Tag Archive for ThinkBike Los Angeles

Felony charges in SaMo road rage after all, and I nearly run down a seemingly semi-suicidal cyclist

I was wrong.

Twice, as it turns out.

Last week, I wrote that a report that the charges against SaMo road rager Jeffrey Ray Adams had been upgraded to a felony appeared to be incorrect, based on responses from both the DA’s office and the Santa Monica City Attorney’s office.

And I had previously written that any charge against Adams was likely to be filed as a misdemeanor rather than a felony, based on the victim’s lack of serious injuries.

Wrong on both counts.

Cyclist/attorney Dj Wheels reports that as recently as last Thursday, both offices still said the case had been referred to the CA. However, when he checked on it again today, he discovered that on September 23rd, the DA had filed two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon, case No. SA078790.

Why two felony counts for the one incident, I have no idea. And no word on why the DA’s office changed their minds.

As I noted last week, Adams was scheduled to appear for arraignment on September 26th; a felony bench warrant was issued when he failed to appear. The warrant was recalled when he appeared on the 28th with a new attorney at his side.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for November 2nd at the LAX courthouse.

My apologies to the victim, and to everyone else, for getting it wrong this time.

And thanks to the DA’s office for taking this case seriously, and to Dj Wheels for staying on top of it.

……..

Tuesday afternoon, I nearly hit a cyclist.

I was driving back from REI in Santa Monica, partly because I needed some new arm warmers and partly because our dog has had a difficult week. And like a typical Angeleno, there’s nothing she enjoys more than a ride in the car to cheer her up.

Just what I need, an auto-centric Corgi.

This particular cyclist was hugging the parking lane, riding closer to the curb between the parked cars, then coming back out into the traffic lane to go around parked vehicles.

When he moved back towards the curb in an extended space between cars, I took my opportunity to pass, moving slightly to the left just in case. Then watched him look back over his shoulder, my car clearly visible on his left. I responded by letting up a little on the gas.

And sure enough, even though we were in the middle of the block, he suddenly threw his arm out to signal a left turn and immediately cut across my path, forcing me to hit my brakes to avoid him.

Suddenly, I had a far different perspective on all those SWSS collisions — Single Witness Suicide Swerve — in which drivers swear the cyclists they hit pulled out in front of them without any warning.

Because I was that close to being one of them.

Fortunately, I recognized the warning signs and reacted in time, although my move to the left actually increased the risk of a collision by putting me closer to him as he cut across.

Although if it hadn’t been another cyclist following behind him and recognizing the warning signs, he might not have been so lucky.

Then, oddly, I came home to read a few online news stories I’d been saving from the weekend, and discovered one from a British cyclist who had a nearly identical experience.

And went back to talk to the offending rider the next day.

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Governor Brown has just five days to sign SB 910, the 3feet2pass bill, despite opposition from the CHP — and eloquent support from a retired CHP officer paralyzed on the job. Best biking buddies Lance and Tony urge the re-governor to sign, too.

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Joe Linton offers a behind-the-scenes look at Sunday’s CicLAvia, while Mayor Villaraigosa stands up for it. This year’s route will cover 10 blissfully car-free miles. Bikerwave is closing Sunday so they can be there; maybe they’ll meet with some of the candidates for city council in CD15 hosted by Bikeside.

And half of your Veggie Grill purchase tonight will go to support CicLAvia.

Speaking of Linton, he offers a remarkable review of the results of the recent ThinkBike workshops for Downtown, Pacoima and South L.A. And likes what he sees, despite complaints about the process from some quarters.

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Gas 2.0 says no one walks in L.A., but we do bike. KPPC’s Air Talk program talks bikes with the co-author of The Urban Cyclist’s Survival Guide. Jaclyn Andrea Garcia is scheduled to start her jail sentence on Thursday. LADOT is three-quarters of the way to its first 40 mile annual bikeway commitment, assuming you count sharrows. A beginner’s guide to surviving the streets of Los Angeles. South Pasadena plans a new citywide bike network. Santa Monica gets a new bike riding training course. Bike-friendly UCLA offers students free use of a new $1400 repair station, while free air stations are a big hit in the South Bay. Long Beach is ready for its close-up. A bike riding Downey gardener refuses to use power tools. The importance of overcoming obstacles of the mind when you ride.

