Tag Archive for traffic violence

Morning Links: Bicycling examines our deadly streets, Bike Month heats up, and Bray-Ali story travels the globe

Bicycling Magazine gets it.

No, really.

The magazine that’s long been criticized for its focus on spandex-clad road cycling has dug deep into the safety crisis on our streets, for a June issue focused on the dangers riders face and the failure of the legal system to protect us.

They even got the headline right — This Has Got to Stop!

Their examination is highlighted by a survey of bike riders conducted on the magazine’s website, which includes the following key points:

  • 32% have been hit by a motor vehicle (me too)
  • 61% of urban riders have been doored (yep)
  • 89% of respondents have been harassed by an aggressive driver (uh huh)
  • 20% experienced being followed by an aggressive driver (ditto)
  • 31% have had an object thrown at them on a ride (more than once)
  • 29% report being coal rolled (cough)
  • 52% of female cyclists have experienced aggressive driver behavior on at least some of their rides compared to 33% of men

In addition, you’ll find a number of articles that together sum up the current sorry state of bike safety in the US.

It’s not all bad news, though. The magazine also looks at some of the more positive aspects.

As you read these stories — and read them, you should — you may recognize several of the cases as stories we’ve reported on here. And if you read carefully, you may find my name, as well as the name of this site, sprinkled in here and there.

It’s a demanding, heartrending and intense series of stories. And may very well be the best work the magazine has ever done.

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Bike Month is starting to heat up.

Metro is celebrating with a free month of Metro Bike bikeshare if you sign up for a monthly membership.

The LACBC is celebrating by profiling bike riders throughout the month, while Bike SGV profiles bike riders in the San Gabriel Valley.

And thanks to Portland bike advocate and mom Kath Youell, you can now track your Bike Month Challenge miles online, even if you don’t have a workplace team to join.

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The Joe Bray-Ali story has now made it around the world, as an Indian website picks up the story, apparently drawn by Bray-Ali’s Indian-Hungarian-Irish Jewish and Muslim heritage.

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In addition to the risk of traffic violence, some bike riders face actual violence.

A 12-year old Cleveland girl was collateral damage in a car-to-car shooting, shot in the foot as she rode her bicycle.

A Florida man was shot in the ankle by another bike rider who attempted to rob him.

Caught on video: A man calls for help as he’s mugged by a gang of hooded youths who steal his bicycle in a London Park.

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The legendary Marco Pantani still holds the hearts of Italian cycling fans, 13 years after his cocaine-fueled death.

African cycling suffered a big setback as Namibian cycling star Costa Seibeb was killed in a car crash Tuesday morning.

Caught on video, maybe: A stalled motorcycle caused a massive pileup near the starting line of New York’s annual Red Hook Crit. The video may or may not play; I’ve been looking for a working version of this for two days, after it was apparently removed from YouTube.

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Local

Streetsblog highlights the debate over Vision Zero funding in the Los Angeles transportation budget, which is quickly reaching a crisis point as traffic deaths continue to climb.

While approving a handful of bikeways, West Hollywood says forget about a road diet on Fountain, and chooses parking over safety on Santa Monica Blvd. Note to WeHo: You can’t connect to the bike lanes on Willoughby in Los Angeles, because there aren’t any.

Yo! Venice examines bike theft in Venice Beach, which is down after police cleared out a number of homeless encampments in the Ballona Wetlands; the LAPD still has a number of unclaimed bicycles they recovered from the homeless camps.

Ground was broken on a Newhall Ranch bridge project, including walkways on the bridge and a bikeway underneath.

 

State

No bias here. After a Santa Rosa cyclist was hit by a car as he attempted to cross the street, police note that he was not in a crosswalk. Even though bike riders are usually discouraged, though not forbidden, from using one.

Sad news from Northern California, where a bike rider was killed in a Half Moon Bay hit-and-run, and a Petaluma man died when he reportedly went over the handlebars after losing control of his bike.

An anti-bike Marin County columnist says bike riding is not a viable option for anyone except fit, young people, and the county isn’t going to become a bike-crazed Holland anytime soon. Which is exactly what they said in Holland before it became one. And countless older, out-of-shape adults ride bicycles every day.

Disabled veterans ride with the pros at an invitation-only mountain bike race in Grass Valley.

Chico gets promoted to gold-level bike-friendly status.

 

National

The Hawaii city council votes on whether to fork over $50,000 to pay the legal fees of a police officer who was apparently fired after killing a bike rider in a crash while on duty.

A Seattle man who lost both legs when he was hit by a Prague subway train hopes to be the first handcyclist to complete the Race Across America, which starts next month

Now that’s more like it. A stoned Washington driver gets seven and a half years for the hit-and-run death of a man riding a bicycle just minutes from his home.

A model arrives at New York’s Met Gala dressed for the red carpet after beating traffic with a pedicab ride through Central Park.

Caught on video too: An Alabama cyclist is the victim of a screaming tirade from two men in a truck, one of whom hangs out of the open passenger door to berate him.

Once again, a bike rider has been killed in a collision with a police officer, this time in Jacksonville FL. As usual, police say it was the bicyclist’s fault, even though the officer was responding to a call without lights or siren, saying the rider was reportedly swerving for no apparent reason and didn’t have any lights. Even though the crash occurred before sunset.

 

International

Ottawa bicycle advocates throw mud in the great debate over bike fenders.

