Tag Archive for San Diego

Two of SoCal’s best bike advocates are finalists for national Advocate of the Year award

When I started this site, it seemed like you could count the female bike advocates on one hand.

And still have enough fingers left over for the inappropriate gesture of your choice. Wherever you chose to direct it.

Times, thankfully, have changed.

In only a few short years, women riders have risen to the ranks of the most notable advocates fighting for the rights and safety of cyclists with organizations throughout the US. As well as right here in suddenly soggy Southern California.

Two, in particular, have drawn attention for helping reshape the cities in which they live and ride. And I’ve had the privilege of watching both develop into people I would not want to meet in a metaphorical dark alley if I stood on the wrong side of support for bicycling.

Which is not to say Santa Monica’s Cynthia Rose isn’t one of the most pleasant human beings I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting.

Hard to believe that it was only a few years ago that she was asking me for advice on how to work with city officials to improve the lot of bike riders and improve relations with police in the LA area’s city by the bay. Fortunately for all of us, she didn’t take it.

Instead, she forged her own path, building close working relationships with city officials and forming Santa Monica Spoke — now an affiliate chapter of the LACBC — in the process. And leading to her election to the board of the California Bicycle Coalition.

Now she is one of the most knowledgeable, insightful and persuasive advocates anywhere. And the formerly less than bike-friendly city she represents is challenging, if not surpassing, Long Beach for supremacy as the area’s top bike city.

Whenever someone says change is too hard, if not impossible, I point to Cynthia as a perfect example of what one highly motivated person can do.

And yes, I know it’s not polite to point.

On the other hand, San Diego’s Sam Ollinger is a force of nature.

I first got to know Sam as a fellow blogger who I often linked to as she covered the nascent bike scene in our neighbor to the south with rare passion and intelligence.

It was enough to get her an invitation to join the board of the local bicycle coalition, just as it did me a seeming lifetime ago. But she soon found herself butting heads with the entrenched interests of vehicular cyclists who have long dominated the city John Forester calls home.

She also asked my opinion more than once in late night emails on how she should proceed against seemingly unbearable friendly fire. Frankly, I don’t know if she ever took it.

But she quickly went from board member of the SDBC to founder of BikeSD, the city’s first and only 501(c)4 bicycling non-profit dedicated to political action.

And in the process, has helped reshape the future of bicycling in San Diego, as well as the present. Including the recent election for mayor in which both candidates came out strongly in support of bicycling.

Like Cynthia, she finds also herself on the board of the state’s leading bicycling organization.

Together, they have already significantly improved bicycling in Southern California, and are working to put their stamp on the state as a whole. And inspiring women and bicycling advocates of all stripes throughout the US.

Especially now that both are finalists for next week’s Advocate of the Year Award.

I can’t speak for any of the other nominees. But based on from my own personal experiences with both, don’t ask me to choose between the two.

Each has grown to be among the most outstanding people and bicycling advocates it has ever been my pleasure to know.

And both Cynthia Rose and Sam Ollinger more deserve the award.

If it was up to me, it would end in a tie.

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Speaking of Cynthia Rose, the Spoke is asking for tax deductible donations to send her to next week’s National Bike Summit 2014. Just $1500 is needed to add her voice to the national bike congress.

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Now for the bad news.

In an incredibly misguided decision, a California appeals court has ruled that the next distracted driver who plows into a cyclist with face firmly planted in his or her cell phone map app won’t be breaking the law.

In a case involving a Sacramento motorist, the 5th District Court of Appeal said the state’s ban on hand-held cell phone use only applies to making calls or texting, rather than using it for any other purpose.

So in theory, a driver could be looking at a phone for virtually any purpose, from texting to reading email or downloading porn behind the wheel.

And if a cop happened to spot him or her, all they’d have to do is call up their mapping app before pulling over, making the hand-held cell phone ban virtually unenforceable.

Hopefully, this case will go to the California Supreme Court where, with any luck, the judges won’t have their heads planted so far up their own posteriors.

Because this wrong-headed decision just put the lives of everyone on our streets at risk.

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After years of complaints from lost bike riders, LADOT promises wayfinding signs throughout the city. And offers you a chance to check them out in advance.

A writer for the Times says less parking for cars, more parking for bikes. On the other hand, the usual bike-hating letter writers aren’t so understanding.

Loz Feliz locals say they’d rather keep all their traffic lanes on the Hyperion bridge, and screw anyone who doesn’t use a car to cross it.

Better Bike offers an open letter to the Beverly Hills City Council in support of bike lanes on a reconstructed Santa Monica Blvd through the city, which comes up for a vote before the council next Tuesday.

A Santa Monica police sting helps a theft victim get his stolen bike back after spotting it on Craigslist, along with two others.

The first local non-LA ciclovia could follow Huntington Drive through the San Gabriel Valley: thanks to BikeSGV for the tip. Maybe you were photographed at one of the previous CicLAvias.

A permanent memorial was installed on the Cal Poly Pomona campus today to honor fallen cyclist and Cal Poly student Ivan Aguilar, who was killed on the campus one year ago today.

When you’re riding in Carson with meth and a concealed shotgun, don’t commit vehicle code violations, whatever that means. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

Cycling in the South Bay looks at who brakes for whom. Or at all.

The Santa Clarita Valley Signal reports a cyclist was injured in a collision with an SUV on Thursday. But why do they insist on putting “Cannondale” in quotation marks when they don’t do that with “Acura RDX?” Not that bikes are treated like others or anything.

More on California’s proposed vulnerable user law. Personally, I’d much rather see a modified version of the European strict liability laws, which places greater responsibility for avoiding collisions on the operator of the more dangerous vehicle.

Introducing a new line of bike-to-boardroom bicycling business attire, and creative ways to light your bike at night.

Yesterday’s road raging Portland bike rider attempts to explain himself, sort of.

Yeah, let’s blame the victim for riding on the street, not the hit-and-run driver who killed him.

It’s not the New York bike lanes that cause double parking, even if the local press thinks the ones getting the tickets are the victims. And sometimes, it’s the cops doing the blocking.

