Tag Archive for Temescal Canyon

Morning Links: Backlash to Palisades road diet, shooting of unarmed Castaic man protested, and bike events

No surprise.

The proposal to install a road diet on Temescal Canyon Road, with a parking protected bike lane on the uphill side and a buffered lane downhill, ran into opposition at the Pacific Palisades Community Council last week. (“Proposal to Take Away Downhill Temescal Lane;” right column, bottom of first page)

People tend to be very defensive of their traffic lanes — almost as much as they are parking. And anything that promises to improve safety usually takes a back seat to fears of traffic congestion, warranted or not.

Hopefully, local residents will come around once the benefits of the project are actually explained.


A group of mostly African-American civil rights leaders is stepping up to protest the shooting of an unarmed bike rider by sheriff’s deputies in Castaic Tuesday night.


The Ovarian Psychos’ 5th annual Clitoral Mass ride rolls tomorrow for riders who identify as female.

The LACBC is teaming with Just Ride LA for this month’s Sunday Funday Ride in DTLA on Sunday, regardless of how you identify.

Also on Sunday, Finish the Ride and Velo Studio are hosting the free community ride Tour de Griffith Park: An Introduction to Safe and Fun Riding.

West Hollywood will have a soft-launch of their new smart-bike bikeshare system on Tuesday.

Long Beach will celebrate the opening of a new parking protected bike lane on Artesia Blvd this Thursday.

And don’t forget the return of CicLAvia to iconic Wilshire Blvd next Sunday, albeit in a shorter version due to construction of the Purple Line.


Megan Guarnier has gone from doing risk assessment in nuclear plants to America’s best hope for cycling gold in Rio; she describes the road race as the hardest single-day course she’s seen, stray dogs and slick surfaces included.

Cycling Weekly looks at the favorites in the Olympic men’s road race, none of whom are American.

Australia’s Rohan Dennis was nearly out of the games before they started after crashing on a bad surface on the road course.

The good news is, there’s less doping in the women’s peloton than in the men’s; the bad news is, there’s doping in the women’s peloton.



The LA Times looks at the popularity of fixies, saying they’ve gone from hipster status symbols to being found everywhere. Although I question whether the too-frequent stories of cyclists injured after recklessly blowing through stop signs in front of oncoming traffic results from the inability of beginning fixed-gear riders to safely stop their bikes.

Atwater Village residents demand the removal of flood control barriers along their stretch of the LA River bike path, after the barriers have been removed everywhere else.

CiclaValley concludes his list of the ten most essential climbs in the LA area.



A Santa Ana man told police he was shot in the chest when he struggled with an armed gang member trying to steal his bike. Once again, if there’s a weapon involved, just let your bike go. Your life is worth more.

A new UC Riverside study concludes that low income bicyclists who ride out of necessity are largely ignored by SoCal communities, where bike paths and policies favor recreational and upper-income riders.

Salinas ranks among the worst in the state for pedestrian and bike safety.

San Francisco’s mayor announces increased efforts to improve safety on the city’s streets in the wake of recent deaths and criticism by bike advocates.



A new premium Strava feature will tell your friends exactly where you are so they can meet up, or find you if you don’t get home on time.

An off-duty Oklahoma officer is credited with saving a bike rider from being shot by an admitted killer.

The family of a bike messenger who was killed by a Chicago tour bus have filed suit, alleging the driver blew through the red light.

A Staten Island mom uses Facebook to get her son’s stolen bike back.

The New York Times talks to the hero bicyclist who saved a young man from jumping off the George Washington Bridge.

A New Jersey mountain bike trail is the latest to be sabotaged by anti-bike terrorists who planted barbed wire, broken bottles and boards embedded with screws and nails along the path. The scumbags who did this deserve to have the book thrown at them. But probably won’t, since they’re only targeting people on bicycles.

A full 40% of people in Baton Rouge LA say they would consider riding to work if the city had dedicated bike paths.



A transportation consulting firm says the cyclists cities should target are the ones who don’t ride yet.

Vancouver’s new bikeshare system has proven more popular than expected just two weeks after its launch.

Bighearted Victoria, Canada police pitch in to ship a boy’s stolen bike back to Alberta after it was stolen while his family was visiting the city.

The mayor of Edmonton, Canada says the racist rants telling a black bike rider to get off the street demonstrates the need for better infrastructure. It also demonstrates the need for fewer racist drivers.

There’s a special place in hell for the Ontario, Canada jackass who dragged a dog behind an ebike; fortunately, the dog is okay, while the driver faces charges including DUI.

Toronto drivers didn’t even wait for a new bike lane to be finished to before they started parking in it.

An Ottawa, Canada woman filed an assault complaint with the police after a male rider slapped her ass for riding too slow. Seriously, let other people ride their own way. And keep your damn hands to yourself.

Speaking of a special place in hell, that goes double for whoever stole the bike used by a British father to take his seriously ill five-year old daughter out for rides, and raise money to fight the disease that will eventually take her life.

The Guardian recounts the tale of bikeshare inventor Luud Schimmelpennink, and the failure of his hometown of Amsterdam to embrace the idea.

Romania wants to install new cycling routes to encourage bike tourism, including bike paths, public roads where cars are banned, and streets where traffic is limited to 18 mph.

Hyerabad, India will install a 300 station, 10,000 bike bikeshare system along the city’s railways.

