Tag Archive for James Rapley

Popular bikeway to remain open this weekend, scholarship fund for fallen cyclist, and your Morning Links

Pete van Nuys, Executive Director of the Orange County Bicycle Coalition, sends word that the popular Pacific Coast Bike Route will remain open this weekend, despite the scheduled Ironman race.

After months of emails and the threat of lawsuit, organizers of the Ironman 70.3 race through Camp Pendleton have agreed to assign volunteer course marshals at the south end of San Clemente to permit regular bicycle traffic between that city and Oceanside.

In recent years Caltrans in San Diego has been issuing permits to the event which has become increasingly possessive of the only connection between Orange and San Diego Counties for 100 miles.

Those permits violate Streets and Highways Code 888, intended to assure citizens that when Caltrans builds a freeway it will not sever connections for non-motorized travelers.

The I-5 freeway alternate is the popular Old Hwy 101 to Las Pulgas, through a portion of the Marine base. When the Marines close it for maneuvers Caltrans routinely opens the shoulders of I-5 for bicyclists. But the race permit even closed those shoulders, stranding bicyclists in Oceanside and San Clemente for up to 5 hours. With little or no notice riders from LA County usually had no choice but to turn around.

Thanks to the hard work of Seth Cutter, Bicycle Coordinator for Caltrans San Diego, the agency convinced Ironman to do what most bike race organizers do: use course marshals to cross civilian bikes and peds. Caltrans is posting signs alerting motorists to bicycle presence. And anyone riding to San Diego’s Bikes & Beers event should find the route open fast along I-5′s shoulders all the way to Oceanside.

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Australian cyclist James Rapley lost his like while biking in LA.

Australian cyclist James Rapley lost his like while biking in Los Angeles.

A memorial website and scholarship fund have been set up in honor of Australian cyclist James Rapley, killed while riding on Temescal Canyon last December.

If you want to grasp just an inkling of the love a parent has for his son — and the enormity of that loss — take a moment to read that page and browse through the website.

As you may recall, Rapley was on an extended layover at LAX on his way home from his new job in Chicago to join his family back in Seymour, a small country town in Victoria. So early in the morning of December 22nd — the last Sunday before Christmas — he rented a bike and took off to explore the beachfront bike path from LAX to the Palisades.

It must have seemed magical to ride along the nearly deserted beach at that early hour. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday morning myself.

For some reason, he made a detour onto Temescal Canyon; maybe he wanted the challenge of the steep uphill after the easy ride along the coast. I often do the same, even though it’s not a comfortable bike lane, as drivers frequently go too fast around the sweeping curves, and cut into the bike lane regardless of whether anyone is in it.

In other words, what followed could have happened to me. Or to any of us.

As Rapley rode in the bike lane, doing absolutely nothing wrong, he was struck from behind by an allegedly drunk, and possibly texting, 19-year old driver. He died there on the side of the road; I can only imagine his final thoughts, 8,000 miles from home and the loved ones who were eagerly awaiting him.

I’m told his family has dug deep to fund the scholarship, to be given to a rural student studying engineering or science at Melbourne University, as Rapley had done. But it will take a lot more money to make the scholarship a success, and honor a good and cringe man who should still be with us.

I’d love to see some significant donations come from here in LA. It’s the last place he ever saw, and we owe him and his family a debt we can never repay.

My wallet is pretty anorexic right now, but I’m going to do my best to send a little something their way. I think we owe him that.

Meanwhile, I’ve started making inquiries about how we can convert the bike lane he was riding in into the state’s first parking protected bike lane. It will take a change in state law, which currently requires cars to be parked within 18 inches of a curb.

But this is an ideal location for it, with no cross streets from PCH to Palisades High School, roughly 3/4 of a mile up the hill. And it would, for large portions of the day, help eliminate the risk riders currently face from aggressive and distracted drivers with little respect for a line a paint.

Because the best way we can honor James Rapley is to ensure it never happens to anyone again.

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This sort of things always pisses me off.

A friend of mine reports she was assaulted while riding in Huntington Beach over the weekend when a group of idiots in a passing car threw a cup of ice at her, hitting her on the ass.