Good thing the era of doping is over, as a Venezuelan pro tests off the charts in blood screening tests.

London will spend £300 million — the equivalent of $500 million — to fix 33 killer junctions; does LA even know where the most dangerous intersections for cyclists and pedestrians are?

A shocking Chinese study shows the higher the speed at which a car is travelling, the more likely it is to kill a cyclist or pedestrian. In other surprising results, water is wet and it gets dark when you turn out the lights.

An Aussie paper calls for a 6 mph speed limit for bikes to prevent injuries to pedestrians, but doesn’t suggest a mandatory helmet law for anyone on foot. Or slowing down drivers to prevent injuries to cyclists.

Another Aussie paper says there’s no suggestion that a fatal bike crash was deliberate. So why did they suggest it?

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Finally, a bike-hating Chicago columnist says fuck cyclists because they — we — are worse than Hitler, and no one should be on a bike if they’re older than 13.  Or rather,

Bicyclists are worse than Hitler carrying a cancer death-ray shooting puppies, playing Justin Bieber music on repeat while your cell phone has 2 percent battery.

I realize he’s trying — and failing — to be funny. He should also fail at keeping his job.

Then again, he could take lessons from the semi-literate bike hater who called London cyclists wretched “Talebans” who poison people’s lives.

Cyclists-Talebans

Seriously, you can’t make this shit up.

Bike hate and road rage rear their ugly heads in San Diego County, leaving one rider seriously injured

Photo by @bikeSD

Photo from Sam Ollinger of BikeSD.com

Some people don’t even try to hide their willingness — if not desire — to kill you for getting in their way.

Bike San Diego reports coming across a frightening sign on the side of the road saying it’s better to run over a cyclist than risk a head-on collision by going around one.

I think the writer misunderstands the basic concept of sharing the road. It does not mean that bike riders have to get the hell out of the way, despite what some impatient drivers might suggest.

And unless you’re a total ass behind the wheel, hell-bent on getting where you’re going as fast as humanly possible regardless of the cost, it is in fact possible to wait patiently until it’s safe to pass, and avoid the risk of collision altogether.

The writer also makes it clear that he — I’m assuming, perhaps erroneously, that such a hate-filled colossal pile of human waste capable of writing something like this must be a he — couldn’t care less about the person on that bike if it’s in his way.

On the other hand, he very carefully avoids crossing the line by actually inciting violence. The sign is on private property, and as offensive as it is, the writer has a First Amendment right to express his highly objectionable opinion as long as he doesn’t actually encourage drivers to run cyclists over.

On the other hand, if he even so much as bumps the wheel of a bike, this sign could offer proof of criminal intent.

For the rest of his life.

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A San Diego cyclist was nearly killed in a collateral damage collision between two road raging drivers on Saturday.

The drivers were reportedly jockeying for position where two travel lanes merged into a single lane on State Route 67 in Poway. The vehicles sideswiped one another, causing the pickup in the right lane to swerve into the rider, who was taking part in the Pedal the Cause ride to raise funds for cancer research.

Both drivers left the scene; frighteningly, the driver of the pickup reportedly had no idea he hit her.

The victim was hospitalized with major injuries, including broken bones; doctors said her helmet saved her life. Personally, I’d blame a couple of dangerously aggressive jerks for nearly taking it, instead.

And that’s the difference between the risks posed by cyclists and drivers, which so many bike-hating motorists don’t seem to get.

Even the most aggressive cyclist is a danger primarily to him or herself, while aggressive drivers are a danger to everyone around them.

Update: According to San Diego’s NBC-7, the 38-year old victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding in a marked bike lane when the collision occurred; her injuries are described as severe but not life threatening. 

The two drivers are both 50-year old men, which is certainly old enough to know better. 

And speaking of knowing better, NBC-7 should know than a collision that results from the intentional act of two drivers each refusing to yield to the other may be many things. But it is no more an accident than if they had used guns rather than motor vehicles to settle their dispute.

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Despite a state law requiring bike helmets for anyone under 18, only 11% of LA children injured while riding a bike were wearing theirs. Children over 12, minority children and children from low income families are least likely to wear one.

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Mark your calendar for Saturday, November 9th at 4 pm when The Long Bike Back screens at the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood as part of the All Sports Film Festival.

The new film traces the recovery and cross country ride of a cyclist seriously injured in a bicycling collision.

Pearson Constantino was preparing to fulfill his lifelong dream of bicycling across the United States when he was hit from behind by an SUV.  Despite his helmet, Pearson suffered serious injuries including a shattered femur, a crushed vertebra, and head trauma.

The Long Bike Back follows his recovery and his exciting bike ride across America with his brother Pete advocating for safer roads and reminding people of the joy of riding a bicycle.

Pearson and Pete’s cross-country journey covers the length of historic US Route 20.  Along the way, Pearson encounters many unexpected challenges including record high temperatures, flooding, food poisoning, inhospitable drivers, poor road conditions, crashes, detours, flat tires, and new injuries which inspire him to recommit to what matters most.

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A writer for the Times suggests licensing bike riders, but acknowledges it might not make a bit of difference. You’re invited to ride Central Avenue this Sunday. The 7th Street bike lanes are being extended from Figueroa to Main St, hopefully taming what has long been one of the most dangerous streets I regularly ride. Rick Risemberg joins about a hundred other riders to plead for bike lanes on Lankershim Blvd, and calls out “Uncle Tom” LaBonge for betraying the bicyclists he claims to support. The Eagle Rock community celebrates the new Colorado Blvd, though the comments suggest not every community member does. An Atwater Village advocate complains about last minute attempts to add bike lanes and sidewalks to the proposed Hyperion-Glendale bridge makeover, failing to note they were included in the 2010 bike plan; Streetsblog’s Damien Newton counts 45 speakers against the proposed plans for a highway speed makeover at tonight’s meeting, and only 3 in favor. The Biking Grey Hole of Beverly Hills asks a somewhat biased question about bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica will host a bike expo next to the pier next May. You can now call them Santa Monica’s award-winning Ocean Park green bike lanes. SoCalCycling offers results from Sunday’s Krosstoberfest along with photos from Saturday’s Spooky Cross; CLR Effect offers more great photos. South Pas prioritizes sidewalks over bike lanes. Best wishes to Seth at Cycling in the South Bay, who hits the pavement hard in a gnarly 10-bike crash caught on video; he credits his helmet with preserving his brain matter. Corona del Mar hosted a Halloween costume ride over the weekend. The embattled Bike Nation bike share system lives on in Fullerton. There’s still time to attend the California Bike Summit in Oakland next month.

