Tag Archive for Marvin Braude bike path

Morning Links: Beach bike path closed, slap on wrist in Glendale hit-and-run, and six years for drunken OC driver

Last Sunday’s storm wreaked havoc on the beachfront Marvin Braude bike path.

According to the LA County Department of Public Works, the winds drifted sand up to two feet deep on the path, resulting in its closure along Venice Beach, as well as from Ballona Creek south to Torrance Beach.

Work began on clearing the path on Tuesday, but it’s not expected to open until Friday. Just in time for what’s expected to be a warm and sunny weekend.

The Daily Breeze offers photos of riders trudging through the sand with their bikes.

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This is why people continue to die on our streets.

A Glendale man gets just 360 days — less than a full year — after pleading no contest in the hit-and-run death of a four-year old girl.

A slap on the wrist for leaving a little girl to die in the street in front of her own family. If that.

And to top the outrage, the judge ordered his driver’s license suspended for just six months after his release.

Six whole months.

Never mind that he violated one of the most basic rules of driving, let alone human decency, by failing to stop at the scene of a collision and render aid as the law requires.

The law has to be changed. Now.

Let’s write our state representatives, and demand that any driver who leaves the scene of a collision should have his or her license automatically revoked. Not suspended.

And not for a limited period, but permanently.

Make them appear before a judge, after any sentence has been completed, to explain their actions and beg for the chance to apply for a new one.

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There’s finally been justice in the case of fallen cyclist Matthew Liechty.

If you can call it that.

Michael Liechty reports that Antonio Magdaleno Jr. accepted a plea on Friday, nearly two years after he fled on three wheels from the DUI collision that killed Liechty’s brother while he was riding in a Newport Beach bike lane.

Magdaleno was originally charged with felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, fleeing the scene of a collision and hit-and-run with permanent and seriously injury; he had a BAC nearly two times the legal limit at the time of his arrest.

He received a six-year sentence after pleading to two felony counts, and was immediately taken into custody to begin serving his time behind bars. However, the DA handling the case reportedly said he can expect to serve just half that.

This is yet another case of California’s weak traffic laws allowing drivers back out on the streets after just a brief sentence, despite taking a human life with depraved indifference. And despite the best efforts of the Orange County DA’s office, which is one of the few in Southern California that actually takes traffic crimes seriously.

Liechty suggests that the law should be changed to mandate a charge of second degree murder for killing someone while driving under the influence.

I couldn’t agree more.

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Make your reservations for March 1st, when Metro is hosting their 2016 Active Transportation Summit.

2016 Active Transportation Summit Flyer

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Cyclelicious has created a real-time map of California bike collisions based on CHP dispatches. Which means that it includes reports that come into the CHP’s 911 dispatchers, but may not include those handled by local jurisdictions.

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Once again, a cyclist celebrates prematurely, thinking he’s won the world U-23 ‘cross title even though there’s still a lap to go.

And the father and brother of that Dutch rider who figuratively gave the cycling world the bird by motor doping are charged with literally stealing a few.

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Local

LAist explains why LA is a great city for bikeshare.

Tomorrow KPCC will feature the results of a rush hour race from Union Station to the Santa Monica pier by bike, transit and motor vehicle, to determine if the car is still king on the streets of LA. Here’s betting it isn’t.

A writer for the Daily Bruin calls for more dedicated bus — and bike — lanes prior to a possible 2024 LA Olympics, despite blowback from groups like the Westwood Neighborhood Council.

Facebook is expanding into new creative space in Playa Vista, complete with bike racks. Seriously? A development that large should be required to install a bike hub as part of the permitting process to encourage workers to leave their cars at home.

An OpEd in the Santa Monica Mirror says give the new Expo Line a chance. And put lights on your bike if you’ll be riding home from the station after dark.

A former bank building will be demolished to widen Newport Blvd in Newport Beach and make room to extend the bike lanes two blocks south to 32nd street.

The Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition invites you to Ride Around Pomona this Saturday, and the first Saturday of every month.

 

State

Cyclists and government officials met with officials from Miramar to discuss why the Marines are confiscating bikes from trespassing riders. The official version is they don’t want you to get shot or blown up, and that warning signs on the trails get torn down as soon as they go up.

Someone stole a $2,000, three-wheeled pedicab from a Vietnamese community group in San Diego, who consider it a priceless cultural artwork.

I want to be like her when I grow up. A San Francisco woman planted herself in front of a van after a road rage assault, refusing to move until the police showed up. But all the police did was ticket the driver for violating the three-foot passing law, and ignored the threats and assault from the car’s passenger, who bravely ran away before the cops came.

A Berkeley bicyclist is in critical condition after being hit and dragged by a car.

A city planning consultant presents a bold vision for Oakland, suggesting it tear down a freeway that represents a “great gash” through the city, and replace it with a grand boulevard for walkers, cyclists and cars. Maybe someday we’ll see that kind of thinking here.

 

National

A Denver driver faces up to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty for the DUI death of a cyclist; he was two and a half times the legal alcohol limit when he crossed the double yellow line to pass at least two cars on a blind curve, hitting the 38-year old father head-on.

A Cincinnati cyclist says the city needs to take its bike plan off the shelf and stop treating bicycle safety like a line item in the budget.

Unlike LA, where too many neighborhood groups fight bike lanes tooth and nail, a New York community board approves taking away a traffic lane to install a protected bike lane on Amsterdam Ave; Streetsblog explains why arguments against it don’t hold up.

Philadelphia gets its first Complete Streets Commissioner.

