Tag Archive for Mark Kristofferson

Morning Links: Bike auction to benefit BikeMS, why drivers don’t face murder charges, and Venice ain’t Bird’s fault

It’s getting closer. 

Just two more days before we #CrashCityHall to demand safer streets, and ask LA city leaders to have the courage to do the right thing. 

Something that has been seriously lacking in the past year.

You still have time to send in your letter if you can’t make the 10 am city council meeting. 

You can find all the information here

And come back this afternoon when we’ll post another open letter to the LA city council, this time from Sean Meredith. 

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It’s not every day you can get a deal on great bike, and support a good cause at the same time.

The CBS2/KCAL9 Cycling Team is auctioning off the new men’s Giant Defy 1 Disc Brake bicycle show above to raise funds for BikeMS.

The bike, which was donated by the Newbury Park Bike Shop in Newbury Park, has a retail value of $1,500. It’s still in the box, ready to be picked up from the shop or shipped anywhere in the US.

And every penny raised by the auction will go to BikeMS to support people living with muscular sclerosis.

The 15-member CBS2/KCAL9 team has already raised over $10,000, and is one of the top fundraising teams leading into the June 3rd ride.

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Another good, but challenging, read from Peter Flax.

He examines the death of fallen cyclist Mark Kristofferson in this year’s Tour of Palms Springs, who was killed at the hands of a drunk and stoned driver doing 100 mph, with a suspended license and a long history of traffic violations.

And wonders why it’s so hard to charge motorists with murder. Let alone actually get a conviction.

The easiest way to kill someone and get away with a slap on the wrist is to make sure your weapon is a car. But there has been some recent progress in how fatal crashes play out in the legal system as the problem gets greater attention from judges, state legislators, and police departments. “Ten years ago, it was really rare to get a felony conviction if a driver killed a cyclist,” (bike lawyer Peter) Wilborn says, noting that his own brother was killed in 1998 while riding a bike after an underage driver ran a red light. “Now I’d say that in cases that involve death or catastrophic injury, close to 50 percent of the time we get felony charges. I see a system that isn’t perfect, but also one that’s caring more than it ever did before.”

Wilborn asserts that it’s a logical fallacy to call the majority of these crashes murder. “I’ve been at this every day for many years and see the negligence and its impact,” he says. “I have seen the surge of distracted driving, and I know how a six-inch deviation in a car’s line can lead to a cyclist dying. We have a public-health crisis that needs to be solved, but it’s also true that very few motorists are using a car as an intentional weapon. So it’s only in extreme cases that the charge is murder.”

Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

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In one of the most bizarrely wrong-headed Op-Eds in recent memory, a former player for the Denver Broncos now living in Venice blames Bird scooters for allowing tech bros to avert their eyes from the homeless lining the streets as they zoom by.

Except people have been ignoring homeless people for years, if not decades. And it’s even easier to ignore them while zooming past in your hermetically sealed automobile, with the windows rolled up to block out the sounds and smells.

The real problem is a lack of caring at worst; a feeling of helplessness to do anything about it at best.

It has nothing to do with a mode of transportation. Even if you do need a smartphone and a credit card to use it.

Meanwhile, Bird scooters are getting the blame for a Nashville hit-and-run that injured two women, instead of the coward who fled the scene after hitting them.

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Pasadena Now looks at Bike Week in the Rose City, including tonight’s Women’s Bike Night.

And don’t forget tomorrow is Bike to Work Day, which is basically like trick or treat for adult bike commuters.

You can find a map of most, if not all, of the morning pit stops on the Metro website.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton reports on yesterday’s Blessing of the Bicycles at Good Samaritan hospital, including a way too cute photo of little tricyclists getting blessed.

Santa Monica could get the area’s first protected intersection near the Santa Monica College stop on the Expo Line. Although at a cost of 94 parking spaces, which could be enough to make the traffic safety deniers get out the pitchforks and torches.

A planning website talks with LADOT General Manager Selena Reynolds, who says she wants people to have a “symphony” of transportation choices, with driving alone being the last resort. Except that will never happen as long as LA councilmembers live in constant fear of angry drivers, and have the power to cancel projects on their own, for any reason. Which is one more reason to #CrashCityHall

Culver City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee will meet tomorrow night.

 

State

Streetsblog California looks forward to tonight’s Rides of Silence throughout the state.

A San Diego man suffered life-threatening injuries when his bike was struck by a 33-year old driver after allegedly riding into oncoming traffic.