How to avoid bike-on-bike crashes; maybe the group Seth was riding with should have read this first. Well yeah, if you built a bike path next to it, maybe the Keystone XL pipeline wouldn’t be such a total ecological disaster after all. The late, great Lou Reed was one of us. A Portland man steals his stolen bike back, and helps bust a theft ring. No more excuses — bike-friendly Portland built their entire bikeway network for the price of a single mile of urban freeway; just imagine what all that money wasted on the much-maligned 405 makeover would buy. In yet another Portland story, a clown has his tall bike stolen, while people report someone approaching strangers trying to sell one for 20 bucks. Just heartbreaking: A 92-year old Chicago-area man was killed when his adult tricycle was hit by a speeding car. Security is increased after an Illinois bike rider threatens blue-eyed private school children. If you’re bicycling in Ohio, make sure you’re not riding recreationally if you want any protection under the law. Maybe it’s time to stop being polite when a law-breaking driver threatens your safety. Just heartbreaking 2: An 89-year old Florida man is killed in a left cross while riding his adult tricycle in a crosswalk. Bike lanes may reduce the frequency of collisions, but not their severity.

The effectiveness of pro cycling’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission depends on how far back they go; I doubt the golden, dope-free age of cycling we all fondly want to remember ever existed. British parents write about the loss of their bike-riding daughter. Maybe #space4cycling should be #space4people. How to stay cycle chic all winter; wouldn’t those shorts be cold, though? A Brit bike rider verbally — and physically — abuses a 12-year old girl after a minor collision; seriously, that’s taking general obnoxious jerkishness way too far. A writer for the Guardian says the lack of a women’s Tour de France keeps cycling in the dark ages. Video shows an Amsterdam cyclist nearly crushed by a tree felled by yesterday’s hurricane force winds. Just a slight disconnect here, as a New Deli writer complains about how dangerous it is for bike riders to commute to work in the city — like his driver, for instance. Katy Perry rides Down Under, sans skid lid; now that I think about it, I don’t recall if she was wearing one when I saw her riding with her ex on the South Bay bike path awhile back. Japanese bureaucracy is effectively banning biking to work.

Finally, the future meets the past with this new e-Penny Farthing. And there was a time when Malibu actually encouraged people to bike there; as the photo suggests, though, it was a long time ago. Thanks to Jen Klausner for the heads-up. 

Malibu Pro-Bike Cover

Bulgarian tourist dies following hit-from-behind collision in San Diego’s Mission Bay Park

Sadly, this one does not come as a surprise.

Yesterday, news broke that a young woman had suffered life-threatening injuries when her bike was hit-from-behind by a car in an early morning collision in San Diego’s Mission Bay.

Today, multiple reports confirm that 21-year old Stela Hristova, a tourist from Bulgaria, died of her injuries yesterday afternoon.

Hristova was riding south on the 2500 block of Ingraham Street on Vacation Island when she was hit from behind by a sedan around 3:30 am. According to police reports, the driver reportedly swerved into the left lane when he encountered her riding in the middle of a traffic lane, but wasn’t able to avoid hitting her bike.

Which traffic lane wasn’t specified; if she was in the right lane, she would have been riding exactly where she should have been in a traffic lane that does not appear to be wide enough to share. However, it would appear from the news reports that the police are blaming her for not hugging the curb, instead.

She was transported to a hospital with what a police spokesperson described as “major, life-threatening injuries,” where she died at 2:05 pm, less than 12 hours after the collision.

Bike SD notes that the 2002 San Diego bike plan called for bike lanes on Ingraham; if had the city followed their own plan, Hristova might be alive today. Instead, Ingraham — one of the main roadways through the city’s primary beachfront resort and playground area for tourists and locals alike — remains a virtual highway designed to transport the maximum number of vehicles at the highest possible speeds.

And evidently, without regard to the cost, human or otherwise.

I frequently rode through that section when I lived in San Diego over two decades ago. Even then, it was an uncomfortable stretch of roadway that, by design, encouraged speeding and needlessly close passes by drivers.

There’s no word on whether Hristova, who was in the city visiting relatives, was using lights or reflectors in the early morning hour. If she was, there is no excuse for the driver to have failed to see her until it was too late; yet all the news reports focus on the motorist’s seemingly heroic efforts to avoid her, rather than his failure to see her in the first place.

News reports also indicate that she wasn’t wearing a helmet. Whether or not that could have made a difference depends entirely on the speed of the vehicle that hit her, which has not been mentioned yet in any of the stories reporting the collision or the death that resulted.

Commenters to the stories will undoubtedly question why someone would be riding a bike at that hour; yet no one would similarly wonder what a motorist was doing in that area in the middle of the night.

And it makes me heartsick to think that we are once again sending a visitor to our country home in a box simply because we can’t seem to tame the carnage on our streets.

Or care enough to do anything about it.

This is the 64th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth in San Diego County; it’s also the third in the City of San Diego since the first of the year. That compares with 11 in the county, and six in the city, for all of last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers go out to Stela Hristova and all her family and loved ones. 

Bike rider killed in San Bernardino; San Diego cyclist critically injured, as is racing legend Dale Stetina

They say bad things come in three.

That seems to be the case this holiday weekend, with fatal and near fatal collisions here in Southern California, and a cycling legend clinging to life in Colorado.