The good news is, she was able to maintain control of her bike and avoid a potentially dangerous fall, making it nothing more than a major annoyance. The bad news is, she wasn’t able to get a license number or good description of the car, so the jerks remain free to do it again to someone else.

For anyone unclear on the subject, throwing anything at a bike rider runs the risk that they might lose control and fall, or swerve into traffic or parked cars in an attempt to get away. The result can be serious injury, whether or not that was the intent of the attacker.

And it takes a real jackass to attack a woman riding alone after dark.

Then again, harassment isn’t reserved just for women riders.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton calls for a Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic deaths in the City of Angels. Now will our new mayor or council members step up to answer the call?

Metro’s Bike Week website is up. If you want to find me that Tuesday, I’ll be at the blessing of the bicycles.

LADOT Bike Blog looks at the problem of dooring. but let’s not forget that drivers are almost always at fault for dooring, since they’re required ensure that it’s reasonably safe and doesn’t interfere with other traffic before opening their door. And then, only as long as necessary.

A hero cyclist helps a Santa Monica woman recover her phone from a thief.

There are things you see while bicycling that should be seen by more.

 

State

California considers language that could bar bikes from most off-road trails.

Temecula could vote to support Federal legislation to create long-term, low interest loans to build biking and walking networks.

A close encounter of the potentially stinky kind.

A $9.4 million temporary bike path on the Bay Bridge will be torn down to be replaced with a permanent structure.

 

National

People for Bikes debunks the myths non-riders too often use against us; the answer for “Bicyclists think they own the road” could have been a lot better, though.

Bicycling says you may be getting too much sugar.

Evidently, life is cheap in Ohio, as a doctor gets a whopping 15 days in jail for seriously injuring a cyclist while driving drunk. Why should drivers take drunk driving laws seriously when the courts don’t?

A Louisiana schmuck driver faces charges for running over a four-year old bike rider while fleeing from police; the child suffered moderate to severe injuries.

 

International

The UK renews a campaign calling for cyclists and motorists to “Think! Cyclist” after a successful campaign that may not have changed anyone’s behavior.

Turns out Dickens — yes, that Dickens — supported safe and courteous cycling.

Customers of a Yorkshire paperboy pitch in to buy him a new bike when his is stolen while he was delivering his route.

An Aussie blog asks — and answers — what is a cyclist? My answer is a lot simpler; you’re a cyclist whenever you’re on or with your bike, just as you’re a motorist when you’re driving your car.

 

Finally…

Everyone needs a leather banana holder for their bike, right?

 

Honor the memory of a fallen cyclist, a Santa Barbara bike smackdown, and enough links to last a weekend

Lots of news to share today, so let’s get right to it.

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John Rapley; photo from The Age

James Rapley; photo from The Age

Friends and family of fallen Australian cyclist James Rapley call for your help to honor his memory.

As you may recall, Rapley was killed by an alleged drunk and possibly distracted driver while riding in the bike lane on Temescal Canyon during an extended layover at LAX just before Christmas.

We have had a lot of people ask how they can help and if they can send flowers. Karen and his family believe that donating to a charity would help honour James memory in a more lasting way and we would like to direct you to the below everyday hero site for how you can help via a number of avenues including:

1) donating to the Amy Gillett Cycling Foundation

2) participating in a Hello Sunday Mornings challenge

3) please share these links with your friends and family and spread this important message. Remember to share the roads and to never let yourself or others drink and drive. If you can’t afford a taxi, you can’t afford to drink.

Thank you all for your support. James was very loved and will be forever missed.

They also explain the  purpose of the HSM challenge.

We are hoping to encourage 100 people to sign up for a Hello Sunday Morning’s 3 month challenge to abstain from alcohol and create a ripple affect to change Australia’s drinking culture and hopefully save a life. Each HSMer’s story has a positive impact on the drinking culture of 10 people around them. If 1,000 people stop their friends from getting behind a wheel drunk or not binge drinking we can help James make a difference and hopefully spare another family this incredible tragedy.

One last note.

