Tag Archive for Michael Eisenberg

Near Rapid Bus road kill, and a letter from a Brit driver that questions their care for the mentally ill

First up, Michael Eisenberg forwards video of a careless LA bus driver that came too close to making him Santa Monica road kill.

I’d like to say it was shocking, or even unusual. But most of us have been in that same position too many times.


A British letter writer blames all bike riders for the death of one, in one of the most bizarre anti-bike rants I’ve read.

And even though the driver got off in the case that set him off, he questions when motorists will ever get a fair deal and be listened to.

I don’t know what planet he lives on, but it doesn’t appear to be this one.

To those cyclists that complain ‘It’s our right!’: So what?

Someone has died because you all fail to follow the rules, as cyclists do every day. Even if you did, so what? No driver wants to hit you, so stop this happening: give up. …

For your own safety leave the bike at home, get in the car like any rational person would. You’ve lost the fight for your right on the road and a legal precedent has been established.

Thanks to Carlton Reid for the link.


This is why bicyclists need to fight for Santa Monica’s MANGo project, which is up for a vote at tonight’s city council meeting. Although someone should tell the local paper it’s actually a neighborhood greenway that will benefit everyone, rather than just a project for bike riders. Meanwhile, the NRDC voices its support.


Tour de Palm Springs officials promise to review the event following the death of cyclist La Vonne Koester, who authorities now inexplicably blame for her own death.


No bikes involved. Just a 21-year old drunk wrong-way driver who killed six people, including her own sister. And just four years after she was convicted of DUI at 17 — and received two other tickets while her license was apparently still suspended.

So six innocent people are dead because, once again, authorities didn’t care enough to keep a dangerous driver off the road.

As Tom Vanderbilt famously put it, drivers licenses are too easy to get and too hard to lose. And that needs to change.



The LA Bicycle Advisory Committee steps up and tells the city councilmembers who appointed them to stop wasting time and money by stalling on bike projects. The City of LA may finally attempt to figure out what Complete Streets means. A member of the USC Bicycle Coalition calls on the university to stop opposing the MyFigueroa project that will help encourage non-motorized transportation to and from campus and keep students safer; but does the historically bike-unfriendly school administration give a damn are they listening? Bicycling is not dangerous, driving is. You could help fix our broken streets and have people like me on your case all the time, as LADOT is looking for a Senior Project Coordinator for the Bicycle Program. Wayfinding signage has finally come to the LA River; even if a new riverside park in Lincoln Heights remains sort-of fenced off. Santa Monica Spoke shares their excitement for the new SaMoHi Safe Routes to School Program. Better Bike is still waiting for those promised Beverly Hills bike racks. This week’s Bike Talk features some of the area’s leading women bike advocates talking, uh, bikes. Bicycling magazine offers a full spread on LA’s own Sweet Ride.

The Level of Service standard that favors motor vehicles over every other form of transport could finally be replaced by the state. Pedal Love shares a little pre-Valentines bike romance. San Diego’s Uptown neighborhood may be warming up to bikes after all, while the city hopefully votes for a bike-friendly — and non-perv — mayor. A San Diego cyclist is injured when the city repaves traffic lanes, but leaves the bike lane in worse condition than it was before; thanks to Mark Ganzer for the heads-up. An Ojai cyclist is flown to the hospital after an apparent solo crash. This is why you should let the authorities deal with a bike thief, as a Santa Cruz man is stabbed trying to stop one. That Santa Cruz Tesla driver who claimed he killed a cyclist because of the new car smell faces up to a year in prison, while his lawyer should get five years just for that bogus excuse; thanks to Brother Dave for the tip. Long time state Assembly Speaker Willie Brown hasn’t changed his anti-bike, pro-freeway attitude. A Napa Valley rider imitates Rodney King by asking if cyclists and motorists can get along.