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According to the San Bernardino Sun, 27-year old San Bernardino resident Russell Alvin Burrows was riding south on the 18700 block of Cajon Boulevard around 8:10 pm Saturday when he was apparently hit from behind by a 2007 Toyota Corolla traveling in the same direction. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Toyota has not been publicly identified.

A satellite view shows a four lane roadway, dropping to two lanes, with little or no shoulder, suggesting Burrows was most likely riding in the traffic lane.

Depending on exactly where the collision occurred, it’s also possible that he was right-hooked, as there are a number of driveways and a freeway on- and off-ramp in the area.

No other details are available at this time, and no word on whether he was using lights or reflectors, as it would have been nearing full dark at the time of impact.

This is the 63rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the ninth in San Bernardino County. That compares to 10 bike-related deaths in the county in all of 2012, and six in 2011.

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A 20-year old bike rider suffered life-threatening injuries in another struck-from-behind collision early Sunday morning, this time in San Diego.

The victim was riding south in a traffic lane on the 2500 block of Ingraham Street on Vacation Island in San Diego’s Mission Bay Park at 3:30 am when she was hit by a sedan. The driver reportedly swerved into the left lane when he saw her, but wasn’t able to avoid hitting her bike.

She was transported to a hospital with what a police spokesperson described as “major, life-threatening injuries.”

A street view shows the two lane roadway increasing to three lanes with no shoulders. The right lane appears to be of substandard width, suggesting that she was legally within her rights to take the lane — as well as following the advice of most bike safety advocates to avoid riding near the curb if the lane is too narrow for a bike and car to safely share.

Again, no word on whether she was using lights or reflectors as required by law.

However, police and the press are usually quick to say if a victim didn’t have lights after dark.

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Word broke Saturday night that an American cycling legend had suffered life-threatening injuries in a fall caused by an out-of-control driver in Boulder, Colorado’s Lefthand Canyon.

In the 1970s and early ’80s, Dale Stetina and his brother Wayne dominated American bike racing, with Wayne winning the Red Zinger/Coors Classic — then the country’s leading bike race — in 1977, and Dale winning in ’79 and ’83.

The two riders were both inducted into the US Bicycling Hall of Fame for their dominance of the sport in this country, and their role in paving the way for the first generation of American international riders that followed — riders with better known names like Andy Hampsten, Davis Phinney, Olympic gold medalist Alexi Grewal and the country’s only current Tour de France winner, Greg Lemond.

It was also long rumored that the two brothers were the inspiration for the cycling cult classic American Flyers.

So it was devastating news that 57-year old Dale Stetina was critically injured when a driver pulled onto the shoulder on the wrong side of the popular riding route, then swerved back to the other side just as a group of riders came around bend in the road.

All of the cyclists were able to avoid colliding with the car; however, Stetina reportedly went over his handlebars, landing face first on the pavement.

Despite wearing a helmet, he suffered major face and eye injuries, as well as loss of responsiveness; a CAT Scan revealed additional injuries to his brain stem. According to the Boulder Daily Camera, he remains in a medically induced coma in critical condition.

He is also the father of rising Garmin-Sharp rider Peter Stetina.

And he’s long been a personal hero and inspiration to me, dating back to when I first started riding seriously in the 1980s.

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My prayers and deepest sympathy for Russell Alvin Burrows and all his family and loved ones.

And I hope you’ll join me in offering prayers and best wishes for Dale Stetina and the publicly unidentified victim in San Diego; may they both recover quickly and completely. 

Ignoring road rage in Santa Rosa, San Diego cyclists targeted, and LAPD accused of beating bike rider

Talk about the charges not fitting the crime.

A Santa Rosa driver identified as 22-year old Matthew Dewayne Hamilton is under arrest on a felony hit-and-run charge for what police describe as an accidental collision stemming from a roadway dispute.

According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Hamilton barely missed hitting a cyclist, who responded by yelling at him. So Hamilton backed up to continue the argument, colliding with the rider in the process.

Right.

It evidently wasn’t assault with a deadly weapon from their windshield perspective, even though the rider, who has not been publicly identified, suffered several broken bones, as well as internal injuries. And even though they themselves describe it as a road rage incident, police insist the driver just wanted to chat, if angrily.

Of course.

Then, realizing his error after plowing into the rider with enough force to cause significant injuries, Hamilton stomped on the gas and fled the scene, abandoning his car nearby. He was arrested while walking through the area.

You know, just another hit-and-run. Not a violent criminal fleeing the scene of his rage-fueled attack.

It’s all in how you look at it, evidently.

Then again, according to the police report, it was the car that was in control of Hamilton at the time of the collision, rather than the other way around.

Thanks to @murphstahoe for the heads-up.

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San Diego cyclists are being targeted by jerks with a pellet gun.

The city’s 10News says police are investigating confirmed attacks in the La Jolla and Mount Soledad areas, as well as possible attacks in the Fiesta Island and Torrey Pines areas.

One woman suffered serious road rash when a pellet penetrated her shoulder and knocked her off her bike.

Police are looking for three men in a black sedan on possible felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

At least San Diego police get the charges right. Although I might argue for a domestic terrorism count.

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San Diego police are also looking for tips in last year’s shooting death of 19-year old bike rider Joseph Hutchins in the City Heights neighborhood. Hutchins was killed the day after his 19th birthday.

A successful tip could earn a reward of up to $1000.

Yeah, that’ll motivate someone.

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A Los Angeles man claims police beat the crap out of him for riding without lights.

According to KCBS-2/KCAL-9, Brian Cisneros was riding to work at the Ralphs market in Marina del Rey last Friday when he was stopped by two LAPD officers at the intersection of Ida and Redwood Avenues.

According to Cisneros, the officers exited their car with guns drawn and attacked him in a brutal assault that included choking, stomping and throwing him onto the hood of their car, despite his lack of resistance.

Then left him there with a ticket for not having lights while riding after dark.

Clearly, something violent happened.

Cisneros, who says he thought he was going to die, was treated for a dislocated shoulder and a fractured elbow, among other injuries. And looks like someone who took a serious beating in the photos that accompany the report.

But something tells me there’s more to the story.

