Tag Archive for Topanga Canyon

Morning Links: Upcoming bike events, possible Topanga Canyon closure, and bike boulevards coming to East LA

Let’s start by catching up with a few bike events coming in the next few weeks.

The LACBC will be hosting a ride along the lower LA River in Paramount this Saturday. That will be followed the next day by the monthly Sunday Funday ride in Elysian Park.

Walk Bike Burbank is holding their Burbank Bike Festival this Sunday.

Warm up for next week’s CicLAvia when Santa Monica’s COAST Open Streets Festival returns for a second year this Sunday.

This Wednesday is National Walk/Bike to School Day.

SoCal cyclocross season starts next weekend in Irvine.

CicLAvia returns to the Heart of LA on October 8th.

With the Olympics coming back to LA, this is a great time to meet legendary ’84 LA Olympic cyclist Nelson “The Cheetah” Vails at Stan’s Bike Shop on October 14th.

Long Beach is bringing back an expanded edition of their popular Beach Streets ciclovía on October 28th.

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If your weekend plans included riding Topanga Canyon, you might want to consider another route.

The road will be closed overnight on Saturday and Sunday from PCH to Grand View Drive; the article is unclear whether it will be closed entirely to bikes and pedestrians, or just until 5 am.

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Local

In a remarkably one-sided report, the Los Feliz Ledger says opponents of the successful Rowena road diet are awaiting the results of a safety study in hopes of reversing the lane reductions, and are feeling empowered by the reversal of the Vista del Mar road diet.

Metro will be installing a pilot bikeshare kiosk in Echo Park in time for next week’s CicLAvia in an effort to gauge demand for bikeshare in the area.

The anti-road diet mania in Los Angeles apparently hasn’t cowed county officials, who are moving forward with plans for at least one on the Eastside, as well as several other bike safety projects, including a pair of bike boulevards.

A cyclist helped come to the rescue when a car went off the road on Glendora Mountain Road yesterday.

The LA Times says greater density is the solution to California’s environmental and affordable housing crises, not sprawl-inducing developments like Newhall Ranch, however environmentally friendly they may strive to be.

 

State

A 21-year old plan to improve downtown Del Mar is finally moving forward, including widened sidewalks and bike lanes on Camino del Mar.

San Francisco police are looking for a bike-born dog-napper who threatened the dog’s owner with a golf club.

San Francisco Streetsblog asks whatever happened to the word “allegedly,” as the press is quick to blame the person on two wheels in any crash. I’d like to know the answer to that one myself.

Sports Illustrated takes in a San Francisco hill climb competition with inclines up to 21%. Which would elicit yawns from anyone who’s competed in LA’s own Feel My Legs I’m A Racer seven hill climb. (Correction: It’s a ten hill climb; thanks to CiclaValley for the tip.)

Thirteen bicyclists are riding from Reno NV to San Francisco to honor EMS workers who have died recently.

Horrifying story from Stockton, where three boys forced an eight-year old kid into a house and beat him severely, before stealing his bicycle and $16 — then posted the video on Instagram.

Evidently, San Jose hasn’t gotten the memo that road diets are evil, either.

Great article from Sacramento, where Sactown Magazine makes a call for tactical urbanism, from filling potholes with daisies to DIY protected bike lanes.

 

National

The new GoPro promises to unshake your bike cam videos.

A Navajo Nations cop has been charged with murder for crashing into a bicyclist after drinking all night while attending a conference in Arizona; his blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal alcohol limit.

A long-time Iowa radio DJ and a member of the state’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was killed when he allegedly turned his bike into the path of an oncoming car.

Life is cheap in New York, where a negligent driver, whose boat detached from the car pulling it and killed a 21-year old woman riding her bike, will serve just 60 days behind bars.

A new interactive New York map will tell you when bikeshare is your fastest travel option. And it usually is.

Philadelphia adopts a Vision Zero plan, vowing to end traffic deaths by 2030.

 

International

If you own a Brompton made in the last four years, take it back to the dealer; the company is recalling all models made between 2014 and 2017 due to a problem with the bottom bracket.

A new London play was inspired by a ghost bike installed for the victim of a 2009 bicycling crash.

The British press is in an uproar over brakeless fixies, even though a fixie is a brake in the hands of a skilled rider. The problem comes when inexperienced cyclists try to ride brakeless, without the skills or leg strength to stop their bikes.

A British woman complains that her husband loves his bike more than her.

The Italian supreme court has officially ruled that cycling legend Marco Pantani wasn’t murdered.

 

Finally…

Before you ride 7,500 miles to pedal your bike around a famed racetrack, make sure they allow bicycles. Go ahead and pedal your bike while drunk, but don’t paddle your canoe.

And maybe the problem is too many American drivers are selfish assholes.

 

Morning Links: Caltrans may remove dangerous Topanga Cyn reflectors; Vision Zero becomes official LA policy

Maybe there really is a new attitude at Caltrans.

A few years ago, if the state transportation agency installed something that increased the risk for cyclists on any given roadway, chances are, it would fall on deaf ears no matter how much we complained.

But this time may be different.

Anthony emailed on Monday to warn about newly installed reflectors on one of the area’s most popular riding routes.

At some point in the last couple of weeks, Caltrans installed raised reflectors on the both shoulder lines of Topanga Canyon Boulevard (SR-27) between the PCH and the town of Topanga. This was apparently part of a “safety enhancement project” for the steep, twisty section of road between the town and the coast—but, of course, the only safety being enhanced seems to be that of drivers!

The raised reflectors protrude about an inch above the road surface, and create quite a jolt if you ride over them—especially if you ride over them unexpectedly. This could cause crashes for unsuspecting cyclists.

More pressing: Upon riding the section of road today in both directions, because of the dense placement of the reflectors (every 4-5 feet) I found myself unable to easily move back and forth between the traffic lane and the shoulder—something that I’d come to take for granted on TCB, as it allows for overtaking car traffic to pass safely. I ended up occupying the traffic lane exclusively, which lead to a number of angry motorists passing me unsafely.

I’m guessing that Caltrans didn’t even think about the fact that TCB is heavily used by cyclists. It’d be great to figure out a way to get them to replace the raised reflectors or remove them!

And this on a road where drivers already complain about cyclists taking the lane to anyone who’ll listen.

But almost before I could respond, he forwarded an email exchange with a representative from Caltrans,* who gave the following response when asked if the reflectors could be removed or replaced with something a little safer.

According to our operations and construction engineers, the raised pavement markers will likely be removed very soon.

After further questioning, the Caltrans rep explained a little more.

The installation wasn’t made by mistake.  Occasionally, Caltrans engineering standards have flexibility for users, in this case cyclists.

However, when I commented about the reflectors on Twitter yesterday, Caltrans District 7 was quick to respond that they may be removed, but nothing had been promised.

So let’s keep our fingers crossed that this one goes away soon.

*It’s the policy of this site not to name people included in email threads without their express permission, which was not requested in this case.

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As expected, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed a new Vision Zero directive to reduce traffic deaths in the city by 20% in just two years, and eliminate traffic fatalities entirely by 2025.

What wasn’t expected is that it appears to have real teeth, requiring city agencies to work across departmental lines to study and fix streets where fatalities and injury collisions occur — something we’ve been calling for here since this site was founded over seven years ago.

The city’s Vision Zero website is already online.

And you can now add LA to the yes category.

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Last week we featured an email from a rider who had passed out from heatstroke after running out of water on the San Gabriel River trail at the height of the recent heat wave.

Now Sam Kurutz forwards a photo of a sign thanking the person who came to her rescue.

Thanks to Sam Kurutz for the photo

Thanks to Sam Kurutz for the photo

Let that be a reminder to always carry enough water when you ride, especially with the temperatures predicted for the end of this week. And always check the forecast before you set out to avoid any surprises.

Thanks to Sam Kurutz for the photo.

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Peter Sagan gets his first grand tour stage win of the year by capturing the third stage of the Vuelta in a mass sprint.

USA Pro Challenge champ Kristin Armstrong is letting the world know women’s cycling is the next big thing, although this could possibly be the last year for the race. Personally, I’d like to see the Pro Challenge merge with the Amgen Tour of California to create a truly epic two week race.

VeloNews looks at the best American rider not on a WorldTour team.

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Local

Bikeshare may be coming to LA sooner than we thought, as WeHo’s planned network could have hubs at The Grove and Hollywood and Highland. Speaking of Vision Zero, better get bike lanes on Hollywood Blvd fast, before tourists try to navigate that dangerous street on two wheels.

Meanwhile, Global Green USA looks at the newly installed Santa Monica Breeze bikeshare system. Appropriate source, given the hue of the bikes.

Downtown News says LADOT’s DASH buses will soon be getting bike racks.

 

State

Even on a San Diego freeway, they find a way to blame a bike for a crash.

Police say a 72-year old Fresno driver was drunk when he fled the scene after allegedly killing a bike rider.

West Berkley residents tip police to the location of a bike thief who had fled earlier after police had tried to make an arrest.

Anonymous artists install cute little swing sets on San Francisco bike racks, but promise you can still lock your bike to them.

Support is growing in San Francisco for a Bike Yield Law, aka an Idaho Stop Law, which would allow people on bikes to treat stop signs as yields, although riders would still be required to observe the right-of-way.

Some schmuck has stolen the recumbent bike an elderly Modesto couple used for shopping and doctor visits; the bike was their only form of transportation.

The Marin paper says a new local bike park is a promise kept by county commissioners. And evidently, a place to get a few bumps and bruises.

 

National

The Feds say it’s time for state and local DOT’s to stop using them as an excuse for crappy infrastructure.

Bike Radar’s Angry Asian says the vocal warnings that are common courtesy among cyclists aren’t always understood or appreciated by non-riders, so use a bike bell. My take is just the opposite: A bell can only tell you a bike is present, or that an angel just got its wings. But a human voice can tell other path users where you are, where you’re going, suggest what they should do — politely or otherwise — and say please and thank you. Let’s see a damn bell do that.

A Seattle cyclist used his bike to block traffic and stood over an injured bike rider to protect her after she was hit by a car.

A 20-year old Colorado driver faces a long list of charges after killing a cyclist when he passed two vehicles on the wrong side of a double yellow line, around a blind curve, and with an open container of alcohol in his car. There’s a gofundme site to raise money for the victim’s family.

A writer in my hometown says we need to include all types of bike riders in the cycling community, even moms herding kids on bikes.

Un-effing-believable. An Austin DUI driver walks free after ending the productive life of a former firefighter. The driver was on Ambien when he plowed into the victim’s bike as he rode on the shoulder, but that information was kept from the jury due to an improper police search. Thanks to Steve Katz for the heads-up.

The fastest bike mechanic in Texas won’t be riding anytime soon after he’s the victim of a hit-and-run.

An Ohio hit-and-run driver appeared highly intoxicated when he was arrested after running down a cyclist from behind; he lied twice about who was behind wheel, and claimed he thought the car hit a deer. And to top it off, he was driving on a suspended license.

The Motor City will soon become the latest bikeshare city.

Un-effing-believable too. Vermont police investigators never examined the car a DUI driver — who just happens to be married to a cop — was operating when she killed a bike-riding dentist; they missed parts of his bike shoes still embedded inside the hood.

New York’s mayor wants bikeshare on Staten Island, stat. Meanwhile, the days for former Mayor Bloomberg and ex-DOT Director Janet Sadik-Khan are clearly over, as the city’s DOT is now leaving gaps in bike networks rather than confront local community boards.

That’s more like it. A distracted Maryland driver got five years for killing a bike-riding father while she was texting.

 

International

Some vehicular cyclists are complaining about Calgary’s new system of cycle tracks. Proving there are all sorts of cyclists, and one solution seldom works for everyone.

People constantly say you can’t ride to work in a suit — even fashion magazines that should know better. But the family of a Northern Irish bike advocate is going to ride around the county wearing suits in honor of their father, who always wore one when he rode to work.

The anti-bike Roads Minister in Australia’s New South Wales has set out to dismantle Sydney’s system of protected bike lanes, over the objections of the mayor.

Bangladesh authorities file charges against 10 men who tortured and murdered a 13-year old boy for allegedly stealing a bike — which his family denies — then posted the video online.