James Rapley was laid to rest Thursday in Hadfield, Victoria, Australia.

If not for a drunken LA driver shattering the quiet of a Sunday morning, he’d be back at work at Groupon in Chicago. And all this would have been a bad dream.

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Yesterday, a Santa Barbara writer offered some reasonable bike safety advice. After a hate-filled, auto-centric introduction in which she collectively blamed all cyclists for the actions of a few, that is.

Or possibly, just two.

Although she never bothered to explain how her coffee ended up in lap when she slammed on the brakes to avoid one; it’s not like someone so safety conscious would have been holding it while she drove. Right?

I was debating how to respond to her piece, when I found myself reading an insightful, brilliantly constructed take down that made any response from superfluous. I wasn’t surprised when the writer mentioned he was a lawyer; yet somehow, I missed his name until I got to the end.

I should have known.

Thanks to Charles Hudak for the heads-up.

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This should put the value of our lives in perspective.

A South Carolina man who killed a police dog in a shootout gets 35 years, while an Iowa woman is fined a whopping $500 for killing a cyclist after claiming she thought she hit a deer.

Of course, a rational person might have stopped to see what she hit. Then again, a rational law enforcement agency — or judge — might have questioned such a convenient excuse.

Thanks to Michael McVerry for the link.

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If you haven’t seen it yet, this New Zealand traffic safety spot is a must watch. Even though studies show traffic safety ads don’t work.

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An LA rider lives out his biggest bike commuting fear in colliding with a stop sign-running rider; thanks to Steve Herbert for the heads-up. Federal anti-poverty funds could be used to build bike lanes in some of LA’s least advantaged neighborhoods. LA’s 2020 Commission concludes the city is going to hell in a hand basket. We’re just over the halfway point to completing the full 51-mile LA River bike path, with 25 miles to go. Breaking Away, the movie that got me back into bicycling, will screen as a fundraiser for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition at Laemmle’s NoHo7 on Wednesday, February 12th. Experience South LA’s iconic Central Avenue by bike this Sunday. New film looks at the Eastside Riders Bike Club. SaMo police bust a homeless man for stealing a bait bike. Great pair of letters in response to an anti-bike screed in the Santa Monica Daily Press, one from a bike rider and one from a non-rider who gets it. CICLE’s Arroyo Seco tweed ride rolls this Saturday. A San Gabriel walker correctly notes we should give pedestrians three feet passing distance, too. Boyonabike resolves to be a pain in the ass for safer cycling in the SGV this year. CLR Effect is selling a classic Bottecchia I would kill for if I was just a touch more psychotic. After a friend barely survives broadsiding a U-turning car on Via del Monte in Palos Verdes Estates, Cycling in the South Bay barely avoids the same fate; I thought I recognized that deadly street.

Nine top international pro teams will take part in this year’s Amgen Tour of California. The Huntington Beach Independent looks at the local cost of distracted driving. The Bike League’s Stephen Clark talks about what it takes to be a Bike Friendly Community in Huntington Beach next Wednesday. Advocacy group BikeSD endorses David Alvarez for mayor of San Diego. Cannondale Pro Cycling unveils its 2014 team; Thousand Oaks is not LA, though. A Santa Cruz writer says “Share the Road” has failed to protect local cyclists. Palo Alto cop is faulted for using his Taser on a 16-year old cyclist, but it’s okay to knock him off his bike with a patrol car; anything that could cause a rider to fall from his bike should be considered deadly force. After a 90-year old Menlo Park driver jumps the curb and hits two small kids, his lawyer accuses them of recklessness for walking on the sidewalk. SF Gate looks at May’s Climate Ride; I’ve heard nothing but good things from those who rode it last year. A salmon cyclist is expected to survive a head-on collision with tow truck in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood. San Francisco supervisors call for a crackdown on dangerous drivers; will LA’s city council ever have the courage to demand that motorists stop killing Angelenos? Is spray painting “road kill” in a Napa bike lane a hate crime; seriously, do you really have to ask?