Hit-and-run fatalities are on the way up nationwide, led by our own City of Fallen Angels. Of course. Bicycling lists nine great campuses for cyclists; not surprisingly, no SoCal colleges made the cutoff; see USC above. A Spokane cyclist’s estate gets a $120,000 settlement from the city for failing to maintain the dangerous intersection that killed him. Anchorage police chief says bikes and motorists can safely coexist. A bike advocate from my hometown says you’re safer when you ride like you belong there. So who do you have to kill to get a New York cabbie’s license revoked? Philly cyclists get a new pumptrack; and no, I had no idea what that was until I read the story. Race car drivers at Daytona urge drivers to be kind to cyclists. The Florida cyclist who was dumped behind a dumpster to die by a heartless hit-and-run driver speaks out, and he’s justifiably pissed-off — and paralyzed.

Next up on Kickstarter, a combination tail light and rear-view camera to record the drivers who run you down from behind. Olympic gold medalist Chris Boardman says cycling is safer than gardening; they must have some tough slugs in the UK. British Cycling offers a 10 point plan to get the country riding. Brit hit-and-run victim says drivers hate us; he’s not far off for some. US pro cycling prodigy Taylor Phinney wins his first pro tour. No, really, that South African official’s convoy stopped to help a fallen cyclist instead of running him over. Mastering the etiquette of Kiwi group riding.

Finally, a Nepal cyclist likes to live dangerously by riding his bike backwards across Africa and Asia. As usual, Bikeyface nails it in suggesting everybody should get a bike. And once again, the Cycling Embassy’s blog roundup puts the above link compendium to shame; the student has truly surpassed the master.

Hit-and-run on Mulholland Hwy, boat racing by bike and train, win a bike trip to Tuscany from LACBC

Lots of news coming in through my inbox this past week.

So let’s take a few moments to catch.


First up is news of a hit-and-run on the dirt road section of Mulholland Highway. Fortunately, the rider wasn’t hurt, but that doesn’t change the need to find the driver and bring her to justice.

According to the email, the owner of a Valley bike shop was riding between the trail head near Topanga Canyon and the Reseda trail head when he was struck by what’s described as a white crossover SUV. He landed hard on the hood of the car, leaving a major dent.

The driver was reportedly looking down at her phone when she hit him. She got out of her car to look at the dent on the hood, then sped away without talking to her victim, who wasn’t able to get the plate number or make of car before she left.

If you see a vehicle that matches that description with a large dent in the hood, take down the license number and call the police.

Thanks to Dan at Santa Monica Helen’s for the heads-up.


A couple weeks ago, Michael Eisenberg, who has contributed a number of items here in recent months, emailed me asking for info on taking a bike on an Amtrak train.

He was planning to participate in a Newport to San Diego sailboat race, and wanted to drive his boat trailer down to San Diego, then use a combination of bike and train travel to come back up to get his boat and start the race.

I’ll let him tell you how it worked out.

I’ve returned from my sailing/biking weekend and I thought you might want a travel report.

After launching the boat in Newport Harbor, I headed down to San Diego to leave the car and trailer. As I expected, I was running late and wasn’t ready to start cycling back to Newport Beach until 3:45. With a stop for dinner I calculated that I would arrive at my destination  around 10. I really didn’t want to finish the ride on PCH after dark, so I changed my plans and headed over to the Amtrak Old Town station.

The train was scheduled to depart at 4:08, so I needed to hustle to cover the 5 miles in time. I got there with 2 minutes to spare. As an aside, as I was speeding up Rosecrans Blvd passing block upon block of stalled rush hour traffic, I came upon a police cruiser with a cyclist pulled over and with his hands spread out on the hood awaiting a pat down. I have no idea what led up to this.

I’ve never ridden on a train before, so I had to ask around to find out what to do next. I was told that the only bike storage was on the lower level of the first car. When I entered to car, I found 10 bike racks in the front. This car also contain the area for special needs travelers. There were already 7 bikes in racks, and these must all have arrived. At the first stop, as Old Town was the second stop. I noticed that every other bike was locked, so I new I would have to get up at each stop to keep tabs on my bike as it was the low hanging fruit.

While on the train, I figured out how to register on-line with Amtrak and to purchase a ticket. I was ready when the conductor came by to scan the bar code on my phone. The ride was of course extremely pleasant. As I was dressed in cycling gear, I had two people come up to me asking about where to find good cycling spots in SD. Talk about the blind leading the blind. I was able to tell them about the excellent bike path that traverses the South Bay from Coronado around to Chula Vista and up to San Diego.  But when I mentioned the path was only about 30 miles long, their eyes got really big. My how perceptions change after a time.

