Tag Archive for Los Angles

Anti-bike hatred rears it’s ugly head once again, wrapped in seeming rationality

There’s been another rash of bike hate in the media recently.

As well as a story a lot of cyclists loved. With a few notable exceptions.

In that particular case, a San Francisco rider writes an OpEd piece for the New York Times, saying it shouldn’t be okay to kill cyclists and walk away without charges. Even though that’s what usually happens.

His message clearly struck chord with bike riders, as links to the story flew across the weekend blogosphere and Twitterverse. Even the LA Times used it as a platform to ask why the driver usually gets the benefit of the doubt when a cyclist is killed.

Why indeed.

As both writers point out, and too many of us have learned the hard way, justice can be a hard thing to find when there’s a bike involved.

Meanwhile, another writer used the story to object that the driver who killed Paul Lin in Newport Beach last week hasn’t been charged. Although what I’m hearing suggests that the driver may not have been entirely at fault this time. (Update: other sources indicate Lin was at the end of a group of riders making a left turn, and may have still been in the intersection when the light changed, and that the driver may not have slowed in anticipation of the light changing.)

Not everyone approved, however.

The Economist calls it Onion-like before going on to compare the way the US handles such cases with how they’re handled in The Netherlands. Not favorably, I might add.

And Bike Snob declares his hatred for the piece. Especially the coda that calls for cyclists to be on our best behavior so we’ll earn the respect of police and motorists.

He’s got a point.

We shouldn’t have to be perfect ambassadors on the streets to get the same respect — let alone justice — which too many motorists too often seem to consider a God-given right, regardless of their own behavior behind the wheel.

Then there’s the anti-bike lane diatribe from last weekend’s Wall Street Journal, in which an Alexandria VA homeowner complains of attempts by bicyclists to besmirch his quaint little town with bike lanes. And warns that we’ll soon be coming to your town, too.

Unfortunately, this steaming pile of hate appears to have slunk back behind the Journal’s paywall, although your luck in accessing it may be better than mine.

But at least you can still see DC Streetsblog’s response to the WSJ once again allowing anti-bike bigots to sully their pages.

Then again, we’d all be better off if The Weekly Standard had locked its bike-smearing diatribe behind a paywall where no one would see it.

In a piece with a publication date that’s still nearly a week away, it starts out bad, blaming cyclists for the New England cop who dangerously stood in the roadway to halt a group of riders — seriously, what would the reaction have been if he’d stepped in front of a group of moving cars — and goes downhill fast.

His argument is that American streets are already crammed to over capacity, and there’s just no room left for anyone traveling on less than four wheels. And we bike riders don’t share the road so much as take it over to the detriment of motorists and the American way.

So, except in a few spots where roads were built too wide and can now accommodate bike paths, adding bicycles to the mix means squeezing cars. Bike-riders don’t “share” the road so much as take it over. Their wish is generally that the right-hand lane of any major or medium-sized road be turned into a bike lane or, at best, a shared-use lane. This would place drivers in a position of second-class citizenship on roads that were purpose-built for them. There are simply not enough cyclists to make that a reasonable idea. What is going on is the attempt of an organized private interest to claim a public good. Cyclists remind one of those residents in exurban subdivisions who, over years, allow grass and shrubbery to encroach on dirt public sidewalk until it becomes indistinguishable from their yards, and then sneakily fence it in.

The worst part is, like a few Congress members I could name, he sounds reasonable at first.

Until you realize that he’s getting many, of not most, of the facts and all of the opinions wrong. And it eventually dawns on you, if you’re paying attention, that his ranting conveys no more logical sense than a rabid monkey flailing on a keyboard.

And that he is actually the motoring equivalent of a Klansman explaining with seeming reasonableness why Jim Crow was a good idea.

And that’s the worst kind of hate of all.

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A new online petition calls on local officials to investigate that anti-bike sign in East San Diego County encouraging drivers to run over cyclists. And yes, I signed it — the petition that is, not the sign.

Unfortunately, though, I’ve lost track of who sent this to me, so please accept my apologies and thanks.

………

Efforts are still underway to fix LA’s crumbling streets. It looks like LA’s mayor heard our complaints, and said slow down on the killer high-speed Hyperion-Glendale bridge design. In case you missed Artcrank last weekend — like me — JoJo offersgreat photo set showing most of the posters. Downtown News says bike share is a natural fit for DTLA. Downtown gets buffered bike lanes through the iconic 2nd Street tunnel. Another Perfect Day looks at the sad decline of Westwood Village, and call for protected bike lanes to help turn it around; speaking of which, here are the benefits of protected bike lanes in a single graphic. Santa Monica police bust a trio of bike thieves; they used to hang rustlers where I come from, and bike thieves don’t seem all that different to me. San Marino council considers the city’s proposed bike plan today, along with bike lanes and declaring next week Bike Week.

