Tag Archive for James Rapley

Morning Links: Protected bike lane proposed for Temescal Cyn, and former LA hip-hop artist attacked in St. Louis

This time, they can blame me.

It was just a few days before Christmas in 2013 when James Rapley went for a bike ride while on an extended layover at LAX on his way home to Australia for the holidays.

He turned up Temescal Canyon Rd, where he was killed by a stoned driver while riding in the uphill bike lane.

The more I learned about the crash, the more my stomach sank.

Because I’ve ridden that road countless times looking for a little challenge after riding along the beach — which is probably exactly what he was doing that morning. And had suffered a number of close calls myself as speeding drivers drifted into the unprotected bike lane after they failed to negotiate the road’s sweeping curves.

I had thought many times that the solution was a protected bike lane to separate riders from those speeding cars and careless drivers.

But kept the thought to myself, until it was too late.

So I began contacting city officials, calling for a parking-protected bike lane on Temescal between PCH and Sunset Blvd. Calls that repeatedly fell on deaf ears.

Until last year, when the BAC’s David Wolfberg and Danny Gamboa of Ghost Bikes LA and Empact Long Beach joined me in asking newly installed LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds for a meeting, in order to make the request one more time.

We never got that meeting.

Instead, we received an email saying not only did she like the idea, but that staff engineers were already at work designing the project.

We decided not to say anything at the time to avoid stirring up opposition before a design was even ready to discuss.

But the time has come.

The first public meeting to discuss the plan is scheduled to take place at 7 pm Thursday night in the Pacific Palisades Community Library, 861 Alma Real Drive, with CD 11 Mobility Deputy Jessie Holzer presenting.

The design work has moved along slowly due to the limited staff at LADOT.

But the last I heard, the plan called for a parking protected bike lane replacing the existing lane on the uphill side, and a buffered bike lane on the downhill side.

A protected lane isn’t practical heading downhill, where bike speeds can easily reach 30 mph or higher, to avoid trapping riders in the event of an emergency. But uphill, speeds are slow enough that even a fast climber should be able to easily brake to a stop without needing to exit the lane.

If the protected bike lane had been in place in 2013, there still might not have been enough parked cars present that early on a Sunday morning to block the car that drifted into the bike lane to take Rapley’s life. But even just moving the bike lane from the door zone to the curb might have provided enough separation to let him get back home to Australia with nothing more than a tale to tell.

Unfortunately, I can’t make the meeting tomorrow night.

But if you live, work or ride anywhere in the area, I urge you to attend to voice your support for the plan, and offer any suggestions you think could improve it.

Because the best memorial we can give James Rapley is to make sure it never happens again.


Streetsblog covers last night’s community engagement meeting in Hollywood to solicit input on LA’s Vision Zero plan, due to be released by the end of next month.

I was there, along with a couple dozen highly engaged community and safety advocates.

And even though I was highly skeptical when I walked in, I left feeling like LADOT and Vision Zero LA may really be committed to doing what it takes to reduce, if not eliminate, traffic deaths.

Although the lack of representation from the mayor’s office, or either of the city councilmembers representing the Hollywood area, doesn’t not speak well of the city’s commitment to support, let alone actually implement, the plan.

As always, the question is whether Los Angeles is willing to make the tough choices necessary to reduce serious injuries and fatalities, if that means eliminating parking, increasing congestion or standing up to community opposition.

I had been asked not to publicize the meetings, in order to maintain small working groups and keep them from devolving into the usual raucous conflicts between advocates and NIMBYs.

But you can find the full schedule on the Streetsblog piece; it’s worth attending if you can make it to one of the remaining meetings.


In sickening news from St. Louis, a former Los Angeles resident was attacked while riding his bike earlier this month.

Hip-hop artist and motivational speaker Jah Orah was lucky to escape with just a broken clavicle and sprained feet when a carful of youths attempted to rob him a gunpoint, then chased him down in their BMW, striking him at full speed while shouting “get that nigga” as he tried to ride away.

A gofundme account has raised over $10,000 of the $15,000 goal to help defray his expenses.

And hopefully, the kids responsible will soon be behind bars. For a very long time.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.


Nice long read from Bicycling profiling an Aussie pro known as the Bob Dylan of cycling, who would rather ride across the country — here or there — with his brother than train for his next race.

