Tag Archive for Midnight Ridazz

Update: Culver City driver should have been able to see cyclists; some victims still critical

Inside word from members of Bikeside LA and Midnight Ridazz is that some of the victims in Thursday morning’s Culver City bike crash that injured 11 cyclists may be more critically injured than authorities have let on.

Since the victim’s names have not yet been publicly released, I won’t go into details; however, it sounds like prayers and good wishes for a full recovery would be in order.

And a report by popular cycling advocate Road Block on Bikeside LA proves that the driver in the case should have been able to see the cyclists stopped in the road, despite police reports that her view was blocked by a blind curve.

If she wasn’t drunk, speeding or distracted — or all of the above — she should have easily been able to stop in time.

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I’m in meetings all weekend, so no Events update this week. Check the Events page for current listings.

Police appear posed to blame the Culver City victims; Wilbur Ave “compromise” threatens road safety

Things aren’t looking good in the case of the cyclists injured by an allegedly drunk, texting and speeding driver.

To start with, it looks like the driver, Christine Elizabeth Dahab, may skate on the DUI charges. According to a report on Bikeside, she registered a .07 Blood Alcohol Content when she was tested at the police station — just under the .08 BAC threshold for drunk driving. Even though she initially registered a .08 at the scene, her body had time to process the alcohol in her system.

Secondly, while the LAPD initially responded to the collision, the case has been handed over to the Culver City police, since the site is technically within their jurisdiction. And deservedly or not, the Culver City PD has a long-standing reputation for being biased against cyclists — particularly when it comes to populist group rides similar to the one hit on Thursday morning.

Finally, there is some dispute as to where the cyclists were located on the roadway. The preliminary conclusions of the LAPD are that at least some of the victims were stopped in the traffic lane, rather than on the shoulder. And since many were stopped and off their bikes, they may have violated the law against pedestrians in a traffic lane.

That could be enough to get Dahab off the hook — even though she was reportedly drunk at the scene, and witnesses have reported that she appeared to be texting at the time. And since she hit the riders without braking, there is no objective evidence that she was speeding, despite the reports of witnesses that she was travelling at least 20 mph over the limit.

Evidence of just how seriously the case against Dahab is not being taken is that she was out on an exceptionally low $15,000 bond just hours after the collision.

Damien Newton angrily questions whether the LAPD is botching the investigation, as many of the decisions made so far in the case seem to cast blame directly on the victims — never mind the actions of the driver that contributed to, if not caused, the collision. And asks if the police would handle the case more aggressively if roles were reversed, and it was a Hispanic male driver who ran into a bunch of young women.

Yes, the riders may have been in the traffic lane, though that remains in some dispute. But a driver who was not speeding, drinking and/or distracted should have had plenty of time to see and avoid a large mass of stationary people.

Newton also takes KABC-7 to task for their highly inflammatory reporting on the case, as they repeatedly referred to condoms, beer and evidence of drug use found near the scene, without ever directly connecting any of that to any the riders or suggesting that it had anything whatsoever to do with the collision.

Frankly, you could find any or all of those things in the alley behind my old building just about every day of the week; that doesn’t mean I was the one who used or put them there, even though I happened to be nearby.

It’s entirely possible that some of the riders may have been using drugs or alcohol, however, KABC’s exceptionally irresponsible report — which has been toned down significantly from earlier reports — creates the suggestion of a drunken orgy in the middle of a traffic lane, and has unfortunately been picked up by other news sources.

They cite unidentified members of the police as the source of that information; however, unlike KABC, most of the mainstream press somehow managed to keep such unfounded and highly biased tidbits out of their stories. The station owes an apology to all the victims — and every other cyclist in L.A., since this sort of unfounded report smears all of us in the eyes of some members of the public.

There was a much-needed Justice Ride this afternoon, to support the victims of Thursday morning’s bike collision.

