Tag Archive for violent assault

Morning Links: Bike rider mugged on Ballona Creek; LA Times criticizes selfish drivers fighting traffic safety

Cars aren’t the only threats people on bikes have to face.

One of the constant themes repeated by the people fighting bike lanes in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey is that, in their humble opinion, bike riders would be better off riding away from traffic on the Ballona Creek bike path than risking getting hit by cars on the streets.

Never mind that Ballona Creek bypasses all the shopping and employment centers between Culver City and the beach. Or that limited access points makes it harder for people to get where they need to go.

Which makes it more practical for recreational riding than for people who need to get somewhere, in most cases.

But there’s another recurring problem with the Ballona Creek bike path.

The isolation the path, below public view, makes it an ideal hunting ground for criminals. Which has been a problem on the path since at least 1990.

Every few years, there seems to be another rider attacked on Ballona Creek. And every few years, calls go out for police patrols on the pathway.

But nothing ever happens. And no government agency ever seems to want to take responsibility for the path.

Which leads up to what happened two weeks ago, when Jesus David Orozco was riding home after attending to Mar Vista Community Council meeting to discuss the Venice Blvd Great Streets project.

Something has to be done to ensure safety for everyone on the Ballona Creek bike path.

And done quickly.

Because just like on the streets, people won’t use it if they don’t feel safe there.

Especially if they actually aren’t.

Update: I’m told that Orozco posted on Facebook that he has returned to work today, and that, thanks to the physicians that treated him, is feeling good and looking like himself again. 

I’m not sharing the post, since I haven’t requested his permission to use it.

But the only things that would make this news any better is if the police caught the people who did this, and the county and cities along the trail committed to improving safety so it doesn’t happen again.

Thanks to Jonathan Weiss for the heads-up.

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The LA Times really nails it this time.

In a surprising editorial, the paper calls on LA leaders to find the courage to fight back against “selfish” motorists opposed to street safety projects.

And let’s be clear. This is the official editorial voice of the publisher and paper, not merely an Op-Ed.

The paper complains about the callousness of too many commuters, and the risk that kneejerk opposition to change will override good policy. And possibly even reverse the city’s Vision Zero plan.

Vista del Mar wasn’t an official Vision Zero project – it didn’t go through the standard community outreach and input process that is an essential part of any road reconfiguration. Still, it quickly became the rallying cry for opponents of road diets and other projects that might slow traffic. It’s worth noting that some of the loudest critics of the Vista del Mar reconfiguration and another nearby Vision Zero project in Playa del Rey don’t live in the community; they commute through it to avoid 405 traffic.

The paper goes on to criticize Roadkill Gil Cedillo’s cynical effort to gain veto power over any road diet or lane reconfiguration in CD1, as well as Paul Krekorian’s backtracking on the Great Streets project proposed for Lankershim Blvd.

Typical City Hall. It’s easy for Garcetti and council members to tout their progressive credentials and sign off on ambitious policies to transform L.A. It’s much harder to implement those plans. Too often city leaders fold in the face of opposition. We’ve seen this with the city’s Bicycle Plan. We’ve seen it with homeless housing. And that’s why so many ambitious plans remain unfulfilled.

City leaders, and Garcetti in particular, have to continually make the case that Vision Zero is about making the streets safer for walkers, bike riders, motorcyclists and, yes, even drivers. The mayor has been far too quiet in defending his program and council members who face blowback when they support road safety efforts. Projects downtown and in Silver Lake have demonstrated that road diets can help reduce injuries without significant traffic delays. There is a learning curve, and over time as more Vision Zero projects are completed, residents will likely see that the benefits of safer streets outweigh the lane losses and any effect on traffic flow.

Not to mention the attitude they attribute to motorists at the start of the piece is no exaggeration. It’s exactly what I’ve been dealing with on social media and in the comments on this site.

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In Orange County, they’re not actually attacking bike riders, just pretending to.

And likely, scaring the crap out of innocent people in the process, for the sake of a stupid prank.

An OC law firm reports that people in cars are zooming in close to bicyclists, then making a gun with their hands and yelling “Butt dart!” at the rider.

It’s just pure luck that someone hasn’t been startled or frightened into falling or crashing, with potentially serious consequences.

Thanks to F Lehnerz for the heads-up.

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Someone needs to explain the meaning of sharrows to the driver of a San Diego pickup. And remind him that brake checking a pair of cyclists was what got Dr. Christopher Thompson five years behind bars.

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LA’s own Coryn Rivera topped the women’s field to win the 2017 RideLondon Classique. More on the RideLondon festival in the International section below.

More proof that motor doping is a real thing, as an Italian masters rider was busted for having a concealed electric engine hidden in his bike.

More bad news on the ultra-endurance front, as endurance cyclist Frank Simons has been killed near the start of the European Transcontinental race, just 51 miles into the 2,500-mile race; he’s the third rider killed competing in an ultra-endurance race this year.

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Local

LA County is offering a $10,000 reward for the capture of the bike-riding jackass who sexually assaulted a woman in the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department’s Altadena Station rescued a mountain biker in Arroyo Canyon early Saturday. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

The Easy Reader posts great photos of kids participating in Sunday’s Manhattan Beach Grand Prix.

The Press-Telegram provides a full construction schedule for the new bike boulevard being built on 6th Street in Long Beach

 

State

Meet the Huntington Beach man who invented the beach cruiser in the 1970s.

Mazda helped build and donate 120 bicycles for foster families in Orange County.

No bias here. The San Diego Union-Tribune wants to hear from readers about the city’s mythical war on cars.

A Fresno letter writer calls for greater enforcement of “maniac” drivers who put bicyclists at risk.

Sad news from San Jose, where a bike rider was killed in a collision with a train.

Chico proposes a dramatic new bike and pedestrian bridge over a wide, busy street.

 

National

No surprise here. A new federal study shows speed was a factor in 31% of all traffic fatalities; the study recommends making the penalty for speeding equal to the penalties for drunk driving.

The Colorado legislator who called for an annual registration fee for bicyclists, then backed off after a massive backlash, now says maybe there needs to be a crackdown on scofflaw cyclists. And suggests it’s not fair if owners of ATVs, boats and snowmobiles to have to buy registration stickers, and bicyclists don’t. Never mind that all of those have motors; if they’re going to tax cyclists, maybe they should make hikers, skiers and pedestrians pay a fee, as well.

Someone is sabotaging ebikes in Aspen CO.

Touching story from Texas, where an entire family is wearing bike helmets in solidarity with their new baby, who has to wear a helmet to treat flat head syndrome.

Nebraska’s governor is riding 150 miles with a group of mental health professional to help end the stigma surrounding children’s mental health. It’s a kickoff event for Break the Cycle, a 5,000 mile ride from Seattle to DC to raise funds for child and adolescent mental health initiatives.

More victim blaming. Minnesota police say a cyclist ran a stop sign before she was hit by a van; her GPS shows she actually slowed to 1.1 mph before accelerating again.

Kindhearted Duluth MN cops pitch in to buy a new mountain bike for a man when his was destroyed in a crash, after they discovered he lived in an assisted living home and it was his only means of transportation.

Just two weeks after launching in South Bend, Indiana, bikes from the new LimeBike dockless bikeshare are already ending up in a local river.

Off-duty police officers will patrol multi-use trails in an Ohio town, as residents say they’d be more likely to use them if there was a police presence, even though there hasn’t been a crime problem. Which might be an answer for Ballona Creek, and other off-road paths in the LA area.

A Tennessee hit-and driver caught on bike cam ramming a bicyclist on the Natchez Trace Parkway has been indicted on federal charges of reckless aggravated assault, lying to a federal agent, and obstruction of justice; he could face a total of up to 37 years in federal prison. Apparently, they didn’t buy his excuse that someone on the side of the road had thrown a bicycle at his Volvo. Thanks to Allyson Vought for the link.

The New York Times says bicycling has become part of the city’s culture, with over 450,000 bike trips every day; the city has committed to building an additional 50 miles of bike lanes every year — including ten miles of protected lanes — after more than doubling the number of bike lanes over the past ten years. Thanks to Victor Bank for the tip.

 

International

The massive annual RideLondon cycling event was expected to draw 100,000 participants this past weekend, with 24,000 riders taking part in the century ride, a decrease of 3,000 riders over last year to improve safety.

Caught on video: An Aussie bicyclist pulls an endo and just barely avoids falling in front of an oncoming car. Note to Daily Mail: Going over the handlebars isn’t caused by going too fast, but by squeezing the front brake hard before the back one, causing the front wheel to lock before halting the bike’s momentum.

Apparently “hordes” of Brit runners are taking up bicycling to protect their knees, including an Olympic 1,500 meters star.

The Guardian says swapping cars for bicycles will make a bigger difference in the fight against pollution than switching from diesel engines to electric.

Israel’s railway authority will be installing automated bike parking garages at heavily used stations across the country.

The Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai is one of us, as Sheikh Mohammed stops to rescue a woman rider with a twisted chain.

The authoritarian president of Turkmenistan is one of us too, as he leads 7,700 riders, including government officials, on a nine-mile route through the nation’s capital; cars were banned from most major Turkmen cities for the day.

The war on bikes continues, as someone has been pouring oil on bike paths in Melbourne, Australia, in an attempt to make riders slip and fall, which could result in serious injuries.

 

Finally…

Who needs a water bottle when you can weld a cup holder into your top tube. How to explain why you never forget how to ride a bike without really explaining anything.

And someone please tell the LA Times we have a Critical Mass down here, too.

 

Morning Links: Pablove Across America ride, campaign histrionics in CD1, and a worldwide rash of assaults on cyclists

I normally don’t repost press releases.

I usually don’t finish reading them, for that matter. Let alone share them on here. But I’m making an exception this time, to give you a chance to ride the Left Coast for a good cause.

Pablove Across America (PAA) is a pro-plus experience with a world-class support crew and the energy of 50 cyclists riding for a cause. Cyclists will have the opportunity to ride down the beautiful California Coast, from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles. This race was started a few years ago when Jeff Castelaz and Jo Ann Thrailkill lost their six year old son to a rare form of cancer. In order to cope with the pain Jeff rode his bike from Florida to LA and it started in 2009. When friends and family heard of this news a family friend set up a fund and began collecting donations for his ride and for the family. Before they knew it there had over $250K in their account and from there this ride turned into an annual fundraising event to celebrate the life of Pablo and the Pablove Foundation was created to raise money for pediatric cancer.

The Pablove Foundation helps kids with cancer live a love-filled life today, and a cancer-free life tomorrow. Pablove’s mission is to invest in under-funded, cutting-edge pediatric cancer research and improve the lives of children living with cancer through the arts.