An international sports site says it’s time for a women’s Tour de France, running concurrently with the men’s race. To which I wholeheartedly agree.

Tour winner Chris Froome will ride the Vuelta following the Olympics, where former teammate Bradley Wiggins expects him to take the gold. One of the leading criticisms of Lance Armstrong — aside from the whole doping thing — was he didn’t take part in any of the classics, or any of the Grand Tours aside from the Tour de France; nice to see Froome isn’t a similar one-race wonder.



Strong Towns member Josef Bray-Ali explains why he’s running for LA city council against anti-bike incumbent Gil Cedillo.

Starting Monday, you can rent one of the new Metro Bike bikeshare bikes using a credit card.

The LACBC writes that bike infrastructure and education are working in tandem to improve safety.

CiclaValley says the site of the massive Sand Canyon fire is a familiar one for cyclists.

After being cancelled due to last weekend’s bad air as smoke from the fire drifted over the LA Basin, the third annual Tour de Laemmle has been rescheduled for August 21st.

The LA Weekly visits Culver City’s new meat-centric, bike-themed restaurant The Cannibal, and finds it lacking.

Long Beach announces plans for the city’s third Beach Streets open streets event in November.



Random attacks on homeless people continue in San Diego, as a man on a bike swung a hammer at a homeless man.

Santa Barbara approves a new Bicycle Master Plan designed to close gaps in the city’s existing bike network.

A Santa Cruz bike shop owner reports seeing a road-raging driver intentionally knock a cyclist off his bike, then run over the bicycle with the rider still underneath it.

Sacramento decides to ban bikes from certain sidewalks, but fails to decide which sidewalks those should be. Riders who break the law could be sent to a newly approved bike traffic school.



Bicycling says the country’s first, and so far, only bikeshare death highlights the need for better infrastructure.

A Spokane cyclist explains why he carries a gun for self-defense when he rides to work.

A Colorado driver was high on dope when he killed an eight-year old girl as she rode her bicycle with her step-father; marijuana is legal in the state, but driving under the influence of anything isn’t.

A Dallas driver gets five years in jail and ten years probation for smashing into a bike rider, then driving half a mile with the victim’s body embedded in his windshield before unceremoniously dumping him in an alley.

Corpus Christie TX looks at improving bike safety in the downtown area before launching a bikeshare program; a local rider captures some of the problems on his helmet cam.

The tour director for a Michigan bike advocacy group suffered multiple broken bones in hit-and-run on Saturday; the driver could face charges ranging from DUI to attempted homicide.

Tragic news from Ohio, as a young college student who disappeared while riding her bike home has been found dead; police have arrested a suspect who was convicted of a nearly identical crime 26 years earlier, except in that case, the bike-riding victim got away.

New York is going the wrong way on Vision Zero, while a Gotham website says the city’s Vision Zero plan would be better off without the NYPD’s involvement.

Tragic news from South Carolina, as a pregnant woman and her baby died after a head-on collision with a bike rider. This is why you always have to ride carefully around pedestrians; they’re often unpredictable, and the only ones more vulnerable on the streets than we are.



Go ahead, have that Coke after your ride.

A Canadian cyclist turns to profanity in an attempt to get her stolen bike back.

In a new study from the University of Duh, British Columbia researchers conclude that streetcar tracks increase the risk of bike crashes, while separated bike routes could cut the risk.

Evidently, Anarchy in the UK is more than just a Sex Pistols song, as swarms of scofflaw cyclists bring Central London to a halt.

A British Shakespearean company is riding across the UK to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death.

Yet another bike rider has been spotted riding on a British freeway, passing stalled traffic as he rode with no hands.

Bike riders in Denmark will now be allowed to turn right on red lights, but drivers still can’t.

Never mind philandering spouses or evil twins. An Aussie soap opera features a bike safety advocate painting his own DIY bike lanes to protest government inaction.

A teenaged Philippine cyclist was killed and his girlfriend wounded when a dispute over a near collision escalated into a fist fight, before the driver got a gun from his car and shot both of them. Which is why it’s always smarter to just ride away. Even if I have trouble doing that myself.

Caught on video: A Chinese distracted driver captured the crash that killed him on his dash cam as he fled from a fatal collision with a bike rider; a post mortem exam showed he was 15 times the legal alcohol limit.



