Tag Archive for OCTA

Double the links — OCTA bike victim ID’d, bike plan meeting in BH, London cyclists ride in protest

I already had a full load of links ready to go Sunday night when I set them aside to write about Saturday’s cycling fatality in Laguna Hills.

So settle in for a double dose of all the latest and greatest bike links the interweb has to offer.

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First up, the cyclist killed in a right hook by an Orange County OCTA bus on Saturday has been identified as 35-year old Romeo Jimenez-Zavaleta of Laguna Hills.

Still no word on whether he was riding on the wrong side of the street or on the sidewalk before entering the crosswalk. A reader named Bruce confirms that sidewalk riding is legal in Laguna Hills. And unlike the street, there is no right or wrong way on a crosswalk, though there is some question whether a badly worded state law allows cyclists to ride in or next to a crosswalk.

Either way, the driver should have been able to see someone in the crosswalk directly ahead of the bus.

And Mendocino cyclists mourn the death of 82-year old David Russell, who was a long-time fixture in the local riding community before he was killed by an 18-year old driver.

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The next meeting to discuss the proposed bike plan update in the biking black hole of Beverly Hills will take place this Wednesday, November 16th at 5 pm. If you ride the gilded streets of BH — or would if pedaling through the city didn’t suck so much — try to be there.

I’ll try not to take it personally that they scheduled the meeting for the only time this week that I can’t go.

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More on Metrolink’s new bike cars; thanks to Steven Vance for the heads-up. LADOT Bike Blog rides down to check them out; note that tandems and gas bikes are banned.

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After a second cyclist is killed at a dangerous intersection, London cyclists take to the road en masse to call attention to the city’s 10 most dangerous intersections and demand safer streets for everyone — including cyclists.

And despite what the city’s seemingly auto-centric mayor may have to say on the subject. A writer points out that the mayor is an experienced cyclist, and roads he considers ridable may not be safe for other cyclists.

London’s equivalent of LADOT says they’re sorry, and one board member agrees that the streets aren’t safe enough.

Meanwhile, over 300 Toronto cyclists hit the streets to call for better safety after a 38-year old cyclist is killed by a truck on the way to pick her son up from school, including calling for side guards on semi trucks, which might have prevented the tragedy. A local rider says if the city cared about human beings on bikes, she would still be alive today.

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A KCET blogger offers a surprisingly biased look at riding on the sidewalk from a pedestrian’s perspective.

Bike riders (with an attitude) bristle at these proposals, which would sour the outlaw aspects of urban bike commuting into the bourgeois rectitude of a Copenhagen or Amsterdam. Pedestrians – of which I am obliged to be one – just wish bike riders didn’t regard us as impediments to their speed.

Perhaps he’s suggesting that only bike riders with an attitude pose a danger to pedestrians, but it reads like an indictment of all bike commuters.

Unexamined in these discussions about what should and shouldn’t go on sidewalks, is the conviction among those who go about on wheels – either two or four – that wheels themselves have a natural privilege over those who are wheel-less, and that those who ride (bike, car, skateboard) are the betters of those who walk.

Lumping us in with drivers?

Now that hurts.

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KPPC’s Patt Morrison looks at the recent groundbreaking University of Wisconsin study showing increased cycling rates could result in up to $3.5 billion in savings from better air quality and $3.8 billion in lower healthcare costs each year — not to mention over 1,000 fewer traffic fatalities. And asks what it would take to get you on a bike.

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The first markings for what will soon be L.A.’s first green bike lane appear on First St; the rest is soon to follow. The UCLA Cycling Team invites you to participate in the Bruin Fall Century next Saturday. Burbank police worry about a rise in bike collisions and place the blame on cyclists, who may not know the rules of the road. Flying Pigeon rides for dim sum this Sunday. I love stories like this; a Burbank group repairs bikes to donate to needy children. Hint to Santa Monica cyclists — if you’re carrying drugs, don’t ride on the sidewalk. More on the Santa Monica Bike Centers slated to open at the end of this week; lost in the anticipation is news that Burbank is opening a BikeStop of their own. Does it matter if they don’t make a profit, since every other form of parking — and driving — is heavily subsidized? How would you like a 22-mile long east-west bikeway through the San Gabriel Valley? (Note: I originally wrote that the bike pathwould run through the San Fernando Valley; thanks to Rex Reese for the correction.) Three more bike thieves are behind bars, this time for a burglary in Agoura Hills.

A San Francisco cyclist faces a vehicular manslaughter charge for running a red light and killing a 68 year old woman as she walked in a crosswalk; if we’re going to hold drivers accountable, we have to be accountable, too. San Francisco cyclists can get free bike lights for the next month. Just Another Cyclist says whatever life brings, just keep pedaling. Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious offers photos from the San Francisco Bike Expo; we need to get something like that down here. A Union City cyclist is touch-and-go after yet another a hit-and-run. A Marin County physician calls for bike helmets for everyone, while a UK public service site seems to agree. A Napa driver warns readers about a scamming cyclist; sounds more like an urban myth to me.

