Tag Archive for Malibu

Update: USC professor seriously injured in early morning PCH collision; CHP blames the victim

Very few details are available yet.

According to the LA Times, a female bike rider was rushed to the hospital with critical injuries following a collision on PCH in the Malibu area this morning.

The collision occurred sometime before 5 am near PCH and Coastline Drive, which may be just east of the city limits. The CHP stopped traffic in both directions for at least two hours to conduct their investigation, which is never a good sign.

The Daily News reports officers are interviewing the driver of the car, while the Times says a big rig truck remains at the scene.

There’s not enough information available to speculate on what might have happened. However, it sounds like prayers may be in order; let’s hope this doesn’t turn out to be more serious than it already is.

Thanks to Rick Risemberg and Jim Lyle for the heads-up.

Update: Good news from KABC-7, which reports the victim is expected to survive.

Update 2: I’m told a writer on the Velo Club LaGrange news group reports coming on the scene at 7 am, and watching a Sheriff’s Deputy remove the remains of a black and white carbon road bike, which was in several pieces. He reports the rider was hit by a truck.

Update 3: According to the Malibu Times, the victim is 33-year old Maija Iris Heller, a professor of oceanography at the University of Southern California. Heller’s driver’s license lists a Pasadena address, but police speculated that she lived in the area and was out for early morning exercise. 

The paper quotes CHP spokesperson Leland Tang as saying she was riding downhill on Coastline Drive in Pacific Palisades when she ran the red light at PCH, and was hit by a westbound flower delivery truck at 4:41 am.

She was transported to UCLA Medical Center with major injuries, where she reportedly remains in serious but stable condition. 

Which begs the question, who, exactly, witnessed the collision at that hour and saw her go through the red? 

Given her critically injured state, it’s highly unlikely that police were able to talk to her before she was transported to the hospital. Let alone that she would have been capable of describing how the collision occurred and whether the light was red or green when she went through the intersection.

It’s also questionable whether any independent witnesses were at the scene at such an early hour, and just happened to be looking in the right direction to observe the collision, and at the same time, notice what color the light was.

In all likelihood, the only witness capable of speaking to the police was the driver of the truck that hit her, who has an inherent interest casting events in a favorable light.

If there were any independent witnesses, police should let the public know, if only for the sake of credibility.

At the very least, no conclusion should be made in this, or any other collision, until police speak with all the surviving participants — even if that means waiting days or weeks until the victim recovers enough to present the other side of the story.

That is not to say that the driver was lying. It’s human nature to recall events in a way that casts our actions in the best possible light.

It’s also entirely possible that the collision occurred exactly the way the story describes. 

Heller may have picked up too much speed on the steep downhill and been unable to stop in time. Or, like too many bike riders, she may have simply blown through the light, thinking it would be safe so early in the morning — though it’s questionable whether she would have intentionally run the red with a large truck bearing down on her at highway speeds, regardless of how Tang casts the collision.

“One of the biggest things we are having a problem with is bicyclists are not following the rules of the road,” he said. “Bicyclists have to stop at stop signs, they have to stop at red lights. [Heller] ran a red light.”

I believe he left out the word, “allegedly.” 

I could be wrong.

Maybe there were multitudes of people milling about that corner before 4:45 am. Or maybe the CHP found security video that clearly showed the light was red when she attempted to go through the intersection.

But we should always take such victim-blaming conclusions with a grain of salt until we hear both sides of the story.

And so should the police.

Update 4: Wayne Gunn offered the following update in a comment on another page, including a link to a Caring Bridge page to raise funds for Heller’s recovery. 

Update on Maija Heller, the USC professor injured on PCH at this site set up by her roommate:  http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/maijaheller/mystory She rides to USC daily from home near the accident site and started in early that day (and in the dark) to help load instruments for a two month trans-Pacific research cruise. Needless to say, she will be on a different journey- of recovery.

Malibu study suggests PCH safety improvements; a NELA paranoid bike lane conspiracy theory

Lots of news to wrap up the work week.

No, seriously, don’t take note of the perfect summer weather that finally arrived in LA this week. You’ve got important things to do. And you can live without riding your bike for another day.

Right?

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UCLA professor Donald Shoup would be proud.

The nation’s parking meister has long argued against the high cost of free parking. Now a new Malibu safety study seems to be taking him seriously, suggesting parking meters along PCH could improve safety by reducing the problems with drivers looking for free parking.

I like it.

The study also recommends putting east/west bike lanes along the full length of the 21-mile city to get cyclists out of the way of high-speed traffic. Although someone should tell them that sharrows are not bike lanes.

You can read the study here, and weigh in with your own thoughts online through September 17th; thanks to Paiwei Wei for the link.

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Anti-NELA bike lane activist Tom Topping writes in his Boulevard Sentinel newspaper that he’s being smeared by bike advocates — and oddly, KPCC’s Larry Mantle. I listened to the Airtalk program he refers to when it aired last month; actually, I though Larry was going easy on him. And having appeared on Larry’s program, I can’t say I detected a bit of pro or anti-bike bias, though word is he’s a car guy at heart.

Then again, it does make for a damn good paranoid conspiracy theory if bike shop owners and public radio hosts are all on the city payroll to ram through “vehicle removal plans” for a fast buck.

Though I’m not exactly sure who profits from road diets and bike lanes. Except, of course, for the businesses and residents who reside alongside them.

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Evidently, I wasn’t the only one to host a Bike Talk program on Tuesday. Flying Pigeon’s Josef Bray-Ali — the unnamed bike shop owner in the above conspiracy theory — hosted a discussion touching anti-bike UN paranoia, billionaires and bikes, and measuring the success of bike projects, among other topics.

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ABC’s 20/20 program takes a look at LA’s hit-and-run epidemic, which the LA Weekly takes sole credit for uncovering; I seem to recall a long list of bike advocates who have been raising the alarm for years, but what do I know? Culver City hosts the annual bike-friendly Fiesta La Ballona this weekend. The comment period for the new Union Station master plan has been extended through the end of this month. Santa Monica will hold a free festival next month to preview the planned MANGo Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway; for the sake of fairness, I hope they also have a WOMANGo greenway in the works. Santa Monica’s Bike Center will try to help the city’s businesses become more bike friendly. Sunday will see a Kidical Mass ride in Chinatown. Metro and CICLE team up to offer three free community bike rides in the LA area in the next three months. County Supervisor Gloria Molina joins with the LACBC and LA County Parks and Recreation to hold a free East LA Bicycle Ride on Saturday, Sept. 7th. Ride Pablove Across America will hold an LA fundraising ride in the Valley on October 12th. Okay, so it’s not a bike race, but proceeds from the October 20th Loco Motion 10K Run will benefit the LACBC in honor of fallen cyclist Marisela Echeverria, killed while riding on PCH last year. Red5 Yellow7 will host a workshop on how to choose the right bike on September 9th. The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition will hold its first official meeting Saturday. Incycle Bike Shop says they’re having their biggest sale of the year. Bike Long Beach explains when you can really take the lane.

Laguna Beach moves towards complete streets while trying to move bike riders off PCH; maybe the city should consider a Roman role model. Irvine is now officially bike-friendly, but that’s about all you’ll learn thanks to the OC Register’s draconian paywall. A San Diego writer proposes using the city’s unpaved canyons for bike superhighways. A bicyclist gets her bike back, thanks to a door-to-door wildfire evacuation; thanks to murphstahoe for the heads-up. Yet another holier-than-thou Napa bike rider says she obeys the law and rides courteously, but those damn speeding spandex-clad cyclists should stay the hell off the streets.

