Tag Archive for Long Beach

Los Angeles, Orange County named Honorable Mention Bike Friendly Cities(?)

We’ll ignore the fact the Orange County is, well, a county. Not a city.

Or if you prefer, a lot of cities, even if they do tend to blend into one another at times.

But O.C. and L.A. have made the League of American Bicyclists list of Bike Friendly Cities, if only just barely. Both were named Honorable Mention, a step below the Bronze designation, in recognition of the steps each has made.

And just how far they have to go.

Los Angeles makes its claim on the basis of the new-found support from City Hall that has resulted in a widely praised new bike plan — which is just starting to result in new paint on the street — as well as the groundbreaking bicyclists’ anti-harassment ordinance.

But as Bikeside’s recent survey suggests, local cyclists face far too many unfriendly streets and drivers to deserve a higher ranking; I would read this more as recognition of the possibilities, rather than what’s already been accomplished.

Sort of like Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. And I’ll let you decide how that’s turned out.

If — and it’s a big if — the city manages to stay on course, it may legitimately deserve a bronze designation next year.

Meanwhile, someone else who actually rides there will have to address whether the collection of cities and towns behind the Orange Curtain deserves its designation.

There seems to be an unfortunate tendency to blame rude and scofflaw cyclists for the county’s unacceptably high fatality rate, including a crackdown on the victims — even though the overwhelming majority of Orange County fatalities have been the result of careless, drunk or distracted drivers, rather than lawbreaking riders.

And at least one OC city seem to have an inexplicable fear of sharrows.

But there must be progress being made; Irvine and Huntington Beach have already made the list as Bronze level cities, joining northern neighbors Long Beach and Santa Monica.

And even though SaMo’s designation was widely derided at the time — including by yours truly — they seem to be making every effort to live up to it now.

So maybe there’s real hope for L.A. and O.C., after all.

We’ll just have to wait a few years and see.

Streetsblog benefit in SaMo, Walk It or Lock It in Long Beach, better biking in Beverly Hills & outrage in TN

I’ve got a long list of legal matters to catch up on — including reader insights into last week’s road rage assault in Santa Monica, first reported by Mihai Peteu on Bikeside.

As well as a letter written by the underage, allegedly drunk driver who nearly killed cyclist Adam Rybicki in Torrance earlier this year. And the driver who called police pretending to be a witness to the collision that killed cyclist Hung Do before being arrested for the crime himself.

But in the meantime, as I rush from riding to meetings to work and back again — let alone trying to squeeze in a little sleep into to process — let me offer a reminder about today’s Streetsblog benefit at Santa Monica’s Library Alehouse.

As it turns out, I won’t be able to make it this time. But if you can make it, I strongly recommended heading to 2911 Main Street for some New Belgium beer, raffle, auctions and a cargo bike worth of fun. Along with a lot of good people having a good time for a good cause.

And yes, there will be a bike valet.

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Long Beach is kicking off the Walk It or Lock It campaign to remind cyclists that it’s against the law to ride bikes on the sidewalk in the city’s business districts.

Police will be handing out safety cards to instruct riders to either walk their bikes or lock them up in areas including Broadway and Pine Avenue in Downtown Long Beach, Atlantic Avenue in Bixby Knolls, Second Street in Belmont Shore, “Retro Row” on Fourth Street, and Cambodia Town on Anaheim Street.

And if you haven’t already, Long Beach residents are encouraged to take five minutes to complete the city’s 2011 Bike Safety Survey.

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Hats off to what — hopefully — will soon be the former Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills.

Along with a number of other bike advocates and local residents and business people, I attended last night’s meeting of the city’s Ad-Hoc Bike Plan Update Committee.

For a town that currently lacks a single inch of biking infrastructure, the representatives from Beverly Hills were surprisingly committed to changing the situation and getting test projects off the ground — or rather, on the ground — as quickly as possible. And remarkably open to suggestions, including innovative ideas that are just starting to gain acceptance elsewhere.

Make no mistake. They have a very long way to go, and still have to sell the idea of biking infrastructure to a city government and populace likely to cast a wary eye on two-wheeled interlopers in their city.

And the toughest challenge, recreating Santa Monica Boulevard in a format that will be inviting to cyclists — or at least less likely to risk our lives — still awaits discussion down the road.

But they’re off to a good start. And with a far more positive and approachable attitude than many other cities I could name.

If you live or ride through Beverly Hills — or would like to if it was a little safer and more inviting — sign up with LACBC affiliate Better Bike to get involved and stay abreast of the latest happenings.

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Finally, allow me a moment of sheer outrage, as a Tennessee woman is threatened with arrest for the crime of allowing her 10-year old daughter to ride her bike to school.

According to Bike Walk Tennessee, Teresa Tyron of Elizabethton thought her daughter had a reasonably safe 7 – 9 minute ride to school in the tiny town near the border with North Carolina.

Evidently, the authorities disagreed.

Teresa Tryon said, “On August 25th my 10 year daughter arrived home via police officer, requested to speak to me on the front porch of my home. The officer informed me that in his ‘judgment’ it was unsafe for my daughter to ride her bike to school.”

