Tag Archive for Newport Beach

Help improve safety for Newport Beach cyclists via Amazon and Thursday evening silent auction

It’s not every day you can make a difference for cyclists on the streets of Southern California.

And especially not get something in return when you do.

But that’s what you can do right now when you do your holiday shopping with Amazon.com. And again this Thursday with a silent auction in Costa Mesa co-sponsored by a number of Orange County bike shops.

The funds raised will go to promote bike safety and improve streets for cyclists in Newport Beach, which was recently the site of two cycling deaths in just two days — along with a third near fatality the same weekend.

Better yet, every dollar raised will be matched by the city of Newport Beach on a three-to-one basis through the end of the year, up to $150,000 — an extension of the offer the city made as part of the recent memorial ride for Sarah Leaf and Dr. Catherine Campion-Ritz.

Which means $10 out of your pocket is really worth $40 on the streets. And that $150,000 in donations will mean a full $600,000 in actual improvements.

And that could make a real difference in a city that has been far too dangerous for OC bike riders in recent years.


First up, since this is Cyber Monday, you can make a donation simply by placing an order on Amazon.

Just click on this link to access the site, and a portion of every dollar you spend will automatically be donated to the Newport Beach Bike Safety Improvement Fund. And it doesn’t matter what you buy, whether it’s bike gear, books, pet food or office supplies. Or virtually anything else your little heart desires.

So you can make a donation simply by buying things you’d get anyway, or justify buying something you’ve long been lusting after. Or by getting a jump on your holiday shopping.

One quick note — once you click the order button, you’ll have to start over from the link above if you want to place an additional order and have your purchase credited to the fund.

Then this Thursday evening, everyone is invited to a silent auction at Surf City Cyclery in Costa Mesa.

You’ll find all kinds of items, from an official Newport Beach “Bikes May Use Full Lane” sign — which I’d recommend wearing on your back while you ride — to a hand-tufted rug valued at $7,500. As well as gift certificates, Angel’s tickets, and a four day, three night wine and cycling trip for two in the Santa Ynez Valley valued at over $2000, courtesy of Wine Country Cycling.

And once again, all the proceeds will go to the Bike Safety Improvement Fund, where they will be matched by the city on a three-to-one basis.

  • Date:  Thursday Evening, November 29, 2012 from 7 to 9 pm
  • Time:  Silent and Live Auction Ends at:  8:15 pm
  • Place:  Surf City Cyclery, 257 E. 17th Street, Costa Mesa, CA
  • Bike Shops Participating:  Surf City Cyclery, Irvine Bicycles, The Unlikely Cyclist, Pedego, Jax Bicycles, Richards Cyclery, Performance Bike and Bike Religion
  • Attire: Casual
  • Payment Methods:  Credit Cards and Checks will be accepted
  • Libations:  Appetizers and refreshments will be served
  • Items for Auction:  Trips, Gift Cards, Bikes (kids bikes, recumbent, cross, road, city, tt and more), sports tickets, and more
  • There are also fun items that will be included in a raffle – so everyone has a chance to be a winner.
  • Register and view the entire list of items here:  http://www.newportbeachmemorialride.com/silent-auction-registration-and-items.html
  • Registration is free, however space is limited, so be sure to register to ensure a place.
  • Proceeds go to the Bike Safety Improvement Fund and will qualify for the City of Newport Beach’s $3 to $1 match.

Finally, you can still donate directly to the fund by cash, check, debit or credit card. And once again, your donation will be matched three-to-one by the City of Newport Beach.


One other quick note.

Is it still hit-and-run if you take the victim with you?

A suspected drunk driver ran down a pedestrian in Torrance on Saturday night, then drove another two miles with the victim still embedded on her hood and windshield; 31-year old Torrance resident Phillip Moreno died later at a local hospital.

KABC-7 reports that the driver — a drug and alcohol counselor, no less — was allegedly over twice the legal limit at the time of the collision.

Needless to say, she’s facing charges that include manslaughter and driving under the influence.

But not hit-and-run.

No charges in Sarah Leaf death, guilty plea in North San Diego, vehicle identified in Gardena hit-and-run

Evidently, they just don’t get it.

Newport Beach police have cleared the truck driver in the death of cyclist Sarah Leaf, concluding that she lost control of her bike and fell under the turning truck on her own, without the truck ever hitting her.

Yet they apparently failed to consider the possibility that it was a massive truck passing too close and/or turning across her path that caused her to lose control.

So let’s get this straight once and for all. Skilled, experienced cyclists don’t just fall over. And a vehicle doesn’t have to actually hit a rider in order to cause her death.

Something made her to lose control. Until the police can offer some reasonable explanation of what that was, we should not accept the results of this investigation.

And until police everywhere figure that out, no bike rider will ever be safe on our streets.

Update: A commenter who claims to have known a friend of Leaf disputes the contention that she was an experienced rider. By his account, she was a novice rider on a borrowed bike, who had been urged by a friend not to ride that day. And according to him, the reason she fell because she was unfamiliar with clipless pedals. However, as he did not actually witness the collision, that should be taken with a grain of salt; hopefully, we’ll learn more on Monday when the Chief of the Newport Beach Police Department meets with the city’s Citizens Bicycle Safety Committee.