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Manhattan Beach Patch offers the most detailed report yet on Manhattan Beach school board member Bill Fournell, the bike rider violently assaulted in an apparent attempt to steal his bike on the Ballona Creek bike path on July 19th.

The attack took place around 6 pm, one of the busiest periods on the pathway, as bike commuters use it as a virtual bike freeway connecting Culver City with the coast.

Fournell suffered a broken collarbone, broken ribs and punctured lungs, requiring a five-day stay in the hospital, after one of the assailants threw a bike at his front wheel, then struggled with him for possession of his Litespeed bike.

And Patch finally gives us a location for the attack, saying he was assaulted by three juveniles on the bikeway between the Higuera and Dusquesne bridges.

As others have pointed out, the east end of the bike path is far less used than the western sections. Anytime you ride in a secluded area, out of view of the public or other riders, you need to be alert to your surroundings and any possible risks.

Although three kids with a bicycle on a bike path wouldn’t necessarily look threatening or out of place.

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The LACBC reports the bike plan currently under development by the City of Carson has been watered down in the face of pushback from a pair of large local businesses.

The city’s Watson Land Company has argued that putting bike lanes next to the traffic lanes used by heavy trucks would increase the danger to bike riders.

Maybe someone should tell them that their self-proclaimed commitment to sustainability and philanthropy should extend to our streets.

Never mind that anyone wanting to ride through the city under current conditions already has to share those traffic lanes with those same trucks. And that the studies I’ve seen say bike lanes improve safety for everyone on the road.

Speaking for myself, I’d much rather ride beside a massive truck than in the lane in front of one.

No, far better to maintain the conditions that have already resulted in the death of a bike rider earlier this summer.

At least I can understand, if not accept, where they’re coming from in their desire to maintain the heavy truck hegemony over Carson’s streets.

Far harder to understand is the opposition from the StubHub (nee Home Depot) Center, home to the region’s leading velodrome. You’d think that an athletic center that features indoor bicycling events — including the upcoming USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships — would appreciate the desire of outdoor bicyclists to get there without getting killed.

But evidently, it’s inconceivable to them that bike racing fans, or their other patrons, might actually want to ride a bike there. Or maybe they just want to ensure that people continue drive to maintain that parking revenue.

The LACBC asks you to take action to preserve the Carson bike plan.

Take Action: Tell Carson City Council to preserve the Master Plan of Bikeways’ original intent of having a cycle-track on Albertoni and University, and preserving the proposed bike lanes on Avalon, Watson Center Road, and Wilmington.

If you cannot make the meeting on August 6 at 6 p.m., please call Mayor Dear at 310-952-1700 ext 1000 and email the rest of council at:

jdear@carson.ca.us
myfrancisone@yahoo.comail
lholmes@carson.ca.us
mgipson@carson.ca.us
arobles@carson.ca.us

I’d suggest taking it a step further.

And let the StubHub Center know it’s not acceptable for a bicycling venue to needlessly risk the lives of their bike riding patrons.

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Finally, Apple has evidently decided that American drivers aren’t distracted enough, and wants to incorporate iPhone functions — including texting and email — into car dashboards by the end of this year.

Which means you may be able to thank Steve Job’s successors for the distracted driver who runs you off the road next year.

If you’re still capable of thanking anyone.

Two years for a fatal SD hit-and-run, and kneejerk NIMBYism rises in opposition to Westwood bike lanes

Two years in prison for Jin Hyuk Byun for the fatal hit-and-run collision that took the life of 18-year Angel Bojorquez in Rancho Santa Fe last year.

Police say Bojorquez was wearing reflective clothing and should have been highly visible as he rode his bike home from work for the first time, while Byun initially claimed his badly damaged truck hadn’t been driven recently, then claimed he thought he’d hit a mailbox, a deer or a dog.

Yeah, no point in stopping to find out, right?

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Kneejerk NIMBYism strikes again, as anti-bike forces are urged to attend tonight’s Westwood Neighborhood Council meeting to fight proposed bike lanes on Westwood.

We love cycling and want to create a bike network on the Westside, but anyone who walks or drives down Westwood between Pico and Santa Monica knows that taking out lanes, or parking, or creating a bus/bike transit lane (that was vigorously opposed on Wilshire) will necessarily reduce lanes, and motorists will “peel off” onto the residential streets to find the path of least resistance.  This will not work for the community, for the businesses, or for the safety of cyclists.

In short, Westwood Blvd. simply can’t handle this proposal, and even the local cyclists find the proposal unworkable.

Actually, this local cyclist — and virtually every other rider I’ve discussed it with — finds the project not only workable, but necessary in anticipation of the coming Westwood Blvd Expo Line station.

Much of Westwood is already unworkable — and pretty much unrideable — in its current configuration, with a high level of congestion through most of the day. The only real solution is to provide a safe, workable alternative to encourage drivers to leave their leave their cars behind for short trips, as well as offering a much needed connection between the Expo Line and UCLA.

If you don’t have other obligations — and frankly, I don’t understand the logic of anyone hosting an important meeting on Valentines Day, forcing them to choose between their relationship and their safety on the streets — maybe you can stop by and argue against the insanity of maintaining the status quo.

Especially if you were one of the 150+ riders who took part in last weekend’s Ride Westwood.

Thanks to the Culver City Times for the heads-up.

Update: Flying Pigeon‘s Josef Bray-Ali makes the point that no traffic or parking lanes are actually being removed; they’re being repurposed from automotive to bicycle use, since bikes are still a form of transportation. 

The key is that streets serve to move people, not motor vehicles.

………

I’ve heard from people accusing current State Senator and CD 1 council candidate Gil Cedillo of lying at Sunday’s candidate forum co-sponsored by the LACBC.

Cedillo is accused of misrepresenting his ties to Chevron, as well as why he failed to vote for landmark legislation regulating pollution that causes global warming.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton has done his typically great job of looking at all sides of the issue, including talking to the candidate himself. If you live in CD 1, you owe it to yourself to read the story, and decide for yourself if Cedillo whether being honest with you.

