likely to be driving again for a very long time.

Drunk or otherwise.

………

Today’s common theme is ebikes and the rules governing them.

City Lab considers New York’s recent, and way too late, approval of ped-assist ebikes.

Popular Mechanics questions when ebikes cease to be bicycles.

And the Washington Post looks at changing ebike regulations across the US.

Meanwhile, police departments are quickly adopting ebikes as the best tool for bike cops.

………

Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix bike race, stop reading now and skip to the next section.

Still here?

World Champion Peter Sagan out sprinted Swiss rider Silvan Dillier to take the cobbled Monument after taking off on a breakaway with 33 miles to go.

But don’t take my word for it.

If that wets your appetite, SoCal Cycling has posted video of the full race broadcast. And in a piece written before the race, a Scottish website says Sagan is a throwback to an earlier era.

All was not good, however.

The race known as the Hell of the North lived up to its billing with the heartbreaking news that 23-year old Belgian rider Michael Goolaerts died of cardiac arrest in a Lille, France hospital several hours after the race.

Goolaerts heart reportedly stopped 65 miles into the race, as medical staff struggled to resuscitate him as he lay on the side of the road; it was unclear if he collapsed while riding or as the result of a crash.

His team released a statement announcing the death, and asking everyone to respect the privacy of Goolaerts’ family.

He had posted this moving photo on Instagram just two weeks ago.

………

Local

A new report shows what the lower LA River could look like as you ride through, once the existing gaps in the bike path are finally closed.

An Op-Ed in the LA Times says almost no one walks to or from LAX because the airport has made it virtually impossible to do. But those who do may find some hidden gems. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

Culver City goes to the polls Tuesday; Bike the Vote LA has your voter guide.

 

State

A section of the Santa Ana River Trail near Angel Stadium has finally reopened after authorities cleared out a massive homeless encampment. Although they can’t seem to find anyone willing to take the people in.

Dockless bikeshare comes to downtown San Diego.

San Francisco celebrates Walk to Work Day with a tone-deaf distracted walking tweet from the fire department.

The US Bicycling Hall of Fame in Davis is now accepting nomination for this year’s class.

 

National

Great piece from elite cyclist Ayesha McGowan on the need to go beyond tokenism in bike marketing, and bring more diversity to the bike industry. McGowan is working to become the first African-American woman on the pro tour.

Fast Company makes the case that the Trump administration blew it by focusing on highway projects in their infrastructure plans, rather than bike and pedestrian trails that can revive rural economies.

Curbed’s Alissa Walker says you can’t be a climate mayor if you’re making room for more cars. Let’s hope LA Mayor Eric Garcetti reads that.

It only took Goodyear 120 years to get back to making bike tires.

Seattle’s new mayor puts the brakes on plans for a promised bike lane on 4th Street, delaying it until at least 2021 over fears of slowing traffic. Because everyone knows people on bikes don’t count as traffic. Right?

The Durango, Colorado newspaper calls on everyone — or mountain bikers in particular — to respect the land, and stop using closed trails and building illegal ones.

Denver’s bikeshare system is adopting a hybrid program to compete with dockless bikeshare, allowing riders to leave bikes in hundreds designated bike corrals, or leave them anywhere for a small additional fee. Something Metro may want to consider as dockless bikes expand through Los Angeles.

New York bicyclists ride to call for safer streets and remember a father killed by a drunk driver as he rode his bike.

Treehugger says you could solve the problem of New York’s salmon cyclists by getting rid of one-way streets. Or at least installing contraflow bike lanes.

This is the cost of traffic violence. The University of Georgia remembers an award-winning professor and experienced cyclist who was killed while riding her bike last week; the driver was accused of following too close and not giving a safe passing distance.

 

International

Road.cc explains why cycling clothes are better for long rides, and why you probably don’t need them around town.

A Costa Rican website recognizes the need to improve bike safety, but questions whether a new 9.5 mile bike lane in the capital does more harm than good.

A Canadian broadcaster has been cited by two government agencies for calling on drivers to hit “idiot” bicyclists.

A Vancouver Op-Ed says bicycling is often more convenient than driving in major cities. I’ve found that true in Los Angeles, where I could commute from Westwood to DTLA in the same time it took to drive, with far less hassle and aggravation.

Around 4,000 young Londoners took over the streets as they rode to call for an end to knife crime in the wake of several recent murders. Meanwhile, a website looks at the movement bringing young riders onto the streets of the city.