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In order to maintain drivers’ God-given right to speed on Valley streets, the Wilbur Ave. road diet is in the process of being “fixed,” channeling cyclists into the sort of substandard half-gutter bike lane we thought this city had long ago outgrown. At the same time, drivers will be forced to compete for lane space as they’re suddenly channeled into less space, significantly increasing the potential for collisions and putting cyclists in the bike lane at unnecessary risk.

The only good news is that the new design may actually reduce the number of cycling collisions on Wilbur — by reducing the number of cyclists willing to ride the street, as many cyclists are likely to shun the new bike lanes for other unmarked streets.

Evidently, L.A. City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl was wrong when he famously declared that “the culture of the car is going to end today.” Thanks largely to one or more of his fellow councilmembers, it’s alive and well in the San Fernando Valley, and risking the lives of everyone who uses or resides along our streets.

Un-effing-believable.

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Fed up with the refusal of the Newport Beach Bike Safety Committee — aka the Orange County Gutter Bunnies — to support much needed sharrows on the Coast Highway in Corona del Mar, cdm Cyclist’s Frank Peters has joined with a handful of other local bike advocates to form the new Newport Beach Citizens Bicycle Committee.

If you live or ride down that way, I strongly urge you to get involved with them, and do your part to force local officials to do something to make cycling safer in the local area, and Orange County as a whole.

That is, something that doesn’t put the blame squarely on the victims.

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Time is short, but you still have a few hours left to cast a vote to decide which of five finalists will get the chance to work with Team Liquigas-Cannondale in this year’s Tour de France.

According to a representative for the team —

Ventura native Gabriel Garcia and Los Angeles resident Angel Castillo are among five finalists for an opportunity of a lifetime – a chance to spend a week at the Tour de France working behind the scenes with Team Liquigas-Cannondale.

Both had to submit a one to two-minute video explaining why they’re the most qualified to serve as Team Liquigas-Cannondale’s newest addition.  Hopefuls had to highlight the following in their video submission:

  • How the sport of cycling has impacted your life.
  • Your most memorable moment from the Tour de France.
  • A bike MUST have been visual somewhere in the video shoot (it didn’t have to be a Cannondale)

The five finalists are:

  • Amy Campbell (Austin, TX)
  • Angel Castillo (Los Angeles)
  • Gabriel Garcia (Ventura)
  • Joe Praino (Arlington, VA)
  • Derrick Young (Columbus, OH)

All five videos are now available for fans to vote on by logging onto Cannondale‘s (http://www.facebook.com/RideCannondale) and Peloton Magazine’s Facebook pages (http://www.facebook.com/pelotonmagazine). Videos and voting capability can be accessed by first liking the page, then clicking the Trip de France icon on the left. Voting runs from now until Friday, June 17th.

My apologies for not giving more notice of the competition. I found out about it just a few days ago, and recent events have kept me from getting to it until now.

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Notes from this month’s BPIT meeting. LADOT updates what bike projects are on the boards, including a road diet and bike lanes along the CicLAvia route on 7th Street. Here come the bus — and bike — lanes. Better Bike Beverly Hills endorses California’s proposed three-foot passing lane; SWRVE, the L.A.-based urban cycling attire manufacturer, writes to urge cyclists to get involved to support it, and personally, I’m a firm believer in supporting companies that support us. The DVD of the fixie film To Live and Ride in LA drops on Tuesday the 21st. Flying Pigeon will host a fundraising ride and party for Streetsblog tonight. C.I.C.L.E. hosts a ride through NELA on Saturday. Hermosa cyclists look for improvements in the South Bay/Marvin Braude Bike Path. CNN Travel lists the Huntington Beach bike path, along with the Braude bikeway, as among the best in the U.S. Remembering a dedicated bike commuter. A Santa Cruz cyclist gets six months in jail and three years probation for deliberately running over a toddler with his bike; maybe those two figures should be reversed. It’s the people who yell the insults who are seen as the crazy ones. Cyclelicious says don’t be afraid of the dark. Just Another Cyclist says he hates helmets.