A new report from members of the British Parliament calls for changing the driving code to require drivers to yield to people on bicycles.

Over 200 cyclists turn out to honor fallen endurance cyclist Mike Hall at a memorial service in his English hometown, a little over a month after he was killed in a collision while competing in an Australian race.

One in five Welsh adults have not ridden a bicycle in ten years. Which means 80% of Welsh adults have.

Caught on video three, or maybe four: A Scottish man is nearly crushed in the equivalent of a right hook, after taking up bicycling again for the first time in 20 years. While the driver clearly cut him off, he should have stopped when the truck first cut into him, rather than pulling alongside before the driver cut him off again.

Helsinki, Finland will get an expanded bikeshare system this summer, with 1,400 bikes at 140 stations, as well as another 100 bikes in a neighboring city.

 

Finally…

Touring the world on a smuggled bikeshare bike. Your next ebike could be a hippo. Or maybe a panda.

And nothing like teaching your son the family business.

The bike theft business, that is.

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Thanks to Eric from Boulder for his generous donation to support this site.

Which leads to our periodic reminder that if everyone who visits this site today contributed just $10, it would fund BikinginLA for a full year.

Then again, if just one person contributed a shitload of money, it would probably have the same effect.

Morning Links: Traffic violence on our streets, Metro Bike runs red light, and Westwood ignores needs of students

Welcome to Day 7 of the 2nd Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive! Donate today, and help keep SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every day.

Keep SoCal’s leading source for all the freshest bike news coming to you every morning. Give to the 2nd Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive today!

Today’s common theme is traffic violence, both literal and figurative.

USC fans were heartbroken to learn that former running back Joe McKnight was the victim of an apparent road age shooting on the streets of New Orleans; a tragedy made possible, if not inevitable, by a proliferation of short-fused drivers with easy access to guns.

Meanwhile, in an equally, if not more, heartbreaking case, a suspected drunk driver once again proved that no one is safe from the carnage on our streets, as a five-year old South Central boy was killed inside his own apartment. The driver plowed into the building after allegedly being cut off by another driver; inside, investigators found the boy’s letter to Santa asking for a new bicycle.

Which leads us to CiclaValley, who offers a bike cam compendium of drivers behaving badly. And yes, someone could easily compile similar video clips of scofflaw cyclists or pedestrians. But it’s the people in the multi-ton machines who pose the greatest risk to others by their bad behavior.

When cyclists break the law, they generally put themselves at risk. But when drivers break the law, it poses a danger to everyone on the street.

Or sleeping in their own homes.

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Frequent contributor Erik Griswold notes that at the 30 second mark of its Metro Bike Instructional Video, Metro appears to tacitly encourage users to ride through flashing red lights.

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A writer for UCLA’s Daily Bruin justifiably takes the Westwood Neighborhood Council to task for favoring policies that ignore the needs of the students who live and study in the area, including last year’s denial of desperately needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

The heavy-handed demands of the area’s wealthy homeowners have killed any semblance of vibrancy in Westwood Village, leading to streets filled with empty storefronts, and driving students — and their money — to other parts of the city. Like a scene out of Footloose, the city even prohibits dancing at restaurants and bars within the Village.

No, really.

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Local

The LACBC is hiring an Organizing Director.

Former pro Phil Gaimon is on a one-man mission to erase convicted doper and dope dealer Nick Brandt-Sorenson’s name from the top of LA area Strava KOMs.

A 6th grade student is on a one-girl mission to provide safer access for bicyclists to the Ballona Creek bike path in Del Rey and Playa Vista.

 

State

About one hundred Laguna Beech mountain bikers rode through the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park as part of the second annual Dirt Fondo Challenge, benefitting the Laguna Beach Interscholastic Mountain Bike Team.

For the second time in two days, a San Diego area bike rider has suffered a serious head injury, apparently without a car involved. This time a helmeted rider fell in San Marcos and struck his head on the pavement; fortunately, his injuries are not life-threatening.

Members of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition offer strategies on how to improve safety in the South of Market district.

San Francisco State University is California’s latest Bicycle Friendly University.

Soon you may be able to make plans for a wine and cannabis bike tour of Sonoma County.

A bike-riding Scrooge stole four citrus trees planted by an Eagle Scout at an Orangevale church to help feed the hungry.

 

National

In typically obtuse government-ese, the US DOT announces it’s forming a 15-member committee to advise the Secretary of Transportation on matters related to transportation equity. Which sounds great until you consider that the incoming administration could dissolve it next month.

A writer for Momentum Magazine considers the value of clipless bike shoes, and concludes they’re worth it.

The Seattle Times recommends taking your own folding bike when you travel.

Grind TV asks if Sedona’s White Line Trail is the world’s most dangerous mountain bike trail. Judging by the videos, it’s definitely not one for anyone with a fear of heights.

Bicycling Magazine profiles an ex-vegetarian New Mexico man who hunts elk by bike, with his miniature poodle at his side.

Des Moines, Iowa makes plans to hire a full-time bicycle coordinator, if it survives the budget process.

A small free library is unveiled as a memorial to a Wisconsin woman who was killed by a sidewalk-riding bicyclist. We can all agree this is a needless tragedy. But instead of fighting for higher fines to stop people from riding on the sidewalk, why not fight for safer streets so no one will feel the need to?

Caught on video: Philadelphia police are looking for a teenager who rode his BMX up to a garage before setting it on fire.

