Tag Archive for Marin

Morning Links: Marin driver arrested for swerving into 4 cyclists, and traffic deaths up in US, including bicyclists

Call it attempted murder.

In just the latest horrifying attack on the streets, four cyclists participating in the Jensie Gran Fondo of Marin were injured when a driver allegedly swerved his truck into them.

The pickup driver fled the scene after smashing into them from behind, in an attack that witnesses described as intentional.

One of the riders is in stable condition after suffering major injuries; the other three were not seriously injured.

It’s probably not what any of them expected when they signed up to ride with cycling legend Jens Voigt.

Police later arrested 21-year old Novato resident Aaron Michael Paff, an off-duty maintenance worker for the Marin Municipal Water District.

He was taken into custody roughly 12 hours after the attack, and released on $50,000 bond. There was no word on possible charges as of Sunday night.

However, this should be a case of assault with a deadly weapon, at the bare minimum.

Dr. Christopher Thompson got five years in state prison for a similar assault, in which he intentionally brake-checked a pair of riders on Mandeville Canyon Road in 2008.

Photo of suspect vehicle from CHP. Thanks to everyone who let me know about this case.

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It shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that our streets are getting even deadlier.

In the latest report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic fatalities shot up another 5.6% in the US last year, coming on the heels of an 8.4% increase the year before.

According to the report, there was an increase in almost every category, from pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists, to DUIs and day versus night crashes.

A total of 37,461 people were killed on American streets last year, up from 35,485 the year before.

Four hundred ninety-two pedestrians lost their lives, the highest figure since 1990. And 840 bicyclists were killed, a 1.3% increase and the most since 1991.

It’s worth noting, especially in light of the next item, that an average of over 102 people died in crashes in the US every day — dwarfing the 58 killed in Las Vegas last week.

But no one is holding vigils. No one is sending thoughts and prayers.

And hardly anyone even seems to notice.

Or care.

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Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson has written a hard-hitting piece comparing gun violence with the violence on our streets.

In the first instance, Americans have decided that mass shootings are a reasonable and acceptable cost of being able to easily and legally obtain weapons of virtually any kind. In the second, Californians have decided that individual killings of cyclists are a reasonable and acceptable cost for being able to drive as fast as possible to get where they want to go.

Whether or not you agree with his premise, it’s worth the read. Because this is a conversation our country will have to have sooner or later.

And it’s already a lot later than it should be.

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A Belgian cyclist is lucky to walk away after flipping over a barrier at the Giro di Lombardia, as Vincenzo Nibali takes his 50th career win.

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Local

An LA company presents its vision for a four-mile section of the LA River, calling it the LA River Gateway.

One letter writer in the LA Times asks if drivers who object to bike lanes have a better solution, while another says traffic has always been bad in Playa del Rey, and it’s not the bike lanes’ fault.

 

State

New bicycle wayfinding signs go up in Highland.

The Southern California Association of Governments has approved nearly $10 million in funding for active transportation projects in the Coachella Valley.

Ventura County approves construction of bike lanes along Potrero Road near Lake Sherwood.

Sad news from Arroyo Grande, where a woman was killed while riding her bike on the popular Corbett Canyon Road; the driver played a variation of the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, claiming he couldn’t see her because the sun was in his eyes. Even though admitting something like that should be a confession, not an alibi. Thanks to Jeffrey Fylling for the heads-up.

A drunk San Francisco salmon cyclist was responsible for one of the 13 crashes involving GM’s driverless cars when he crashed into the car’s bumper after its human operator had stopped the vehicle.

 

National

A Spokane WA woman is considering a civil suit after a bike rider plowed into her on a multi-use trial; the rider yelled “hot pizza” as a warning, somehow thinking that would make her get out of his way. Pedestrians are unpredictable. So slow the f*** down around them and pass carefully. It’s not that hard.

Dozens of wounded vets joined 71-year old former president George W. Bush on his annual Warrior 100K mountain bike ride.

A driver in Austin TX says he only drove drunk, ran down a cyclist and fled the scene because there was a two-hour wait for a cab.

A Montana man is working to send bikes to Central America to be converted to pedal-powered machines.

An Indiana man rode 2,800 miles from Portland, Oregon to his home state, despite suffering from epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

Facing 35 years in prison for the drunken hit-and-run death of a bicyclist, a Kentucky driver tries to withdraw his guilty plea, saying it wasn’t fair because the crash wasn’t intentional. And the drinking — and getting behind the wheel afterwards — was probably an accident, too.

Over one thousand bicyclists turned out to ride with actor Patrick Dempsey at his annual fundraiser ride in Maine.

A New York man died a week after he was attacked with a hammer by five teenagers who were trying to steal his bike. We’ve said it many times before — no bicycle is worth your life, so just let it go.