Turns out corporate bike fleets aren’t a risky investment after all. Chico businesses do the right thing, as they raise funds for a rider killed in the city recently. Following the recent California Bike Summit, the Times says bikes are an equal opportunity opportunity. Women on Bikes SoCal blossoms into the statewide Pedal Love.

A new study discovers just what kind of bikeway images people like, even if it seems to put the SF Weekly in a bit of a snit. Your next helmet could fold flat and look like a turtle. Eleven signs you might be a cyclist. Oregon infographic clearly shows who pays for the roads. Kill a Washington cyclist, claim you had a seizure and walk away with a hefty fine. A Montana paper says educating road users is important, but you can do everything right and still get run over; too true. If a driver doesn’t get a ticket following a collision, that doesn’t mean you can’t collect. Kill an Ohio cyclist while driving drunk, and get a whopping 30 days in jail. Louisville KY gets sporadic bike lanes. The person accused of killing a cyclist in a hit-and-run ran down another rider two years before. Clearly, blocking bike lanes isn’t just an LA problem. The big hearted people of Mobile AL decide ghost bikes are eyesores that should be removed; maybe they should be writing for The Weekly Standard.

One of Britain’s leading architecture experts is killed in a riding crash. London bystanders lift a car off a trapped cyclist. UK Parliament Member wants to encourage bike riding by mandating registration, taxes and insurance. Repeat after me — don’t punch the drivers, not matter how much you think they deserve it; just don’t. Someone is trying to decapitate cyclists in Edinburgh; deliberate sabotage aimed at cyclists should be considered a terrorist attack. After yet another triathlete is run down, bike clubs in the United Arab Emirates say roads were built for cars and bikes don’t belong on them; seriously? Someone please tell Lance to get over it, already, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. Bike riding Aussie father dies after hitting a rock in the road, despite an origami crane campaign. Australian trucks will warn motorists a meter matters when passing cyclists. A Kiwi mom wants to know why the front wheel of the bike she bought collapsed as she was riding it; maybe because it cost $159 and came from Kmart? A New Zealand doctor says one-way separated bikeways are safest. Bike without brakes and face arrest in Japan.

Finally, after a 75-year old UK woman dumps dog shit on a cyclist’s head for riding too close, she tells him to go cry to his mummy; nice lady. And speaking of dumping a load of crap, you can now find me on the VeloReviews website.

Wait, that didn’t come out right.

Update — More bad news for Bike to Work Day: Bike rider killed by driver fleeing a shooting

The L.A. Times has just reported that a 34-year old bike rider was hit and killed by a driver fleeing the scene of a shooting in Florence last night.

According to the paper, the driver had just fired a gun into his girlfriend’s car when he hit the bicyclist at the corner of East 84th Street and South Central Avenue around 10:45 pm. The rider was dragged across the street by the driver’s vehicle, and pronounced dead at the scene.

Something tells me that relationship is probably over. The driver was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

This is the 26th Southern California cycling fatality I am aware of this year, and the 14th in Los Angeles County. This has been a horrible year for L.A. County, which usually averages around 24 cycling fatalities each year.

My deepest prayers and sympathy for the victim and his family.

Update: KABC-7 reports that the incident began with a domestic dispute around 10:30 pm, when the driver argued with the mother of his baby. After smashing and shooting the woman’s car, the suspect attempted to flee when a police helicopter arrived on the scene. 

According to Fox-11, the car became airborne before striking the victim, who has not be publicly identified, before hitting a street sign and coming to rest against another vehicle. The man attempted to flee on foot, but was captured nearby.

Driver arraigned in death of cyclist Carol Schreder; a light charge is better than no charge at all. Right?

Ghost bike installed on Mulholland Highway for cyclist and Hollywood producer Carol Schreder; photo courtesy of Chris Willig.

Maybe we’ll see justice for Carol Schreder after all.

Or some justice, anyway.

After months of being told the cycling death of Hollywood producer and cyclist Carol Schreder was nothing more than an unfortunate accident, I’ve been informed that a charge of misdemeanor vehicular homicide will be filed.

Correction — has already been filed, in apparent secrecy and without the knowledge of her family and friends.

Last week, I received an email telling me that the driver, Stafford Drake Taylor, was scheduled to be arraigned on Monday. Then over the weekend, I got another email from the same source letting me know that the arraignment actually took place last Thursday, with no one close to the case informed of it — even after it was over.

Then again, I’m told they were never officially invited to the planned Monday arraignment, either.

So much for keeping the victim’s family in the loop.

Then there’s the question of why authorities suddenly decided to file charges. And why they settled for a misdemeanor charge when there were numerous reports that Taylor was speeding and driving recklessly in the moments leading up to the collision.

Sources who have seen the CHP collision report tell me the vehicle that killed Schreder was a jacked-up 1989 Ford Econoline van pulling a brakeless, owner modified trailer; one person describes the rig as looking like something out of a Mad Max movie.

The report indicates that Schreder was riding on the right shoulder of Mulholland Highway west of Kanan Road, wearing a helmet and bright colored clothing.

According to the report, Taylor initially told police at the scene he was following about four car lengths behind a green Toyota at about 20 to 30 miles per hour when he saw the car ahead slow for a cyclist riding about three feet to the left of the solid white line. Taylor reported that he jammed on his brakes and cut to the right in an attempt to avoid the car and Schreder’s bike, causing his rig to jackknife and strike Schreder.

The next day, Taylor came into the CHP station to clarify his statement to police. Now, he said, he was traveling at approximately 45 mph, following the car ahead by four car lengths or less, while the cyclist was now riding six feet to the left of the white line.

When the Toyota slowed, he said he had to react quickly so he jammed on his brakes and cut to the right, somehow thinking he could slide past the truck and cyclist on their right. Instead, he claimed Schreder moved back to the right when the Toyota apparently startled her, placing her directly in his path.

According to Taylor, he had slowed to about 30 mph when the trailer jackknifed and he hit Schreder with the left front of his jacked-up van, come to rest on the right curb on top of her bicycle.

The CHP notes that Taylor’s truck left a number of skid marks as long as 106 feet, which would indicate a high rate of speed, despite being just a few hundred feet from a controlled interesection. And despite previous speculation that the collision could have been caused by the windy conditions that day, the report indicates that wind was not a factor.

The traffic collision report indicates that a number of cyclists were stopped at the scene when the officers arrived, including a physician who performed CPR until the paramedics arrived — confirming a comment on the original story.

Yet the CHP didn’t interview any of the riders at the scene, or even take their names for possible follow-up later. And I’ve heard from people who attempted to contact the CHP to tell them they’d seen the van driving dangerously prior to the collision — including a cyclist who was nearly hit by the same van just moments earlier — only to be turned away without being allowed to talk to anyone.

In fact, according to the collision report, the only witness the police spoke to was the driver of the Toyota, who described seeing Taylor’s van approaching from behind at a high rate of speed before watching it hit Schreder’s bike.

Maybe I’m confused.

I understand that police can’t file a misdemeanor charge unless they either witness it themselves or can deduce from the physical evidence just what happened. But doesn’t it make sense to talk to all the witnesses and gather as much information as possible before deciding what charges to file?

If Taylor was driving as recklessly as the witnesses have claimed, shouldn’t that suggest a felony charge, with a possible sentence of two to 10 years in state prison, rather than the relative slap on the wrist of up to one year in county jail for the misdemeanor count?

And why all the apparent secrecy and attempts to keep Schreder’s family and close friends out of the loop? Especially when the families of other victims have complemented the DA’s office for going out of their way to keep them informed and a part of the process.

It makes me wonder if there’s already a plea deal in the works and they don’t want objections from the family to get in the way.

Trust me, I’m pleasantly surprised that charges are finally in the works. Although stunned might be a better word.

But mad as hell that it looks like yet another driver may get off with a minimal sentence, while his innocent victim gets the death penalty.

Yes, a slap on the wrist is better than nothing at all.

But cyclists are going to keep on dying if authorities don’t start taking dangerous killer drivers seriously.

And in happier news, I beg, L.A. cyclists crash the marathon and bike activists crash Capitol Hill

Let me start with a personal note.

My nephew will be in town this weekend to visit film schools — I know, I know, but he’s actually pretty good — and would like to visit a production set while he’s here to see how it’s really done.

If anyone can get him and his parents backstage at a TV or film shoot between this Saturday and next Wednesday morning, I’d consider it a personal favor.

You can find my email address on the About page.

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The Atlantic Cities looks at last weekend’s Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash race, while Ride San Francisco offers a good play by play. Great photos and video from Predator Cycling. Or maybe you’d prefer a helmet cam perspective. Oh, and it was evidently followed by some sort of foot race, too.

Meanwhile, the Claremont Cyclist looks at a more official race that also took place over the weekend, the Men’s and Women’s San Dimas Stage Race. The 28th annual Redlands Bicycle Classic kicks off tomorrow, including the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series; not everyone is happy about it.

And pro cyclist Tom Boonen says modern sprinters are getting out of control.

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The first ever National Women’s Cycling Forum discusses how to get more women on bikes, as riders head to Capitol Hill for the annual National Bike Summit. Professional cyclists and CEOs ride from to the event from Boston to raise funds for the Bikes Belong Foundation.

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We now have a date for this year’s Blessing of the Bicycles, hosted by Good Samaritan Hospital on Tuesday, May 15th. The non-denominational event features blessings from representatives of virtually every faith found in L.A., as well as food and bike swag.

And now that I think about it, I don’t remember getting a flat since I got my bike blessed last year.

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LADOT commits to nearly 16 miles of new bike lanes. Streetsblog looks at the women of East L.A.’s Ovarian-Psychos Bicycle Brigade. If you’re looking for a good cause, the Bicycle Kitchen is raising funds to buy a new permanent home. Letter writers to the Times support the green Spring Street bike lane. Next month’s CicLAvia will coincide with Chinatown’s inaugural Springfest; you’ve got just two weeks left to support CicLAvia on Kickstarter. The biking black hole of Beverly Hills considers the city’s Western Gateway — excluding cyclists, of course; evidently, they don’t want any input from us, either. And Beverly Hills misses a chance to improve a dangerous street. Culver City already has wayfinding signage; L.A. is working on it. Walk Eagle Rock offers thoughts on outdated bikeway designs. KCET Departures picks the LACBC’s JJ Hoffman as one of their 31 Days of Extraordinary Women; couldn’t agree more. One of my favorite reporters picks up the story of the Woodland Hills bike shop that will work with the car dealer across the street to take your car in trade this week. School teachers stop a bike thief in Valinda; and no, I never heard of it either. The New York Times experiences 36 hours in bike-friendly Long Beach. The popular San Gabriel River bike path is undergoing resurfacing this week; if the weather cooperates, the work should be done next Monday.

The cdm Cyclist joins with Enrique Penalosa to rethink the automobile. The OC Weekly takes up the story of hand-sanitizer drinking former Long Beach fire captain and hit-and-run driver John David Hines. The Cal State Fullerton bike team hopes to be competitive this year. A San Diego cyclist is seriously injured after reportedly running a red light; and yes, that looks like blood on a sharrow. A San Francisco CEO bikes 525 miles to L.A., and offers a highly compressed bike video to prove it. A 67-year old San Francisco cyclist is found dead after going missing in Death Valley.

Bicycling offers advice on how to knock out knee pain. An Aspen thief returns the bike he stole with a note of apology, saying he was drunk. New York’s Central Park is going on a road diet. New York Senator Chuck Schumer is caught riding in the Prospect Park West bike lane his wife has been leading the fight against; can she make a sitting Senator sleep on the couch? A Boston writer suggests that all cyclists are jerks, or maybe just 99%. Drive drunk, kill a cyclist, get 6 months probation; evidently, life is cheap in PA. A Fairfax VA rider offers a first-person example of why the DC area needs a cyclist anti-harassment ordinance; then again, so does every other city. A Tennessee study says wider bike and walking paths can lead to skinnier kids. A former Atlanta cop gets a lousy $5,000 fine for beating the crap out of a cyclist in an off-duty road rage incident. An Alabama driver faces a misdemeanor homicide charge in the death of a cyclist touring the country for Habitat for Humanity last year. Still no justice for the cyclist killed by Miami pop singer and accused hit-and-run driver Carlos Bertonatti, as his trial is delayed for the ninth time.

A Canadian cyclist finds a baby left in a pile of leaves; that’s not something anyone would have noticed from a car. A writer with a severe case of windshield perspective says it’s up to pedestrians and cyclists to make themselves more visible, not drivers to notice them; funny how the solution to any problem always seems to require someone else to do something. Thunder Bay residents just can’t seem to get the hang of a recent road diet. Manitoba considers a mandatory helmet law, even as a pair of British physicians argue that bicycle helmets may not do any good. A Vancouver cyclist who wasn’t wearing one dies after colliding with a jogger. Great Britain considers privatizing the roads, at the possible expense of cyclists. A very good question, as a leading UK blog asks why can’t Londoners be given the option of not driving. Ten more arrests in Spain’s ongoing Vuelta scandal. The Cannibal rode his entire career with a potentially fatal heart condition. An opposition attack on the $40 million Aussie bike path program stalls when a member is shown opening one of the new paths. Oops.

Finally, in case you missed it, 25 pickup lines for cyclists. And the son of the world’s 7th richest man kills a cyclist while behind the wheel of his $450,000 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren outside Rio; father and son defend his actions on Twitter. Anyone want to give odds on whether he gets away with it? But at least he paid his victim’s funeral expenses, though the value of his car keep rising.

Yes, we have no tamales, but we do have an artistic weekend ahead

Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

The monthly Spoke(n) Art Ride rolls once again on Saturday, November 12th. The ride leaves at 6:30 pm to tour open galleries in the North East L.A. area; cruiser bikes are available to rent for $20. That will be followed by the popular Get Sum Dim Sum Ride on November 20th. All rides depart from the Flying Pigeon LA bike shop at 3714 N. Figueroa ST in Highland Park.

Update: The LA Tamale Throwdown scheduled for November 11th through 13th has been cancelled for this year.

On Saturday, November 12th, C.I.C.L.E. hosts a ride through the streets that form the canvas of our city, with a leisurely paced 7.5 mile tour of L.A. street murals in Lincoln Heights, Boyle Heights and the Downtown Arts District, with a party to follow. Riders meet at Lincoln Park by the Valley Blvd parking lot, Valley Blvd and San Pablo Street, with the ride starting at 1:30 pm.

Also on Saturday the 12th, Palm Desert hosts the first Palm Desert Century Bike Ride, with rides of 20, 32, 50, 60, 70 and 100 miles; online registration ends November 11th.

Update: The LACBC’s Tour de Taste originally scheduled for Sunday, November 13th, has been postponed, with the date to be determined.

The South Bay Bike Plan continues it’s long march to approval with hearings before the last two remaining city councils in Manhattan Beach on the 15th and Torrance on November 22nd.

The County of Los Angeles unveils the final draft of their proposed new bike plan, offering a more than 500% increase in bikeways. Your last chance to comment of the plan could come before the County of Los Angeles Regional Planning Commission, Wednesday, November 16th at 9 am in the Hall of Records, Room 150, 320 West Temple Street in Downtown L.A. The LACBC says it still needs some work.

Santa Monica’s new Bike Center is scheduled to open on Friday, November 18th at the corner of 2nd and Colorado, and you’re invited.

The highly active Santa Monica Spoke, an affiliate chapter of the LACBC, will meet for coffee and pastries on Saturday, November 19th at 10 am at the Colorado Community Room on the southeast corner of 5th and Broadway, followed by a visit to the new SaMo Bike Center.

Cali Bike Tours is sponsoring a short 1.4 mile bike ride to the Cambodian Arts and Culture Exhibition on Saturday, September 19th. The ride will leave the Portfolio Coffeehouse at 2300 East 4th Street in Long Beach at 10:30 am, and returning by 12:30 pm.

December 7th through 11th, Antenna Magazine’s Re:mix Lab will hit L.A. after a semi-national tour, featuring two urban Bad Boy bikes designed by Cannondale in cooperation with Junk Food Clothing. The art, music, fashion and cultural festival will unfold at a site to be selected.

LA Streetsblog is hosting an End of the Year Party on Thursday, December 8 from 7 pm to 10 pm at St. Andrews West Los Angeles, 11555 National Blvd. Streetsblog parties are always a good time, and well worth the suggested $25 donation; however, head Streetsblogger Damien Newton promises no one will be turned away if you can’t afford it.

Friday, December 9th, the Midnight Ridazz host what may be the most important ride of the year, when they ensure that thousands of L.A. children will have a happy holiday with the 6th Annual All-City Toy Ride. Routes will begin from points throughout the city, converging on Downtown L.A. to collect the toys and celebrate the season. If anyone else is hosting a toy ride this year, let me know.

Tuesday, December 27th, the LACBC returns to Santa Monica’s Library Alehouse for the 3rd Annual Mid-Winter Merriment, 2911 Main Street. Good beer, good friends, bike valet and a portion of all sales goes to support cycling in the great L.A. area. What’s not to like?

Second cyclist found dead in less than one week; strong arm bike-jack attempt on L.A.’s 7th Street

For the second time in less than a week, a Southern California cyclist has been found dead, apparently of natural causes.

Just five days after an unidentified 70-year old rider was found alongside the road near Fillmore, a rider was found unconscious and unresponsive along the Stevenson Canyon trail on the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve.

According to Temecula Patch, the rider was discovered by other cyclists, who attempted to administer CPR until paramedics arrived and pronounced him dead. He was discovered around 8:10 am Sunday, near the intersection of Clinton Keith and Tenaja Roads west of Murrietta.

Patch reports that the rider, who has not yet been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin, was 60 years old and a resident of Temecula.

The death is still under investigation; no information yet on whether he may have fallen or died of natural causes.

We have no way of knowing how or why this man died.

But it’s a good reminder to check with your physician first if you’re new to riding or coming back after a long layoff.

You may feel healthy. But there may be things going on inside that you don’t know about.

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Sunday morning I received an email from an anonymous reader reporting a very frightening attack against a local cyclist with an unusually positive attitude.

Tony is the nicest guy, and he owns a little shawarma place on 7th Street, right in front of the new westbound bike lane.  He’s about as bikey as any small-business proprieter in L.A. can be (and that’s even if you include Josef Bray-Ali.)   That’s Tony on the sandwich board in his delivery bike’s basket:

He lives in mid-Wilshire and commutes by bike, too.  Very recently, he bought a shiny new Fuji to replace his old commuter.

On Friday when I popped in to refuel before Mass, his arm was in a sling, so I asked why.  He told me.

The night before, Thursday, he was on his way home from the restaurant, waiting at a stoplight on Wilshire.  A motorcycle came up behind him, and its passenger jumped off and kicked him over!  Tony hit the asphalt hard, and the creep tried to jack his bike.  Still on the ground and unaware of the extent of his injuries, Tony had the presence of mind to hook a leg through the frame.  After several yanks, the creep gave up and fled with his accomplice.

Witnesses called 911 and stayed with him until the police & medics arrived.

Tony has a fractured scapula and some bruising, but he still has his bike.  And he’s still confident enough to commute, even with a busted shoulder!   I asked if he isn’t worried now about riding so late (his restaurant closes at 11pm weekdays, and 2am Fri/Sat), but he said naw, there are more good people than bad people, and ”people always help.”

I am kind of a pessimist, so I held my tongue about how “helpful” the perpetrator was.  Next visit, I’m going to actually read the little scroll of Scripture hanging by the kitchen, ’cause I bet anything its sentiment reflects Tony’s philosophy.

Also, I’m shooting an email to Sgt. Krumer to see whether there have been any similar thefts lately with the same unusual modus operandi, although given the biking demographic in this area, a lot of such crimes, even when accompanied by physical violence, probably aren’t reported.

For several months now, I’ve been reading about similar strong-arm bike-jackings from other cities across the country — including several right here in California  —in which thieves have used everything from baseball bats to brute force to knock riders off their bikes before riding off with them.

Hopefully, this is just an isolated incident and not the beginning of yet another dangerous trend local riders have to worry about.

Maybe Tony’s positive attitude and willingness to fight for his bike will send a message to potential thieves to find another way to get their prey. Or maybe find another line of work altogether.

And maybe I need to stop in for a little shawarma next time I ride those new 7th Street bike lanes.

……..

One last note.

A great story from a formerly auto-centric Toronto columnist who tried biking to work at the urging of a local bike activist and blogger.

And liked it.

Thanks to Taylor Peck for the heads-up.

And a happy All Hallows Eve to all you bike-born boys and ghouls.

Weekend Links & Events — Memorial Ride for Kevin Unck, a bad week for competitive cycling

This is what January looks like in here in L.A.

Let’s start with the good news.

Eleventh District Councilmember and TranspoComm Chair Bill Rosendahl underwent successful surgery to treat atrial fibrillation. According to the press release, he was awake and doing fine just three hours after he was implanted with a new medical device as part of a clinical trial, and should be back at work next week.

Rosendahl has been one of the driving forces behind the current city support for the cycling community. I hope you’ll join me in wishing him a speedy recovery and years of good health.

.………

A memorial ride will be held today for masters champion Kevin Unck, killed after losing control of his bike in gravel and mud on Glendora Mountain Road earlier this month. Riders will meet at the It’s A Grind Coffee House at 7325 Day Creek Blvd, Suite 103 in Rancho Cucamonga at 8 am.

.………

An Orange County woman writes about the death of 8-year old Andrew Brumback, which occurred just feet from her front door. A Ramona cyclist is seriously injured in a collision with a big rig; alcohol use by the cyclist may have been a contributing factor, although the only witness seems to be the driver who hit him. A Carlsbad rider credits his helmet with saving his life in a hit-and-run on Tuesday that left him with five fractures. And a Modesto man gets 10 years for killing a cyclist while high on marijuana and painkillers, though some people wrote the judge to blame the rider for simply being on the street.

.………

This wasn’t just a horrible week for SoCal cyclists; the racing world was repeatedly touched by tragedy as well.