Brilliant responses to just about any bike forum comment, ever. People for Bikes reports on riding with your fur-footed best friend. Tom Vanderbilt says it’s time for livability to push mobility into the back seat. AZ Rep. Gabby Giffords is back on a bike just five months after her January shooting. A Portland cyclist recounts a frightening road rage encounter with truck driver that, while not justified, could have been avoided if he’d just stopped for the damn red light. Springfield Cyclist recounts a near-collision with a kid on a bike. Minnesota traffic officials join to reduce traffic deaths to zero; it’s long past time for a Vision Zero plan for California. An 8-year Chicago girl followed all the rules, but was killed by a hit-and-run driver anyway; there’s not a deep enough pit in hell for a driver like that. The Windy City’s new DOT Commissioner could rival NYDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, while their crackdown on scofflaw cyclists may not be such a bad thing, after all. Someone is deliberately attacking cyclists in Virginia Beach. A Craig’s List missed connection leads to a woman on a Dolphin bike.

The Guardian says riding in a skirt probably doesn’t make you a traffic hazard, though they’d recommend against riding commando on a ‘bent. Euro scientists form a group to coordinate on helmet research. In bike racing news, Movistar rider Juan Mauricio Soler was critically injured after colliding with a spectator in the Tour de Suisse. Mark Cavendish prepares to jump ship for the 2012 season. UCI urges everyone to be kind to Contador, who needs to put a light on the racing bike, and may soon be sampling clenbuterol-free cows in Colorado. Another new on-road laser projection concept could save lives, or at least make your ride more colorful. Wales becomes the first government in the world to require local authorities to provide bike routes.

Finally, only bad guys drive distracted.

Accused drunk/distracted driver plows into group of cyclists; 11 injured with two critical

Photo by Magnus Sheen Nihilus; click photo for other shots from the crash scene on his Facebook page.

The most dangerous intersections aren’t always the junction of two streets.

Even here in L.A., where the safety of cyclists has long been little more than an afterthought.

The events of early this morning clearly proved that, as a popular weekly bike ride intersected tragically with a suspected drunk and/or distracted driver, leaving 11 cyclists injured, six of whom reportedly suffered serious injuries. LAPD bike liaison Sgt. David Krumer reports that two of the injured are in critical condition.

The incident occurred at around 1:49 am on the 5900 block of West Jefferson Place in the Blair Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, near the border with Culver City.

The Midnight Ridazz weekly Koreatown ride had just visited the Baldwin Hills Overlook, which often offers spectacular views of the L.A. Basin, and were paused on the street to regroup when the riders reportedly saw a white car approaching.

According to KABC-7, the driver, who appeared to be using a cell phone — or possibly texting — slowed down, then sped up and plowed into the group.

“We were by the bike lane, waiting for more people to come down. Out of nowhere, I saw the lights coming fast,” said Mario Cruz, who was hit by the car. “It looked like she was stopping, but she kept going.”

Another rider said he warned others to get out of the way.

“I saw her first, and then I started calling everybody out, ‘Hey everybody, merge right, get out of the bike lanes to the sidewalk,’” said one bicyclist. “She slows down. She sees us, I think, and I could see her engine rev, and she just takes everybody out.”

While there are no bike lanes on Jefferson, a satellite view shows a wide shoulder indicated by painted hash marks on the side of the road.

A report on KTLA-5 says at least one rider was trapped under the car for a time.

The driver revved her engine, hopped a curb and “just took everybody out,” Alex, a cyclist, said.

Witnesses say one cyclist was dragged by the car.

Meanwhile, MSNBC suggests the car may have been speeding, as well.

“We were all just chilling right here … she merges in and takes everybody out,” one rider told RMG News.