A UK bike rider kicks the car habit after 20 years, and says it feels great.

A British newspaper asks if it’s time to make bike helmets mandatory after a young helmetless rider suffers major facial injuries after going over the handlebars. While some studies have shown helmets can help prevent facial injuries, he would have had to wear it over his face to prevent most of his; a good pair of glasses probably would have done more to prevent his eye injuries.

An English town tries “cyclist speed dating” to get more people on bikes.

An Egyptian man set off on a two month, 3,000 mile ride to Russia to watch the 2018 World Cup after Egypt qualified for the first time in 28 years. And the US didn’t. I’m just saying.

Walking and bicycling could be the best solution to Nairobi’s crushing traffic.

An allegedly drunk South African driver was convicted of killing two cyclists on a group ride in a high speed crash after leaving a night club at 5 am.

No bias here. A Kiwi columnist proudly admits to road rage when it comes to people on bicycles — especially MAMILS in colorful Lycra.

An Aussie study suggests that suggests that speed limits and lane widths may be more to blame for crashes with bicyclists than bad driving. However, a Canadian study shows that nearly half of bike collisions are the result of driver error and following too closely.

A 15-year old Australian cyclist takes bike-hating drivers to task for their shocking attitudes.

 

Competitive Cycling

London’s Independent talks with the author of a new book about the dark side of cycling.

A pair of Kiwi cyclists rode Paris-Roubaix in honor of nearly 60 members of the New Zealand Cycling Corps buried nearby, who were killed on the Western Front in the war to that was supposed to end all wars. Except it didn’t.

Tom Boonen hints that he believes Fabian Cancellara used motor doping to beat him in the 2010 Tour of Flanders. 

In an absolutely unnecessary display of stupidity on the part of race organizers, American cyclist Lawson Craddock was lucky to escape without injuries after crashing into one of several parked cars that were left on the race course on the final stage of the Tour of the Basque Country.

 

Finally…

Stopping dockless bikeshare vandalism 19¢ at a time. When a bike lane is just a hippie plot to make construction workers ride bicycles.

And the next time you find yourself being attacked by angry cows on a bike ride, call a plumber.

 

Morning Links: O’Farrell caves to Temple St. drivers, Mobility Plan under attack, and reward in LB hit-and-run

In a decision that shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been paying attention lately, yet another LA council member has caved to the demands of the city’s entitled motorists.

This time on Temple Street.

Despite the city’s lip service to Vision Zero, it’s clear, to paraphrase Casablanca, that the deaths of a few innocent people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy town.

The latest example came on the other end of Temple, after Councilmember Gil Cedillo had already killed plans for a lane reduction in his district.

Now neighboring Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell has joined him, citing a lack of significant, widespread support for the vital safety project.

If that’s going to be the standard, we might as well toss Vision Zero in the scrapheap of Los Angeles history right now. Because we may never get a majority of Angelenos to believe that saving lives trumps saving a few minutes on their commute.

City officials are elected to do the right thing, not the popular thing. And make the difficult choices that they know will prove correct down the road, even if they initially lack “significant, widespread support.”

Like saving lives, for instance.

Instead, O’Farrell became just the latest LA councilmember to back down in the face of organized opposition from angry motoring activists, settling for a number of incremental improvements to the street that may make it a little safer and slightly more pleasant, but likely do nothing to stop speeding drivers from running down more innocent people.

In part, because of attitudes like this from Rachael Luckey, a member of the Rampart Village Neighborhood Council.

A road diet on Temple, Luckey says, would have been too extreme.

“I hate to use the words ‘acceptable loss,’ but we do live in a metropolitan city, and it’s a dangerous world we live in,” she says. “As far as Temple Street is concerned, I don’t know that it is a crisis per-se. If we were seeing 20, 30, 50 people run over, I would be a lot more alarmed.”

A California Highway Patrol collisions database shows that from 2009 to 2017 on the stretch of Temple Street between Beverly and Beaudry, 34 people have been severely injured and five people have died in traffic crashes.

I wonder if she’d still consider it an acceptable loss if one of those victims was a member of her own family.

And once again, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti was too busy running for president to weigh in on one of his own signature programs, exchanging pledged commitment to Vision Zero for zero involvement.