She followed up by contacting the mayor and chief of police. But instead of getting the apology any rational person would have expected, she was told that the officer would be contacting Child Protective Services — and that she could be arrested for child neglect if she allowed her daughter to ride to school in the meantime.

So let me get this straight.

A town of just 13,000 people is so dangerous that children can’t safely ride their bikes on the streets.

Of course, they don’t say whether the danger stems from the horrible traffic conditions, which surely must be far worse than those of the Los Angeles area, where children are encouraged to ride to class, though few actually do.

Then again, maybe the town is so overwhelmed with child molesters and other criminal sorts that it is unsafe for anyone to ever be outside of their homes day or night. Let alone a child.

Or maybe city officials have their collective heads so far up their own collective asses that the entire collective city government would have to visit a proctologist just to get their glasses cleaned.

If the problem is the condition of the streets, it’s up to the mayor and other city officials to make them safe — not parents to keep their children off them. If it’s a fear of criminal activity, the police should stop harassing parents and start arresting criminals until families don’t have to be afraid to let their children go out alone for less than 10 minutes on the way to and from school.

But if it’s the latter problem — which I would highly suspect — local residents should seriously consider riding the police chief, mayor and anyone else involved in this idiotic process out of town on a rail.

And replace them with far more rational people who understand that riding a bike to school isn’t a crime, and should in fact be encouraged in this day of rampant childhood obesity. And willing to do their damn jobs to make the streets safe for everyone.

Maybe they could use a little gentle encouragement to see the light.

Updated: Five SoCal cyclists dead in last 5 days; 6th fatality uncomfirmed

It is a sad irony that the same week local cyclists celebrate L.A.’s groundbreaking cyclist anti-harassment ordinance, we’re forced to confront one of the bloodiest weeks in recent memory.

Just this week, bike riders have been killed in Downtown Los Angeles and Big Bear; in addition, a Simi Valley man has been killed while riding in Hawaii, and a Long Beach man died of injuries he received in a collision on July 6th.

That’s in addition to news that a 17-year old cyclist shot and killed on over the weekend while riding his bike.

Five deaths in the last five days, spanning the spectrum of potential hazards facing riders.

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Let’s start with the collision that killed a 63-year old man in Downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday evening.

While it was widely reported that this death may have been collateral damage resulting from a road rage incident between two drivers, multiple sources at City Hall have told me that the police are no longer investigating this as a confrontation between the motorists.

According to these sources, the collision occurred as a result of the drivers competing for lane space on the street, resulting in the driver of the Avalanche swinging to the right of the roadway where the victim, who has not yet been publicly identified, was riding.

As a result, the driver who had been taken into custody has been released.

This does not mean that no charges will be filed in the death, though; the investigation is still continuing.

Flying Pigeon offers a photo of the ghost bike that will be installed for the victim, if it hasn’t been already.

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Twenty-three-year old Christopher Sop of Big Bear Lake was killed in an apparent solo riding accident on Mill Creek Road, approximately one mile south of Tulip Lane in the unincorporated part of Big Bear.

According to the Rim of the World News, the Big Bear Sheriff’s Department responded to a report of a man down at 6:17 pm on Monday. Officers concluded that Sop had been travelling north on Mill Creek when he lost control of his bike and struck a rock; he was pronounced death at the scene, with time of the accident estimated at around 3:40 pm.

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A 67-year old Long Beach man has died of injuries he received when a truck driver allegedly ran a red light on July 6th in the Bixby Knolls area.

According to the Long Beach Press Telegram, Louis Gabor was riding his bike east on Bixby Road when he was struck by a Chevrolet S-10 pickup while crossing Cherry Avenue at around 11 am. After nearly two weeks in critical condition, he died of his injuries on Tuesday.

The driver, who has not been publicly identified, faces possible a possible charge of vehicular manslaughter once the investigation is concluded.

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Maui Now reports that 24-year old Anthony Hernandez of Simi Valley was killed while riding in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii on Thursday, July 16th.

Kona police found Hernandez laying next to his bike after responding to a report of a crash at 1:18 am. He reportedly lost control of his bike and fell, hitting his head on the pavement and suffering critical face and head injuries; he died of his injuries on Sunday the 17th.

The website reports that he wasn’t wearing a helmet; in this case, that information is actually worth mentioning, since this is exactly the sort of slow-speed impact helmets are designed to protect against. It also suggests that police are investigating the possible “influence of intoxicants” in the crash.

However, as in the case of Christopher Sop in Big Bear — and any case in which a rider is found unconscious or dead on the side of the road — the question is why he lost control of his bike.

It’s entirely possible that it was the result of carelessness or intoxication on the part of the rider. But it’s also possible that it could be due to road conditions, or being brushed, buzzed or harassed by a passing vehicle. With no physical evidence, it’s very easy to blame the victim for something that may or may not have been his fault.