Temecula police arrest an 18-year old mask-wearing cyclist who appeared to be casing parked cars; okay, but how exactly do you ride suspiciously? An OC cyclist loses control on a busy roadway and slams into an SUV; sounds like he’s lucky that’s all he lost. Corona del Mar cyclists could soon have new signs and striping at key intersections. The Voice of San Diego says it’s time to fix the city’s cycling problems; as usual, the comments offer the same battle between cyclists, bike haters and vehicular cyclists you’ll find on almost any online infrastructure story. A lightless cyclist is sideswiped by a Chico State University police officer. If you’re looking for an emotionally charged name for a new hockey team, how about Critical Mass?

Tea Party members who criticize “socialist” bikeways might be surprised to learn arch-conservatives have supported cycling for over 40 years. What can be done to cut the unacceptably high rate of cycling fatalities. Evidently, drivers don’t like other drivers, either; turns out we’re all responsible for the tensions on the street. Bob Mionske says it’s time to stop blaming the victims. A Hawaii father says urges cyclists to make an informed choice on wearing a helmet. Bikes, cars and trucks attempt to occupy the same space/time on Seattle streets. As if the endless conflict between cars and bikes isn’t bad enough, in Colorado it’s cyclists vs. sheep dogs; I’ve had a few stare downs with stray flocks myself, but can’t recall a run-in the with the dogs guarding them. Texas A&M cracks down on cyclists for their own good, while bike laws don’t protect cyclists at LSU. If you don’t have plans for next May, you might consider the Tour de Rouge, a six-day ride from Houston to New Orleans; any ride that gets you out of Houston and ends in the Big Easy can’t be bad. Chicago bans hand-held cell phones and texting by cyclists; having watched in amazement as texting cyclists blundered into dangerous situations, I seriously do not have a problem with that. Senator Chuck Schumer walks, but apparently doesn’t ride, the Prospect Park West bike lanes his wife continues to fight, even though opponents knew their case had no merit. The Wall Street Journal puts a couple of negative bike studies in perspective, and not surprisingly, the results look a lot different from what the press has been reporting with baited breath; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up. Streetsblog points out that bike-on-pedestrian injuries actually dropped as bicycling rates soared. Why DC needs their version of L.A.’s bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

Bicycling uses Geraint Thomas as an example of how to fall right, and offers eight examples of why The Cannibal may be the greatest cyclist of all time; no offense, Lance. Lululemon steps in to save the highly successful HTC-Highroad women’s team. New Calgary bike lanes oddly force riders to swerve out into the traffic lane. After nearly getting killed in an Arizona collision last year, adventurer James Cracknell cracks just 68 miles short of a tandem crossing of the British Isle; amazing that he could make it that after nearly dying last year. British cyclists prepare to go back to Blackfriars Bridge to demand safer cycling conditions. Another tragic — and predictable — London cycling death. The Dutch Cycling Embassy says cycling is for everyone, even if Dutch cyclists may not be qualified to ride in the UK. An Aussie magazine puts bike locks to the test. Tokyo police crack down on fixies (correction: Rick Risemberg points out they’re only going after brakeless fixies). Biking regains popularity in China.

Finally, cool L.A. bike jazz — and a cool L.A. bike jazz video — from Garfield Adams; I’ve started my day with this video for the past five days and it hasn’t failed to put a smile on my face yet. The music track is every bit as good without the bikes, too.

And I’m all for innovation when it comes to bike wheels, but no. Just no.

……..

One other quick note: I was hoping to highlight an exciting and heartbreaking new exhibit honoring fallen cyclists at the end of this month, but this post got a little too crowded. I’ll try to get to that in the next day or two.

Successful ThinkBike with the Dutch, a touch of racing news and lots of links to start your week

The ThinkBike LA workshops presented by the Dutch consulate reached a successful conclusion last Friday, with stunning suggestions to remake key sections of the city to be more like the bike-friendly Netherlands.

By all — or nearly all — accounts, it was an unqualified success. Unfortunately, I was unable to participate because the Dutch neglected to check with my wife’s plans for my birthday before scheduling the event.