The only glitch occurred when we arrived in Irvine. The train overshot the platform, and I had to carry my bike up the stairs and back to the second car before heading back downstairs to exit. Talk about tight.

Once I exited the station, I Googled the directions from Irvine to Corona Del Mar in walking mode. I was given 3 choices, all the same length of 15 miles. Two were major boulevards, and one was listed as Shady Canyon / Bonita Canyon. That sounded the most appealing and it did not disappoint. I was a first rate bike path with spectacular views. I arrived at my destination at 7:00 with a sense of accomplishment in discovering a new method of travel.

Once back at the boat, I removed the bike wheels, packed the bike into a travel bag, and stored it down below. The next day I won my singlehanded division in the Newport to San Diego sailboat race.

I’ve written this for you, not because I’m looking for any publicity, but instead to inform you about how easy and satisfying bit was to combine rail and bicycle travel.

Just goes to show what you can do with a bike and a little imagination.

As an aside, he notes that he’s planning to bike down to Knott’s Berry Farm for an annual car show later this month, a distance of 115 miles round trip. Which should impress his friends more than any car he might take down there.


Eisenberg's DIY bike rack

Eisenberg’s DIY bike rack

Eisenberg also writes that he’s gotten in the bike rack business for a friend.

I went to the gym last night. The gym manager showed me a video taken in the morning of some low life creep cutting a cable lock on a $1000 bike and riding off. I hope they catch the bastard. Anyway, there was no proper place to lock a bike before, just around a 6″ x 6″ support post. So I whipped this up for him today. It’s now out being powder coated. I made this one for about 1/2 of what I saw similar ones online if anyone is in interested.

I should note that LADOT offers a free bike rack program, installing U-racks on request anywhere within the City of Los Angeles.

But if you’re outside the city or want a larger rack, you can contact him at maecomotorsport@bizla.rr.com.

Bike rack 2

You could have a rack like this of your own

And he notes that, now that the rack has been installed, the gym owner hopes the rack gets enough use to justify a second one.


The LACBC is offering you a chance to win a bike trip to Tuscany by fundraising for the upcoming River Ride.

Fundraise for LACBC’s Annual Los Angeles River Ride.  It is easy.  The top prize for the highest fundraiser is a bike trip to Tuscany, courtesy of VBT. We also have a prize for the fundraiser who gets the most people to donate to the cause: a bike from DTLA Bikes. Runner-up prizes include a New Belgium Brewing Cruiser Bike and signed copies of Where to Bike Los Angeles. Prizes are guaranteed for meeting fundraising minimums at the $100 (LACBC socks), $250 (River Ride jersey), $500 (access to the River Ride VIP tent and beer garden), $1000 (recognition at LACBC donor and supporter party), and $5000 (custom vintage cocktail mixology, tea ceremony, or dinner with our Excutive Director and Board President) levels. Go to http://www.active.com/donate/riverride and  www.la-bike.org/riverride for more information.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition has long been fighting for a safer, cleaner, quieter form of transportation for all Angelenos whether they bike, walk, or drive. The Annual Los Angeles River Ride provides much of the funds LACBC needs in order to transform the face of Los Angeles County and give future generations the option of enjoying Los Angeles by bike! This year’s Annual Los Angeles River Ride also incorporates a campaign to complete all 51 miles of LA River Bikeway. Imagine it: a completely car-free uninterrupted bike highway running right through the middle of Los Angeles, from Canoga Park to Long Beach!

When you raise funds for the River Ride you are contributing to this campaign. What a legacy to leave, the knowledge that you helped make such an enormous and positive change to the landscape of the 5th largest economy in the world. In addition to helping LACBC do such great work, high fundraisers win great prizes.


Reporter Roger Rudick produced a story for KCRW’s Which Way LA contrasting the impressive bicycling infrastructure in the Dutch city of Rotterdam with the far less notable bikeways here in the City of Angeles.

Yet surprisingly, he discovers that the two cities aren’t that different.

