Tag Archive for Norwalk

Morning Links: Meditations on a ghost bike, raising funds for a hit-and-run victim, and new bike jobs in Pasadena

Last year, 72 people died riding their bicycles in Southern California, just one less than the year before.

The last person killed was a 17-year old Norwalk high school student, Chandler Ray, who lost his life just three days before Christmas.

Yesterday I received the following email, from someone moved by the memorial to a young man who deserved to be more than the punctuation point to another year of needless tragedy on our streets.

When my coworker arrived at work Christmas morning, she mentioned “at least a hundred candles” at an intersection down the road. “Like when someone gets killed on the street.” So on the way home, I made a detour.

It’s on the northeast corner. With the sun in my eyes, I might’ve missed it if I hadn’t been looking for a roadside memorial specifically, despite its size. “At least a hundred candles” was a vague and yet extremely accurate estimate.

Westbound Firestone has four lanes of fuckyou, including a designated right turn lane where a homicidally impatient pick-up truck driver with zero intention of stopping at that oblique angle nevertheless braked fast when he realized the crosswalk was occupied by a goddamn cyclist. My swerve left me too terrified to yell, and nearly sent me to the asphalt.

A handsome young man stood on the ADA ramp on the narrow sidewalk, taking a picture. I spoke with him. He had missed the memorial service, but promised his school friends he would come Christmas morning. And so here he stood, alone, at half past seven on a chilly Sunday morning, looking at the memorial for his classmate: the candles, the cross, the Christmas tree, the donuts, the white painted bike frame. From a second, much more polished (I’m tempted to say “professional looking”) bike hung a sign with Chandler’s name painted on it.

The young man told me he didn’t know Chandler well, but has friends who did. He expressed disbelief that a classmate would be killed the day before winter break started. The young man indicated that Chandler had been killed just east of the intersection; I squinted towards the blind vertical curve (an overpass crosses above the train tracks there) and considered how suicidal it would be to take the lane here, given the arbitrarily high (45mph) posted speed limit allowed despite the impaired line of sight. For the record, it is illegal in the City of Norwalk to ride on the sidewalk. At this location, the insane choice to obey the law puts a cyclist in mortal danger.

Before the young man left his house that morning, he said, Chandler’s GoFundMe page had raised over $20,000.

I passed the memorial on New Year’s Eve, too. The velodoras’ wicks were submerged under an inch of water. Amidst the bushes nestled two big white plastic lumps, trash bags stuffed with the plush animals left by those who came to the memorial. The sight was just temporarily unsightly; it meant somebody cared enough to stop by and protect the offerings. The sun returned, and when I passed by the next evening, the plush critters were lovingly propped up against the candles and the bikes. As I stood there, a woman who had been sitting in a car in the parking lot approached. She asked if I had known Chandler. I explained I was just passing by. The woman had never met Chandler either; she learned from her 15-year-old daughter that her classmate had been killed, and then they found out that Chandler had also been their neighbor, living only two blocks away. Her daughter has a bike that she never uses because she (the daughter) is scared to. This mom is glad her daughter doesn’t ride around their residential neighborhood.

There is something very wrong with the world when infrastructure is set up to terrify mothers and children.

………

As of last night, the GoFundMe page for Chandler Ray had raised nearly $24,000 in just 17 days.

Contrast that with $840 in donations to another GoFundMe account opened the same day, intended to funds to replace the front teeth a bike rider lost in yet another hit-and-run collision.

Here’s a portion of what that page, set up by the staff of Streets Are For Everyone, has to say.

On Sunday, December 4th, Capitan Arreola was riding home after having spent the morning volunteering and instructing new cyclists how to ride safe during a group ride. Just a few blocks from his home, Capitan was hit by a speeding car.  Landing on the hood, the driver sped away, tossing Capitan face down onto the asphalt — bleeding and barely conscious. 20 minutes went by before he received aid from a passerby.

Capitan suffered a concussion, the loss of his two front teeth, as well as other injuries to his face and body.  Despite his pain and suffering, one week later, Capitan (who always keeps his word) showed up to fulfill his volunteer agreement to Streets Are For Everyone at our event, Finish The Ride.

………

Wes at Bike SGV forwards word that Around the Cycle bike shop is hiring for their newly expanded Pasadena location.

Anyone interested in applying should email them at [email protected].

………

Local

Los Angeles has been selected as the host of the 2017 UCI Para-Cycling Track Championships at the VELO Sports Center in Carson in March.

CD3 Councilmember Bob Blumenfield is hosting his 4th annual community bike ride through the west San Fernando Valley on January 21st.