AAA says American drivers are growing less concerned about behaviors that could kill you. Biking improves employee productivity. The firing of Serotta’s founder takes some of the soul out of American framebuilding. I’ve been to Maui’s Haleakala volcano, and would not want to ride a bike off the edge of it. A sidewalk riding Las Vegas cyclist is killed in an apparent SWSS. Bicycle tourists are a major source of revenue in Arizona. It takes a village to capture a Longmont CO bike thief. BMC’s Tejay van Garderen takes the leader’s jersey in the USA Pro Challenge. A 74-year old MA pastor was murdered with a hammer while riding home on his bike. Needless to say, the New York cabbie who severed the leg of a British tourist earlier this week blames the bike rider who tried to warn him, as well as the city’s bike lanes; the Daily News reveals the bike rider may not be a nice person, but fails to note what the hell does that has to do with the wreck. Those NYC bike lanes may be key to outgoing Mayor Bloomberg’s legacy. Citi Bike rides the subway; New York bike share riders may ride drunk, but at least they don’t black out. Even a Philly bike cop can be a victim of hit-and-run. Is it time to end the longtime Share the Road campaign in Delaware — and everywhere else, for that matter?

British cycling star Bradley Wiggins calls for making helmet use mandatory; how about making it mandatory for cars to not hit bicyclists, instead? Volvo’s new cyclist detection system wins the UK’s award for best car safety system. Edinburgh is the latest city to drop speed limits to 20 mph to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians. Queensland, Australia cyclists could get a minimum 1-meter passing distance, maybe more in high speed areas.

Finally, repeat after me: If you have two bags of meth stuffed in the tubes of your bike, stop for the damn stop signs, already. And a car crashes into a San Fernando Valley post office; witnesses report the building swerved into the car’s path and wasn’t wearing a helmet.

Catching up with today’s way too long compendium of all the latest bike news and links

Let’s take a few minutes to catch up on this week’s news now that things have settled down a little.

Or maybe quite a few minutes.

It’s a long list.

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Beverly Hills isn’t the only place where a road raging driver has left an injured cyclist in his wake.

Around 5 pm last Friday, a group of women visiting from Las Vegas were riding single file on eastbound PCH in Newport Beach, when a Cadillac pulled up behind one on the riders and started honking impatiently — then plowed into one of the riders, rather than wait a few seconds until they could get out of his way.

The jerk driver fled the scene, but returned later, claiming it was the victim’s fault. Evidently for having the audacity to occupy the same space where he wanted to put his car.

The woman was transported to a local hospital with a head injury; a comment to the story indicates she was released after being kept overnight.

And no word yet on whether the driver was cited, or if charges are pending.

Thanks to Lois for the link.

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An unarmed bike rider is shot by an L.A. Sheriff’s Deputy who thought he was acting “suspicious” and might have had a gun.

Maybe I’m missing something here, but since when is the mere possibility that someone might a weapon sufficient justification for using deadly force?

Maybe that’s why some drivers have been so aggressive lately. They can’t tell if I’ve got a gun in my bike shorts, or just happy to see them.

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On the job front, Safe Routes to School is looking for an Active Transportation Fellow in DC. The League of American Bicyclists is looking for a Development Director. And if you’re a bike enthusiast with wrenching skills, GMR Marketing has a job for you at this year’s Amgen Tour of California.

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The LA Weekly trolls for web hits once again, claiming, among other things, that the best way to improve L.A. traffic is to rip out bike lanes in favor of restoring regular traffic lanes. As evidence, the bike-baiting writer who shall remain unnamed claims the 7th Street bike lanes are unused and result in angry motorists.

Yet he somehow fails to explain why the city’s worst traffic problems are on streets that don’t even have bike lanes.

As someone who rides 7th Street on a regular basis, I can attest that I have never seen a traffic jam there since the bike lanes were put in, even at rush hour. And seldom find myself the only cyclist using the popular lanes, which have become the primary feeder route for riders coming into Downtown from the Westside.

But then, the Weekly doesn’t always let the facts get in the way of the story when it comes to bikes these days.

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Once again, L.A. County’s killer highway claims another life, this time a pedestrian crossing Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.

Which is a needlessly tragic lead-in to the news that Malibu is hosting a pair of public meetings next month to discuss the city’s PCH Safety Study next month. If you ride on PCH — or ever find yourself trying to cross the street there — you owe it to yourself to attend one.

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Maybe it’s just because the producer is my nephew. But this looks like a pretty decent distracted driving PSA. Especially considering it was made by a 16-year old who just got his license.

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The city council gives the go-ahead for bike share in Downtown L.A., while CD14 Councilmember Jose Huizar introduces a motion to repaint the Spring Street green bike lanes. Speaking of which, the most recent bike count shows ridership on Spring Street is up another 40%, after a 52% increase last year; I suppose the Weekly would say no one uses those, either. Construction will begin soon on shared bike/bus lanes on Sunset Blvd. Mark your calendar for Bike Week; pledge to ride on Bike to Work Day and you could win a bike from REI. Examined Spoke offers some good thoughts about CicLAvia; I missed that somehow in yesterday’s roundup. Will Campbell unwillingly shares a burger with a man who blames cyclists for everything that’s wrong with Los Angeles; maybe he’s a regular Weekly reader. A Silver Lake bike rodeo is scheduled for May 18th. Metro works to improve bike and pedestrian access in Boyle Heights and Little Tokyo. How to get abandoned bikes removed from racks. Both Helen’s Cycles in Santa Monica and Pasadena’s Incycle Bicycles invite you to ride with them this weekend to learn about Tour de Cure. County Commissioner Zev Yaroslavsky says NBC Universal has agreed to complete — and help pay for — a missing link in the L.A. River Bike Path through Universal Studios; now if he could only apply a little pressure to the anti-bike city of Vernon. Calabasas bike-centric farm-to-table restaurant, coffee roaster and Moots bike boutique Pedalers Fork is open, and the first reviews are already in and looking good. In other food news, bike-powered Peddler’s Creamery is now open in Downtown L.A. The San Marino paper offers what may be the most accurate estimate of attendance at Sunday’s CicLAvia, putting the total at an open-to-interpretation several hundred thousand.

The third attempt at a California three-foot passing law passed its first hurdle in the state legislature; now its on the Appropriations Committee, even though it wouldn’t seem to require any. Riverside boldly decides to study a disputed bike lane. An open letter to the AAA. No charges against a stop sign-running Apple Valley driver who hit a cyclist. A call for artistic bike racks in Beaumont. A Newport Beach city councilmember criticizes the sentence given the killer driver in the Campion-Ritz hit-and-run; but why is the death of a “significant citizen” any more important or tragic than anyone elses? Presenting the best bike ride around San Diego’s Mission Bay; I often followed a similar course when I lived down there. Escondido’s Muffler Man will get bike drag in time for the Amgen Tour of California. When a little girl’s bike is stolen, an Oxnard cop buys her a new one at his own expense, then teaches her how to ride it; thanks to our Carolina friend Zeke for the heads-up. Red Kite Prayer drops in on this year’s Sea Otter Classic. A new bike path opens connecting Downtown San Jose to the Bay. A case so old I’d forgotten all about it finally comes to a conclusion, as a Santa Clara County deputy gets a warm caress on the wrist when he’s sentenced to four months, possibly to be served at home, for killing two riders while asleep at the wheel. Unlike its L.A. counterpart, the San Francisco Weekly doesn’t have it’s collective head planted firmly up its own posterior, explaining why protected bike lanes are good for business; then again, even NBC says the same thing, at least for small businesses. It’s been a bad year for NorCal cyclists, as a 79-year old rider was the latest to killed; if a bike rider can fall under the wheels of a passing car, doesn’t that suggest the car was passing dangerously close — let alone that it might have caused the fall?