When Vision Zero was first announced in Los Angeles, I questioned whether the city’s leaders had the courage to made the tough choices necessary to save lives, and help make this a healthier, more vibrant and livable city.

The answer, sadly, is no.

………

On a related subject, a new journal article from Chapman University assistant law professor Ernesto Hernandez Lopez examines the legal aspects of the LA Mobility Plan.

And the auto-centric bikelash that threatens to derail it.

Here’s how he summarizes the paper, titled Bike Lanes, Not Cars: Mobility and the Legal Fight for Future Los Angeles:

  • Examines LA’s Mobility Plan 2035
  • Summarizes lessons from biking scholarship
  • Uses these lessons to make sense of the litigation on the Mobility Plan 2035
  • Suggests how law and politics can help city bike lane policies and advocacy and policy making for these
  • Relates bike lanes to Vision Zero (safety), “first and last mile” (intermodal), and mobility (de-car)
  • Correlates the litigation and LA experiences with Vehicular Cycling and Automobility theories

………

The family of Cole Micek have called on the public to help identify the two drivers who smashed into him as he rode his bike in Long Beach earlier this month, leaving him to die in the street.

Los Angeles County is now offering a $25,000 reward to help bring his killers to justice.

………

The San Gabriel River trail will be closed at Carson Street in Long Beach today for an emergency repair due to water damage. Riders will be detoured to Town Center Drive.

The path should be reopened on Saturday, unless they run into unexpected problems.

………

By now, you’ve probably seen the dashcam video of the first fatal crash caused by a self-driving car, which occurred earlier this week in Tempe AZ.

If not, take a few minutes to see if you can reconcile what you see with the local police chief’s insistence that the victim, a homeless woman walking her bicycle across the street, darted out of nowhere into the car’s path.

Right.

Then look closely at the interior view, which shows the clearly distracted emergency human driver looking down the whole time, until just before the moment of impact.

The car should have been able to detect the victim; the fact that it didn’t indicates a major flaw in the system. And the woman behind the wheel definitely should have, if she’d been paying the slighted bit of attention.

Correction: The initial stories identified the driver as a man, Raphael Vasquez. However, it appears that Vasquez has been living as woman, Raphaela Vasquez, since being released from prison in 2005. Thanks to Andy Stow for the correction

Writing for Outside, Peter Flax says something like this was just a matter of time and shows that autonomous cars aren’t ready for cyclists. Or pedestrians, evidently.

A motoring website insists that Elaine Herzberg’s death isn’t just Uber’s problem, it’s everyone’s.

Curbed’s Alissa Walker observes this is the moment we decide that human lives matter more than cars. If only.

Streetsblog says if self-driving cars aren’t safer than human drivers, they don’t belong on the streets.

According to Treehugger, the fatal crash shows we need to fix our cities, not our cars.

The head of a European bike industry trade group responds that bike riders will have to wear beacons to identify themselves to autonomous vehicles. Why stop there? Why not implant all newborns with transponders so self-driving cars can see them regardless of how they travel, and choose to kill the one person crossing the street rather than the three people in a car.

The Wall Street Journal reports the human behind the wheel — it’s hard to call her the driver — was a convicted felon with a history of traffic violations.

The AP says it raises questions about Uber’s self-driving system. Gee, you think?

Just hours later, another self-driving Uber car was caught running a red light in San Francisco. So apparently, they do operate just like human drivers.

On the other hand, a Florida writer says he’ll worry about autonomous vehicles the first time a robot flips the bird and runs him off the road.

………

Local

Great piece from Peter Flax on the short-lived and sadly lamented Wolfpack Marathon Crash Race, which he calls the most captivating, inclusive and deliciously bat-shit crazy bike race in the history of the sport.

Bike the Vote LA has released their voter guide for next month’s elections in LA County.

A former Los Angeles Times staff writer calls LA streets a contested space where no improvement — such as the Venice Blvd Great Streets project — goes unpunished.

Caught on video: CiclaValley captures a red light-running driver who checks most scofflaw motorist boxes.

Another from CiclaValley, as he notices the unwelcome addition of another traffic lane in Griffith Park.

The LA Daily News examines the bikelash against dockless LimeBike bikeshare bikes scattered around the CSUN campus.

Bicycling talks with the founder of LA-based women’s bikewear maker Machines for Freedom.

Monrovia partners with Lyft and dockless bikeshare provider LimeBike to improve mobility options for residents.