Bicycling offers video advice on high cadence climbing, along with seven cycling moments that stand out in 2011. Bike Portland celebrates the T-shirt stylings of Long Beach biking expat Russ Roca. Bike-friendly Austin discovers bike corrals, while the local paper offers a great history of bike racing through the years. A hit-and-run driver turns himself in hours after killing a Minneapolis cyclist. An interview with the new head of Cincinnati’s Queen City Bike organization. The Indianapolis Star looks at the growing popularity of cyclocross. A Portsmouth woman is charged with DUI, while the cyclist she hit is ticketed for riding without lights. Does it matter where your bike was made? Every nasty driver is somebody’s friend — and could be a cyclist. A UPS driver acknowledges she saw a cyclist, but cut her off anyway. New York’s anti-bike backlash is nothing new, even though the new bike lanes have made life safer for pedestrians. A Florida university wants to turn North Miami’s only segregated bike path into a four lane street

The Department of DIY opens a branch in Mexico City, as local cyclists paint their own 5 km bike lane in just 8 hours for less than $1,000. Hamilton ON police have ticketed 54,000 drivers so far this year and roughly 525 cyclists; so which group is the scofflaws? A UK bike advocate is slowly bouncing back from life threatening injuries suffered two days after her helmet was stolen. A UK car website that supports safely sharing the road proves popular with cyclists. Someone is stringing rope across Brit roads and bikeways. As if cars aren’t enough to dodge, an Oxford cyclist barely survives a falling girder. How to stay motivated to ride when you see winter out your window; and if you’re riding through sheep pee, don’t forget your fenders. Bike Radar profiles Kozo Shimano — yes, that Shimano. Whether Alberto Contador wins or loses his arbitration hearing, cycling is already the loser; meanwhile, Alejandro Valverde is banned from his own presentation ceremony. Munich’s old cycle tracks can’t keep up with the increased demand. Bike are fashionable in China once again; then again, maybe they never really went away. Bangalore will soon get its first bike lanes.

Finally, a Canyon Country amputee rides his first century, raising nearly $3000 for charity. And though it’s not bike related — other than the great graphic — don’t forget the Great Venice Toy Drive through December 8th.

Unrelenting pace of cycling fatalities continues as Laguna Hills cyclist killed in OCTA bus right hook

It’s happened again.

Just a week after the riding deaths of Sherrie Norton and Robert Hyndman — and critical injuries to two Long Beach riders — an Orange County cyclist has been killed in a right hook collision while riding in a crosswalk.

The Orange County Register offers a confusing description of the collision. But apparently, the cyclist, who has not been publicly identified, was riding north on Paseo de Valencia around 5 pm Saturday, either on the wrong side of the roadway, or more likely, on the sidewalk facing southbound traffic.

As he attempted to cross Alicia Parkway, he was struck and killed an Orange County Transportation Authority bus turning west onto Alicia from southbound Paseo de Valencia.

No other details are available at this time.

However, the driver should have been able to see the cyclist, as the rider appears to have been coming directly towards him in the crosswalk.

The paper notes that the OC Sheriff’s department is continuing to investigate the collision.

This is the 10th confirmed cycling fatality in Orange County this year, and 64th confirmed traffic-related bike fatality in Southern California since the start of the year. That compares with an average of 10 bicycling deaths in Orange County for the last two years on record (2008 and 2009), and 55 in Southern California over the same period.

However, it should be noted that the 5-year average for both is much higher, at 13 and 68.2 respectively.

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As long as we’re sharing bad news, an 18-year old cyclist was the victim of a hit-and-run in East Long Beach. Fortunately, his injuries were non-life threatening, although that does not necessarily mean he didn’t suffer serious injuries.

Police are looking for an oversized, dark-colored pick-up with possible damage to the passenger-side front or side window. Anyone with information can contact authorities at www.tipsoft.com

And an 82-year old Mendocino cyclist was killed when he was hit from behind while riding on the shoulder of Highway 1; he was hit by a pick-up operated by an 18-year old driver who drifted off the roadway, hitting the victim at 55 mph.

I want to say that someone still riding at 82 deserves better than that.

But so does every other cyclist, no matter how old.

Manny Ramirez defense leads to acquittal for Gordon Wray; The Times’ Hector Tobar likes bikes

Evidently, killing a cyclist because you can’t see is nothing more than an accident.

Just say the sun got in your eyes, and walk away.

That’s what happened today, as Gordon Wray was acquitted on a charge of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in the death of Doug Caldwell.

A jury of his peers — though not necessarily the victim’s, since cyclists are usually excluded from bike case juries — took little more than an hour to agree that the prosecution’s case failed to meet the necessary burden of proof.

Never mind that most rational people would agree that the sudden, violent death of another human being should amount to more than just “oops.”

However, Wray’s attorney astutely played the Manny Ramirez defense, claiming the sun was in his client’s eyes at the time of the collision. And rather than pull over until he could see, proceeded to slam into two other people who had the misfortune of sharing the road with him.

