Tag Archive for Newport Beach

Over 1,200 cyclists honor two fallen riders and call for bike safety in Newport Beach

Photos courtesy of April Morris

Sometimes, the SoCal cycling community awes me.

For the past few weeks, Newport Beach cyclists have been planning a memorial ride and fundraiser to honor fallen riders Sarah Leaf and Dr. Catherine “Kit” Campion-Ritz, both killed the same horrible weekend last month.

As well as a third woman, Betty Bustrum, who somehow survived a serious collision on the Coast Highway.

When they first started planning this ride, I think organizers would have been happy if a few hundred riders showed up. Let alone the 600 bicyclists who had signed up to participate as of Saturday night.

Then the morning dawned, and over 1,200 cyclists were waiting at the starting point to honor the dead and injured, and call for better safety on Orange County streets.

I say over 1,200, because that’s when Newport Beach police stopped counting. It could have been 1,300. Or 1,500.

Or more.

More than 1,200 riders whose hearts — amazingly big, caring hearts — were in exactly the right place.

And who have contributed $53,000 and counting to improve bike safety in Newport Beach, with the city pledging to match donations on a three-to-one basis. Which means that $53,000 is really worth $159,000.

It came in the form of t-shirt sales, wristbands and donations ranging from a single dollar to $10,000 donated by our friend Frank Peters of cdmCyclist.

And there’s still time to raise more, as donations will continue to be accepted through the end of this year, in case you happen to find your heart and wallet full at the same time.

I don’t know if any of those riders were there because of anything I wrote about it here. Or if a solitary dime was donated due to anything I may have written.

But it doesn’t matter one whit.

I am simply amazed and gratified so many cyclists gave up their Sunday morning for their fellow riders.

And thankful for April Morris, Joan Littauer, the Orange County Bicycle Coalition, and all the people who volunteered their efforts and gave up far more than one morning to pull this off.

Seriously.

You all are amazing.

………

As long as we’re talking memorial rides, the stepdaughters of fallen cyclist Benjamin Torres are hosting a BikeRun in honor of their stepfather on Saturday, November 10th. If you live or ride in the Gardena area, show up to show the world he hasn’t been forgotten. And that all bicyclists have the right to ride safely.

………

A bicyclist is seriously injured, and a motorcyclist left in critical condition following a crash on Santiago Canyon Road near Modjeska Grade Road. Rancho Santa Margarita Patch quotes an OC Sheriff’s Department spokesperson as saying the collision was severe enough that they initially thought it was going to be a double fatality. But evidently, the OC Register was more concerned with the effect the crash had on traffic conditions.

Redlands police are looking for a hit-and-run driver who ran down a cyclist from behind at 45 – 55 mph, leaving her with critical injuries. The victim is identified only as a black woman in her 30s or 40s; police are looking for a newer black mid-size, 4-door sedan with tinted windows, and damage to the front bumper, windshield and roof.

………

The first NACTO conference reveals cities around the country are making their own transportation improvements without state or federal help. New York’s pro-cycling Mayor Bloomberg declares bicyclists, pedestrians and bus riders are as important, if not more, than motorists; thanks to Michele Bigelow for the heads-up. And NY stats show a 49% increase in retail sales along one new bikeway, and a 49% reduction in commercial vacancies along another.

So much for bike lanes being bad for business.

………

Unbelievably, after all the lies in pro cycling’s recent doping scandal, UCI picks Pinocchio as the mascot for next year’s World Championships. Talk about tone deaf.

Meanwhile, pro cycling’s governing body faces an investigation into its role in l’affaire Lance. The Guardian says UCI has a long way to go to reclaim their credibility, while five Euro newspapers team up to provide a roadmap to recovery.

………

Richard Risemberg offers solutions to the disappearing eastbound bike lane on Santa Monica Blvd in Century City; the current solution is pedal fast and hope for the best. Santa Monica’s Bike Center encourages new cyclists by loaning them a free bike for two weeks. A Downey writer calls on the city to develop an effective bike plan. Chico’s new city manager gets to know the town on two wheels. A pair of Napa cyclists look back on the recent Furnace Creek ultra-distance bike race.

It’s been a bad month for bike shop employees, as two were killed while riding this month. A red light-running New Mexico driver gets a whopping 90 days of home detention for killing a cyclist; way to crack down on dangerous drivers, your honor. A writer in my hometown asks if helmets are necessary in a cycling city. The mayor of Fort Worth conducts her town halls on two wheels. There’s a bicycling renaissance in central Massachusetts. It took a group of NY non-journalists to do the work the press didn’t and help bring doping to light.

A cyclist is being sought by Vancouver authorities for beating another rider, apparently for riding the wrong way on a bikeway. London plans to open the South Bank of the Thames to cyclists and pedestrians. A UK driver gets off with a slap on the wrist after the victim is blamed for his own fractured skull because he wasn’t wearing a helmet; so if I shoot someone, it’s his fault for not wearing a bulletproof vest, right? A British town is up in arms over the presence of a recumbent rider. In a truly heartbreaking case, a British rider is hit and killed by a car while exchanging information with a driver hit him in another collision moments earlier — and to top it off, his bike was stolen following the first collision by two men offering to help. The New York Times reveals why nearly forgotten cyclist Fiorenzo Magni was one of the greatest riders of his era — and not just because he finished 2nd in his final Giro with a broken collarbone and a broken arm. Four months after nearly getting killed in a Santa Rosa hit-and-run, Kiwi pro Michael Torckler makes a near-miraculous recovery to ride competitively once again.

Finally, I know the feeling, but seriously, don’t hit the car back after it hits you. If you’re going to carry your five-year old son on your bike, leave your portable meth lab at home.

And don’t get too comfortable, you can be replaced.