Sounds like fun. Washington DC plans a massive 17-mile ride around the city’s many monuments this May.

A former New Orleans police recruit is charged with second degree murder for firing his gun six times as he chased a bike thief down the street, eventually shooting him in the back of the head; his lawyer says he somehow felt threatened by the man who ran away after attempting to take his bike. Listen, I hate bike thieves as much as anyone, but seriously, don’t kill them.

 

International

Caught on video: A rear view camera catches a driver speeding up to deliberately run down a cyclist before fleeing the scene; despite clear video evidence, the authorities declined to prosecute, saying they can’t prove who was behind the wheel.

Scottish stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill takes to the snow.

Afghanistan’s women cycling federation has been nominated for the Nobel Peace prize. You know it sucks in a country when just having the courage to ride a bike is enough to win international recognition.

After his son was killed when he hit a pothole while riding a bike, a Mumbai man takes it upon himself to fill potholes on the city’s streets. And yes, it was probably a motorbike, but that doesn’t lessen what the father is doing to keep it from happening to anyone else.

A writer says Malta is dangerously trapped in the auto-centric ‘50s, instead of emulating other cities where bicycling is as natural as walking.

 

Finally…

Some of our bike lanes may be useless, but at least they’re more than six feet long. People find lots of things while riding their bikes; like a human skull, for instance.

And now you can pedal away the pounds with your very own sitNcycle for just $19.95, including shipping and handling.

No, really.

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One last note.

When I announced the winner of our bike contest giveaway, I lamented that we only had one bike to give away, despite two very deserving people.

So I’m happy to report that a very generous anonymous donor has volunteered to buy a bicycle for the second place finisher, and that she’s in the process of picking out her new bike.

Which makes this a win/win in the best possible sense.

 

Morning Links: Dockweiler Beach bike path still closed, fund for homeless man who saved bike rider’s life

Just one more week to help someone you know win new bicycle. Read more about our first-ever bike giveaway and suggest who deserves to win a free bike from Beachbikes.net!

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The Marvin Braude bike path on Dockwieler Beach in Playa del Rey remains closed due to damage from last week’s rains and heavy surf. And is likely to stay that way for some time.

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In a heartwarming story from Montebello, a Sherman Oaks triathlete sets up a gofundme account for a wheelchair-bound homeless man who suffered two broken legs when he was hit by a car while on his way to a hospital for follow-up care for a leg infection.

She met him while riding a double metric century before the holidays; completing the circle, the man, who once worked as an EMT, helped save the life of a stranger who had collapsed from a heart attack while riding his bike last year.

As of this writing, the fund had raised just over $3,000 of the $5,000 goal.

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Local

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is pushing for 10% of a possible transportation sales tax measure to be set aside for biking and walking projects, while noting that other areas commit more.

LADOT Bike Blog talks with Bridget Smith, the department’s new chief of staff.

Melissa McCarthy is one of us, going for a pre-Golden Globes ride with her family.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton kicks off a new series of podcasts focused on sustainable transportation in the San Gabriel Valley by talking with Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian and Bike SGV’s Andrew Yip.

The Steering Committee of BikeCulverCity, formerly the Culver City Bicycle Coalition, meets tonight at Kay ‘N Dave’s Cantina on Culver Blvd.

A new art exhibit just opened in Culver City focusing on works sculpted from bicycle wheels.

Santa Monica’s bike share coordinator offers tips on how to use the city’s Breeze bikeshare system.

LA Magazine looks at the LA Public Library’s San Pedro Book Bike.

 

State

Formed by a then-13-year old kid, Redlands’ rapidly expanding GS Andiamo Junior Cycling Development Program is helping to introduce teenage riders to the sport of cycling.

Bakersfield police are looking for a hit-and-run driver who injured a bike rider last month.

Improvements in bicycling safety appear to be paying off in San Luis Obispo, as bike collisions are down 20% since 2009 even as ridership increases; overall traffic collisions in the city reached their lowest point in 15 years.

Great piece from the Bay Area looking at streets that are dangerous by design for bicyclists and pedestrians to an extent that would be unacceptable for roads designed for motor vehicles. The story notes that traffic fatalities are three times higher in California cities on streets laid out after 1950, before California’s deadly auto-centrism took over.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s interim director begins work while a search goes on for a new leader.

Fairfield police use a bait bike to bust five bike thieves. As the story implies, most bike thieves don’t suffer any real consequences; we need to change the law to make the theft of any bike a felony, regardless of value.

 

National

Bicycling offers advice on how to deal with angry drivers. Nothing defuses an angry confrontation faster than pulling out your phone and taking a photo of the driver and his or her license plate, while making a show of dialing 911 will almost always get them to drive away. Just don’t stand in front of their car while you do it.

Seattle moves forward with a one-mile protected bike lane on a popular riding route that preserves 90% of parking along the street, but at a surprising political cost for a city that supports bicycling.

As fat-tire bicycling gains popularity, bike theft becomes a year-round problem in Alaska.

A Colorado driver gets eight years for killing a bicyclist while driving drunk; the judge wanted to show more leniency, but the driver showed no hint of remorse or taking responsibility for his drinking. Contrast that with a Georgia case where a motorist got off with one year of probation after pleading to vehicular homicide in the death of a cyclist.

Kentucky considers a bill requiring children under 12 to wear a bike helmet.

Kirstie Alley is one of us, riding through New York with her friends helped her lose 50 pounds and keep it off for the past year.

Seriously? New Jersey considers forming a commission to study how to better protect bicyclists and pedestrians. Because it takes a commission to find proven solutions like protected bike lanes, better crosswalks, slower speeds and prioritizing people over motor vehicles?

A Baltimore man was stabbed to death and robbed following a confrontation with a group of men while riding his bike; two teens are charged with his murder while police look for other suspects. Always try to ride away from confrontations, and remember no bike — or anything else you have on you — is worth you life.

 

International

A Winnipeg bike rider captures close calls with motorists on his helmet cam. That squeeze play with the semi is scary as hell.

A British cyclist lost her life because of a water-filled pothole that was supposed to have been fixed weeks earlier — and finally was, two days too late.

Britain plans a permanent memorial to fallen cyclists, inspired by the man who brought the first World Naked Bike Ride to Cambridge.

UK track cyclist Victoria Williamson is expected to make a full recovery after shattering her pelvis, ribs and several vertebrae in a crash with a Dutch competitor last week.

A new study from the Netherlands shows bicycling is so popular the country’s bike lanes are bursting at the seams. Note to City Lab: Referring to the Netherlands as Holland is like calling the US West Virginia.

That solar bike path in the Netherlands has proven successful after a full year of use, although the energy produced is far more expensive than other sources.

An Italian photographer catches images of Rome’s crumbling 20-mile riverside bike path.

A website in the United Arab Emirates offers an interesting look at the history of the bicycle, and looks admiringly as bicycling moves to the mainstream in NYC.

 

Finally…

Apparently, hemp seeds are dope when it comes to building muscle. Never mind its ability to take you places or improve your health, a bike is just one big fashion accessory.

And now you, too, can blog about bikes for fun and profit.

 

Thank El Niño — Marvin Braude bike path closed on Dockweiler Beach, LA River bike path may close through April

No Weekend Links this weekend due to other obligations.

But first we need a quick update on the bike path front following this week’s storms.

Starting with a section of the Marvin Braude bike path between Manhattan Beach and Playa del Rey that may be closed for the foreseeable future.

According to the LA County website, the closure runs from Culver Blvd to Imperial Highway, while Redondo Beach Patch — yes, it still exists — places the closure along Dockweiler Beach between the lifeguard station at 8600 Vista del Mar and a county Department of Beaches and Harbors maintenance facility at 8255 Vista del Mar.

A bypass is reportedly in the works, most likely directing riders onto Vista del Mar.

Judging by photos tweeted by County Supervisor Don Knabe, it could be some time before the path reopens.

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The other bad news is a possible closure of the LA River bike path through Griffith Park, Silver Lake and Atwater Village until next spring.

According to the LA Times, the Army Corps of Engineers will be installing temporary flood control barriers along the river to reduce the risk of flooding this winter.

The Eastsider reports it will cover a three-mile stretch of the river, and may require closure of the bike path, while Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, who represents the area, says sections will be closed on an “as needed” basis through mid-April.

Construction is expected to start on Monday and take several weeks. Chances are that section of the path will be closed, in all or in part, during the construction phase; whether it reopens afterwards remains to be seen.

Thanks to Patrick Pascal and BikeSGV for the heads-up.

Morning Links: Segways and scooters banned from Venice Boardwalk — and possibly the Venice bike path

Good news.

I think.

If I’m reading this right, the LA City Council not only voted unanimously to ban Segways on the Venice boardwalk, but on the LA segments of the adjacent Marvin Braude bike path through Venice, as well.

And since the ban applies to other “multiple-wheeled motor scooter-type devices“ and “multiple-wheeled electric personal assistive mobility-type devices,” it should also apply to those damn rental e-tricycles too often piloted by clueless tourists too drunk, and children too young, to operate them safely.

Let’s hope that’s really the case.

Because it could make the crowded bike path safer for the bike riders it was designed for, as well as the pedestrians who use it anyway, despite the numerous bike-only stencils on the pathway.

And don’t even get me started on that one.

It’s a lost cause.

Note: I have an email in to someone at Councilmember Mike Bonin’s office, who represents the Venice area, for clarification. I’ll let you know what I find out.

Update: An article from the Santa Monica Mirror says Segways and similar devices will still be allowed on the bike path.

Update 2: Just heard from Paul Backstrom at Bonin’s office, who says Segways are still allowed on the bike path; presumably, that extends to other mobility devices, as well.

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Local

Bike liability lawyer — and BikinginLA sponsor and sometimes guest writer — Jim Pocrass answers reader’s questions on Streetsblog; first up is advice on what to do following a collision, whether or not you’re in it.

Not all road diets reduce parking; some can actually increase parking spaces.

New LADOT head Seleta Reynolds faces her first committee confirmation hearing today.

Ovarian Psychos are hosting a bike-in movie night to screen two ghost bike documentaries in Boyle Heights tonight.

Another Perfect Day has a near perfect day at the LA River Ride. Meanwhile, Greenway 2020 is working to complete the LA River Bike path from the Valley to Long Beach within the next six years.

Longtime Santa Clarita resident, cyclist and 2014 River Ride participant Kevin Korenthal applies for that city’s Parks Commission.

The new bike and pedestrian friendly Gerald Desmond Bridge is already at least a year behind schedule.

 

State

A Bakersfield man is competing with 42 other bike riders in the cross country Trans Am Race from Oregon to Virginia; can’t say I ever heard of that one.

Actually, there’s no reason for drivers not to signal, even in the rare situations where it’s not required. The same goes for bike riders as long as removing a hand from your brakes or handlebars won’t pose an unnecessary risk.

 

National

Bicycling tours a baker’s dozen of the nation’s most unusual velodromes; none in California and only one on the left coast. Is it just me, or is the magazine showing a decided East Coast bias these days?

A new bike horn allows you to sample any sounds you want. I’ll take the Flight of the Valkyries at maximum volume, thank you.

Nice. Reconstruction plans for a major Colorado highway include a 15-mile, 12-foot wide separated bikeway.

Possibly the world’s oldest paperboy passes away; the 91-year old bike-riding Illinois newsie insisted on finishing his route even after he fell ill.

Riding across the country to save the life of an Alabama boy with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Florida increases penalties for hit-and-run to remove the incentive for drunk drivers to flee, something we desperately need to do here. Assuming we can even get authorities to care enough prosecute it.

Riding on a sidewalk is no protection from Florida’s out of control killer drivers.

 

International

A Brit study shows most bike injuries don’t involve cars; those that do could be prevented by increasing separation.

That absurd ban on Scottish TV ads depicting helmetless bike riders has been officially overturned.

The LA Times looks at Paris’ new Velib kids bike share.

Ex-doper Ángel Vázquez is unceremoniously jerked from a Spanish Gran Fondo. And yes, I copied that name from the website to capture those cool Spanish accent marks.

 

Finally…

If you’re dealing heroin out of your Glendale home, don’t steal a bike from an underground parking garage. Or don’t get caught riding it by the victim’s sister, anyway.

And an alligator lying in the middle of the road photobombs a Louisiana bike rider, causing him to take a tumble to the pavement. I dodged a few myself when I lived and rode down there, and bigger ones at that. Fortunately, alligators on land are slow and don’t have a taste for bike tires.

 

Friday’s ride, in which I met another bike rider the hard way

Okay, so I’m moving a little slow today.

August just hasn’t been my month as far as bike riding is concerned. Normally, I try to put in 100 to 150 miles a week this time of year, when increased fitness and summer weather usually combine for the year’s most enjoyable riding.

But various distractions have kept me off my bike much of the summer, to the point that I’ve averaged less than 30 miles a week for the past three weeks.

Part of that is due to last Friday’s limited ride, interrupted by a bike on bike collision on the bike path in Santa Monica, followed by a slow ride home with blood trickling down my leg.

Somehow, I failed to remember the alcohol swabs and bandages stashed in my seat bag. Or that the reason I shave my legs is precisely so bandages will adhere to them.

But that’s what happens when I break my own rules. 

First rule of thumb is to never ride the beachfront bike during the summer. And if I do, to do it in the morning when traffic on the pathway is at its lightest. 

But a late start meant a shorter ride than I had planned, while a lingering migraine suggested an easier route than the hill-filled one I’d penciled in earlier. Which led to the conclusion that an easy coast along the coast would be the best option to get at least a few miles in.

Then there’s my rule about avoiding the most crowded section of the pathway between the Venice and Santa Monica piers on Friday afternoons, when newly arrived tourists head straight to the beach, joining with locals who don’t appear to have been on a bike in years to form a rolling blockade and human obstacle course.

Don’t get me wrong. 

It’s not that they don’t have a right to be there, other than the chronically unenforced and inadequately marked bike-only sections. State law gives pedestrians a right to share the bike path — any bike path — anywhere there isn’t an alternative pedestrian walkway, such as the famed Venice Boardwalk, within a relatively few feet.

In fact, the newly restriped Santa Monica sections of the pathway include pedestrian walkways on either side of the bike path, though they aren’t adequately indicated as such.

It was a funny, but telling, moment at the most recent meeting of the LAPD’s bike task force when the subject of the beachfront Marvin Braude bikeway through Santa Monica and Venice came up. And the experienced bike cop next to me and I both said in unison that it was the single most dangerous place we ride.

Evidently, something about the presence of sand and sea air seems to disconnect the standard safety centers of the brain.

Or maybe it’s just the absence of sobriety that seems to go hand-in-hand with weekends at the beach.

Either way, it’s a risk I usually try to avoid. Except this time I didn’t.

Then there’s my third rule of thumb, which exceeds the standard allotment of opposable digits by roughly 50%, and forces me to use a finger in place of a thumb. Or borrow one from a total stranger, which seldom seems to be a good idea.

As an old school rider, I was taught to call it out whenever I pass another rider or pedestrian, with a simple “on your left” or “passing right” in the rare instance that the other person’s position makes that the safer option.

And yes, I know some people prefer bike bells. But a bell can only tell you a bike is present. Or an angel just got its wings.

Using my voice, I can tell them not only that I’m there, but that I am passing and which side I’m passing on.

On the other hand, I’ve learned that some people tend to get lost in their own world once they get to the beach. And even the most polite announcement can startle them.

So I’ll sometimes save my breath if I don’t think there’s any risk that they might move in front of me, or if I can give them at least the three-foot passing distance I’d expect from a motorist. Or if they’re wearing ear buds and aren’t likely to hear me anyway.

In this case, the bike path was just as crowded as you’d expect for a sunny summer Friday afternoon. And I was taking my time, both because of the crowds and my still aching head.

But even rolling far below my usual speed, I was still faster than the assorted beach cruisers and motley mountain bikes crowding the bikeway. So I’d wait patiently until there was a break in traffic coming the other way, then slide around the walkers and riders ahead of me, either calling it out as I passed or giving them as much room as I could.

And if the situation didn’t allow it, such as slowly working my way through the great mass of humanity jumbled before the skate park in Venice, I just didn’t pass until it was safe to do so.

It was an approach that got me safely, if slowly, through Venice Beach and well into Santa Monica, when I came upon a pair of casual cyclists riding slowly ahead.

So I moved onto the other side of the bike path, and was just deciding whether to call it out when the rider closest to me suddenly swung left, making a 90-degree turn directly in front of me.

I grabbed my brakes and swung left with him, but a collision was unavoidable.

We hit hard, my right impacting his left. Fortunately, we both managed to remain upright; somehow, though, I seemed to take the brunt of the impact. He was next to me in seconds, asking if I was okay and apologizing profusely, though he did say I should have called out that I was passing.

In retrospect, he was right. Although he turned before I had a chance to say something.

He and his bike seemed fine. Mine looked okay, other than a dropped chain.

On the other hand, I was pretty badly shaken, and both wrists hurt from holding the handlebars tightly at the moment of impact, but nothing seemed broken. Then there was a roughly two-square-inch abrasion inside my left knee, apparently from hitting the air pump I keep strapped to my frame.

The one I often find myself loaning to other riders after they run out of air cartridges or their cartridges fail to get the job done.

He seemed to expect me to be angry, but it was just one of those things. His failure to look before turning made a collision inevitable, but I could have done things differently, as well.

So we shook hands, and went our separate ways.

I probably shouldn’t have, though. My failure to even remember I had a first aid kit, let alone actually use it, was a pretty good indication I wasn’t thinking clearly.

I briefly debated continuing on my way before accepting that it probably wouldn’t be the best idea. Fortunately, I remembered yet another rule of thumb — after any collision or fall, you’re probably hurt more than you realize at the time, since injuries have a way of revealing themselves hours after the impact.

I have no idea how the other guy felt the next morning.

But I spent the weekend nursing a pair of jammed wrists and a stiff back. Not to mention a patch of knee missing its epidermis.

I’ll live.

All in all, I limped away — figuratively, anyway — in about as good a shape as I could have hoped under the circumstances. Had either of us hit the pavement, it might have been a different story.

But it serves as a reminder that the seeming safety of the bike path is an illusion. And you need to ride defensively every moment, because you never know when someone will do exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time.

I did almost everything right.

And this time, it wasn’t nearly good enough.

South Bay cyclist victim of a hit-and-walk

One of the primary arguments used to attack bicyclists lately has been the alleged carelessness — or aggressiveness — some bike riders show around pedestrians.

Never mind that a solid  collision between a cyclist and someone on foot is likely to result in injuries to both. And while people can point fingers at a handful of cases where careless riders have seriously injured — or even killed — pedestrians, it is a problem that goes both ways.

As just about anyone who has ever ridden any of Southern California’s beachfront bike paths can attest.

Case in point, this email I received yesterday from frequent South Bay contributor Jim Lyle.

Nine days ago, I was returning home from my morning ride up the coast.  As I navigated the bike path under the Redondo Beach pier, a woman ducked under the chain that separates the bike path from the pedestrian walkway directly in front of me.  I slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting her and went down, hard.  As I hit the pavement, I heard a “pop” and knew it wasn’t going to be a good thing.  I unclipped and tried to get up, but couldn’t bear any weight on my left leg due to the pain.

Here’s where it gets surreal.  The woman, with a bunch of her friends, did not offer to help me, did not ask if I was OK, or if I was hurt; they simply walked away as if nothing had happened.  Does that qualify as a “hit and walk?”

I was able to pull myself up using the bike to lean on and hobbled to an open area where I had cell phone coverage.  I called a friend who lives near the pier and asked her to come get me.  She arrived, put the bicycle in the truck bed, but I couldn’t get into the cab, it was too high and it hurt too much to move the leg.  I started to go into shock, tunnel vision and losing consciousness.  My friend called 911.  The EMTs arrived, put me on a gurney, and transported me to emergency.  X-rays revealed I had snapped a bone on my femur, but there was no displacement.  They gave me pain meds and crutches and sent me home.  I return to the orthopod in a couple of weeks to make sure there’s been no movement of the bone and I’m on the road to recovery. Otherwise, they’ll have to do surgery.  Meanwhile, I’m moping around the house feeling sorry for myself.  It could have been worse, much, much worse.

As you know, it is illegal (CVC and city ordinances) for pedestrians to use the beach bike path.  There are signs posted and “BIKES ONLY” is painted on the path every few yards.  Because these laws are not enforced, pedestrians, nannies, dog walkers, skaters, illiterates, and scofflaws use the bike path instead of the pedestrian walkway which is often within spitting range.  I always knew this created a dangerous situation for cyclists and pedestrians. And, now, I’m a victim.

In the past, a polite “on your left” or “bikes only, please” would be sufficient.  In future, when I’m back riding, I am no longer going to be very pleasant when I encounter the brain dead idiots who insist on endangering my health.  Police chiefs in the beach cities are going to know my name.  All it would take is a little public education and the occasional ticket to make the beach safe for all users, on two wheels or none.

I’m still fuming about the lack of humanity shown by people.  Surely, they’re in a minority, or are they?

Make no mistake.

Pedestrians are the only class of road users more vulnerable than we are. And we need to go out of our way to protect their safety, especially when riding on sidewalks and through crosswalks, where they should have unquestioned right-of-way.

And yes, I’ve seen cyclists plow through a crowded crosswalk, seemingly oblivious to the harm they may cause. And a Santa Monica cyclist was recently convicted, fairly or not, of assault with a deadly weapon for doing just that.

But as Jim’s email suggests, we aren’t always the problem. And we are just as vulnerable to their carelessness as they are to ours.

One other point.

Had he been able to stop the woman, she could have been held liable for his injuries, just as a bicyclist can be held legally liable for injuring a pedestrian. Or another bike rider, for that matter.

But whether she could be charged with leaving the scene of a collision is a question I can’t answer.

Near head-on collision with scofflaw tricyclist, OC hit-and-run, good news in San Pedro and NELA

Talk about close.

A late start meant I didn’t have a lot of time to ride yesterday, so I took a quick spin along the beachfront bike path through Santa Monica and Venice — despite my long-held preference to avoid it as much as possible this time of year.

And I nearly paid for it with a head-on collision with a scofflaw salmon cyclist.

Make that a four-year old scofflaw.

On a tricycle.

She didn’t seem too pleased when I suggested she should ride on the other side, either.

……..

Yet another coward has fled the scene following a serious collision, leaving a bike rider to bleed in the street. This time in Orange County.

According to KABC-7, a teenage cyclist suffered critical head injuries when he was hit by an unidentified vehicle around midnight Wednesday on North Harbor Boulevard near La Palma Avenue in Orange.

A passing motorist saw the victim lying in the street and called for help.

Anyone with information is urged to call Anaheim police at (714) 765-1900.

……..

Tuesday’s twin meetings called to oppose bike lanes in NELA and San Pedro may not have turned out the way opponents might have planned.

The special meeting of the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council’s Sycamore Grove Local Issues Committee — maybe they could work on shortening that just a tad — gave every indication of being a set-up for opponents of bike lanes on Figueroa Street in Northeast L.A. Even going so far as to allow a bike lane hater to present an uncontested 15 minute video in opposition to the lanes.

A presentation he reportedly botched — eventually leading to his ejection from the room for disrupting a public meeting.

The Fig4All website calls the meeting a farce in every sense. Yet one that resulted in an overwhelming 41 to 16 in favor of the bike lanes.

Meanwhile, the highly contested road diets and bike lanes recently installed in San Pedro received unexpectedly strong support from city officials, in a special meeting with area Councilmember Joe Buscaino.

The lanes were installed as part of the 2010 L.A. bike plan, as well as in an attempted to calm traffic on streets with excess capacity — including in front of a school, where parents inexplicably complained about the difficulty of dropping their children off, rather than praising the attempt to increase safety for their own kids.

Fortunately, cooler heads seemed to have prevailed, as Buscaino suggested drivers get used to the changes and find ways to avoid the brief periods of congestion.

I’m starting to like this guy.

Now let’s see if he, and the other members of the council, show as much backbone dealing with Hollywood’s irrational demands to remove the Spring Street green bike lanes at Friday’s council meeting.

………

A couple bike-related items from Metro made it into my inbox yesterday.

First up is how to cope with the new locking turnstiles being activated in Metro train stations this summer.

Metro Rail turnstiles will be activated this summer and open only with a valid TAP card. If you bring your bike on board, please plan ahead for how this change can affect your station access.

Some important tips to remember for bringing your bike through turnstiles:

  • Follow ADA-accessible routes to find elevators and wider turnstile gates to safely walk your bike in and out of stations.
  • If lifting your bike over turnstiles, please be careful. Avoid lifting your bike over turnstiles in a crowded station.
  • Using the emergency exit gate for non-emergency purposes is not allowed and punishable by fine.

Whatever type of fare you’re using – single ride, pass or transfer from another system – it must be loaded on a reusable TAP card to ride any Metro Rail line. Please be sure your TAP is loaded with cash or valid fare before approaching turnstiles at Metro Rail stations. If you don’t already have a TAP card, you canpurchase one along with your fare from the TAP vending machine for a $1.

I can’t say I’m fond of the idea that one-time train users will be forced to buy a tap card, increasing the cost of a single ride to $2.50.

And Metro will be working with bike advocacy organizations to co-sponsor a series of bike education and safety classes throughout the county.

All cyclists can benefit from a working knowledge of the rules of the road.

Continuing efforts to educate all road users, Metro presents a new series of free bicycle traffic safety workshops, rolling out across the county over the next few months.

With funding from the Office of Traffic Safety, Metro is working with the LA County Bicycle Coalition, Bike San Gabriel Valley and Multi-Cultural Communities for Mobility to lead the workshops. A 3-hour beginner’s road rules class will be offered in English and Spanish, and an 8-hour workshop for intermediate cyclists will focus on building traffic skills.

The series kicks off with the following classes. As more classes are scheduled, information will be available able at metro.net/bikes andfacebook.com/bikemetro.

Street Cycling Skills Class 
Saturday, June 22 

8am-5pm
Alexander Hughes Community Center
1700 Danbury Rd
Claremont, CA 91711
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Street Cycling Skills Class 
Saturday, July 6 

9am-6pm
Culver City Veteran’s Memorial Building
4117 Overland Av
Culver City, CA 90230
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Street Cycling Skills Class
Friday, July 12, 6pm-9 pm 
AND Saturday, July 13, 8am-2 pm

Azusa Memorial Park Recreation Center
320 N Orange Pl
Azusa, CA 91702
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Bicycling on the Road Class
Sunday, July 14 

10am-1pm
South El Monte Community Center
1556 Central Av
South El Monte, CA 91733
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

Street Cycling Skills Class 
Wednesday, July 17, 5:30pm-8:30pm 
AND Saturday, July 20, 9am-1pm

California State University Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Bl
Long Beach, CA 90815
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Bicycling on the Road Class
Saturday, July 20

10am-1pm
El Monte Senior Center
3120 Tyler Av
El Monte, CA 91731
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

Bicycling on the Road Class 
Saturday, July 27 

10am-1pm
Palm Park Rec Center
5730 Palm Av
Whittier, CA 90601
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

Bicycling on the Road Class 
Thursday, August 4 

1-4pm
Culver City Veteran’s Memorial Building
4117 Overland Av
Culver City, CA 90230
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Bicycling on the Road Class 
Sunday, August 18 

10am-1pm
La Verne Community Center, Classroom 1
3680 “D” St
La Verne, CA 91750
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

Bicycling on the Road Class 
Saturday, August 24 

10am-1pm
Barbara J. Riley Community & Senior Center
7810 Quill Dr
Downey, CA 90242
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

………

Finally, you could soon fly over potholes; no, literally. And if you’re going to steal precious artwork by a revered artist, bring a bag big enough that it doesn’t stick out of your backpack as you make your getaway by bike at 4:30 am. Let alone big enough to carry everything you meant to steal.

Update: Monday’s ride, in which I catch the county breaking the law

Just because they post a sign doesn't make it so.

Just because they post a sign doesn’t make it so.

Sometimes it’s the government itself that breaks the law.

A recent planned ride down to Manhattan Beach was interrupted by construction on the bike path, as barricades diverted cyclists onto busy Vista del Mar at Dockweiler State Beach.

That didn’t come as a surprise. The beachfront Marvin Braude bike path has been undergoing much needed reconstruction over the past several months.

Up to this point, however, riders were directed to virtually unused South Marine Avenue, providing a low-stress detour around the construction work.

However, that changed last week as the construction work moved further south, past the point where Marine Ave ends. South Bay cyclist Jim Lyle gave me the heads-up last week, so I knew the pathway would be closed when I got there.

I knew if I wanted to reach my planned destination, I’d have to ride a street that is notoriously unfriendly to cyclists. And pass the exact point where bike rider George Loudon was killed in a still-unsolved hit-and-run less than two years earlier.

The only accommodation to cyclists forced to detour around the construction were some newly added Share the Road signs on Vista del Mar. Not enough to tame the high-speed traffic, or make most riders feel safe on a roadway already known for dangerous traffic.

Myself included.

So rather than add needless stress to a ride intended to reduce it, I decided I’d gone far enough for one day, and would save Vista del Mar for another ride later in the week.

On a whim, though, when I turned back, I decided to ride through the county-owned RV park along the bike path to see if it would allow me to bypass the construction work. Or at least add a little more to my mileage count for the day.

And that’s when I saw it.

Right at the entrance to the park was a sign banning bikes, in clear violation of state law.

Under California law, bicyclists have all the rights and responsibilities of motorists, and are allowed to use any public roadway where cars are permitted. The only exception is some limited access freeways, where bikes can be banned as long as signs are posted.

And which some cyclists have been known to ride, anyway.

Since there were numerous cars and RVs visible right in front of me, it was clear that motor vehicles were allowed in the RV park. So the only question was whether the park was public or private property.

And a simple look online quickly answered that question.

In other words, an RV park owned and operated by the County of Los Angeles bans bikes from the roads, in clear violation of state law. That presumably applies to people paying to camp there, just as it does to any stray riders looking for a shortcut.

So if someone wants to ride their bike from their campsite to El Segundo or the LAX area via surface streets, and rides on the roadway through the park to get there, they’re in violation of the ban.

Which is in violation of the law.

Even if the RV park is privately operated under a county contract, the roads within it remain public property, and so are subject to state law.

Which brings up the question, when the government itself is either unaware of, or doesn’t care about, the laws of this state, who exactly is responsible for enforcing them?

Let alone protecting the rights of its citizens, on two wheels or otherwise.

Update: I just received the following notice from the county Department of Public Works:

Picture (Device Independent Bitmap) 1ADVISORY NOTICE
The County of Los Angeles will be closing a segment of the Marvin Braude Bike Path for reconstruction work until April 12th.  The limits of the beach bike path closure are from Imperial Highway in the City of Los Angeles to 45th Street in the City of Manhattan Beach.
To accommodate bike path users during this closure, a detour has been provided along Vista del Mar.  The most seaward of the 4 vehicle travel lanes (closest to the beach) will be barricaded and dedicated as a bike lane for both directions of bike path traffic for the duration of the work.
For information contact us at (626) 458-3110, (626) 458-4967 or visit http://dpw.lacounty.gov/bikepathclosures

Good news that they’re going to give cyclists a dedicated lane on Vista del Mar; however, that barricade did not seem to be place when I was there on Monday.

……..

One other quick note.

On Monday’s ride, I found myself chatting with a bike rider who had just flown in from Washington DC earlier that morning, and was enjoying a ride on a beautiful SoCal day.

Then last night, on a ride to a bike meeting in Downtown L.A., I struck up a conversation with a woman riding in her work attire, as she made her way from 7th and Fig to pick up the Gold Line for her commute home.

Nothing extraordinary about either event.

Except I can’t recall ever talking with a total stranger from behind the wheel of a car for any longer than it took for someone to ask directions before the light changed. Or exchange angry epitaphs with another driver.

That’s one of the rare joys of bicycling, as it allows a genuine interaction with our cities and those we share the road with, however briefly.

And helps make our city a better place to live, whichever and wherever that may be.

Update: Bike rider illegally ticketed by pissed-off cop for non-infractions on Venice bike path

Give Yo! Venice! credit for reporting this one.

The popular website broke the news yesterday that a bike rider on the beachfront Marvin Braude bike path was ticketed by a cop for a made-up violation — simply because he pointed out the LAPD officer’s motorcycle was blocking the pathway last Thanksgiving weekend.