Powerful story from a legally blind bike rider who fought the law, and won. Agenda announced for this year’s National Bike Summit in March. Legal commentary calls for tougher rules for bike and ski helmets, while the incomparable Elly Blue offers five things more worth arguing about than bike helmets — and nails it. Riding a bike in your teens could help prevent a heart attack later in life. Maybe it is a minor miracle, as Portland residents demand that parking be removed to improve bike access. A Spokane website offers a comprehensive list of women’s bike blogs. Gay marriage is off for now in Utah, but mayors biking to work is on. Does the world really need a smarter bike bell? Talk about a good cause — a Boulder CO event raises funds for the Amy D Foundation, dedicated to introducing young girls to cycling in honor of fallen pro cyclocross rider Amy Dombroski. Turns out auto traffic really does drop on bike to work day, at least in Boulder. Nebraska cyclists protest plans to ban them from a key bridge. A South Dakota driver gets a plea deal on road rage charges, though security camera footage may raise issues. Robbers pistol whip, then shoot a Pasadena cyclist; no, the other Pasadena. Zip-off pant extensions could help you arrive at work in style. Biking is up in Boston, though 70% of riders are men; helmet use is a surprising 76%. A Boston writer looks at the recent death of fallen cyclist Pam Leven, and questions whether it, or any other collision between cyclists, is really an accident. Students at Northeastern University develop a smart bike with built-in collision warning system; is anyone old enough to get a “Danger Will Robinson! Danger!” reference? November was the deadliest month for NYC cyclists and pedestrians in nearly two years. New York cyclists get bike repair vending machines. Florida legislature could remove incentive for drunk drivers to flee collisions; that’s just the first step we need to take here.

UCI appoints its panel to examine doping in pro cycling, and Lance promises to play nice. Experts debate whether bike helmets should remain mandatory in British Columbia. Oxford cyclist drowns on flooded pathway near where a teenage cyclist drowned in 2007; never try to ride through water if you can’t tell how deep it is. Panicked Lancashire publication says speeding poser cyclists on Strava risk road death. Irish authorities urge humans to wear hi-viz rather than ask motorists to actually pay attention. Hamburg plans to eliminate the need for cars within 20 years. Aussie driver harasses a cyclist, who turns out to be the state police commissioner. Freak mini-tornado blows rider off bike in Australian time trial. Brisbane closes a toxic bikeway for asbestos removal. Kiwi cyclists fear more deaths unless a new pathway bypasses known danger zones. New Zealand writer says bike safety should be a political issue; he’s right. A rider takes a record-setting tour of the South Pole.

Finally, a Canadian driver cuts out the middleman, and crashes into bikes before they ever leave the shop. LA now has the world’s first Burrito Vending Machine — and naturally, a bike lane leading right to it. And Another Perfect Day finds a road sign anticipating lonely cyclists.

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Too much bad news for Christmas Eve, and a long list of pre-holiday reading

Let’s start with the bad news.

And there’s just too much of it for Christmas Eve this year.

First up, the Daily News identifies the Sheriff’s Deputy who killed cyclist Milt Olin on December 8th as a 16-year veteran from the Malibu/Lost Hills station, despite a lack of confirmation from the department. The collision is still under investigation; two weeks later, investigators still haven’t spoken to all the witnesses. Thanks to Deb Fort for the link.

There’s still no ID on the cyclist killed by a Metrolink train on December 6th. The victim is described as a Hispanic man over 21 years old, about 5’2” and 144 pounds, with brown eyes and a black Mohawk, and a red stud earring in one ear. Anyone with information is urged to call coroner’s investigator Daniel Machian at 323-343-0754 or the coroner investigations division at 323-343-0714.

Australian publication The Age fills in the blanks on the death of countryman James Rapley, who was just passing through LA when he was killed by an alleged underage — and possibly texting — drunk driver while riding a rental bike up Temescal Canyon.

And a comment on the Brentwood Patch website says the cyclist doored on Barrington Ave in Brentwood two weeks ago today has died. I’ve reached out to members of the LAPD for confirmation, but no response yet.