Santa Clarita is moving forward with plans to widen the Newhall Ranch Road Bridge over San Francisquito Creek, including new barrier-protected sidewalks and a shared-use pathway.

 

State

San Diego is being sued for removing plans for a bridge, which was included in the city’s bicycle master plan, from a neighborhood community plan.

Dueling surveys reflect conflict over whether to build protected bike lanes in San Francisco’s Panhandle area.

A Davis cyclist has published a book about his 2,300 mile journey along entire length of the legendary Route 66.

 

National

A new study says it’s okay to be a weekend warrior, at least as far as your health is concerned, while another shows that exercise really does make you happier.

A group of bike campanies announce the winners of the 2017 Women’s Bicycle Mechanics Scholarship.

A writer for Bicycling discusses things she wished she’d known before biking across the country.

A growing number of states are diverting federal funds intended for biking and walking projects to build infrastructure for motor vehicles.

No surprise here. Charges won’t be filed against a Spokane cop who killed a 15-year old bike rider in 2014, even though he failed to use his lights and siren despite driving 70 mph on surface streets. Until new evidence came to light, authorities had denied the car even struck the boy.

Evidently, it’s okay to kill someone in your sleep, as an Idaho woman gets a slap on the wrist for running down a bike-riding firefighter after dozing off at the wheel.

Kindhearted strangers pitch in to by a new three-wheeled bike for a partially paralyzed Texas man who has become a local role model for overcoming disabilities.

A neighborhood group is offering free women’s self-defense classes following a series of attacks on a Madison WI bike path. Too many bike paths are hidden from public view and often deserted after dark, making them poor alternatives to on-street bikeways, especially for women.

A Chicago writer calls for a change in the law to allow police to automatically check phone records after serious crashes, which currently requires a warrant.

A woman from Chicago recounts riding from Key Largo to Key West with her husband.

The CEO of Ford says the future does not belong to cars alone, and suggests taking traffic lanes away from automobiles to create Complete Streets.

A new study shows DC’s bikeshare system cut local congestion by four percent, which projects to a savings of $182 million.

A Reston VA bike shop is threatening to leave the downtown area because they don’t think their customers should have to pay for parking.

 

International

A Cuban cyclist earns a living selling ad space on his tall bike.

Caught on video: A pair of professional triathletes biking across South America get dropped by a Columbian campesino on a heavy single-speed bike.

It’s now legal to ride side-by-side in at least one region of Ontario, Canada.

London’s subway system is shut down by a strike, encouraging thousands of commuters to take to their bicycles; Cycling Weekly offers nine reasons that’s surprisingly brilliant.

A teenage Irish bike thief allegedly had his leg broken when he was forced into a van by vigilantes; police can’t investigate because the victim hasn’t filed a complaint, for obvious reasons.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to flee from a crash, don’t get killed by another fleeing coward. Evidently, cycling can hurt your penis. Assuming you have one.

And even a three-year old can ride rollers better than you.

Or me, anyway.

 

Seventeen year old student killed in Norwalk collision on Thursday

This is not the news anyone wanted on the eve of Christmas and Chanukah.

According to the Whittier Daily News, a 17-year old boy was killed riding his bicycle home from a friend’s home on Thursday.

Unfortunately, not many details are available at this time. The paper reports Chandler Ray was struck by a car sometime in the evening at the intersection of Studebaker Road and Firestone Boulevard in Norwalk.

No word on how or when it happened, whether the driver remained at the scene or if he or she was detained by police. And no information on whether Ray died at the scene or was taken to a local hospital.

A street view shows what appears to be a busy intersection with four through lanes in each direction controlled by a traffic light, and left and right turn lanes on Firestone. As usual, there are no bike lanes in any direction.

The paper describes Chandler Ray as a popular and outspoken member of the Sante Fe High School football team.

A Go Fund Me account established in his name has already raised over $11,000 more than the $10,000 goal. It’s heartbreaking to think his family will never observe another holiday season without sadness.

This is the 72nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 32nd in Los Angeles County. He is also the third bike rider to die in Norwalk since 2014.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Chandler Ray and all his family and loved ones.

Update: Two people killed while walking their bikes in Norwalk; 10th LA County bike deaths this year

It’s bad enough when one cyclist is killed.

When two bike riders lose their lives in a midnight collision, without even being on their bikes at the time, I don’t even know what to say.

Except to let the facts speak for themselves.

According to the Whittier Daily News, a man and a woman were killed in a single collision in Norwalk early Saturday morning.