And speaking of the Netherlands, experience in some Dutch cities shows that removing traffic signals from intersections can actually make them safer.

……..

Italian Giorgia Bronzini successfully defends her women’s world road championship, while Marianne Vos of The Netherlands finished second for the fifth  — yes, fifth — year in a row, cementing her status as the Susan Lucci of pro cycling; the UK’s Mark Cavendish tops the podium for the men. Alexandre Vinokourov unretires for the second time. As professional bike racing has become more popular, it has also become more dangerous; thanks to Georg Wolfberg for the heads-up.

Meanwhile, a little closer to home, Cameron Dye and Lisa Norden win their respective divisions in the L.A. Triathlon.

And a 93-year old San Diego cyclist sets an age record in the 90+ category that didn’t even exist until he created it; I swear, I want to be just like him when I grow up.

……..

A Chicago cyclist, who claims riding an average of less than 40 miles a week makes him an expert on urban cycling, is highly critical of Critical Mass while plugging his book at least three times on a single web page.

Unless you count plugging his book’s Facebook page, which makes it five.

Personally, I’ve known more than a few bike commuters who do over 40 miles a day. Not a week.

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Work is starting on rehabilitating a five-mile stretch of the Marvin Braude Bike Trail in the Southbay. The top eight bike commuting major cities please raise your hand; not so fast Los Angeles. The Eastside is about to get the city’s first green bike lane. Santa Monica Spoke writes about Tuesday’s successful vote by the Venice Neighborhood Council to support the Main Street road diet. Bikeside’s Mihai Peteu says he supports the road diet, but it could — and should — be a lot better, and criticizes the LACBC for calling for better cyclist education instead of fighting for better infrastructure. Santa Monica prepares to observe Bike It! Day on October 5th, as participation continues to grow. Bike Beverly Hills updates the limited progress on making that city safer and more inviting for cyclists. The Source asks if getting around L.A. without a car is easier than it was 10 years ago; I can say that cycling is significantly better than it was just a few years ago, while bus transit is worse. Tourists — and local residents — can now enjoy a one-day bike tour of L.A. Bike theft is up nearly 80% at Cal State Northridge.

The second annual OC Gran Fondo rolls October 8th. An Orange County pedestrian says she was injured by a distracted hit-and-run Huntington Beach cop; not surprisingly, the police claim it never happened. Cool new bike racks sprout in Escondido. Two cyclists are injured after being hit by a car on San Diego’s Mission Bay; just how hard is it to negotiate a simple curve along the beach? The new state Attorney General rejects the San Diego Association of Government’s proposed transportation plan as inadequate. A San Francisco bus driver is accused of rolling over a cyclist’s arm after passing her too close, then just driving away. A Chico teenager is in a coma after he’s deliberately hit by a truck while trying to stab the driver’s friend following a failed bike-jacking. An SF neighborhood group with a history of prevarication targets a three block link in a cross city bikeway. An Oakland cyclist is killed after losing control of his bike and hitting an oncoming car head-on. Once again, state law fails to support the victim in a fatal DUI case; thank God we’re protecting the rights of dangerous drivers to go out and do it again. And again.

In case you missed it, this is what dooring looks like — and why it’s so dangerous. How to bike in heels; not normally a problem I have to deal with, though now that I shave my legs, who knows? A new rear-view camera projects the images behind you onto a handlebar-mounted LCD screen so you can watch in real time as a driver runs you over. Hawaii cyclists push for a vulnerable user law. A cyclist in my home town witnesses a fatal hit-and-run; the victim this time was a female bear cub. That New York study showing 1,000 pedestrians are injured by cyclists every year is called “pretty thin” by a colleague of the authors, while an NYC woman asks the cyclist who hit her to contact her to pay for a new pair of pants and a doctor’s visit; good luck with that, unfortunately. An all-night bike ride by hundreds of cyclists is part of a Columbia class on the history of New York City. Reports are that D.C. police are being urged to fight crime by stopping cyclists in largely minority areas and impounding their bikes if they can’t prove ownership. Nine DC council members introduce a proposed anti-assault law based on L.A.’s new bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance. NPR reports that biking infrastructure has hit some speed bumps on Capital Hill.