This is why you always carry ID when you ride. A New York bike rider died after an apparent fall; however, police have been unable to identify him or notify his next of kin because he wasn’t carrying any identification.

A group of BMX riders recorded the action after sneaking into a Long Island water park; police are looking at the video as evidence of a trespassing violation.

Now that’s what I call a bike locker.

 

International

Cycling Tips considers why two bike brands haven’t moved their production to China.

Police in British Columbia recovered “dozens and dozens” of stolen bicycles and e-scooters when they took down a bike chop shop.

Torontoist makes the case for why delivering food by bicycle is good for neighborhoods.

Caught on video: A Brit bike rider barely escapes a pass from a truck and trailer that looks like it would violate a one-foot passing law.

Two percent of Irish commuters go by bike, a figure that hasn’t changed in the last year.

The Guardian looks at the recent report that bicyclists now outnumber cars in Copenhagen, where a $145 million investment in bikeways has resulted in a 68% increase in ridership. Thanks to Jon for the heads-up.

Malta warns visiting EU officials not to cause a diplomatic incident by running red lights or carrying a passenger on their bicycles.

A man in the Southern Africa country of Malawi killed his own half-brother in a dispute over a bicycle.

Cyclists in the Australian state of New South Wales won’t have to carry ID when they ride after all, as the government belatedly realizes that most riders already do anyway.

 

Finally…

Maybe bicycling really is the new golf, especially if your bike is made entirely of golf clubs. It’s not just an ebike, it’s a two-wheeled boom box.

And it takes a hero cyclist to save a drowning panda.

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A special thanks to Michele Chavez for her generous contribution to support this site during the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive.

 

Morning Links: Driver’s license revoked in Moorpark deaths, the cost of traffic violence, and bike infrastructure news

The good news is, we’ve figured out what caused the problem with email notifications for new posts. Now that the tech supports are back from their annual conference, maybe we can get it working again.

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One detail was left out in previous stories about the limp slap on the wrist given Rachel Hill in the Moorpark distracted driving deaths of cyclist Maciek Malish and motorcyclist Jesse Cushman last year.

In addition to 300 days in county jail and three years probation, Hill had her driver’s license permanently revoked, according to the Moorpark Acorn.

Not suspended. Revoked.

The paper says she can apply for a new license at some point down the road. Which suggests that permanently doesn’t really mean permanently.

Still, that’s a stiffer penalty than most killer drivers receive.

And something that should be required following any traffic fatality where the driver is found at fault. Particularly if he or she flees the scene.

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This is the cost of traffic violence.

Cycling in the South Bay relates the horrifying tale of the aftermath of a drunk driving collision, and a cyclist’s shattered ankle that refuses to heal.

And the Daily Bruin offers an update on UCLA triathlete Nako Nakatsuka, two and a half years after she was seriously injured in a collision, then seriously screwed by the legal system when she was forced to pay for damages to the car that hit her, as well as her own medical expenses.

You should always get a good lawyer to review your case if you’re injured in a wreck; there shouldn’t be any cost to you unless you receive a settlement.

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Today’s common theme is bike infrastructure.

Tempe AZ cyclists get their first bike box.

Philadelphia opens a mile long, two-way protected bike lane; it had been the largest city in the US without one.

Kansas City installs a new bike signal to give bicyclists a head start.

The news is not all positive, however; a bike rider complains that Berkeley’s protected bike lanes only result in greater confusion, and fail to employ best practices from around the world.

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It was a bad weekend for bike racing, as a Serbian cyclist died following a collision in a Chinese race, and a 60-year old English amateur cyclist died when he hit a support vehicle in a French race.

Controversy continues over therapeutic exemptions given to Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins over the use of banned asthma medication, after his medical records were released by Russian hackers.

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Local

CiclaValley offers an up-close look at the Encino Velodrome’s Ride the Black Line.

Friends of fallen cyclist Alan Deane met at his Pasadena ghost bike on the fifth anniversary of his death to call for safer streets and tougher sentences for killer drivers. Thanks to Complete Streets Pas for the heads-up.

Megan Lynch forwards word of the latest crackdown on bicycle and pedestrian safety violations, this time in El Monte on Tuesday.

Santa Monica Spoke will host a Handlebar Happy Hour at the Border Grill this Wednesday.

 

State

Cyclists can expect to see safety improvements along PCH in the Capistrano Beach area, as plans call for a two-way protected bike lane along the highway.

A Ventura bike rider tried to defend himself with a stun gun when he was punched by three people as he rode on a beachfront bike path, who then pepper-sprayed him and stole his bike and cellphone.

The Sacramento Kings’ new arena features 100 bike racks, as well as a free bike valet, but no safe way to get there. And you’ll have to do something with your bike helmet, since they aren’t allowed in the arena.

 

National

A new bike helmet comes complete with built-in Wi-Fi, action cam, speakers and microphone. But no word on whether it will save your skull if you fall off your bike.

Forget air cartridges and bicycle pumps; fill your next flat simply by pedaling, as long as you don’t mind a lot of extra hardware.

Someone is using upholstery tacks to sabotage a new Seattle cycle track; local bike shops report over 30 people have come in to have flats caused by tacks repaired. And that doesn’t count all the people who may have fixed their flats themselves.

Bike advocates around my hometown remind drivers and bicyclists to watch out for each other.