Apparently, bike riders aren’t even safe when they’re sleeping in a tent. Who needs a bike lock when you’ve got bees?

And I don’t care if it makes you ride faster, I’ll take EPO over chewing animal testicles any day.


Morning Links: Lowrider bikes on Whittier Blvd, Rapley memorial bike, and banning bikes in Palos Verdes

Lowriders have always brought a smile to my face.

Especially when they’re not cars.

Photographer and blogger Aurelio Jose Barrera recently did a photo essay on the rebirth of an Eastside tradition as the lowriders return to Whittier Blvd.

But he also captured a family riding their grownup and child-sized lowrider bicycles to take in, and be a part of, the scene unfolding on the street.

Photo by Aurelio Jose Barrera

Photos by Aurelio Jose Barrera

Photo by Aurelio Jose Barrera

Photo by Aurelio Jose Barrera


Apparently, the memorial for fallen cyclist James Rapley on Temescal Canyon Park is getting noticed.

The editor of the Palisades news writes about the white, bicycle-shaped bike rack that was placed in the park earlier this year. It was designed to look like a ghost bike, in addition to serving as a functional bike rack, as a reminder to everyone to bike and drive safely.

And sober, unlike the stoned driver who took his life.

Thanks to David Wolfberg for the heads-up.


Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson has been on a roll lately as he works to stay on top of the rapidly changing developments affecting bicyclists in the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

This time, he reports on a group of over-privileged homeowners attempting, illegally, to ban bicycles from their street.

Under California law, bicycles are allowed to use any public street where motor vehicles are allowed, with the exception of most limited access highways.

So they’re more than welcome to ban bikes.

They just have to ban their own cars and SUVs, as well.


As soon as you drive a stake through the heart of one bike-hating Facebook group, another one pops up.


Reuters says Chris Froome’s third victory seals his status as one of the greats of the Tour de France, while he’s finally getting some respect from the crowds. Meanwhile, a British writer says the only way to save the Tour is to get fans to back off.

A Hollywood website offers five things to know about the repeat winner, while the Guardian says Froome is a role model for clean cycling in a sport that needed one.

Then again, doping wasn’t always frowned on; some people still don’t think it’s that big a deal.

An English cycling club founded by suffragettes celebrates one of their own, as 23-year old Adam Yates claims the white jersey as the Tour’s best young rider.

Rivals riders consider points winner Peter Sagan one of the best cyclists in the peloton.

And a writer for women’s magazine Marie Claire says it’s time for women to compete equally with men at the Tour, either in a parallel race on the same routes, or allowing them to actually compete in the race.



Evidently, they feel our pain. CiclaValley captures a pair of motorcycle cops who finally give up on getting a traffic light to change for them, and blow the light.

CicLAvia is hosting a $100 Play Day in LA fundraiser on September 17th.

Stephen Corwin offers nine things game-changing things you won’t understand about the new Metro Bike bikeshare until you try it.

A 20-year old UCLA student from Chico is riding nearly 4,000 miles across the US with the Bike and Build program.

Beverly Hills encourages everyone to walk or bike to a free block party on South Beverly Drive this Saturday. In other words, taking the city’s virtually non-existent bike lanes to get to the virtually non-existent bike parking.



A San Diego website says the San Diego Bicycle Coalition will host a discussion of the Coastal Rail Trail at a Bikes on Tap bike-in happy hour. But fails to mention when and where it will take place.

Brilliant idea, as the owner of several San Francisco ice cream bikes collects donations to pay for ice cream for kids who can’t afford it. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.



Someone vandalized Portland’s new bikeshare bikes as soon as they hit the ground, possibly because they were seen as a symbol of gentrification.

A Colorado cyclist continues to ride up to 50 miles a day, seven days a week, despite being in his 26th round of chemo for stage 4 colon cancer that has spread to his liver and lungs.

Iowa’s annual RAGBRAI ride started Sunday with a Mile of Silence in honor of bicyclists injured or killed in the state; sadly, they added one more name to that list before the memorial ride even got started.

An Op-Ed in an Iowa paper says it’s time to build protected bike lanes in the state.

Pittsburgh appears to be bucking the safety in numbers trend, as bicycling collisions increase along with ridership.