Forbes talks with Harvey Mudd College Professor Paul Steinberg about his bike-based course that takes students on a two-wheeled tour of the LA region to explore the challenges of creating bicycle-friendly cities.

 

State

A San Francisco writer describes the bike ride that hooked him for life.

You’ve got to be kidding. Life is cheap in Yolo County, where a garbage truck driver walked in a plea deal in the death of a bike-riding college professor after pleading no contest to vehicular manslaughter. And was rewarded with a deferred judgement and a lousy 80 hours of community service.

 

National

We missed this one from last week. If you have a Louis Garneau Course helmet, it could be subject to a safety recall.

Writing for Outside, Joe Lindsey says the Vista Outdoors boycott was doomed from the start, despite media attention.

Eugene, OR decides to make a six-block test road diet permanent, concluding it was worth the effort despite initial concerns. Sort of what might happen here if more city officials had the guts to actually try it.

Traffic delays caused by highway construction enticed an El Paso, Texas man to sell his truck and buy a motorized bicycle, improving his health and saving at least $800 a month.

A Milwaukee newspaper reminds us that we’re just a week away from 30 days of cycling.

The Michigan state legislature moves forward with a three-foot passing law.

Another one we missed: A New York professor who doesn’t ride a bike explains why he still supports bike lanes, and why he feels safer on streets with them.

The Wall Street Journal looks at cycling attire that doubles as office wear. If you can get past their paywall.

A tragic story from North Carolina, where a hit-and-run driver left the rider of a motorized bicycle lying in the road, where he was subsequently struck by four other drivers.

 

International

Cycling Weekly considers the symptoms, tests and recovery for concussions. Sooner or later, everyone comes off their bike, and chances are, you can’t count on your helmet to protect you from TBIs, because that’s not what most helmets are designed to do.

CNBC examines the increasingly green future of public transportation, including bicycles.

A new reports says 43% of the Ontario, Canada bike riders killed between 2010 and 2015 were struck from behind. And 25% were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Montreal bike riders are about to get their first bike boulevard, aka a velorue. Which LA riders can only look upon with envy from afar.

Wired says London may have reached peak cycling unless they can get more women and non-white men on two wheels.

They get it. A British website says yes, the country’s road rules need to be modernized, but adding offenses for riding a bike is no place to start.

A 30-year old man is bicycling across India to collect stories.

South Korean bike paths are now officially open to ped-assist ebikes, and riders will no longer need a drivers license.

The president of Air Asia has apologized after video of airline employees recklessly damaging bicycles in Kuala Lumpur goes viral; to make up for it, they’re letting bikes fly free next month.

 

Competitive Cycling

After years of denying it was even a problem, cycling’s governing body announced plans to use a mobile X-ray machine to catch motor dopers, who may have a drone hidden inside their bikes.

A young Canadian cyclist looks at the problem of sexism in cycling.

A pharmacist says it’s time to finally ban the pain killer tramadol in cycling. No shit.

 

Finally…

Nothing like putting a few miles on your bike every year. At least we have the socialists on our side.

And a brief look at Toronto, where the Idaho Stop Law already applies to drivers.

Just like LA. And everywhere else.

Woman on bike killed by FedEx driver in Los Angeles hit-and-run, suspect detained by police

A Los Angeles woman has been killed in a collision with a FedEx driver in the Newton Area.

KTLA-5 reports the victim was riding her bike east on Washington Blvd at Staunton Ave around 8:40 Thursday morning, when the northbound FedEx truck pulled out from a stop sign on Staunton.

Witnesses reported that she was directly in front of the truck. Yet somehow, the driver apparently failed to the woman her on her bike.

He kept going following the impact, dragging the victim under the truck, then continued without stopping.

She was pronounced dead at the scene, left to die in the middle of the intersection.

The LAPD has identified the victim as 54-year old Elisa Gomez.

Police have found the suspected FedEx driver, who has been detained for questioning.

According to KTLA-5, LAPD Capt. Alfonso Lopez suggested he could be looking at a manslaughter charge.

It was not immediately known whether the driver saw the cyclist, but “based on the physical evidence at scene and based on the officer’s expertise, and the construction of the traffic collision, it is our belief that the driver of the vehicle would have, or could have, or should have known that he had struck an individual,” the captain said…

“Had this individual stayed at scene and rendered aid — or at least called somebody and cooperated — and remained at scene, it would be looked at as a traffic collision,” Lopez said. “The fact that his individual failed to stay at scene and then fled makes us look at it now like a hit-and-run investigation, leading to a manslaughter case.”

Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD Detective Calvin Dehesa at 213/486-0750 or the Central Traffic Division Detectives 213/833-3713.

This is the eleventh bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth in Los Angeles County. It’s also the fourth in the City of Los Angeles since the start of the year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Elisa Gomez and all her loved ones.

 

Victim identified in Long Beach bicycling double hit-and-run last weekend

Somehow, we missed this one last weekend.

Friday morning, the LA County Coroner’s office released the name of a hit-and-run victim who was killed while riding a bike in Long Beach last Saturday.

Long Beach police officers discovered 24-year old San Pedro resident Cole Micek lying on the Terminal Island Freeway at Pier A Way around 3 am last Saturday.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Micek’s identification was delayed because he wasn’t carrying any ID.

According to the Long Beach police, he was struck by two drivers, both of whom fled the scene. They’re looking for white 2015-17 Toyota Camry, as well as a late-1990s Honda Accord with a dark hood and a sunroof.

Anyone with information about the crash was asked to call Long Beach Police Detective Sirilo Garcia at 562/570-7355 or Crime Stoppers at 800/222-8477.

This is the tenth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Cole Micek and all his family and loved ones.

Morning Links: Englander proposes temporary dockless bikeshare ban, and BOLO Alert in El Monte hit-and-run

Not everyone is welcoming dockless bikeshare to Los Angeles.

CD12 Councilmember Mictch Englander has introduced a motion that would ban any dockless bikeshare programs in the city, with the exception of pilot projects sponsored by various councilmembers.

The motion calls on the city to develop guidelines for any future dockless programs, as well as penalties for providers who fail to live up to those standards.

This would allow existing programs from LimeBike and Ofo to continue in the port cities and Griffith Park, respectively, but could prohibit the LimeBikes at Cal State Northridge from being taken off campus.

While the motion seems a little heavy-handed, the experiences in other cities make it clear that unregulated dockless programs invite problems, along with the inevitable bikelash from people who find the bikes on their lawns or blocking the sidewalk.

Let alone in their trees or swimming pools.

Hopefully Englander and the council can find a way to develop effective regulations without stifling the growth of what could be a very effective way to reduce motor vehicle traffic.

Thanks to TJ Knight for the heads-up.

………

Police in El Monte are asking the public to be on the alert to help find a hit-and-run driver who critically injured a bike rider.

Thanks to Tim Rutt for the tip.

………

There will be a pair of public meetings next month to discuss a proposal to convert Pasadena’s Orange Grove Blvd into a complete street.

………

A man riding a bicycle was injured in a collision near the Calgrove onramp to the 5 Freeway in Santa Clarita; no word on his condition.

Nina Moskol, chairperson of the Santa Clarita Bicycle Coalition, had this to say afterwards.

The location of this crash is a known bike corridor. The County has proposed bikeways plans to improve this area. The Santa Clarita Valley Bicycle Coalition has been discussing this area at every opportunity with LA County, Cal Trans, and City transportation officials.

To date, we have had no word as to what proposed improvements for safety will be implemented, when, or where exactly. What we do know is that this freeway/County road interchange is complex and under heavy use because of ongoing construction on the I-5 to complete pavement restoration (and possible HOV lanes). We encourage everyone to ride safely and carefully.

………

Local

Curbed says the new Glendale-Hyperion Bridge will feature protected bike lanes on both sides, which would be a change from the painted bike lanes called for in the original plans, but it would still have just one sidewalk on the north side.

Somehow we missed this one, as Metro’s BEST program hosted a tweed ride in Culver City yesterday.

Clear your schedule next Sunday for Los Angeles Walk’s annual fundraiser and free block party

 

State

The LA Times reports on Montclair’s ridiculous law banning pedestrians from crossing the street while using any electronic device, including headphones or earbuds.

Officials opened the first section of the planned 50-mile CV Link bikeway around the Coachella Valley. Or it would be 50 miles, if Rancho Mirage was willing to let it besmirch their fair city.

Protected bike lanes could be coming to Oakland’s Lake Merritt.