An Iowa economics professor says it’s just not fair that bike riders don’t have to pay to use the roads, especially since some bikes cost “well into four figures.” Although you’d think an econ professor would understand the economics of bicycling a little better.

Iowa cops recover a boy’s stole bicycle after it had been dismantled. So they made the thief put it back together before they returned it.

Over one thousand Milwaukee bike riders turn out for a slow roll ride honor a local bike shop owner and cycling legend after he was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of liver cancer.

The New York Times questions why phone manufacturers don’t cut off texting drivers, when they have the technology to do it. Damn good question. And let’s include car makers in that, too.

Washington’s two senators both oppose legislation that would allow mountain bikers into federal wilderness areas, as do two of the state’s leading bike advocacy groups.

South Carolina authorities rule the death of a pregnant woman in a collision with a bicyclist was an accident, even though the cyclist was riding without lights after dark; he faces a fine of just $232.50.

A New Orleans writer says cycling in the Crescent City is still dangerous, but getting better.

 

International

Four Americans stop in British Columbia on an 8,000 mile ride to call attention to the dangers of distracted driving.

A new documentary tells the story of an aboriginal youth who helped build world-famous mountain biking trails in the Yukon.

A Winnipeg professor calls for making cycling in the city safe for everyone.

A 19-year old British man competed in triathlon two years after he was paralyzed for three months in a fall off the top of a concrete velodrome.

Police are looking for a road raging driver who repeatedly bumped a Brit bike rider as he waited for at a series of red lights, then ran over his rear wheel when he finally got off to protest.

A former British cabinet member denies sabotaging a Welsh mountain bike trail, insisting he was trying to clear it instead. Sure, let’s go with that.

Volvo introduces a new bicycle and pedestrian detection system for buses, starting next year on European bus systems.

A cyclist from the United Arab Emirates embarks on a three-day, 310-mile journey through Belgium and France to dispel myths about Islam following the recent terrorist attacks.

A Pakistani extreme cyclist says she rides to break stereotypes that limit the sports and professions women can participate in.

 

Finally…

If you want to ship your bike without getting damaged, put a TV on the carton. Seriously, if you’re going to ride 250 miles from Germany to Poland to visit your grandmother, tell your parents first.

And forget doping; how about a little scrotal Botox instead?

 

Morning Links: SD Nobel Prize winner dies on Oregon bike path, homeless bicyclist shot by Santa Ana police dies

Word broke today that Nobel Prize-winning UC San Diego researcher Roger Tsien died last week while on a bike trail in Eugene OR.

He won the prize in 2008 for his work in identifying a green fluorescent protein found in jellyfish that could be used as a biological marker to help illuminate diseases such as cancer and HIV.

No word on how he died, or if he was biking at the time.

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A 31-year old homeless man has died a month after he was shot by Santa Ana police.

Richard Gene Swihart was riding his bicycle near the Santa Ana Civic Center on August 1st when police tried to stop him and he began struggling with the officers. Swihart was shot after allegedly attempting to grab an officer’s gun.

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This is why people continue to die on our streets.

A Cincinnati woman gets 13 years for the hit-and-run death of a popular cyclist; at the time of her arrest, she had ten drugs in her system, a bra full of prescription pills, and a purse filled with syringes and a tourniquet. And was driving on a suspended license, with two previous convictions for driving while suspended. Ohio Bike Lawyer Steve Magas, a friend of this site, questions whether justice was done by the harsh sentence, even though he represented the victim’s family in the case.

And the family of a Detroit traffic victim wants to know why a 12-time drunk driver was still on the streets.

Which is a damn good question.

Both of these drivers had already shown themselves unable, or unwilling, to get sober and obey the law, and therefore unfit to drive. Yet they were on the roads anyway.

It’s clear that innocent victims will keep dying until authorities finally start to give a damn. And find a way to keep people like this from ever getting behind the wheel.

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Today’s debate is over whether power meters should be banned from professional cycling; VeloNews looks five other things that could have ruined cycling, but didn’t.

Chris Froome finally made his move in the Vuelta on Wednesday.

The first all-African women’s team will begin competition next year.

Sad news from Columbia, as a 22-year old cyclist was killed after loosing control on a descent during the country’s under-23 tour.

And if a cyclist continues to race despite being banned, the obvious solution is to extend his suspension so he can keep doing it.

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Local

Metro is exploring various rail-to-trail options to connect a coming bike path through the Southeast Cities with the LA River.

West Hollywood’s WeHo Pedals bikeshare is now officially a go, though virtually all of the docking stations are centered on the Santa Monica Blvd corridor, ignoring the popular Sunset Strip and other parts of the city.

Today is the official grand opening of the new and improved California Incline leading from PCH up the bluff to Santa Monica — now with walkways and protected bike lanes.

Finish the Ride and Velo Studios are hosting the free community ride Tour de Griffith Park: An Introduction to Safe and Fun Riding this Sunday.

 

State

Newport Beach police are gearing up to increase enforcement and improve safety measures around schools following the death of eight-year old Brock McCann as he rode home from school last May.

A self-described longtime San Diego cyclist says he hasn’t seen any increase in bicycling, and the city should stop stealing traffic lanes and parking spaces from those poor, oppressed drivers. He also complains about how awful downtown is to drive in, and how expensive it is to park, never seeming to grasp the obvious solution to both of those problems.

Los Altos prepares for their annual bicycling Tour de (chicken) Coop.

Sad news from San Mateo County, as a mountain biker was killed riding on an offroad trail.

The local paper warns drivers that some Sonoma County cyclists are armed with bike cams to record their actions. Meanwhile, the BBC asks if bike cams actually make the roads any safer. Which kind of misses the point.

More bad news from Sacramento, as a bike rider was struck and killed by the driver of a garbage truck Wednesday morning.

 

National

GQ concludes that yes, bicycling can be sexy, sort of.

The AP says police are losing the battle to get drivers to put down their phones.

Paris Hilton is one of us, as she rides a colorfully lighted bike at Burning Man.

The Denver bike cop who was nearly killed when he was struck by an out-of-control driver finally return to work after nearly 21 months; the driver who hit him was convicted of lying about suffering from seizures on his driver’s license application.

Albuquerque installs, then removes, a bizarre bike lane running across the middle of a street and into a guard rail.

The driver responsible for the drug-fueled Kalamazoo massacre has been found competent to stand trial; he faces up to life in prison if convicted on the most serious charges.

When is a bike lane not a bike lane? When it’s been blocked by an unused NYPD light tower for three days.

The Wall Street Journal offers advice for the descent challenged.

A DC designer is creating bike frame bags intended to look as good on your back as they do on your bike.

It’s true, bike riders really do run red lights. DC’s red light camera’s caught 1,557 cyclists running reds over a 16 month period — compared to over 60,000 drivers. So who are the real scofflaws?

A North Carolina driver films a bike rider skitching — grabbing ahold of a car and holding on to hitch a tow — on wet streets for five nearly minutes.

 

International

Vancouver will remove a median to install protected bike lanes, even though that means removing a popular hedge creature.

Great Britain’s successful Olympic cycling team says the best way to honor them is for the government to invest heavily in creating a legacy of everyday bike riding.

Caught on video: If you’re looking for the definition of a punishment pass, this is it.

Another day, another road raging British driver screaming at a cyclist and using his car to threaten him. Seriously, what is it about cars that brings out the asshole in people?

It took 14 years to reach a settlement in a case where a road raging driver ran over a then-four-year old girl she rode in a bike trailer pulled by her father. Shockingly, the murderous driver got just two years, despite revving over 200 yards in reverse to asault his victims.

The Guardian’s Peter Walker says all cyclists fear bad drivers.

Then again, it’s not just drivers; a bike rider in the UK was punched by a pedestrian in a seemingly random assault; surprisingly, the attacker chose not to hang around until the police to arrived.

A Kiwi website insists e-bikes are fashion forward.

 

Finally…

Call him a bike riding, hooligan Johnny Appleseed. Your next bike could complain about your riding position.

Or maybe you’d prefer the bicycling equivalent of a luxury car.

No, really.

 

Guest Post: The cost of traffic violence — the daughter of a distracted driving victim speaks out

Last year, an alleged distracted driver plowed into a cyclist in Moorpark, then swerved into motorcyclist coming in the opposite direction, killing them both.

Recently, the daughter of one of those victims asked for the opportunity to tell her story. 

This is what she has to say.

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Hailey Cushman’s Story

My name is Hailey Cushman and I am Jesse Cushman’s only biological child. My dad was killed on September 12th, 2015 on his way home from work from BMW Motorcycles located in Ventura. He was hit head-on on his motorcycle in Moorpark, CA by Rachel Hill, who was later found to have been texting and driving. Hill first hit bicyclist Maciek Malish then over-corrected and swerved to hit my father. Both men were killed on impact but Hill only walked away with scratches. In fact, Hill was caught taking pictures of her injuries and posting them on her Facebook the next day as if the accident was humorous to her. This tragic event happened just 9 days before my 21st birthday (in which I had plans that were immediately cancelled and never rescheduled). Dad was going to be 44 years young in October 2015. He was born in Simi Valley, CA but lived most of his life in Reno, NV, which is where I live. Within a couple days of the accident I was down in Fillmore, CA, where dad currently lived with my grandmother, Jorja, and my stepmother, Julia. Julia and dad married in 2002. When dad moved to Southern California he was brought closer to his biological father, Joe Freas, who lives in Thousand Oaks, CA. Joe and dad were in the process of trying to rekindle their relationship after years of separation.

As a child I was lucky to have never experienced a close death in the family but that aspect has also made losing my father at this age extremely difficult for me. My dad had an exciting, fulfilling and fun life. My dad was Batman! My dad and Julia were heavily involved with cosplay and all things comics. Dad had several Batman suits that were so legit that he was in several professional photo shoots. That year dad and Julia won free tickets to the San Diego Comic Con, which they had been trying to attend for years. Dad and I enjoyed doing a lot together when I would come visit in the summer time; we would go boogie boarding in Malibu, go to Six Flags Magic Mountain several times a month (it was our favorite together), race quads (he raced professionally but he also taught me how to ride and I was too racing at just 5 years old). As a family, we would frequently play video games and board games as they owned a plethora of Monopoly games and superhero video games. We would even get the whole family involved with Rockband and have somebody on each instrument. Another big part of my dad and Julia’s life was motorcycles. They were a part of the local STAR riding chapters where they would do toy drives, poker runs and many other fun rides with the group. My grandma would always worry about dad on his motorcycle because she knew the risks but both dad and Julia were very cautious riders. I guess this proves that no matter how cautious you are in life you can never fully protect yourself from others.

Since I lost my dad my life has changed forever. I’ve had to see more psychiatrists lately for stress, anxiety and depression in order to keep my job and continue my college education (which I am close to finishing). I am so young and I have so much of my life ahead of me but my father will not be able to be there to walk me down the aisle at my wedding, be there at the birth of his grandchildren, see me graduate college or buy my first house. The Cushman and Malish family’s lives have forever been changed and will always hurt when we think about this tragic incident. We try to put our minds at ease by thinking about how Rachel Hill will have to live with what she has caused these two families for the rest of her life as well, but unfortunately, we are unable to rely upon the justice system to make her accountable. We have recently been told by the Ventura County District Attorney’s office that Hill may not even receive any jail time but only community service. The Ventura County District Attorney’s office is certainly corrupt. The CHP took 8 months to complete the police report to ensure they had all the information and evidence to create a strong case. The CHP’s recommendation was that Hill should be charged with a felony of two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. Within 2 weeks of the Ventura County District Attorney receiving the case they decide that Hill only be charged with a misdemeanor!

Now, I am a smart and educated person. I have been going to school for 16 years (total) and this is not what I was taught in how our justice system operates! When you kill another person due to reckless driving you go to jail! End of story! Rachel Hill is only getting a slap on the wrist for killing TWO innocent people. I spoke with the assistant District Attorney who informed me that they did not have enough evidence to prove gross negligence, even though they had all of Rachel’s text message conversations showing she was texting while driving leading up to the accident. Hill has been able to spend the last 9 months with her family through the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, which were especially hard times for both the Cushman and Malish families. Now that Father’s Day is less than one week away my heart aches just thinking about that empty feeling I will have now not being able to celebrate it with my dad. No amount of money or punishment on Rachel Hill’s behalf will ever bring my father or Maciek Malish back but it would at least be nice to have a piece of mind knowing that Rachel Hill’s life would be forever affected with jail time, a felony and two counts of manslaughter on her record for the rest of her life the same way that our family will forever be devastated about this loss and injustice. Not a single person I have spoken to agrees with the District Attorney’s decision of a misdemeanor (besides the Hill family). We need to bring attention to this obvious injustice and corruption of our justice system by bringing publicity to this case for both the Cushman and the Malish family in hopes to one day begin to heal from this tragic loss.

From left to right: dad, Julia, grandma and me. Disneyland 2012 celebrating mine and Julia's graduation, grandmas birthday and dad and Julia's anniversary.

From left to right: Dad, Julia, Grandma and me. Disneyland 2012 celebrating my and Julia’s graduation, grandma’s birthday and Dad and Julia’s anniversary.

Dad and Julia's wedding picture: June 12th, 2002.

Dad and Julia’s wedding picture: June 12th, 2002.

Dad in his amazing Batman costume!

Dad in his amazing Batman costume!

My favorite picture of dad and I at Disneyland.

My favorite picture of Dad and I at Disneyland.

R.I.P. Jesse Cushman. I love you!

……..

Reducing, let alone eliminating, traffic fatalities will be impossible as long as prosecutors refuse to take even the most egregious cases like this seriously. 

If you’re as angry as I am about this case, contact Ventura County DA Gregory D. Totten, and politely — but firmly — demand that the case be re-filed as a felony.

Hailey, and all the families and loved ones of both victims, deserve better.

As do we all.

Morning Links: The real cost of traffic violence, bicycles promoting pastries, and a torturous new bike team

This is the cost of traffic violence.

In a heartbreaking story, the parents of eight-year old Brock McCann remember their son, who was killed in a collision with a garbage truck while riding his bike home from school in Newport Beach last week.

A memorial service will be held at 10 am this Saturday at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 600 St. Andrews Road in Newport Beach, just blocks from where he was killed.

Meanwhile, a fundraising page has drawn over $66,000 in donations in less than a week.

Ghost bike and memorial for Brock McCann; photo courtesy of Jeffrey Fylling

Ghost bike and memorial for Brock McCann; photo courtesy of Jeffrey Fylling

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Look what came in the mail the other day.

Cycling in the South Bay

I’m looking forward to adding this one to my reading list. Seth always has something interesting to say in his own inimitable style.

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You know we’re making progress when a new French patisserie in the Biking Black Hole promotes itself with a faux delivery bike.

SAMSUNG

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Bahrain’s Prince Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa is expected to officially unveil his new Bahraini-based cycling team at next month’s Tour de France.

Although accusations of torture make you wonder what he’ll do to riders who don’t make the cut.

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Local

The new scramble crosswalk at Hollywood and Highland has helped turn one of LA’s most dangerous intersections into one of the safest. However, the map of Hollywood’s many dangerous streets included in the story points out the desperate need for the currently non-existent bike lanes the neighborhood.

CICLE’s Vanessa Gray offers suggestions on how to make Echo Park safer and more attractive for bicyclists.

Mind the letter of the law in Pasadena tomorrow, where the local constabulary will step up enforcement of violations that can cause collisions between motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists in key locations around town.

Suddenly, new open streets events are coming in rapid succession, as Santa Monica hosts Coast this Sunday, followed by Viva SGV! in El Monte and South El Monte a week later. And the 18-mile long 626 Golden Streets stretching from South Pasadena to Azusa takes place on the 26th.

 

State

The Palm Springs paper talks with a first-time AIDS/Lifecycle rider; 2,500 cyclists will depart from San Francisco on Sunday to raise awareness and funds for the fight against HIV/AIDS.