The Israeli border guards caught on video confiscating a Palestinian girl’s bicycle and tossing it into the bushes say they did it to protect her. Sure, let’s go with that.



Forget cornering or descending; the most important cycling skill you need is riding the right speed to catch Pokémon. Your next bikeshare helmet could be made of paper.

And a clunky looking bike bell promises to turn any bike into a smart bike; a smart rider is another matter.


Morning Links: Protected bike lane proposed for Temescal Cyn, and former LA hip-hop artist attacked in St. Louis

This time, they can blame me.

It was just a few days before Christmas in 2013 when James Rapley went for a bike ride while on an extended layover at LAX on his way home to Australia for the holidays.

He turned up Temescal Canyon Rd, where he was killed by a stoned driver while riding in the uphill bike lane.

The more I learned about the crash, the more my stomach sank.

Because I’ve ridden that road countless times looking for a little challenge after riding along the beach — which is probably exactly what he was doing that morning. And had suffered a number of close calls myself as speeding drivers drifted into the unprotected bike lane after they failed to negotiate the road’s sweeping curves.

I had thought many times that the solution was a protected bike lane to separate riders from those speeding cars and careless drivers.

But kept the thought to myself, until it was too late.

So I began contacting city officials, calling for a parking-protected bike lane on Temescal between PCH and Sunset Blvd. Calls that repeatedly fell on deaf ears.

Until last year, when the BAC’s David Wolfberg and Danny Gamboa of Ghost Bikes LA and Empact Long Beach joined me in asking newly installed LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds for a meeting, in order to make the request one more time.

We never got that meeting.

Instead, we received an email saying not only did she like the idea, but that staff engineers were already at work designing the project.

We decided not to say anything at the time to avoid stirring up opposition before a design was even ready to discuss.

But the time has come.

The first public meeting to discuss the plan is scheduled to take place at 7 pm Thursday night in the Pacific Palisades Community Library, 861 Alma Real Drive, with CD 11 Mobility Deputy Jessie Holzer presenting.

The design work has moved along slowly due to the limited staff at LADOT.

But the last I heard, the plan called for a parking protected bike lane replacing the existing lane on the uphill side, and a buffered bike lane on the downhill side.

A protected lane isn’t practical heading downhill, where bike speeds can easily reach 30 mph or higher, to avoid trapping riders in the event of an emergency. But uphill, speeds are slow enough that even a fast climber should be able to easily brake to a stop without needing to exit the lane.

If the protected bike lane had been in place in 2013, there still might not have been enough parked cars present that early on a Sunday morning to block the car that drifted into the bike lane to take Rapley’s life. But even just moving the bike lane from the door zone to the curb might have provided enough separation to let him get back home to Australia with nothing more than a tale to tell.

Unfortunately, I can’t make the meeting tomorrow night.

But if you live, work or ride anywhere in the area, I urge you to attend to voice your support for the plan, and offer any suggestions you think could improve it.

Because the best memorial we can give James Rapley is to make sure it never happens again.


Streetsblog covers last night’s community engagement meeting in Hollywood to solicit input on LA’s Vision Zero plan, due to be released by the end of next month.

I was there, along with a couple dozen highly engaged community and safety advocates.

And even though I was highly skeptical when I walked in, I left feeling like LADOT and Vision Zero LA may really be committed to doing what it takes to reduce, if not eliminate, traffic deaths.

Although the lack of representation from the mayor’s office, or either of the city councilmembers representing the Hollywood area, doesn’t not speak well of the city’s commitment to support, let alone actually implement, the plan.

As always, the question is whether Los Angeles is willing to make the tough choices necessary to reduce serious injuries and fatalities, if that means eliminating parking, increasing congestion or standing up to community opposition.

I had been asked not to publicize the meetings, in order to maintain small working groups and keep them from devolving into the usual raucous conflicts between advocates and NIMBYs.

But you can find the full schedule on the Streetsblog piece; it’s worth attending if you can make it to one of the remaining meetings.


In sickening news from St. Louis, a former Los Angeles resident was attacked while riding his bike earlier this month.

Hip-hop artist and motivational speaker Jah Orah was lucky to escape with just a broken clavicle and sprained feet when a carful of youths attempted to rob him a gunpoint, then chased him down in their BMW, striking him at full speed while shouting “get that nigga” as he tried to ride away.

A gofundme account has raised over $10,000 of the $15,000 goal to help defray his expenses.

And hopefully, the kids responsible will soon be behind bars. For a very long time.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.


Nice long read from Bicycling profiling an Aussie pro known as the Bob Dylan of cycling, who would rather ride across the country — here or there — with his brother than train for his next race.

An international sports site says it’s time for a women’s Tour de France, running concurrently with the men’s race. To which I wholeheartedly agree.

Tour winner Chris Froome will ride the Vuelta following the Olympics, where former teammate Bradley Wiggins expects him to take the gold. One of the leading criticisms of Lance Armstrong — aside from the whole doping thing — was he didn’t take part in any of the classics, or any of the Grand Tours aside from the Tour de France; nice to see Froome isn’t a similar one-race wonder.



Strong Towns member Josef Bray-Ali explains why he’s running for LA city council against anti-bike incumbent Gil Cedillo.

Starting Monday, you can rent one of the new Metro Bike bikeshare bikes using a credit card.

The LACBC writes that bike infrastructure and education are working in tandem to improve safety.