Marin’s anti-bike lane crank columnist ridicules comments of a mode shift on a Bay Area bridge, saying 235 bike crossings a day pale in comparison to 71,000 motor vehicles. He’s got a point, although the question is whether there are any safe connections on either side of the bridge that encourage people to ride across.

 

National

Good piece from Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss, who says we need to get more kids on bikes.

Some Portland bike shops are beginning to shun brands owned by Vista Outdoor, which has been linked to a maker of ammunition and AR-15-type weapons.

A Wisconsin nonprofit intends to refurbish 1,000 bicycles to donate to local kids next month.

Heartwarming story from Milwaukee, where motorcycle maker Harley Davidson helped design a custom adaptive tricycle for a four-year old boy born without legs and forearms. And no, the story doesn’t explain how he’s going to pedal it.

Two Indiana men face up to 30 months in prison for building an illegal singletrack trail through an Indiana nature preserve.

A Philadelphia councilwoman proposes requiring city council approval for any bike lane that could affect the flow of traffic. Never mind that people on bikes are traffic, too.

 

International

A Caribbean-based physiotherapist explains how to avoid minor injuries when you start riding.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a road raging driver who threw oven cleaner on a bike rider — with her two kids in the car, no less — and leaving the victim with severe chemical burns, walked with a 12-month suspended sentence.

A British soldier has gotten six years for fatally slamming his car into a man riding his bike, after he was shown on video downing five beers and three shots in a pub.

Road.cc looks at presumed liability, which is the norm in most of Europe, and whether it would make streets safer for cyclists in the UK. If we ever want to end car culture and the automotive hegemony on our streets, we’ll have to adopt some form of presumed liability, which assumes the operator of the larger vehicle is at fault in any crash, because they have a greater responsibility to avoid a collision due to their greater ability to cause harm.

A Scottish newspaper makes the case for a 20 mph speed limit, saying initial opposition has died down nearly a year after it was implemented.

CNBC has discovered Copenhagen, where officials say traffic would come to a standstill if 15% to 20% of bicyclists switched to motor vehicles. Which suggest that getting 15% to 20% of Angelenos on bikes might get traffic moving again.

Chinese dockless bikeshare company Gobee has pulled out of Paris without warning, after quitting other European cities due to extensive vandalism.

Evidently, bike riders are second-class citizens in Kolkata, where they’re required to get off and walk their bikes across major streets.

A Canberra, Australia newspaper says there’s no reason for the country’s Capital Territory to reconsider its mandatory helmet law, which it calls a proven lifesaver. Even though multiple studies have questioned whether the health benefits of bicycling outweigh the benefits of bike helmet laws, which have depressed bicycling rates in Australia.

Japan is considering plans to build a suspended bikeway under a bridge connecting Shikoku and Awajishima islands. Or you can ride a 44-mile route connecting six islands in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea right now.

 

Competitive Cycling

ESPN considers how Cal Berkeley law school dean Molly Shaffer Van Houweling broke the 12-year old hour record in 2014.

Yes, the cycling season is underway already, as Spain’s Alejandro Valverde takes the Abu Dhabi Tour, and Dylan Groenewegen wins on the frozen cobbles of Belgium’s Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

 

Finally…

The best way to get over a bad breakup? Ride across the US. When the real Tour de France leads leads to fictional romance.

And now you, too, can own your very own dockless bikeshare bike to leave anywhere you want.

 

Morning Links: Justice for Deborah Gresham, bike settlements soar due to bad LA streets, and BAC meets tomorrow

Finally, there’s justice for a fallen bike rider.

It’s been 16 months since Walking Dead fan page author Deborah Gresham was hit by a driver while riding her bike in Stanton.

And left to die in the street, literally within site of her own home.

The driver, Ricardo Hernandez Sandoval, was arrested less than an hour later after horrified witnesses followed him to his home. He was booked on charges of felony hit and run, felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter.

Now I’ve been informed that he was sentenced on Friday to four years for vehicular manslaughter under the influence, and five years for the fatal hit-and-run, to be served consecutively.

In other words, nine years total, along with fines and restitution.

I’m also told the assistant DA had to wipe tears from his eyes when Gresham’s children gave their witness statements.

It won’t bring Deborah Gresham back. But for once, a fallen SoCal cyclist got justice from the courts.

If you haven’t yet, take a few minutes to read Peter Flax’s moving, must-read story about this tragedy. Photo from Ghost Bikes LA.