A popular Little Rock AR chef will take part in the 300-mile No Kid Hungry Chef’s Ride from Carmel to Santa Barbara at the end of this month.

Campbell police bust two bike thieves using a GPS-equipped bait bike. Note that the value of the bait bike is over the $1,000 threshold for felony theft; below that, the crime is just a misdemeanor, which means thieves go right back out on the streets to do it again. And again.

Oakland police are looking for help in solving the fatal shooting of a bike rider on his way home from a party.

 

National

Streetsblog offers graphic evidence why speed limits should be set at 20 mph on city streets. Especially since most LA drivers drive at least 10 miles over the limit anyway.

A new automatic Bluetooth bike lock currently raising funds on Kickstarter is designed to disable your rear wheel and sound a 110 dB alarm if anyone messes with your bike.

Seriously? A North Dakota man steals a $10,000 racing bicycle, and gets a whole 15 days in jail and a $500 fine.

The Guardian looks back on what could have been, as New York’s Gridlock Sam tried to ban cars from downtown Manhattan in the ’70s. Speaking of Sam Schwartz, his new book offers a great primer on how we got into this auto-centric traffic mess, and how we can get ourselves out.

Joe Jonas is one of us, as he rides what appears to be a fixie with his bikeshare pedaling date.

More bighearted cops, as police officers in New Jersey replace a bike that was stolen from a deaf and developmentally challenged adult.

A Pennsylvania drunk driver gets seven to 16 years for the death of a triathlete; the driver had at least five prior arrests for driving under the influence — and once for drunk boating — before he finally succeeded in killing someone. A perfect example of keeping dangerous drivers on the road, and taking traffic crime seriously only after it’s too late.

Video of the hour-long standoff between a Philadelphia bike rider and a city bus shows both the cyclist and the driver were at fault.

 

International

It turns out high-level endurance training isn’t bad for your heart after all.

A Canadian man rode 16,000 miles around the coasts of Canada and the US after he was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.

Toronto police finally get serious about keeping parked cars out of bike lanes, ticketing over 100 drivers in just two days.

A British cyclist was killed when the bond between the fork crown and steerer tube on his bike failed; a recall notice on the bike he was riding didn’t go out until two months after his death.

A UK woman calls for cyclists to stop riding on the sidewalk after she was knocked down by a rider as she was training a guide dog for the blind.

A bipolar bike rider sets out on a 5,000 mile ride around the coast of Britain to raise awareness for mental health.

You’ve got to be kidding. A road raging Aussie driver is caught on video getting out of his car and threatening a cyclist with a knife. And gets off with a lousy $1,500 fine for carrying a weapon in public.

 

Finally…

At last, you can now get paid to ride your bike — as long as you don’t mind turning your bike into a wind-resistant rolling advertisement. No, really, the driver didn’t crash into the cyclist, they just crossed paths.

And when you’re riding on the edge of a cliff, it’s probably a good idea to remain upright.

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Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for his generous donation to help support this site, and keep bringing BikinginLA to you each morning.

And thanks to Jon Froman for fixing the header on this site, which had long resisted my best efforts, and those of others, to correct.

 

The Biking Black Hole can’t get it right; no justice in Texas, and road rage is all the rage these days

A little news and a whole lot of links to wrap up the week.

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Police in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills offer safety tips for cyclists, but can’t manage to get it quite right.

Bike riders are required to ride as close to the right as practicable, not as far right as possible, as they state. There’s a big difference, which any police officer should understand.

And which is scary as hell when they don’t.

Riding as far to the right as possible puts riders in the gutter and door zones, and gives police an excuse to ticket anyone with the audacity to take the lane. Riding as far right as practicable keeps cyclists out of the way of swinging doors and broken glass, and allows them to legally ride in the center of non-sharable lanes.

Which is basically the difference between being bike friendly and observing the law, and making sure riders know they aren’t welcome in your city.

Meanwhile, the city considers adding an handful of bike racks, but banning locking bikes to virtually anything else.

In other words, once again appearing to support cycling while actively discouraging it.

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Amazingly, the Texas driver who ran down tandem cyclists Greg and Alexanda Bruehler in 2009 — resulting in the single saddest photo I’ve ever seen — has been acquitted in their deaths.

Clearly, there is no justice for cyclists in the state of Texas.

The driver was doing 79 in a 65 mph zone when he failed to see the riders wearing hi-viz vests, and drifted off the roadway onto the shoulder where they were riding. The defense won the case by arguing that anyone could have could have made the same mistake.

The scary thing is, they’re right.

Even scarier is no one really seems to care. Not even a jury.

………

There’s been a horrifying number of road rage and traffic violence stories in the news the past few days.

For instance, a Massachusetts driver punches a cyclist in the face after the rider’s bike falls over and scratches his car. Local police don’t get it when a Mass cyclist is deliberately doored. A Pittsburgh cyclist is chased up a flight of stairs, stabbed and cut from ear to ear in a brutal road rage assault. A Texas mixed martial arts fighter has been charged with the shooting death of a cyclist after they apparently argued last year; even in Texas, shooting someone because you feel disrespected is a rather extreme response. A former Florida police officer threatens two cyclists with a knife when one flips him off after he threw something at the riders. A Hamilton Ontario cyclist is beaten by a pickup driver after being yelled at, then grazed by the truck’s mirror. A road-raging Toronto cab driver faces up to five years in prison for backing into a cyclist following a dispute, causing the rider to lose a leg. A UK car passenger is sentenced to three years for jumping out of the car and beating a cyclist to a bloody pulp.

Proving it’s not just drivers, police find their suspect in a methadone clinic after a drunken Colorado cyclist pulls a knife on a driver. A Massachusetts cyclist bends a car’s antenna after an argument with a driver. A New York mob trashes a car after a collision with a cyclist during the Fashion’s Night Out celebration. A 16-year old cyclist breaks into a couple’s home after an argument over an open car door. And closer to home, the OC Weekly’s food writer gets into a little bike on bike action; thanks to David Bain for the heads-up.

So let me offer a little advice.

Having been the victim of a road rage assault, I would much rather get off my bike and let the jackass pass than have an angry, potentially violent, driver behind me.

And no matter how much you think the other party deserves it, violence is never justified — it’s far more likely to jeopardize your own life and freedom than teach the other person a damn thing.

One more bit of hard-earned advice.

Never flip off the driver behind you.

Trust me. I’ve learned the hard way that cars are bigger than me, and they hurt.

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Some idiot jackass stole the bike Jerico Culata was riding as he lay dying on last week’s Critical Mass ride; there’s not a pit in hell deep enough for someone like that. Formerly bike-unfriendly Malibu has come a long way, now launching an interactive website to explore improving safety on PCH — for bicyclists and everyone else. The city will also be conducting public hearings on the subject the next four Thursdays. Rapper The Game comes to the rescue of a cyclist who was unresponsive after a crash with his bike on top of him — the cyclist, not The Game — no word on how the rider got that way. LADOT introduces new street signs for Bike Friendly Streets. A Sierra Madre driver sees a girl riding her bike, but steps on the gas instead of the brakes; local police say “oops.”

Bike Lawyer Bob Mionske looks at California’s recently passed three-foot passing law and CEQA exemption for bike lanes. San Clemente gets over $1 million in grants for bike and pedestrian projects. NPR looks at charges that Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital sent jobs from Santa Ana-based GT Bicycles overseas; seems like there’s some truth on both sides. San Diego plans to encourage cycling in the “fun” communities. A San Diego cyclist suffers major leg injuries in a crash with a delivery truck. A North San Diego County writer asks who owns the roads, and correctly concludes we all do. An 18-year old salmon cyclist is seriously injured in a Temecula left cross collision. A bike rider in Perris suffers major injuries in a collision with a minivan on a street that somehow seems to simultaneously run both south and west. Rancho Mirage tells cyclists to walk their bikes on the sidewalk across a bridge — even though it has a bike lane. Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious is run off the bike path by an overly aggressive rider. A Modesto cyclist is killed after both he and the driver who hit him run a four-way stop; guess which one will probably get the blame? San Francisco cyclists will get their own lane on The Embarcadero during next month’s America’s Cup races.

People for Bikes looks at biking to school. A cyclist watches an idiot bike rider from his position behind the wheel; thanks to Jerry Oser for the heads-up. Barbie rides a bike. New foldable bike helmet fits odd shaped heads. Suffering the emotional scars of urban cycling. A Portland man moves forward with a statewide initiative requiring bike license plates and licenses for bike riders. An Albuquerque court imposes the maximum sentence on a drugged driver who killed the bike riding manager of the local REI. The 13-year old Milwaukee girl who laughed about it after killing a cyclist while street racing in a stolen car has been ordered into mental health treatment; well no shit. Ohio suffers three cycling fatalities in one week. An Atlantic City cyclist is killed when he’s caught in the crossfire in a gunfight. An Alabama driver won’t be cited after colliding with a cyclist who was riding on the sidewalks illegally. Long Beach’s bicycling expats, now Portland residents, visit our buddy Zeke in North Carolina. A Florida driver with drugs in her system receives the maximum sentence for killing a cyclist — a six-month suspension of her drivers license; no wonder the Sunshine State leads the nation in bike and pedestrian deaths.

A Toronto writer is taken down by streetcar tracks while trying to maneuver around a truck blocking the right lane. A London magazine editor apologizes after writing that “the only good cyclist is a dead cyclist,” noting that he was merely being ironic with his heartfelt wishes that you and I would just die and get it over with. London considers, probably not seriously, a multi-million-pound network of elevated bikeways. UK driving instructors want bicycle awareness to be part of the driving test. Former Formula 1 driver Alex Zanardi wins gold in the Paralympic handcycle time trial 11 years after losing his legs in a horrific crash. Scottish cyclist Graeme Obree cancels his attempt at a record setting 100 mph bike ride, saying his ride isn’t ready yet. An 11-year old French boy finds a brake lever imbedded in his thigh months after a bike crash; even my stomach turned a little writing that one. One of the better Vueltas in years is slowly coming to a conclusion, as Contador holds a seemingly comfortable lead after bouncing back from a drug scandal that stripped him of his 2010 Tour de France victory; maybe current and former dopers should form their own bike racing league so they can take whatever the hell they want and not have to worry about getting caught.

Finally, a UK cyclist apparently accomplishes the rather remarkable feat of rounding a corner on the sidewalk at 20 mph; even more remarkable is the arthritic pensioner who claims he managed to stop the speeding rider merely by putting his arms out.

Superman ain’t got nothing on him.

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