Tag Archive for violent crime

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: Arrest made in LA River Bike Path shooting, and Los Angeles ranked 24th best bike city in US

My apologies. We haven’t been able to correct the problem with email notifications yet. So if you’re not getting emails when new posts go up, rest assured we’re working on it.

And just keep coming back each day until we get it corrected.

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An arrest has been made in the shooting of two men on the LA River Bike Path in Elysian Valley earlier this month.

Nineteen-year-old David Umana was taken into custody this past Thursday for the incident, which began when he allegedly tried to steal the bikes belonging to the victims, who were riding with their wives.

Despite earlier suspicion of gang involvement, Umana does not appear to have gang ties. No word on whether police have identified his alleged accomplice.

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Bicycling Magazine is out with their latest biennial ranking of America’s 50 best bike cities; Chicago ranks number one, with San Francisco placing second.

Crain’s says the Windy City may be number one, but it’s a long way from perfect.

My hometown ranks 12th, as part of a bike friendly Colorado triumvirate with Denver and Boulder at 11 and 10, respectively.

Surprisingly, Los Angeles checks in at 24, seemingly more out of respect for what it could be than what it currently is; meanwhile, Long Beach inexplicably follows four points lower at 28, while Santa Monica didn’t even make the list.

It’s hard to imagine anyone who has actually ridden those three cities agreeing with that.

Thousand Oaks just makes the cut at 49.

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Local

Work is finally set to begin on the MyFigueroa project this October; the Complete Streets project will feature protected bike lanes linking USC with Downtown.

An LAX bike cop is credited with working with another officer to save the life of a suicidal Korean man.

CiclaValley offers his fall cycling preview.

It’s a well-deserved life without parole for a Pomona man who was captured on his bicycle after cutting out his girlfriend’s lung and heart.

LA County Sheriff’s officials have identified the deputy who shot an unarmed, homeless bicycle rider in Castaic last month.

Zac Efron is one of us, as are a handful of other stars who competed in Sunday’s Malibu Tri.

Santa Monica is encouraging everyone who lives or works in the city to go carfree on October 7th.

 

State

Tragic news from Orange County, as a 15-year old Anaheim boy is in a medically induced coma in critical condition after he was hit from behind by an erratic driver who fled the scene; the victim was riding in a bike lane and reportedly doing everything right when he was struck.

The Bay Area’s BART train system says your U-lock may not be that secure after all.

Plans have been approved to add a 10-foot bidirectional bike and pedestrian lane to the upper deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

 

National

The LA Times asks if Oahu’s Honolulu Century Ride is the best bicycle workout ever.

When St. Paul MN trades parking for bike lanes, a student complains that she might have to get a bike because parking is too hard to find. Which is kind of the point, yes.

Kalamazoo MI votes to give bicyclists a five foot passing distance. Which is meaningless unless it’s actually enforced.

A St. Louis student says she feels like Mufasa from the Lion King, as she succumbs to a wildebeest-like herd of swarming bicyclists as she makes her way across campus.

Great piece from Brooklyn Spoke, who says it’s hard to see Vision Zero when you’re looking through a windshield.

A New Orleans man is suing the phone company alleging that a low hanging phone line caused him to fall off his bike. Wait. They still use land lines in the Big Easy?

 

International

The Financial Times says cycling really is the new golf, but ride with a diverse group because nobody wants groupthink.

A London writer says an ebike helped her overcome her fear of riding in the city, without breaking a sweat.

Britain’s bicycling countess sets off on her 450-mile castle-to-castle ride, saying she’s terrified, as father-in-law Prince Phillip — aka Queen Elizabeth’s husband — calls her mad. No, seriously.

Caught on video: A British driver illegally uses his handheld phone to record cyclists riding legally.

Shades of Coronado. A UK mayor says putting bike lanes on a historic walkway would be vandalism.

This is why people continue to die on the streets. An 83-year old Australian man killed a cyclist after he was allowed to keep driving despite failing two driving tests following a stroke.

Evidently, a cable tie a day does not, in fact, keep Aussie Magpies away.

Bikeshare is becoming more popular in Seoul, Korea, with 100,000 members and no serious wrecks.

 

Finally…

Apparently, swallowing up a bicycle is enough to get on the shortlist for tree of the year. Bicycling may not cause erectile dysfunction, but it can give you a numb vagina.

And why count sheep when you can use your bike to chase them?

 

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