Bike Events: Newport Beach Memorial Ride, Tour de Portos and a Bike SGV Halloween Bike Train

Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

new support group has formed for people who have been involved in a bicycle collision. Everyone is welcome to share your experiences, gain insight and understanding into your emotional state and develop new coping strategies. The group will meet Saturdays from 11:30 am to 1 pm at 6310 San Vicente Blvd, Suite 401. Current LACBC members receive a discount. To learn more, contact Aurisha Smolarski at 323/203-1526 or email aurisha.smolarski@gmail.com.

Saturday the 27th marks the Glassel Park Murder Mountain Urban CX Race starting at 4 pm at Velo Love, 3421 Verdugo Road, with an after party at Verdugo Bar.

Newport Beach will sponsor a memorial ride for fallen cyclists Sarah Leaf and Dr. Catherine “Kit” Campion Ritz on Saturday, October 28th. The easy, 1.2 mile ride will begin at 8 am, starting from the northwest corner of Santa Rosa and Newport Center Drive, and rolling at a processional pace. A longer, unofficial ride will follow, visiting a number of sites where riders have been injured or killed in the area, as well as the soon-to-be-installed CdM sharrows. The ride will feature a fundraising drive for bike safety improvements, with the city matching all donations on a 3-to-1 basis up to $450,000, and there will be a raffle for prizes including a Specialized Bike and gift cards from local bike shops. If you live or ride in Orange County, you need to be here.

Now here’s a great idea for a ride. The Arthritis Foundation is teaming with one of the L.A. area’s favorite Cuban bakeries and cafés to offer the first ever Tour de Porto’s starting at 8:30 am on Sunday, October 28th. The ride starts at Porto’s in Glendale, travels a short distance to the Burbank Porto’s, then down the L.A. River Bike Path to the restaurant’s Downey location. If the entry fee includes a Cubano or Medianoche, count me in.

The same day, Bike SGV will host a Halloween Bike Train and BBQ, with rides of 25 and 60 miles, as well as a Walk/Jog/Run. The rides start at 9 am and 8 am, respectively, starting at 776 Santa Anita Ave in South El Monte, followed by bike and rider costume contests, barbeque and pumpkin carving.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Civic Engagement Committee meets at 6:45 pm on the last Tuesday of each month. The next meeting will be Tuesday, October 30, at Johnnie’s Pizza at Museum Square, 5757 Wilshire Blvd. This month we turn our attention from the November election, and start focusing on next March’s L.A. mayoral and City Council elections. Email bikinginla at hotmail dot com to be added to the email list.

The Eastside Bike Club invites you to the 4th Annual Dia de los Muertos Bike Ride to honor family and friends who have passed. The ride assembles at 3:30 pm on Friday, November 2nd at Hecho En Mexico, 4976 Huntington Drive in El Sereno, rolling at 4 pm.

This month’s LACBC Sunday Funday ride will take place on Saturday night, instead. The Haunted Saturday Funday Ride (scroll down) will take meet at 3:45 pm on Saturday, November 3rd at The Georgian, 1415 Ocean Ave in Santa Monica, rolling at 4:15 pm. Led by Executive Director Jen Klausner, the 16 mile ride will visit spooky destinations like the Marquez Family Cemetery, Sullivan Ridge Fire Road and the Murphy Ranch. Expect some climbing and descending; dirt-worthy bikes recommended.

Monday, November 5th, the High Desert Cyclists hold their monthly Cruiser Ride from 9 am to 12 noon. The easy, slow paced rides run about 20 miles, at a speed of about 10 mph, with stops along the way. This month’s ride meets at the north side parking lot at Ave S and the Aquaduct in Palmdale.

The stepdaughters of fallen cyclist Benjamin Torres are hosting a BikeRun in honor of their stepfather on November 10th starting at Rowley Park in Gardena, and proceeding to Wilton Place and 135th St. The ride assembles at 3:30 pm and rolls at 4 pm. I highly recommend this one to honor a hit-and-run victim who should still be with us.

CORBA (the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association) invites riders to meet at the Hub in Topanga State Park on Saturday, November 17th to celebrate their 25th anniversary and show that mountain bikers can co-exist on off-road trails. Riders will meet at 10 am, with a group photo and cash prizes starting at 10:30.

The LACBC’s second Tour de Taste is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, December 2nd; mark your calendar for a unique combination of bikes and great food.

High Desert Cyclists win the award for the first scheduled Christmas party of the year, to be held at 7 pm on Monday, December 17th at the Texas Cattle Company, 44206 10th Street West in Lancaster. You can also buy a $40 raffle ticket for a chance to win a $600 Bicycle John’s gift certificate; the raffle ticket includes a free one year family membership to the HDC.

Registration is now open for a six-day ride through San Diego and Riverside Counties between the holidays. The HI-USA Christmas Trip, which has rolled every year since the mid-1950s, starts in San Diego on December 26th and returns on December 31st, with five overnights in between. Total mileage runs between 360 and 400 miles, with terrain ranging from urban to rural, mountains to desert. Thanks to Marvin Davis for the heads-up.

Make your plans for the Malibu 7-Canyon Ride on Saturday, March 23rd with rides of 100 mile, 100 kilometers and 50 miles. The fully supported ride will begin at Zuma Beach, and pass through Latigo, Encinal, Decker, Mulholland, Little Sycamore, Yerba Buena and Deer Creek Canyons, with over 9,000 feet of climbing on the century ride. The first 200 people to register before November 15th will get a 15% discount; enter the code First200 on the registration page.

Memorial ride for fallen Newport Beach cyclists — and a fundraising drive for bike safety

I’ve often heard that Newport Beach is a dangerous place to ride a bike.

That was driven home when two cyclists were killed less than 24 hours apart last month, as nutritionist Sarah Leaf was killed by a right-turning truck, and Dr. Catherine Campion-Ritz died in a hit-an-run as she was riding in a bike lane with her husband; a suspect has been charged in her death.

That’s why I’ve been following reports that the city was planning a memorial ride for the two cyclists later this month.