CiclaValley says the site of the massive Sand Canyon fire is a familiar one for cyclists.

After being cancelled due to last weekend’s bad air as smoke from the fire drifted over the LA Basin, the third annual Tour de Laemmle has been rescheduled for August 21st.

The LA Weekly visits Culver City’s new meat-centric, bike-themed restaurant The Cannibal, and finds it lacking.

Long Beach announces plans for the city’s third Beach Streets open streets event in November.



Random attacks on homeless people continue in San Diego, as a man on a bike swung a hammer at a homeless man.

Santa Barbara approves a new Bicycle Master Plan designed to close gaps in the city’s existing bike network.

A Santa Cruz bike shop owner reports seeing a road-raging driver intentionally knock a cyclist off his bike, then run over the bicycle with the rider still underneath it.

Sacramento decides to ban bikes from certain sidewalks, but fails to decide which sidewalks those should be. Riders who break the law could be sent to a newly approved bike traffic school.



Bicycling says the country’s first, and so far, only bikeshare death highlights the need for better infrastructure.

A Spokane cyclist explains why he carries a gun for self-defense when he rides to work.

A Colorado driver was high on dope when he killed an eight-year old girl as she rode her bicycle with her step-father; marijuana is legal in the state, but driving under the influence of anything isn’t.

A Dallas driver gets five years in jail and ten years probation for smashing into a bike rider, then driving half a mile with the victim’s body embedded in his windshield before unceremoniously dumping him in an alley.

Corpus Christie TX looks at improving bike safety in the downtown area before launching a bikeshare program; a local rider captures some of the problems on his helmet cam.

The tour director for a Michigan bike advocacy group suffered multiple broken bones in hit-and-run on Saturday; the driver could face charges ranging from DUI to attempted homicide.

Tragic news from Ohio, as a young college student who disappeared while riding her bike home has been found dead; police have arrested a suspect who was convicted of a nearly identical crime 26 years earlier, except in that case, the bike-riding victim got away.

New York is going the wrong way on Vision Zero, while a Gotham website says the city’s Vision Zero plan would be better off without the NYPD’s involvement.

Tragic news from South Carolina, as a pregnant woman and her baby died after a head-on collision with a bike rider. This is why you always have to ride carefully around pedestrians; they’re often unpredictable, and the only ones more vulnerable on the streets than we are.



Go ahead, have that Coke after your ride.

A Canadian cyclist turns to profanity in an attempt to get her stolen bike back.

In a new study from the University of Duh, British Columbia researchers conclude that streetcar tracks increase the risk of bike crashes, while separated bike routes could cut the risk.

Evidently, Anarchy in the UK is more than just a Sex Pistols song, as swarms of scofflaw cyclists bring Central London to a halt.

A British Shakespearean company is riding across the UK to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death.

Yet another bike rider has been spotted riding on a British freeway, passing stalled traffic as he rode with no hands.

Bike riders in Denmark will now be allowed to turn right on red lights, but drivers still can’t.

Never mind philandering spouses or evil twins. An Aussie soap opera features a bike safety advocate painting his own DIY bike lanes to protest government inaction.

A teenaged Philippine cyclist was killed and his girlfriend wounded when a dispute over a near collision escalated into a fist fight, before the driver got a gun from his car and shot both of them. Which is why it’s always smarter to just ride away. Even if I have trouble doing that myself.

Caught on video: A Chinese distracted driver captured the crash that killed him on his dash cam as he fled from a fatal collision with a bike rider; a post mortem exam showed he was 15 times the legal alcohol limit.



Apparently, bike riders aren’t even safe when they’re sleeping in a tent. Who needs a bike lock when you’ve got bees?

And I don’t care if it makes you ride faster, I’ll take EPO over chewing animal testicles any day.


Morning Links: DUI killer gets off with 5 years probation, community service at the urging of the victim’s family

The ghost bike for James Rapley on Temescal Canyon

The ghost bike for James Rapley on Temescal Canyon

Sometimes the generosity of people astounds me.

Like the family and girlfriend of fallen cyclist James Rapley, and plea deal they requested for the driver who killed him.

As you may recall, Rapley was just visiting our city on an extended layover at LAX in December of 2013, leaving his girlfriend behind in Chicago to visit his family in Australia.

He never got there.

His love of bicycling inspired him to rent a bike and ride up the coast on a sunny winter morning, just days before Christmas.

Maybe he wanted more of a challenge, or a more sweeping view of the coast. We’ll never know why he left the beach to ride up the steep hill on Temescal Canyon.

Because that’s where he was run down from behind as he rode in the bike lane at 9 am on a Sunday morning, by Mohammed Kadri, then 19-year old and still high from the night before. Rapley died there, a visitor to our city, thousands of miles from the people he loved.

Kadri could have faced significant jail time if the case went to trial, although as a first-time offender in a county cramped for jail space, that was unlikely. Even though an OC lawyer got four years for an almost identical crime earlier this year.

Yet despite their obvious grief, Rapley’s loved ones saw no good in sending a young man to jail. Instead, they pushed for significant community service in the hopes that Kadri could turn his life around and be a benefit to others.

Last Friday, they got their wish, as Karen Scott, James Rapley’s long-time girlfriend who moved with him from Australia, explains.