A Portland driver somehow finds herself on a separated bikeway rather than the interstate highway bridge next to it; local police say “oops.” Another self-hating bike rider who says cyclists don’t belong on the road (scroll down). Those bike-riding Portland kids sure have it easy these days. Bike share will launch in Seattle next year. An Alaska cyclist rides his fatbike over 2,000 miles in the middle of winter along two of the state’s famed sled dog trails. Big hearted strangers give a new bike to the victim of an Oklahoma hit-and-run victim. America’s only surviving Tour de France winner says he has no vendetta against Lance Armstrong; can’t say the same about the U.S. government, though. Louisiana driver gets a minor citation despite hitting and seriously injuring a bike rider who stopped in a bike lane. Bikeyface wishes bikes were more like cars. New York imposes new restrictions on bike delivery riders. NYC’s new bike share program isn’t even open yet, and it’s already being vandalized.

A UK nurse was over twice the legal alcohol limit — and on her way to work — when she killed a cyclist and fled the scene, stopping only to pull the bike out of her way. A driver with a suspended license killed a cycling married couple as he fled from police. Amazingly, British police refuse to file charges against a road raging driver was captured on helmet cam beating the crap out of a bike rider; thanks to Joni for the heads-up. Parliament members call for reducing speed limits and jailing dangerous drivers, as well as boosting spending levels to £1 billion to encourage more people to take up bicycling. Photos of eyes over bike racks cut theft rates. Town Mouse is more concerned with the safety of the dog chasing her. The director of a Dutch — yes, Dutch — road safety institute calls for a mandatory helmet law for riders over 55. A new book looks at Italian cycling great Fausto Coppi. The authoritarian state of Uzbekistan is banning bicycles in the capital, seizing bikes and advising bike shops to shut down. A Persian Gulf writer asks if taking a dangerous shortcut is really worth it. Queensland is relaxing their mandatory helmet laws to allow religious requirements. An Aussie woman is ticketed for using a handheld cell phone while riding, but the local press is more freaked out by her “bizarre” tall bike. Tempers run hot Down Under, as a cyclist is punched out by an angry driver. Why women should ride to work and how to get started.

Finally, build your own sandwich bike; peanut butter and jelly optional. A British thief returns a stolen “lusciously smooth” bike with an apology and a coupon. And trust me, you don’t want to read the comments to the Times’ story  about the Beverly Hills road rage case — let alone the ones on the CBS version.

But you’re probably going to anyway.

PCH fatality may have resulted from bad roadway; LACBC issues call for safety; and former UCLA neurologist killed in AZ hit-and-run

Maybe I was wrong.

Multiple press reports quoted L.A. County Sheriff’s Sgt. Phillip Brooks as saying the victim, identified by friends as 36-year old architect and triathlete Marisela Echeveria of Cypress Park, lost control of her bike when she was passed by one or more trucks.

As a result, she reportedly clipped a parked car with her handlebars, which caused her to veer left into the side of the bus, falling under its rear wheels.

But remarkably, only one report — from the not always bike-friendly L.A. Weekly — noted that the above scenario was based on the observations of the bus driver, and subject to change as the investigation developed.

Now word is that video evidence has been found showing the collision was not the result of a close pass after all.

The video reportedly shows Echevaria moving left to go around a group of cars parked on the shoulder. As she does, her wheel apparently got caught in a seam in the asphalt between the shoulder and the right traffic lane, causing her to lose balance and fall under the bus to her left.

And to answer an earlier question, the bus driver had reportedly moved partially into the next traffic lane to give her an estimated five feet of passing distance. Tragically, it turned out that wasn’t enough.

It’s unclear where the video came from.

It could have been from the bus itself, though that would not have shown the actual collision as the bus passed by. Or it could have come from a bike cam from a following cyclist, as there’s no shortage of riders on PCH. Then again, there’s also no shortage of security camera on PCH; I’m told by someone with knowledge of the area that the collision occurred almost directly in front of Cher’s home.

If there’s any good news in a situation like this, it’s that the collision would unfolded very quickly, and she may not have had time to realize what was happening. And from the description I’ve seen, it’s unlikely that she felt any pain; her death would have been almost instantaneous under the circumstances.

The investigation is still ongoing.

But it looks like Echevaria’s death was not due to rider error, a careless bus driver or getting Jerry Browned by a passing truck.

In this case, she may have literally been the victim of a killer highway.

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The LACBC has issued a response to Saturday’s collision:

LOS ANGELES COUNTY BICYCLE COALITION CALLS FOR SAFETY ON PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY

LOS ANGELES, Calif. –

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) is deeply saddened by the fatal collision between a bicyclist and a Metro bus on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) in Malibu on Saturday.  Preliminary reports indicate that triathlete Marisela Echeveria of Cypress Park was maneuvering around parked cars on the shoulder of the highway when her wheel was caught in a pavement seam and she was thrown toward the passing bus.  We send our deepest condolences to her family, friends, and teammates.

Pacific Coast Highway is a notoriously dangerous street for all travelers, and particularly challenging for people on bicycles.  Outdated road design, inconsistent shoulders, and high motor vehicle speeds are a perilous combination for people walking or riding along the highway.  PCH is Malibu’s main street, yet it was built to rural highway standards that provide first and foremost for the fast movement of vehicles over local access to residences, businesses, and beaches.  Bicyclists face increased risks when navigating such a complex traffic environment.

Since the 2005 deaths of Scott Bleifer and Stanislav Ionov, LACBC has worked with stakeholders to improve conditions for bicyclists on the highway.  Education, enforcement, and engineering strategies must be used in concert to reduce collision rates.  In recent years, the City of Malibu has given considerable attention to these issues and is currently analyzing potential improvements through a $375,000 study funded by Caltrans, the Southern California Associations of Governments, and the City.  The City is also currently in design for a bike lane project running two miles from Busch Drive to Trancas Canyon Road.  LACBC is encouraged by these preliminary steps.

The California coast is a shared treasure, with access guaranteed by the California Coastal Act and our State’s Constitution.  LACBC calls on all jurisdictions to cooperate in providing a safe, continuous bikeway along the Pacific Coast Highway so that all people can enjoy its scenic beauty.  We must work together to improve safety in the short term while moving toward a more balanced PCH that better serves residents and visitors in the future.

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One other quick note, as a Scottsdale neurologist with ties to UCLA was killed while riding in Arizona over the weekend.

KPHO-TV reports that 38-year old Dr. Marwan Maalouf was killed in a hit-and-run shortly after noon Sunday while riding in Fountain Hills AZ; a suspect was arrested nearby.

Maalouf was a former member of the Schweitzer Lab at the UCLA Department of Neurobiology, researching markers for Alzheimer Disease.

My deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

Update: PCH claims another life — bike rider killed by Metro bus in Malibu; 2nd rider critically injured in Alhambra

It’s the fear of countless cyclists on Malibu’s Pacific Coast Highway.