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The news isn’t much better in the pro ranks, as 21-year old Swiss rider Felix Baur was killed in a collision while training in Spain last Wednesday. Meanwhile, 26-year old Euris Vidal — who was scheduled to join the Incycle-Predator Components team next year — was shot and killed while trying to stop a robbery in the Dominican Republic on Sunday.

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Four missing mountain bikers are found safe after spending an unplanned night in the Angeles National Forest. A new short film follows the life of an abandoned bike in East LA. One of California’s best schools was founded in honor of a 13-year old girl killed by a distracted driver while her family was riding in Wyoming. Cast your vote in the LA Streetsblog Streetsie awards. Julia Roberts rides a Dutch bike through the ‘Bu. British bike scribe Carlton Reid offers an in-depth look at the elevated California Cycleway which stretched from LA to Pasadena in the early 1900s. Mark your calendar for next month’s Arroyo Seco tweed ride. In a heartwarming story, hundreds of cyclists join a Santa Clarita rider in completing the ride that almost took his life a year ago. Bikes and bike advocates rank high in this Long Beach year-in-review.

Cyclelicious offers a year-in-review retrospective. The San Diego Bicycle Coalition lists their 2013 accomplishments, including the city’s first ciclovia. You still have time to join in the Harbor View Holiday Lights Ride in Corona del Mar at 5 pm this evening. Oxnard bike cop suffers minor injuries in a hit-and-run; thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up. The National Parks Service has thrown the brakes on endurance bike and running events in Death Valley, something we’d reported here a few weeks ago. Salmon cyclist killed in Lodi. Merced man tries to run down a bike rider in a jealous rage over a woman. Prison inmates refurbish bikes for kids. UC Berkeley manager dies from a heart attack after swerving to avoid a skateboarder while riding his bike. Think of it as a Street View for bikes for SF and NY riders. Chico shuts down a bike path in response to crime.

Elly Blue’s dog offers advice on bicycling with your human. US urban cycling is here to stay; let’s hope so. Americans are less likely to bike but more likely to be killed doing it according to a new study. Ten lessons learned from biking across the country. Colorado filmmaker offers tips on winter riding. A Houston website asks if the city’s drivers hate cyclists after a second rider is killed by a hit-and-run driver; in that case, they must really hate us here. Merry Christmas indeed, as a WI man pushes a boy off his bike to steal it. Chicago cyclists are about to get their first curb-separated bike lanes. Michigan non-profit gives bikes to 2500 kids. Ohio rider gets her stolen bike back for Christmas. UPS delivers by bike in Providence RI. DC Streetsbog wants your vote on the year’s biggest transportation stories, including the plan to tear down a Long Beach freeway. After Fayetteville NC’s Bicycle Man passes away, his wife continues his mission of giving 500 bikes to deserving children. The Florida cyclist dumped behind a dumpster by a heartless hit-and-run driver clings to life, but his prognosis is uncertain.

Who exactly are the real scofflaws in the UK? British paperboys and girls get new helmets and hi-viz to keep them safe after one of their peers is killed; not getting hit by cars would probably help more. A Brit letter writer says they built it, and no one came, so just give up already. Young Belgian pro attempts suicide after testing positive for clenbuterol after racing in China. The collision that left a Singapore cyclist in critical condition is caught on video; thanks to Danny Gamboa for the tip. Even Bangkok is becoming a better place to bike. Yes, Australia’s helmet law reduced cycling rates, but maybe not so much. Aussie bike tourist gets shot in the eye with a paintball gun on the first day of a planned New Zealand tour.

Finally, no bikes involved. Just a Texas driver who drank cologne to mask the scent of alcohol on his breath after he was stopped by police following a hit-and-run; nice try, anyway. And a woman pedals her hi-tech tricycle in a race to the South Pole; thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the link.

Please accept my best wishes for a very merry Christmas, and the happiest of holiday seasons for all.

Update: Fatal bike collision on Temescal Canyon in Pacific Palisades

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

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

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

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

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

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

More details as they come in.

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

And yes, the driver remained at the scene. 

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

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

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

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

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

John Rapley; photo from The Age

James Rapley; photo from The Age

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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