An analyst for right-wing think tank says bike lanes in Raleigh NC are social engineering at expense of those poor drivers, and accuses elected leaders of arrogance for thinking they know better than the people they’re elected to represent. Which, of course, is exactly why they were elected in the first place. Meanwhile, a local rider refutes her arguments; thanks to DOORZONE for the link.



Canada Bikes is hiring a new executive director. Just in case you plan to leave the country if the wrong candidate wins this fall’s election.

Support has been pouring in for a Canadian Paralympic cyclist after both of her bikes were stolen.

Two British brothers save their overweight, diabetic father’s life through bicycling.

Caught on video: A Brit bike rider uses his helmet cam to catch a man playing Pokémon GO as he drove his BMW.

Police in one English town ban bike riders from the central city due to incidents of an “anti-social manner” from a few cyclists, which pose a danger to pedestrians. By that standard, all drivers would be banned from every road, everywhere.



Wearing a hoodie when you ride is okay, but put some pants on, too. The approved used for bike locks does not include attacking taxis for no apparent reason.

And if you’re going to ride with a loaded rifle on your back, make sure you’re legally allowed to own one.

Although that’s one way to make sure drivers give you some space.


Morning Links: DUI killer gets off with 5 years probation, community service at the urging of the victim’s family

The ghost bike for James Rapley on Temescal Canyon

The ghost bike for James Rapley on Temescal Canyon

Sometimes the generosity of people astounds me.

Like the family and girlfriend of fallen cyclist James Rapley, and plea deal they requested for the driver who killed him.

As you may recall, Rapley was just visiting our city on an extended layover at LAX in December of 2013, leaving his girlfriend behind in Chicago to visit his family in Australia.

He never got there.

His love of bicycling inspired him to rent a bike and ride up the coast on a sunny winter morning, just days before Christmas.

Maybe he wanted more of a challenge, or a more sweeping view of the coast. We’ll never know why he left the beach to ride up the steep hill on Temescal Canyon.

Because that’s where he was run down from behind as he rode in the bike lane at 9 am on a Sunday morning, by Mohammed Kadri, then 19-year old and still high from the night before. Rapley died there, a visitor to our city, thousands of miles from the people he loved.

Kadri could have faced significant jail time if the case went to trial, although as a first-time offender in a county cramped for jail space, that was unlikely. Even though an OC lawyer got four years for an almost identical crime earlier this year.

Yet despite their obvious grief, Rapley’s loved ones saw no good in sending a young man to jail. Instead, they pushed for significant community service in the hopes that Kadri could turn his life around and be a benefit to others.

Last Friday, they got their wish, as Karen Scott, James Rapley’s long-time girlfriend who moved with him from Australia, explains.

Kadri pleaded no contest to the felony charge of vehicular manslaughter. “No contest” is legally equivalent to guilty however they don’t say the words “guilty”. No contest means they are admitting guilt because they believe it is in their best interest to do so.

• 5 years probation which cannot be reduced in length (the max probation period). 8 days credit from time served in prison (I wasn’t aware that’s he’d served time in jail)

• 150 days community service, 30 days per year min for duration of the probation.

• Proof of enrollment in community service to be submitted to the court by Dec 1st.

• He can’t ever carry a firearm and will be considered more harshly on any future criminal acts due to the felony charge.

• He was registered on probation straight after the hearing and it all goes into place straight away.

Myself and James family believed that community service was the best outcome as James would have wanted this and also there is some good that may come from this for the community and hopefully Kadri will grow from the work he does. I can’t see how anyone who will be doing community service every week (or once a fortnight) for 5 years couldn’t come out of this a better person. 150 days is one of the highest number anyone had seen for court mandated community service, usually its 100 days or less. If we had decided to go down the jail route, as he didn’t have a history, he would probably have been given a maximum of 16 months in jail, but because the jails in LA are so full, he’d only serve half that, at 8 months. And with jail that is it, he wouldn’t do anything in the community and we just didn’t see that outcome being what James would want. We did want to make sure however that he plead guilty to the felony charge as we wanted it to be on his record and clear that he take responsibility for his actions.

Scott also gave me permission to post the Victim Impact Statement she read to the court.

It is a beautiful, loving and heartbreaking document, and one that is difficult to read. But it offers a clear picture of harm caused by traffic violence and driving the influence. And the enormity of the loss she suffered, along with his family.