Kadri pleaded no contest to the felony charge of vehicular manslaughter. “No contest” is legally equivalent to guilty however they don’t say the words “guilty”. No contest means they are admitting guilt because they believe it is in their best interest to do so.

• 5 years probation which cannot be reduced in length (the max probation period). 8 days credit from time served in prison (I wasn’t aware that’s he’d served time in jail)

• 150 days community service, 30 days per year min for duration of the probation.

• Proof of enrollment in community service to be submitted to the court by Dec 1st.

• He can’t ever carry a firearm and will be considered more harshly on any future criminal acts due to the felony charge.

• He was registered on probation straight after the hearing and it all goes into place straight away.

Myself and James family believed that community service was the best outcome as James would have wanted this and also there is some good that may come from this for the community and hopefully Kadri will grow from the work he does. I can’t see how anyone who will be doing community service every week (or once a fortnight) for 5 years couldn’t come out of this a better person. 150 days is one of the highest number anyone had seen for court mandated community service, usually its 100 days or less. If we had decided to go down the jail route, as he didn’t have a history, he would probably have been given a maximum of 16 months in jail, but because the jails in LA are so full, he’d only serve half that, at 8 months. And with jail that is it, he wouldn’t do anything in the community and we just didn’t see that outcome being what James would want. We did want to make sure however that he plead guilty to the felony charge as we wanted it to be on his record and clear that he take responsibility for his actions.

Scott also gave me permission to post the Victim Impact Statement she read to the court.

It is a beautiful, loving and heartbreaking document, and one that is difficult to read. But it offers a clear picture of harm caused by traffic violence and driving the influence. And the enormity of the loss she suffered, along with his family.

Over the course of this case, I’ve come to know Karen Scott, through emails and finally, meeting in person when she came to LA for a hearing.

She is a petite, charming and generous woman, with a gentle accent that belies her origins Down Under; her love for James still evident nearly two years later. Yet she has born the incredible weight of this case on her small shoulders, bearing witness for his family when they could not bear to set foot in the city where their son died.

I can’t say I would have made the same choices they did. I would have pushed for jail, and the revocation of Kadri’s license.

But I admire their charity, for lack of a better word. And, if not forgiveness, a willingness to release the need for revenge and craft a punishment designed to make the killer of the man they loved whole again.

They also have me wondering, not for the first time, if there might not be a better way to punish those who kill behind the wheel.


After winning the Vuelta, Italian rider Fabian Aru could get the green light to lead the Astana team in the 2016 Tour de France.

A 20-year old Indian track cyclist becomes the first from her country to medal in the women’s elite category, taking five medals at the Taiwan Cup Track International Classic.

The new head of USA Cycling takes pride in being one of the few ex-pros who didn’t dope, saying his instinct is to throw dopers under the bus. There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part, there seems to be two kinds of pro cyclists from the past decade — those who doped, and those who didn’t get caught.

Speaking of which, banned doper doctor Michele Ferrari sues to halt distribution of Lance bio The Program.



Streetsblog says Vancouver is a bicycling city with lessons for Los Angeles.

Explore site-specific art installations on the LA River bike path this Saturday with TEN FEET: Art Meets The River.

LAist looks forward to CicLAvia’s fifth anniversary on Sunday the 18th with a return to the Heart of LA route, where it all started on 10-10-10. And yes, I still have the T-shirt.

A writer for the Daily Trojan says bikes are an important part of campus life at USC, but the university needs to be made more bike friendly.

South Pasadena considers hosting a stage for next year’s the Amgen Tour of California. The anticipated $7,800 cost seems like a bargain; it should bring in far more than that in tax receipts from the additional sales local businesses will see.

Speaking of South Pas, a meeting will be held on October 20th to discuss traffic calming on Arroyo Drive. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.



Jerry Brown signed AB 1096 clarifying the rules for e-bikes. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the tip.

The lawyer for a San Diego driver charged with driving head-on into a group of cyclists says yes, she had meth in her system but she wasn’t impaired by it. So evidently, she just drove the wrong way and crashed into them for fun.

The residents of Coronado react in the comments to the justified ridicule they received from the Late Late Show’s James Corden. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

A bike rider in her 60s suffered major injuries in a Palm Desert collision Tuesday evening; the second major collision involving a cyclist in that town in just three days.

The Capitola city council will decide whether the safety of bike-riding school children is worth removing 99 parking spaces.

Sad news from Hayward, as the body of a missing mountain biker was found 150 feet down a park hillside.

A Contra Costa writer looks at the arrival of bicycles in California in the 1800s, 20 years after they swept the rest of the country.

Six miles of San Jose streets will go car-free for the city’s first ciclovía.

There won’t be any tolls charged for bicyclists or pedestrians to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, for the next five years, anyway.



Bicycling offers tips on how to keep your makeup flawless on a ride. Which is apparently the biggest problem women riders face.

Yakima WA releases a draft $6 million bike plan in hopes of getting off the list of the country’s 10 fattest cities.

Grist tells the ghost bike origin story, tracing them back to a 2003 St. Louis art project.

Loss of parking rears its ugly head in Ithaca NY, as residents and councilmembers want to reopen discussion of bike lanes on a major street, even though it’s too late to stop the project.

The Department of DIY strikes in NYC, as someone created their own protected bike lane by placing orange cones and flowers along an existing bike lane; it took four people less than 20 minutes and $516 to install. Are you thinking what I’m thinking, LA?

Norfolk VA unveils a draft bike and pedestrian plan designed to improve 12 critical corridors.

Atlanta cyclists hope the city’s new CBO — that’s Chief Bicycling Officer — can lead it back to two-wheeled glory.

The parents of a Palm Beach boy will receive a $12 million check from a condominium association, four years after their son was killed while riding his bike by an elderly resident who couldn’t see over the building’s untrimmed hedges.



A review website compares the new SitGo e-bike foldie to a Transformer. Although it looks more like a Star Wars droid to me.

Canada’s Halifax cycling Coalition calls for protective side guards on trucks to keep bike riders and pedestrians from falling underneath. Actually, those should be required everywhere. Now.

The Guardian tries out anti-pollution masks to protect bike riders from bad air.

A cute new magnetic, 80-decible bike bell is detachable and small enough to carry in your pocket. No word on whether it will be available in the US.

A 75-year old British bicyclist now teaches CPR with the 37-year old woman who saved his life when he suffered a heart attack while riding six years earlier.

A Swedish cyclist who “technically” had the right-of-way engaged in a 10 minute stand-off with a truck driver coming in the opposite direction.

Aussie cyclists say upgrading roads without installing bike lanes will only mean more congestion.

An Australian website accuses Melbourne of unveiling a radical plan to make the city bike friendly, including — gasp! — reduced speeds and separating bikes from pedestrians along a popular promenade.



Seriously? Solve a Rubik’s Cube while riding a bikeshare bike through a London park with a 5 mph speed limit, and get reported to the police for endangering the safety of others. Your next ride could be on a 3D printed open sourced bike.

And no matter how mad you are at the driver who honked at you, don’t bash his car — and him — with your U-lock.

Just… don’t.


Update: Fatal bike collision on Temescal Canyon in Pacific Palisades

The aftermath of today's fatal collision; photo by Clifford Phillips

The aftermath of today’s fatal collision; photo by Clifford Phillips

I’m still waiting on official confirmation, but the news doesn’t look good.

A tweet from West LA Traffic Division Captain Brian Adams reports that the LAPD is working a fatal traffic collision at Temescal Canyon Road and PCH in Pacific Palisades.

At the same time, I received an email from a reader who had just passed the intersection and saw a mountain bike with the rear wheel crushed, and a car stopped nearby with its windshield bashed in; the rider was nowhere to be seen.

Of course, that does not necessarily mean the rider was killed. But it sounds like prayers or good thoughts are in order.

More details as they come in.

Update: According to KCBS-2, the collision occurred around 9:15 Sunday morning when a vehicle drifted into the bike lane on Temescal Canyon and hit the rider from behind. The victim was declared dead at a local hospital, later identified as St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica; another report says he was taken to UCLA Medical Center in Westwood.

And yes, the driver remained at the scene. 

A comment from Lois below indicates the collision occurred about a quarter mile above PCH on the eastbound, uphill lane. 

Having ridden through there many times myself, that is one of the few bike lanes where I don’t feel comfortable, as many motorists drive far above the speed limit and drift from their lanes on the many curves, both up and downhill.

This is the 84th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 36th in Los Angeles County. It is also the 16th cycling death in the City of Los Angeles since the first of the year — over three times the number of bicycling fatalities last year.

Update 2: Pacific Palisades Patch reports the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was approximately 25 to 27 years old, and was hit hard enough to throw his body up to 20 feet through the air.  

One commenter on the site said she was told by an officer at the scene that the driver had been drinking — at 9:15 am — while the writer of the Patch piece says the driver himself suggested he was texting when the collision occurred.

John Rapley; photo from The Age

James Rapley; photo from The Age

Update 3: Police officials have identified the victim at 29-year old Australian tourist James Rapley from Victoria; the driver was 19-year old Mohammed Kadri of Santa Monica.

There’s something horribly wrong when someone can’t visit this country without returning home in a coffin.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for James Rapley and his family.

Update 4: Australian publication The Age confirms a comment from a friend of the victim that Rapley was just passing through Los Angeles when he was killed.

The paper quotes his father as saying Rapley, a software developer for Groupon in Chicago, had rented a bike during an extended layover on a flight back home to Melbourne for the holidays. An experienced rider, he may have enjoyed the challenge of tackling the steep climb, even on a rental bike.

His father also confirms the report that police said the underage driver had been drinking at that early hour.

“He was the sort of kid everyone hopes to have as a son,” John Rapley said.

“I just really want to get the message out that drink driving can affect you anywhere and it’s so stupid.”

No word yet on any charges the driver may face. Let’s hope the authorities take this one seriously — especially if reports that he was texting as well turn out to be true.

I can’t overstate the tragedy that someone just passing through our city is murdered by someone too young to legally drink, let alone be on the road in that condition. 

Update 4: The Santa Monica Mirror reports Kadri was arrested on an unspecified felony charge at 10:50 am, and released on $50,000 bail Sunday night — which seems low under the circumstances.

He is scheduled to appear in Downtown Municipal Court on January 16th; we should be able to learn what charges he’ll face then. Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

Update: Cyclist gets double smackdown crossing PCH — seriously injured by car, then blamed by police

First he gets run down by a car on PCH.

Then he gets smacked down once more by the LAPD.

According to Pacific Palisades Patch, a bicyclist was riding his bike in the crosswalk across Pacific Coast Highway at Temescal Canyon Road at 7:51 am on Tuesday, October 30th when he was hit by a car heading north on PCH.