And more importantly, raising funds for safety improvements, with Newport Beach matching any money raised on a 3-to-1 basis — and our friend Frank Peters of cdmCyclist pledging the first $10,000.

I’ve been waiting for full details, which entered my inbox tonight in an email from April Morris, who gave me permission to share it with you.

I am one of the volunteers (and a cyclist) helping organize the Newport Beach-sponsored Memorial Ride on October 28, 2012. The ride starts at 8 am and it is open to riders of all levels, since it is only 1.2 miles. It will be a processional-paced ride to honor those who have fallen as well as those who survived collisions. As you probably know, in September 2012 within 24 hours two cyclists (women) were killed on the streets of Newport Beach from automobile collisions. A third woman (within a 3 day period) was critically injured. Three incidents in three days is just too much for our cycling community to sit still for.

The cycling community is up in arms and wants change. We want to be viewed as a cohesive group and part of the solution to the problem. I, and Joan Littauer, volunteered on behalf of all of our cycling brethren to help the city organize this Memorial Ride. A large attendance at this ride is important. We want the city to see how large our numbers are (the Mayor and several councilmen will be present).

Subsequent to these three collisions, we have pressed the City to start making advancements in bicycle lane improvements – since cyclists from all around So. Cal use the Newport Beach streets on their routes. We are pleased to report that as of last night, at the City Council Meeting, the City of Newport Beach agreed to match all of our funds raised, $3 to $1, up to $450,000 specifically for Bicycle Safety Improvements. This means if we raise $150,000, the City will put in $450,000 giving us $600,000 in the fund.

A special fund has been established by the City so that any donations are tax deductible. Can you help us spread the word about the ride and the need to generate $150,000 so that we can get ALL of the $450,000 matching funds for bicycle improvements? We have a website established for the ride with information on our fund raising activities: www.NewportBeachMemorialRide.com

Thank you so much for any help you can give us in publicizing the Memorial Ride and giving information on the fund raising element.

If you live or ride in Orange County, I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday morning; you can go to brunch, catch the game or attend church to repent your failings afterwards.

Or a better cause to donate to, since the life you save may be your own or someone you love.

It’s definitely worth a few bucks if you’re on a tight budget, or more if you’re not. And maybe it’s time for bike-friendly businesses and wealthier riders to step up and make a donation big enough to make a difference.

Update: I’m told an unofficial ride with follow the official memorial ride, taking a longer route to visit the sites of local collisions that have left riders dead or seriously injured, as well as the site of the upcoming CdM sharrows on PCH.

………

One other quick note.

I’ve been busy curating LA Streetsblog this week, which has kept me too busy to ride as I’ve done my best to keep up with two busy blogs. And Thursday is my last day as guest editor for new father Damien Newton, since I have a prior commitment on Friday.

But there’s one more project waiting in the wings. Or actually, in the corner of my office where the bikes sleep.

Sometime in the next week or two, I’ll be writing a review  at the request of Critical Cycles, makers of a solid and surprising affordable single-speed/fixed gear bike.

And no, I won’t be riding brakeless.

Not me.

Not ever.

This…

Turned into this… (Note the hand brake on the handlebars)

Which, with a little effort — and an old water bottle cage — turned into this.

Update — Suspect arrested in fatal Newport Beach hit-and-run

Corona del Mar today is reporting that a suspect has been arrested in hit-and-run death of Dr. Catherine “Kit” Campion Ritz last weekend. Campion Ritz was run down from behind as she and her husband were riding their bikes in a Newport Beach bike lane last weekend.

Details are still sketchy. However, the site reports that an arrest was made early this morning, and police have the suspect vehicle in custody. And yes, it is a Toyota Tundra, as had been suspected.

More information when it becomes available.

The fast arrest undoubtedly has to do with the seriousness with which the local police treated the case.

Not only did Newport Beach Police Chief Jay Johnson lose his own 18-year old brother in a traffic collision, as cdmCyclist’s Frank Peters reported last night, but he clearly understands the curse of rampant hit-and-runs.

“That was a hit and run accident, which absolutely disgusts me,” Johnson said. “This police department will not stop until we find this suspect and bring him to justice. We are not going to stop until we make this happen.”

When every police department adopts that attitude, maybe this epidemic will finally stop.

Half of the eight fatal cycling collisions in Orange County this year have been hit-and-runs; the County’s ninth cycling death was a solo fall. That compares with two hit-and-runs out of seven cycling collisions in both Los Angeles and San Diego Counties.

L.A. County has a total of 15 riding deaths so far this year, including solo falls and one train collision, while San Diego has 10.

Correction: Earlier I wrote that Chief Johnson lost his brother in a bicycling collision; it was actually a motor vehicle collision. Thanks to Amy Senk of Corona del Mar Today for the correction.

Update: The Orange County Bicycle Coalition identifies the suspect as 39-year old Anaheim resident Michael Jason Lopez.

Newport Beach police arrested Lopez around 2 am this morning; he’s currently being held on $100,000 bond on a charge of Vehicular Manslaughter with Gross Negligence. Hit-and-run charges will most likely be filed at a later date.

Update: Cyclist killed in Newport Beach hit-and-run — 2nd Newport bike fatality in less than 24 hours

Photo of the collision scene, courtesy of David Huntsman

Unbelievable.

Frank Peters of cdmCyclist forwards word of another cycling fatality in Newport Beach in less than 24 hours.

According to the Newport Beach Police Department, a 57-year old Irvine woman was riding north on Newport Coast Drive between Ocean Vista Drive and Vista Ridge Drive when she was hit from behind by a pickup truck at around 9:45 am. She was apparently riding in a bike lane, on a street with a 60 mph speed limit.

The driver fled without stopping, continuing northbound on Newport Coast.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was taken to a local hospital in critical condition, where she later died of her injuries.

The suspect vehicle is described as a black full-sized pickup truck, possibly a 2001-04 Toyota Tacoma, with significant damage to the front end.