Over the course of this case, I’ve come to know Karen Scott, through emails and finally, meeting in person when she came to LA for a hearing.

She is a petite, charming and generous woman, with a gentle accent that belies her origins Down Under; her love for James still evident nearly two years later. Yet she has born the incredible weight of this case on her small shoulders, bearing witness for his family when they could not bear to set foot in the city where their son died.

I can’t say I would have made the same choices they did. I would have pushed for jail, and the revocation of Kadri’s license.

But I admire their charity, for lack of a better word. And, if not forgiveness, a willingness to release the need for revenge and craft a punishment designed to make the killer of the man they loved whole again.

They also have me wondering, not for the first time, if there might not be a better way to punish those who kill behind the wheel.


After winning the Vuelta, Italian rider Fabian Aru could get the green light to lead the Astana team in the 2016 Tour de France.

A 20-year old Indian track cyclist becomes the first from her country to medal in the women’s elite category, taking five medals at the Taiwan Cup Track International Classic.

The new head of USA Cycling takes pride in being one of the few ex-pros who didn’t dope, saying his instinct is to throw dopers under the bus. There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part, there seems to be two kinds of pro cyclists from the past decade — those who doped, and those who didn’t get caught.

Speaking of which, banned doper doctor Michele Ferrari sues to halt distribution of Lance bio The Program.



Streetsblog says Vancouver is a bicycling city with lessons for Los Angeles.

Explore site-specific art installations on the LA River bike path this Saturday with TEN FEET: Art Meets The River.

LAist looks forward to CicLAvia’s fifth anniversary on Sunday the 18th with a return to the Heart of LA route, where it all started on 10-10-10. And yes, I still have the T-shirt.

A writer for the Daily Trojan says bikes are an important part of campus life at USC, but the university needs to be made more bike friendly.

South Pasadena considers hosting a stage for next year’s the Amgen Tour of California. The anticipated $7,800 cost seems like a bargain; it should bring in far more than that in tax receipts from the additional sales local businesses will see.

Speaking of South Pas, a meeting will be held on October 20th to discuss traffic calming on Arroyo Drive. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.



Jerry Brown signed AB 1096 clarifying the rules for e-bikes. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the tip.

The lawyer for a San Diego driver charged with driving head-on into a group of cyclists says yes, she had meth in her system but she wasn’t impaired by it. So evidently, she just drove the wrong way and crashed into them for fun.

The residents of Coronado react in the comments to the justified ridicule they received from the Late Late Show’s James Corden. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

A bike rider in her 60s suffered major injuries in a Palm Desert collision Tuesday evening; the second major collision involving a cyclist in that town in just three days.

The Capitola city council will decide whether the safety of bike-riding school children is worth removing 99 parking spaces.

Sad news from Hayward, as the body of a missing mountain biker was found 150 feet down a park hillside.

A Contra Costa writer looks at the arrival of bicycles in California in the 1800s, 20 years after they swept the rest of the country.

Six miles of San Jose streets will go car-free for the city’s first ciclovía.

There won’t be any tolls charged for bicyclists or pedestrians to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, for the next five years, anyway.



Bicycling offers tips on how to keep your makeup flawless on a ride. Which is apparently the biggest problem women riders face.

Yakima WA releases a draft $6 million bike plan in hopes of getting off the list of the country’s 10 fattest cities.

Grist tells the ghost bike origin story, tracing them back to a 2003 St. Louis art project.

Loss of parking rears its ugly head in Ithaca NY, as residents and councilmembers want to reopen discussion of bike lanes on a major street, even though it’s too late to stop the project.

The Department of DIY strikes in NYC, as someone created their own protected bike lane by placing orange cones and flowers along an existing bike lane; it took four people less than 20 minutes and $516 to install. Are you thinking what I’m thinking, LA?

Norfolk VA unveils a draft bike and pedestrian plan designed to improve 12 critical corridors.

Atlanta cyclists hope the city’s new CBO — that’s Chief Bicycling Officer — can lead it back to two-wheeled glory.

The parents of a Palm Beach boy will receive a $12 million check from a condominium association, four years after their son was killed while riding his bike by an elderly resident who couldn’t see over the building’s untrimmed hedges.



A review website compares the new SitGo e-bike foldie to a Transformer. Although it looks more like a Star Wars droid to me.