The paper reports they were walking their bikes across Rosecrans Avenue at Fidel Avenue at 12:02 am when they were struck by an eastbound Ford F-150 pickup truck, which then veered to the side, striking at least three parked vehicles.

No identification or other information about the victims are available at this time.

The driver, who was uninjured, remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators, He did not appear to be intoxicated, and was not taken into custody at the scene.

No word on whether the victims were in a crosswalk, marked or not, when they were struck. A satellite view shows a zebra crosswalk on the west side of the intersection, but none on the east.

If they were in the crosswalk, they were doing exactly what most law enforcement agencies recommend by walking in the crosswalk, rather than riding.

The question is why the driver didn’t appear to see two people walking bikes directly in front of him. And how fast he had to be going to take two lives with a single impact.

These are the 22nd and 23rd bike-related fatalities in Southern California this year, and the 9th and 10th in Los Angeles County, compared to just four this time last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for both victims and their families.

Update: Now it makes a little more sense, while seeming even more needless and tragic. Chris K, who lives in the area, writes to say that the crosswalk seen in the satellite photo has long been a popular crossing for people in the neighborhood to the south to get to the businesses, church and school on the north side of the street. He notes that there has even been a crossing guard there in the mornings.

Unfortunately, when the street was resurfaced recently, the crosswalk was removed, and the crossing guard was shifted the equivalent of three blocks west to the traffic light at Shoemaker Ave.

Chris notes that despite the removal, people continue to cross at that intersection just as they always have, sometimes stepping out in front of oncoming traffic expecting traffic to stop as if it was a marked crosswalk.

It should be noted that under California law, there is a crosswalk at every intersection, marked or not. The only exception is if there is signage prohibiting crossing, which doesn’t seem to be the case here. 

Now two people are dead, apparently because local traffic planners ignored historic pedestrian patterns and removed a marked crosswalk, despite the need for residents to cross the street.

Two more victims to a world where motor vehicles are valued more than people. 

Update 2: Chris K adds that the florescent yellow signage pointing to the crosswalk remains in place, even though the crosswalk itself is gone, creating a confusing situation. 

Update 3: KABC-7 has identified the victims as 23-year old Giovanni Xavier Chaidez and 20 year-old Rosibel Montoya, no hometown given. According to a live report on the station Sunday night, the driver is not expected to be charged. 

Maybe someone can explain that one to me someday. Because unless the victims somehow leapt out into the roadway without warning, the driver should have been able to see them and stop in time.

15-year old cyclist killed in Norwalk collision identified

The teenage cyclist who died tragically — and needlessly — a full week after he was struck by a car has finally been publicly identified.

The Whittier Daily News reports (scroll down) that 15-year old Norwalk resident Jonathan Acosta Fernandez died from injuries he suffered when he was hit by a car driven by Ana Chavez of Whittier on June 3rd. The collision occurred near the intersection of Alondra and Pioneer Blvds in Norwalk around 3:10 pm; Fernandez was reportedly leaving the Norwalk Indoor Swap Meet when he was struck.

Police say Chavez was traveling at 60 mph at the time of the collision. She was initially booked on suspicion of felony drunk driving, with a bond $100,000, and is due to be arraigned on a charge of vehicular manslaughter in Downey Superior Court on Tuesday.

And once again, the authorities and the press seem to think a tiny bit of plastic and foam atop a rider’s head can offer some sort of magical protection against an accused drunk driver in a speeding vehicle.

Yes, it is important to wear a helmet; I haven’t ridden without one in over 25 years.

But Fernandez’ fate was sealed the moment an allegedly intoxicated driver got behind the wheel and put her foot down hard on the gas. Even if he’d been wearing a full body flak jacket, it would have offered little protection against a vehicle driven at that speed.

My deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jonathan Fernandez.

15-year old Norwalk cyclist dies after being hit in apparent DUI last week

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, a 15-year old cyclist died Friday morning, one week after he was hit by an accused drunk driver.

The rider, whose name has not been released, was riding east on Alondra Blvd near Pioneer Blvd in Norwalk on Friday, June 3rd when he was hit by a car driven by 38-year old Anna Chavez of Whittier; no word on what time of day the collision occurred.

Chavez has been held on $100,000 bail on suspicion of felony drunk driving; charges will now be amended to vehicular manslaughter, with arraignment scheduled for Tuesday in Downey.

This is the 30th bike-related traffic fatality in Southern California so far this year, and the 9th in L.A. County. Two of those riders killed in L.A., and seven overall, have been victims of alleged drunk drivers.

Three additional L.A. riders have been killed by gunfire this year, with one additional gunshot victim outside the L.A. area.

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