I don’t know where the truth lies in this case.

But the last thing L.A. needs is another truth-challenged city leader.

………

The LACBC is hiring a new Initiative Coordinator for Active Streets LA. If you’ve got a passion for bikes, plus organization and communication skills, maybe you should look into it.

If there wasn’t an inherent conflict of interest, I might do it myself.

………

LADOT plans to add over 20 miles of sharrows, mostly on the Westside – including Ohio Ave from Westwood to Bundy; preliminary markings on Ohio appear to go several blocks east of that. Celebrate Valentines Day by encouraging your heartthrob to express your mutual commitment to biking infrastructure, if not each other, in Downtown and Central L.A. tonight. Rick Risemberg says biking families are proof we’re getting there. Gary returns to Streetsblog with an overview of the current state of bike projects in Santa Monica. Senior cyclists are finding a home at the Santa Monica Bike Center. Boyonabike visits the Caltech Bike Lab. A Long Beach man is critically injured when he’s shot while riding his bike. San Francisco’s mayor refuses to live up to his promise to support cycling.

Traffic violence isn’t an accident, it’s the nation’s biggest mass tort. Floyd Landis compares pro cycling to organized crime; he should know, right? My objection to Landis isn’t that he doped, it’s that he lied to about it to get cyclists to assist in his cover-up. Bicycling offers advice on cornering. Did a Las Vegas cyclist die because of ringing in his ear? How businesses can attract cyclists; beer usually works in my book, and donuts. A new study from Portland State University will consider the impact of protected bike lanes. The Idaho stop law slowly spreads through Colorado cities; could Denver be next? Candidates to replace New York’s bike-friendly Mayor Bloomberg threaten to rip out the overwhelmingly popular bike lanes his administration has installed; thanks to Stanley E. Goldich for the link. (Note to L.A. mayoral candidates — if Gotham’s new mayor is stupid enough to fire NYDOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, we’re going to need a new one after the upcoming election. I’m just saying.) Unbelievably, the Virginia legislature refuses to make dooring illegal. A New York writer explains Bike Commuting 101, but fails to explain how to bike commute with your dog. Evidently, packs of rabid cyclists are running South Carolina drivers off the road; in my experience, a couple tons of human flesh will still lose to a ton or two of motor vehicle every time. After nearly running a cyclist over, a Florida driver returns to tell him bicyclists need to respect other people on the road — then intentionally doors him. No, really.

Should the safety of cyclists come before the convenience of parking? A London cyclist debates the merits of helmet use, and lands somewhere in the middle; I personally recommend wearing a helmet for every ride, but it is — and should be — your choice. New helmets will have built-in cameras. A 17-year old UK cyclist admits to killing a renowned cancer surgeon with a single punch after the other man got out of his car to argue about the rider’s lack of lights. Manchester cyclist wages war against potholes. A New Zealand coroner says it should be mandatory for all cyclists to wear hi-viz clothing, even though it didn’t seem to help the cycling cop whose death led to his conclusion.

Finally, a writer for the BBC says evolution drives drivers to hate cyclists because we break the moral order of the streets; I know I try. Just Another Cyclist lists the cast of characters who inevitably show up in threads for such stories. Meanwhile, others reverse the dynamic by converting cars to bikes.

Happy Valentines Day to one and all. May you always know real love in your life.

 

Whole lot of linking going on — a hit-and-run presser, charges in SD, a bike celebration in Santa Monica

L.A. authorities plan a press conference this Thursday to announce a person of interest in the hit-and-run death of bike rider Sergio Rodriguez last December.

Meanwhile, news finally comes out that San Diego is pursuing a vehicular manslaughter charge against Francis Henry Zegler, the driver who killed cyclist Chuck Gilbreth last April. The question is why it took a Freedom of Information request to learn that charges were filed last August.

Doesn’t the public have a right to know — especially in cases like this where there’s a genuine demand for justice within the cycling community?

So much for open government in our neighbor to the south.

………

Friends remember former surfer Jonathan Koontz, the homeless man killed in collision with another rider while riding or walking his bike on the Santa Ana River Trail last December.

The fact that he was homeless does not make this case any less tragic; that such a well-loved and promising person ended up on the streets just adds to the pathos.

………

Don’t miss the official grand opening of the new Ocean Park Complete Green Street in Santa Monica this Saturday. Doors open at 11 am with a review of the city’s Bike Action Plan and a look at plans for the Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway, before a ride to nearby Ocean Park Blvd for the ceremony.

And did I mention there will be free food?

………

L.A. is becoming a bike town. Los Angeles approves the planned expansion of Universal Studios, which now includes a commitment to build a park and bike/pedestrian path, presumably an extension of the L.A. River bike path. Santa Monica plans to cut traffic by reducing parking. Will Campbell says Pasadena and Glendale have left Los Angeles in the bicycling dust. CLR Effect has a frightening story of a rider ignoring the warning signs of a heart attack until it was too late — and struck in the middle of a crit.

Cycling Unbound says better enforcement of traffic laws is a myth; sort of like the NRA’s argument that better enforcement of current laws is the sole solution to gun violence. Despite a highly concerned cycling community following the deaths of two bicyclists last year, the Newport Beach Bicycle Safety Committee is on hold while the city works to get its shit together renew its charter. People take precedence over cars in new plans for Solano Beach. Being blind doesn’t mean giving up bike racing — evidently, neither does heart surgery, kidney and pancreas transplants, broken bones or an amputated toe. Bay Area cyclists are looking forward to riding just halfway across the new Bay Bridge.