Canada’s Halifax cycling Coalition calls for protective side guards on trucks to keep bike riders and pedestrians from falling underneath. Actually, those should be required everywhere. Now.

The Guardian tries out anti-pollution masks to protect bike riders from bad air.

A cute new magnetic, 80-decible bike bell is detachable and small enough to carry in your pocket. No word on whether it will be available in the US.

A 75-year old British bicyclist now teaches CPR with the 37-year old woman who saved his life when he suffered a heart attack while riding six years earlier.

A Swedish cyclist who “technically” had the right-of-way engaged in a 10 minute stand-off with a truck driver coming in the opposite direction.

Aussie cyclists say upgrading roads without installing bike lanes will only mean more congestion.

An Australian website accuses Melbourne of unveiling a radical plan to make the city bike friendly, including — gasp! — reduced speeds and separating bikes from pedestrians along a popular promenade.



Seriously? Solve a Rubik’s Cube while riding a bikeshare bike through a London park with a 5 mph speed limit, and get reported to the police for endangering the safety of others. Your next ride could be on a 3D printed open sourced bike.

And no matter how mad you are at the driver who honked at you, don’t bash his car — and him — with your U-lock.

Just… don’t.


Guest Post: A view from the courtroom

It’s one of the more heartbreaking cases in recent history.

It was just two days before Christmas last year, when a young Australian man working in Chicago was flying back home for the holidays, leaving his girlfriend of five years behind. Faced with an extended layover at LAX, James Rapley decided to rent a bike on a sunny Sunday morning for a ride along the beach.

He never made his flight home.

Rapley was riding in the uphill bike lane on Temescal Canyon Blvd when he was run down from behind by another young man, who was allegedly under the influence at 9 am, and reportedly admitted to texting behind the wheel when he drifted into the bike lane, taking the Aussie’s life in an instant.

I’ve often wondered what James Rapley’s thoughts were in those last few moments as his life drifted away. Whether he thought of the woman he loved, or the family he would never see again.

Or just wondered why.

Mohammed Kadri, the driver who took his life, was recently charged with vehicular manslaughter.

Our anonymous South Bay correspondent volunteered to be in the courtroom for Kadri’s Preliminary Setting on Thursday. Here’s her report.


This morning, Mohammed Kadri was actually present in court. I didn’t see anyone in the tiny courtroom who looks 20 years old, because Kadri is kind of hirsute, so he looks older; the kid probably has a 5 o’clock shadow by noon. He’s not very tall, but his suit fit well, and posture is good and it indicated that he understands the gravity of his situation.

The Deputy DA assigned to the case requested a continuance. The judge asked a little impatiently why they shouldn’t proceed today. The prosecutor stated that she needs time to speak with the victim’s family. (Because what better time than the holidays?!?) The next court date is Friday, January 16th.

Incidentally, the prosecutor is Danette Meyers. She’ll prosecute viciously. The victim impact statements will be absolutely integral to the case, though. Even if the family can only provide written statements.

From the glass elevators at the courthouse, you can see planes coming in to LAX. I looked at those tubes of tin and thought of all the souls on board. James had flown into LAX a day early because he was worried that bad weather would delay his flight home to Australia. I wondered if any of today’s arrivals had chosen an early flight for the same reason, to play it safe so they can get home to their families for the holidays. And then I prayed every single one of them will be on their connecting flights. Because James Rapley never got the chance.

Just as an aside, and I could be wrong, but… In the hallway outside the courtroom, an older guy intercepted Kadri’s lawyer as we (me & the guy who turned out to be the lawyer) reached for the courtroom door at just about the same moment. This older guy may be a relative. Right after Kadri’s appearance, I went into the hallway to type some quick notes on my laptop. This same older guy walked by, very clearly looking down at the screen. I scowled at him and he pivoted away. I think he noticed the LACBC sticker on the front and suspects I’m some agent of theirs. Well, let the defense worry that so many eyes are on them.

I’d love to see Kadri quake beneath the gaze of an angry guardian angel the size of the Bike Coalition.