The event takes place October 1-7 and is unlike the others – you can see all the 5-star details below. If riders want to participate in just one day of the race (either the sendoff in SF or arrival in LA) they can also do that.  And when riders arrive in LA there will be a special party for them at Trancas Country Mart — just north of Zuma/Malibu. The party will include a live musical performance (big name to be confirmed soon) with great food and drinks for all. Locals can also attend to participate in the festivities and welcome in the riders.

Riders are asked to raise at least $7,500 to receive a professional-grade experience, including:

  • Pro-race support to roll behind the peloton and perform daily maintenance on your bike
  • Soigneur services to keep your body in good working order through massage
  • Nutritious meals and on-bike food and drink
  • A double-occupancy hotel room (upgrades to single rooms available for $100/night, dependent on availability)
  • A training plan and individualized coaching
  • Pablove cycling kit with short-sleeved jersey and bib shorts

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KPCC looks at Monday’s “raucous” debate between CD1 candidates Joe Bray-Ali and incumbent Gil Cedillo, which was lowlighted by a racist call for the LA-born Bray-Ali to “go back to India;” the LA Weekly calls it the all-time craziest debate in LA.

Meanwhile, Bray-Ali apologized for a nine-year old YouTube video in which he repeats a George Lopez joke about Mexicans; needless to say, it was sent to reporters by the Cedillo campaign, who’ve clearly done their opposition research.

Bray-Ali will host a campaign block party tonight.

And with all the histrionics in CD1, it’s easy to forget there’s another runoff going on in CD7, between bike-friendly Monica Rodriguez and even more bike-friendly Karo Torossian, who will both participate in a debate a week from Saturday.

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Unfortunately, today’s common theme is violent attacks on bike riders.

A San Francisco cyclist was attacked by two men who attempted to knock him off his bike, then punched him and stole his bag when he managed to stay upright.

A New York man suffered a broken arm and jaw after he was knocked off his bike and jumped by a road raging driver and his passengers, because he wouldn’t get the hell out of their way so they could go around a double-parked car; no arrests have been made, even though police got their license number from two separate sources.

Four Brooklyn gang members will serve life in prison for fatally stabbing a man after he refused to hand over his bicycle and backpack.

Two British teens were arrested for attacking a man with a machete as he rode his bicycle home from his girlfriend’s house.

Another British rider was saved by a passerby after being attacked by four men armed with golf clubs and a crowbar.

A Yugoslav Ironman competitor was knocked off his bike and robbed by a gang in South Africa, less than a month after similar attacks on two other riders.

Then there’s the road raging driver who pulled his car over to harass a group a cyclists, then provoked an altercation with a second group and apparently pepper sprayed them — then was stupid enough to post the video on Facebook. I don’t know where this occurred, but this appears to be damn good evidence of felony assault; regardless of who attacked whom, he pulled his car over in order to provoke a confrontation. Thanks to Cyclist’s Rights for sharing the link.

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Then there are the bike riders behaving badly.

A 73-year old Bay Area driver was reportedly punched by three different bicyclists, and his classic Camaro damaged, after he allegedly bumped a rider participating in the East Bay Bike Party Monday night.

A Brit bicyclist reached in to snatch the keys from a driver’s car and rode off after a roadway argument.

Seriously, just don’t. As tempting as the last one may be sometimes.

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Czech-based Team Elkov-Author Cycling faces a suspension from competition after two team members received four year bans for doping.

A pair of HuffPo writers discuss the pressure on professional athletes to dope, and the consequences they face, physical and otherwise.

Members of the Cylance Pro Cycling team met with Big Bear elementary school students, as they trained in the area for this weekend’s Tour of the Gila.

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Local

Streetsblog takes an initial look at LA’s new interactive Vision Zero map, which appears to be still working the bugs out. What’s missing from the map is any word on what happened in response to the fatality; whether the driver was charged or if any changes were made to the roadway following the crash.

The Bike Metro bikeshare will be free this Saturday for Earth Day.

CiclaValley checks out Little Tujunga’s recovery from the massive Sand Fire.

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from Boyonabike, who reviews The Guardian bike scribe Peter Walker’s new book How Cycling Can Save the World.

Don’t plan on using the Chandler Bike Path through Burbank on Saturday.

A 46-year old man was fatally shot while riding his bike in El Monte Tuesday night.

A Santa Monica bike rider is expected to recover after he was hit by an 80-year old driver, who sideswiped a car before hitting him, then crashed into at least one more vehicle.

Ride with the mayor of Santa Monica this Sunday.

LA County is now offering a $10,000 reward for information on the murder of a Compton man as he sat in his parked car last June by someone who rode up on a bicycle; two other men in the car were wounded in the shooting.

While you’re jonesing for the June CicLAvia, take advantage of the Beach Streets University open streets event in East Long Beach at the end of the month.

 

State

Newport Beach will be conducting a bike and pedestrian safety operation through Monday; as with similar programs in other cities, ride to the letter of the law as long as you’re in the city so you’re not the one ticketed.

A San Diego man who took off with a Border Patrol agent hanging on for dear life in the back of his truck after the agent tried to stop him from stealing a bicycle was sentenced to five years in prison.

Congratulations to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, which saved 14 bike riders from themselves in a crackdown aimed at preventing crashes involving motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, but could only manage to find a single scofflaw driver to ticket.

A team of San Bernardino firefighters will take part in June’s Race Across America to support a pair of fellow firefighters who are battling cancer.

The country’s largest bike expo starts tomorrow in Monterey, as the Sea Otter Classic takes place at the famed Laguna Seco raceway.

Watsonville police recover five bikes believed to be stolen while conducting a probation search, including a $7,500 bicycle.

Once again, a bike rider was the hero, as a Dublin cyclist spotted a Pleasanton boy who’d been missing from his elementary school for three hours.

San Francisco approved protected bile lanes on 13th Street, and proposed replacing sharrows with painted bike lanes on another while realigning parking to make room for them. Unlike LA, where parking spaces are more sacred than cows in India.

A San Francisco Op-Ed from the head of the city’s transportation agency says it’s time to make traffic deaths a thing of the past.

An alleged drunk driver has been arrested for critically injuring a five-year old Sacramento boy as he rode his bike Tuesday evening. There’s something seriously wrong when a little kid can’t ride his bike without being endangered by some jackass who can’t manage to stay the hell out of his car after drinking.

 

National

Streetsblog considers the human toll of normalizing distracted driving.

People for Bikes offers a half dozen first person accounts to show the only thing that’s just like riding a bike is riding a bike.

Bicycling offers advice on how to pass an alligator in the road. Which is not a problem we normally have here in sunny Southern California.

Apple Maps now includes bikeshare docks, but only in New York, London and Paris. After all, the LA area is so unimportant in the greater scheme of things, right?

NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr beat fellow racer Jimmie Johnson, at least when it came to bragging rights for putting in the most miles on his bike.

The Guardian asks if Seattle’s mandatory helmet law killed their bikeshare system, or if it was the hills, rain and lack of infrastructure. In short, yes.

No bias here. A Las Vegas cyclist allegedly lost control and made a suicide swerve into the side of a tour bus.

A Colorado state senator wants to ban coal-rolling drivers; if you live in Colorado, the bill could use your support. Although it’s questionable whether a $100 fine will deter them, when an existing $3,750 federal fine doesn’t.

Topeka KS native Steve Tilford will be honored with a four hour celebration of his life on Sunday; the cycling legend was killed in a Colorado car crash earlier this month.

The National Transportation Safety Board says the Kalamazoo massacre might have been avoided if there had been better communication between the three police agencies in the area; the initial call warning about the stoned driver came 22 minutes before the crash that killed five riders.

The NYPD has shifted gears and will recommend charges against a truck driver who killed a bike rider, just days after attempting to blame the victim, who had the right-of-way.

The Daily News mostly gets it, calling on the NYPD to stop confiscating ebikes and target reckless cars, instead. Although Disney movies aside, most cars are only as reckless as the drivers in them.

New York state gets serious about active transportation, investing $112 million in federal funding to pay for several dozen bike and pedestrian projects.

A New Jersey study shows barriers to bicycling go far beyond infrastructure for people of color.

 

International

An Austrian endurance cyclist plans to ride 900 miles across Cuba in 37 hours. Although the hardest part of the journey may be listening to a single song on endless repeat.

Benedict Cumberbatch is one of us, too. Or was five years ago, anyway. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

The Brit driver who threatened BBC presenter Jeremy Vine as he rode his bike has lost her appeal, and will spend nine months behind bars.

A very popular London bike safety advocate has been killed in a collision with an allegedly drunk and stoned driver in Mallorca, Spain.

A 35-year old English man is returning home after a 43,000 mile journey by bike around the world; he was only 28 when he set off in 2010.

A new study from the University of Glasgow shows that bicycling to work can cut your risk of cancer and heart disease nearly in half, and your risk of premature death by any cause by 41%. Which means that after 37 years of adult riding, I should live forever.

India’s Army Chief General “felicitated” a retired general for riding over 6,800 miles in 183 days to honor the nation’s 21,000 fallen soldiers.

Someone stole 20 track bikes worth the equivalent of over $15,000 from a Durbin, South Africa velodrome.

 

Finally…

You can carry anything on a bicycle — even a body. Probably not the best idea to bike away from a known drug house if you’ve got outstanding warrants, and drug paraphernalia and meth in your backpack.

And nothing like crapping in your own hands and throwing it at the driver who honked at you.

Clearly, someone has spent way too much time watching the monkeys at the zoo.

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I know firsthand how hard it is to ask for money to support a site like this. So when Seth Davidson asks for your help to support his work at Cycling in the South Bay, it should mean something.

 

Morning Links: El Monte rider victim of vicious attack, hit-and-run rewards passed, and why sharrows don’t work

Not too long ago, it was hard to find enough bike news to post. Now some days. there’s just too much news.

Like today, for instance.

So let’s not waste any time and just get started.

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An El Monte bike rider was critically injured in a frightening attack earlier this month.

Security camera footage shows the April 6th assault, as five men beat and stabbed the 36-year old South El Monte man for a full 45 seconds before getting back in their car; one of the men can’t resist the temptation to turn back for one last kick.

Most disturbingly, there appears to be no reason for the attack.

Police report the victim, who remains hospitalized, was an innocent bystander who was simply riding his bike on Elliot Ave at 12:15 am when a car passed him in the opposite direction, and one of the passengers shouted at him. The driver then made a U-turn, following the rider before stopping alongside his bike to confront him.

He tried to run away, but his attackers caught up and repeatedly hit, kicked and stabbed him.

Anyone with information is urged to call the El Monte Police watch commander at 626/580-2109.

Thanks to Megan Lynch and BikigninLA sponsor Michael Rubinstein for the heads-up.

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As expected, the proposal to offer standing rewards in hit-and-run cases passed the LA City Council on Wednesday.

Witnesses providing information that leads to a conviction in a hit-and-run case will now be eligible for rewards ranging from $1,000 for a property damage collision up to $50,000 for a hit-and-run resulting in death.

However, as with the city’s anti-harassment ordinance, the new law only applies with the Los Angeles city limits.

So if a driver leaves you lying broken and bleeding on the street in Beverly Hills, East LA or Compton, or anywhere else outside the LA city limits, you’re on your own.

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If you’ve ever wondered why I think most sharrows aren’t worth the paint they’re made from, Michael Schinderling, aka Mykee Steen, provides graphic proof.

The video was taken on Fountain and Avenues in Hollywood and Los Feliz, which is my new bicycling territory. And clearly demonstrates the lack of comfortable riding routes in the area.

Schinderling notes that Hollywood Councilmember that ‪Mitch O’Farrell told him that the sharrows were low-flow and safe, and that bike lanes are unnecessary.

Right.

Actually, I think the real purpose of those arrows with a bike symbol on such busy streets is just to help drivers improve their aim.

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Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers a great interview with new LACBC Executive Director Tamika Butler, who explains her focus on equity and social justice.

Nice to see a growing commitment to the whole community from SoCal’s leading bike advocacy group.

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Great ad from Cycling Canada shows bikes riding themselves to urge potential riders to just hop on. An accompanying video explains how it was done.

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Too much sad news today.

BikeSD reports that one of their founding members passed away; Hans Wangbichler was just 54.

The three-year old Kings County boy who was seriously injured when the bike trailer he was riding in was rear-ended by a driver doing at least 50 mph has died; no word on the condition of his father, who was riding the bike.

A 54-year old Pleasanton cyclist died while riding just weeks before he was due to retire; friends who were planning a retirement party will now be attending his memorial.

And a Humboldt County bridge has been renamed as a memorial for a cyclist who was killed in a February collision.

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Local

Bicycling offers a great interview with LA cycling legend Road Block, aka Don Ward. If you ask me what riders and bike advocates I admire most, local or otherwise, he’d be pretty near the top of the list.

CiclaValley attends the mayor’s State of the City speech; evidently, everything is awesome in the city of Angels.

The CSUN Sundial looks at the new protected bike lane on Reseda Blvd; not all bike riders are in favor.

RadPad’s blog explains how to avoid gridlock with breezy, mostly off-the-street biking in the east end of the SFV.

The South LA bike rider caught on a security camera allegedly being beaten by police claims that LAPD officers are harassing him in retaliation for his lawsuit.

BikeSGV is raising funds for the San Gabriel Valley’s first Bicycle Education Center and Co-op.

Long Beach police bust two bike thieves after they fall for a bait bike; the suspects already had two other suspected stolen bicycles in their possession at the time of their arrest. And yes, LBPD recommends using a U-lock and registering your bike.

 

State

Cyclelicious discovers Calbike has lost sponsors as a result of its successful fight against the proposed mandatory helmet bill. Anyone would pull their support from the state’s leading advocacy group over that needs to seriously rethink their commitment to bicycling.

That triangle curb protruding into a new San Diego protected bike lane is being removed, after a new paint job failed to pass muster.

Paso Robles hosted an Italian mayor last weekend as part of this country’s first L’Eroica. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Caltrans installs barbed wire next to a San Mateo County bike path in an apparent effort to keep people and deer off a freeway — or possibly ensure painful injuries to anyone who falls or rides off the path.

A Sausalito councilwoman continues to push for a limit on rental bikes, evidently preferring that all those people drive and take up even more space instead. I guess creating space for those tourists to safely ride and park their bikes is out of the question. 

 

National

The Federal Highway Administration finally gets serious about helping local transportation planners count bikes and pedestrians; needless to say, LA is left out of the first round of the pilot program.

Nice to have bike lawyer Bob Mionske back online; today’s advice is to stay out of the door zone. But you knew that already, right?

A Portland paper explains why cyclists are attempting to get the bike-friendly ranking for the former-bicycling paradise downgraded.

Even Boise gets bike share before LA.

Minneapolis votes to keep their 10 mph speed limit for bicycling in parks, even if it’s unenforceable.

A Chicago alderman tries to force the city to move a protected bike lane from a busy street. Unlike LA, he apparently doesn’t have the near-dictatorial power to kill it all by himself.

Once again, a Florida-based gym co-opts the ghost bike movement by placing orange copies around Ann Arbor MI to promote their new location. Maybe they should place orange tombstones, instead; the message to cyclists would be about the same.

A suspected drunk driver is charged with the head-on collision that killed a popular Vermont cyclist after the driver drifted onto the wrong side of the road; in addition to the fatality, he’s charged with his fifth offense for driving with a suspended license. Once again, the system allowed a dangerous driver to remain on the road, legally or not, until he killed someone.

A New York councilmember comes out against a proposed ban on texting while bicycling. Gothamist notes that it’s actually already illegal, but rarely enforced; however, they’re wrong about it being illegal in California, where a proposed ban failed to pass.

Writing for the Washington Post, New York’s Bike Snob says they’re trying to turn us into cars. And that mandatory helmet laws and glow-in-the-dark spray paint show who really owns the roads.

The Atlanta Braves encourage bike riding instead of driving to their new stadium, due to open in 2017. Maybe the Dodgers should demand safer cycling routes to encourage more people to leave their cars at home.

 

International

British cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins lines up to be the next in a long string of riders to attempt the hour record.

Swiss cyclists will now have to dodge Segways in the bike lane.

Ride recklessly in the UAE, and your bike could be seized by the state; police in one Emirates city took 117 bikes from cyclists in just four days.

An Aussie paper looks at the controversy over Volvo’s reflectorized Life Paint, and why bike riders aren’t rushing to spray themselves before riding.

 

Finally…

Two Arizona teenagers are arrested for trying to smuggle 3.5 pounds of marijuana across the border hidden in their bike tires; but how was the ride? Mazda is the latest car maker to design a bike, which appears to be a disc-wheeled single speed; I look forward to the day when the Cannibal introduces a new car model.

And yes, it is possible to ride a bike with a Corgi in a backpack.

No, I’m not going to try it.

 

Morning Links: Road raging Malibu driver assaults cyclist, and the Times looks at the politics of LA road diets

A PCH cyclist is in serious condition after being attacked by a road raging driver.

According to the Malibu Times, the victim got into an argument with a pickup driver as he rode west on the coast highway between Busch Drive and Morning View Drive. After the rider moved on in the right hand lane, the unnamed driver sped past him, then stopped, got out of his truck and pushed him off his bike into the left lane.

Fortunately, it was either a rare moment when there was no traffic on the highway, or oncoming drivers were able to stop in time to avoid him. Even so, the victim still suffered serious injuries and lacerations.

The paper quotes a sheriff’s deputy as saying the dispute was over “use of the shoulder lane,” though he doesn’t clarify whether the driver wanted to use it or, more likely, incorrectly thought the cyclist belonged there.

Although you’d think someone with the rank of lieutenant would know that the shoulder of PCH — or any roadway — is not a lane, since it’s not legally part of the roadway.

Not surprisingly, the driver, who wasn’t publicly named, was arrested for felony assault.

Although it should be attempted murder if there was any traffic coming at the time.

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The LA Times examines the politics of road diets, and correctly suggests that biking and walking will be issues in next year’s city council elections. At least if we have anything to say about it.

It would have been nice, though, if they’d mentioned that the primary purpose of most road diets is to improve traffic safety for all road users; better livability is just a bonus.

And as John Lloyd pointed out, despite the way the Times piece characterizes it, CicLAvia is more about opening streets for people than closing them off to cars.

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Caught on video: Across Los Angeles takes a look at the first half of Sunday’s Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer hill climb competition.

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Local

Nice piece on Medium.com, as Steven Corwin explains why he shouldn’t have to justify his decision to live car-free.

The Eastsider asks if a freeway cap can make freeway-severed Belvedere Park whole again.

The former Governator and friend ride in one of Santa Monica’s many bike lanes.

Downtown Hawthorne gets a $300,000 makeover, complete with bike lanes. Eventually.

 

State

San Francisco safety advocates say it’s time to end traffic violence; the mayor promises quick action.

A writer for Streetsblog clarifies that Sacramento is not seriously planning to license bicyclists, despite that breathless TV report we linked to last week.

A Modesto letter writer wants cyclists to explain what makes us so special that we don’t have to obey traffic laws — unlike motorists who never speed, use hand-held cell phones or roll through stop signs. Maybe we’re not so special after all.

Nice. After losing his wife, a Chico Iraq war vet finds peace through Ride 2 Recovery.

 

National

A new city bike promises to fold up in seconds.

People for Bikes explains how Denver got an oil company to help crowdfund a protected bike lane. I wonder if anyone has ever asked any of the many companies that suck LA oil out of the ground to pitch in to make the city a little safer. Probably not.

After a special needs woman has her bike stolen, a Michigan TV station replaces it with a better one.

A Maryland woman makes it back on her bike a year after a near-fatal collision, and brings her previously non-biking husband along for the ride.

West Palm Beach’s Jack the Bike Man is looking for used bikes to fix up so he can give 1,000 bikes to children this Christmas.

 

International

The Guardian takes a look at the world’s best cycling infrastructure, none of which is located south of the Canadian border. And says the BBC still gets it wrong in a week-long look at bicycling.

It takes a major jerk to steal an autistic British man’s bike.

Rather than require motorists to drive safely, a Swiss canton orders children to wear hi-viz vests when biking to school.

That Dutch solar bike path opens this week; the question is whether it’s really as dirt and skid resistant as advertised.

 

Finally…

The difference between an ticket and a night in a Santa Monica jail? Not stopping when a cop tries to pull you over for riding on the sidewalk without a headlight (last item). Caught on video: an Edinburgh cyclist uses entirely appropriate inappropriate language given the circumstances, as he’s nearly run over when a van driver decides to use the bike lane as a shortcut.

And now you can play Chutes and Ladders without shame, as Copenhagenize unveils a game based on the best and worst ways to promote bicycling.

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Thanks to all veterans for your sacrifice in service of our country.

 

Bypassing busy traffic on 7th Street, notes from the LAPD bike task force, and Beverly Hills bike lanes redux

When is a bike lane not a bike lane?

When it’s a traffic lane allowing impatient drivers to bypass backed-up traffic for a whole block, shaving maybe a few seconds off the evening commute.

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A few notes from last week’s meeting with the LAPD’s bike liaisons.

First off, Sgt. Lazlo Sandor has taken over as bike liaison for the West Traffic Division; you’ll find his email address on the Resources page.

As part of Chief Beck’s proclamation that this will be the year of traffic enforcement, the LAPD has transferred a number of officers to work the city’s four traffic divisions. The good news is, the city is now focused on cracking down on dangerous drivers — like the one in the video above, for instance. The bad news is, bike violations are considered traffic offenses as well, so be forewarned.

One of the biggest problems in fixing traffic problems has long been that no one has been tracking bicycling and pedestrians collisions, injuries and fatalities. Which meant no one had a clue just what and where those problems might be, let alone how to solve them. Fortunately, the LAPD is now keeping track of all of the above as part of their Compstat program, requiring traffic officers to appear four times a year to discuss problems in their areas. And the department is tracking the most dangerous intersections for all road users to determine what has to be done to improve safety for everyone.

Last week’s story that Houston police officers were conducting traffic stings to improve safety for the city’s cyclists made news around the world. Which may have come as a surprise to LA officers, who have been doing the same thing for some time without public notice. In fact, LA’s West Traffic Division has conducted nine such stings since the first of the year — eight to enforce bike lane issues and one for stop sign enforcement. A total of 53 people were cited, including both cyclists and drivers; LAPD policy does not allow for selective enforcement, so they’re required to write up any violations they see during a sting, regardless of who commits it.

Finally, they stressed the importance of getting permits in advance for events that will require police participation. When the recent Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race was cancelled at the last minute, the department cancelled the officers who had been scheduled to work the event. Then when it was rescheduled at the last minute as a ride, they had to scramble to get enough officers to work the event on such short notice, and ended up paying out over $10,000 in overtime. While they understood the situation with the Marathon Crash, they ask for a minimum of 28 days advance notice to avoid any issues if you’re planning some sort of event.

On the other hand, if you break the law, they’re happy to show up with little or no notice.

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The subject of bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd through Beverly Hills is back on the council agenda this Tuesday. Except they’re not, but maybe they are. It’s a complicated subject explained well by Better Bike.

Meanwhile, a Beverly Hills homeowner’s association offers their reasons why bike lanes are a bad idea, few if any of which actually hold water.

For instance, someone should tell them that California law requires that drivers merge into bike lanes before making right turns, rather than turning across the lane as they suggest (#2). And surprisingly, blind spots exist on motor vehicles, which can hide the presence of bikes from careless drivers like themselves, whether or not bike lanes exist.

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Finally, this just in as a friend of mine reports an assault while riding home on PCH in Orange County.

I was riding on the super dark stretch of PCH between the oilfield and 10,000 miles of ocean. An empty car was stopped, no blinkers, on the shoulder. With cars coming up behind me at 60mph, the only option is to stop and wait for them to pass, or hike over the shrubs on the slope to the right of the (red) curb.

I take a picture of the car, and an angry guy kicks the driver’s side door open, emerges, and comes at me barking, “What the fuck are you doing?”

I dismount in case I have to run for it and start backing away while he repeatedly demands the camera, which he ain’t gonna get.

Long story short, he ends up throwing me, my bike & my bag (containing the Coolpix he was so interested in, plus my MacBook Air & iPad) into the ice plant.

I’m not injured, but my glasses are still out there because I gave up looking for them when the damn sprinklers came on. Also, I called Hunny PD back, and arranged them to just meet me at work for the report. The officer arrived before me AND TOLD MY COWORKER I HAD BEEN HIT BY A CAR. Boy, was she relieved when I grumped up my boss’s porch stairs with bike on shoulder & no visible injuries.

Lesson: Assume even parked cars are full of ex-convicts who will be violently angry with you for nothing.

I’m scared to check my MacBook.

Breaking news — bike rider physically assaulted by motorist in West LA

I’ve received an eye witness report of a bike rider being physically attacked by a motorist this afternoon.

According the report, forwarded to me by attorney David Huntsman, a woman was driving north on Westwood Blvd when she saw another driver get out of his car and attack the rider on the southeast corner of Westwood and Olympic just after noon today. As she described it, the driver came at the rider flailing his arms, while the cyclist yelled at his attacker.

The woman said other people appeared to be calling 911 to report the attack.

Let’s be very clear.

No matter what took place between the two parties to cause the conflict, the motorist committed a crime by striking the rider — as one cop explained to me in a similar case, the driver was at fault as soon as he left his vehicle. He can, and should, be prosecuted if he and his victim can be identified.

This is also would appear to be a perfect case for LA’s cyclist anti-harassment ordinance, which allows bicyclists to sue motorists or others who threaten or attack them while riding. The ordinance allows victims to collect three times actual damages or $1000, whichever is higher; it also allows for the payment of full legal fees to encourage lawyers to take a case that might not otherwise be worth their time.

The problem with the ordinance has always been that it can be difficult to gather the witnesses or other evidence necessary to prove the case. But in this case, it took place in front of multiple witnesses, at least one of whom has already come forward.

If anyone has more information — or if you were the rider involved — contact me; you can find me email address on the About page.

And let’s not forget that this is exactly where an innovative floating bike lane was proposed to reduce or eliminate conflicts between cyclists and drivers — without the loss of a single traffic lane or parking spot.

Yet the lane was vetoed by Westside City Councilmember Paul Koretz at the urging of wealthy homeowners, even though it would have zero negative impact on the Boulevard and the surrounding area.

And would move cyclists out of the way of impatient, and too often, angry drivers, helping to avoid incidents like this.

Update: Bike rider mugged on Ballona Creek bike path; Redlands driver attempts to run down cyclists

Are the Ballona badlands back?

In a crime reminiscent of the bad old days of five years ago, when bike riders were attacked in two separate assaults on the Ballona Creek Bike Path, a cyclist was mugged on the popular bikeway Friday evening.

According to a comment from Mark Neumann, a friend of his was assaulted by three men in an attempt to steal his bike.

On Friday night about 6 pm while riding home from work, a friend of mine got assaulted on his bike riding the Ballona Creek bike path in Culver City on Friday. His words: “He threw his bike into my front wheel as I was about to pass him going about 20 mph. So that dumped me straight onto my shoulder and ribs. I hopped up and the guy was starting to pull my bike away. I told him no and grabbed it back. Wasn’t thinking straight with all the adrenaline cause he pulled it back and started reaching in his pocket. But then he let go and ran off. That’s when I started to feel the injuries and that I couldn’t breathe from the ribs and punctured lung. Feeling better today but the ribs hurt like a mother. Hope to get the chest tube out tomorrow and then get home.” Three guys caused him to crash and tried to steal his bike. He has 5 broken ribs, a broken clavicle, collapsed lung and some good road rash. He is doing well at UCLA but in lots of pain and unable to move.  Be careful on this path.

Unfortunately, things like this are nothing new.

And not restricted to the Ballona bikeway.

An August, 1990 article in the LA Times reports that the Automobile Club of Southern California had warned its bike riding members to avoid Ballona Creek due to dangerous conditions there — a risk made evident when a rider was shot to death on the bike path near Marina del Rey that July.

And it was just two years ago that riders were attacked in at least four separate incidents on the Greenway Trail in Wittier, including a woman who was severely beaten before her attackers ran off without taking anything. Or, thankfully, doing anything other than beating the crap out of her.

It’s a fear that leads many riders, especially women, to avoid off-road bikeways, particularly after dark or when other riders aren’t likely to be present. And may have contributed to the hit-and-run death of Erin Galligan in Santa Monica last year, as she chose to ride through a dangerous construction area on PCH rather than take her chances on the dark, secluded beachfront bike path just a few feet away.

It’s not that bike paths are inherently dangerous. It’s the fact that assaults like this are relatively rare that makes them so shocking.

But it’s an inherent problem with virtually any off-road pathway that while they offer protection from motor vehicles, large sections of the paths are likely to be out of public view and rarely, if ever, patrolled by the police, providing a secluded location for anyone with evil intent.

In fact, in the 2008 assaults, it became clear that the LAPD didn’t even know there was a Ballona Creek bike path, let alone where it was. A problem compounded by the three separate police agencies — LAPD, Culver City PD and LA Sheriff’s Department — responsible for various sections of the bikeway.

None of whom I have ever seen patrol the pathway while riding there myself.

That lack of police protection means it’s up to you keep an eye out for dangerous situations and people or circumstances that just don’t look right. Just as it would be if you were walking or riding through a secluded alley or parking garage, or any other place where an assault could be hidden from public view.

Though how you avoid someone throwing a bike at you is beyond me.

Update: Neumann forwards another report from a friend showing the long history of violence on the bikeway, this one dating back more than 20 years.

Flashback to: Wed Nov 27, 1991 Ballona Creek bike path. Back then there was no fence between the projects and the bike path. I was attacked by a gang while riding home from my office in Beverly Hills. They pulled me off the bike. One of them cold cocked me. I took off running. They caught me. Struck me on the side of the head (with a bike helmet on – no less) with either a gun or a pipe. While on the ground that night I thoroughly believed it was going to be my last day on this planet. But, they grabbed my backpack and ran away. (They got my wallet and a Rolex.) I was in shock. I had a fractured zygomatic (temple) arch. They never caught the culprits. My doctor failed to diagnose my fracture. It healed broken. I had to have corrective surgery which resulted in an infection/abscess. More surgery. A week in Torrance Memorial on 24 hour IV antibiotics. Lost 20 pounds. Necrosis to my jaw bone. Followed up with corrective surgery and bone removal. I have permanent limited opening of my jaw. I never thought anything could rattle me but I could not walk down a street without looking over my shoulder for over a year. I refused to ride that stretch of Ballona Creek for over 15 years. I will only ride it now if I am with others. A couple of weeks after I was assaulted a guy was shot and killed on his bike in the same stretch. I knew him. He worked at that corner mini-mart up from the MB Pier (where Skechers is now). Anyhow, I hope your friend is OK. Truly.

Update 2: The victim of the assault has been identified as Manhattan Beach school board member Bill Fournell; he was released from the hospital after five days with a broken collarbone, broken ribs and punctured lungs. 

Manhattan Beach Patch places the assault at around 6 pm on July 19th, between the Higuera and Dusquesne bridges.

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Maybe they really are out to get us.

According to multiple reports, a Redlands man is under arrest for deliberately aiming his car at number of bike riders in a string of attacks this past weekend.

Redlands police arrested 26-year old John McDonald on charges of assault with a deadly weapon after he repeatedly attempted to ram bicyclists along Sunset Drive with his Honda Civic. In at least one case, he swerved across the roadway in an effort to hit a cyclist riding in the opposite direction, forcing the rider off the road.

More frightening, police responded to similar calls throughout the weekend, including two on Sunday, suggesting that the attacks continued over at least a two-day period.

Under the circumstances, it seems like a miracle that no one was seriously injured.

Or worse.

And yet, when they finally did arrest him, McDonald was held on just a $50,000 bond. I guess trying to kill someone with your car isn’t considered all that serious unless you succeed.

Anyone with information is urged to call Redlands police at (909) 798-7681.

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Finally, police are looking for the hit-and-run driver who plowed into a group of cyclists at the monthly San Jose Bike Party, injuring two riders and leaving one with a broken hip and skull.

Clearly, hit-and-runs are not just an LA problem.

They seem to occur with frequency wherever motor vehicles come in contact with soft and breakable flesh.

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