Another rider estimated the car was traveling at more than 60 miles per hour. “I saw everybody flying towards me. Luckily I didn’t get hit … one of the guys got dragged by the car,” he said.

According to cyclist Eric Bruins, who lives in the area, drivers frequently pass through that section at over 60 mph, despite a 40 mph speed limit and a wide turn offering limited visibility.

The L.A. Times cited a televised witness as comparing “what happened to a bowling ball knocking down pins.”

Of course, it didn’t take long for the media to shift blame from the driver to the cyclists.

KABC reports that at least some of the riders may have been wearing dark clothing, and were stopped under a non-working streetlight. However, other reports indicate that the riders were using lights, as required, while the witness statement that the driver jumped the curb suggest at least some of the riders were out of the roadway at the time of the collision.

And while it might not be smart, I know of no law forbidding cyclists from wearing dark clothing after dark.

Bizarrely, the KABC report goes a large step beyond rational reporting by saying beer and condoms were found in the area, evidently implying that the riders were engaged in a drunken orgy in the middle of the street.

And the auto-centric L.A. Weekly lumps the Ridazz in with Critical Mass for committing the unforgivable crime of being in the way while having fun on two wheels.

The Ridazz, along with sister bike group Critical Mass, are a controversial L.A. institution: Many car-bound Angelenos complain the cyclists are rowdy and in-the-way, whereas Ridazz generally feel the cars are the real problem.

Yes, that certainly justifies an allegedly drunk, speeding driver plowing into a group of stationary bikes and riders, regardless of where they might have been stopped or what they were wearing.

So much for that other intersection, the one where we often find ourselves waiting in vain for good reporting and common sense to somehow collide.

Though I suppose, that may be asking a little too much from the local media under the circumstances.

Fortunately, word is that the LAPD is focusing on investigating the actual incident to determine what happened and who is at fault, rather than getting distracted by the irrelevant matters that seem to fascinate some members of the press.

Like whether there may have been condoms at the scene.

Thanks to Will Campbell, Al Williams, Michael Byerts, Karen Lai, Sgt. Krumer, Alexis Lantz, Alex Amerri, Richard Risemberg, Rex Reese, Richard Masoner, Todd Munson and Eric Bruins for the heads-up; my apologies if I left anyone out.

Update: The Times reports that 27-year old Christine Dahab has been booked on a charge of misdemeanor drunk driving, with $15,000 bail — which would seem exceptionally low under the apparent circumstances, given the number and seriousness of the injuries.

Update: Patrick Miller clarified that neither the Koreatown ride, or any of the rides organized on the Midnight Ridazz site, are sponsored directly by the loosely organized group. Rather, it’s a site where individuals can post their own rides, not unlike posting your own ride on Facebook or some other site. 

And apologies to Alex Amerri, whose name I misspelled in my rush to get this story online.

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The LACBC’s Alexis Lantz sent the following email to Sgt. Krumer this morning in response to these events:

Good morning Sgt. Krumer,

I’m assuming you’re probably already pretty busy with the collision that occurred last night with a drunk driver and the K-town group ride.

We are hoping you can keep is in the loop on this issue, we have some issues with the way the news has been reporting the incidents – as with so many stories involving people on bicycles – misinformation and blame is often placed on the victim, even when a drunk driver, distracted driver, and speeding are involved.

In particular we’re concerned about folks focusing in on what people are wearing – this should not be a discussion item, whether or not the cyclist had lights, which are required by law is justified – but questioning the color of people’s clothing really shouldn’t be where folks focus their discussion.

While we don’t know the particulars of where exactly the group was in the roadway we hope that the fact that the driver was speeding, drunk, potentially texting at the time of the collision, and failed to slow, change lanes or do anything to avoid a collision will be taken seriously and be the focus of this investigation and reporting. If a car was stopped in a travel lane due to mechanical problems and the same thing happened – the onus would be on the drunk driver, not the driver with mechanical problems. This collision should not be treated any differently and I have complete faith in you and the officers at LAPD that this collision will be well investigated and the driver will be held accountable.