The Airport courthouse has no bike parking, but the security at the garage entrance suggested locking up to the handicap parking sign. The courthouse is conveniently nestled in the armpit of the 105/405 interchange, and miserable to reach by any way but car. If you look at Google Maps, it’s right there by the Green Line station, but you can’t access it by 116th street (unless you scale two chain link fences, and people clearly do this.) Nope, you have to go down to 120th and head back north. If you’re on a bike on 120th & La Cienega, it’s terrifying to wait in the eastbound left turn lane (whose sensor doesn’t register bikes), because the westbound traffic shooting out from the freeway underpass seems to be COMING RIGHT AT YOU thanks to the wacky angle at the intersection. By the time that oncoming wall of FedEx truck zoomed at me like Jaws, my heart rate was about 160. It’s not much lower right now, what with the rage about how we practically require vehicular manslaughter defendants to arrive at the courthouse by automobile.


After I got her report, I emailed a member of Rapley’s family in Australia to let them know about the January 16th court date.

The response I received broke my heart.

The next court date will be just days after the one year anniversary of his funeral. And six years to the day that he’d been with his girlfriend. 


The ghost bike for James Rapley is still there, 355 days later.

Maybe you’ve seen it at the corner of Temescal and PCH, and wondered who it was for, or stopped to read the inscription.

It’s been maintained all this time by a grieving father from Oxnard, whose own six-year old son was killed while riding his bike. Since then, Anthony Novarro has dedicated his life to remembering other bike riding sons and daughters who have lost theirs.

He stops by every few weeks to clean the site, and remember a young man none of us ever knew.

But all ghost bikes are removed or stolen sooner or later; it’s unusual that one lasts this long.

There’s a discussion currently underway to make the memorial permanent by installing a bike rack in the shape of a bicycle in Rapley’s honor.

So far it hasn’t gotten past the discussion stage.

But its another reminder that James Rapley hasn’t been forgotten in the City of Angels, even if he died a stranger to us all.


Something else that hasn’t gotten past the discussion stage yet is a proposal to build the city’s first parking-protected bike lane on that uphill side of Temescal Canyon where Rapley lost his life.

Such protected bikeways were just approved by the state legislature earlier this year, and signed into law by Governor Brown. This would be the ideal location for one, with no conflicting intersections or cross traffic for nearly mile from PCH to Palisades High School.

Whether it would have saved Rapley’s life at that early hour is impossible to say; there may not have been enough beachgoers parking their cars to form a protective barrier so early on a winter weekend.

But it might help prevent a similar tragedy in the future.

And if there’s a better way to honor someone who needlessly lost his life in the few short hours he spent in our city, I don’t know what that would be.


Update: A comment below from Jeffrey reminds us that a memorial fund in Rapley’s name has raised over $15,000 for Australia’s Amy Gillett Foundation to improve bike safety, with a goal of eliminating bicycling deaths. And it tells his all-too-brief life story, letting us know just who this man we never knew was.

More impressively, his family donated his life insurance and joined with friends to contribute over $250,000 to establish a scholarship at Whitley College for a Rural Student studying either Engineering or Science at Melbourne University.

But more funds are needed to increase the amount of the annual award, and help make a difference in the world that James Rapley never got the chance to make.


Weekend Links: Rider down at 7th and Grand; driver charged with killing James Rapley in Temescal Canyon DUI

A bike rider was hit by a car at 7th and Grand in Downtown LA Friday morning.

Unfortunately, no word on the condition or identity of the victim, but I’m told he was conscious and in a lot of pain.

That bike appears to be trashed, though.

Photo by Yuki Kidokoro

Photo by Yuki Kidokoro

Thanks to Yuki Kidokoro and LA BAC member David Wolfberg for the heads-up.


Just got word late Friday that Mohammed Kadri has been charged with a felony count of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in the death of cyclist James Rapley on Temescal Canyon late last year.

As you may recall, Rapley was riding on a rented bike during an extended layover at LAX while flying back home to Australia for the holidays, when Kadri’s car drifted into the bike lane and hit him from behind.

Kadri was allegedly drunk — or possibly still drunk — at 9:15 am on a Sunday morning, and reportedly told a bystander he had been texting.

On a related note, it’s my goal is to turn the uphill bike lane on Temescal into the city’s first parking–protected bike lane. It may not have saved Rapley at that early weekend hour, but could help keep future cyclists from the same fate.

Thanks to Karen for the heads-up.


You’ve got to be kidding.