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Finally, the 17-year old cyclist killed in a shooting in Montecito Heights on Saturday evening has been identified as Jesus Lopez of Los Angeles. The Press-Enterprise reports that no arrests have been made; anyone with information is asked to call Detectives J. Rios or Cary Ricard at (323) 342-8959. During non-business hours or weekends, calls may be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7.

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These deaths — excluding that of Anthony Hernandez in Hawaii — raise the total of confirmed bicycling fatalities throughout Southern California this year to 47; 5 by gunshots and 42 in solo accidents or collisions with trains or motor vehicles; 20 of those deaths have occurred in L.A. County.

My sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of all the victims.

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Update: I had originally included a sixth fatality in this article; as noted on Tuesday, I had received an anonymous tip about a cycling fatality in Santa Maria; when I did a Google search for confirmation last night, I found an article from the Santa Maria Times that seemed to line up with the information I had, including the location.

However, I missed the date on the story. Even though I was searching for stories that had appeared online in just that last 24 hours, what I found was a story about a collision that occurred last November, as David Huntsman was kind enough to point out. As a result, I have removed references to the Santa Maria fatality while I wait for confirmation.

My apologies for the confusion.

Update: I’ve received confirmation that report of the Santa Maria collision was in error, and that no fatality occurred. And yes, that is very good news. 

Another South Bay cyclist killed on Saturday; 5 dead in 4th of July carnage

I don’t even know what to say at this point.

After writing about two bicyclists killed as a result of collisions in South Bay beach cities this past weekend — an El Segundo hit-and-run and a San Pedro collision apparently caused by a careless rider — now comes word that a cyclist was killed in Long Beach on Saturday.

The Long Beach Post reports that the 68-year old cyclist, who has not been publicly identified, was riding east on Pacific Coast Highway near the Terminal Island Freeway when he was hit from behind by a 2011 Honda Accord around 6:48 am.

When police arrived, they found the victim lying in the roadway; paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene. There’s no indication from the report where he was in the roadway or how he had been positioned when he was hit. While I’m not very familiar with this stretch of roadway, reports indicate that it can be a dangerous place to ride.

The driver, identified only as a 46-year old Long Beach woman, was questioned at the scene and released.

The past 4th of July weekend has just been devastating for South Bay cyclists and pedestrians; in addition to the biking fatalities, a pedestrian was killed in a San Pedro hit-and-run, and an 89-year old Redondo Beach woman was killed crossing the street.

This is the the 37th confirmed traffic-related cycling fatality in Southern California, and the 12th in Los Angeles County, since the first of the year. Remarkably, the three deaths this weekend represent over 12% of the county’s annual average for the last five years for which records are available.

There’s something terribly wrong when we celebrate our independence by watching bodies pile up in the street.

I just feel sick right now.

My heart and prayers go out to the victim’s family. Thanks to Allan Alessio for the heads-up.

Yet another bike rider shot and killed; 15-year old SD cyclist critically injured by 84-year old driver

The Daily News reports that a bicyclist was killed in a Long Beach shooting last night.

The shooting occurred prior to 8 pm Tuesday on the 2100 block of East 14th Street; no other details are available at this time.

This is the 5th cyclist fatally shot in Southern California this year, and the 4th in L.A. County.

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An anonymous reader forwards news of a tragic collision in San Diego last week, in which a 15 year old boy was critically injured when an 84-year old driver mistakenly stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brakes.

Isaiah Fisher remains in a coma after reconstruction surgery to the entire right side of his face. The van driven by Dean Hedlund reportedly made a wide left turn, went over the curb and hit a light pole before colliding with Fisher.

Just when an elderly driver is no longer able to drive safely is one of the hardest questions any family will face. For older people, driving means represents freedom and an ability to care for themselves, yet it can also pose a significant risk to themselves and everyone else on the road as their ability and judgement decline.

The hard part is that this occurs at a different rate for every individual. Some can no longer drive safely in their 60′s, while others can maintain full control of a motor vehicle decades later.

We took my father-in-law’s keys away after he suffered a severe stroke; even with significant physical impairment, he would have gladly gotten back behind the wheel if he could.

Unfortunately, most people don’t have such a clearly defined indicator that they can no longer drive safely. The warning signs of declining driving ability are usually subtle and slow to develop, often not becoming apparent until it’s too late; Hedlund himself denied that his age was a factor in the collision.

As a society, we haven’t begun to address this problem.

Instead of mandating annual testing after a certain age, we leave it up to often unqualified family members to recognize the problem and take away the keys.

As Isiah Fisher tragically shows, that’s just not good enough.

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Speaking of drivers who should be on the road, Bikeside’s Alex Thompson offers a full update on the condition of the victims, as well a interviews with witnesses, in the Culver City collision that injured 11 cyclists, 6 seriously enough to require hospitalization.And he forwards a link to some very sick and disturbed people who consider Christine Dahab, the driver who put all those people in the hospital, a hero.

Maybe we should force everyone who posts such vile comments online to visit the victims of their hatred, and see firsthand what drunken and/or distracted carelessness can do.

Maybe then they might rediscover a shred of their own humanity.

Doubtful, though.