Anyone with information is urged to contact NBPD Traffic Investigator Eric Little at (949) 644-3746 or email at elittle@nbpd.org.

This is the 55th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the ninth in Orange County — all but one the result of traffic collisions — and the second cycling fatality in Newport Beach in less than 24 hours.

It’s also the 12th hit-and-run death of a cyclist in Southern California in 2012.

My deepest sympathy for the victim and her loved ones.

Thanks to Frank Peters, David Huntsman and Amy Senk of CdM Today for the heads-up.

Update: Corona del Mar Today and the Orange County Register have identified the victim as Cathy Ritz of Irvine. 

Some of the comments below, and others I’ve seen expressed elsewhere, point the finger at poorly designed, high speed streets with traffic lanes that are too wide, encouraging drivers to speed even above the already excessive speed limits, in this case and too many others. Newport Beach, and the other Orange County cities, needs to take a long, hard look at themselves and question just how many fatalities they’re willing to accept before redesigning roadways to work for everyone.

Not just overly aggressive drivers.

Update 2: Bike Newport Beach has identified the victim as highly respected local physician Catherine A. Champion M.D.; no explanation on the discrepancy in naming the victim. 

Update 3: I’m told Ritz/Champion was riding with her husband when she was killed, and that the discrepancy in names may have been the result of keeping her name for professional purposes following her marriage.

Update: Cyclist killed in Newport Beach in apparent right hook collision; 8th OC bike death this year

Getting word from multiple sources that a woman was killed this morning while riding in Newport Beach.

The victim, identified only as a woman in her 20s or 30s, was riding eastbound on East Coast Highway near Bayside Drive around 10:35 this morning when she was struck by a stake-bed truck traveling in the same direction.

According to Corona del Mar Today, the truck was making a right turn onto Bayside when it ran over the woman in an apparent right hook. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Satellite photos show what appears to be a bike lane on the east side of Bayside, but only a wide right turn lane where the victim may have been riding.

Both the Orange County Register and Corona del Mar Today note that she was wearing a helmet, while the Register says she was in cycling clothes.

However, there’s not a helmet made that can protect a cyclist from being run over by a multi-ton truck.

This death comes just one day after the first ever National Women’s Bike Summit was held in Long Beach, in which a large part of the discussion was about encouraging more women to ride. Maybe we need to start by making our streets safer so the ones who already do can get home alive.

This is the 53rd bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the eighth in Orange County; of those, seven have died in traffic collisions, and one of a fall that may have been cause by health conditions.

Note: If you have a strong stomach, read the comment from Jamie on the Corona del Mar Today site to show just how little human compassion some motorists have when it comes to cyclists. A woman is dead, and this jackass guy rants about disbanding the ‘militant, special interest, “Bicycle Committee”.’  His mom must be so proud.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and her loved ones. 

My thanks to Ann, David Huntsman, Ed from the OC Bicycle Coalition, Sydney Hunter, and jg for the heads-up; sorry if I left anyone out.

Update: Corona del Mar Today updates their story to indicate that a witness stopped at the intersection saw the collision as it occurred. According to  Amanda Walter, both the driver and the cyclist were turning right, and the truck was traveling too close to the curb.

“I saw the truck come around the corner and I though, ‘Wow, he’s going too fast,’” she said in a telephone interview. “I saw the cyclist and said, ‘Oh my…God…he’s going to hit her.’ He cut her from behind. She went down and he ran over her.”

The paper reports the victim was initially awake and struggling to speak, but passed away within a few minutes. And apparently, the driver never saw her.

The truck driver kept insisting that he looked twice and the cyclist wasn’t there, Walter said.

According to the Orange County Bicycle Coalition, the victim is still unidentified.

According to Sgt. Mark Hamilton, “The identity of the victim is still unknown at this time. Anyone with information or who witnessed the collision is urged to call the Newport Beach Police Department Traffic Division at 949-644-3742″. If anyone is missing a loved one that was riding a blue bike with white tape and saddle in the Newport area, and they haven’t returned home yet,  please contact the NPBPD.

The OCBC also reports that there have been 16 bike-involved collisions in the last 10 years, though this is the first fatality.

Update 2: Newport Beach bike lawyer David Huntsman offers a little more information about the site of the collision.

By the way I ride this road several times a week. It is truly a nightmare intersection going south, because of the very long high-speed dedicated right turn lane.
 
I was right-hooked into the gas station just south of the intersection when I moved here after returning from Australia two years ago. I didn’t go down, to the surprise of everyone around – including the driver- but mentally marked this as one of the most dangerous intersections around. 
Update 3: The victim has been identified as 29-year old Sarah Leaf.
I’m getting second-hand reports that she was a serious cyclist and a very fast rider, possibly a triathlete. And someone who was very well-liked, who will be sadly missed.

Los Angeles, Orange County named Honorable Mention Bike Friendly Cities(?)

We’ll ignore the fact the Orange County is, well, a county. Not a city.

Or if you prefer, a lot of cities, even if they do tend to blend into one another at times.

But O.C. and L.A. have made the League of American Bicyclists list of Bike Friendly Cities, if only just barely. Both were named Honorable Mention, a step below the Bronze designation, in recognition of the steps each has made.

And just how far they have to go.

Los Angeles makes its claim on the basis of the new-found support from City Hall that has resulted in a widely praised new bike plan — which is just starting to result in new paint on the street — as well as the groundbreaking bicyclists’ anti-harassment ordinance.

But as Bikeside’s recent survey suggests, local cyclists face far too many unfriendly streets and drivers to deserve a higher ranking; I would read this more as recognition of the possibilities, rather than what’s already been accomplished.

Sort of like Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. And I’ll let you decide how that’s turned out.

If — and it’s a big if — the city manages to stay on course, it may legitimately deserve a bronze designation next year.

Meanwhile, someone else who actually rides there will have to address whether the collection of cities and towns behind the Orange Curtain deserves its designation.

There seems to be an unfortunate tendency to blame rude and scofflaw cyclists for the county’s unacceptably high fatality rate, including a crackdown on the victims — even though the overwhelming majority of Orange County fatalities have been the result of careless, drunk or distracted drivers, rather than lawbreaking riders.

And at least one OC city seem to have an inexplicable fear of sharrows.

But there must be progress being made; Irvine and Huntington Beach have already made the list as Bronze level cities, joining northern neighbors Long Beach and Santa Monica.

And even though SaMo’s designation was widely derided at the time — including by yours truly — they seem to be making every effort to live up to it now.

So maybe there’s real hope for L.A. and O.C., after all.

We’ll just have to wait a few years and see.

Charges in Carlsbad and Fountain Valley cycling deaths; bold plans for WeHo, new bike plan in SaMo

Lots of things are happening on the SoCal legal front.

To start with, Julianne Thompson of Carlsbad has pleaded not guilty in the hit-and-run death of 64-year old cyclist Arthur Jacobs; she was found hiding in some nearby bushes shortly afterwards with a blood alcohol level over three times the legal limit. Thompson faces up to 15 years on charges of gross vehicular manslaughter, hit-and-run and drunk driving.

According to the stories, she’s remorseful. Yet the victim is still dead.

So how does that balance out?

……..

Sources tell me that Adam Carl Garrett, the 19-year old driver accused of killing cyclist Hung Do in a Fountain Valley hit-and-run then calling police pretending to be a witness, has been charged with misdemeanor hit-and-run without gross negligence and hit-and-run with permanent and serious injury.

As one reader put it,

I don’t understand the “without gross negligence” part, but I’d have to say that, yes, death is “permanent and serious.”

As members of the LAPD have repeatedly pointed out, charges are based on what the DA or City Attorney’s offices think they can prove, rather than what police believe really happened. Without witnesses, and with the additional time for any possible intoxicants to pass out of the driver’s system allowed by the hit-and-run, it would be very difficult to make stronger charges stick.

……..

I’m also informed that the family of Amine Britel, the Newport Beach triathlete killed while riding in a bike lane last February, has filed a lawsuit against the driver. Danae Miller was reportedly texting and driving under the influence when she hit Britel’s bike from behind; with her driving record, I’d recommend settling quickly.

……..

Word from the LAPD indicates that charges will soon be filed — if they haven’t already — in the hit-and-run death of Alex Romero, the 17-year old cyclist killed by a speeding car while riding with a friend on De Soto Ave. last April. And charges may not be limited to the driver; they could include others who allegedly attempted to help her cover up the crime.

……..

Renew your membership or make a donation to the LACBC now and AdventureCorp will match it up to a total of $10,000 in honor of fallen endurance cyclist Jim Swarzman.

……..

Get a first look at the newly unveiled draft of the Santa Monica Bike Action Plan when the Santa Monica Spoke hosts a meeting with Santa Monica Deputy Director Lucy Dyke tonight from 6 pm to 8:30 in the Colorado Community Room, 502 Colorado Blvd.

Meanwhile, West Hollywood’s Bicycle Task Force proposes a bold plan to make the city more bike friendly, including removing parking spaces to extend bike lanes along busy Santa Monica Blvd and a road diet on Fountain Ave. to create a protected bike lane along the curb. Not to mention aligning other proposed bike lanes on Fairfax and Vista/Gardner with bike lanes included in the new L.A. bike plan.

We can only hope bike-unfriendly Beverly Hills is paying attention, and plans to do something about that gaping black hole marring biking on the Westside. And needlessly risking the lives and safety of everyone who lives and rides there.

……..

The L.A. County Sheriffs Department is looking for a stabbing suspect who killed a man along the L.A. River Bike Path in South Gate; if you rode the trail the last Friday in June, maybe you saw something.

And according to KNBC-4, L.A. police are looking for a hit-and-run suspect who struck three pedestrians and a parked car in a space of two blocks in Downtown L.A. Sunday morning. But maybe someone else can point out the logical disconnect in this sentence, since KNBC clearly doesn’t get it:

An investigation is underway as to whether or not these accidents were intentional, police said.

……..

It’s time to rethink North Figueroa. Streetsblog looks at the less-than-promising Woodley Ave. bike lanes. LADOT wants your help to survey L.A. bike racks. Metro moves forward on bike share. Full bike parking at the Grove. Those of us born with an competitive gene have to be reminded from time to time not to underestimate anyone; I have to fight the urge to ride down anyone on the road ahead of me. Funny how often the Times photo of the day features bikes. Will gives new meaning to L.A. River Ride by actually riding in the river to connect the gaps in the trail. The South Bay section of the beachfront Marvin Braude Bike Path is about to get a much needed facelift; hopefully the county will get to the cracked and crumbling Marina section before it completely falls apart. Ashley Tisdale rides with her dog in Toluca Lake. An update from Amarillo on the L.A. firefighters riding across the country to honor victims of 9/11.

More information on Cody Wessel, the 19-year old Wildomar cyclist who was killed in nearby Lake Elsinore on Friday. Bike thefts are up in Newport Beach, where police search for Ashton Kutcher and Colonel Sanders. A blind cyclist rides a tandem 240 miles from Santa Barbara to San Diego. A Santa Barbara writer says we could solve a lot of problems with those three little words: share the road. An SB teen is riding across county to raise money and awareness for a program allowing the homeless to live safely in their cars. The Bay Area is facing a pedicab war; yes, Microsoft Word, pedicab is a word so get over it. I missed the unique importance of these new microwave red light sensors in Pleasanton the first time around; thanks to Road.cc for the clarification. Palo Alto attempts to calm traffic and build boulevards. A bike path that doesn’t connect to anything may be a waste of money, but some idiots still don’t get it — it’s the cyclists who are subsidizing the roadways, not the other way around. African American cyclists get blessed in Oakland in an attempt to get more on the road.

