Archive for September 30, 2010

Today’s links, while I draft my response to the city’s draft bike plan

It’s taking me longer than I expected to write my comments about last night’s West L.A hearing for the draft bike plan — let alone the fact that I should be working right now. So in the meantime, here are today’s links while I finish up my massive bike plan missive.


L.A. Times offers a front page look at ghost bikes, noting that latest of the seven L.A. memorials listed by was for Ovidio Morales, whose hit-and-run killer remains on the loose.


On a related subject, California’s governor vetoes a bill that would have dramatically cut the fine for drivers who roll through red lights when making a right turn, putting all other road users at even greater risk from careless and inattentive drivers. So thanks to Arnold, maybe there will be a few less ghost bikes than might have been needed if he had allowed it to become law.

Some drivers don’t seem very happy about it, though.


Fabian Cancellara wins his record fourth world time trial championship, edging David Millar by just two seconds over the 28.46 mile course. Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has tested positive for a banned substance — and has known about it for over a month; he blames the trace amount of clenbuterol found in his system on tainted meat. Millar, who served his own two-year suspension for doping, says Contador isn’t being treated fairly, while Bike Snob says it’s time to stock up on Contador’s alleged drug of choice while you can still get some.

Meanwhile, a Lance Armstrong associate arrives in Los Angeles to testify in the probe against him. After winning the under-23 world time trial championship, new BMC rider Taylor Phinney may focus on road racing rather than track events at the 2012 London Olympics. And a New Zealand pro is out of an upcoming tour and time trial following a violent assault by a magpie.


Another reason to ride — L.A. drivers never have a commute like this, which may be one reason 14% of Americans don’t feel a need for a car. The LACBC needs volunteers for the final post-sharrow bike count next month. Looking forward to CicLAvia, after seeing the original. City Fix offers an interview with Allison Mannos about the LACBC’s City of Lights Program. Santa Monica see a dramatic increase in bicycling collisions, with the third highest rate among similar-sized cities in the state. Surviving a long ride in this week’s 100+ heat. The L.A. Triathlon swims, rolls and runs from Venice to Downtown on Sunday. Yvonne Strahovski rides a bike on the set of Chuck. Highly accessorized wheels spotted in Azusa. Santa Rosa’s city council decides not to decide about a controversial bike boulevard. San Diego bicyclists could soon enjoy a rest stop on a popular beachfront bikeway; maybe they could use one on this Sunday’s Tour de Poway, with rides from 18 to 100 miles. An insurance industry report says car crashes are up since texting was banned; then again, so is texting. Top U.S. cyclists wake up to find their bikes stolen from Interbike displays. Riding through the Tennessee backcountry, an L.A. cyclist learns you can’t stereotype rural folks. Can you really have a drive-by shooting if the shooter wasn’t driving? Evidently, it’s a national trend. A sidewalk riding New York cyclist is killed in a right hook collision with a semi-truck, while a cycling Florida scientist is killed in a hit-and-run collision. Your next power meter could be in your pedals. Toronto cyclists take the remaining mayoral candidates on a bike ride; maybe we should try that in next year’s council elections. Rules of etiquette for British towpath users. The ideal bike for L.A. traffic, complete with ejector seat, caterpillar track and flame throwing handlebars.

Finally, Flying Pigeon points us to a post on Copenhagenize which points up to video of a campaign to promote cycling in Malmo, Sweden and discourage ridiculous car trips.

Sort of like the one I did last night that took over 40 minutes to slog a few miles in rush hour traffic.

Now that’s one seriously good looking bike, and why I may not be riding mine anytime soon

Tuesday afternoon the heat let up a little, and I finally made it over to my local bike shop for some long delayed work.

I’d been having some stability issues on my bike, part of which I blamed on a bad rear tire. And part of which seemed to stem from a front end that chattered every time I grabbed the brakes, yet which defied my best efforts to pin it down.

It had gotten to the point that I no longer trusted it on fast descents, and found myself feathering the brakes to keep my speed down so it wouldn’t slide out from under me.

Ray's Specialized Langster Tokyo; click to enlarge

Which is no way to ride.

So there I sat, cooling my heels in the waiting area while the store’s wrench banged on my tires and measured the tension on my spokes, looking for anything that could cause the symptoms I described. Meanwhile, I started talking with one of the shop’s other customers, a real nice guy named Ray.

As usually happens in such places, we started talking bikes, which lead to a game of you show me yours and I’ll show you mine. As soon as I saw his ride, which he identified as a Specialized Langster Tokyo, I was in awe.

And suffering from a case of serious bike envy.

If there’s a more beautiful bike rolling the streets of L.A., I haven’t seen it yet.

Meanwhile, the velo diagnosticians were done with my bike. And as it turned out, while they’d made some adjustments, the problem wasn’t due to a bad tire or some sort of issue with the front end.

Instead, it stemmed from a handful of hairline cracks that allowed the wheel to flex in ways the manufacturer never intended. Which explained why I’d felt it give underneath me a couple times, which I’d unfairly blamed on the tire, and why my bike had felt squirrely descending at speeds it had previously handled with ease.

Just one of the cracks that may keep me off my bike until I get a new wheel

So now the guys at the shop are looking into whether the wheel qualifies for replacement under warranty. And I’m questioning the wisdom of riding a wheel that could blow up on me at any time.

Which would not be a pretty thing if I found myself sprinting through traffic when it happened.

Or moving, for that matter.

So I rode home back home a little gingerly, perhaps. But I did have a new GatorSkin on the back.

And a front end that one again rode as smooth as the day I bought it.

Even if the back didn’t.

If you happen to read Japanese, Ray would love to know what his bike says


Rising American star Taylor Phinney clinches the under-23 world time trial championship, while Brit Emma Pooley wins the women’s time trial title — and Jeannie Longo adds to her legendary career by finishing 5th at age 51. Fabian Cancellara goes for a record 4th world time trial championship. India’s cycling competitors in the Commonwealth Games must agree to be personally responsible for any damage to their bikes. Floyd Landis says he put off admitting to doping because it would affect his credibility. And the head of the French anti-doping agency resigns, but only after offering to turn Lance Armstrong’s B samples over to investigators.


Gary questions why drivers are willing to risk a collision to save a few seconds, and notes that many will try to dangerously pass riders even when they’re traveling the same speed as traffic.

I’ve noticed the same phenomenon myself. Are they just unwilling to be behind any bike, even if we’re moving as fast or faster than they are? Or is there something else going on in those gasoline-addled brains?


The Westside bike plan hearing takes place tonight at the Felicia Mahood Senior Center (map courtesy of Gary Rides Bikes); barring any work complications, I plan to be there. And there may still be time to pre-register for today’s 11:30 am webinar.

Maybe a good plan will help our rate of bike commuting, which rose 11% last year (download the PDF) to just under 1% of overall commuters, barely below the average of 1.2% for the nation’s 70 largest cities. Meanwhile, New Orleans shows a whopping 174% increase while Honolulu rockets up the charts.


A new L.A. bike blog says traditionally bike un-friendly Beverly Hills may consider a grade-separated bike lane on Santa Monica Blvd. Part of the CicLAvia course will travel the future 4th Street Bike Boulevard. A trio of El Segundo bike thieves attack a man trying to defend his girlfriend’s bike; thanks to Jim Lyle for the link. Damien Newton says L.A. Critical Mass isn’t dying, but it is changing. At least they don’t point guns at CM riders here, but maybe what they need is a no hands bagpipe playing bike rider. Here’s your chance to help design a more bike friendly Figueroa. The secret to a long life could be biking every day. LADOT Bike Blog introduces a new writer with a look at New York’s Summer Streets program. California cracks down on chronic drunk drivers.

Rare bi-partisan support for a national Complete Streets Act. What do you do when bikes thieves catch on to the tricks? Making biking as normal as brushing your teeth. When someone says bikes need to pay for our share of the roads, tell them we’re already paying for theirs. A look at new wheels from Interbank. A Portland study shows bike boxes really do protect cyclists. Even in my bike-friendly home town, the battle of car vs. bike goes on. St. Charles County MO votes unanimously not to ban bikes after all, which means the council member who proposed it voted against his own ban. St. Louis plans a new downtown center for bike commuters, including bike parking and showers. Louisville KY cyclists are still being targeted by a homicidal driver, with the most recent assault taking place on Monday. Why the outrage in the exceptionally rare cases when cyclists kill pedestrians, but none when hit-and-run drivers do?