Bicycling says Cannondales’ Peter Sagan could be the new Eddy Merckx; how about just letting him be the first Peter Sagan? Under the heading of who really gives a rat’s ass, banned ex-Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong is told he can keep using Strava; no, seriously, I don’t give a whit. MSNBC host Chris Hayes joins the not-so-exclusive club of bike theft victims. A whopping 182 days in jail for a New Mexico man who killed a cross-country cyclist in 2010 while most likely drunk; he seems a little confused about which one was the victim but didn’t break the law by posting a hate-filled tantrum on his Facebook page. Denver man charged in the hit-and-run death of a cyclist walking his bike in the crosswalk tries to hang his own brother out to dry. Those Mormon missionaries aren’t any safer on their bikes than anyone else. Despite weather problems, last weekend’s world cyclocross championships were a success. As the world of Greg LeMond turns, he suffered a serious back injury after losing consciousness and crashing his car, he’s starting a new company focused on his indoor trainer, and still wants to run the International Cycling Union; not like it’s starting to seem like a soap opera or anything. A Manhattan lawyer is sentenced to three-and-third to ten years for critically injuring a cyclist while driving drunk in the Hamptons. DC’s newest bike lane is instantly co-opted for parking. A Washington cab driver causes a collision between cyclists, but police say it’s no one’s fault. Some people just don’t get it, as a DC area driver complains about law breaking cyclists — and the ticket he got for going nearly 50% over the speed limit. Shocking news, as a North Carolina cyclist rides a whole six miles — each way! — to school every day; yes, the boy should be applauded, but if our society had its priorities right, it wouldn’t be that big a deal. Yes, people like this really do drive among us. New Orleans bike lane more than triples the number of cyclists using the street. A Florida man is ticketed for riding he wrong way on a one-way street and failure to come to a complete stop, as an over-zealous deputy cracks down on the first-time rider in front of his own house. On the other hand, no hint of favoritism here, as Florida troopers fail to cite a truck driver they know for the death of a cyclist last September. A Myrtle Beach cyclist is punched with brass knuckles as he’s riding for no apparent reason.

An international adventurer concludes it’s better to bike 35,000 miles than walk 3,500. New cars could soon feature airbags to protect cyclists and pedestrians, or drivers could just, you know, stop running into us; thanks to Patrick Pascal for the heads-up. Buenos Aires builds new bike lanes in a bid for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. An Ottawa driver pleads guilty to running down a cyclist while probably very intoxicated, in front of police officers, moments after hitting several cars in a parking lot, with coke and oxycodone in the car. Make it safer for Brits to bike, and they will, but if ideas for better cycling infrastructure are ignored, nothing will change. Truckers consider changing delivery times in London to cut back on killing cyclists. A UK man loses his memory of his entire life and family following a cycling collision. Pro cyclist Johnny Hoogerland — the rider who won a worldwide following for continuing to ride after crashing through barbed wire — is seriously injured when he’s hit by a car while training in Spain. Drivers turn a new Dubai bikeway into a high speed raceway for overpowered cars. An angry Aussie driver hits a cyclist with a wooden pole, then goes back to his car and tries to run the rider over. A bizarre Australian study concludes that cyclists without helmets are more likely to ride drunk; a more reasonable interpretation of the data might lead to the conclusion that people who take risks are more likely to take risks. An Aussie father dealt drugs to fund his late cyclist son’s riding career; now the son’s home may be seized because it was purchased with drug money. Tokyo police plan to crack down on cyclists rather than the drivers who hit them. An artistic attempt to discourage Japanese cyclists from parking on the sidewalk. Shockingly, some cyclists break the rules, even in Singapore.

Finally, no, just no. And it’s technically illegal for women to wear pants in France unless holding handlebars or horse’s reins.

Or maybe you’d prefer a bike-riding kitty in a sombrero.

January was a good month, hero San Diego cyclist, Colorado bans bike ban and BMUFL comes to DTLA

Just a few quick notes to start the week.

………

There’s good news on the safety front, as January saw just two bike riders killed in the Southern California region.

While even one fatality is one too many, this is notable because January has been one of the worst months for cyclists over the past few years, with seven cyclists killed in 2012 and nine in 2011.

Maybe it was the unusually cold and wet weather that kept all but the most committed bike riders off the road for much of the month. Or maybe motorists are finally getting used to looking for riders sharing the road with them.

Or perhaps it’s just a fluke. Although it seems to have continued into the first weekend of February, when we were blessed with near perfect riding weather.

And that’s not to say that riders aren’t being injured; I’ve seen multiple reports of riders seriously hurt, both in collisions with vehicles and solo falls throughout the region.

But whatever the reason, let’s hope it continues. After the carnage of the last few years, with over 70 riders losing their lives in the seven county region each year — including unacceptably high fatality rates in Orange and San Diego Counties — we could definitely us a break.

Hopefully a permanent one.

Thanks to Eric Griswold and Ralph Durham for the heads-up.

……..

A San Diego cyclist is being hailed as a hero for rescuing a 14-month old toddler from the collision that killed his nanny.

The anonymous rider was one of the first people on the scene following the fatal collision, and noticed the child dangling from the straps of his stroller underneath the vehicle. So she freed him from the straps and pulled him away from the SUV, where he could get treatment for injuries including multiple fractures and a ruptured spleen.

Of course, it raises questions why police have not taken action yet when they say the driver ran a red light — in fact, she allegedly hit the nanny and child while they were walking with the light in the near crosswalk, pushing them across the intersection to the opposite crosswalk.

And initial reports indicated the driver said she looked up at the last moment and saw them in her path, which is about as close to a confession to distracted driving as you’re likely to see.

The SDPD has a reputation for blaming cyclists for collisions while ignoring violations by drivers. Let’s hope that doesn’t extend to pedestrians in this case.

Yes, there’s reason to show sympathy to the driver, who reportedly had just given birth herself in the previous 24 hours.

But maybe that’s why she shouldn’t have been on the road to begin with.

……..

Good news from Colorado, where courts have ruled that bikes cannot be banned by local governments.

The historic mining town of Black Hawk, which has sold its soul to legalized gambling in recent years, banned bikes from the only street connecting local highways. Effectively preventing riders from passing through the city, and blocking a long-popular riding route that I’ve taken myself many times before gambling was legalized in the area.

The reason the tiny, 100-resident town gave sounded almost reasonable, as they cited the high number of oversized tour buses on the narrow mining-era streets, saying it was in the riders’ best interest to avoid the area.

Even if they had to be forced to do so.