Jin Hyuk Byun, the 19-year old driver charged with killing 18-year old North San Diego bike commuter Angel Bojorquez in a late night hit-and-run, has pleaded guilty to a single felony count of hit-and-run causing death.

Byun faces up to four years up to four years in prison — or as little as probation. Hopefully, the court deliver a sentence that shows Bojorquez’ life had value.

Unlike courts in, say, San Bernardino.


Gardena police have finally narrowed down the type of vehicle used in the hit-and-run death of Torrance cyclist Benjamin Torres on October 10th.

Be on the lookout for a maroon or purple 1995 to 2001 Ford Explorer or a 1997 to 2001 Mercury Mountaineer with light to moderate damage to the right headlight area. Call Investigator Matthew Hassoldt at 310/217-6189 if you have any information.

And on a related note, his step-daughters are asking cyclists to join them in honoring Torres and calling for bike safety on November 10th.


The LACBC is launching a safety education and bike light giveaway program dubbed Operation Firefly. The Times looks at the Bicycle Kitchen’s women’s-only Bicycle Bitchen night. Richard Risemberg writes that bike lanes benefit the entire community, including local merchants. Your access to mountain bike trails could depend on playing nice. South Pasadena may consider extending the Arroyo Seco bike path next week. The Culver City Bicycle Coalition is hosting a fundraising ride on Sunday, November 11th, while C.I.C.L.E. is hosting a Made in LA ride on Saturday, November 17.

How not to sell a bike on Craigslist. Video of the amazing turnout at last weekend’s memorial ride in Newport Beach. A new female-centric bike shop opens in Orange County. If you’re looking for a good ride and good beer, you could do worse than a ride to North San Diego County’s Stone Brewing Company. Lucky San Diego cyclists get to choose between two bike supporters for mayor, which is exactly what the LACBC’s Civic Engagement Committee is working towards here in L.A. A nurse has her bike stolen when she stops to help an injured cyclist at San Diego Critical Mass — then a local businessman buys her a new one. A coach with the Sacramento Kings hits a bike-riding child while test driving a new Jaguar, then returns it to the dealership instead of staying to help. Palo Alto police arrest two bike thieves after recognizing them from security footage. Who’s the genius who put a Share the Road sign in the middle of a bike lane? A 92-year old Sonoma driver denies running down two boys in a crosswalk, claiming they were the ones who damaged his car — and that one of them was a girl.

Seven reasons why bikes are for everyone. What does it take to build a world-class bicycling network, and will the US ever embrace bicycling like Denmark has? Why you might need more than one bike. Someday soon, you may never get another flat. Private bike share program Spinlister changes its name to Liquid, in an apparent attempt to conceal what the hell it is from anyone who might be interested. HuffPo looks at the hubris of Lance Armstrong, while the company that gave him $12 million in bonuses wants it’s money back, and an English town prepares to burn him in effigy; thanks to George Wolfberg for the latter link. Drunk Spokane driver gets two-and-a-half years for killing a cyclist. My hometown employs a smartphone app to crowd source cycling data. Oklahoma City gets its first sharrows. A Texas cyclist is under arrest for threatening two pedestrians with a gun. Doorings are down in Chicago, the question is why. Kill a Windy City cyclist in a right hook, and get a ticket for an improper right turn; no, really. The real riders on the storm — New York filmmaker Casey Neistat captures a four-hour ride through hurricane drenched streets. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, bikes provide the best way in, out or around Manhattan, as the city bans vehicles with less than three occupants from Manhattan. The anti-bike New York Post blames bike lanes for bus-bike collisions; yeah, it couldn’t be impatient bus drivers, overly aggressive riders or just plain carelessness. The world’s first car-only roadway is now a bike path, even though motorists used to fear the same vehicle segregation that many now call for. A Pennsylvania man gets six months probation for killing a cyclist while driving under the influence — six-effing-months probation, which is exactly the same sentence he would have gotten for a first-time DUI even if he didn’t hit anyone; nice to know the death of a human being doesn’t matter one damn bit in Western PA.

The popularity of tweed rides has helped increase the sales of more than just bikes. Helmet-cam video results in charges against a Canadian driver who dangerously Jerry Browned a cyclist — even though he could have safely passed a few seconds later. What to do after a crash. The victim is dead, but at least his bike has been returned. Teenage Brit triathlete is seriously injured in an apparent hit-and-run as she’s found on the side of the road after a car passes her, still clipped into her pedals. A new UK website tracks the best deals on bike gear. An Aussie writer asks whether you consider yourself a cyclist; ever notice that no one ever asks if people consider themselves drivers, which everyone becomes the moment they slide behind the wheel?

Finally, South Park takes on l’affaire Lance. A Polish cyclist is charged with speeding in a 30 mph zone — while riding completely naked except for the pants wrapped around his head.

And if you think some drivers are blind, you may be right.

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.


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.


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


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.

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