Ottawa police charge the victim for not having rear reflectors after an 18-year old rider is hit by a car. A British Columbia rider wants to thank the cyclist who cared for him and his young son after he blacked out following a bad fall in an off-road park. A British cop is killed while riding drunk after downing a few pints with his fellow officers.

Finally, ever feel like flying when you ride? No, I mean really flying; thanks to KCRW’s always charming and elucidating Kajon Cermak for the link. Though I don’t know if these DIY kitty liter panniers would work with that bike.

And a Downey reporter follows a cyclist being recorded riding naked in Long Beach; though if the rider was in fact wearing a cape and helmet, I don’t think he was technically naked.

Update: You’re invited to ThinkBikes with the Dutch, and half a week’s worth of lip-smacking bike links

In case you didn’t get the invitation, the Consulate General of the Netherlands is cooperating with the City of Los Angeles and the LACBC to host ThinkBike Los Angeles in September.

Yes, you’re invited.

No really, I asked. Just be sure to register in advance.

And you’re welcome.

According to the invitation:

On September 22nd and 23rd, 2011, the Consulate General of the Netherlands, in cooperation with the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, will host ThinkBike, a unique, bi-national bicycle promotion and design workshop.

Bikeway design experts from the Netherlands will lead a series of workshops in Los Angeles to discuss how the Netherlands has successfully implemented a comprehensive program to promote cycling and to make specific recommendations on how Los Angeles can improve the comfort and safety of its bicycle route network. Over the course of two days, the Dutch design experts will work closely with teams of Los Angeles designers and community stakeholders to generate project proposals that feature innovative design ideas to meet the multifaceted cycling needs of Angelenos.

Opening Session (September 22nd from 9:00am to 10:30am): Welcome address by Consul General Bart van Bolhuis and Jaime de la Vega, General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. Dutch guests will share with elected officials, department heads, and business and community leaders how the Netherlands has instituted programs and policies to increase bicycling.

Closing Session (September 23rd from 3:30pm to 5:30pm):Closing Session led by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Consul General Bart van Bolhuis. Teams of local and Dutch experts will unveil to the public the project proposals resulting from the intensive, two-day design workshops.

The Netherlands Embassy works with North American cities through the ThinkBike initiative to bring Dutch bicycling experts together with local planners, engineers, transportation experts, community representatives and advocates to help improve conditions for biking. A recognition of Los Angeles’ growing stature as a bicycle-friendly city, this event promises to be an exciting opportunity to showcase what cutting-edge bikeway design can do for Los Angeles.

ThinkBike LA Opening Session
Thursday, September 22nd

9:00 – 10:30 AM

Los Angeles Department of Transportation  
Main Conference Room / CalTrans Building

100 South Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Register for the Opening Session
ThinkBike LA Closing Session
Friday, September 23rd

3:30 – 5:30 PM

Los Angeles Police Department
Deaton Hall Auditorium

100 West 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Register for the Closing Session

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Update: In my rush to get this online last night, I inadvertently left out the most important story of the day.

Joe Linton offers a detailed analysis of LADOT’s claimed bikeway mileage, showing the city has installed far fewer miles of bikeways than they had claimed — including taking credit for restriping bike lanes that already existed. It’s a long, detailed analysis, but a must read for every cyclist in the city.

And my apologies to Joe, and everyone else, for the late addition.

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Help kick off a self-inflating commuter bike tire on Kickstarter, and get a $50 discount — okay, $49.90 — when they hit the market.

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Long time pro George Hincapie kicks ass at 12,000 feet, while Team Type 1 cyclist Daniele Callegarin is flown to Denver with serious injuries after a crash in the Pro Challenge. The problem with new pro tours like Colorado’s Pro Cycling Challenge is that they’re new. Bike stage racing is like chess on wheels; why doesn’t anyone ever say it’s like Bingo or Monopoly?

Joaquin Rodriguez takes the fifth stage of the Vuelta a Espana, while Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel hold’s the leader’s jersey; Taylor Phinney breaks the cardinal rule of the grupetto on one of his most difficult days. Claremont Cyclist looks forward to the Vuelta; for some, it offers a chance at redemption, for others, it’s just a great race.

And Alexander Vinokourov unretires for the tour of Lombardie.