Please use this opportunity to try and further educate the media and public about the rights and responsibilities of all road users.

Thank you for your constant hard work and dedication.

Sincerely,

Alexis Lantz
Planning & Policy Director
Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition

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On an unrelated subject, Byerts also reminds us that current Congressman, future New York mayoral candidate and all around schmuck Anthony Weiner is resigning his office after revelations that he texted images of the little Weiner to a number of women, none of whom his wife.

Considering this is the same guy who famously promised to tear out all of the city’s new bike lanes, I say it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving jackass fellow.

I tweet therefore I am, Streetsblog parties and the Mayor says Give Me 3

Today I finally enter the Twitter age, only a few years after everyone else on the planet.

I’d been reluctant to add yet another demand on an already overcrowded schedule. But my friend GT — who writes eloquently about struggling to complete his first major climb after his recent heart attack — talked me into it to make it easier to keep you up with new content and breaking news.

So you can now follow me @bikinginla. And I’m now taking suggestions on who I should follow.

And in case you’ve missed it, there’s an interesting — and decidedly in-depth — discussion about helmet use going on at the Survival Tactics page.

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Don’t miss tonight’s Streetsblog LA Re-Launch Fundraiser and Party, complete with silent auction courtesy of Green LA Girl. And set your browser for tomorrow’s official re-launch of the city’s leading — and most important — transportation news site. I have other commitments this evening, but will make a brief appearance before the night is over.

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L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa continues his surprising support for safe cycling.

L.A. cycling’s new BFF continues to support the biking community.

Yesterday, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa held a press conference to announce the winner of the recent contest to create a slogan for bike safety campaign — something that was in the works long before what London’s Guardian newspaper called his Road-to-Damascus conversion to cycling evangelist.

The Mayor autographs the Give Me 3 poster.

The contest, and resulting poster, were the result of a joint effort between the LACBC, Midnight Ridazz, LADOT and the LAPD, as well as the Mayor’s office.

Yes, that’s just as strange a coalition as it sounds. And one that would have been unimaginable just a year earlier.

The winning slogan, “Give Me 3,” was submitted by cyclist Danny Gamboa, and the poster was designed by L.A. based cyclist and graphic artist Geoff McFetridge.

The poster was also signed by many of the people who worked to make it happen.

According to the Mayor,

“California law currently requires drivers to give a ‘safe passing’ distance, but drivers may not know what safe means. Three feet is a safe passing distance and will help keep bicyclists out of the door zone.”

While the new campaign merely encourages drivers to give a minimum three feet distance when passing bike riders, Villaraigosa promised to work with cyclists and the state legislature to pass a state-wide three-foot passing law. A previous attempt to pass the law in 2006 failed to get out of committee after opposition from the trucking industry and the California Highway Patrol.

Who ever thought we'd see the Mayor flanked by cyclists and their bikes?

The website Three Feet Please says 15 states and the District of Columbia have passed three-foot laws, along with four cities — Austin and San Antonio Texas, Boise Idaho and Tupelo Mississippi. In fact, Mississippi recently became the latest to mandate a minimum three feet.

If they can manage to give cyclists a full yard on the narrow roads of the deep south, California drivers shouldn’t have any problem.

A phalanx of bikes storm the steps of power.

Villaraigosa also made a point of encouraging cyclists to wear a helmet, but did not mention his previous threat call for a mandatory helmet law. The event was followed by filming of a pair of PSA spots featuring the Mayor that will encourage safe driving and helmet use.

Other sites have already covered the press conference in greater detail, including the LACBC, LADOT Bike Blog, Streetsblog and the Mayor’s office; LADOT Bike Blog also offers a full listing of other coverage of the campaign.

A cross sections of cyclists sought shade while waiting to film the PSA.