Rising British star Lewis Balyckyi, an 18-year old rider expected to be part of the UK Olympic team in 2012, was killed on Tuesday when he was hit by a van just a few miles from his home. The pro cycling community reacted with sorrow after South African HTC Highland rider Carla Swart, winner of 19 U.S. collegiate titles, was killed when she was hit by a truck during training. And Aussie cyclist Amber Halliday is still in critical condition after a horrific crash caused when she clipped another rider’s wheel.

.………

In other racing news, a new mayor in DC could put an end to plans to bring the start of next year’s Giro to the U.S. Frank Schleck has successful surgery to remove a metal plate inserted after his crash in the Tour de France. Lance Armstrong says he expects to be vindicated after new charges arise; the Times asks if it will hurt his image. Saxo Bank is still counting on Alberto Contador this year despite doping allegations; yeah, good luck with that. Former Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre and teammate Denis Menchov will be excluded from this year’s Tour after their team fails to get an invitation.

And Mark Cavendish had to fight his way through traffic — car, not bike — in the Tour Down Under when race stewards opened the road while he was still on the course; Garmin-Cervélo rider Cameron Meyer leads after four stages.

.………

In upcoming events —

The Kit Karzen Foundation kicks off their program to promote cycling for kids with ADHD with a celebration at Cynergy Cycles2300 Santa Monica Boulevard in Santa Monica, on Saturday the 22nd, from 6 to 9 pm.

Glendale City Commissioners will consider the city’s proposed Safe and Healthy Streets Plan on Monday, January 24th at 6 pm at the Council Chambers at Glendale City Hall, 613 East Broadway. Residents, as well as anyone who works, goes to school, walks or rides through the city are urged to attend and offer comments.

Cyclists are invited to campaign door-to-door in support of bike advocate and 4th District City Council Candidate Steven Box on Wednesday, January 26th from 5:30 to 8:30 pm; meet at Box campaign headquarters, 5619 Hollywood Blvd.

The LACBC invites you to pitch in to help fix up the new Bike Wrangler space, where donated and abandoned bikes will be repaired for donation to bike coops and low income people in high obesity areas. The first work party will take place from 5 to 9:30 pm on Thursday, January 27th at 1205 W. 6th Street; the second will be held Sunday the 30th from 11 am to 5 pm; RSVP to  bobby@la-bike.org.

The Culver City Bicycle Coalition will host the first of their monthly Family Rides on Sunday, January 30th, at 10 am. The rides will start and end at Town Plaza near the Culver Hotel, 9400 Culver Blvd, and explore the city’s best bike routes; future rides will take place on the last Sunday of the month.

The California Bike Coalition will host a Bike Party in San Diego on Thursday, Feb 3rd from 7 to 9 pm. The party will take place at Velo Cult Bicycle Shop, 2220 Fern Street, with a suggested donation of $100.

Explore the romance of Metro L.A.’s near-coastal cities with the LACBC’s second Sunday Funday ride, I ♥ the Westside. Riders will assemble at the Santa Monica Pier, at the end of Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica at 9:30 am on Sunday, February 6th, with the ride starting at 10 am. The course will follow a mostly flat route 30-mile route through Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City, Westwood and Brentwood, before returning along the beach to the pier. It’s free to LACBC members and one guest, and will be lead by your humble host at BikingInLA.

Flying Pigeon and the Bike Oven host the free Spoke(n) Art Ride on the 2nd Saturday of every month; the next ride will take place on February 12th, starting 6:30 pm at 3714 N. Figueroa St. in Highland Park.

Ride in support of the Dream Act with the 50-mile L.A. to O.C. Dream Ride on Sunday, February 20th, Starting at Corazon del Pueblo 2003 E. 1st. Street in Boyle Heights and ending at Centro Cultural de Mexico 310 W. 5th Street in Santa Ana. Registration and $15 fee are due by January 28th, including lunch, dinner, maintenance during the ride and an overnight stay in Orange County.

UCLA will host a free day-long Complete Streets workshop on Friday, February 25th; participation is open to registered attendees. The workshop will take place from 8:30 am to 7 pm at the Japanese American National Museum at 369 East 1st Street Downtown. Contact d.grantham@ucla.edu to register, or call 310/562-7356.

And it’s never too early to mark your calendar for the second CicLAvia on April 10th, 2011.

.………

A bad sign for leading local bike advocacy group C.I.C.L.E. as their website goes offline. Great photo from the L.A. Times of a lone cyclist rolling through a high tide on the bike path. Beverly Hills police declare the killing of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen closed, blaming it on a bike-riding ex-con acting alone. Long Beach announces a series of workshops for their new Bicycle Master Plan, starting with a ride on Saturday. Bikeside looks at Charlie Gandy’s recipe for a bike-friendly city. The Claremont Cyclist looks at what to expect in Stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California.

NASA astronaut Tim Kopra is scratched from next month’s shuttle mission after suffering an undisclosed injury while riding his bike, though rumor suggests a broken hip; thanks to Will Campbell for the heads-up. People for Bikes urges every cyclist to contact your representative in Congress. Bike to Work days can have a lasting impact on bike commuting rates. A lovely look at lugwork. Turns out the real scofflaws are the ones on four wheels. Washington considers five bills to make cycling safer. Bob Mionske follows-up on the sweetheart deal denial of justice perpetrated in the Vail hit-and-run case; anyone who doesn’t think this case stinks should check their sense of smell. New bike lanes in the Big Easy lead to a 57% increase in ridership — and a 133% increase in female ridership. Evidently, Pittsburgh’s cycling scene is pretty incredible. New York’s controversial Prospect Park West bike lanes haven’t made the street more dangerous; in fact, injuries due to collisions are down 67%. No need to stop riding during the winter, though parking can be a problem. City Fix jumps into the great helmet debate with Mikael Colville-Andersen, author of Copenhagenize and Copenhagen Cycle Chic.

After an Ontario cyclist is injured in a collision, readers respond by calling for a ban on winter riding. A UK cyclist is awarded £7000 for injuries due to a pothole. Most bikes stolen in Great Britain are taken from the owner’s home. VW introduces an electric folding concept bike. A look at biking in modern Morocco. An Aussie cyclist is ticketed for riding without a helmet in a police crackdown.

Finally, a YouTube commentator says of course Lance was on drugs; in fact, anyone who rides bikes for a living and doesn’t do drugs has to have something wrong with them. It’s funny stuff, unlike this guy, who gets paid to be but isn’t.

And sometimes bikes are allowed to go where others aren’t, except when they’re not.

 

AB 766 — An open letter to the California State Assembly

As you may recall, I recently wrote about the need to pass the Safe Streets Bill AB 766.

As part of that, I encouraged everyone — and yes, that includes you — write a letter in support of the bill, and email it to SafeStreets@BikeWritersCollective.com for presentation at a committee hearing next week.

Here is my letter, which I have just emailed to the Bike Writers Collective — the group behind the recently passed Cyclists’ Bill of Rights. Feel free to copy any portion of this to use as the basis for your letter, or write your own in your own words.

But please, write something.

Dear Assembly Member,

The highest responsibility of state government is the protection of its citizens, as well as the countless neighborhoods that make up our state.

Sadly, California is failing in that duty.

Currently, state law allows local governments to use radar to control speed limits; however, in exchange for that privilege, they are required conduct a study of average traffic speeds every seven years. If most drivers exceed the speed limit, which most drivers in California do, they have no choice but to raise the speed limit — whether or not that’s a good idea, and regardless of the harm it may cause to the local community.

The result is that the lives of local residents are needlessly placed at risk, as pedestrians and bicyclists must contend with traffic moving at ever higher speeds, while collisions between vehicles are likely to be far more dangerous and destructive. At the same time, higher speeds encourage through-traffic, as opposed to local destination traffic, contributing to the declines suffered by business districts and residential neighborhoods along the way.

AB 766, the Safe Streets Bill, would rectify that situation by giving the local community a voice in deciding whether or not to raise the limits, without requiring that they give up a valuable enforcement tool in exchange.

I urge you to support this vital measure, and cast your vote to return control of our streets to the people who know them best, and will be most impacted by any increase in speed limits — and allow the people of this state to protect their own lives and communities.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers, BikingInLA.com

Enci Box discusses her upcoming trip in support of AB 766 in her own compelling way, while Damien Newton notes a wave of support for the legislation. And on a related subject, L.A. Council President Eric Garcetti wants to know how you want to spend the city’s stimulus funds. Can you say, bicycling infrastructure? Sure you can.

 

A great video showing British MPs learning about cycling from the Dutch, courtesy of my favorite Welsh slow-biking blogger — now if we could only get the Metro board to take the same tour. Also from across the pond, proof that bad cycling signage isn’t just an American problem. Meanwhile, LAist discusses what L.A. could learn from Tokyo Bike Culture, as does the Time’s Steve Lopez. Yes, that Tokyo. Bicycle Fixation observes the increase in fixie-riding bike commuters. Central Illinois cyclists prepare to participate in an international cycling memorial ride later this month. And finally, The Denver Post says cyclists need to know the rules of the road, too; don’t miss the comments, which capture the full range of the cyclists vs. drivers conflict — and evidently, someone out there takes safety tips from yours truly.  Glad I could help.

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