Long Beach fire captain John Hines arraigned for drunken hit-and-run

An anonymous reader sent me the following email this morning.

In case it slipped under your radar, yesterday Fire Captain John D. Hines entered a preliminary plea of not guilty to three of his felony charges in the hit-and-run of of Jeffrey Gordon.  A judge then inexplicably denied the prosecutor’s request to increase the bail amount fivefold to $250,000, which incidentally was the amount of the arrest warrant issued on April 26th.  Hines has retained a bulldog of an attorney with a great deal of experience in keeping dangerous drivers on the streets.

Hines’ EMT certificate, #E030577, has not been revoked, and probably is not under review.

The writer goes on to note that Hines is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on June 17th.

And yes, it did slide under my radar, even though I’ve been following this case and scan the news for anything bike-related several times a day. So a big thanks for forwarding this information.

When I went back to look again after receiving the email, I found a number of stories like this one in the Contra Costa Times, each containing the same news release, virtually word for word, about Hines arraignment for running down a cyclist, then hitting the gas and fleeing the scene. And adding little to the story beyond what you see above.

Credit then, to the Los Alamitos-Seal Beach Patch, which took the time to dig a little deeper into the story — including noting, as we speculated, that Hines reportedly had checked himself into rehab following his initial arrest.

No doubt at the suggestion of the afore mentioned bulldog attorney, Vince Tucci, in the hopes of getting leniency from the court.

Hines faces a maximum of six years and eight months if convicted on the felony DUi and hit-and-run charges; two hours after the collision, his blood alcohol level was .24, three times the legal limit of .08.

“Instead of staying to render aid, he left the victim like common road kill in a pool of blood, and fled the scene…it is egregious,” Deputy District Attorney Andrew Katz said last week. “It’s 1 in the afternoon, he’s three times the legal limit. He’s a firefighter, no less, someone whose job it is to aid people in medical distress. It’s not some 18-year-old kid who had too much to drink. He knows better. He should know better.”

He’s released on just $50,000 bail, after the request to increase bail to the same $250,000 amount in the arrest warrant was denied.

Arrest warrant issued for Long Beach fire captain in drunken hit-and-run

Around 1 pm on April first, 47-year old Jeffrey Gordon was riding his bike on Westminster Blvd east of Bolsa Chica Street in Long Beach.

A moment later, he was sailing 70 feet through the air after being hit from behind by a Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Long Beach fire captain John David Hines.

Rather than stop and render aid as he is trained to do, Hines fled the scene as witnesses chased after him begging him to stop. They followed him to his home in Huntington Beach where he was arrested by the police, who allege that he looked drunk and had a strong odor of urine on his clothes.

The Belmont Shore – Naples Patch reports that Billy Chisholm was a passenger in one of those pursuing vehicles.

“I was sick to my stomach the whole time,” Chisholm recalled. “He just hit him and left him to die like he was a skunk in the road. He had to have known he hit him because his truck was all busted up. That was a human being he left there to die. It’s not right.”

Then again, maybe its a good thing he didn’t try to save Gordon’s life; with a blood alcohol level of .24 percent — virtually the same level as Marco Antonio Valencia showed when he killed Joe Novotny — he probably would have done far more harm than good.

And he’d already done more than enough harm behind the wheel.

Hines reportedly spent the morning drinking at the Schooner or Later bar in Long Beach before driving down to Seal Beach. That’s where he allegedly drifted into the bike lane and struck Gordon’s bike from behind, then sped off without ever hitting his brakes or slowing down.

Not surprisingly, an arrest warrant was issued for Hines on Wednesday.

According to the Huntington Beach Independent:

John David Hines, 38, is charged with one felony count each of driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury, driving with a blood alcohol level of .08% or more causing injury and hit-and-run with injury, according to a release from the district attorney. He also faces sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury and having a blood alcohol level over .20%.

Fortunately, Gordon survived the collision, despite spending two weeks in the hospital with severe injuries ranging from head trauma, severe lacerations and bruising to his head and body, to internal injuries and spinal and vertebrae injuries. However, he reportedly continues to suffer limited mobility, and speech and memory loss.

Hines faces up to six years and eight months in prison if convicted. According to the Times, he is still being sought by police on $250,000 bail; it’s possible that he may have entered rehab in an attempt to get leniency from the court.

The only real difference between this case and that of Valenica — who faces 24 years to life in prison after being convicted of 2nd degree murder and felony hit-and-run while intoxicated on Wednesday —  is that Hines’ victim survived, while Valencia’s didn’t.

Thanks to master wrench Chris K for the heads-up.

LBFD Captain charged with DUI & felony hit-and-run; report on last weekend’s Sunday Funday ride

This one slipped under nearly everyone’s radar.

On Friday, April 1st, a cyclist riding in a Seal Beach bike lane was hit by a pickup traveling at roughly 60 mph. The driver, who fled the scene leaving the crumpled victim clinging to life, turned out to be a captain with the Long Beach Fire Department.

And yet the story didn’t break widely until a full week later.

Maybe they thought it was a particularly unfunny April Fool joke.