It will be interesting to see what effect the Give Me 3 campaign will have on the streets of L.A.

In my experience, most drivers already pass at a safe distance, so the question is what influence it will have on the minority of drivers buzz cyclists — intentionally or not.

Or if they’ll only give a safe distance to riders who look like Gumby.

As I rode home, I spotted this poster just blocks from City Hall.

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People for Bikes reaches 50,000 pledges to support cycling in the U.S.; if you haven’t signed up yet, you can do it here. I signed up a few months back.

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Complaints surface about LADOT’s tendency to make infrastructure changes without public notice. Ten things to do at CicLAvia. Gary takes Agensys to task fighting a much needed biking link through Santa Monica. Glee’s Lea Michele rides a lavender cruiser through the streets of L.A. Headphones are legal while riding in most states, though California limits it to one ear only; then again, your choice of music could affect your performance. Rabobank, sponsor of one of the leading pro cycling teams, positions itself for next year’s Tour of California; thanks to George Wolfberg for the link. After receiving 110 units of blood to save his own life, a former CA police officer rides 4,000 miles across the country to thank blood donors; meanwhile, a Brit cyclist rides 3400 miles less across the U.S. to fight cancer; then again, she’s only seven years old. A Tucson bike-grabbing road grate gets a quick fix. If you get run over while talking on a cell phone while riding in Arizona, the courts could rule that distracted riding is relevant to your case. A Portland bike lane gets the Mario Kart treatment from the Department of DIY. A look at Dora Rinehart, the greatest female cyclist of the 1890s; from Colorado, of course. If you want to do a little climbing this weekend, how about 24.5 miles — and 7,700 vertical feet — up Pikes Peak? Somehow, a Kansas State student can get all the way to college, and still think that riding a bike in the street is annoying, rude and has to stop, regardless of what the law says. It takes real food, not energy bars, to get you through the long rides. British police crack down on anti-social cyclists — that sounds so much scarier than scofflaws, doesn’t it? UK authorities are set to reject a call to reduce the BAC limit from .80 to .50. How to adjust your front and rear derailleurs. Racer Rosa Bicycles strives to be cleaner and greener than the rest. Eleven months and 23,000 kilometers of riding across Africa. A New Zealand driver admits to falling asleep and killing a cyclist on Easter Sunday.

Finally, he’s doing it on two feet instead of two wheels, but a tenacious walker is about to finish a remarkable stroll from Rockaway Beach, NY to Rockaway Beach, OR; thanks to Brent for the heads-up.

Memorial rides and ghost bike for Gustavo Ramirez tonight and tomorrow

Just a quick reminder about the memorial ride and ghost bike dedication for Gustavo Ramirez. The popular Manhattan Beach REI employee killed when he collided with a semi-truck on East Shoreline Drive in Long Beach last week.

Actually, there will be two rides.

The first will take place tonight, meeting at 8 pm at Lincoln Park in Long Beach, and leaving at 8:30 pm, following one of Gustavo’s favorite routes.

The second will take place tomorrow morning, following the same route and stopping at the memorial. The ride meets at the same location at 8 am, departing at 9 am.

Full details are available on the Midnight Ridazz website for both Friday’s and Saturday’s rides, as well as on the ghostbikes.org website.

Hats off to the Ridazz for organizing these rides and preparing the ghost bike, and deepest sympathies to Gustavo’s family and friends.

Let’s make this the last one we’ll need this year.

Bike counts, toy rides, another near-fatal OC hit-and-run

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.

Donald Murphy of Irvine was critically injured in yet another hit-and-run around 6 am Wednesday while riding in the northbound bike lane on Jamboree Road near the intersection with Ford Road in Irvine. According to police, a driver indentified as Patricia Ann Izquieta entered the bike lane he was riding in while making an “unsafe turning maneuver,” striking him and leaving a 300-yard pattern of debris.