A New York woman has died a month after she was struck by a drunk, unlicensed driver who plowed into several bicyclists who were on a fundraising ride. As I recall, there were allegation that this crash may have been intentional, as well.

A homeless man in Florida has been ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial in the stabbing death of a man who was riding his bike from Connecticut to Miami to propose to his girlfriend.

 

International

A Toronto columnist asks if there’s a war on cars in the city, why are drivers the only ones racking up a body count? It’s a question we should be asking here, and every city where drivers claim ownership of the streets. Which is pretty much everywhere. Thanks to Norm Bradwell for the link.

No bias here. Britain’s Daily Mail offers a breathless headline saying two pedestrians are killed or maimed by bicyclists every week. Then in smaller type mentions that there’s no information on who was at fault, and that it still amounts to less than 1% of pedestrian injuries each year on British roads.

Caught on video: A road raging London driver loses it because a bike rider had the audacity to be in front of him.

A London priest is urging his parishioners to pray to stop a bikeway from being installed in front of the church, claiming it would do more harm that the German Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain.

Caught on video too: A British man learns why you don’t ride under crossing gates.

A man in the UK rode his bike 450 miles through France and Great Britain to deliver a petition to the prime minister’s office to cancel Brexit.

A new Scottish study shows riding a bike on bad roads for as little as 16 minutes is enough to cause nerve damage in the hands and arms. Which means that most LA bike riders could have trouble just picking up a pencil.

An Australian state supreme court justice is one of us, too.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could be a boat. Any band can travel by bike between gigs, but how many perform along the way?

And if you’re going to suffer a heart attack while riding, do it in front of a restaurant full of medical professionals.

 

Morning Links: Bike-friendly UCLA nabs the Silver, and Marin grand jury delves into traffic planning

Congratulations to UCLA, which has been upgraded to a Silver Level Bicycle-Friendly University.

It’s great that the university is taking concrete steps to keep bike riders and their bikes safe on campus.

Just too bad LA Councilmember Paul Koretz is dedicated to keeping things dangerous once they leave it.

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A Marin columnist congratulates the local grand jury as they demonstrate why traffic planning should be left to people who know what the hell they’re talking about.

The grand jury, which is clearly unfamiliar with the concept of induced demand, came back with a report criticizing local officials for failing to solve the region’s traffic problems, calling on them to widen roadways to increase capacity.

And failing, evidently, to recognize that the cause of traffic congestion isn’t the width of the roadway, but the number of vehicles on it.

“Based on community feedback and limited funding, focus on those potential improvements that maximize congestion relief and safety. Outside of this project, consider shifting planned budgets for multi-million dollar pedestrian-bicycle pathways toward projects that benefit a larger population.”

Never mind that those “multi-million dollar” pathways benefit public health while providing people with an alternative to joining the great mass of motor vehicles clogging the roadways.

Let them learn from Southern California’s mistake. Turning streets into highways, and highways into freeways does not solve the problem, and only makes the situation worse while destroying the quality of life in the surrounding community.

So if they can’t handle the traffic, the only real solution is to provide residents with a way out of it.

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Business Insider offers a close-up look at Peter Sagan’s bike; he retains the leader’s jersey after four stages.

Dutch rider Tom Doumalin criticizes the long, boring transitional stages in the Tour de France. He should be happy since the race heads back to the mountains today, with a battered Alberto Contador looking vulnerable.

American Evelyn Stevens retains her lead after four stages in the Giro Rosa.

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Local

Writing for the LA Times, Alissa Walker sends a message back in time to describe the utopian, extremely bike and transit-friendly Los Angeles of 2056. We can dream, right?

The LA Weekly looks at the Eastside’s Ovarian Psychos, saying the radical feminist cycling group is taking Boyle Heights back one ride at a time.

Metro is reaching out to low income communities to participate in LA’s new bikeshare system.

A man was shot to death while riding along the LA River, on an unpaved section of the bike path in Bellflower, in what police say appears to be a gang-related attack.

Palos Verdes Estates will discuss replacing the highly biased “Bicycle Laws Strictly Enforced” signs with “Share the Road” signs and signs touting the three-foot passing law at today’s meeting of the city’s Traffic Safety Committee. Nice that they realize traffic laws should be enforced against people who don’t ride bikes, too. But maybe they could go for “Bikes May Use Full Lane” instead of the useless and outdated “Share the Road.”

 

State

A Riverside woman was lucky to survive with moderate injuries after her bike was clipped by a train.

Atascadero is planning to install a roundabout and separated bike lanes to improve safety near a high school, while providing access from downtown to Atascadero Lake.

Visalia is asking for public input on the city’s first-ever active transportation plan.