According to the site — and backed up by a helmet cam video of the interaction — Venice resident Chris J. was slowly riding north on the pathway when he encountered the officer blocking the entire southbound section of the bikeway, at the same time a girl on a tricycle was blocking the north side of the path.

So after going around, he — politely, evidently — informed the officer his motorcycle was blocking the path, to which the officer responded “I can give you a ticket for that.”

Next thing he knew, the cop was following behind his slow moving beach cruiser with lights flashing.

And that’s when it gets interesting.

The cyclist turned on his helmet cam and recorded the officer fumbling for something, anything, he could ticket him for. And admitting on camera that the only reason he was writing up the rider was because he had argued with him.

Politely asking a cop not to block the bikeway may not be smart, but it sure as hell isn’t arguing.

Kind of violates the meaning of “To Protect and Serve,” doesn’t it?

First the officer threatens to write up the cyclist for riding on the wrong side of the bike path. Which, to the best of my knowledge, isn’t illegal; if the same traffic laws that apply to motor vehicles also apply to an off-road, Class I bikeway — a multi-use pathway in places — this is the first I’ve heard of it.

If so, the department could make up the state’s entire budget deficit just by writing tickets on the bike path. Starting with pedestrians walking on the bike-only sections, since people generally aren’t allowed to walk in the street, either.

Of course, it would also require cyclists to signal their lane change every time they pass someone. Along with a host of equally absurd requirements never before enforced on this bike path, or any other that I’m aware of.

So Chris argues that there’s a dotted yellow line dividing the two sides of the path in that section, rather than a solid yellow line, legally allowing him to cross over it in order to pass someone.

When the officer can’t argue that point, the cop switches gears. And instead, writes a ticket for violating the state’s Basic Speed Law, for — wait for it — riding 5 mph in a 10 mph zone.

Never mind the fact that the officer appears to have made up the 10 mph speed limit, which is not posted anywhere along the bikeway. Or anywhere else that I can find, for that matter.

Instead, let’s consider that the Basic Speed Law, CVC 22350, refers only to a speed greater than is reasonable under the circumstances. It says absolutely nothing about going too slowly.

Basic Speed Law

22350.  No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.

And to the best of my knowledge, a bike path is not a highway.

But I could be wrong about that; I’ll let you know if I see a semi-truck and a few speeding SUVs rolling down it when I’m out that way this afternoon.

Maybe the officer meant to write a ticket for CVC 22400, the Minimum Speed Law. Except that pertains only to highways, as well.

Not bike paths.

And part of which only applies to vehicles subject to registration.

In other words, not bikes.

Of course, had the officer written a ticket for that, he likely would have been laughed out of court when the case comes up before a judge on Friday. As he should be for attempting to make up traffic laws on the spot in order to cite a bike rider simply because the rider pissed him off.

Which is not exactly what we should expect from a trained officer sworn to uphold the law, who should have known better.

Or at least, known enough not to admit it on camera.

And I should also point out that it’s not against the law to argue with a cop. Although it’s seldom a good idea.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, take the ticket. Then take it up with the officer’s superiors, or fight it in court.

I’ve reached out to the LAPD’s bike liaisons for the West Traffic Division to see what they have to say on the subject. So far, I haven’t gotten a response; I’ll let you know if I do.

Update: According to KNBC-4, Detective Gus Villanueva of the LAPD’s Media Relations Section says the ticket was canceled “in the interest of justice,” and that the department was conducting an investigation into the officer involved.

Yo! Venice!, which has done a great job keeping on top of this story, reports that the officer involved works out of the West Traffic Division; still no response from the bike liaison from that Division. 

One of L.A. County’s most dangerous streets gets a little safer with buffered new bike lanes on Fiji Way

Just quick update on last week’s item about pending bike lanes on Fiji Way in Marina del Rey.

A ride down to the South Bay yesterday morning showed that nothing had been done on the street beyond the preliminary markings that had gone down earlier.

Yet by the time I rode back a few hours and many miles later, the street had been transformed into, if not a cyclists’ paradise, a much safer and more inviting connection between the Santa Monica and South Bay bike trails.

And turned what has been one of the area’s busiest — and most dangerous — bicycling thoroughfares into something that promises to be significantly safer.

As you can see from the video, a bike lane has been installed on the west/southbound side of the roadway, and the much hated, and probably illegal restriction to ride single file — which is unsupported by anything in California law — has been painted over.

Moving down to the turnaround at the end of the street, near the connection to the Ballona Creek bikeway, the road narrows to a single lane, with painted separators keeping motorists away from riders. And hopefully, reducing the risk of right hook collisions.

Continuing around the turnaround to the north/eastbound side of the street reveals a road diet for most of its length to Admiralty Way.

It was unclear yesterday whether the reduced roadway was being striped for a buffered bike lane, or if the county was planning to allow curbside parking, which had previously been banned, with door-zone bike lane alongside.

But a quick conversation with a member of the county road crew confirmed that cyclists will now enjoy a wide curbside bike lane with a comfortable buffer to the left — separating riders from the high speed, and often confused, drivers who have traditionally frequented the area. And that work on re-striping the street should be finished today.

Fiji Way has long been the missing link in the Marvin Braude bike trail, the name given the full length of the bikeway connection Palos Verdes with Pacific Palisades

As well as one of the most dangerous streets for cyclists, with multiple near-daily collisions as drivers entered or exited driveways without looking for riders first — like this one. Or brushed past or rear-ended riders on the previously unmarked street.

This should go a long way towards reducing those collisions, making what had been a needlessly risky ride much safer.

And it’s a high-profile improvement that shows the county may really be committed to improving conditions for cyclists.

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