………

Great story in the LA Times about the soaring cost of settlements involving bike riders who were injured due to the city’s failing streets.

According to the story, the City of Los Angeles settled with 17 bicyclists last year for a total of $19 million, over four times more than in any previous year.

That’s $19 million that could have gone to fixing the streets before anyone got hurt, rather than waiting until it was too late.

It was those settlements that inspired Councilmember Mitch Englander’s misguided proposal to ban the striping of bike lanes on any streets with less than an A pavement grade, and removing any existing ones from streets with a B or less.

Which would leave few, if any, bike lanes anywhere in Los Angeles.

And only serve to increase the city’s liability when bike riders continue to get injured on streets that used to have bikeways.

The story quotes me on that, as well as talking with BikinginLA sponsor and Calbike board member Josh Cohen.

………

The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee will meet tomorrow night in Hollywood; the BAC is the only official voice for bike riders in the City of LA.

………

The LACBC has unveiled a new video explaining who they are and what they do as part of their 20th Anniversary Celebration.

………

Local

It shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s ridden a bike through there to learn that the intersection of Devonshire Street and Reseda Blvd is the most dangerous one in the state.

LA2050 is offering a total of $1 million in grants to five organizations for projects designed to make Los Angeles, “the best place to learn, create, play, connect and live.” Applications will start being accepted on March 1st.

A bike rider was hit by a car in Pacific Palisades last Wednesday; no word on how the victim is doing. The driver somehow claimed to be driving just 15 mph in a 45 mph zone at the time of the crash.

Tomorrow the UCLA Bicycle Academy intends to confront the members of the Regents Health Services Committee to demand that the statewide UC Health system lose its automotive bias and recognize the health benefits of bicycling.

LA celebrated the official opening of a one-block long Green Street in the Del Rey neighborhood, connecting Westlawn Ave with the Ballona Creek bike path.

 

State

Sad news from Hesperia, where a father drowned rescuing his nine-year old son from the California Aqueduct, after the boy slipped in as they rode their bicycles along the canal.

Caltrans is warning about construction delays on the the coastal bike path north of Ventura through the month of February, though the path will remain open.

A decision could be made this week on the proposed San Luis Obispo bike boulevard that has brought the anti-bikeway NIMBYs out of the woodwork.

For the first time, you won’t need a vintage bicycle to participate in the Eroica California in Paso Robles.

More sad news, this time from Oakland, where a man on a bike was killed in a collision with a big rig truck.

 

National

Slate says requiring bicyclists to wear sensors so self-driving cars don’t crash into them is cheating, and autonomous vehicles should be able to spot people riding bicycles on their own, without outside help.

Details have been released for this year’s Ride the Rockies bike tour through the Colorado high country; it will cover 418 miles and nearly 26,000 feet of vertical climbing in six days. And it will visit the tiny lakefront town where my mother worked as a waitress when she was just 18.

Seriously? The death of a Kansas cyclist competing in the state time trial in 2015 was the catalyst for a proposed state law prohibiting negligent driving. Except the penalty would be a whopping $45, which isn’t likely to change anyone’s driving habits.

Michigan is doubling the width of a four-foot bike lane and adding other safety improvements, after two women were killed there two years ago. Maybe they could try making improvements like that before someone gets killed. Which goes for Los Angeles, and everywhere else, as well.

New York news media goes berserk after mobs of “crazed, angry cyclists” swarm drivers, smashing a car window and punching a driver. Although it turns out it was really just 16 teenagers on bicycles, and the cop who was injured was hit by a car making a U-turn to go after them.

 

International

Canadian cross-country ski clubs are slowly opening their trails to fat bikes.

Ofo dockless bikeshare comes to London, as the Guardian says it will be to cycling what Uber is to taxis.

LA bike riders aren’t the only ones who have to deal with crappy pavement.

The economic impact of bicycling adds the equivalent of nearly $1 billion to the Scottish economy.

 

Competitive Cycling

The incomparable Katie Compton had to settle for second place in the women’s world cyclocross championships, finishing behind Belgian Sanne Cant.

Belgium’s Wout van Aert won the men’s world cyclocross title for the third consecutive year.

 

Finally…

Buy a bike, bore your dinner companions. UFC champ Connor McGregor is one of us.

And yes, you just got dropped by a priest on a folding bike.

No doubt staged, but still fun.

%d bloggers like this: