Tag Archive for Udo Heinz

Morning Links: Settlement in Camp Pendleton bus collision could have far reaching bike benefits

We’ve got another long list of links this morning, so let’s get right to it.

………

A settlement has been reached in the bus collision that injured cyclist John Edwards on Camp Pendleton last August.

As you may recall, rider Udo Heinz lost his life in the same collision when a North County Transit District bus rear-ended three cyclists who were riding single-file on the right side of the roadway, exactly where and how they should have been riding; the driver was reportedly distracted at the time of the collision.

Terms of the settlement weren’t announced, but the company that operates the bus line agreed to work with the San Diego Bike Coalition to improve bike safety training for their drivers.

According to Edwards’ attorney, Oceanside-based Richard Duquette, the company claims to be the largest bus line operator in the US. Which means the settlement could have ramifications far beyond Southern California by improving safety for riders throughout the county.

Maybe I should mention Duquette is a competitive cyclist.

Because it would probably take a fellow rider to ensure the settlement that benefits his client also benefits the rest of us.

……..

Local

The first ever Tour de UCLA celebrates National Public Health Week.

There’s still time to sign up for the LA Circuit Race this weekend near LAX.

Boyle Hieghts Beat looks at everyone’s favorite Eastside feminist cycling brigade.

Sunday’s successful CicLAvia points out the need for better bicycling infrastructure; clearly, there’s a pent-up demand for safe places to ride a bike. Especially with your kids.

Speaking of which, Downtown News calls on everyone to keep pushing for agreement on the My Figueroa plan.

KPCC asks what will it take to encourage people to ditch their cars? Besides making CicLAvia a daily thing.

Work is proceeding on the Expo bikeway.

 

State

Cyclelicious notes California’s proposed bike tax now has a more user friendly name, even if it wouldn’t bring in enough money to cover administrative costs.

Bike Newport Beach reminds us that a bicycle is a necessary part of any earthquake survival kit; works for the coming zombie apocalypse, too.

Santa Ana city officials plan to make it Orange County’s “most friendliest bike city,” which is not the same as bike-friendliest city, is it?

Fullerton’s bike share program expands onto the local CSU campus.

A tragic mystery in Modesto, as a cyclist with minor scrapes rides into a gas station and asks the clerk to call an ambulance, then passes out and later dies of a ruptured spleen before he could tell anyone what happened.

Bay Area bike share expands into the East Bay.

 

National

The Bike League announces a Bicycle Friendly America photo contest.

Seven reasons why bikes are for everyone. Okay, but can we quit denigrating “cyclists” already? Anyone who rides a bike is a cyclist, just as anyone operating a motor vehicle is a motorist. It applies equally to kids with training wheels, los invisibles, bike commuters or spandex-clad weekend warriors. Anything else is trying to force a meaning on the word that it just doesn’t possess.

Bike Portland explains why a woman arrested for intentionally ramming a cyclist — there’s that word again — was released without charges. And yes, you’re legally obligated to stop if you witness a road rage collision, at least in Oregon.

A bike manufacturer in my hometown introduces a reduced road bike for petite riders.

The Missouri legislature votes down a proposed anti-bike funding amendment.

Good interview with Streetsblog founder Aaron Naparstek.

New York police refuse to release impounded bikes for a year and a half. Couldn’t that be considered bike theft?

Now that’s more like it. A Virginia women faces 31 years in prison for killing a cyclist in a drunken hit-and-run; she was three times the legal limit when tested after the wreck.

Hats off to a Carolina 4th grader, who plans to celebrate his 10th birthday by bicycling 200 miles to raise funds for clean water around the world.

Gainsville FL city commissioner is just the latest to demand double taxation for cyclists, who already pay more than their fare share of the roads. Unlike cars, bikes cause virtually no damage to the streets and infrastructure they use, and most streets are paid for through general taxes, not gas taxes. You’d think an elected official would know that.

 

International

London will reduce speed limits to 20 mph. If they can do it, why can’t we — at least on residential streets and populated commercial districts?

Less than a year after a UK rider gave up his dream of becoming a pro cyclist when his heart stopped for 25 minutes, he’s back on his bike and riding 1000 miles through South America for charity.

Now that Lance has fallen, America’s only other Tour de France winner continues his remarkable comeback, becoming an on-air cycling commentator for the Eurosport network.

I want to vote for this guy. A Polish mayor makes a citizens arrest after watching a drunk driver kill a cyclist, calling the driver he struggled with a “murderer.”