A scientific study suggests you may not be as visible at night as you think you are. First aid tips for off-road riders. Toronto’s most bike-friendly candidate for mayor drops out of the race. Windsor, Ontario commits to becoming Canada’s first bike friendly city. Australia plans to double the number of riders on it’s roads by 2106; it might be easier if they stop running over the ones they already have.

Finally, in a classic example of fiscal responsibility in action, St. Paul decides they can’t afford to put sharrows on a new bike route — so when they go down by mistake, they paint them over. But when the Anonymous Cyclist invests his last dollar in patching a tire to get home, he gives up his own snack and offers a prayer for a stranger.


Move along, nothing to see here

To be honest, I expected it.

I’d planned on a long ride yesterday, but once the temperature hit 100 degrees by 9:30 am, I thought better of it. And as I watched it climb up to 115 on my balcony — in the shade — it was clear that the Westside’s unfamiliarity with extreme heat and addiction to air conditioning meant the power grid would be going down.

The only question was when and where.

As it turned out, the answer was 3:23 pm and right here.

It wasn’t all bad. By keeping the windows closed and the blinds drawn, I was able to keep the temperature in our apartment down to a stuffy, but relatively comfortable 84 degrees. And after a mad scramble to secure ice to keep our food from going bad, we spent a pleasant evening dining al fresco at a nearby food court with the neighbors we never seem to spend time with.

By the time we got back home around 10, we had power again, which puts us far ahead of several other areas that are still without power.

On the other hand, a defective laptop battery that recently gave up the ghost meant that I had just enough time to shut my computer down, losing a day’s worth of links and keeping me from writing last night.

And while I could write something this morning, it’s a bit cooler today, with a tropical cloud cover keeping it down to a humid but tolerable 90, and my bike is making me feel guilty since it didn’t get out yesterday.

So for now, you’re on your own. I promise to be back later today, or by morning at least.

Assuming the power stays on, of course.

Monday morning links: Calling all lawyers, bike plan hearings, share the road — or not

When I was injured in a road rage incident, I had a hard time finding a lawyer to represent me.

I needed an attorney who understood bicycling, but had no idea how to find one. The lawyers I called either had no experience in bike cases, or had no interest in taking a small case with no serious injuries — and no hope of a large settlement.

And no one I called was willing to challenge the LAPD over a flawed investigation that let a violent assault go unpunished, and left a dangerous driver free to do it again.

Of course, that was over 10 years ago.

Now we have a more responsive police department, taking the hard steps to change their culture and be more protective of bike riders. We also have a more activist bike community, ready and willing to step up to defend our rights.

And we have more lawyers who’ve handled bike cases — or who ride themselves and understand how bikes work and collisions happen.

In the next few days, I’ll be adding a section of links to lawyers who represent cyclists in civil, criminal and/or traffic cases. I know a few personally, and have already received their permission to include them.

But if you’re a lawyer with experience in bike cases who wants to be included — at no charge — or you know someone who fits that description, email me at bikinginla at hotmail dot com.


KPCC reports on the hearings for the L.A. bike plan; upcoming sessions will be held on the Westside on Wednesday, South L.A. on Thursday and in the Valley on Saturday, with an online session at 11:30 am Wednesday.


Famed framebuilder Dave Moulton says we need to share the road, too, citing weekend stories about embarrassing bicyclist behavior. Meanwhile, an Ohio lawyer says if you have the right of way, you don’t have to share, period; link courtesy of Baltimore Spokes.

Note: one of the articles Moulton cites discusses bike riders who blow through red lights when pedestrians are in the crosswalk. For anyone still unclear on the concept, people on foot are the only road users more vulnerable than cyclists. And they should always, always, always get the right of way — even when they’re wrong.


Will finds a source for those hard-to-find cable clamps, as well as a builder for his next fixie. Glendale counts cyclists and pedestrians over the weekend. After a year-long experiment, opinion on Santa Rosa’s bicycle boulevard is evenly split. San Francisco’s Critical Mass reaches legal age. Bicycling takes a ride on the rare Pederson bike. A cyclist is killed in a hit-and-run in Tulare County while walking his bike on the shoulder of the road. Nearly 5,000 cyclists take part in the semi-annual Rosarito to Ensenada bike ride.

Only one segment remains to be completed in an off-road bikeway along I-70 through the Colorado Rockies. Lance joins in on a charity ride in Aspen. On Friday, Maryland will become a lot more bike-friendly. Boston letter writers say enough with the bike bashing. Over 3,000 cyclists converge for Tour de Troit, “just like Amsterdam, with helmets.” A Tulsa-based convenience store chain finds humor in angry drivers trapped behind a slow cyclist; or at least, they think it’s funny.

The Vancouver Sun jumps into the debate over whether cyclists pay for their fair share of the road, finding that bike riders subsidize drivers, not the other way around; readers offer their take, as well. A Vancouver cab driver says late night lightless riders put themselves at risk. One of Toronto’s anti-bike lane mayoral candidates suddenly supports ‘em after all. Despite the high number of biking deaths in London, cycling deaths in the UK dropped 10% in 2009. A woman gets off with probation for intentionally running her biking boyfriend off the road. Turns out London cyclists are honest, after all, but authorities predict a 41% increase in bike thefts for one British city. Two Scotch riders with nearly identical names suffer identical injuries just days apart. Bikes for Bush provides free bikes for children in the Australian Bush; three carbon bikes hand-painted by indigenous artists will be auctioned to raise funds for the program Friday. An Australian report claims cyclists face a 34 times greater risk of being injured than people in cars, based on average distance traveled. Over 6,000 cyclists join in on the India Cyclothon. Friends and fellow riders remember the 17-year old Belize rider killed while training on Thursday. A cyclist is in police custody after a collision kills an elderly pedestrian in Beverly Hills; no, not that Beverly Hills, this one.

Finally, the mystery deepens in the death of the bicycling British MI6 intelligence analyst — who also had high-level clearance with the U.S. National Security Agency — as the FBI joins in the investigation.

Fear mongering at its finest, events & weekend links

Seriously, they should know better.

On KABC Channel-7’s 5 pm Friday news broadcast, they teased a report on the then-upcoming L.A. Critical Mass by urging viewers to find out “what police are doing to keep it from becoming violent.”

So let me get this straight.

After a week of police and cycling community leader’s efforts to get CM riders to stay on the right side of road, not block intersections and stop for stop signals, the take away for one of the city’s leading news stations was that the LAPD was concerned about the ride becoming violent.

And with one 5 second tease, they managed to plant the suggestion that L.A. cyclists are aggressive thugs hell bent on rioting and/or assaulting innocent motorists.

So the next time a motorist cuts you off or runs you off the road, just remember he’s only acting in pre-emptive self-defense.

And you have KABC to thank for that.

The actual news report — which wasn’t available online as of midnight — was only slightly less biased, focusing on asking drivers if it was okay for cyclists to block intersections. And goading them into a negative response when most didn’t seem too concerned about it.

I have no idea what they said after the ride, or if they even covered it at all on the 11 pm news, since I decided to opt for a little less fear mongering with my nightly news. And switched to KNBC Channel 4, who said it turned out to be a smooth ride, after all.

And evidently, one without violence.

Despite what some other channels might have implied.

Update: Thanks to Aaron for providing a link to KABC’s 11 pm story on Critical Mass; to their credit, it was a much better report than their earlier efforts to frighten the driving public.


LADOT Bike Blog interviews two of the driving — or in this case, non-driving — forces behind the upcoming CicLAvia on 10/10/10.

And the L.A. Weekly makes clear that their days as a credible alternative publication are long past, as they demonstrate a surprising windshield bias against the upcoming CicLAvia. As a number of the comments point out, an event held on secondary streets — on a Sunday, no less — is highly unlikely to contribute to the city’s gridlock, despite the Weekly’s exceptionally negative take on it.

Maybe fear mongering is contagious.


Jure Robič, five-time winner of the ultra-endurance Race Across America, was killed in a collision with a car on Friday while on a training ride in his native Slovenia. The 45-year old rider was the winner of this year’s RAAM, as well as other ultra-endurance events and a holder of the world 24-hour endurance record. Thanks to Zeke for the heads-up.

Meanwhile, Riverside County officials released the name of the rider killed in Wildomar on Wednesday; 53-year old Lake Elsinore resident Peter Anthony Zupan died at the scene after being hit by a pickup while crossing Mission Trail.

And still no official confirmation on the rider who died after a collision on Mulholland Highway and Cornell Road in Agoura Hills last weekend.


In upcoming events:

Bike Talk airs Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Volunteers are needed for the Glendale bike count on Saturday the 25th.

