Santa Clarita to honor fallen cyclist with silent ride

novotny-2Every cycling death is tragic. And unnecessary.

And this year, there have been far too many around here.

Whether it’s a father taking his son on a grand adventure. A local handyman who took up riding after losing part of his vision in an accident. A day laborer from Sonora, Mexico, who rode everywhere. A woman police blame for causing her own death by riding the wrong way on the sidewalk. Or a man in Orange County just trying to get home from work.

And then there’s Joseph Novotny.

Like Rod Armas and Jesus Castillo, he was killed by an accused drunk driver who fled the scene — a driver who had already been arrested multiple times, despite being too young to legally drink.

And it was preventable.

His killer was driving with a suspended license, and passing motorists had already reported him to the authorities. But despite their best efforts, sheriff’s deputies arrived just moments after he’d plowed his truck into a group of oncoming cyclists riding on the opposite shoulder of the road, and continued down the road.

Four cyclists were injured, two seriously. And Novotny was killed.

It could have been anyone of us.

Adding to the tragedy, he was on one of his first rides with the Santa Clarita Velo Club, having just moved to the area with his wife. Now she, and all those who knew and loved him, have to find a way to go on without him.

Next Saturday, October 3rd, the City of Santa Clarita and the Santa Clarita Velo Club are sponsoring a Memorial Ride of Silence in memory of Robert Novotny, and other cyclists who have been killed on the roads.

I’ll let Jeff Wilson explain:

Los Angeles cyclists and Biking in LA readers, we could use your help!

On July 11, 2009, 43 year old cyclist Joseph Novotny was struck and killed by an underaged drunk driver while riding his bike in the Bouquet Canyon area of Santa Clarita.

On October 3, Santa Clarita cyclists will ride silently in memory of Joe Novotny and all other cyclists who have been killed while riding. Please consider joining us to raise awareness of bicyclists and our right to use roads.

The 12 mile ride begins at 8am in Santa Clarita. A Sheriff’s escort will be provided as we ride into Newhall, then Stevenson Ranch, and finally back to Valencia. Most of the route is flat; other parts are somewhat hilly (but brief). Cyclists are asked to ride in silence and at around 12mph.

From Los Angeles, Santa Clarita is just minutes north of the San Fernando Valley. Take Interstate 5 north and exit at Valencia Blvd. Proceed east on Valencia until you reach Citrus Avenue. Turn left on Citrus Avenue. Free parking is available.

Unfortunately, while Metrolink service is available to Santa Clarita, the earliest northbound train will arrive after the ride has started.

I know it’s short notice, and you may have other commitments already. But if you’re planning to ride next weekend, I can’t think of a better place to do it.

Or a better reason.

And please, be careful out there this weekend. I want to see you all back here on Monday.

For more information, contact, or click here to visit the Facebook page.


Submitted for your approval: LADOT has finally released the full draft bicycle plan and scheduled dates and locations for public comment; Bike Girl calls the deadline for comments “infeasible,” while Dr. Alex notes that it excludes input from Neighborhood Councils. Pasadena has a meeting scheduled to discuss its new Bicycle Master Plan. Mark your calendar for the Festival of Rights to protest the illegal exclusion of bikes from the DWP’s annual Holiday Light Festival. We could have had bike lanes on Topanga Boulevard by now, no thanks to the Department of Currently Unfeasible, aka LADOT. L.A.’s leading bike wonk makes the case for making the case for active transportation. The only thing missing from Santa Monica’s new green maintenance facility is bike racks. Long Beach’s cycling expats offer a report from the road. An Arizona cyclist was killed riding with a group of other cyclists; he leaves behind a wife and three children, including a newborn. Evidently, cars really do make Americans fat. Proof there’s more than one way to park a bike. I don’t know what’s worse — that they put up speed bumps in a cemetery without warning cyclists, or that a few rude cyclists made it necessary. San Francisco police take a report of harassing a cyclist seriously. Finally, your word for the day is Traumadinejad.



  1. Danny says:


    Marco Antonio Valencia has a Trial Setting hearing this Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009 at 8:30am at the North Valley Superior Court, Dept. C, 900 3rd Street, City of San Fernando.

    He’s still in custody at North County Correctional Facility in Castaic and his bail is set for over $1.3 million.

  2. […] to two previous DUI convictions — despite being just 20 years old at the time of the accident. Santa Clarita to honor fallen cyclist with silent ride and Fatal crash driver had priors also Man Charged with DUI and Murder of […]

  3. TheTricksterNZ says:

    Thought that study you posted about obesity v lack of walking/cycling was pretty funny. New Zealand ends up 2nd. No wonder we have a proliferation of fat girls with the classic ‘big kiwi girl arse’ – which IMHO isn’t a good thing. Funnily enough the worst of them usually drive hatchbacks with large Playboy Bunny stickers in the back window.

    As an aside, bad couple of weeks down here.

    Had a guy get killed near Wellington by a 70yr old drunk driver on a Friday afternoon – was sitting in the bike lane on a busy highway (a rather wide bike lane at that). The guy who was behind the 70yr old had already called the Police about her driving when she hit him. Was a school teacher with a 10 week old baby.

    Another one on Saturday which was far closer to home for me (its one of my regular riding routes) where at about 7:50am in the morning a woman rolled through a stop sign into the middle (yes MIDDLE) of a 20 strong bunch. 4 injured, one critial and 3 serious.

    Usual anti-bike crap on the message boards connected with the story.

  4. Danny says:

    I called the court to find out what happened today.

    Trial setting was continued to October 28, 2009.

    All this means is that the prosecutor and defense attorney were not ready to set a trial date yet because they are probably still working on the case.