That’s three football fields of bike parts strewn along the roadway from the bicycle trapped under her car as she fled the scene.

Izquieta was stopped by police a few blocks later with damage to the windshield and front undercarriage of her car, and is being held in Orange County Jail on $50,000 bond. Police reports indicate that she was not on a cell phone and alcohol does not appear to be a factor.

Witnesses said Murphy was wearing a helmet and riding in a safe and legal manner when struck. A passing driver stopped to give CPR along with one of his riding partners

Murphy was transported to Western Medical Center ­– Santa Ana. The Orange County Register quotes Lt. Rob Morton of the Newport Beach Police as saying “He’s in pretty bad shape.”

Update: Today’s OC Register reports that Murphy died at Western Medical Center on Thursday; there was no comment from the family. My deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.

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The LACBC finally has preliminary results from the city’s first bike count.

What I find interesting is that only 12% of the riders were female — less than the number of children counted — while 54% of riders weren’t wearing a helmet, 38% were on the sidewalk, and 6% were riding the wrong way.

They also offer an LACBC-centric report on Wednesday’s semi-bike-only Transportation Committee meeting.

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There’s no shortage of big hearts in biking community.

But I never fail to be impressed by gull rescuer and stray dog wrangler Will Campbell — although his odd attachment to ‘Bama football does make me wonder sometimes. So I wasn’t surprised to learn that the Midnight Ridazz All-City Toy Ride was his idea, though he gives much of the credit for organizing the first ride to Ridazz co-founder Roadblock.

The ride kicks off tonight — appropriately enough on the first night of Channukah — from various points throughout the city, converging on the Plaza Gazebo on Olvera Street around 10 pm. Riders are asked to bring an unwrapped toy valued at $5 to $25 dollars for free admission to the after party; toys will be donated to the East L.A. Women’s Center.

Click here or visit the Ridazz website for more information.

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Recently I included a link to the excellent Bike San Diego website, for a story about a cyclist who was ticketed for passing a short row of stopped vehicles on the left, even though that is not prohibited under California law.

The judge upheld the ticket, convicting Andrew Woolley for violating CVC 21202, despite the fact that his actions were explicitly allowed under the statute. According to the judge, the exceptions allowed under 21202 did not apply, since the speed limit on the road is 35 mph, which he determined was the normal speed of traffic — even though 21202 specifically refers to the speed of traffic “moving in the same direction at that time.”

Writing on Bob Mioske’s website, Rick Bernardi offers a great examination of exactly why the judge was in error, while noting that it sometimes doesn’t make any difference if the law is on your side. And contrasts it with a Utah case, in which a cyclist was cited for doing exactly what the judge in the Woolley case said he should have done.

So let me see if I’ve got this right. You can’t pass on the right, and you can’t pass on the left. Or maybe you’re required to break the law one way in Utah, and another in California. Or the judge is allowed to misapply the law one way in one state, and another in the other.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

You can read the full transcript of the Woolley case here, and see the opening brief to his appeal here.

And buy a copy of Catch 22 — which seems to be the new judicial standard — here.

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Last week’s Ballona Creek Gateway opening included an announcement of the planned Mar Vista Greenway. Lance commits to two more years. Traffic author Tom Vanderbilt suggests that cyclists should consider the Adopt a Highway model for bike lane maintenance. Cycling fashion dilemma: to wear a day-glo vest or not? Denver re-writes its bike laws to conform with the new state laws; Tucson Bike Lawyer notes that it’s now legal to ride to a bike rack on the sidewalk. The police can’t — or won’t — keep cars out of NYC bike lanes, but maybe a bunch of clowns will. New York’s DIY bike lanes have already been painted over; the alleged artists reportedly will plead not guilty. UPS is making some holiday deliveries by bike. Austin struggles to find consensus on the city’s first bike boulevard. A Utah cyclist is under arrest for groping another rider. London’s Evening Standard reports work has begun on “Mayor Boris Johnson’s cycle-hire scheme;” no bias there, huh? An Indian student is murdered by his friends after buying a new bike. Some friends. Finally, it’s 13 degrees in Chicago, and cyclists are still riding — even if that means riding on studded bike tires.

The hit-and-run epidemic continues — and almost takes a local legend

Only by the grace of God, or good fortune, or karma, or whatever you happen to believe in, did local riders avoid yet another ghost bike ceremony this week.

Late Monday night, Roadblock, one of the original Midnight Ridazz and a leader in the L.A. bike community, was struck from behind at high speed while riding on Glendale Boulevard and flipped up onto the hood of the car. The driver then braked, dumping him onto the pavement, before speeding off without so much as pausing to see if he was injured or dead.

Fortunately — miraculously — he avoided serious injuries and was able to get the first six digits of the license plate number, along with a general description of the vehicle as it sped off.

And yes, he was riding legally, using both a headlight and rear light, as well as reflectors on his shoes, and was wearing a helmet.

In some ways, he may be lucky that the driver fled the scene, making it a crime rather than a mere traffic accident. Otherwise, the LAPD Traffic Division might be twisting itself in knots to come up with evidence proving he backed into the car at high speed.

There are two things that have to be done in response to this. The first is to get the a**hole who did this off the streets, and behind bars. Fortunately, the police take hit-and-run very seriously, and will do their best to catch the people responsible.

But we can help, too.

There are far more cyclists than there are police on the streets of L.A. So let’s be their eyes and ears, and keep a close lookout for a dark sedan — Roadblock describes it as dark gray — with a license plate reading 6GYC11-.

If you see it, don’t try to do anything yourself. Call the police and let them deal with it. And if you have any information, call the tip line at 213/972-1825 or email BikeHitAndRun@gmail.com.

Secondly, call or email your councilmember today and demand action to stop the epidemic of hit-and-runs in this city. There’s a reason that was the first question I asked both of the candidates for CD5 (which remains too close to call).

You can read more about Roadblock’s incident — based on his description, I can’t call it an “accident” — on Streetsblog and LAist, as well as the original thread on the Midnight Ridazz website.

And on a semi-related note, tonight is the annual worldwide Ride of Silence to honor fallen cyclists; maybe next year, we can hold one here. And maybe, with luck, we won’t have any local riders to honor.

I’ll leave the last words to Roadblock, on a comment he left today as part of that thread:

You guys are crackin me up. Love you guise seriously. Feels great to be part of this big family of caring ridazz.

Just fed myself a big ole breakfast and I’m on my way to grab some wood and spray paint…. gonna put up some big signs and see if I can get more witnesses. There was a witness last night who said she saw the driver and gave the cops a description, so that coupled with hopefully an accurate plate and boom, fingers crossed this guy gets caught…

Sorry for my angry words up there, I was so steamed up that someone could be that careless and ruthless. The law will run its course and hopefully this guy had insurance or something I can sue for in a civil suit. I’m hobbling around cause I’m sore as hell but again, I got lucky nothing broke.

Thanks everyone.

Wear your helmets, use bright bike lights in the daytime as well…. you need to be 100% and even then something like this can still happen and it won’t change until there is paint on the streets and traffic is tamed… wow.

 

According to Streetsblog, we may actually see an Expo Bikeway in our lifetime; they also ask if there’s too much emphasis on safety. Uh, no. Russ Roca offers good advice on how to introduce sharrows to the driving public. Ubrayj suggests that now may be the time to break up the LADOT. Green LA Girl calls your attention to the upcoming World Naked Bike Ride. Finally, an Aussie writer suggests cyclists should be forced to register their bikes, but only so the government knows where to send the checks for all the good we do — and adds that all drivers should be required to spend 100 hours on a bike before they can get a license.

And as for that post I promised on Election Day, it’s still coming. I promise. But somehow, this seemed more important.

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