Bicycling collisions are up in San Diego, rising nearly 30% in the first four months of the year. Maybe injuries are up because an increase in bikeways in the city is getting more people out on bikes, rather than due to dockless bikeshare, as the story implies.

A Ventura museum is hosting an exhibit on the artistic beauty and love of bicycles.

 

National

Streetsblog says it’s time to get rid of the right turn on red lights, which may be more convenient for drivers, but increases the risk for pedestrians and people on bikes.

Treehugger aptly observes that the problem with Bike to Work Week is that it requires the infrastructure to enable people to ride to work all year.

A Phoenix weekly offers tips on using dockless bikeshare, most of which involve where not to leave it.

Former pro cyclist Mara Abbott bemoans the slow death of her hometown Boulder CO newspaper at the hands of its hedge fund owner, after the editor was fired for pointing out what was going on.

A Denver writer demands more and wider roads, making it clear he’s never heard of induced demand. Or global warming.

Maintaining a spectacular Vermont bikeway that crosses four miles of Lake Champlain could prove more difficult than building it, after it’s battered by wind-driven waves.

BikeBiz talks with the co-creator of the Boston-based lighted Lumos bike helmet.

New Yorkers will be racing through the city on bikeshare bikes this weekend.

A columnist for the Philadelphia Enquirer says a protected bike lane would have saved the life of a bike courier who was killed in a crash last weekend.

A 22-mile bike path currently under construction in Florida could open the way for bicycle agritourism. And no, I never heard of agritourism, either.

A Florida bike rider says please stop killing my friends.

 

International

Life is cheap in British Columbia, where killing a bicyclist while driving without “due care” results in just an $1,800 fine and a one-year drivers license suspension.

The Guardian offers up five scenic backcountry bike rides in England’s West Country to add to your bike bucket list.

Britain’s Road Safety Week will tell bicyclists and motorcyclists to Bike Smart. Of course, it might help more if the message was Drive Smart, for truck drivers and everyone else.

A UK website suggests bicycling your way to a healthier and wealthier future.

It looks like Zwift is getting a Romanian competitor for the world of virtual cycling.

Bikeshare comes to North Korea in bike-friendly Pyongyang.

 

Competitive Cycling

A look at Monday’s Stage Two of the Amgen Tour of California by a local Santa Barbara site.

VeloNews says 20-year old American cyclist Brandon McNulty came of age on Monday’s climb up Gibraltar.

Crowds turned out for the start in King City and the finish at the famed Laguna Seca race track for Stage Three, which was won by a cyclist breaking from the pack to seize the victory in today’s spoiler-free update.

In a reflection of the sad financial state of pro cycling, two of the teams competing in the AToC are racing for sponsors, as well as stage wins.

Cyclocross legend Katie Compton switches sports to compete in the Women’s Amgen Tour of California, riding as a domestique for teammate Megan Guarnier. The four stage women’s race starts tomorrow — and no, you can’t see it on TV.

Ella Cycling Tips talks with 22-year old former Aussie world juniors champ Macey Stewart, who will be rebooting her racing career for the second time when she starts at the Tour of California on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, there’s still a men’s race going on in Italy.

Outside profiles Marianne Vos, calling her the world’s best cyclist and a fighter against gender inequality.

 

Finally…

When the drunk who runs you down is a cop. Forget riding, just take a hot bath.

And a $24,000 fine for running a traffic signal may sound extreme, until you realize that works out to less than 200 American dollars.

On the other hand, ten days behind bars works out the same no matter what country your in.

Morning Links: Bike rider injured in hit-and-run protest; driver charged with murder in Tour de Palm Springs death

Just one day after Frederick Frazier was killed in a brutal hit-and-run in South LA, another rider was struck in the same intersection.

During a protest over Frazier’s death.

And yes, that driver fled the scene, too.

A group of Frazier’s friends gathered to block the intersection at Manchester and Normandie with their bicycles to call attention to the death and demand justice for their fallen friend.

The protest got out of hand after several people attacked an LAPD SUV when police arrived to break it up, smashing its windows with their bikes.

According to Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman, the young men were angered after graphic photos of the man they knew as Woon were posted online overnight, showing their friend splayed out on the street as another rider attempted to comfort him in his final moments.

A woman in a tan car, who had previously gotten out to argue with one of the protesters, forced her way through the intersection, running a red light in the process, and deliberately slammed into a rider identified as Quatrell Stallings, throwing him into the air.

She then gunned her engine and fled the scene as Stallings stumbled to the curbed.

He was taken to a local hospital; reports are he was not seriously injured.

Now police are looking for two hit-and-run drivers.