New Tron-style wheel rim lights could keep you safer at night. How to not be invisible when you ride. Cycling is good for you, even if you’ve been a couch potato. A graphic illustration of why bikes are good for rural economies. This is why you don’t buy cheap carbon frames off eBay. How is it that Sitka AK is bike-friendly and L.A. isn’t? Misdemeanor charges for killing a Colorado cyclist. It wasn’t easy coming up with that crappy name for the upcoming USA Pro Tour Cycling Challenge; after a top 10 finish in the TdF, Colorado’s Tom Danielson could be one of the favorites. A thief who stole seven bikes from Idaho’s World Relief returns three with an apology. Newly minted Montanan Dancer a la Mode sends word of a DUI fatality that’s gripping the local community. Oklahoma authorities have arrested a suspect in the 2009 hit-and-run death of an 8-year old girl; there’s not a pit in hell deep enough. A Chicago cyclist is killed on her way home from Lollapalooza after falling underneath a dump truck. Massachusetts authorities can now ticket cyclists, but can’t force them to pay.

Turns out bike share saves lives; I wonder if the results would be the same here in L.A. with our lack of cycling infrastructure. How to be an ambassador for cycling. Southern California isn’t the only place where cycling fatalities are on the way up. Pro cycling’s most successful team is folding at the end of this season, while star rider Mark Cavendish may jump to Team Sky; thanks to George Wolfberg for the head’s up. Cycling prodigy Taylor Phinney will compete in this year’s Vuelta a Espana, after winning his first stage since turning pro. Israel revokes their mandatory helmet law for adults. Three years in prison for a rickshaw jockey who chewed off a cyclist’s ear in a road rage incident.

Finally, the unofficial highlights of the Tour de France. And a cyclist rescues a crawfish from the mean streets of Salinas.

If you missed Sunday's Brentwood Grand Prix, you missed some great racing. Don't make the same mistake next year.

Talking back to L.A. Weekly, Newport Beach decides it’s safe enough, a London look at U.S. car culture

A cyclist, bike activist and long-time volunteer responds to the recent L.A. Weekly article about Stephen Box and the rise of bike activism in the city, complaining that more than just straight, white males were instrumental in building the bike community, including himself.

He makes a very valid point.

It doesn’t detract in the slightest from the amazing efforts of CD4 candidate Stephen Box and the others mentioned in the story to note that the LACBC and other groups, such as C.I.C.L.E., Midnight Ridazz and Bikeside and other groups, have done a lot to make this city safer and more inviting for cyclists of all types. As well as the efforts of countless individuals of every possible description, working together and on their own, to advance the cause of cycling in Los Angeles.

Singling out any one person or group, however deserving, ignores the efforts of everyone else who has done what they can to make this a better place to ride.

And we wouldn’t be where we are today without all of them.

Be sure to read the comments, as well. And thanks to Chris Kidd for the heads up.

.………

Newport Beach, home of yet another cycling fatality this week, plans to shut down the city’s Bike Safety Committee at the end of this year.

Evidently, the recent crackdown on dangerous riders and drivers has solved all their safety problems, and local cyclists can now ride the city’s streets without worry. Even though Amine Britel was the fourth cyclist killed in the city in just the last two years. And even though he was killed just days after the first weekend of the crackdown.

Or maybe they expect to solve any remaining problems during the second weekend this Saturday and Sunday — despite the fact that this seemingly wealthy seaside city can’t afford to buy a single Share the Road sign. Let alone one that says Bikes May Use Full Lane.

Because, you know, they still have to pay for that new $131 million City Hall.

Meanwhile, Danae Miller, the driver arrested for killing Britel, never had enough points charged against it to have her license suspended, despite receiving somewhere between 15 and 17 tickets in the last five years, depending on who’s doing the counting.

And a writer for the Examiner questions whether the law should be changed to keep people like her off the road.

If that’s what it takes, I’m all in favor.

.………

London’s Guardian offers an overseas look at America’s car culture — and trust me, it’s not pretty. However, there may be hope:

Before Communist China became partner with Capitalist America in a new world order of union-free sweatshops, Americans used to laugh at all the bicycles on Chinese streets. Now, as the Chinese become more car-dependent, as their cities become more clogged and polluted, many Americans are rediscovering the pleasures, healthiness and sanity of bicycling or walking. Suddenly, a street full of bikes seems positively idyllic. In a country, and empire, in a downward spiral, this will be one of the few changes for the better.

Riding and walking through one’s community at a more human pace, one will also regain one’s sense of belonging. One will also discover that one has two legs, arms and a set of lungs. Sprung from the steel prison of the automobile, Americans will be glad to see other faces and limbs. They will realise that they actually have neighbours.

.………

Grab another cup of coffee, and relax with our longest ever list of upcoming events:

Bike Talk airs Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Call it the art of bike maintenance, as C.I.C.L.E. and Bikerowave team with the Santa Monica Museum of Art at 2525 Michigan Avenue in Santa Monica, for a tour of the museum, bike maintenance workshop and a mini-ride through the neighborhood on Saturday. The free event requires preregistration and will be cancelled in the event of rain. Note: The workshop has been rescheduled for 1:30 pm due to this weekend’s storm.

Mr. Bicycle Fixation, Rick Risemberg, invites cyclists to join him for a birthday ride on Sunday, Feb. 27th; riders meet at Sabor y Cultura at Hollywood and Gramercy at 10:30 am.

Also on Sunday, 4th District City Council  candidate Stephen Box partners with Flying Pigeon LA to provide free bike repair and service at the Hollywood Farmers Market, 1600 Ivar Avenue in Hollywood.

The long and difficult path to a new bike plan should come to a completion when the L.A. City Council takes it up for final consideration at 10 am on Tuesday, March 1st at Downtown City Hall, 200 North Spring Street.

The 2nd meeting of the Bike Plan Implementation Team (BPIT) takes place from 2 pm to 3:30 pm on Tuesday, March 1st following the council meeting in room 721 of the Downtown City Hall, 200 North Spring Street.