The rider, identified only a 30-year old white male, suffered severe injuries, including broken legs and lacerations to his arms and chest.

Then, Patch reports, police blamed him for the collision simply because he was riding in the crosswalk.

(Officer) Johnson said the accident report has the bicyclist listed as the cause of the accident.

“Bicyclists can’t ride in the crosswalk,” he said. “You have to walk it. As soon as you start pedeling (sic) you’re basically considered a vehicle and have to consider the rules of the road.”

Never mind that in order for the collision to occur the way it’s described, someone had to run the red light. Either the cyclist was crossing against the light — which would seem unlikely, given the heavy traffic on PCH at that hour — or the car that hit him ran it.

Either way, that would seem to be a more immediate — and important — cause of the collision than the simple presence of the rider in the crosswalk.

And never mind that the explanation given by Officer Johnson would appear to be in direct contradiction to state law.

According to California law, bikes are allowed to use crosswalks, which are legally considered an extension of the sidewalk. So if it’s legal to ride on the sidewalk — which the City of Los Angeles allows — it’s also legal to ride your bike in the crosswalk.

Sort of.

In a failed attempt to clarify the law, the state legislature recently amended the law to say that cyclists can ride along a crosswalk. Yet failed to clarify what exactly that means.

After all, you can ride along a pathway or along a river, with very different meanings. One puts you on it, the other next to it.

So depending on who is interpreting the law, and how, you can either ride on the crosswalk or alongside it.

Thanks for the clarification, guys.

Then there’s the question of which way you can ride on the crosswalk. And that’s where it really gets complicated.

According to the LAPD, after consulting with the City Attorney, they’ve come to the following, extremely convoluted, interpretation of the law.

As we discussed, cyclists are allowed to ride on the sidewalk in Los Angeles. And since sidewalks don’t have any direction, bike riders can legally ride either way — as long as they remain on the sidewalk.

But in what appears to be a gross misinterpretation of the law, the LAPD says as soon as a bike enters the street, it becomes a vehicle. Even if it’s just crossing the street. And regardless of whether it’s in — or next to — the crosswalk.

And since it’s a vehicle, it then has to be ridden in the direction of traffic.

Even though pedestrians are allowed to use the crosswalk going in either direction. And even though state law says absolutely nothing about direction in allowing bikes to ride along the crosswalk.

That would appear to be the actual violation the police were referring to in this case, rather than riding in the crosswalk.

And there is nothing — absolutely nothing — that I am aware of in state law that says riders must dismount and walk their bikes across the street.

In fact, that would appear to be another violation of state law, which assigns bike riders all the rights and responsibilities of other vehicle users. I am unaware of any requirement that drivers have to get out of their cars and push them across the street before being allowed to get back inside and drive off.

Which brings up the other problem with this collision.

This intersection is a popular route for riders leaving the beachfront bike path along Will Rogers State Beach, whether to ride up Temescal Canyon or cross to the other side of PCH to continue on towards Malibu.

But there is no way for cyclists to trigger the green light at this intersection. The signal detectors embedded in the pavement don’t recognize bikes, and there is no push button for bikes or pedestrians headed east across PCH.

During busy summer months, that’s usually not a problem. Cars leave the parking lot on a regular basis, triggering the light and allowing riders to cross with the light.

But this time of year, you can wait hours for a car to come by and trigger the signal.

So the workaround many riders use — myself included — is to ride over to the north side of the intersection, push the signal button at the crosswalk, then ride across the street on or next to the crosswalk.

Which is probably exactly what the victim was doing that morning when he was hit by a Subaru. And which is now illegal, according to the LAPD.

So first this cyclist was victimized by bad roadway design, which robbed him of his right to ride like any other vehicle, and forced him to use the crosswalk.

Yes, state law does require signal detectors that recognize the presence of bikes, but only when the intersection is repaved or rebuilt in some other way. And just like drivers, cyclists are legally allowed to cross against the red light if it fails to change for several cycles.

Although you might have a hard time explaining that to a cop. And it would be a foolish thing to attempt at rush hour on a busy, high-speed highway like PCH.

Then he was hit by car, which may or may not have run the red light.

And finally, if the article is correct, he appears to have been victimized a third time. This time by the LAPD, with what looks like a highly flawed interpretation of the law.

He may or may not have been at fault.

But he certainly wasn’t at fault for the reason given.

Update: Now it makes more sense. 

It turns out that the Patch story misplaced the location of the collision, according to the LAPD’s new bike liaison for the West Traffic Division, Sgt. Christopher Kunz, in response to an email from Colin Bogart, Education Director for the LACBC.

Rather than the intersection of PCH and Temescal Canyon, the collision actually occurred about 1700 feet north at the crosswalk leading from the parking lot to the trailer park

And rather than being cited for riding in the crosswalk, the primary factor leading to the collision was a violation of CVC 21804(a), entering a highway without yielding to oncoming traffic. Sgt. Kunz says independent witnesses reported the victim rode across PCH at a high rate of speed, in an apparent attempt to beat oncoming traffic.

And failed. 

So while the intersection of PCH and Temescal remains a difficult and dangerous place for cyclists to cross, and the department’s current interpretation of crosswalk law would seem to leave a lot to be desired, neither one had anything to do with this collision. 