One with a $50,000 bounty on his or her head for leaving Frazier to die in the street; another who could — and should — be facing a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

A memorial ride will be held for Frazier this Friday.

Thanks to Evan Burbridge for the heads-up.

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A Desert Hot Springs man has received a well-deserved murder charge in the death of Washington man participating in this year’s Tour de Palm Springs.

Twenty-one-year old Ronnie Ramon Huerta Jr. is accused of driving up to 100 mph while stoned before slamming into 49-year old Mark Kristofferson, killing him almost instantly. He was taken into custody after the arraignment hearing, and held on a $1 million bond.

He’s also charged with driving on a suspended license and driving under the influence of drugs.

Thanks to Victor Bale for the link.

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The LAPD’s Van Nuys Division misses the mark with a bike safety awareness flier.

The piece tells bicyclists to “Always ride in single file,” even though there’s nothing in state law that prohibits riding two or more abreast. And riding abreast is often safer in lanes that are too narrow to share with a motor vehicle by increasing visibility and preventing unsafe passes.

The piece also says riders should walk their bikes across busy intersections, which increases the risk by decreasing mobility and exposing riders to careless and distracted drivers for a longer period of time.

And never mind that a bike helmet may be a good idea, but it’s not required for anyone 18 or older.

But if the point is to increase awareness of bike safety, where is the companion piece telling drivers to always watch for bikes, pass with at least a three foot distance, and open doors with your right hand to prevent dooring?

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Local

Metro released their draft strategic plan for the next ten years, as they transition from a transit provider to focusing on the entire mobility ecosystem.

CiclaValley explains what it’s like getting cut off in the bike lane by a Metro bus driver in DTLA.

A writer in Azusa encounters a 43-year old gang member at his local bike shop, realizing that bikes bring everyone together.

 

State

A pair of UC Santa Barbara graduates are nearing the completion of their self-supported bike tour from California to Columbia.

The bizarre anti-bike hysteria continues in San Luis Obispo, where the city council is accused of dirty tricks after re-affirming plans for a bike boulevard. Meanwhile, older SLO residents are up in arms over plans for an e-bikeshare system with a hub on the coast, worrying about whether they’ll be run off the sidewalk.

The San Francisco Chronicle shares the five best bike rides around Santa Cruz.

Testimony in a preliminary hearing fills in some of the blanks in the death of a San Francisco woman run down in Golden Gate Park last year, one of two people killed in the city by hit-and-run drivers just hours apart.

 

National

Another good piece from Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss, who considers the ethics of breaking traffic laws, noting that obeying the letter of the law isn’t always the safest way to ride.

Wired says Uber’s acquisition of dockless ebike provider Jump means they want to control every way you move, while Bicycling examines dockless bikeshare in the wake of Uber’s entry into the field.

Curbed says cities need to step up to the challenge of controlling streets and sidewalks as bikeshare and shared scooters begin to take over.

Don’t count on glowing infrastructure lighting the streets anytime soon.

A local news site says Honolulu drivers are complaining about the loss of a few hundred parking spaces to make room for bike lanes, somehow blaming that for the traffic congestion in the city.

No bias here. Police in Portland OR ignored a road rage assault on a bike rider that left him with a broken jaw, refusing to even file a report on the case.

A local weekly says Portland’s bike renaissance begins now.

A Lincoln, Nebraska man gets three years behind bars for the drunken hit-and-run that left a city councilmember from a nearby town lying badly injured in the street.

The Catholic bishop of Davenport, Iowa is one of us; he’ll be riding across the state in this year’s RAGBRAI.

Three Illinois priests are riding across their Diocese to promote religious vocations.

Seriously? A road raging North Carolina man gets a gentle caress on the wrist for punching a bicyclist in an attack caught on video, as he’s sentenced to just three days behind bars. That will certainly send a message — one that says go ahead and attack other people on the roads.

 

International

A British man has been charged in the death of a 91-year old cyclist, who was killed while trying to set a national age record.

A transportation technology project from the University of Melbourne says to improve safety and performance on our streets, we’ll all have to be connected in a single network including cars, buses, pedestrians and bicyclists.

An Aussie ultracyclist set a new record by riding 555 miles in 24 hours.

 

Competitive Cycling

The head of cycling’s governing body says women cyclists deserve more than they’ve been getting, and he dreams of a Paris-Roubaix Feminine.

An autopsy concludes that Michael Goolaerts suffered a heart attack while riding in Paris-Roubaix last Sunday; there had been speculation that his heart stopped as a result of the fall.

Writing for Cycling Tips, Jonathan Vaughters reminds us that bike racing is a dangerous sport, where tragedy can happen any day.

 

Finally…

Hit a pothole on your bike, and get a bill for breaking it. Your next wheel could weigh ten pounds and make riding easier.

And no, dockless bikes don’t belong in trees.

 

Morning Links: Vision Zero motion held over to next week, LA Fountain Ave road rage assault caught on video

Good piece from Streetsblog’s Joe Linton on last week’s Vision Zero motion at the LA City Council Transportation Committee.

Despite the fears created by traffic safety deniers Keep LA Moving, the anticipated ambush didn’t occur.

In fact, I was told by someone from committee Chair Mike Bonin’s office that the motion is a benign attempt to make people feel more comfortable with the data used for LA’s Vision Zero.

And no one seems to know why Keep LA Moving felt such urgency to support it.

Bonin wisely held the motion over to the next meeting on February 28th to give its authors a chance to review the language, and make sure there’s nothing in it that would reduce the effectiveness of Vision Zero.

My fear is that it may give Vision Zero opponents an excuse to challenge the data used for the program, possibly in court.

However, I’ve been told that it’s been reviewed by the City Attorney’s office, who didn’t find any problems with it.

Although it wouldn’t hurt to do it again.

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It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from Wes High, who recently had the pleasure of a punishment pass, followed by getting deliberately doored while riding on Fountain Ave in Los Angeles.

While riding on the sharrows.

Hopefully, he’s reported this to the LAPD, since this is clear evidence of assault with a deadly weapon — in this case, a motor vehicle.

And it’s perfect evidence for a case under LA’s cyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

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A Facebook post is circulating asking for any witnesses to last week’s death of cyclist Mark Kristofferson in the Tour of Palm Springs to contact the Riverside County District Attorney’s office.

They’re particularly looking for anyone who saw the suspect vehicle before the crash, witnessed the actual crash or had contact with the suspect afterwards.

Especially if you have video footage of the any of the above.

The link includes instructions on how to handle the footage and who to send it to.

Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

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Local

Sounds like fun. Buried among the restaurant news is word of a Long Beach Ride & Dine to a local restaurant — and possible stops for ice cream and beer — tomorrow night.

 

State

The San Diego Union-Tribune says the city’s goal of getting 22% of residents who live within half a mile of transit to walk, bike or take public transportation to work by 2020 is a fantasy.

San Diego opens another mile of the Bayshore Bikeway; 16 miles of the planned 24-mile route around San Diego Bay are now open.

No windshield bias here. Montclair decides to blame the victims by making it illegal to cross the street while texting, talking on your phone or listening to ear buds. And yes, that’s just as idiotic as it sounds.

 

National

The Adventure Cycling Association offers a not-so-brief history of fat bikes.

HuffPo examines the efforts to bring bike equity to bikeshare.

Streetsblog examines how Baltimore bike lane opponents used a 20-foot minimum standard street width for fire engines to block a planned protected bike lane network. Even though it’s never been a problem before, in a city where many streets don’t meet that standard.

Heartbreaking news from Austin TX, where writer Andrew Tillin was killed in a collateral damage bike crash, when two cars collided and slid into his as he was fixing a flat on the side of the road. He was a frequent contributor to Outside, and the author of The Doper Next Door.

 

International

Riding to Che’s hideout in the hills of Cuba.

An Ottawa, Canada columnist can’t imagine why anyone would object to a decision to ban bikes from the city’s new light rail line during rush hour. Apparently, he’s never heard that bikes offer a solution to the first mile/last mile problem, which helps get more people out of their cars.

Bicycling is the leading form of rush hour transportation in London, where all other forms of transportation have decreased 30%. Which goes to show what is possible when you build a safe bicycling network, as London did with their cycle superhighways. Especially in Los Angeles, where the weather is much better.

A trio of very cool looking cylindrical glass bike storage towers has made the short list in a competition to remake a London roundabout.

Caught on video: An elderly man in the UK was pushed off his bike by jerks in a passing car, who apparently thought it was funny.

Even in bike-unfriendly Mumbai, a bike barely loses a race across town.

Note to world: Not every group of people on bikes riding together is a race. Sometimes they just ride to raise funds, or call attention to a cause, or just for the hell of it. Even in Afghanistan.

Sydney, Australia is cutting parking spots and increasing bicycle facilities in an effort to reduce traffic congestion.

This is why you need a camera on your bike. An Aussie motorcyclist has lost his license for 18 months and will have to attend anger management classes after a close pass and road rage assault on a pair of cyclists.

Seriously? Bike tourists in New Zealand are told not to ride at night to avoid the summer heat because it puts those poor, vulnerable truck drivers at risk.

Dockless bikeshare has saved China $2.6 billion in reduced traffic costs in just two years.

A Swiss father and stepmom rode their bikes 10,000 miles to watch their son compete in the PyeongChang OlympicsBut Angelenos think people people won’t bike five miles to go to work.

 

Finally…

Bike shop by day, bands at night. A two-wheeled Malaysian quokka encounter.

And now you can own bike the Queen was too ashamed to let Princess Diana.

 

Morning Links: Group plans Vision Zero ambush today, and Tour de Palm Springs killer had suspended license

Apparently, we’re about to be ambushed.

According to an alert from anti-safety, pro-traffic group Keep LA Moving, a seemingly innocuous motion being considered at today’s LA City Council Transportation Committee meeting is really a motion to redefine the city’s Vision Zero program.

Or more precisely, gut it.

The motion from CD2 Councilmember Paul Kerkorian and CD4’s David Ryu talks about refining the Vision Zero model “in order to serve the objective of more effectively increasing the safety of our streets.”

However, according to Keep LA Moving, it’s really about reducing the emphasis on bike and pedestrian deaths, since they only amount to 15% of the total collisions in the City of Los Angeles.

Tomorrow’s motion states that going forward, Vision Zero should “incorporate a data validation process to ensure that the High Injury Network supporting data was appropriate and reliable.”  Currently, data is heavily weighted in favor of pedestrians and cyclists, all but disregarding the safety of motorists. According to LADOT’s Vision Zero website: “We also give more weight to counts of Killed or Serious Injuries among people walking or biking, so deaths or serious injuries at all intersections are multiplied by three, while vehicle-vehicle deaths or serious injuries do not receive a multiplying factor. For example, if an intersection contains one fatal pedestrian collision, two severe bicycle injuries, and one fatal vehicle-vehicle, the score would be 10 (3 for the pedestrian, 6 for the two bicycles, and 1 for the vehicle-vehicle).”

In the Vision Zero Action Plan, released in 2017, the LADOT states that “people walking & biking account for roughly 15% of all collisions”. It’s not surprising then that  Vision Zero hasn’t reduced accidents and injuries since its inauguration in 2015 because the LADOT is only focusing on 15% of the problem! What’s more, the LADOT says “Vision Zero is an injury reduction strategy, not a collision reduction strategy.” And of course, collisions aren’t being reduced either. Vision Zero needs to concentrate on both reducing the severity of accidents and on the number of accidents that happen!

Never mind that Vision Zero has barely even been implemented up to this point.

Or that while bicyclists and pedestrians are only involved in 15% of LA collisions, they result in nearly half of all deaths and serious injuries.

Let that sink in.

Keep LA Moving says LADOT is focusing on just 15% of crashes. But Vision Zero isn’t about reducing crashes, it’s about eliminating deaths and serious injuries.

And drivers, surrounded by two tons of glass and steel, and protected by air bags, seat belts and crumple zones, face considerably less risk in a collision than people walking and riding bikes.

Which is the entire reasoning behind the multiplication factor, because bike riders and pedestrians are several times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a collision.

But Keep LA Moving thinks that doesn’t matter.

Or rather, that you don’t matter. Because the people in the other 85% of the crashes, who are less likely to be injured or killed, apparently matter more to them.

Then there’s their other major lie.

To date the LADOT has focused on “pet projects” in select districts that appease a vocal minority of residents — roads that were never flagged as needing such treatment.  Special interests and personal agendas have been allowed to drive decisions rather than actual concerns for public safety.

The road diet on Venice Blvd, in Mar Vista is a prime example. In the 11 years leading up to the Venice road diet, there was one fatality and seven severe injuries to people walking or biking along that 0.8 mile stretch. None of the contributing factors to these tragic accidents have been addressed by the road diet. Rather than analyze these accidents and implement real safety improvements fixing the problems, the LADOT chose instead to implement a road diet. They installed a road diet on a road with 45,000+ cars per day, in violation of their own standards. (The LA Complete Streets Design Guide states that road diets should only be used on streets with excess capacity and volume less than 20,000 cars.) The disastrous and wildly unpopular Playa del Rey road diets, defeated last Fall, had the same issues. In fact, in both PdR and Mar Vista, accidents and injuries increased after the implementation of road diets. Not only on the roads dieted, but on the residential side streets as well, as drivers searched for alternatives to the gridlocked boulevards.

But as they well know, the Venice Blvd project was never intended as part of Vision Zero.

Instead, it was developed by local residents as part of the mayor’s Great Streets project.

And rather than something sprung without warning on unsuspecting locals and businesses, it grew out of workshops sponsored by the Mar Vista Chamber of Commerce dating back to 2014. With several public pop-up demonstrations, including a demonstration of the parking-protected bike lanes at the 2015 Venice CicLAvia.

I know, because I was there.

Let’s also bear in mind that the reference to a maximum 20,000 vehicle traffic volume for road diets refers to reducing four lane streets to three lanes, with two through lanes and a center turn lane. Not massive six lane thoroughfares like Venice Blvd, which never should have been built that wide to begin with.

But that doesn’t matter to them, since their real goal is to halt road diets anywhere in the city, willing to trade human lives — yours and mine — to avoid inconveniencing drivers.

They deny the proven efficacy of road diets, just as climate change deniers claim global warming is a myth.

All of which helps explain why the Mid City West Neighborhood Council has written to oppose the motion.

Let’s hope that Transportation Committee members Paul Kortez, Nury Martinez and Chair Mike Bonin can resist the pressure from this very vocal and well-financed driver activist group.

If you can make it on such short notice on Valentines Day — I can’t, unfortunately — you need to make your voice heard.

If not, take a few moments to urge them to reject this motion, and keep LA’s Vision Zero program intact.

And maybe tell Ryu and Krekorian what you think while you’re at it.

Credit Peter Flax with the heads-up.

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Ronnie Huerta Jr., the driver who killed Mark Kristofferson during Saturday’s Tour de Palm Springs, was driving on a suspended license.

And suspended for good reason.

Huerta had been pulled over four times for speeding in the last two years, along with a host of other traffic violations.

Yet another example of keeping a dangerous driver on the road until he kills someone.

Thanks to Victor Bale for the tip.

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Local

The Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council could try to stop plans for desperately needed bus and bike lanes in Hollywood, and have already drafted a letter demanding that they be removed from the proposed Hollywood community plan. You can let them know what you think at their regular meeting on the 21st. And yes, I plan to be there.

 

State

Marin’s bike-unfriendly columnist says bicycle-riding tourists should just take the ferry and skip the town entirely. Maybe he should just stand outside the city and yell “Hey, you kids get off our lawn!”

 

National

Yet another study confirms the benefits of bike lanes, showing painted bike lanes reduce the risk of crashes by a minimum of 40%.

The Trump administration’s new proposed budget would be a disaster for bicycle infrastructure projects, while NACTO doesn’t think much of his infrastructure plan, either.

A Seattle writer tries the city’s new LimeBike dockless bikeshare ebikes, climbing a moderate hill with little effort, and living to tell the tale.

Utah moves forward with a bill that would allow bicyclists to treat stop signs as yields, but still have to wait for red lights. Or maybe notA similar bill died in the California legislature earlier this year.

Seriously? The Houston Chronicle predicts an autonomous car nirvana, where the world will be free from traffic jams, parking tickets and auto mechanics, and no one will want to ride buses or bikes anymore because they’ll be so happy with their driverless cars.

Life is cheap in Minnesota, where a 16-year old distracted driver won’t spend a day behind bars for killing a bike-riding man while she was using her cellphone, after the DA pleads her case down to a misdemeanor.

An Ohio ultra-endurance rider prepares to take part in this year’s Race Across America, aka RAAM, as he rides to relieve PTSD from several combat tours in Afghanistan.

The Boston Globe talks with a local bike lawyer who went from a planned position as a prosecutor to getting justice for bicyclists.

Researchers at Virginia Tech University are doing comparison testing of bicycle helmets, with plans to release their results in April.

 

International

A Vancouver writer makes the case for diversity in the urbanist world, suggesting that if everyone you see on a bike or in a planning session looks like you, there’s a problem.

Just in time for Valentines Day, a bike-riding English couple have been married for 64 years, after meeting at their local bike club in 1953.

London officials call for tightly regulating and licensing dockless bikeshare systems.

A new survey from a British tire company claims bus drivers are the safest drivers on the road, and bicyclists and van drivers the most infuriating. Something tells me I’d like to see their methodology.

Nice piece from Patrick Brady, as he searches for serenity on a bike tour of Buddhist temples in Japan.

 

Competitive Cycling

You haven’t made it until you’ve had the honor of being blocked on Twitter by Chris Froome.

Once again, mountain bikers race through the hills, alleys and yes, stairways of Italy’s Valparaiso Cerro Abajo.

 

Finally…

What to ride when you need to carry craft beer kegs and a dog or two on your cargo bike. Be on the lookout for Sasquatch if you ride around Lake Arrowhead.

And if you really want to be safe, mount this turn-signal equipped seat bag sideways so the arrow points up at your butt.

Maybe then drivers will actually see you.

 

Morning Links: More details in Tour de Palm Springs crash, and what to do about overly courteous drivers

No victim blaming here.

After cyclist Mark Kristofferson was killed by a speeding driver while riding in the Tour de Palm Springs on Saturday, and another rider badly injured, participants say there was nothing that could have been done to prevent the crash.

Except for a bike-riding Palm Springs resident, who calls for better eduction for participants in the rules of the ride.

Even though accused killer Ronnie R. Huerta Jr. was allegedly traveling at over twice the 50 mph speed limit when he lost control and slammed into the victims.

And even though the two victims were doing nothing wrong, and reportedly riding exactly where they were supposed to be.

Nothing they did could have prevented the crash. Unless they had somehow been able to keep Huerta’s alleged foot off his alleged gas pedal. Or keep him out of his damn car to begin with.

Huerta was reportedly released on $75,000 bail on a single count of vehicular manslaughter, though that could change as prosecutors move forward.

Meanwhile, the other victim, 50-year old Alyson Lee Akers of Huntington Beach, was being treated for what was described as “major injuries,” including a head laceration.

Let’s all hope she makes a full and fast recovery.

And that Riverside County officially treat this case with the seriousness it deserves.

Let’s also hope that the ride organizers figure out some way to improve safety. Because two deaths in four years is two too many.

Photo courtesy of the LAPD Central Area Bike Unit.

………

Frequent contributor Mike Wilkinson writes for advice on how to handle the problem of friendly drivers who want to wave you through the intersection.

Dear Dr. BikinginLA:

My wife and I are enjoying a friendly disagreement about what to do when a driver yields their right of way to us. I say it’s confusing and maybe dangerous. She says the drivers are being courteous. We should smile, wave, and go for it.

Although I go to extra effort to ride according to the rules (and laws) of the road, I don’t have too much trouble waving and smiling in low-risk situations. An example would be meeting a driver at a four-way stop. If the driver waves me through, even if that driver was there first, my wife’s words ring in my ears, and I smile, wave, and start pedaling. My wife is very adamant: With all of the hostility from drivers that we hear about, if a driver is kind enough to yield their right of way, we should accept it graciously.

On the other hand, yesterday I encountered what I thought was a dangerous situation. I was on a small 25 mph residential street waiting to cross a 45 mph street with two lanes in each direction. To my surprise, a driver on the busy street stopped and waved me through. I didn’t go, because there were cars coming from the other direction. Soon there were other drivers behind the one who stopped, and the honking began. Eventually the driver who stopped drove away, but I think everyone involved was upset, some of them at me!

I think that in the long run it would be better if everyone took their right of way. We all know that the streets are crazy enough without someone trying to invent new rules, even if they are just trying to be courteous. However, in the real world, I’d be very interested to learn what your other readers have to say about drivers who yield their right of way.

Personally, I appreciate when drivers show me any courtesy, wanted or otherwise.

So I play it by ear. If there’s no one else on the road, I’ll usually wave my thanks and ride through; if not, I’ll wave the driver through while signaling my appreciation.

And if I don’t feel safe, I’ll clip out of my pedal, put my foot down, and won’t budge until it’s safe for me to go. No matter how offended the driver gets.

However, I try not to brag about my Ph.D. in Advanced BS from Whatsamatta U.

………

Local

The intersection where 15-year old Saul Lopez was killed while riding to school two years ago has been renamed in his honor after receiving a number of safety improvements, including leading interval signals for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The LACBC will host a monthly slow ride beginning this Saturday.

Assemblywoman Laura Friedman will host a discussion on the future of transportation in Los Angeles at the Glendale Transportation Center this Saturday.

CiclaValley explores the newly extended bike lanes on Verdugo Ave in Burbank.

 

State

Caltrans’ white paper on the Future of Mobility in the years leading up to 2050 includes a section on bikeshare. But not on riding any other kind of bike.

The San Diego Union-Tribune says pedestrian fatalities continue to mount as the city drags its feet on Vision Zero. Not unlike another city I could mention a few hours to the north.

 

National

Oregon chefs are already gearing up for May’s three-day, 300-mile No Child Hungry ride along the California coast.

Riding while black. According to the Chicago Tribune, blacks, Latinos and whites each make up roughly a third of the city’s population — yet over half of all tickets issued to bike riders were written in predominantly black neighborhoods.

A Kentucky Op-Ed says the state should adopt a three-foot passing law, like 34 other states already have, including California.

Country star Luke Bryan is still one of us, gearing up with a new Trek despite breaking his collarbone in a 2016 bicycling fall.

The annual North American Handmade Bicycle Show runs this coming weekend in Hartford CT.

 

International

Former LA Kings goalie and current Canadian hockey analyst Kellie Hrudey is one of us, too.

A British bicyclist gets six months for breaking the leg of a man in his 70s while riding drunk and brakeless on a train platform.

A British man lost his bicycle, mobile phone and laptop in a strong-arm robbery by three young men who pushed him into a stream.

A Scottish nonprofit group is helping refugees get settled in the country by providing them with bicycles.

An Irish writer says “Cyclist bashing is a popular sport among the less enlightened members of the commentariat.” And then proceeds to do exactly that, before concluding that too many cyclists have died.

Drivers in Kuala Lumpur call for the removal of new protected bike lanes, describing them as a safety hazard. Just like drivers in Los Angeles do.

Bicyclists in Yangon, Myanmar say riding a bike on city streets is like betting your life.

 

Competitive Cycling

Nice profile of America’s only men’s Olympic cycling gold medal winner, 1984 champ Alexi Grewal, told from the perspective of his new home in India.

A Rwandan paper looks at the rise of bike racing in the country.

A writer for Slate looks at Strava as a gateway drug, explaining how it got her into bike racing.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to do a story about sharing the road, don’t illustrate it with a photo of tandem time trial riders. How to be antisocial and take a group cycling vacation anyway.

And teenage Nazi spies on bikes may not just be a good premise for a WWII novel.

……..

Let’s finish with one last, larger look at that great, suitable-for-framing photo at the top of this page.

Photo courtesy of LAPD Central Bike Unit

Update: Man killed by alleged speeding driver in Tour de Palm Springs, 2nd rider injured; 2nd death in four years

It’s happened again.

One man was killed, and another bicyclist seriously injured, when they were struck by an allegedly speeding driver during today’s Tour de Palm Springs.

According to the Desert Sun, the victims were struck when a speeding driver lost control of his car on Dillon Road in Indio Hills, south of Tinker Road, around 9:25 am.

However, that location doesn’t show up using any map site.

The paper reports the driver came up from behind a number of cyclists as they were riding east on Dillon, allegedly traveling at over 100 mph — twice the posted speed limit. He veered onto the dirt shoulder on the wrong side of the road, lost control and veered back across the road to hit the two riders.

The crash reportedly occurred among the trailing riders on the century ride.

Fortynine-year old Lake Stevens, Washington, resident Mark Kristofferson died at the scene.

The other victim was airlifted with serious injuries, while the driver was transported to a local hospital by ambulance.

The case is still being investigated, and no charges have been filed at this time.

This the second death in the 20-year history of the Tour de Palm Springs. It comes just four years after 55-year old La Vonne Koester of Alta Loma was killed during the 2014 edition of annual event, when she allegedly ran a stop sign.

However, other reports indicated that a driver had stopped to wave a group of riders through the intersection, when a second driver came up from behind and was unable to stop before plowing into the riders.

No one was ever charged in that case.

This is the seventh bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in Riverside County.

Update: The Desert Sun has updated their story to say 21-year old Desert Hot Springs resident Ronnie R. Huerta Jr. has been arrested on a charge of vehicular manslaughter.

The story also corrects Kristofferson’s age as 49, rather than 54 as originally reported; that change has been made to this story, as well.

The second victim has been identified as 50-year old Alyson Lee Akers of Huntington Beach. She is being treated for what is described as major injuries, including a head laceration.

Huerta was also treated for moderate injuries before being taken to jail on the manslaughter charge, where he is currently being held.

Update 2: At the request of Mark Kristofferson’s family, I have removed a bike cam video of the crash scene taken half an hour after the collision, which briefly showed the tarp covering his body. 

Update 3: According to the Desert Sun, CHP investigators report the driver did not appear to be under the influence at the time of the crash, but are still waiting for the results of drug and alcohol tests. 

Huerta was released on $75,000 bond, and isn’t expected to appear in court until April. 

The crash location was corrected to Dillon Road near Avenue 30. The story reports that there were several police officers stationed at key intersections along the route, but none along the 25-mile stretch where the crash occurred.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Mark Kristofferson and his loved ones. And best wishes to Alyson Lee Akers for a full and fast recovery.

Thanks to Tom Morash and Wes R for the heads-up.

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