Make a full bike day of it by helping plan CicLAvia’s advance to the Eastside with a meeting at 5:30 pm on Tuesday, March 1st on extending the route into Boyle Heights, Roosevelt High School cafeteria, 456 South Mathews Street, Los Angeles.

Celebrate the presumed victory of the bike plan with a rally and press conference in front of City Hall from 9:30 am to 10 am on Wednesday the 2nd.

Streetsblog LA somehow managed to survive the terrible twos. So come out and celebrate its third birthday at Downtown’s Spring Street Bar, 626 S. Spring Street, beginning at 5 pm on Friday, March 4th; RSVP and help spread the word on Facebook.

GOOD is hosting a fundraising party for CicLAvia from 2 to 7 pm on March 5th, at Atwater Crossing, 3229 Casitas Ave in Los Angeles; tickets range from $20 to $500. As part of the fundraiser, leading L.A. bike activist and Creek Freak Joe Linton will lead a very short, family friendly ride starting at 1:30 pm.

The third LACBC Sunday Funday ride will roll 62 miles through the North San Gabriel Valley on Sunday, March 6th. Lead by board member Alex Amerri, the fast-paced ride for advanced cyclists will explore the area’s architectural and historical highlights; riders assemble at 8:30 am at Parking Lot K at the Rose Bowl, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive in Pasadena, with the ride starting at 9 am.

Flying Pigeon and the Bike Oven host the free Spoke(n) Art Ride on the 2nd Saturday of every month; the next ride will take place on March 12th, starting 6:30 pm at 3714 N. Figueroa St. in Highland Park.

Flying Pigeon’s Get Sum Dim Sum ride takes place on the third Sunday of each month; the next ride will be Sunday, March 20 from 10 am to 1 pm, starting at 3714 N. Figueroa St. in Highland Park.

The Santa Clarita Century is scheduled to roll on Saturday, April 2nd with rides ranging from a family ride to a full century.

The next three CicLAvias will take place on April 10th, July 10th and October 9th; if you missed the first one, don’t make the same mistake again.

The Antelope Valley Conservancy sponsors the 16th Annual Antelope Valley Ride on Saturday, May 7th with rides of 20, 30 and 60 miles; check-in begins at 7 am at George Lane Park, 5520 West Avenue L-8 in Quartz Hill.

L.A.’s 17th annual Bike Week takes place May 16th through the 20th, with an emphasis on bike safety education, and events throughout the city. This year’s Blessing of the Bicycles will take place as part of Bike Week on 8 to 9:30 am on May 17th at Downtown’s Good Samaritan Hospital, 616 S. Witmer Street. And Metro is looking for Bike Buddies to guide inexperienced cyclists on Bike to Work Day; heads-up courtesy of the marathon-training danceralamode.

The San Diego Century ride takes place on Saturday, May 21st with rides of 37, 66 or 103 miles, starting in Encinitas, along with free admission to an expo featuring sports, local cuisine and live music.

L.A.’s favorite fundraiser ride rolls on June with the 11th Annual River Ride; advance registration is open now. Volunteers are needed now and on the day of the ride, email RRvolunteer@la-bike.org for more info and to sign up.

And mark your calendar for the 2011 L.A. edition of the Tour de Fat on October 9th; unfortunately, Yom Kippur also falls on that date this year, so Jewish cyclists will have to choose between atoning and having something else to atone for.

.………

L.A. authorizes work on a key quarter-mile stretch of bikeway at the confluence of the Arroyo Seco and L.A. River. KCET’s Departures talks with LACBC River Ride coordinator JJ Hoffman about the comeback of the L.A. River. Santa Monica issues a BOLO alert for a bike convicted sex offender. Long Beach’s biking expats will make their next big adventure on much smaller wheels. A San Diego man has his throat slashed trying to protect his bike from a thief. The Union-Tribune says San Diego area governments plan to spend $2.58 billion — yes, billion — on biking infrastructure over the next 40 years, and profiles one of my favorite bike bloggers, Sam Ollinger of Bike San Diego. San Francisco Streetsblog interviews the city’s new bike friendly mayor. San Mateo police recover a $10,000 stolen bike that had been sold on Craigslist; what was it made of, crude oil? U.C. Berkeley police agree to stop giving cyclists expensive tickets for failing to dismount.

Bicycle Retailer starts a search for the bike shop dog of the year; and no, you can’t borrow my corgi. Your car sucks $7,000 out of the local economy every year. Sarah Goodyear asks why people in cars hate bikes so much. Dave Moulton looks at two epic rides. Tucson gets green bike lanes. Seattle’s bike friendly mayor forgets to lock his bike; you can figure the rest out. Chicago gets a bike crash map overlaid with bike count data. Zac Efron rides a bike on the set of his new movie. A New York State Senator wisely observes that if we want more order on the streets, we have to be part of that order. A New York Councilman says the controversial Prospect Park West bike lanes have reduced speeding, accidents, injuries and riding on the sidewalk, while increasing ridership and overall commuting rates — without increasing travel time; well gee, no wonder they hate it. The bike lane controversy spreads across the river to Hoboken when a local news station stuck firmly in the past suggests more parking should given a higher priority over bike lanes; could someone please send them Donald Shoup’s book? Unbelievably, Tennessee authorities acknowledge that a dump truck driver veered off the road “for unknown reasons” to seriously injure a cyclist, yet decline to file charges; evidently, maintaining control of your vehicle is optional there. A Virginia cyclist compares riding solo on the streets to battered wife syndrome; perhaps she used to ride in Tennessee. A Mobile man gets five years for the hit-and-run death of Czech student.