At least three witnesses jumped into action to follow a hit-and-run driver who fled the scene after slamming into a Santa Rosa salmon cyclist; the victim suffered road rash, while the driver was busted and booked.

 

National

Google’s self-driving cars can now recognize cyclists’ hand signalsBut how will they respond to the one used the most in LA traffic?

Wired says instead of trying to fool Waze, slow traffic by installing road diets with bike lanes, among other options.

An Austin TX bike rider died when the chain came of his bike and jammed into his wheel, throwing him off his bike. Let that be a tragic reminder to always keep your bike in good riding condition.

An Ohio boy with cerebral palsy is given the gift of freedom and mobility by the local Kiwanis club, in the form of a customized tricycle.

Ohio cyclists — and riders around the world — were up in arms over a driver in the Columbus Doo Dah Parade who featured a crushed bike on the hood of his SUV, with a manikin depicting a cyclist sticking out of the roof, and a sign reading “I’ll share the road when you follow the rules.” Because evidently, he’s the only driver in Ohio who never breaks the law. And because threatening to kill people is always good for a laugh.

The Louisville KY city council votes to reduce funding for bikeways in favor of programs to help keep kids off the streets. Which their vote will accomplish in more ways than one.

An Indiana cycling instructor lists a dozen ways drivers and bike riders can share the road.

An upstate New York man faces charges for tackling and holding down a cyclist who almost hit his dog. As a dog owner, I can understand the sentiment. But, no.

A New York driver intentionally ran down and killed a man on a bike before fleeing the scene. So naturally, the NYPD responds by cracking down on bike riders.

Great idea. A DC bike advocacy group uses a grant to hire five trail rangers to patrol area bike paths.

A Norfolk VA writer says the only thing holding the city back from being a great cycling city is a lack of political will. Which is exactly what’s holding LA back, some areas in particular.

 

International

Ottawa transit officials rejected plans for cycle tracks in a new rail station design, knowingly putting bike riders at risk. Meanwhile, Ottawa police ticket 323 drivers and tow 29 vehicles for parking in bike lanes and bus-only lanes.

The Netherlands isn’t just a haven for bike riders, it’s also paradise for bike thieves.

Denmark’s royal family is one, uh, four of us, as they go for a family bike ride.

If you’re going to pose as a cyclist and attempt to blend into a group ride in order to sneak across the border into Spanish territory, make sure your stolen passport is in order first.

It took American adventurers Rebecca Rusch and Pat Sweeny four days to pedal up Mount Kilimanjaro, and another two to ride back down, while raising funds to provide 131 new bikes for people in need in Africa through World Bicycle Relief.

Opponents of a Kiwi bike and pedestrian bridge claim it could be dangerously overcrowded, putting users at risk of a human crush. In other words, don’t build it because it might be too successful. And doesn’t any bridge, anywhere, face exactly the same, extremely minimal risk?

A Malaysian woman takes a solo bike tour through Cambodia and Thailand, negotiating the language barrier with had gestures and staying at “love hotels.”

 

Finally…

Next time you flee the country to avoid paying damages to a Chinese bicyclist, don’t leave your Chinese wife behind. No, seriously, if you’re riding your bike with burglary tools and stolen checks and credit cards, stay off the damn sidewalk.

And how can we possibly top a story about a cyclist who survived a lightening strike thanks to his headphones and penis?

 

A moving meditation on the fragility of life and friendship

I didn’t write it.

As a writer, I wish I did; as a rider, I’m very glad I didn’t have to.

My phone rang at around 9:45PM. It was John’s girlfriend.  She didn’t know where John was.  She knew we’d been riding bikes earlier that night and asked if I knew anything.  I told her we’d parted ways at the fire station on the backside of Paradise Loop at around 7:15PM.  He had turned off early to go meet up with her.  Her voice cracked as she spoke. She started to cry.

l write a lot about the bad things that can happen on a bike. More than I ever thought I would. And far more than I really want to.

But I don’t think I’ve ever written anything as moving, and seldom as heartfelt.

I called John and got no answer.  I started calling police departments in southern Marin.  If my mind had a clear task then maybe I could ignore my rising fear.  Tiburon PD told me to call Sausalito PD.  Sausalito PD took my number and told me to await a call from the responding officer.  I told the agent this arrangement was not cool.  I asked what happened to my friend.  She said he’d been involved in an accident.  She said the responding officer was the only one who could give details.  I asked if he was alive.  She said the responding officer was the only one who could give details….

It’s beautiful and sad and heart-wrenchingly tragic. And one of the best things I’ve read about one of the worst things that can happen.

It’s not easy to read.

But well worth the effort.

Thanks to @BikeCrave and @bikesd for the heads-up.

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