A door opens unexpectedly. A patch of gravel causes a loss of control. A pothole or too-close pass leaves a rider precariously unbalanced.

Followed by a deadly fall in front of unforgiving, high speed traffic.

We may never know why a cyclist fell in front of a Metro bus on PCH today. But the tragic result was entirely predictable.

According to KNBC-4, the 36-year old rider, identified only as a Los Angeles resident of “Latino descent,” was riding on PCH near Puerco Canyon Road at 1:50 pm. She reportedly lost control of her bike and fell into the roadway, where she was struck by an oncoming Metro Bus at 25019 Pacific Coast Highway, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The story does not report which direction she was riding; however, Malibu Patch says southbound PCH was closed for several hours between Puerco Canyon Road and John Tyler Drive, suggesting that the collision occurred on the west side of the highway.

Patch reports that a Sheriff’s spokesman said it’s too early to determine who was at fault. The story also notes that deputies were unsure if she was wearing a helmet; given that the victim was hit by bus, there’s very little chance a helmet would have made any difference in the outcome.

This is the 65th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth fatality in the past week. It’s also the 21st bicycling death in Los Angeles County since the beginning of the year, 12 of which were due to traffic collisions, and the second on PCH in the Malibu/Santa Monica area.

My heartfelt prayers and sympathy for the victim and her family. 

Thanks to David Huntsman for the heads-up.

Update: Malibu Patch quotes a Metro spokesman as saying they don’t know if the bus driver was male or female, what the driver’s previous safety record was, or whether there were any passengers on the bus at the time of the collision. Hint to Metro: when you don’t have anything to say, you’re usually better off not saying anything.

The Pepperdine University Graphic identifies the bus line as the 534, which seems to be more than Metro knows.

Update 2: A press release from the Sheriff’s Department confirms the collision occurred on South/Eastbound side of PCH.

Update 3: According to a comment from Alma Valencia, the victim was Marisela Echeveria of Cypress Park.

Truly saddened to read this report. The Los Angeles resident of “Latino decent” was my friend. Her name was Marisela Echeveria a Cypress Park resident enjoying a ride along PCH. She was an Ironman athlete, architect and was truley an angel taken from us much too soon. We are all in shock and pray for strength for the days to come.

Update 4: Many people have expressed grief over Marisela’s tragic death, as well as anger over a comment below urging riders to avoid dangerous roads like PCH. While I strongly disagree with her comments, the writer does have a right to her opinion, and has not crossed the line into personal attacks or blaming the victim; disagree as much as you want, but please keep responses respectful.

The best thing you can do to channel your anger and grief is to take a few moments to participate in the Malibu PCH bike safety study, which will be online through November 12th. By making PCH safer, we can help prevent future fatalities, and bring some good from this horrible tragedy.

Also, consider writing the Governor to express your anger over his two-time veto of the state’s proposed three-foot passing laws. If the bus had been required to stay a minimum of three feet from the cyclist, she might have been able to fall beside, rather than in front, of the bus. And this needless tragedy might never have happened.

Update 5: Finally, some real news, as KCBS-2 reports Echevaria was training for an Ironman triathlon when she was killed on PCH Saturday afternoon. According to the station, she lost control of her bike when she was passed by some trucks and caught her handlebar on a parked car; she then veered into the bus and was dragged underneath.

This may be the first fatality we can lay directly at the feet of Governor Jerry Brown since his most recent veto of the state’s proposed three-foot passing law.

In order for the trucks to have caused Echerveria to lose control, they had to be close enough to either startle her or interfere with the safe operation of her bike — although to be fair, larger trucks should give a hell of a lot more than three feet, due to their massive size.

And the bus driver may or may not have been passing too close, depending on how far she was thrown into the roadway after clipping the parked car.

If there are witnesses who can show the trucks passed too closely to her bike — and it sounds like there may be — the driver(s) can and should be charged with vehicular homicide.

Anyone with information is urged to call the L.A. Sheriff’s Department Malibu/Lost Hills station at 818/878-1808.

Update 6: According to Malibu Patch, the Coroner has ruled the death an accident resulting from multiple traumatic injuries; however, as I understand it, that does not halt the investigation or preclude charges.

Update 7: Echeveria’s death may not have been due to a close pass, and it appears it may not have been her fault, either. 

Video evidence has surfaced that reportedly shows her bike tire getting caught in a seam in the roadway as she attempted to go around some parked cars. More in tonight’s follow-up report.

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Clearly, it was a bad day for L.A. County bicyclists, as another rider was critically injured while riding salmon in Alhambra.

According to the Pasadena Star-News, the 44-year old rider, who has not been publicly identified, was riding north on southbound Palm Avenue at Main Street when he was struck by a northbound Mercedes Benz turning left from Raymond onto Main around 12:45 pm.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation; however, riding on the wrong side of the roadway didn’t help.

Cyclist suffers shuttle van hit-and-run on PCH; more on the two cyclists killed in Newport Beach

Sometimes bad news is good.

Or at least, not as bad as it could have been. Because last weekend’s three cycling fatalities could have easily been four.

Cristin Zeisler was riding on PCH last Saturday morning when she was hit by large passenger van that kept going after knocking her off her bike.

We’ll let her tell the story.

The details of my accident are as follows: I was riding north on PCH on Saturday 9/15. Around 9am, as I approached the Porto Marina turnout, a large passenger van/shuttle hit me as it passed. I was thrown over the handlebars and landed primarily on my left shoulder (although my head, hip, and knee also took some of the impact). The van’s rear wheel missed running over my head by no more than 6 inches. I remained alert and vigilant throughout the impact and aftermath. I attempted to make note of the van’s license plate or other identifying marks, but it did not stop or slow at all so I was not able to get any details.

I’ve searched dozens of Google images to try to find a photo that matches what I saw. I haven’t found a perfect fit yet. The attached image comes is closest I’ve found so far — however, “my” van looked a little “older” and I believe it was only 5 windows long (not 6) and that the frames around the windows were white, not black.  Also, the back portion of “my” van had an advertising billboard type of thing below the window, on its lower half. I have no idea what it was an ad for, but the main colors I remember from it were blue and green.

A girl in the Marina Porto parking area saw me hit the ground and she came over to check on me and call 911 and she stayed until the police and EMS arrived. I did not get her name or number, but the officers on the scene seemed to talk with her at length while the EMS guys were checking me out. I assume the on-scene officers got her info.

I was transported to UCLA via ambulance. About 45 mins after I got to UCLA, another officer (Yoon) came to interview me and he issued a little tiny form (sort of like a receipt) to let me know that a felony hit and run report was filed. I have not yet followed up to get a copy of the “full” report yet.

Thankfully, despite suffering a broken clavicle — and a busted bike — Crisitin is relatively okay.

It could have been a lot worse.

She thinks she was hit when the van gave her far less than three feet passing distance, sideswiping her as the driver tried to slip by.

That’s something that would have been clearly illegal if our governor hadn’t vetoed last year’s three foot passing law. Let’s hope he has enough sense to sign this year’s version, before more cyclists are sent to the hospital, or worse, thanks to his pen.

And let’s find the driver who ran her down so he — and the company he or she works for — can be held accountable.

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The Daily Pilot offers a nice look at nutritionist Sarah Leaf, who was killed by a right-turning truck while riding in Newport Beach on Friday. Photos on the Orange County Bicycle Coalition website show a young woman with a lovely smile; maybe if the driver had seen that smile — let alone her bike — he might not have run her over.