Instead it appears to be a case of bad judgement. A rider taking a chance he shouldn’t have taken.

And a news report that only told part of the story.

Extra caution required as construction projects raise risk on PCH and Temescal Canyon

A couple of quick notes from Wednesday’s PCH Taskforce meeting that could affect your rides along the coast.

First up is a stormwater treatment program on Temescal Canyon Road that will block the right turn lane off PCH, as well as intermittently blocking the uphill bike lane on Temescal itself.

The project is designed to capture the first ¾ inch of rainwater, which contains the most pollutants, allowing it to be diverted for treatment once the storm is over.

However, it could pose a risk to riders on PCH, who will be forced to share the right through lane with right-turning drivers, as well as drivers going straight. The bigger problem, though, is the blockages of the bike lane planned for the uphill side of Temescal.

Construction under the center divider will force temporary closures of one uphill lane as well as the bike lane, requiring riders to share a single lane with motorists on a road where many drivers race through far above the speed limit. And where the steep uphill means riders travel at far lower speeds than they would otherwise, creating a potentially deadly combination.

However, the solution could be as simple as the wide sidewalk on the right, if the city just invests in a few dollars worth of asphalt to build curb ramps that would allowing riders to safely bypass the construction.

Downhill traffic won’t be affected.

The second, and potentially more dangerous, problem lies a little further south on PCH at Potrero Canyon.

A project to stabilize the canyon will mean as many as 200 heavy trucks loaded with soil will soon be traveling northbound PCH every day, adding more — and more dangerous — traffic to one of the area’s most popular riding routes. Then after dumping their loads, they will turn around at the temporary traffic signal that you may have noticed being installed in that area this week, and return back down PCH towards Santa Monica.

This, in an area where the lack of an adequate shoulder means riders have to take the lane in front of frequently speeding drivers — as well as traffic that can grind to a stop due to heavy congestion.

That section is scheduled to be widened, and a shoulder added, by 2017.

But in the meantime, you should ride with extra caution and keep a wide eye open for truck drivers unfamiliar with the road, and who may not be looking for you.

On the other hand, major work on the sewer project that has affected southbound cyclists on PCH around West Channel Road for the last year, and forced a bypass to the beachfront bike path, should be finished by May; the full job is expected to be done by fall.


In a surprising move, the nation’s three leading bike advocacy organizations have decided to merge their efforts.  The League of American Bicyclists, industry trade group Bikes Belong and the Alliance for Biking and Walking announced that they will join together to form a new unified organization.

What exactly that means remains to be determined.

They could unite at the top, while keeping the existing structure of the three organizations intact. Or they could merge into a single organization — though how they make that work when one is membership driven, one composed of local bike organizations from across the nation, and one made up of the nation’s largest bicycle and components manufacturers is beyond me.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive so far. But as Richard Masoner points out on Cyclelicious, a number of questions remain.

Done right, this could give us the political clout we need to avoid future disasters like the current House Transportation bill, which effectively eliminates all bike and pedestrian funding.

Or it could end up weakening — or eliminating — three organizations that have served us well over the years, and leaving us with something less responsive to the needs of average riders.

This proposed merger bears the possibility of greatness. But it’s something we’ll all want to keep a close eye on.


Speaking in Los Angeles, bike racing boss Pat McQuaid finally acknowledges that women riders deserve better. Commute by Bike offers another perspective on L.A.’s green bike lane, while Flying Pigeon shows there’s a little overlap in that new agreement allowing film production trucks to park next to them. A Cypress Park middle school falls in love with bikes; while an L.A. riders says it’s okay for roadies to be friendly, too. New bike lanes land on Aviation Blvd near LAX. While L.A. works on pilot projects, Santa Monica thrives by catering to bikes. UCLA gets a new bike repair stand. Malibu moves forward with a PCH safety study. Solving bike clutter in Redondo Beach. A Redondo Beach bike sting nets career criminals. Diversifying transportation in Glendale is a necessity, not a luxury. Montrose Search and Rescue come to the aid of two stranded mountain bikers near Crescenta Valley. Welcome to the newly formed Pomona Valley Bike Coalition, the latest local chapter of the LACBC. Bikes and beer always go together, so how about velos e vino?

Following the death of a teenage cyclist, San Diego’s press belatedly discover the existence of fixies. San Diego cyclists have to deal with trash cans in the bike lanes, too. Riding on the sidewalk isn’t enough to keep a Stockton cyclist safe from out of control trucks. Texas Governor Rick Perry — the only other governor fool enough to veto a three-foot passing law besides our own Jerry Brown — will have surgery for an old bicycling injury in San Diego. Evidently, sidewalks in Atascadero have right and wrong directions, unlike sidewalks everywhere else — and seriously, even a local cop should know that riding on the sidewalk in either direction isn’t illegal under state law.

Sometimes an endorsement of cycling isn’t as glowing as it seems. Wisconsin cyclists rally for a vulnerable user law. Despite fatally dooring a cyclist, a New York driver faces just 30 days or $500 for driving with a suspended license; no, really, the NYPD takes fatal bike collisions seriously, honest. Gotham defense attorney’s love it when drivers leave the scene of a collision. A Carolina bike shop owner says cars and bikes really can get along. A Georgia bill would ban riding side by side. Why Miami is a deathtrap for cyclists; it’s not just Miami — Florida continues to be the most dangerous place in the nation for cyclists and pedestrians. It’s not the UCI that’s stifling bike frame innovation.