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LADOT says the Main Street road diet needs your help, while 7th Street cyclists get a separated bike lane. Bicycle Fixation says the ship is turning at LADOT and it’s about time. Oh, and the Hudson Troll Hole is back, too. Help name the North Figueroa Revitalization and Bikeway Group, as they start planning for bikeways on north Fig. Santa Monica’s Bike Action Plan enters the home stretch. Barry Bonds bikes in Marina del Rey. Interesting market plan, as a new firm will deliver your WeHo Whole Foods order by bike. The West Hollywood Bike Coalition takes shape to fight for better biking in Boy’s Town. Better Bike updates where things stand in 90210. The Urban Biking Handbook is now available, courtesy of Bicycle Kitchen cook Charles Haine. Mountain bikers are banned from a popular Placerita Canyon trail. A bicycle ride is not a race. They may not have homes, but at least they’ve got bikes thanks to some San Gabriel Valley high school students. A 65-year old Arcadia man who lost both legs in Vietnam rides cross-country for charity; I take back every thought I had about how hard my last ride was.

When Frank Peters recommends Safe Routes to Schools, a commenter calls it anti-car propaganda; sure, not wanting little kids to get killed on the way to class means you must hate motor vehicles — there should be an IQ test before you’re allowed to use the Internet. In a big victory for local riders, San Diego will now train its police officers on cyclists rights and the laws of bicycling; here’s the order they issued. The Modesto Bee says we have to go back to the basics we learned as children, and co-exist as pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. An Alameda County deputy probation officer faces charges in the death of a cyclist last June. A bike built to ride at 75 mph takes shape in Atascadero. A Menlo Park cyclist is killed on the same section of expressway that’s seen two previous fatalities, including Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Halberstam. After graduating from a Modesto high school, a student plans to ride his bike to college at the University of San Diego. A San Francisco cyclist is injured at a problematic intersection. Two children are injured when their bike trailer is hit by a car in Vallejo.

Bike-friendly cities are better for all road users. Just like children in Lake Wobegon, all American drivers above average, or at least think they are. The League of American Bicyclists offers five steps to riding better, and says there’s no better vehicle in emergency situations than a bicycle. Bicycling recommends 11 summer beers for post-ride recovery; now that’s a recovery drink I can get behind. Ten tips to lose weight by riding your bike. National Geographic looks at the Velomobiles that are currently touring the U.S. To kill someone in Alaska, use a car, not a gun. A 7-year old cyclist from Truckee rides the highest paved road in America. A Cincinnati ice cream truck driver returns a bike taken from a teenage bike crash victim. Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady bike with their sons in Boston. New York lawyers fight for the rights of cyclists; you’ll find a few good ones like that over there on the right. One thing we can learn from New York is to engineer people into city planning. OMG, the Daily News finds cyclists riding on a pedestrian walkway, proof that we’re all dangerous hooligans and that NYDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is the Anti-Christ; seriously, Daily News, get over it already. Three upstate New York men complete the cross-country bike ride halted by a collision 25 years earlier. Cyclists paved the way for paved roads. The father of professional triathlete Sara McLarty is killed in the most dangerous state for cyclists and pedestrians; thanks to Michael Byerts for the heads-up.

A Brit cyclist steals his bike back from the thieves who stole it. A London cyclist is killed by a bus while riding to move in with his girlfriend. Bicycling contributes £3 billions a year to the British economy. A Derbyshire writer suggests taxing sensible cyclists who wear helmets and — get this — knee and elbow pads. A UK cyclist makes a miraculous recovery after being just hours from having his life support disconnected. I love this story, as a 75-year old UK man plans to ride 75 miles on a 75-year old bike to raise money for an asthma charity. Town Mouse discovers a new device that tells you where to go just like a GPS, but actually folds into your pack. Speaking of the Dutch, I want to be just like this guy when I grow up; thanks to Amsterdamize for the link. An American man demonstrates why you don’t ride a bike in a war zone. Black and Jewish cyclists ride together in South Africa.

Finally, an economic analyst says Mexican motorists should flatten cyclists. No, really, that’s what he said.

I think the drivers I faced coming home through Brentwood on Wednesday must have taken his advice to heart. And maybe these drivers did, too.

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