Meanwhile, the paper remembers Dr. Catherine “Kit” Campion Ritz, also killed while riding her bike over the weekend, as a caring and well-respected physician.

“Dr. Kit Campion was a warm, engaging leader, respected and loved by her patients, physician colleagues, nurses and health-care professionals throughout Orange County,” said Diane Laird, CEO of Greater Newport Physicians, which has more than 550 members. “She worked tirelessly to ensure that members of all the communities we serve had access to the best health care.”

The Daily Pilot also confirms that she used her maiden name professionally; she was reportedly riding with her husband when she was killed just four miles from her home.

But can we please get them to stop calling it an accident?

It was a collision — not an accident — right up to the moment the coward behind the wheel stepped on the gas pedal to run away.

And then it became a crime. As if it wasn’t already when he drifted into the bike lane and ran down an innocent woman from behind without slowing down.

Meanwhile, Corona del Mar Today says the investigation continues into both collisions. Police are looking for the driver of the large black pickup that killed Campion Ritz, possibly a 2001 to 2004 Toyota Tacoma with significant front end damage.

Frank Peters provides photos of the collision scenes and ghost bikes for both victims on bikeNewportBeach. He also sends word that 150 people turned out for a special meeting of the Citizens Bicycle Safety Committee Monday night to share their heartbreak over the two deaths. And that Newport Beach Police Chief Johnson, who lost his own brother in a traffic collision, promised an imminent arrest in the hit-and-run.

Corona del Mar Today reports on the meeting.

Correction: Earlier I wrote that Chief Johnson lost his brother in a bicycling collision; it was actually a motor vehicle collision. Thanks to Amy Senk of Corona del Mar Today for the correction.

Update: An arrest has been made in the case.

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After all the bad news, maybe you could use a little smile. And frankly, I don’t know how it’s possible to watch this video without your lips turning up at least a little.

No, it’s not bike related. In fact, I don’t think there’s a bike in it.

Just a loving family, and one of the sweetest little girls you’ll ever meet, should you be so lucky. It’s a day in the life of a K/1st grade child with Down Syndrome.

And she’s the daughter of my good friends at Altadenablog.

San Diego protest ride, PCH bike meeting & Malibu Creek Restoration Ride — and that’s just this week

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a chance to update the Events calendar. And there’s a lot happening this weekend, and over the next week.

But before we begin, there are a couple of events that deserve a little extra attention.

First up, as you may be aware, there have been far too many cycling fatalities this year. Especially in San Diego, which has suffered far too many biking deaths in a city that’s doing far too little about it.

And local cyclists have had enough.

They’re sponsoring a ride next Wednesday to protest these deaths, and demand action from city officials to improve safety.

Now.

San Diego, CA- Local bicyclists are organizing a memorial bike ride for riders who were struck and killed by motor vehicles in the past weeks.

Theodore Jones, a 56-year old San Diego resident, was pronounced dead on Sunday, July 8 after suffering severe head injuries when a vehicle collided with him on Tuesday, July 3rd on the 4700 block of Solola Avenue in Lincoln Park.

Angel Bojorquez, 18, of Escondido, was killed by a hit and run driver as he rode home from work in Rancho Santa Fe early in the morning of July 6, 2012. 19-year-old Jin Hyuk Byun has been arrested for the incident. Police say that Byun hit Angel with his 2008 Chevy Avalanche and left him in the bushes at the side of the road, where he died. If convicted of the charge of felony hit-and-run, Byun faces only 4 years in prison. His bail was set at only $50,000, a pittance given the senseless loss of life that he caused.

Angel’s brother Steve, said they both worked at the same place and often drove together, but Angel was riding his bike home because their schedules did not match.

These incidents raise the total of cycling fatalities in Southern California to 10 since July 4, and 39 year-to-date.

Angel Bojorquez was one of 10 fatal bike-related hit- and-runs in Southern California this year. There have been 4 just since July 6, 2012.

The people who are dying on our city streets are not just reckless or inexperienced bicyclists, they are often cautious and experienced riders who are often simply commuting to or from work and school.

Solutions to these tragedies are simple.  Protected bike lanes, reduced speed limits, safer road design, and grade-separated bike lanes will protect cyclists and give more people the opportunity to use this healthy, green, and practical transportation alternative.

The ride will take place Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 4:30pm.  It will begin at the fountain in Balboa Park and conclude at 202 C Street. in front of the City Administration Building.  At the conclusion of the ride, bicyclists will use chalk to trace their bodies to send a message to city officials that their continued failure to design safer roads is unacceptable.

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Next up, Malibu hosts a special meeting to discuss the PCH Bike Route Improvements Project next Wednesday.

Please join us for a Special Joint Meeting with the Public Works Commission and the Public Safety Commission to review and discuss the preliminary design concepts for the Pacific Coast Highway Bike Route Improvements Project at Malibu City Hall on Wednesday, July 25, 2012.  Below are the meeting details:

When:  
Wednesday, July 25, 2012, at 6:00 p.m
 
Where:  
Multi-Purpose Room
Malibu City Hall
23825 Stuart Ranch Road, Malibu, CA 90265

After receiving insightful community input from four public workshops and conducting a critical analysis of PCH, creative solutions have been developed to address issues pertaining to cycling throughout the project corridor. The meeting will provide an overview of the recommended design strategies that will improve safety and functionality along PCH.

We hope you can join us Wednesday, July 25.  We will send out a reminder as the date gets closer.

If you have any questions or can’t make the meeting and would like to learn more about the project, please contact Elizabeth Shavelson, Public Works Analyst at (310) 456-2489 ext. 254 or via email at eshavelson@malibucity.org

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This is the group that gave up a Saturday morning earlier this year to help repair the Malibu Creek watershed.

Finally, on Saturday the 28th, the Mountains Restoration Trust and Heal the Bay offer a second opportunity to restore critical riparian habitats within Malibu Creek State Park by riding to sites that are too far to hike to. Mountain bikers — or anyone capable of riding a dirt fire road — are invited to join them on at Malibu Creek State Park, 1925 Las Virgenes Road from 8:45 am to noon.

Click here to sign up in advance, then bring your sunscreen and be ready to work.

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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 Bicycle Film Fest presents the Bike Movie Weekend all this weekend at the Silent Movie Theater at 611 North Fairfax Avenue. Showings include Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, The Best of the Bicycle Film Festival, the masterful documentary A Sunday in Hell and everyone’s favorite bike movie, Breaking Away (including an appearance by star Dennis Christopher) among others.

Stately Pasadena will be invaded with cyclists when the Pasadena edition of the Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia settles in for a weekend of biking events, starting with a two day expo at Pasadena City Hall, followed by rides of 29, 64 and 83-ish miles on Sunday. It all takes place Saturday, July 21st and Sunday, July 22nd; registration closes Wednesday, July 18th.

Eric Lubeck of the Caltech Bike Lab is leading a bike ride to the Eagle Rock Brewery on Saturday the 21st. The ride departs from San Pasqual and Wilson Ave on the Caltech campus at 3 pm, and returns to the same location; riders who enjoy themselves a little too much can return via Metrolink.

Also on Saturday the 21st, the High Desert Cyclists will bike to San Buenaventura State Beach for a beachfront barbeque; three starting points offer rides of 35 to 80 miles, arriving at the beach between noon and 1 pm. The ride is one way, so you’ll need to arrange transportation back to your starting point.