The still publicly unidentified 48-year old rider was headed east on Westminster Blvd east of Bolsa Chica Street at about 1:30 pm — the L.A. Weekly inexplicably places it at 1:30 am — when he was hit from behind by a Chevrolet truck, catapulting the rider onto the side of the road. According to press reports, he is still hospitalized with major head trauma.

To answer the inevitable question, there’s no report on whether the rider was wearing a helmet. And no, it doesn’t matter — no bike helmet is capable of protecting the wearing in a 60 mph collision.

According to multiple reports, the driver did not stop to check on the injured cyclist. Witnesses followed his truck to a home in Huntington Beach, where 38-year old John Hines was arrested on charges of DUI and felony hit-and-run; he was later released on $50,000 bond.

As it turned out, Hines is not only an LBFD captain, but the son of a retired captain and nephew of the department’s former chief.

Maybe he missed the memo that fire fighters save lives, not take them.

The first report I can find of the collision appeared on a local Seal Beach website the following Monday; not unusual for a story that breaks on the weekend. It identifies the driver only by name, age and place of residence.

The association between Hines and the LBFD first appeared the following day. Yet widespread coverage of the story didn’t occur until the Long Beach Press-Telegram took it up yesterday.

Just what took so long might make a very interesting story.

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Late word on the condition of cyclist Adam Rybicki, critically injured in an collision with an allegedly drunk, underage driver early Sunday morning. I won’t share the details, but it sounds like he could use your prayers.

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Eric Weinstein joined in on last weekend’s LACBC Sunday Funday ride. I invited him to offer his thoughts on the ride and the route we followed.

About 30 riders assembled in Westwood on Sunday morning for the Crosstown Traffic Ride. Latest in the LACBC rides, this one was lead by Greg (famous LACBC Board member), on a Dahon single speed folder. Many different, average, ordinary people were on this ride, with a multiplicity of bikes: a beach cruiser, an electric, a couple hybrids, a few fixies, and a bunch of road bikes. All suitable for this fun ride exploring the nice easy routes across town. There has gotta be a nicer way than Venice all the way to Downtown for me. And there is!

Sunday Funday riders gathered across from Angelus Temple in Echo Park

The route’s interesting details follow:

We started near the Westwood Federal Building (near to UCLA), turned onto Santa Monica Blvd, then demonstrated the trick of crossing to the opposite very wide sidewalk when the bike lane ends in Century City.

We then road through the Hilton and across Wilshire to North Beverly Hills. That is were the drivers are still BH friendly, and stop at intersections to wave you through first. Amazing.

From there, we took Carmelita across to Doheny at West Hollywood, returning to the Santa Monica Bvld. bike lane where it starts up again. When it ended, we turned north and rode up to Fountain. Fountain is not bad, passing near the Hollywood Bowl and Metro, and crossing the 101 on a quiet bridge. Brian sez “Watch for glass!” as he got one on this stretch.

A stop to fix a flat tire serves as a reminder...

After that, we turned onto the Sunset Blvd bike lane. Nice place and close to Dodger Stadium, if you ever go there. Then right on Park Avenue to Echo Park, around the lake on Glendale Blvd, and a quick jog west on Beverly Blvd before heading south down on Alvarado to MacArthur Park.

Excellent notable lunch stop at Mama’s Hot Tamales. Good, inexpensive, and politically correct, just as I like it. I’ll be back!

(Ed note: Mama’s offers some of the best coffee and tamales west of Downtown. And as for the politically correct part, it’s a non-profit restaurant that trains immigrants to work in the food service industry.)

A few Westward jogs and we’re on the famous 4th Street Bicycle Boulevard. Not a bad way across town, despite what they say about the potholes. After a few miles we turned left at Cochran, then south to 6th street, and kept on going West for awhile. Here’s where it got awkward. When 6th ends, turn left, then right on busy Wilshire for a few blocks to La Cienega. Walk the bikes across, then west to Le Doux, and a quick turn on wonderful Charleville through Beverly Hills.

...to look for rare beauty in unexpected places.

We followed Charleville across all of Beverly Hills. Nice! Where it ends bear left, then right, until you come to the next awkward part at Santa Monica Boulevard in Century City. You have to zoom across with the light, then get up on the same wide sidewalk next to the golf course that we took riding out.

Got that? I really, really like this route across Beverly Hills, but it’s quite hard to find.

Weirdly (to me) the ride dissipated from here towards the end. Almost everyone rode their bike to go on this ride, so they broke off near the end to ride on home. Clearly, this was a ride for people who ride.

You shoulda been on the ride!

Thanks to Greg and the LACBC for organizing this educational ride. Now I know a few nicer routes.

My apologies to Eric for the delay in getting this online due to this week’s breaking news.

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A New York cyclist is arrested a nearly getting doored, then chased in a road rage incident by a plain clothes cop who reportedly feared for his own safety. Yeah, a small woman on a bike is a real danger to a cop driving threateningly in an unmarked car.

Maybe it’s time for Mayor Bloomberg to call NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly on the carpet and ask him what the f*** is going on with his department.

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Way too many CicLAvia links to include here. I’ll try to catch up with them on my next post later tonight. In the meantime, Joel Epstein says he’s longing for CicLAvia in an insightful HuffPo piece linking Sunday’s event with the fight against obesity and diabetes. And fellow HuffPo writer Aaron Paley says CicLAvia is about overthrowing the tyranny of the automobile.

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Writing for Flying Pigeon, Rick Risemberg says get involved, get out there on your bike, be visible and make some noise. LADOT is moving forward with bikeways around the city, including an extension of the Orange Line bike path, and wants your opinion on how to build bike lanes on Venice Blvd. LACBC reports on the Tuesday’s Altadena workshop for the new draft county bike plan; the Messenger Online looks at the Monday Topanga workshop. Street-hassel asks if Stephen Box blundered in deciding to head up Budget LA. Seventh Street will soon go on a road diet; the new bike lanes won’t be ready for this weekend’s CicLAvia, but could be there for the next. Congestion due to roadwork related to the 405 expansion offers an opportunity to promote bikes as an effective alternative. The C-Blog looks forward to Sunday’s Queen of the Classics, aka the Hell of the North. A Redondo cyclist will ride 500 miles to call attention to his friend’s rare illness. Confused by Claremont’s double standards and rider-less bike signs. This time, Long Beach’s biking expats are riding for a cause.

The Daily Pilot tells distracted drivers — and cyclists — to pay attention; evidently, it’s a world-wide problem. San Clemente revises a proposed I-5 onramp design after complaints from cyclists. Not surprisingly, Herman Lopez Gonzalez has pleaded not guilty in the Oceanside death of 18-year old David Mendez last month. Ross del Duca of Just Another Cyclist is the new head of VeloReviews. Art of the Group Ride continues its series on the anatomy of a great group ride. Book a room at San Francisco’s Clift Hotel and get use of a Dutch-style bike during your stay. Thursday was Bike to School Day in the City by the Bay.

The Lovely Bicycle says the Urbana bike I reviewed last year would make a perfect hi-vis rainbike, and discusses the problem of female saddle discomfort; maybe that’s why more women don’t ride. Levis introduces a new line of bike-friendly jeans. An introduction to bike riding for beginners, and six tips on how to help your significant other learn to ride. Tucson bike commuting stalls. An Anchorage cyclist’s GPS iPhone app captured his rides throughout the city — including the exact point where he was killed by a car. Edmond OK okays their own three-foot passing law. Evidently, St. Louis-area bikes and bikinis go together after all. Tennessee state senator and triathlete Roy Herron suffers a broken collarbone, handful of broken ribs and a slightly collapsed lung following a Sunday riding accident. Detroit cyclists rediscover a long-forgotten velodrome. A rising New York politician swears he’s pro-bike, but won’t take a stand on bike lanes. When a New Jersey cyclist is hit in a classic right hook, local police can’t figure out the driver is at fault. A writer for the Baltimore Sun says roads weren’t actually made for cars, and says those who can’t watch out for bikes and interact safely with them should seek instruction or stop driving. A drunk driver keeps going after killing father and son cyclists in North Carolina. Zeke says cycling is blooming like spring. New Orleans in suddenly on track to be a leading bike city; take it from me, if they can do it there, it should be easy here. Look ma, no hands — no really, it could be legal in Florida soon. Michelin introduces self-sealing inner tubes.

Tijuana cyclists roll on monthly Friday night Paseo de Todos rides. Now that’s what I call a mostly off-road bike race. Kate and Will gear up for the big day with healthy bike rides. An insightful UK MP calls for more reliance on bikes and less on cars. The City of London gets new public bike pumps. The Guardian asks what’s the best way to pass other traffic. Maybe bikeways wouldn’t suck so much if we had a hand in designing them. David Hembrow looks at the new innovative NACTO bikeway standards, and finds them lacking.

Finally, a Montana legislature actually stands up to defend drunk driving as a traditional way of life; maybe you’d better wear some serious protective devices if you’re planning to ride up there. And the next time you’re stuck behind a bus sucking diesel fumes, you’ll wish you had new First Defense Nasal Screenstm. Wonder if they’d keep my wife from complaining about the dog’s gaseous emissions?

No, seriously, it’s the dog. Honest.

LBFD Captain charged with DUI & felony hit-and-run; report on last weekend’s Sunday Funday ride

This one slipped under nearly everyone’s radar.

On Friday, April 1st, a cyclist riding in a Seal Beach bike lane was hit by a pickup traveling at roughly 60 mph. The driver, who fled the scene leaving the crumpled victim clinging to life, turned out to be a captain with the Long Beach Fire Department.

And yet the story didn’t break widely until a full week later.

Maybe they thought it was a particularly unfunny April Fool joke.

The still publicly unidentified 48-year old rider was headed east on Westminster Blvd east of Bolsa Chica Street at about 1:30 pm — the L.A. Weekly inexplicably places it at 1:30 am — when he was hit from behind by a Chevrolet truck, catapulting the rider onto the side of the road. According to press reports, he is still hospitalized with major head trauma.

To answer the inevitable question, there’s no report on whether the rider was wearing a helmet. And no, it doesn’t matter — no bike helmet is capable of protecting the wearing in a 60 mph collision.

According to multiple reports, the driver did not stop to check on the injured cyclist. Witnesses followed his truck to a home in Huntington Beach, where 38-year old John Hines was arrested on charges of DUI and felony hit-and-run; he was later released on $50,000 bond.

As it turned out, Hines is not only an LBFD captain, but the son of a retired captain and nephew of the department’s former chief.

Maybe he missed the memo that fire fighters save lives, not take them.

The first report I can find of the collision appeared on a local Seal Beach website the following Monday; not unusual for a story that breaks on the weekend. It identifies the driver only by name, age and place of residence.

The association between Hines and the LBFD first appeared the following day. Yet widespread coverage of the story didn’t occur until the Long Beach Press-Telegram took it up yesterday.

Just what took so long might make a very interesting story.

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Late word on the condition of cyclist Adam Rybicki, critically injured in an collision with an allegedly drunk, underage driver early Sunday morning. I won’t share the details, but it sounds like he could use your prayers.

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Eric Weinstein joined in on last weekend’s LACBC Sunday Funday ride. I invited him to offer his thoughts on the ride and the route we followed.

About 30 riders assembled in Westwood on Sunday morning for the Crosstown Traffic Ride. Latest in the LACBC rides, this one was lead by Greg (famous LACBC Board member), on a Dahon single speed folder. Many different, average, ordinary people were on this ride, with a multiplicity of bikes: a beach cruiser, an electric, a couple hybrids, a few fixies, and a bunch of road bikes. All suitable for this fun ride exploring the nice easy routes across town. There has gotta be a nicer way than Venice all the way to Downtown for me. And there is!

Sunday Funday riders gathered across from Angelus Temple in Echo Park

The route’s interesting details follow:

We started near the Westwood Federal Building (near to UCLA), turned onto Santa Monica Blvd, then demonstrated the trick of crossing to the opposite very wide sidewalk when the bike lane ends in Century City.

We then road through the Hilton and across Wilshire to North Beverly Hills. That is were the drivers are still BH friendly, and stop at intersections to wave you through first. Amazing.

From there, we took Carmelita across to Doheny at West Hollywood, returning to the Santa Monica Bvld. bike lane where it starts up again. When it ended, we turned north and rode up to Fountain. Fountain is not bad, passing near the Hollywood Bowl and Metro, and crossing the 101 on a quiet bridge. Brian sez “Watch for glass!” as he got one on this stretch.

A stop to fix a flat tire serves as a reminder...

After that, we turned onto the Sunset Blvd bike lane. Nice place and close to Dodger Stadium, if you ever go there. Then right on Park Avenue to Echo Park, around the lake on Glendale Blvd, and a quick jog west on Beverly Blvd before heading south down on Alvarado to MacArthur Park.

Excellent notable lunch stop at Mama’s Hot Tamales. Good, inexpensive, and politically correct, just as I like it. I’ll be back!

(Ed note: Mama’s offers some of the best coffee and tamales west of Downtown. And as for the politically correct part, it’s a non-profit restaurant that trains immigrants to work in the food service industry.)

A few Westward jogs and we’re on the famous 4th Street Bicycle Boulevard. Not a bad way across town, despite what they say about the potholes. After a few miles we turned left at Cochran, then south to 6th street, and kept on going West for awhile. Here’s where it got awkward. When 6th ends, turn left, then right on busy Wilshire for a few blocks to La Cienega. Walk the bikes across, then west to Le Doux, and a quick turn on wonderful Charleville through Beverly Hills.

...to look for rare beauty in unexpected places.

We followed Charleville across all of Beverly Hills. Nice! Where it ends bear left, then right, until you come to the next awkward part at Santa Monica Boulevard in Century City. You have to zoom across with the light, then get up on the same wide sidewalk next to the golf course that we took riding out.

Got that? I really, really like this route across Beverly Hills, but it’s quite hard to find.

Weirdly (to me) the ride dissipated from here towards the end. Almost everyone rode their bike to go on this ride, so they broke off near the end to ride on home. Clearly, this was a ride for people who ride.

You shoulda been on the ride!

Thanks to Greg and the LACBC for organizing this educational ride. Now I know a few nicer routes.

My apologies to Eric for the delay in getting this online due to this week’s breaking news.

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A New York cyclist is arrested a nearly getting doored, then chased in a road rage incident by a plain clothes cop who reportedly feared for his own safety. Yeah, a small woman on a bike is a real danger to a cop driving threateningly in an unmarked car.

Maybe it’s time for Mayor Bloomberg to call NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly on the carpet and ask him what the f*** is going on with his department.

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Way too many CicLAvia links to include here. I’ll try to catch up with them on my next post later tonight. In the meantime, Joel Epstein says he’s longing for CicLAvia in an insightful HuffPo piece linking Sunday’s event with the fight against obesity and diabetes. And fellow HuffPo writer Aaron Paley says CicLAvia is about overthrowing the tyranny of the automobile.

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Writing for Flying Pigeon, Rick Risemberg says get involved, get out there on your bike, be visible and make some noise. LADOT is moving forward with bikeways around the city, including an extension of the Orange Line bike path, and wants your opinion on how to build bike lanes on Venice Blvd. LACBC reports on the Tuesday’s Altadena workshop for the new draft county bike plan; the Messenger Online looks at the Monday Topanga workshop. Street-hassel asks if Stephen Box blundered in deciding to head up Budget LA. Seventh Street will soon go on a road diet; the new bike lanes won’t be ready for this weekend’s CicLAvia, but could be there for the next. Congestion due to roadwork related to the 405 expansion offers an opportunity to promote bikes as an effective alternative. The C-Blog looks forward to Sunday’s Queen of the Classics, aka the Hell of the North. A Redondo cyclist will ride 500 miles to call attention to his friend’s rare illness. Confused by Claremont’s double standards and rider-less bike signs. This time, Long Beach’s biking expats are riding for a cause.

The Daily Pilot tells distracted drivers — and cyclists — to pay attention; evidently, it’s a world-wide problem. San Clemente revises a proposed I-5 onramp design after complaints from cyclists. Not surprisingly, Herman Lopez Gonzalez has pleaded not guilty in the Oceanside death of 18-year old David Mendez last month. Ross del Duca of Just Another Cyclist is the new head of VeloReviews. Art of the Group Ride continues its series on the anatomy of a great group ride. Book a room at San Francisco’s Clift Hotel and get use of a Dutch-style bike during your stay. Thursday was Bike to School Day in the City by the Bay.

The Lovely Bicycle says the Urbana bike I reviewed last year would make a perfect hi-vis rainbike, and discusses the problem of female saddle discomfort; maybe that’s why more women don’t ride. Levis introduces a new line of bike-friendly jeans. An introduction to bike riding for beginners, and six tips on how to help your significant other learn to ride. Tucson bike commuting stalls. An Anchorage cyclist’s GPS iPhone app captured his rides throughout the city — including the exact point where he was killed by a car. Edmond OK okays their own three-foot passing law. Evidently, St. Louis-area bikes and bikinis go together after all. Tennessee state senator and triathlete Roy Herron suffers a broken collarbone, handful of broken ribs and a slightly collapsed lung following a Sunday riding accident. Detroit cyclists rediscover a long-forgotten velodrome. A rising New York politician swears he’s pro-bike, but won’t take a stand on bike lanes. When a New Jersey cyclist is hit in a classic right hook, local police can’t figure out the driver is at fault. A writer for the Baltimore Sun says roads weren’t actually made for cars, and says those who can’t watch out for bikes and interact safely with them should seek instruction or stop driving. A drunk driver keeps going after killing father and son cyclists in North Carolina. Zeke says cycling is blooming like spring. New Orleans in suddenly on track to be a leading bike city; take it from me, if they can do it there, it should be easy here. Look ma, no hands — no really, it could be legal in Florida soon. Michelin introduces self-sealing inner tubes.

Tijuana cyclists roll on monthly Friday night Paseo de Todos rides. Now that’s what I call a mostly off-road bike race. Kate and Will gear up for the big day with healthy bike rides. An insightful UK MP calls for more reliance on bikes and less on cars. The City of London gets new public bike pumps. The Guardian asks what’s the best way to pass other traffic. Maybe bikeways wouldn’t suck so much if we had a hand in designing them. David Hembrow looks at the new innovative NACTO bikeway standards, and finds them lacking.

Finally, a Montana legislature actually stands up to defend drunk driving as a traditional way of life; maybe you’d better wear some serious protective devices if you’re planning to ride up there. And the next time you’re stuck behind a bus sucking diesel fumes, you’ll wish you had new First Defense Nasal Screenstm. Wonder if they’d keep my wife from complaining about the dog’s gaseous emissions?

No, seriously, it’s the dog. Honest.

Long Beach cyclist killed in early Friday collision; 19th bike traffic victim this year

Long Beach authorities released word today that a cyclist was killed in the early morning hours last Friday.

According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, 56-year old Leonardo Antonio Florez died when his bike was rear-ended by a 2009 Ford van at 3:16 am Friday on East Carson Street, just west of Los Coyotes Diagonal.

The Huntington Park driver, who has not been publicly identified, reportedly stopped and dialed 911 while attempting to help Florez.

The Post-Telegram reports that Florez’ bike did not have lights. They also suggest that the delay in announcing the death was due to the hospital’s failure to notify police that the victim had died, even though he passed away the same day.

By my count, this marks the 19th cyclist killed in Southern California traffic collisions since the first of the year; another bicyclist died in an apparent gang shooting.

Florez is also the second cyclist killed in a Long Beach traffic collision in the last two months, while a third rider was killed when he was hit by a Blue Line train in January.

The driver remains free and has not been charged. Anyone with information is asked to contact LBPD Accident Investigations Detective Dave Lauro at 562/570-7355.

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