At least when Manny used the excuse, he only lost the ball and allowed a few runs to score.

The crux of this case was CVC 22350, which reads:

No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.

Unfortunately, as cyclist and attorney Dj Wheels points out, the problem for the prosecution was determining just what speed was reasonable under the circumstances. They were forced to argue that if Wray was truly blinded by the sun, he should have slowed down to a speed that allowed him to see the two riders, even if that meant coming to a full stop.

The defense countered that Wray understood the risk posed by the sun shining in his eyes, and slowed down to 35 mph in a 50 mph zone as a result.

Except that still wasn’t good enough. And a well-loved man died as a result, while another suffered road rash so severe that he required plastic surgery to repair the damage.

Yet the jury’s reaction was to be expected.

Virtually every driver has found him or herself in that same position at least once. And when they put themselves in Wray’s position, they had to ask what they would have done under the same circumstances.

Which, given the verdict, should serve as a frightening warning to everyone else on the road.

If you want to look on the bright side, it was a victory for cyclists that this trial ever came to court. The case was never strong, and it shows just how seriously authorities took it that charges were ever filed in the first place.

But my heart breaks for Caldwell’s family, who had to watch the man responsible for his death walk away, knowing he’ll never be held accountable in criminal court.

Maybe they’ll have better luck in civil court, where the burden of proof is lower.

Although this acquittal won’t help.

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Better news comes from the Orange County Transportation Authority in the form of OCLINK, which they describe as “an innovative and convenient pass that allows riders to hop on trains and buses throughout the county.”

According to their release, the OCLINK pass provides unlimited weekday transfers on a buses and Metrolink trains throughout Orange County for just $7 per person. As a result, OC cyclists can easily hop the bus or train to the riding destination of their choice — even if that happens to be in L.A. or Ventura County — then return home without breaking the bank.

For those of us a little further away, Metrolink is now offering an All-Weekend Pass for just $10 a person, allowing unlimited train rides from 7 pm Friday to midnight Sunday. And anywhere Metrolink travels throughout Orange, L.A., Riverside, Ventura and San Bernardino counties.

Which means you can now take the train to one of those great far-flung riding routes you’ve only heard about, then ride the rails back home without breaking the bank.

The downside is, like the long-despised and recently revoked Metro policy, Metrolink allows only two bikes per passenger car. Although rumor has it they’re considering a prototype bike car that will accommodate up to 20 bikes, making future group tours by bike and train a more viable possibility.

Maybe we should encourage that idea.

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LADOT Bike Blog has announced that the city’s long-awaited Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance is finally ready for final approval, and should come before the full council sometime in the next two weeks.

The groundbreaking ordinance, the first of its kind anywhere in the U.S., would make harassment of a cyclist a civil matter, rather than criminal, allowing riders to take threatening drivers to court themselves. And it contains a provision for legal fees, making it worthwhile for lawyers to take cases that might not otherwise be financially viable for them.

Meanwhile, reader Alejandro Meruelo writes to remind us that L.A. Mayor — and my CicLAvia riding buddy — Antonio Villaraigosa has asked for suggestions on how to make L.A. more bike-friendly.

Meruelo suggests using the Ask the Mayor website to encourage hizzoner to inform law enforcement officers that CVC 21202 allows cyclists full use of the lane under many, if not most, circumstances. While every LAPD officer should be well versed on the subject thanks to the department’s bike training video, it wouldn’t hurt to have a little official support from the mayor’s office. And it could carry a lot of weight with other law enforcement agencies that aren’t nearly as enlightened.

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The Times’ Hector Tobar talks with some of L.A.’s Ridazz, and decides that the city needs an attitude adjustment regarding bicyclists — concluding that we’re not only a part of the community, but have as much right to the roadway as anyone else.

And yes, that chill you felt was hell freezing over, as the Times has officially crossed over to our side.

Mostly.

Contrast that with this absurdly biased anti-bike lane piece from New York’s WCBS, which argues that city streets should accommodate the 90% in cars and buses, rather than making space for the 10% who ride bikes — even if those bike riders make more room for everyone else. And suggests the danger posed by theoretical bomb-laden bicyclists, who might conceivably use the new lanes to roll up in front of the Israeli consulate.

Because terrorists evidently aren’t brave enough to take the lane in New York traffic.

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Bike friendly ad agency Colle+McVoy — the people behind my all-time favorite bike-to-work ad (scroll to the bottom) — has created a Facebook app to let the world know you’re out on your bike. Just download the app, and it will replace your profile photo with the Out Biking image when you ride.

Although I’m not sure I want my clients — or my wife — to know I’m out riding when I should be working.

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Finally, thanks to George Wolfberg for forwarding this photo from Jonathon Weiss, showing the new bike-friendly ads on the back of Santa Monica’s Big Blue Buses. I was pleasantly surprised to see that one myself the other day, but was a little too busy trying to survive the obstacles blocking the Ocean Ave bike lanes to grab a photo myself.

Evidently, Santa Monica drivers assume that if we can use their lanes, they can use ours.

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