Which suggests that Los Angeles could do a lot more to encourage cycling and keep riders safe.


Police have concluded that the driver was at fault in the death of Cal Poly Pomona bike rider Ivan Aguilar. Charges against the driver, who has not been publicly identified, are on hold pending the result of a final report from the L.A. County Coroner.


The family of cyclist Donny McCluskey published a moving memorial to the fallen cyclist, who was killed in Rancho Mirage when a speeding driver ran a red light and hit another vehicle driven by a drunk driver. The cars spun out of control and hit McCluskey, who was stopped at the red light.

McCluskey was killed despite doing everything right. Except being in the wrong place when two drivers broke the law.

Yet shamefully, neither has faced more than a slap on the wrist for taking the life of an innocent human being.

Donny McCluskey Memorial


Finally, it turns out that those green bike lanes on Spring Street in Downtown L.A. aren’t so hard for filmmakers to remove in post-production after all.

Which begs the question of why Hollywood really wants them gone. And why FilmLA, the L.A. Times and L.A. city officials have fallen for what appears to be one big anti-bike lie.

Let alone why the city appears to have caved in to bogus demands to let the highly popular green lanes fade to oblivion.

Credit to LA Streetsblog’s Damien Newton for getting the truth in this story.


I’m going to be at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition booth at CicLAvia from 2 pm to 3:30 pm this Sunday at the Culver City hub; stop by and say hi if you get the chance.

Better yet, bring a few bucks, checkbook or credit card with you and I’ll be happy to sign you up as an LACBC member if you’re not one already.

The health benefits of biking, and a call to be careful riding today

I’m on the run today, so my apologies for not offering a full update this morning.

But I didn’t want to let the week pass without offering this thought about the health benefits of bicycling from Michael Eisenberg.

Glad to hear your wife is recovering. I had a heart incident a couple of years ago. Since then, I’ve taken up cycling, including commuting 30 miles round trip every day, and weekend rides like today’s 70 miler. I’ve lost 64 lbs, lowered my blood pressure to the point that I no longer take BP medications, lowered my blood sugar to normal numbers even after discontinuing diabetes medication, and improved my cholesterol numbers to well within normal too.  Keep preaching.

There are lots of reasons to ride.

But whether you’re riding for fun, exercise, transportation or any other reason, you’re saving your own life with every pedal stroke you take.

And that’s a good thing.


One other quick note.

Today is the last working day for a lot of people before Christmas. And that means a lot of office parties, and people getting off work early and starting their holiday celebrations on the way home.

So if you’re riding any time after noon today, ride defensively. And assume every driver you meet on the road has been drinking.

Bad night for cyclist shootings in Southern California; cyclist killing driver gets 25 to life for murder

Two bike riders lost their lives to gunfire Thursday night.

One in San Diego, and a second in Santa Ana six hours later.

According to the North County Times, San Diego police responded to reports of gunshots and a man down around 7pm on South 35th Street near Durant Street.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin, had been riding his bike near his home when he was shot. He fell off his bike, then ran towards his home, collapsing before he could get there.

Paramedics declared him dead at the scene.

Six hours later, a second bike rider was shot and killed in Santa Ana in what police describe as a gang-related shooting.

The Orange County Register reports that 20-year old Edgar Omar Sura of Anaheim was found suffering from multiple wounds when police responded to reports of gunshots around 1am on the 4500 block of Westminster Avenue.

According to KABC-7, Sura was riding his bike when he was shot around La Bonita Avenue and 17th Street; like the victim in San Diego, he tried to run away, but collapsed before he could reach a nearby condo complex.

Authorities may offer a reward of $50,000 for information on the shooter(s).

These are the fifth and sixth fatal shootings of bike riders in Southern California this year, and the second each in both San Diego and Santa Ana.

Update: The San Diego-area victim has been identified as 44-year old Juan Carlos Martinez of Mountain View. 


Finally, a fallen cyclist gets the justice he deserves.

Sixty-eight-year old Armando Herman Villalobos of Home Gardens was riding his bike home from the grocery store when he allegedly cut off a truck driven by 23-year old Anthony Ray Lopez of Corona.