The annual Abbot Kinney Festival takes place on Abbot Kinney Blvd between Venice Blvd and Main Street this Sunday; expect massive crowds and scarce parking, so take advantage of the bike valet.

Hearings for the proposed bike plan are scheduled for September 25, 29, 30 and October 2, with a noontime Webinar scheduled for Wednesday the 29th.

The second Folk Art Bike Ride rolls on Sunday, October 3rd at 12:30 pm, starting and ending at the Craft and Folk Art Museum at 5814 Wilshire Blvd. The easy, 6.5 mile route stops at several restaurants, galleries and cultural centers along the way; the first one got rave reviews, so don’t miss this one.

The Long Beach Green Port Fest takes place on Saturday, October 2, with bike valet and guided rides to the event departing every 45 minutes, as well as a guided pre-event bike tour beginning at 9 am.

Visit the Events page for more upcoming happenings, including CicLAvia and Santa Monica’s ciclovía on 10/10/10 and Tour da Fat on Oct. 23rd.


Gary says ridership is up 11% in Santa Monica, but bike collisions are up 78% — even though other cities tend to show a corresponding decrease as more people ride bikes. Tim Robbins bikes through Venice. Must be some kind of trend — Berkeley police crack down on stop sign running cyclists, Boston cracks down on rule breakers and Park City police let a stop-sign running rider off with a warning. Forgiving distracted drivers won’t keep anyone safe. Bike Snob says it’s okay to keep riding in the off-season. Salem OR removes a traffic lane to improve congestion. Independence MO bans harassment of cyclists, runners, pedestrians and roadway wheelchair users. It’s not the press who oppose the first Critical Mass in Aurora IL, it’s other riders. Kentucky authorities are looking for a driver intentionally targeting cyclists with his pickup truck. A Flying Pigeon spotting in Boston. An arrest has been made in the murder of a DC cyclist last month; the shooter — just 16-years old at the time — shot Eric Foreman as he rode by, then walked over and shot him twice more after he fell from his bike. Five reasons why your neighborhood cyclist hates you. A Google contest donates $1 million for a recumbent operated monorail system; Reuters says there must have been 149,996 stupid ideas if that was one of the five winning suggestions. The Department of DIY Toronto branch strikes again, graphically asking where’s our bike lane? Fixie-riding cyclists introduce polo vélo to Parisiens. Evidently, Barclay’s isn’t winning many friends for sponsoring London’s bike share program. Cycling England, the agency behind the Bikeability program to teach British children to ride safely, is rumored to be on the chopping block; instead of cutting it, how about exporting it? A promising young Belize cyclist is killed in an apparent hit-from-behind collision.

Finally, courtesy of our Kiwi correspondent the Trickster, comes a two part video tour of Australia’s World Championships course hosted by Robbie McEwen. And Aussie police tell cyclists not to run red lights or ride four abreast — even if they are training for next week’s World Championships.

Think they’ll enforce that during the race, too?


In case you were wondering what was in that big box last week...

LAPD warns riders to kick it or ticket at tonight’s Critical Mass

Lately, Critical Mass has become the face of L.A. cycling for many Angelenos.

And like so many L.A. faces, it’s time to have a little work done.

Following the incident earlier this year in which an LAPD officer appeared to kick a passing cyclist, a ride that had largely passed under the radar has been front and center, as the LAPD has worked with cyclists to avoid any similar incidents.

But even with a police escort, some riders have still taken the concept of organized anarchy to the extreme, including swarming drivers on the wrong side of the street. And causing local residents to complain to the LAPD and other government officials.

And while it wasn’t a CM ride, last week’s incident at the Ralphs on Lincoln Blvd — with cyclists riding through the aisles of the market — didn’t help.

As a result, police and leaders of the cycling community are calling on Critical Mass riders to cool it. And obey the minimal rules they expect riders to observe on tonight’s ride, such as:

  • Don’t run red lights or stop signs
  • Don’t ride on the wrong side of the yellow line
  • Don’t block intersections so that cross traffic can’t pass

That’s it.

No mass crackdown, no hard rules to enforce rigid regulations.

Just three simple don’ts. But riders who don’t observe them risk getting a ticket — or even face arrest if the police feel the violation warrants it.

Of course, the LAPD does have a few other simple requests, like avoiding various violations big and small that they’ve addressed in the past — and which should go without saying — including:

  • Vandalism
  • Thefts
  • Assaults
  • Criminal Threats
  • Drinking in Public
  • Smoking/using illicit substances
  • Driving/Riding under the influence
  • Participants under the age of 18 must wear a helmet
  • Participants should have necessary lighting equipment
  • All bikes must have brakes or otherwise comply with the braking requirements

Now go out and have fun.

But just remember, as Carlos Morales, founder of the Eastside Bike Club said, we need to police ourselves, or the police will do it for us.


More on Thursday’s press conference to formally announce CicLAvia from blogdowntown and KABC-7. The Daily News says streets may close for on 10/10/10; what part of closing streets for CicLAvia don’t they get? This is what ciclovía looks like in Bogotá, Colombia.


Councilmember Greig Smith revises his anti-bike resolution to allow neighborhood councils to review all street projects. No more need to lock your bike to City Hall’s front railing; oh, and the Mayor took some serious bike action at Metro, as well. Bike plan hearings begin this weekend. Photos from last weekend’s Vuelta de la BiciDigna. Why can’t some bike shops tell their Presta from their Schrader? Ride bikes, do good and drink beer at Tour de Fat, coming to L.A. next month. A San Rafael driver is charged after critically injuring a cyclist in a hit-and-run and driving off with the rider still on his hood. A Florida cyclist watches from behind the wheel as a rider gets hit by a car. In a truly tragic event, a Pennsylvania man paralyzed in a 1993 cycling accident is killed riding a hand bike he was given just last weekend when he veered into the path of an ambulance. Sag Harbor NY students organize a bike train for a safe route to school. An NYC paper supports separated bike lanes, but calls on fast cyclists to slow down, while a writer says more bikes means slower bikes. Upright riders have an anti-Critical Mass attitude. A Jacksonville FL man pleads guilty to stabbing two cyclists in a Memorial Day road rage attack. The death of a Maryland Senate candidate brings attention to a loophole in local traffic laws. The epitome of jerk-hood, as a Kansas City police dash cam catches three men stealing a bike, as police, paramedics and firemen tend to its wounded owner laying in the street after being hit by a car. Three cyclists have now pulled out of India’s Commonwealth Games because of health concerns and worries over accommodations. A preview of next month’s World Championships, while an Aussie academic says let Landis speak. More on the antique tricycle stolen from an English bike charity over the weekend along with more modern bikes and computer equipment. Brits say cycling is cool, but those who do it are miserable and lazy; well, only when we’re not on our bikes. London Mayor BoJo wants helmets for the city’s new bike share program after two riders are hospitalized with injuries. Excerpts from the new Cyclopedia. Former pro racer Mario Cipollini unveils his new bike; very sexy looking, but comfortable? Not so much.

Finally, the view from China suggests L.A. is going to become a bike-friendly city, saying “the city of Los Angeles will try every means possible to encourage its residents to ride bikes instead of driving cars.”

The view from L.A. says we’re — finally — off to a nice start, but we’ve got a very long way to go.

Breaking news: Cyclists killed in Wildomar and Agoura Hills

This is turning out to be a very bad week for Southern California bicyclists.

In addition to news of recent deaths in Redondo Beach and Carlsbad, comes word of a confirmed cycling fatality in Wildomar, south of Lake Elsinore, as well as a report of a bicyclist killed as a result of a collision in Agoura Hills.

According to the Southwest Riverside News Service, the Wildomar incident occurred at 8:07 pm at the intersection of Mission Trail and Elberta Road.  The unidentified 53-year old cyclist was crossing Mission Trail when he apparently rode in front of a pickup traveling north on Mission Trail. Skid marks indicate the driver tried to brake and swerve to avoid the rider, but was unable to stop in time.

Details are still sketchy in the Agoura Hills collision; reportedly, a lone cyclist was critically injured at the intersection of Mulholland Hwy and Cornell Rd/Lake Vista Drive in Agoura Hills over the weekend when he allegedly ran a stop sign and collided with a car. Reports are that he died yesterday as a result of his injuries.

More information on both cases as it becomes available.

Cyclist killed in collision with pedestrian in Redondo Beach

News broke yesterday that a 73-year old bicyclist has died of injuries following a collision with a pedestrian earlier this month.

According to the Daily Breeze, Eldon Johansen was riding at the intersection of Avenue F and The Esplanade in Redondo Beach on September 10th when he crashed with a woman walking a dog, and fell into the street.

The Pasadena Star-News reports that the woman and dog were not seriously hurt, but Johansen, a retired Palos Verdes firefighter living in Manhattan Beach, fell into the street and suffered head injuries; he died three days later without regaining consciousness.

Falling into the street suggest that Johansen was riding on the sidewalk, legal in Redondo Beach unless a prohibition is posted, which does not appear to be the case here. However, a cyclist familiar with the area says that it’s unlikely he would have been on the sidewalk, due to the wide bike lanes on the street.

He suspects it’s more likely that either the pedestrian was walking in the bike lane or that Johansen may have been riding on the wrong side of the street, both of which are common in the area.

Both articles note that Johansen was not wearing a helmet. While cyclists may debate the need for helmets, this would appear exactly the sort of slow-speed impact for which they are designed to be most effective in preventing injuries.

Police note that there were many people in the area at the time of the 7:45 am collision, and ask that anyone with information call Traffic Investigator Jeff Mendence at 310/379-2477, ext. 2721.

The incredible disappearing sharrows, part two

Now you see them, now you don’t.

Just days after sharrows magically reappeared in Westwood — after being covered up in a massive failure of communication between two city agencies — it’s happened again.

Only this time, it’s a good thing.

According to an email I received on Wednesday, Torrance joined the recent rush to put sharrows on the streets this month — to the delight and disappointment of local cyclists.

Delight, because shared lane markings have proven exceptionally popular with many bike riders, indicating to drivers that we have a right to the road.

And to the lane.

Nice try, but this is just so wrong in so many ways.

Disappointment, because the markings were placed in entirely the wrong location — in the bike lane and well out of the traffic lane. And worse, they indicated that cyclists should ride directly in the door zone, rather than positioning riders outside it, as the marking are intended to do.

Maybe someone in the city’s Public Works Department saw the pretty bike and chevron design in another nearby town, and thought they’d look lovely on the streets of their own town. Or maybe they just wanted to be trendy, like everyone else here in SoCal, and didn’t want to get left off the sharrow express.

Problem is, they clearly didn’t research the hows and whys and — most importantly — wheres before they put paint on the street.

I’ll let my correspondent take it from here, quoting from the email he sent to the Public Works Department just last Saturday, with a copy sent to the city’s mayor.

Shared Lane Markings (aka “sharrows”) have been incorrectly installed on streets in the City of Torrance.

According to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Shared Lane Markings are not to be used in designated bicycle lanes and, on streets with parallel parking, should be placed at least 11 feet from the curb.

The recently installed “sharrows” on Torrance Blvd (in designated bicycle lanes) and those on Anza Avenue (less than 11 feet from the curb and in the “door zone”) are nonconforming, exposing the city to possible liability should a bicycle rider be injured.

While the City of Torrance is to be applauded for its bicycle friendly efforts, the use of Shared Lane Markings should be in accordance with the MUTCD.

Under that black paint lies an unlamented misplaced and swiftly removed sharrow.

The response was surprisingly swift.

When he went out for his ride on Wednesday, he passed one of the locations where sharrows had been placed on Torrance Blvd.

And he was surprised to see that the offending pavement markings had already been painted over,  just five days —and only three business days — following his email. Evidently, it doesn’t hurt to copy the mayor’s office when you complain.

As he put it:

Better no sharrows than ones in the door zone.


As if people didn’t already think most cyclists are law-breaking scum.

The LAPD hosted a news conference Wednesday evening to announce that, despite improved relations with the cycling community, there are certain biking behaviors that just won’t be tolerated.

Like corking intersections. Riding on the wrong side of the road. Or swarming a grocery store parking lot, drinking beer and smoking pot, and riding bikes through the aisles of the store, scattering shoppers in your wake.

As Brent wrote in an email Wednesday,

…it’s like the new “skateboarding” — hanging out with your friends, skateboard in one hand, joint in the other. But it sure does tar the rest of us just trying to get to our destination by bicycle.

Leaders of the local bike community are working to ensure it doesn’t happen again at Critical Mass this Friday. And the police will be on hand to make damn sure it doesn’t.

Tolerance only goes so far.

And patience has clearly run out.


Damien Newton breaks the news that Rita Robinson may be leaving her position as LADOT General Manager to take a high-level position with the county. Interesting timing, as it comes at the same time that New York DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, a graduate of Occidental College, is rumored to be having trouble with her new, less-bike-friendly boss.

Maybe this is Mayor Villaraigosa’s opportunity to demonstrate that he really is the bike community’s new BFF, and bring her back home to L.A.


LADOT Bike Blog sums up its excellent series on where you can and can’t ride on the sidewalk in L.A. County. And concludes by saying it just shows there’s still work to be done.

If bicycles are supposed to be considered vehicles with responsibilities and rights equal to automobiles, like CVC 21200 states, then bicyclists deserve to have rules for their operation that are at least as uniform as the rules for operating an automobile.

The LA County Sidewalk Riding series proves, if nothing else, that we’ve still got a ways to go in that regard.


Villaraigosa offers Angelenos a personal invitation to attend CicLAvia on 10/10/10. Gary says when someone steals your bike, you can always rollerblade. Here’s what you can look forward to at next month’s Tour da Fat. A Fresno mother pleads for justice in the hit-and-run death of her son. Bike lawyer Bob Mionske discusses liability for road hazards, saying you may not be at fault for that fall; something you might want to remember, considering we have the 2nd worst roads in the U.S. The search continues for the schmuck driver who fled the scene after hitting two cyclists in rapid succession in Portland. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood looks back on Tuesday’s Distracted Driving Summit, saying distraction-related crashes are 100% preventable. A reputed Lance Armstrong accuser testifies before the Grand Jury investigating him here in L.A.; is it truth or sour grapes? Top young pro Taylor Phinney blows off Lance and signs with BMC. How to ride in a paceline. If you want to get away with murder, use a car instead of a gun. Canadian TV asks if enough cyclists use Vancouver’s new bike lanes to justify their existence, while a writer says the city’s cyclists are their own worst enemies. An English cyclist was five times over the legal drunk driving limit when he was killed in a collision. A British rider asks for advice on how to make her longer bike commute more fun. A rare, 130-year old tricycle is stolen from a Brit bike charity. Researchers say traffic jams are caused by a combination of aggressive and/or timid drivers; link courtesy of @Metro Library. A different approach to Budapest’s Critical Mass works better than expected.

Finally, the inevitable far-right backlash begins against Wednesday’s Car-Free Day; evidently, it’s another left-wing plot, just like bike sharing.

News Update: Senate candidate killed, AAA attacks bike funding, a move to make Metro bike friendlier

A Maryland driver tells police she thought she hit a deer, despite driving four miles home with a bicycle lodged under her SUV. But what she actually hit was the state’s Green Party candidate for Senate; 30-year old Natasha Pettigrew died of her injuries early Tuesday. WashCycle continues to follow the story.

Thanks to houseofpies and DC for the heads-up.


The cyclist killed in Carlsbad on Sunday after losing control of her bike has been identified as 50-year old Susan Eiko Akana of Poway.


The Rails to Trails Conservancy reports that AAA thinks the pittance the government spends on bike and pedestrian programs would be better spent on more highway projects, blaming the less than $1 billion budget for such projects for the $89 billion shortfall in the annual highway fund.

Clearly, AAA could use a refresher math course. As well as a good swift kick in the tail pipe.

RTC urges you to sign their petition calling on AAA to support funding for safe walking and biking. As a long-time AAA member, I couldn’t agree more; in fact, I just did it.


Cyclists will be expected to behave a little better at Friday’s Critical Mass — like no corking or riding on the wrong side of the road. The LAPD be hosting a press conference to discuss policing of Critical Mass at 5 pm today at the plaza of the new Police Administration Headquarters, 100 West First Street Downtown.


L.A. cycling’s new BFF, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, has proposed that Metro get a lot more bike friendly, including more than doubling bike funding in next year’s Call for Projects. LACBC calls on all cyclists to attend the Thursday meeting, 9:30 am in the Third Floor Conference room at Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza.


LADOT Bike Blog reports that sharrows are back on Westholme Ave; something I can confirm from Monday’s ride, when I rolled over them for the first few blocks before I even noticed.

Okay, so maybe I’m not always the most observant rider on the road.

Sharrows returned to Westholme Ave in Westwood on Monday; did anyone other than cyclists notice?

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