Sunday, July 22nd, bike-friendly CD13 city council candidate Josh Post hosts a two-hour bike ride along the L.A. River to highlight his plans for a bike-friendly L.A. and a revitalized L.A. River. Riders meet at 9 am at Oso Park, 1050 Riverside Drive.

Long Beach’s Bixby Knolls Bike Friendly Business District is sponsoring a Kidical Mass Kid Friendly Bike Ride on Sunday, July 22nd. The ride begins at Los Cerritos Park at 1 pm, and will ride 2.5 miles round trip to Georgies Place, 3850 Atlantic Ave, returning by 3 pm.

Long Beach begins a series of monthly community bike meetings to provide an overview of what’s happening bike-wise in the city, as well as offering an opportunity to provide input on city plans. The first meeting takes place from 3 to 4:30 pm on Monday, July 23rd in the City Council Chambers, 333 W. Ocean Blvd, and will be repeated on Tuesday, August 2nd from 6:30 to 8 pm at Exhibit A Gallery, 555 Pine Avenue.

Okay, so it’s not bike related, but it’s a rare combination of good wine, great food and a great cause, as Mama’s Hot Tamales hosts a Wine Tasting for a Cause on Wednesday, July 25th. For the uninitiated, Mama’s a non-profit café dedicated to teaching immigrants how to work in the food industry by serving some of L.A.’s best tamales and coffee. The event is being held to raise funds for a new freezer; 6 to 9 pm at 2124 W. 7th Street across from MacArthur Park.

On Saturday, July 28th, join Wolfpack Hustle — yes, the cycling team that beat a jet to Long Beach — for the Midnight Drag Race: Codename “The Final Effin Sayso” as single speed cyclists race through Downtown’s famed 2nd Street tunnel. Sign-up starts at 10:30 at 2nd and Hill Street, with the first heats beginning at 11 pm.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s new Civic Engagement Committee at 6:45 pm on the last Tuesday of each month. The next meeting will be Tuesday, July 31st, at Pitfire Pizza at 2nd and Main in Downtown L.A.. Email bikinginla at hotmail dot com to be added to the email list.

The 4th Annual California Tour de Dreams 2012 will take place August 9th through 19th as cyclists will ride 540 miles from UC Berkeley to UCLA to educate communities about the passage of the California Dream Act and advocate for passage of the Federal Dream Actregister online by May 31st.

The Antelope Valley’s High Desert Cyclists hosts a series of monthly Brunch Rides on the second Saturday of each month. The comfortably paced 15 to 20 mile rides will visit a local restaurant or coffee shop for brunch before returning to the starting point; organizers promise no rider will be left behind. The next ride is scheduled for Saturday, August 11th; details to follow.

Registration has opened for the Santa Monica Museum of Art’s fourth annual Cause for Creativity: Tour da Arts on Sunday, August 19th, featuring an art focused bike tour and other bike centric artistic activities and exhibitions. Be sure to sign up early, because the free bike tour always reaches capacity long before the event.

Bikes are normally banned from the famed San Diego – Coronado Bay Bridge, but you can ride it on Sunday, August 26th, during the 5th Annual Bike the Bay, to benefit the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition.

The Eastside Bike Club invites you to join them on the Dodgertown Bike Ride on Saturday, September 1st. The ride begins with a rally starting at 3 pm at El Arca, 3839 Selig Place before riding to see the Dodgers play the Arizona Diamondbacks, with game time starting at 6:10 pm. Buy your tickets in advance on the Dodgers website.

Sunday, September 2nd marks your chance for fixed gear glory with the Lord of Griffith IV, a climbing, three lap track bike/fixed gear race in and around Griffith Park.

The Arthritis Foundation’s California Coast Classic invites you to ride down Highway 1 to raise funds for a cure. The ride rolls 525 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles from Sunday, September 9th to Sunday the 16th; a two-day option is also available on Saturday, the 15th and Sunday the 16th.

Early registration has opened for the national Pro Walk/Pro Bike® conference to be held September 10th through 13th in Long Beach. The 17th annual conference is sponsored by the National Center for Bicycling and Walking, and Project for Public Spaces.

This year’s Tour de Fat will take place on Saturday, September 15th at Los Angeles State Historic Park — and this time, it’s not scheduled on the Jewish high holidays, so everyone can attend.

Celebrate the return of Carmagedon on Saturday, September 29th as Wolfpack Hustle — yes, the cyclists who beat a Jet Blue jet from Burbank to Long Beach — invite you to ride your bikes from every point in the city to meet on the L.A. River bike path for the biggest ride ever with the All City LA River Ride; details to follow.

There’s a new date for the next CicLAvia, which has been moved up one week from October 14th to 10 am to 3 pm on Sunday, October 7th. The route has also been changed, with new spurs extending from Expo Park  in South L.A. to East L.A. and Boyle Heights.

Now here’s a great idea for a ride. The Arthritis Foundation is teaming with one of the L.A. area’s favorite Cuban bakeries and cafés to offer the first ever Tour de Porto’s starting at 8:30 am on Sunday, October 28th. The ride starts at Porto’s in Glendale, travels a short distance to the Burbank Porto’s, then down the L.A. River Bike Path to the restaurant’s Downey location. If the entry fee includes a Cubano or Medianoche, count me in.

Dangerous driver alert, cyclist critically injured in West LA, and your fresh summer solstice links

I received the following email last night, urging cyclists to be on the lookout for a dangerous driver who continues to drive despite a restricted — and possibly suspended — license.

And despite seriously injuring a cyclist in a collision late last month.

URGENT -Dangerous Driver Alert If you ride the Rockstore Loop you should be very concerned. (Agoura Road, Cornell Road, Mulholland Between Cornell & Lake Vista Dr.)

The Vehicle: 2012 Red Hyundai Elantra License 6TLN???* Damage to right front & right side. Missing right side mirror.

On 5/30/2012 @ 6:30 AM Local Cyclist Richard Harris sustained serious injuries and was Life Flighted to UCLA when he was run down from behind by a 45 MPH car while riding in the bike lane on Cornell Road � mile N of Mulholland. The 88 year old Driver of the car lives in Malibu Lake and is continuing to drive even though she has a restricted and possibly suspended license. She regularly drives back and forth between Malibu Lake & Agoura. This driver has been involved in multiple serious accidents in the last six months. The DMV has already been notified by the CHP that she needs a priority reexamination of her license. However she continues to drive in violation if the restrictions placed on her. If you see her driving call 911 so the CHP can impound her car.

*I’ve removed the last three digits of the license number to protect the online privacy of the driver; if you see a car matching that description with the first four digits of the license, contact the police and let them determine if it’s the right car.

And whatever you do, don’t try to deal with the situation yourself.

Thanks to Michael Byerts, Henry Hsieh and Steve Herbert for the heads-up.

………

A UC Berkeley and Santa Monica College student is critically injured in a collision with an SUV while riding her bike home last week. Tragically, her mother and sister discovered her lying in the street no more than a minute after the collision; she’s reportedly doing well, despite suffering life-threatening injuries.

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Once again, the great helmet debate rears its ugly head. This time in our neighbor to the north.

No, further north.

The Ontario, Canada chief coroner gets it right by saying all of the 129 cycling deaths in the province since 2006 could have been prevented. And responds by calling for a 14-point plan to prevent bicycling deathsincluding a mandatory helmet law.

And that’s where the argument starts.

A writer for the National Post says prove helmets are effective before making them mandatory, while Quebec pediatricians call for a law mandating helmet use for children.