 

Finally…

Now that’s what I call a fat tire e-bike. When you’re riding with an illegal drug 40 times more potent than heroin, don’t run a stop sign. Or get hit by a car.

And caught on video: The long predicted apocalypse has begun with a uniquely Down Under twist, as an Aussie bicyclist rides through a field of zombie kangaroos.

 

The winners of our Mojo Bar giveaway, updates on recent bike crashes, and UPS blocks the bike lane

Let’s catch up on what turned out to be a far too busy week.

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First up are the winners of last weekend’s contest to give away some CLIF Mojo bars by revealing your own favorite means of performance enhancement for when you ride.

The winners were chosen in a totally biased and arbitrary manner by yours truly, based strictly on how much I liked the response.

And from my perspective, it looks like Brian was clear winner.

I ride with http://www.ride2recovery.com My enhancer is seeing a fellow Wounded Soldier Amputee passing me, or just not giving up!!

Seriously, how could I not reward a Wounded Warrior who just flat refuses to quit? Let alone one who uses his fellow riders for inspiration.

But we also had several runners-up who gave great responses as well.

Like Joe B, who struck a similar note.

I’ve found that the best way to enhance my performance is to have my slightly-faster buddy riding about fifteen or twenty feet in front of me.

I’ve got to admit, few things motivate me more than trying to catch and pass that rider just up the road.

Then there’s Lois Rubin, who deserves to win if she can ride a mountain bike without blowing chunks after eating this. Or maybe she didn’t mean at the same time.

For mountain biking – Pickles! and peanut butter, bananas and honey in a small whole wheat pita. For the road – hammer gel and mojo bars. Really.

Opus the Poet struck a similar note.

Peanut butter and honey sandwiches on whole wheat. I can run for miles on them. I did a century on a 24 oz. loaf and small jars of honey and peanut butter. And a few Gatorades.

Anyone who can go a hundred miles on a loaf of whole wheat bread has my respect.

Several people noted the value of a little — or a lot — of caffeine. But Mike Caputo threw in some music and a little lubrication.

My favorite performance enhancers (in no particular order) are a Starbucks Tall White Chocolate Mocha, a little ‘Beautiful Day’ by U2 (still works) and a quick squirt of bike lube on the chain (I know this is supposed to be done after but it feels so good)…of course the stretchy paints don’t hurt.

Finishing just out of the money, since CLIF’s agency limited me to five winners, was this response from Ben Calderwood.

Sherpa blood. No, I may have dreamed that. Plain ol’ Clif bars and gels, typically. The Mojo bars are too good; I tend to eat my stash long before I get on the bike.

I can think of more than a few riders who wouldn’t hesitate to ingest or inject Sherpa blood if they thought it would shave a few seconds off their time, or maybe win them a Tour de France title. But let’s think of Ben as first runner-up, and not just because he put in a plug for the product.

If for some reason we can’t ship a set of Mojo bars to one of the winners — like if someone doesn’t respond with a valid address — maybe we can slip him into the mix. At least now he knows how Taylor Phinney feels.

I’ve already emailed the winners, who have until this Monday to respond with a mailing address.

And thanks to everyone who entered. There were a lot of great responses, so don’t feel bad if you didn’t win.

It wasn’t an easy decision.

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A representative of the LAPD has confirmed that Jerico Culata, the 18-year old cyclist killed on the UCLA campus during last week’s Critical Mass ride, was riding a brakeless fixed gear bike, as many have speculated.

It appears that Culata was unable to control his bike on the moderately steep downhill; he didn’t have the strength or skill to slow down without brakes, lost control and struck a concrete wall head on, suffering non-survivable brain injuries.

Go ahead.

Make every argument against helmet use you want to make.

But this is exactly the sort of injury bike helmets were designed to protect against. And while no one can say Culata would have survived if he’d been wearing one, his chances clearly would have been better if he’d had one.

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A spokesman for the CHP reports that Willis Veluz-Abraham may not have died as a result of rumble strips on Stunt Road, after all.

According to the officer, Veluz-Abraham was riding with a group of other riders who were filming him with a bike cam; he reportedly looked back at them just before taking a corner too fast, losing control and going off the side of the road.

The CHP investigation places no blame on the rumble strips that had recently been installed.

I might question that, myself.

Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve disagreed with the CHP.

Even if they didn’t contribute directly to his crash, the rumble strips could — repeat, could — have destabilized his bike enough that it was impossible to regain control. And even if they didn’t play a role in this case, it should be obvious to everyone that rumble strips and bikes don’t mix.

But I freely admit I may have gotten it wrong this time.

And let’s hope that video, if it still exists, never sees the light of day.

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Still no news on last Saturday’s Topanga Canyon hit-and-run in which a Land Rover-driving coward left a cyclist seriously injured on the side of the road.

The CHP reports that the investigation is still ongoing, and no further details are available at this time.

However, they may need volunteers to distribute posters this weekend; I’ll let you know if they reach out for help.

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Maybe you’ll recall the prompt response I got from UPS a couple months back, promising not to block any more Santa Monica bike lanes.

So much for that.

This was taken Tuesday on northbound San Vicente Blvd, just around the corner and a few blocks from the previous incident.

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Finally, California gets another dangerous driver off the streets. And enough with the damn earthquakes, Beverly Hills. It’s just a desperate plea for attention, and we’re not falling for it.

Update: Cyclist critically injured in Topanga Cyn hit-and-run; $1000 reward offered for any hit-and-run

Update: I have deleted this entire post at the request of the victim’s wife.

While I stand behind the original story, with virtually every word I wrote based on information had already been tweeted and retweeted around the world — and which remains readily available from numerous other sources online — I am sympathetic to her situation and will honor her request, as much as I disagree with it.

I will note only that the victim was injured in a hit-and-run collision at or near the intersection of North Topanga Canyon Blvd and Viewridge Road in Topanga Canyon, and was reported to the CHP at 12:13 pm on Saturday. Authorities continue to look for a Land Rover with a missing headlight; no word on color and model year. Anyone with information should contact the West Valley CHP station at 818-888-0980.

Best wishes to the victim for a full and fast recovery.

Update 2: The CHP has identified the victim as 60-year old Gary Morris of Van Nuys; no word on his condition.

Authorities are looking for a 1996 to 2000 Range Rover — not a Land Rover as previously stated — with possible damage to the right front end. Anyone with information should call CHP Investigator Brooke Covington at 818-888-0980, ext. 228.  

Update 3: I’m told that the Daily News story I linked to above is incorrect, and the suspect vehicle is actually Land Rover, not a Range Rover.

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On a related note, I recently received an email from John Bisnar about HitAndRunReward.com, which provides a $1000 for information leading to the arrest of any hit-and-run driver.

We have a standing offer of $1,000 reward for information leading to a felony conviction of a hit and run driver.  Information on a hit and run driver is given to WeTip, a non-profit crime fighting organization.  WeTip has a process that ensures the anonymity of people providing information so that no one, not WeTip, not me, not anyone knows who provided the information.  WeTip then passes the information on to the appropriate law enforcement agency.  When a reward is due, WeTip has an anonymous method of paying the reward in cash.

Personally, I’d gladly settle for the feeling of relief that would come from putting one of these murderous, uncaring bastards behind bars. But a cool thousand bucks in your pocket couldn’t hurt, either.

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Speaking of Lance, maybe you missed our contest to give away some CLIF Mojo bars over the weekend.

Between the tragic breaking news and usual mass exodus of L.A. that takes place on any three-day weekend, the contest may have gotten a little lost. So I’m extending the deadline one more day.

Just leave a comment on the original post with your favorite means of performance enhancement before or during a ride, and why — whether it’s something you eat, drink, do, listen to or meditate on — no later than 8 am Wednesday.

The winners — and yes, there will be more than one — will get a box of Mojo bars directly from CLIF Bar.

But be sure to use a valid, working email address, or I won’t be able to let you know you’ve won and get an address to send them to.

And no, they can’t just send them as an attachment.

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Finally, let Monday morning’s Beverly Hills earthquake serve as a reminder that when the Big One hits — or the zombie apocalypse starts — cars and transit systems will be useless. Your best, and perhaps only, choice for transportation will be a strong bike with flat-resistant tires.

And I’d like to know how the hell the biking black hole can give us an earthshaking 3:30 am wake-up call, but can’t manage to give us a single bike lane.

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