A 20-year old Wisconsin man hit a newspaper deliveryman on a three-wheeled bike, and drove home with the victim embedded in his windshield. The rider, who did not appear to be seriously injured, unlocked the passenger door and started walking down the street before a witness called police.

And yes, you’ve got to see the photo on that link.

Then it happened again, when an allegedly drunken New Jersey driver was stopped by police with a man stuck in the windshield, after driving 1.5 miles from the scene of the hit-and-run. The 61-year old victim had to be cut out of the windshield by firefighters, and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.



No surprise that two of the three drug charges filed against Clinton Alford, Jr — the bike rider allegedly beaten and kicked by LAPD officers last month — have been dropped, with the third likely to follow, since police had no probable cause to stop and search, let alone beat, him. I’ll never understand why there’s not more outrage over this case.

Seventh District Councilmember Felipe Fuentes teams with the LACBC to light up lightless riders as part of Operation Firefly.

LADOT counts riders along the LA River bike path.

Better Bike offers an open letter calling for an end to considering traffic congestion as a mitigation criterion under CEQA rules.

Cycling in the South Bay writes about an all too typical exchange between a cyclist, a dangerously aggressive driver and bike cop who blames the wrong one.

Former US crit champ Rahsaan Bahati talks bike safety to school kids.



Neal Storm Stephany pleaded not guilty to a well-deserved murder charge in the Newport Beach DUI death of cyclist Shaun Eagleson last month.

A missing Irvine mountain biker isn’t missing any more.

The Executive Director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition explains what the city’s CicloSDias open streets festival is all about.

A Riverside man uses cycling to bounce back from osteoarthritis, and is raising a team after missing last year’s California Coast Classic following a double knee replacement.

Ventura County gets a $3.3 million grant for biking and walking projects.

Oakland bike thieves bust through the front door of a bike shop and steal 46 high-end mostly folding bikes. Thanks to Alex Kekauoha for the link. Note: I initially misidentified the location as San Francisco; it actually happened in the Bay Area city that didn’t win the World Series this year. Thanks to Prinzrob for keeping me honest. 

A San Francisco drunk passes out in the street next to the pink child’s bike he’d been riding. Am I the only one wondering if they checked to see if the bike was stolen?

Bike friendly Davis is looking for a new bike/ped coordinator.

A Sacramento-area fitness chain mimics ghost bikes by locking orange-painted bikes around town for a not-very-effective marketing campaign.



Protected bike lanes not only improve safety for cyclists, but for pedestrians, as well. Then again, they seem to be good for everyone.

A rider for Team Novo Nordisk explains how to ride with diabetes, something I’m going to have to learn.

Four years for a Portland teenager who bashed a random cyclist in the face with a brick. Too bad he’s a juvenile, because that crime deserves a lot more time.

A Wyoming driver faces up to 16 years after pleading guilty to aggravated homicide in the death of a cyclist earlier this year.

Things are changing in the Lone Star State as San Antonio becomes bike friendlier, and even Houston isn’t as bad as it used to be.

A writer for the Chicago Reader skillfully dismantles the Tribune’s crotchety, anti-bike troll.

A Michigan writer explains why riding with traffic is safer for cyclists. Seriously, nothing good comes from riding salmon.

New York launches a new Vision Zero map tracking traffic deaths across the city.

Great profile of New York bike messenger and riding legend Austin Horse.

A DC writer says riding on the sidewalk is just scary, for pedestrians, not dangerous.



How to survive riding in the rain.

A Vancouver study shows drivers are seldom charged with dooring.

A UK website asks if doping is finally a thing of the past in pro cycling. Uh, yeah, sure. Of course it is.

A smartly designed new Brit bike grows with your child.

A Welsh cyclist faces multiple charges after breaking out the window of a car with his U-lock. Seriously, no matter how angry you may be, responding with violence will only make it worse.

Irish researchers with a keen grasp of the obvious discover bicycling is underutilized in the country because many people think it’s too dangerous.

An Aussie rider explains why we wear those silly cleated shoes.



Sir Bradley Wiggins, former Tour de France champ, is now an anime character. Caught on self-promoting video: A London beverage company develops a slightly self-serving plan to provide helmets for Boris Bike users; but not, evidently, these helmetless cyclists who videoed themselves using them — the bikes, not the helmets — to ride from London to Paris.

And Bikeyface neatly illustrates the problem with Share the Road.


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.


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.


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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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