A Vancouver cyclist says a bike is an invitation to a hate crime, while another says Critical Mass is rude and selfish. According to the BBC, the key to happiness is work, sleep and bicycles; they just described my life, aside from the parts about work and sleep. France’s third-largest city makes great strides in welcoming bikes. After Alberto Contador walks on doping charges, Austrian Michael Knopf is banned for four years for supplying other cyclists with banned substances. Kiwi correspondent the Trickster points us to the tragic death a biking bricklayer killed by falling bricks during Tuesday’s earthquake; Olympic bronze medalist Sam Bewley is auctioning a signed jersey from New Zealand’s winning pursuit team to benefit earthquake victims. Guam is urged to add bike lanes to all major streets; be nice to see that here, too.

Finally, a beautiful Italian DEI bike catalog from 1933; thanks to Ross X for the link. And maybe one day you’ll be able to ride your bike past L.A.’s Downtown streetcar.

Newport Beach cyclist was world-class triathlete, killer driver had 16 tickets; bike plan goes to council March 1

Authorities released the name of the cyclist killed by an alleged drunk driver in Newport Beach Monday evening.

Forty-one year old Amine Britel, a local businessman and world-class triathlete originally from Morocco, was pronounced dead at the scene. His killer, Danae Marie Miller, was released on bond Tuesday morning, on a charge of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated — and was on the road despite receiving 16 traffic tickets over the last six years, including six tickets for speeding or driving too fast for conditions in a three-year period.

Miller has apparently been playing Russian Roulette with her car for years, while the courts failed to do anything to stop her. Now one life is ended and another shattered, all because a woman who probably shouldn’t be allowed behind the wheel got behind one after drinking.

Thanks to Lois Rubin for the link to Britel’s profile on Wafin.com, and Patrick Pascal for the link to the Daily Pilot story about Miller’s driving record.

.………

Word comes from the LACBC that the draft bike plan is scheduled for final approval by the City Council on Tuesday, March 1st. A press conference will be held at City Hall at 9:30 am Wednesday to celebrate its anticipated passage.

.………

Three cyclists barely survive falling boulders during the recent Christchurch earthquake; the riders suspect a nearby jogger didn’t make it. The photos offer fair warning of what could happen on PCH when  — not if — it happens here. Thanks to the Trickster for the heads-up.

There are several ways you can help. Then again, there are always those who’ll make the best of any situation.

.………

The controversy over New York’s Prospect Park West bike lanes just won’t go away, as a cyclist and university professor sides with the opposition, and video shows an ambulance bypassing traffic by using the bike lane.

And the crackdown on scofflaw cyclists continues as NYPD officers allegedly beat a teenage cyclist on camera, then throw him in jail for 24-hours for riding on the sidewalk; according to police, the ass-kicking was justified.

.………

Then again, the same battle is being fought on this coast, as battle lines are dug in over the Wilbur Avenue road diet — even though it’s supported by 77% of local residents — while LADOT claims to have a compromise.

.………

If you own a Felt bike, be sure to check this recall list.

.………

Why show your eco-cred by arriving at the Oscars in a Prius when you could go by bike? Maybe co-host Anne Hathaway will do it.

.………

The CalTrans Bicycle Advisory Committee meets this Thursday at 1:30 pm. Help CicLAvia expand east into Boyle Heights. Bicycle Fixation takes the city to task for poor roadway maintenance on 4th street that put cyclists at risk. LADOT Bike Blog asks how you would improve 7th Street for bikes, and reports on the recent BAC meeting, including the election of Jay Slater as chair. Green LA Girl interviews Lindsey Darden, author of Adventures of a Car-Less Valley Girl. Call it the art of bike maintenance, as C.I.C.L.E. and Bikerowave team with the Santa Monica Museum of Art for a tour of the museum, bike maintenance workshop and a mini-ride through the neighborhood on Saturday. Bikerowave plans a 4th birthday celebration this Friday. CD4 council candidate Stephen Box will sponsor free bike repair at the Hollywood farmers market this Sunday. Long Beach is building a multi-modal downtown; maybe L.A. could follow suit. Claremont Cyclist asks why smaller towns aren’t included in lists of bike-friendly cities. Who needs a car when you can bring home $100 in groceries by bike? A four-year old is killed in Sacramento after riding his bike out into the street. The father of the folding bike dies at age 77.

Free bike repair stands are popping up at Whole Foods stores. Next time a driver runs you over, ask if he or she is a Verizon customer. Bicycling’s Joe Lindsey blames bad reporting for bike racing’s continued lack of popularity, while the magazine looks for the next Lance Armstrong among a small group of rising stars. Tucson Bike Lawyer takes issue with yet another incorrect reminder that cyclists don’t pay for infrastructure; I know I do, and you do, too. A Colorado man gets hit by a car, then faces charges for biking under the influence. Utah considers the Idaho Stop Law. Chicago’s new mayor is a big supporter of biking; then again, so is Detroit’s. If you’re going to hit a car, at least make sure it’s an ambulance. A Florida cyclist is hit by a car, but the dog he was towing escapes unharmed. Everyday substitutes for expensive sports bars and drinks.

Now you can ask strangers to rate your ride. London’s new Olympic velodrome is officially open. British cycling champ Victoria Pendleton plans a series of women-only bike rides. Plans are underway to change the bike lanes near Blackfriars Bridge to speed traffic and make cycling less safe. A Manchester bike cop is the victim of a hit-and-run; the driver got out and looked at the victim before fleeing the scene. A Brit cyclist threatens an offending driver with a meat cleaver. Malaysian track cyclist Azizulhasni Awang is expected to make a speedy recovery after finishing a World Cup race with a massive wood splinter through his leg. Now you can produce clean drinking water while you ride; I produce a lot of water when I ride, but you wouldn’t want to drink it.

Finally, a fascinating Seoul study shows how cyclists make the transition from leisure riders to bike commuters. Married, married and lower income people are more likely to make the switch; oddly, so are people who live in high-rise buildings. And it concludes that governments should invest in separated bike lanes.

Maybe the Idiot’s Guide to Bike Commuting would help.

%d bloggers like this: