Tag Archive for Los Alamitos

Describe Your Ride: Nearly run down by a speeding driver — with a twist

Unfortunately, not every ride is a happy one.

Today, an OC rider who prefers to remain anonymous describes a recent ride in which she had a brush with a speeding, overly aggressive driver in a high-powered car. Literally.

With a surprise ending that left her livid.

………

Tuesday afternoon I was nearly swiped by a speeding Charger (Challenger?) whose incompetent driver, immediately behind me, suddenly punched the gas and squeezed between me and the box truck to his left. I had proceeded from a full stop at a red light, and had just cleared an intersection full of kids leaving school. Because of gravel on the gutter pan, I was gutterbunnying it, close enough to worry about pedal strike.

The pass was so sudden and so close that I was less articulate than usual, but managed to bellow WHAT THE F***! while wobbling. No remedial, YIELD THE RIGHT OF WAY. No accompanying, GET YOUR HOMICIDAL ASS OFF THE ROAD. No PATIENCE IS A F****** VIRTUE, my most frequent high-volume communication. Me, speechless. If that’s at all believable. The passenger side was less than 8 inches from my bullhorns, and the side of the box truck to his left thundered the revving engine back at me. Before I had time to even want to smack the car’s window, I was looking at tail lights. That Charger had passed me in less time than it took for Shaun Eagleson to look over his shoulder. Somehow I stayed mostly upright, and didn’t even hit the concrete bus bench whose acquaintance I was certain I was going to violently make.

Though the lane ahead narrowed, the car continued to accelerate and then, despite its speed, took the corner like it was on rails.. The Charger was already out of sight by the time I made the corner by the hospital. But I stopped to ask a pair of orderlies at the ambulance bay if they’d seen a speeding car, and they confirmed it had turned left at the next street. As I approached the intersection, the westward gazes of some animated warehouse workers on the sidewalk indicated that the orderlies were correct. The next intersection was a T-intersection, and a group of workers had abandoned a steam shovel to walk south for a peek around the corner. When I turned right, there sat the Charger, crosswise in the middle of the intersection. Its driver had just stepped out, and stood next to it.

DSCN3354

Los Alamitos CopYes, A F****** COP IN AN UNMARKED F****** CAR. An extremely fast, extremely heavy car. Grey, camouflaged amid the asphalt and overcast sky. I’m going to assume that although it did have the blue and red in the back window (engaged eventually), it is not equipped with a siren that would have alerted me to pull over, because certainly a law enforcement officer traveling at that speed is required to alert road users of his presence, right?

 

A couple miles later, on the river path, I realized I was bleeding. I think my knuckle scraped the bus bench that I nearly landed on, but I can’t be sure. Frankly, I was kind of disappointed at how hilariously tiny the scrape is, considering all the dripping blood.

I’m not riding without my GoPro again. And I might get all FOIA on that Charger’s (possible) dashcam.

The Los Alamitos Police Department owes me an apology and some new bar tape.

 

Morning Links: Hidden danger on the Coyote Creek Trail, and the Bike League analyzes cycling fatalities

I’m just getting word of a dangerous situation on the Coyote Creek Trail in Los Alamitos.

Orange County cyclist Bob Masuzumi writes that he was riding south on the trail with a small group of riders between Wardlow Road and Los Alamitos Blvd, just before a bridge that crosses a secondary creek next to the high school.

As he tells it,

The rider in the lead didn’t realize the trail, which is poorly marked, curved away from the creek and that you had to cross the creek using the bridge.  Unfortunately, he rode off the trail and ended up at the bottom of Coyote Creek, sustaining a serious concussion resulting in 3 days in the ICU.  He was then transferred to their rehab facility from which he should be released tomorrow.  However, he will continue to receive therapy as an out-patient for an unknown length of time.

I believe that not only does it need proper markings, but there should be a fence extending from the bridge past the curve, so that other riders do not make the same mistake.  Also, a fence needs to be added on the other side of the bridge.  Currently, a rider, after crossing the bridge, needs to make a 90 degree right turn, otherwise they  will end up going down the embankment toward the high school.  This area does not seem to be very safe for cyclists at all & we believe should be corrected to prevent anything similar happening to another cyclist.

I can’t say I’m familiar with the area, even though we’ve discussed problems on the trail before. Including the fact that Los Alamitos has failed to adequately maintain its section of the pathway.

But if you know the part of the trail he’s talking about, what do you think?

Is this as dangerous as it sounds, and does it need corrective measures — or at least a warning sign to comply with state law regarding known dangers on off-road trails?

And is anyone familiar with any other riders who may have been hurt there?

………

A new report from the League of American Bicyclists offers a detailed analysis of bicycling fatalities over a recent 12-month period.

We learned, for example, that a much higher percentage of fatal crashes than expected — 40% of fatal crashes with a reported collision type — were “hit from behind” incidents — that’s important to know for our education program. Not surprisingly, high-speed urban and suburban arterial streets with no provisions for bicyclists are an over-represented location — representing 56% of all bicyclist fatalities — that’s good information to share with our Bicycle Friendly Community partners.

We found important new information about why crashes happen, how they are reported, and the scope of enforcement actions taken against motorists — including common felonies charged and average sentences for 77 convictions related to bicyclist fatalities

Overwhelmingly, however, we were struck by the lack of information, the lack of action, and the lack of a sense of outrage over these deaths, even in communities where this kind of tragedy is relatively common.

It’s something I plan to dive into over the next few days. Because the better we understand how and why these tragedies occur, the more we can do to prevent them.

As they say in asking us all to call on the US Department of Transportation to demand action — and as I’ve argued many times before — there’s only one acceptable number of traffic fatalities when it comes to cyclists and pedestrians. Or anyone else, for that matter.

Zero.

………

Local

Metro honors Sweeyoke Ooi for their monthly Why We Ride series. Because, as they say, Bike Week never ends for many Angelenos. And they offer photos from their Bike Week Guided Ride Day, which evidently did. End, that is.

The Times astutely notes that it’s time to retire the myth that Los Angeles has a love affair with cars, despite what our state’s senior Senator says.

Rick Risemberg attends Sunday’s Reinventing the Wheel: the Future of Mobility in LA sponsored by Santa Monica public radio station KCRW and finds it sadly auto-focused. And out of beer.

Surprisingly, LA doesn’t make the list of the 20 most dangerous cities for pedestrians, though the Riverside/SanBernardino/Ontario region does.

Michael Wagner of CLR Effect confronts Death at the Tour of California. Twice, in fact.

I missed this one last week, as Cycling in the South Bay says being nice has nothing to do with how we’re treated on the road.

 

State

A seven-hour bike ride along the Orange County coast.

The new Napa County Bike Commuter of the Year just got back on his this January after suffering a broken leg in a dooring.

A new infographic lists the top eight American cities for cyclists. Bagdad by the Bay makes the list; LA, not surprisingly, doesn’t.

 

National

Sixteen drunk driving arrests, nine convictions, and the maximum sentence allowed under Washington law is three lousy years. This is why people continue to die on our streets.

The Las Vegas Weekly questions whether the city deserves its new bike-friendly designation. Then again, I once wondered the same about Santa Monica.

A Montana man gets five years for killing a cyclist in a drunken hit-and-run.

A Boston pediatrician prescribes public bike share to treat heath problems due to poverty.

Why teach your kid to ride a bike when you can hire a coach at $90 per lesson to do it for you?

 

International

Caught on video: A British Columbia cop goes on trial for punching a handcuffed cyclist in the face. Since when do bike riders get arrested — let alone punched — for not wearing a helmet and allegedly running a red light?

London’s Telegraph tells cyclists not to vote for an anti-bike political party. Good advice for bike riders everywhere.

Ex-Chevalier Lance Armstrong is stripped of the French Legion of Honor.

In a brilliant experiment, a Swedish city gives residents free bikes for six months as long as they promise not to drive three days a week; thanks to Daniel Blazquez for the link.

Former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich injures two people in a three car crash while driving drunk at 20 kilometers over the speed limit. Then tries to pass it off by saying it could happen to anyone. Uh, no. Only someone stupid and careless enough to get behind the wheel after drinking.

 

Finally…

Yet another reason to wear a helmet, as a road-raging Oregon driver hits a bicyclist in the head with a hatchet; fortunately, the rider is okay. And police recover a Welsh cyclist’s stolen bike, but give it to someone else due to a clerical error.

But at least he got his pedals back.

 

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