Of course, what that really translates to is that bikes slow down tour buses and make drivers actually pay attention, so let’s get them out of the way so gamblers can lose their money and fill city coffers that much quicker. And don’t even consider limiting the size of buses so they don’t pose as great a risk to humans who happen to be in the vicinity.

Fortunately, rational minds ruled on the state level, as the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that bicycles are a matter of state concern, and that local governments can’t ban bikes from any roadway unless there’s an alternate path available within 450 feet.

……..

Finally, hidden in the middle of that fisheye helmet cam grab blow is a blurry sign reading (Bikes) May Use Full Lane.

No big deal, really. Especially since it’s lost in the construction site at 7th and Figueroa in Downtown LA, where it’s unlikely to be seen by virtually anyone at the intersection.

But it’s the first one I’ve seen in the City of Los Angeles.

And hopefully, far from the last.

Bike May Use Full Lane Sign

Call now to fight killer roads in San Diego, and a near repeat of a Huntington Beach bike path collision

Just a quick update on a busy day.

Anyone who rides in the San Diego area should take a moment to read today’s BikeSD, in the wake of the death of a publicly unidentified bike rider on Clairemont Mesa Blvd last week.

While no official word has been released regarding the cause of the collision, cyclists have been quick to blame bad road design that forces riders going straight to cross over an exit lane leading to a freeway onramp — just as they did in the death of David Ortiz last year.

In response, riders are prepared to take on, not just a city famed for turning a blind eye to cycling fatalities, but what may be the state’s most bureaucratic and unresponsive agency.

There’s still time to join in and call Caltrans District Director Laurie Berman to demand that she appear at tomorrow’s San Diego City Council meeting to defend the city’s high-speed killer streets, and Caltrans’ apparent refusal to do anything to make them safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Or motorists, for that matter.

And to attend tomorrow’s council meeting yourself to demand both immediate and long-term action to prevent more needless deaths on the city’s streets.

Because far too many people have died on San Diego streets already.

……..

Our anonymous South Bay/Orange County correspondent reports another collision at the exact same site where a car went off PCH in Huntington Beach and nearly killed cyclist Richard Lauwers as he rode on the bike path below.

No cyclist involved

By 10pm, when I rode past, the totaled car had been righted and was facing north, in the exact location of the incident that put Richard Lauwers in the ICU for days.

The tow truck driver was the only one still on the scene, using power tools to try to get the mangled car roll-able.  He said he’d arrived just as the ambulance left Code 3 for UCI.  “The kid fell asleep,” is what HBFD told him, and he added that the car had rolled and then came to rest upside down, half on the path & half on the sand. He also said the cops don’t suspect alcohol or drugs (of course, if the tox results disagree, there’ll be charges.)

I hope all the pretty sparkly bits of glass are swept off the path for the Sunday morning cyclists.

I hope a mom isn’t signing Consent to Harvest papers tonight.

Ride safe out there!

Two serious collisions that sent drivers off the road in exactly the same spot indicates a serious safety problem that has to be addressed on the roadway.

And should serve as a warning to cyclists that they may not be safe riding the bike path there.

………

Finally, I stumbled on something I found heartbreaking over the weekend.

Yes, it’s a good thing that bicycling has become so mainstream that it’s now used to sell everything from pharmaceuticals to fashion.

But it’s a sad day when a once proud Pashley is relegated to serving out its remaining days as a flat-tired retail display in a Santa Monica Banana Republic.

Banana Republic Pashley

Update: Cyclist killed in San Diego collision; first SoCal cycling fatality of 2013

That didn’t take long.

Just three days into the new year, the first Southern California bicycling fatality rears its tragically ugly head.

Several San Diego sources are reporting that a cyclist was killed while riding on eastbound Clairemont Mesa Blvd near the onramp to southbound I-805 around 5:50 pm Thursday.

No details are currently available on the identity of the victim or how the collision occurred; the bike rider was dead by the time paramedics arrived. The woman driving the Pathfinder remained at the scene; there was no immediate indication that alcohol or other intoxicants played a role in the collision.

However, a satellite view of Clairemont Mesa Blvd suggests the sort of virtual freeway all too typical in San Diego, designed for high speeds and traffic volume at the expense of safety. A bike rider approaching the 805 onramp near the curb would be forced to cross in front of exiting traffic in order to continue on Clairemont Mesa.

That doesn’t mean that’s how the collision occurred, though. We’ll have to wait for more information to tell us what really happened.

This is the first fatal bicycling collision in Southern California this year, and the first in San Diego; that compares with 12 cycling fatalities in San Diego County in each of the last two years.

Thanks to BikeSD for the heads-up. My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his or her family and loved ones.

Update: BikeSD reports that the victim, who still has not been publicly identified, was a 53-year old married man of Chinese descent. He was reportedly using lights and wearing a reflective vest, yet a story from San Diego’s CW station suggests that no one is assigning blame to the driver — even though the rider should have been clearly visible to anyone who was paying attention.

In fact, police appear to blame the victim for veering in front of the driver, despite the fact that the design of the roadway forced him to do exactly that.

Yet a city official rejects any suggestion that bad roadway design could have played a role in the collision — even though a cyclist wanting to ride straight on Clairemont Mesa has to cross directly in front of high speed traffic exiting onto the on ramp, as I surmised above.

In the CW link above, San Diego 6 quotes key figures disputing the city’s head-in-the-sand comments:

“The design of the roadway is at fault,” said Kevin Wood of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. “This interchange was never built with my needs as a cyclist in mind. It wasn’t built with the needs of pedestrians in mind. This interchange was built using 1960s design standards that only considered automobile traffic.”

According to an attorney handling a similar case in San Diego, 

“This case [on Clairemont Mesa] is about as good as they get when it comes to lawsuits against cities for dangerous conditions,” he said.

It’s long past time for Southern California officials to stop denying the obvious, and accept that bad roadway design is just as much a problem as bad drivers or careless cyclists.

And people will continue to die until they finally accept that cars — and bad roads — can kill, and changes must be made.

Now.

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