Egged on by his passenger after an afternoon of drinking, Lopez followed Villalobos’ bike, yelling and cursing at him. When the cyclist ignored them, Lopez bumped the back wheel of the bike with his truck, yet somehow Villalobos managed to stay upright.

Then the passenger, 24-year old Christopher Isenhower, said “Let’s go for him,” according to a witness; Lopez gunned his engine, hitting Villalobos’ bike and sending him flying to his death. Lopez then fled the scene after stopping to dislodge the bike from under his truck.

Isenhower reported the hit-and-run to Riverside sheriff’s deputies later the same night — presumably after sobering up a little.

The Valley News reports that Lopez was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison on Friday, the sentence dictated by sentencing guidelines for first degree murder following Lopez’ conviction on August 30th.

No word on the charges or potential sentencing facing Isenhower, who appears far from innocent in this case.


Photos courtesy of Michael Eisenberg

Michael Eisenberg sends word that the bike lane-blocking bus layover on Rinaldi Street has finally been repainted, as promised by Lynne Goldsmith at Bike Metro.

I saw this final restripe on the commute to work this morning. The bike lane used to be the closest 3 feet to the curb. They narrowed each car lane 1 foot. There is a broken line area where the buses are supposed to park, and this guy missed the mark by 40′, but the restripe job covered the entire block, so I guess it really doesn’t matter. There really isn’t safe passing room between the bus and the right car lane, but the restripe adds a little more visual acuity to the situation.

The shame is that the block before this one there is a really large dead area where the street is extra wide as it transitions of the 118 Fwy overpass where the buses could park without impeding any traffic or bike traffic.


I couldn’t resist sharing this email from San Diego rider gottobike in response to yesterday’s discussion of Jerry Browned as the new, well-deserved term for getting dangerously buzzed by a passing car while riding your bike.

I was carefully Jerry Browned while cycling in San Diego the other day. While bicycling through a construction area, a motorist swerved into the bike lane at a high rate of speed and came very close to clipping me (the “classic” Jerry Brown). With gravel, sand, and dust flying, he segued this Jerry Brown maneuver into a right hook, and then quickly corrected and shot down a frontage street that paralleled our course.

When I caught up with the motorist to compliment him on his Jerry Browning skills, he assured me that even though he had cut in front of me, he had done it very carefully.

I’m sure this careful Jerry Browning did not present any risk to the motorist.


Finally, you can thank me later.

Surviving a Sunday Westside right hook — a first person account from the lucky cyclist involved

Sometimes it’s better to start at the end.

So let me start by saying that Michael Eisenberg is okay. Which is not what you’d expect after reading his description of the right hook collision he suffered on Sunday while riding his bike through Brentwood on his way to the Marina.

But we’ll let him tell the story.

I am very lucky. I was riding my road bike from home near the Chatsworth reservoir to Marina Del Rey today (Sunday) to go sailing. At noon, I was westbound on Sunset Blvd looking to make a left on Kenter Avenue.

There was too much traffic to work over to the left turn lane, so I chose to do what I thought was the safest alternative. I pedaled across Kenter, stopped at the corner, and waited for the traffic light to change so I could then cross Sunset. I could see a line of cars in the lane behind me with a Toyota Prius at the head of the line.  I did not see a right turn flasher.

The light changed, and I proceeded to cross Sunset. The next thing I remember is my shoes disengaging from the pedals of my bike followed by me slamming into the windshield of the Toyota Prius. My next recollection was of lying in the middle of Sunset Blvd, about 10 feet away from the Prius and my bike another 10 feet farther down the street.

I was surrounded by bystanders.  One was a cyclist who was an EMT asking me who the president of the United States is. Another bystander was a Doctor, and he started a basic neurological evaluation. LA City Fire arrived shortly afterwards, I’d guess within 2 minutes. LAPD arrived Code 3 in another 5 minutes. Fortunately, this was not a hit & run, as the 75 year old female driver of the Prius was a little shaken up.

The LA City Fire EMTs could not find any injuries, and I was feeling little discomfort. The most interesting anomaly was that my heart rate monitor had recorded an instantaneous jump from 70 to 160 at the moment of impact. For better or worse, I decided to decline a ride to the hospital. It was then the LAPD’s turn to write the accident report. I didn’t actually see the report, I only received an incident receipt to use to acquire the report in the future. I did mention to the female Prius driver, while standing next to the LAPD officer, that if her handicap placard wasn’t hanging from her rear view mirror obstructing her vision she probably could have seen me.

When all the paperwork was done, I checked my bike and equipment and found everything to be scuffed or cracked. My 2 month old BH Prisma Force looked trashed, but still operable. My Specialized helmet, gloves and carbon shoes were all scuffed. They all did their job blunting the impact and receiving road rash, saving my skull and skin from being injured.

I finished up the last 5 miles of my ride to the Marina. By that time there were various parts of my body (hip, calf, neck) that were causing me just a little discomfort. I elected to get a ride from my son to Kaiser for a quick check. That is where I received the biggest assault to my dignity. The Doctor came into the examining room, and said “I see you ran into a car”. I politely corrected him, and he then said “the nurse wrote down that you ran into a car, so you must have run into a car.” I felt I was being branded as guilty because I am a cyclist.

Anyway, X-rays showed nothing to be concerned about. The recommendation was to take it easy for 3 days, with application of an ice pack as necessary on my neck for a mild strain. The next step for me is to contact the Prius driver’s insurance company and see what they are going to do about replacing my bike and gear.

As Michael says, he was lucky.

And yes, it sounds like he did exactly what he should have done. I usually try to use the left turn lane to make a left, but when traffic conditions or a dangerous intersection make that too risky, I’ll make the same sort of L turn he did. I try to position myself just in front of the right fender of the lead car at the intersection, or just in front and to its left if it’s making a turn.

The problem comes when drivers too often don’t indicate they’re turning. Combine that with an obstructed view from behind, and you’ve got a situation where you can do everything right, and still get hurt.

It will be interesting to see if the police report agrees when he gets a copy.


Herb Meyerowitz forwards a flyer he received while trying to enter the parking lot at Malibu Bluffs Park, a popular parking spot for cyclists preparing to ride PCH.

I’ve been aware for some time that Malibu was considering asking cyclists to park elsewhere in order to leave sufficient space for other park visitors; complaints have been made that we hog too many weekend parking spaces, leaving little room for actual park visitors.

However, this is the first I’ve heard that they’re actually attempting to herd bike riders Webster Elementary School.

It seems like a reasonable request — especially with the promise that restrooms and water will be made available to riders.

Let me know how it works out if you give it a try.


Tragedy strikes the annual LoToJa race as a rider falls off a bridge to his death on Sunday.

According to multiple sources, Robert Verhaaren, a 42-year old father from Mesa, Arizona, reportedly swerved to avoid a pothole on over a Snake River bridge in Wyoming. He lost control, hit the guardrail and went over the side of the bridge, falling 35 feet to his death.

The 206 mile ride from Logan, Utah to Jackson Hole, Wyoming is the longest race sanctioned by USA Cycling; tragically, Verhaaren died just eight miles from the finish line.


The victim in last weekend’s Topanga Canyon hit-and-run has been identified as 60-year old Gary Morris of Van Nuys. Police are looking for a 1996 to 2000 Land Rover with possible damage to the right front. Anyone with information should call CHP Investigator Brooke Covington at 818-888-0980, ext. 228.


A Denver cyclist says traffic laws weren’t made for cyclists. And uses that as justification for breaking them.

Meanwhile, an Asheville writer says cyclists have to give a little, too.


A hyperventilating commenter on an earlier story says cyclists are crazy to ride on major roads, where speeding cars pass them by just inches.

Do I really need to say I disagree?


Former doper tainted meat eater Alberto Contador makes a dramatic comeback by winning his second Vuelta; fellow Spaniards Alejandro Valverede and Joaquin Rodriguez finish second and third, respectively.


Finally, a writer for the London Mail rips the cycling world a new one — especially the life-threatening Lycra louts she claims hit her elderly mother twice in just three weeks. Only problem is, she wrote almost exactly the same story two years ago; thanks to UK bike scribe Carlton Reid for the links.

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