The Toronto Star says the coroner is right, while a Toronto writer likes most of the suggestions, except for that damn helmet law. Windsor cyclists say it’s a matter of choice; the local paper calls for better education — and maybe mandatory helmets. The Ottawa Citizen says it should be an adult’s choice, which is exactly my take on the subject, even though I never ride without one.

Meanwhile, cyclists call for easing British Columbia’s helmet law, while a letter writer says they must be brain dead. The Daily News says repealing the law would send the wrong message, noting the outcry that would occur if the requirement to wear a seat belt was withdrawn.

Then again, unlike bike helmets, seat belts are designed to offer protection in crashes above 12.5 mph.

And an Anchorage AK writer suggests bike lanes would do more to make riders safe than requiring — or even wearing — helmets.

………

The San Francisco cyclist charged with killing a pedestrian while allegedly trying to beat his time on Strava enters a not guilty plea. Meanwhile, the family of a fallen cyclist files suit against Strava for encouraging dangerous riding. And Strava changes their terms and conditions to absolve themselves of any responsibility for anything anyone does using their service; good luck with that.

And Dave Moulton wisely advises riders not to play pretend racer on city streets — and somehow does it without using the words jerk, idiot or anything derived from four-letter words; I’m not sure I could show that kind of restraint.

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Bike share takes to the streets in Salt Lake City and New York, where the Post calls it a money-wasting crazed campaign backed by cycling-advocate groups and their stooges.

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The bikelash rises in an attempt to stop a planned road diet on Honolulu Ave in Glendale, so City Council members delay a decision until July 10th. A writer for Patch explains the arguments for and against.

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As noted here last week, Heal the Bay and Mountains Restoration Trust are calling for mountain bikers to help clean up sections of Malibu Creek State Park to remote to reach on foot this Saturday. The LA Sheriff Cycling Team hosts 350 riders for the second annual Ride 2 Recovery Honor Ride; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up. The long awaited Main Street bike lanes are on their way, while the Source questions whether it’s legal to park in them; short answer, not in Los Angeles, where parking in bike lanes in banned by local ordinance — even if the police don’t seem to know that. Over 200 riders took part in this year’s L.A. World Naked Bike Ride. L.A. riders recreate the famous flying bike scene from E.T. — without the flying, of course. Letter writers to the Times call for protecting pedestrians from cyclists, although one notes that you can’t blame all riders for the actions of a few. Richard Risemberg discovers the Graffiti Bridge. Four Santa Monica schools will take part in the Safe Routes to Schools program.

A harrowing report on a left-cross collision from Orange County’s cdmCyclist; oddly, the badly injured rider found a link to his own collision right here. San Clemente is seeking funding to develop smart bicycling signs riders can scan with a cell phone to get local information. A San Diego writer says biking in that city means literally risking his life, while another is stunned to discover cyclists have a right to use the whole lane. Two San Mateo men are charged with deliberately running two boys off the road, as well as threatening them with a knife. Three years in San Quentin and a lifetime driving ban for a Saratoga hit-and-run driver with one prior DUI. Sadly, the retiring Sonoma State University professor severely injured by a hit-and-run driver — who said he didn’t stop because he had to get to work — has died of his injuries. A not guilty plea from an accused Bay Area hit-and-run driver with three prior DUIs; why is someone with a record like that even allowed on the road? BART police arrest a Major bike thief.

AASHTO, the national association of state departments of transportation, updates its guidelines but leaves out cycle tracks. A Portland cyclist credits the movie 127 Hours with inspiring him to climb back up a ravine with a broken neck, eight broken ribs and both lungs punctured after he rode off the road at 41 mph. Grim stars join in on Portland’s partly naked bike ride. Issaquah firefighters buy a new bike for a 4th grade boy after his is broken by a careless driver. In a bizarre twist, a Washington town may not be able to afford its mandatory helmet law; thanks again to George Wolfberg for the link. Colorado’s Attorney General seizes $300,000 worth of bogus bike parts and jerseys; this is why you have to be careful about buying from unknown sources. Cyclists are divided on installing a protected bikeway in Lincoln NE. Springfield Cyclist looks back on a successful Ride the Rockies. It’s time to take back the bike lane in Chicago. Dottie of Let’s Go Ride a Bike declares jerk driver season officially open; it takes a real jerk to steal a bike from a Michigan boy with cerebral palsy. The police chief of Grand Rapids MI crashes into two boys on a bike. A New York paper points out pedestrians have little to fear from us pedalists, but everyone has to worry about cars. Why do police always assume a cyclist simply fell over when they find a badly injured rider on the road; sideswiping a rider could also result in serious injuries without damaging the bike.

Canada’s transport minister rejects a requirement for trucks to have side guards to protect cyclists and pedestrians; evidently, saving lives isn’t worth offending the trucking lobby. An Alberta cyclist asks local residents to control their dogs. The Economist says more UK residents are riding bikes, but it’s still a niche activity. London’s Boris Bikes bike share program is swindled out of £42,000. It takes a real schmuck to steal a man’s bike after he suffers a heart attack while riding. A 13-year old UK bike rider is killed by a driver racing his girlfriend at 80 mph, after his car flips and hits two girls riding on a bike path. With more people riding bikes, the Irish Times questions just how safe their streets really are. Even in Israel, deeply observant riders can’t compete in the national championships because their held on the Sabbath.

Finally, your next bicycle could fly; no, really. And a Massachusetts cyclist has his bike and jewelry stolen by a sausage-wielding attacker.

Catching up: More on last week’s fatal hit-and-run, a bike-in movie and a Malibu meeting on PCH

Just a few quick notes as I try to catch up on life this week.

After checking with sources with the LAPD, there’s not much more information on last Friday’s fatal hit-and-run that took the life of a cyclist on Nordhoff Street. The victim, who has not been named publicly, is identified only as a 76-year old male Northridge resident.

However, they have released a updated description of the suspect vehicle. If you see the car or have any information, please contact the police immediately at the number below.

Let’s nail this heartless coward before he — or she — gets away with it.

Update: The LAPD has identified the victim as Paul Albert Helfen; a $50,000 reward is being offered for the arrest and conviction of his killer.

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With everything that’s been going on, I haven’t had a chance to update the Events page for a couple of weeks. So forgive me for the last minute notification on a couple of items.

First up, the L.A. Film Fest is inviting cyclists to attend a free bike-in screening of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial at 8:30 pm tonight at Figand7th in Downtown L.A

30th Anniversary Screening
“Bike-In” Theater with bicycle valet, food truck and prizes

Possibly the greatest scene in one of our favorite films of all time, the image of Elliott and E.T. riding a bike through the sky, silhouetted by a full moon, has delighted generations of movie lovers. Now, celebrate their iconic ride with one of your own, as you pedal your way to our downtown “Bike-In” theater for a special, outdoor screening of the newly remasteredE.T., Steven Spielberg’s timeless classic of a little boy and his best friend from outer space. We can’t guarantee your bike will take flight, but your spirits will surely soar.

  • Ride your bicycle and we’ll valet it for free and give you one screening voucher for the LA Film Festival
  • Swing by the Yelp photo booth
  • DJ Del Rey will spin 80’s tunes
  • Nosh on delicious eats from José O’Malley’s food truck
  • Swing by the Arts Brookfield Info tent for parking validations and prizes

And the City of Malibu is holding a follow-up workshop this Saturday to discuss the PCH Bike Route Improvement Project for the portion of highway west of the city. The meeting will take place at from 10 am to noon at Malibu City Hal, 23825 Stuart Ranch Road.

From what I’ve seen, it looks like they’ve got some exciting ideas. But if you ride PCH — or would like to — you owe it to yourself to attend, because this will affect the road you ride on.

Update: The LAPD has identified the victim as Paul Albert Helfen; a $50,000 reward is being offered for the arrest and conviction of his killer.

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The San Francisco cyclist who killed a pedestrian while blowing through an intersection on a yellow light at an alleged 35 mph will face a charge of vehicular manslaughter, based in part on his actions leading up to the collision — something we’ve been told can’t be held against a motorist in similar cases. Meanwhile, an 80-year old DC area woman is killed by another cyclist on a multi-use pathway, just days after an El Cerrito woman was killed under similar circumstances; always, always always give pedestrians the right-of-way, even when they’re in your way. Thanks to Don Blount for the heads-up.

A ghost bike has been installed for Guadalupe Cruz, the 81-year old cyclist killed by a massive tractor-trailer in Fillmore last week. Making it that much more tragic, Cruz was on his way to meet his wife at a mass for their son, who was killed five years earlier. But what makes this even more touching is that I’m told the bike was prepared and placed by Anthony Navarro, whose own six-year old son was killed while riding his bike last Thanksgiving. Now that’s class. Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the news.

The LACBC is starting a Neighborhood Bike Ambassador Program to help support bike projects and programs on the street level. If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to do more to make your own neighborhood safer and more inviting to ride, here’s your chance.

Finally, Caltrans is just getting around to owning up to closing the North Fork Coyote Creek bike trail — something you may have read about here nearly a month ago. Nice work getting the word out in a timely manner, guys.

And a maniac Bakersfield driver may still be on the road, despite killing a motorcyclist and receiving three previous speeding tickets already this year — the last one just five days before she ran the rider down from behind.

Malibu PCH workshop tonight, hats off to Cal Poly planner, and psych test for road rager Louis Mraz

There’s still time to make it to Malibu for this evening’s public workshop to discuss the Bike Route Improvements Project along PCH through the west part of the ‘Bu.

Cyclists trying to get to that soon-to-be improved bike route by fighting their way through the east part of PCH are still on their own.

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A Cal Poly Pomona student has received a national fellowship for her research paper on Evaluating Demand for Bicycle Facilities in Community-Based Bicycle Planning, with an emphasis on minority and low-income communities.

Her work showed that bike use is higher in areas with household incomes less than $30,000 and commute times of less than 15 minutes. And that communities should target their efforts where there is both the greatest need and highest potential for increased usage.

Congratulations to Edna Cruz. Sounds like she’s got a great future in planning.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

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Following the death of San Diego cyclist David Ortiz — and the inexplicably inaccurate statements from the police — San Diego bicyclists will ride in his honor on Wednesday afternoon. And protest the unnecessarily dangerous conditions on the street where he was killed.

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Maybe he’s just nuts.

Road raging driver Louis Mraz, convicted of intentionally running down cyclist Winona Wacker in Highland Park, has been ordered to have a 90-day mental health evaluation before he’s sentenced; sentencing has been moved to June 29th.

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I love this piece from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on complaints about the new PA four-foot passing law. For a change, the writer clearly gets it when it comes to comparing the threat posed by cyclists and motorists.

I’ll point out here that I ride a bicycle from time to time, but almost never in traffic. It’s not because I’m scared to death of being mowed down by a careless, lawbreaking bicyclist.

Definitely worth the click.

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The first ticket for violating Pennsylvania’s new four-foot passing law comes just 15 hours after it goes into effect; hats off to the bus driver who blocked traffic to keep a hit-and-run driver from fleeing after he failed to give a rider four feet by running over his ass.

On the other hand, there are few things more ridiculous than comments from law enforcement that three — or in this case, four — foot passing distance is unenforceable unless there’s an actual collision.

A cop may not be able to to tell when a car is passing a cyclist at 2’8” instead of a full three feet. But any cop who can’t tell the difference between a foot or two and a yard or more has got serious problems.

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Damien Newton says the distracted driving zombies just aren’t going to cut it. More great photos from the recent Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer hill climbing stage race. LADOT wants your input on how to make Yucca Street bicycle friendly. The Real Rydaz are hosting a ride through South L.A. on July 1st, even if money and Metro is keeping CicLAvia from venturing there. Metro wants you to promise, cross your heart, that you’ll ride during Bike to Work Week next month. LADOT attempts to address an ongoing problem with a new campaign urging people to keep their trash bins out of the bike lanes. The newly issued Request for Proposals to reconstruct Santa Monica Blvd through the biking black hole of Beverly Hills includes instructions to consider bike lanes in both directions; it’s a start, anyway. Meanwhile, Beverly Hills announces public workshops for their upcoming Bike Route Pilot project; personally, I’d like to see separated cycle tracks on Rodeo Drive. Kick off the month-long lead-up to the BikeFest Tour of Long Beach with a free bike tune-up and tricycle races at Miller’s Children Hospital starting at Wednesday.

A Newport Beach cyclist is injured in a dooring; thanks to David Huntsman for the tip. Our neighbor to the south completes another 1.8 mile segment of what will eventually be a 24 mile bikeway around the San Diego Bay. Bike San Diego’s Sam Ollinger recaps day two of last month’s National Bike Summit. Visalia cyclists get their first sharrows, and unlike other cities I could name (cough: Los Angeles), an explanation of what they are. A San Francisco cyclist is severely beaten and robbed in an early morning attack. My favorite reality TV show are the L.A. police car chases that air intermittently on our local stations; now Cyclelicious offers proof that bicyclists can get in on the fun, too — even at 60 mph.

Ten things you need for a long-distance bike tour, starting with, yes, a bike. A new Albuquerque bike and pedestrian bridge will let cyclists cross I-25, while providing easy access to a strip club. Eight Denver cyclists are ticketed and their bikes impounded during the city’s first Critical Mass in four year. North Dakota cyclists push for bike lanes on a main street. The Springfield Cyclist calls your attention to the guy who didn’t crash in the Tour of Flanders. Chicago cyclists just want more police to enforce traffic laws — and stop parking in the bike lanes. Attention planning types, the bicycling director position for the city of Boston is about to open up; if they decide they don’t need an actual planner, let me know. That 90-year old New York trike rider is just a youngster compared to a couple riders here on the left coast. Louisiana considers legalizing sidewalk riding.

Toronto cyclists vow to fight the removal of existing bike lanes. A British bike rider complains about the lack of women in a bike company’s marketing brochure; seems to be a problem with a lot of companies that should know better. Helmet cams are bringing justice to UK streets. York city leaders step up to make their streets less safe for cyclists. England’s 125-year old Raleigh bicycle company is about to go Dutch. Edinburgh starts a new campaign to get cyclists in bike boxes, and keep drivers out. Germany wins the women’s world team sprint title, setting a new world’s record twice in the process. A badly broken collarbone has pro cyclist Fabian Cancellara down but not out, at least not for long. After being stripped of his title, and apparent time off for good behavior, ex-2010 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador plans to race in this year’s Vuelta. Oddly, the Tour of the Basque Country goes nowhere near Bakersfield; Spain’s Samuel Sanchez leads after three stages. An Aussie scientist gets 10 years for deliberately running down his bike-riding boss.

Finally, Good busts nine bike myths; then again, there’s at least that many reasons why you shouldn’t ride to work, right?

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