A Canadian cyclist is killed in a collision after running a red light, yet the Mounties insist on blaming his death on the lack of a helmet; I’d say risk factors were a) running a red light, b) getting hit by a truck, and c) not wearing a helmet, in that order. In a remarkable display, the UK’s Parliament gathered Thursday to debate bike safety — something our Congress desperately needs to do, yet which I doubt we will ever see. Two thousand cyclists ride for bike safety in London. In a rare display of Fleet Street comity, London’s Guardian endorses the Times’ Cycle Safe campaign. The risk of death is 10 times higher for cyclists in the UK’s rural areas. A British cyclist dies even though the car that hit him was only doing 10 mph. Safer cycling makes cities safer for everyone. A Scot cyclist punches a driver in the nose after getting knocked off his bike; guess which one got punished? For such a seemingly freak accident, there seem to be a lot of new stories about children killed or injured by falling on their handlebars; is this a bigger problem than we realize? Copenhagen police target cyclists for fun and profit. An Aussie cyclist explains why they’re so angry. According to Reuters, Indonesian cyclists risk their lives every day to ride to work.

Finally, another typically insightful and entertainingly artistic look at cycling from Boston’s Bikeyface. And a cyclist leaves a note for a driver ticketed for parking in the bike lane.

Today’s ride, in which I inflict intense self-suffering. Twice.

I’ve mentioned before that I have one last goal before I consider myself fully recovered from the infamous beachfront bee incident.

I want to get back the climbing ability I used to have. Along with that knot of muscle above the knee that instantly identifies you as a serious cyclist, when there’s not a bike in sight.

You see, when I first moved to California, back when Ronnie Reagan was still riding a desk in the Oval Office, I wasn’t that great with hills. Sure, I could pull off the occasional mountain ride, but it wasn’t that hard ride to through Denver without any real effort.

That changed when I got to San Diego.

Most visitors to San Diego never get past the beach or the Gaslamp Quarter, so they don’t realize the city is just one steep hill and canyon rolling into another. And it quickly became clear that if I wanted to ride beyond my own neighborhood, I needed to get a lot better at hills.

So I found the longest, steepest hill I could. And I rode it.


At first, I could only go 50 to 100 feet before I had to stop, feeling like my heart and lungs were going to explode. Then I waited until I got my pulse and breathing back under control, and rode another 50 feet or so. Then I did it again, and again, until I finally topped the crest and got on with my ride.

It took me a few weeks before I could make it all the way without stopping. Slowly, chest pounding and legs screaming in pain, but I made it.

Then once I could make it every time, I focused on getting up that hill faster and in progressively higher gears. Until at last I reached the point where I would find myself passing some of the local pros on climbs, only to have them fall in behind and let me pull them up the hill — unless I happened to feel like dropping them that day.

But that was a long time ago. And I want to get that back.

So at least twice a week now, I work hills into my route.

One route starts uphill as soon as I leave my door, with eight steep climbs in the first five miles. The other follows my usual route, but adds a full mile of non-stop climbing up Temescal Canyon, from the beach to the Palisades.

This week, for the first time, I felt like I was making real progress. I zoomed up the first route on Tuesday, attacking hills, riding out of the saddle and upshifting on the upslope. So I was really looking forward to today’s ride up Temescal.

Which, as it turns out, was like looking forward to a root canal.

The first third or so was fine. I attacked at the base, upshifted when I rose out of the saddle, and shifted back down when I sat, without missing a beat.

Then without warning, I was done.

I’m not sure why. But suddenly, every pedal stroke was an effort. Standing didn’t help, shifting didn’t help. And I refused to use my granny gears.

So all I could do was suck it up, and focus on one pedal stroke at a time. I’d pick out a landmark a few feet ahead — a car, a tree — and just try to make it that far. Then I’d pick out another, and another. Finally, I made it up past the high school, where the incline eases up a little, and could make it the rest of the way to Sunset.

Then I rode back to the bottom, turned around and did it again.

It wasn’t any easier the second time.

But that wasn’t the point. Because I was damned if I was going to settle for a ride like that. And as hard as it was, it should make it just a little easier next time.

Then I revised my route to include another hard climb on the way home. Because the only way to get better at riding hills is to ride hills.

And the hill you don’t ride today will be the same one you can’t ride tomorrow.


Flying Pigeon needs more double rail saddle clamps if you happen to have a few hundred laying around. Damien asks if it’s time California had a 3-foot law of it’s own. Short answer, yes. A biking newbie asks how to become a little better at climbing. Missouri’s Tracy Wilkins discovers traffic calming islands that force bikes and cars a little too close for comfort. MTB Law Girl lives up to her name, presenting a synopsis of a cyclist vs. cyclist road rage case; the offender was sentenced to 35 years. First they got mad, now Texas riders plan to get even. A San Francisco columnist says if you want cheap, easy transportation to the office, take a bus. The Examiner suggests that Amtrak could increase their ridership if they were more bicycle friendly. We can’t get sharrows, yet Portland riders get their own bridge. A Vancouver writer says it’s time to get past the whole bikes vs. cars conflict. After a two-year doping ban, former Tour de France favorite Vinokourov is back; next year’s tour is starting to look very interesting. Finally, build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door; so what happens when you build a better bike reflector?

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