Yet another young rider has been impaled on his handlebars, this time in Israel. Clearly, there’s a design flaw that needs to be addressed on children’s bikes; this should never happen, let alone as often as it does.

 

Finally…

In a truly bizarre case, a man escapes from a Miami mental health clinic after jumping into the ocean, then attempts and fails to carjack a driver before bike-jacking a passing bicyclist — then crashes head-on into the car he’d attempted to steal moments earlier.

And Washington state police have to take down photos of 60-plus recovered bicycles when pornographic images somehow get included

 

Bus driver who killed Udo Heinz may have been distracted; and a long list of Monday links

Official results aren’t expected from federal investigators until the end of the month in the death of Udo Heinz, the popular San Diego cyclist killed by a bus while riding on Camp Pendleton last August.

However, San Diego’s NBC-7 confirms that Heinz and two other riders were hit from behind, as reported here earlier, rather than sideswiped as reported in other press accounts. And reports — or strongly implies — that the bus driver was illegally using a handheld cell phone at the time of the collision.

………

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton questions the courage of CD5 Councilmember Paul Kortez following his recent kowtowing to Westwood homeowners. UCLA unveils a new on-campus bike counter, while less bike-friendly cross-town rival USC reneges on promises for street improvements. Touring LA without a car. Santa Monica could see new green bike lanes on Main Street and Broadway, pending Tuesday’s SaMo city council vote. Cycling in the South Bay isn’t shocked by doping by masters racers. The new bike team at Cal State Long Beach is starting to make waves. The Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition is hosting a fund raiser at the Dale Bros Brewery on Saturday, December 14th. BikeSGV discovers newly installed protected car parking, uh, bike lanes.

Palm Springs could become more bike friendly. Santa Cruz cyclists get a new off-road dirt bike course. If you’re riding with an illegal blackjack and two outstanding warrants, stop for the damn stop sign, already. A cyclist suffers major injuries when his bike is rear-ended on the Stanford campus; fortunately, a second car only hit his bike. SFist asks if San Francisco is the most bike-friendly city in the country; uh, probably not. Salinas cyclist killed after allegedly running a stop sign; but if the driver had the sun in her eyes, who saw him run it? Napa Valley paper asks if California’s laws are enough to keep bicyclists safe. Improve safety by designing roads for cyclists.

Treehugger says let’s stop calling the deaths of cyclists at the hands of negligent drivers accidents; I couldn’t agree more. Reflective vests don’t have to look like crap. A 78-year old driver kills cyclist participating in El Tour de Tucson bike race, even though the rider “did everything right.” Seattle spends $225,000 for a special bike lane street sweeper. Boulder CO bike advocates question lenient penalties for drivers who kill or injure cyclists; actually, I think bike riders everywhere question that. Chicago driver jerks — with emphasis on the jerk — his vehicle into a cyclist after the rider asks him to stop playing video games while driving. A Tennessee town misinterprets local law to ban children from riding bikes on city streets. Actually, new Boston sharrows – even on steroids — don’t give priority to cyclists or motorists; that’s kind of the point of a shared lane, no? Maryland grand jury gives an aggressive driver a pass for fatally not passing a cyclist. Bipartisan support for bicycling baffles the media. A Florida rider corrects the misconception that salmon cycling is safer.

Bicycling British writer politely responds to the very unfunny, anti-bike troll she has the misfortune of sharing the planet working with. New report says the UK is falling behind on bike safety. London’s Police Commissioner says he’s afraid to ride a bike and that only poor people do, then backs off on his own comments. On the other hand, Bristol’s police chief says he’s one of us, while the city steps up enforcement against both cyclists and motorists. The Independent says cyclists and motorists should be on the same side. Brit author and WWII survivor is run down by a driver blinded by the sun. A Scottish letter writer calls for £500 — $811 — fines for rogue cyclists; I wonder how many rogue drivers face fines anywhere near that? Former pro rider Arnaud Coyot was killed in a French car crash on Sunday. Former world time trial champ Emma Pooley is back in the saddle after taking time off for her PhD. American triathlete is forced to pay blood money to leave Abu Dhabi after colliding with a race volunteer who ran into his path. Kiwi cyclist confesses to being less of a rebel, with more of a cause. Are Australian cities underestimating the potential for bicycling? Aussie cyclist gets five years for fatally pushing a 71-year old woman who got in the way of his bike. A new bike safety campaign wants your help in reporting articles about cyclist/driver incidents; thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up. A Tokyo police sergeant is under investigation for trying to stop a rash of bike thefts; yes, you read that right.

Finally, a British Lord claims bike riders want to get run over so they can film it; personally, I’ll pass, thank you. And a London cyclist says he’s okay, but everyone else sucks. Then again, he’s probably never had to defend himself from a family of elk.

A look at Camp Pendleton collision site; a killer driver may be back on the streets three years early

Our anonymous South Bay correspondent took a trip down to San Diego County in the wake of the Camp Pendleton collision that killed Udo Heinz and left fellow rider John Edwards critically injured.

Did you know you’re required to wear a helmet to ride at Pendleton? Learned that the Del Mar gate. So I own a helmet now. (And I want to read Heinz’s autopsy report to see whether his helped any.)

The site of the collision is on a shoulder-less stretch of two lane road, divided with a double yellow, between two guardrails. Signs indicate the bike route, set the maximum speed at 45 mph, and remind cyclists to ride single file. The shoulder completely disappears as the road crosses what appears to be a broad wash; the lanes may be substandard width, but I was too scared to stop to measure, partly because I was going too fast to discern whether there was non-sloping space on the other side of the guardrail to set my bike, and partly because there was just enough traffic to disincline me from stopping (or even slowing) long enough to find out.

The roadway’s in good repair; I didn’t notice any violent bumps or scary surface infrastructure like fissures or moguls. It’s certainly preferable to, say, Wilshire Blvd. This stretch of road is also completely straight, without even the gentlest curve that could possibly impair a driver’s view. The video from the NCTD bus shows absolutely no traffic coming from the opposite direction, although that video makes it seem as if the blind vertical curve ahead is much closer than it is. The hills worried me a lot more than the big vehicles on the road. In fact, the motorists on Pendleton seemed attentive and, frankly, kind of slower than I’d expected, not just in passing but generally. Passing through Oceanside afterwards was unpleasant in comparison.

New infrastructure on PCH stunned me. The stretch through downtown Oceanside is still bike-unfriendly, but going through other towns on the way to Del Mar blew my mind. There’s signage (regulatory & wayfinding), bike lanes, charming bike racks, bulbouts, ped-activated crossings with embedded flashing beacons, and even sharrows. Sharrows! On Highway 101! One town even had a portable message board parked in the median to inform road users what the heck these newfangled sharrows are for.

I crashed the memorial for Udo Conrad Heinz. Attendance was huge (I tried to count, but gave up after several attempts, and have to just estimate “well over two hundred”). Udo’s wife was clearly touched, and his son watched everything somberly with his great big eyes. I spoke very briefly with Susanne Davis, who left a comment on your blog, and she is hoping there will be a push now for a change in legislation to protect vulnerable road users, an Udo’s Law. (Also she mentioned in her comment the friendly attentiveness of the tank drivers at Pendleton, but part of this may be because she’s really attractive.)  The memorial touched everyone, family, friends, neighbors, fellow riders, former colleagues… I’m surprised the guy’s mailman didn’t show (maybe he did?) And the sunset was lovely.

On the return trip, I missed the Coaster because I was taking so many pictures of the aforementioned new infrastructure, so with darkness falling, I decided to catch the bus. I was standing under a lighted street lamp, wearing an extra large ANSI Class III hi-vis reflective vest, and shouldering a chrome bike with two reflective spoke cards. Also my bag, which has a prominent reflective stripe, was sitting on the bus bench next to me. I was almost blinded by the stupid blue-white high-intensity headlights of the approaching NCTD bus, which very clearly wasn’t slowing down or maneuvering towards the curb. I actually had to holler and wave to get the driver to notice me. As I boarded, I apologized sarcastically for my invisibility, and received no response. I’d hate to encounter this oblivious, unapologetic driver while riding.

Very shortly thereafter, the drivers changed shifts at a stop. The first thing the new driver did was wipe the front windows down. There was an amazing difference in visibility. The new driver said that it’s not a requirement for drivers to clean the windows, but it’s something he took upon himself to do as soon as he began driving Route 101, which is the coastal bus, because the sea spray builds up so fast. Sometimes, he said, he’ll even do it mid-route when it’s necessary.

………

She also reports that Danae Marie Miller, — the driver convicted of killing Orange County triathlete Amine Britel while allegedly drunk and texting — appears to be out of prison well before her four year sentence is up, with no public explanation.

Danae Marie Miller’s out of prison. There’s no record of her within the California Dep’t of Corrections & Rehabilitation, at any rate. She could have been “realigned” to a county or city jail (not in any of the half-dozen I’ve checked, though.) She could be under monitored house arrest. She could be on unsupervised probation. She could be out there drunk & texting on the roads at this minute. Amine Britel? Still dead.

………

LA’s hit-and-run epidemic hit a horrifying climax this past weekend, as four innocent victims lost their lives to murderous drivers who couldn’t be bothered to stop long enough to save a life in four separate incidents.

Including a 19-year old woman and a three-year old child.

It’s clear that we need to change the law to halt this bloody crime spree. Including making the penalty for hit-and-run equivalent to drunk driving, to remove the incentive to flee the scene if a driver has been drinking.

If the victim dies, the driver should face a murder charge on the assumption that the victim’s life might have been saved if the driver had stopped long enough to render aid or call 911 before fleeing like a coward — let alone lived up to their responsibility as a decent human being.

Yet as the Danae Miller case suggest, the current prison overcrowding crisis means that anyone convicted under such a law is unlikely to serve more than a fraction of their prison term. We need to take steps to insure anyone who flees the scene of a collision loses their privilege to drive for decades.

If not for life.

And the car they used to commit the crime is seized and sold, with the proceeds given to the victim; after all, you don’t give a bank robber back the gun he used.

………

Last chance to help the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition set the city’s priorities for biking and walking.

………

The MyFigueroa project is set for final approval, including LA’s first, albeit reduced in scope, cycle tracks, which even AARP approves of. Though someone might want to mention to LADOT that there are space-saving alternatives to creating semi-permeable car-blocking barriers.

And Streetsblog reports you still have to worry whether the long-planned Expo bikeway will survive latest assault from the wealthy homeowners in Cheviot Hills. These are the same people who argued in the past that a bike path would put their homes at risk from bike riding burglars who might try to peddle away with their 60” flat screens.

Just as an aside, I will be guest curating Streetsblog once again tomorrow.

………

Don’t forget tonight’s public meeting to review recommendations to improve safety on PCH in Malibu. If you can’t make it, another meeting will be held on Thursday. This is your chance to stop another serial killer — this time, one of Southern California’s most deadly highways.

………

LA traffic would be a lot better if the city’s commuters would follow UCLA’s example. Only 51% of campus employees drive alone, compared to 70% of Los Angeles commuters — and nearly 75% of the university’s students use some form of alternative transportation.

………

Finally, anyone into adventure cycling will want to follow the exploits of Reza Pakravan and Steven Pawley, who are just eight days into a planned 100 day, 11,184 mile ride from Nordkapp, Norway to Cape Town, South Africa.

You can keep up with Pakravan and Pawley on Twitter as they make their way across three continents.

Memorial for Valley hit-and-run victim Victor Awad; more information on the death of Udo Heinz

My service with the Superior Court of L.A. County is now complete.

As it turned out, I wasn’t asked to sit in judgement of my fellow man. Or woman, for that matter. And unlike my previous round of service, there were no particular insights gained.

Just sitting around waiting in vain for someone to choose me.

In other words, pretty much like sitting around waiting to get picked for a team in grade school.

With pretty much the same result.

……..

A couple quick notes before I head off to bed to make up for somehow managing to stay awake in the courtroom.

And no, it wasn’t easy.

First up, a memorial service will be held today for Victor Awad, who was killed in a hit-and-run a little over a week ago at Plummer Street and Winnetka along the Northridge/Chatsworth border.

Funeral services for Victor Awad will be held at 10:00am on Thursday, August 15th at the following location:

St Mary & St Athanasius Coptic Orthodox Church
17431 Roscoe Boulevard, Northridge, CA 91325-3903

According to the print business he ran, the collision is still under investigation, though an arrest has been made. His father will be taking over day-to-day operation of the business.

Thanks to ValleyBall1 for the heads-up.

………

Second, more details are finally in regarding the collision that killed Udo Heinz on Camp Pendleton on Sunday, August 4th.

Heinz was riding with two other cyclists when they were run down by a North County Transit District Bus. He died at the scene; his riding companions were both injured, one critically.

Now the attorney for John Edwards, the rider who was critically injured, has posted details of the suit he intends to file against the transit district, with the permission of his client.

And it ain’t pretty.

According to the pretrial disclosure, Edwards suffered a fractured right ankle, lacerations to his left ankle, multiple broken ribs, a fractured and lacerated nose, lacerations to his face, and trauma to his heart and other internal organs. He spent five days in the hospital, four them in Intensive Care.

The other rider, though injured himself, did his best to aid and comfort both of his companions in Heinz’ last moments.

Needless to say their bikes were destroyed, as well.

The scary part is, still photos from the onboard bus camera clearly show the driver did not swerve to avoid the three riders, as had been reported, despite doing so to avoid another group of riders moments earlier.

Instead, he drove directly into them from behind, and may have even drifted slightly to the right before hitting them. The pretrial disclosure contends the first moment he seemed to be aware of their presence was when he felt the impact and his passengers screamed as he plowed into them.

I warn you, though, the photos are haunting.

Blurry though they may be, I’ve been troubled ever since viewing them earlier today.

It’s hard to shake the image of three people just seconds before one has his life violently ripped away, and another’s shattered, as seen from the vehicle that did it. They all seem unaware of what is about to happen, failing to react to the bus that’s just seconds from hitting them.

I suspect that image may stick with me for a long time.

Thanks to MarkG for the link.

Update: A memorial will be held for Udo Heinz today as well; thanks to Matt Ruscigno for the information. 

Celebration of Life event for Udo:
Powerhouse Park, Del Mar
Thursday, August 15th, 5pm to sunset
-Beach casual attire please
-Food and beverages served
-Bring blankets and chairs (picnic style)

Update: Three bike riders hit by bus on Camp Pendleton, one killed

Confirmation is just coming in that a bicyclist has died as a result of injuries in a crash at Camp Pendleton yesterday.

I had received an email about the collision earlier this afternoon; however, I was unable to confirm the death until now.

According to the San Diego Union Tribune, three cyclists, identified only as civilians, were hit by a bus while riding through the Marine base; the paper uses the word “slammed” to describe the impact. The collision occurred around 1 pm on Stuart Mesa Road near Cook Crossing.

The paper reports that two of the riders were transported by ambulance, with the third flown out by helicopter.

Unfortunately, the LA Times writes that one of the riders has died, confirming the report in the email; according to the Times, one of the surviving riders remains in critical condition, while the third is listed as serious.

The Times reports the bus belonged to the North County Transit District.

No word yet on how or why the collision occurred.

Civilians are usually allowed to ride through the military base, except during war games or security alerts, and it is one of the most popular routes in North County San Diego cyclists.

This is the 57th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 7th in San Diego County; that compares with 10  in the county this time last year.

Update: Three days later, there has still been no follow-up from the press on this tragedy, and no confirmation from the San Diego coroner’s office. However, the name of the victim has become common knowledge in the San Diego cycling community, identifying him as Udo Heinz. 

Some of the comments below are from people who knew him, and worth reading to get a feeling for the kind of man he was. If anyone wants to provide more information about Heinz, or how the collision happened, let me know; you can find my email on the About page. 

And a quick note to commenters. My policy is to allow any discussion that is courteous, avoids personal attacks and does not disrespect fallen riders. At this time, we have no idea how this collision occurred or who was at fault. So if you feel a need to criticize bike riders, for whatever reason, find another post to leave your comments. This is not the place for it.

Update 2: If you haven’t read the comments below, please do. It’s obvious that Udo Heinz was well-loved, not just a cyclist, but as a father and friend, as this column on Mountain Bike Review makes clear; thanks to Lois for the heads-up.

Update 3: The Union-Tribune finally followed up on their initial story and provided a little more information. 

Heinz, a 43-year old resident of Encinitas, was riding south on Stuart Mesa Road through Camp Pendleton with two other riders around 1 pm Sunday when a North County Transit District bus traveling in the same direction attempted to pass. The bus went into the northbound lane to pass the three riders, then cut back and hit them; the paper does not say if there was oncoming traffic or some other reason the bus came back into the lane before clearing the cyclists. 

There were roughly a dozen passengers on the bus who may be able to help explain what happened, and there should be video from the bus itself.

According to the U-T story, one of the other riders, 62-year old John Edwards, suffered what was described as “serious permanent injuries.” The third rider was hospitalized, but no further information was available. 

A member of the Ranchos Cycling Club, Heinz was a mechanical engineer with two master’s degrees and vice president of commercial products for TUV Rheinland Group.

He leaves behind a wife and children.

Update 4: More details on how the collision occurred and the injuries suffered by Edwards are included in a brief posted online by Edwards’ attorney. Apparently, the driver made no attempt to avoid the riders, despite video from an onboard camera showing them riding directly in front of the bus. 

My prayers for Udo Heinz and the other victims and all their families and loved ones. Let’s hope the two survivors make a full and fast recovery.

%d bloggers like this: