Archive for January 29, 2011

A crosswalk widow asks for safer streets in Santa Monica

Dangerous streets don’t just pose a risk to cyclists.

Last month, a 66-year old Santa Monica man was killed a the intersection of 10th Street and Wilshire Boulevard — a crossroad that has already seen a number of previous collisions. Vlado Herceg was walking in the crosswalk on Wilshire when he was killed just days before Christmas.

The wreck is still under investigation, but according to the Santa Monica Daily Press, some — cyclists included — blame a “streetscape that favors drivers’ speed over public safety.”

Meanwhile, his widow, Anne Herceg, wrote the city to ask for safer streets for everyone:

Thanks to Dr. Michael Cahn for the heads-up.


Writing for Corona del Mar Today, an OC bike advocate and blogger writes about his first time riding Long Beach’s green sharrows; CdM may soon get some of their own.


Writing for 89.9 KCRW’s Shortcuts blog, a Westside bike advocate and blogger explains to motorists that our safety depends on their driving.

Oh wait, that was me.


You have one last chance to fight for bus and bike only lanes on Wilshire Blvd at City Hall on Wednesday the 2nd. Be one of the first to wear the LACBC’s very cool new kit. The cycling community’s favorite LAPD officer has good things to say about CD4 candidate Stephen Box. UCLA asks students, staff and faculty to help it become a Bike Friendly University. Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers a great two-part interview with one of the city’s leading transportation reporters and advocates — Damien Newton. Flying Pigeon envisions a Danish Figueroa. The Bus Bench asks why unused bike lockers are being repainted when Metro is proposing service cuts? More on Tuesday’s ride with the LACBC and West Coast EPA Administrator Jared Blumenfeld. Eagle Rock’s Colorado Blvd could become a more civilized complete street. Very cool bike racks in Huntington Beach, aka Surf City USA. Cyclists help stop a wildfire and arrest an arsonist above Glendora; link courtesy of the Claremont Cyclist. Two men are under arrest for attempting to kill a 16-year old Lodi cyclist in an apparent gang attack. Nevada City remembers a cyclist killed by an apparent distracted driver a year ago.

Frame builder Mike Melton has passed away. A Utah man crashes through the doors of a local bike shop — and steals one of the cheapest bikes inside. Wyoming kills a three foot passing bill. Competing to fix a 42-mile bike shop dead zone in North Minneapolis. A New York cyclist is hit by two cars, one of whom flees the scene; meanwhile the city continues to crack down on cyclists and the irrationally bike-hating Post rails against bike lanes. Carving tracks through fresh fallen powder snow — on bikes. New York cyclists rally around a severely disfigured Cuban Paralympian rider; thanks to George Wolfberg for the link. Introducing the Boston bike stand. Trek may be developing a secret competitor to Specialized’s enormously successful Roubaix; something’s wrong your kids have a better racing bike than you do.

Pedestrians have replaced scofflaw cyclists as the motoring world’s objects of hatred. A UK county cuts funding for buses, bikes and pedestrians to pay for computer modeling for a road system it can’t afford to build. A cycling ban on London’s South Bank forces a disable woman to get off her trike. Bike theft hits home, or at least the Home Office. A Polish woman dies 18 months after she was hit by a careless truck driver in Scotland. Why mandatory helmet laws are a flawed argument. A Malaysian physician calls for a change of attitude and better biking infrastructure.

Finally, after a Cincinnati cyclist suffers severe brain injuries after being broadsided by a car, an emergency room physician helicopters in to care for her — only to discover the victim is his own wife; the story only gets more moving, and harrowing, from there.

And if you’ve ever wondered if vegans were from another planet, you may be right.

A long, long list of upcoming events — your chance to ride with the EPA, LACBC and BikingInLA

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

The Valley Bikery hosts a Grand Opening party at its new location on 14416 Victory Blvd #104 on Saturday, January 29th from 11 am to 5 pm, including a free Basic Bike Maintenance Clinic from 11 am to noon, followed by a free Urban Expedition Ride with C.I.C.L.E. to Lake Balboa and around the Sepulveda Basin at 12:30 pm.

The LACBC invites you to pitch in to help fix up the new Bike Wrangler space, where donated and abandoned bikes will be repaired for donation to bike co-ops and low income people in high obesity areas. The second work party will be held Sunday the 30th from 11 am to 5 pm at 1205 W. 6th Street; RSVP to

The Culver City Bicycle Coalition will host the first of their monthly Family Rides on Sunday, January 30th, at 10 am. The rides will start and end at Town Plaza near the Culver Hotel, 9400 Culver Blvd, and explore the city’s best bike routes; future rides will take place on the last Sunday of the month.

LACBC invites you to ride with Jared Blumenfeld, West Coast Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as other officials, on Tuesday, February 1st, to draw attention to bikes as sustainable transportation. The ride will assemble at the bridge over Ballona Creek in Play del Rey at 9:15 am, with a 9:45 start time, and make it’s way to Downtown with several stops along the way.

The California Bike Coalition will host a Bike Party in San Diego on Thursday, Feb 3rd from 7 to 9 pm. The party will take place at Velo Cult Bicycle Shop, 2220 Fern Street, with a suggested donation of $100.

C.I.C.L.E. is sponsoring a free basic maintenance clinic on Saturday, Feb 5th at 6 pm at the Bikerowave, 12255 Venice Blvd.

Also on the 5th, Flying Pigeon host its monthly Brewery Ride to a local brewery, winery or watering hole, from 3 to 5:30 pm; the ride begins at Flying Pigeon LA in Highland Park, 3714 N. Figueroa Street.

Explore the romance of Metro L.A.’s near-coastal cities with the LACBC’s second Sunday Funday ride, I ♥ the Westside. Riders will assemble at the Santa Monica Pier, at the end of Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica at 9:30 am on Sunday, February 6th, with the ride starting at 10 am. The course will follow a mostly flat route 30-mile route through Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City, Westwood and Brentwood, before returning along the beach to the pier. It’s free to LACBC members and one guest, and will be lead by your humble host at BikingInLA.

Flying Pigeon and the Bike Oven host the free Spoke(n) Art Ride on the 2nd Saturday of every month; the next ride will take place on February 12th, starting 6:30 pm at 3714 N. Figueroa St. in Highland Park.

On Tuesday, Feb 17, Santa Monica’s Cynergy Cycles hosts “In Good Company…A European Shopping Experience” offering the latest products from top European cycling manufacturers, as well as biking celebrities, special promotions, food and drink from 7 pm to 10 pm, 2300 Santa Monica Blvd in Santa Monica.

Ride in support of the Dream Act with the 50-mile L.A. to O.C. Dream Ride on Sunday, February 20th, Starting at Corazon del Pueblo 2003 E. 1st. Street in Boyle Heights and ending at Centro Cultural de Mexico 310 W. 5th Street in Santa Ana. Registration and $15 fee are due by January 28th, including lunch, dinner, maintenance during the ride and an overnight stay in Orange County.

UCLA will host a free day-long Complete Streets workshop on Friday, February 25th; participation is open to registered attendees. The workshop will take place from 8:30 am to 7 pm at the Japanese American National Museum at 369 East 1st Street Downtown. Contact to register, or call 310/562-7356.

It’s never too early to mark your calendar for the second CicLAvia on April 10th, 2011, which promises to be even bigger than the first.

And while you’re at it, mark down Sunday, June 5 when the 11th Annual River Ride, L.A.’s favorite fundraiser ride, will roll to benefit the LACBC. Or better yet, just sign up now.

A threatening Beverly Hills driver offers a reminder that we still have a long way to go

I got a good reminder yesterday that we still have a long way to go to secure our place on the streets.

I was riding through Beverly Hills, scouting a route for the LACBC’s I ♥ the Westside Ride next Sunday, when I pulled up to a four way stop to make a left.

Yes, I did stop. And even signaled.

I waited for the first car coming the other way started his left, then pulled out to make mine. And while I was still in the middle of the intersection, the car that had been behind that one aggressively pulled out to make a left as well, putting him on a direct collision course with me.

So I jammed on the brakes, and yelled out “What the f***!” as he blew by.

Next thing I knew, the driver screeched to a stop on the far side of the intersection, then whipped around 180 degrees to put himself the same direction I was going.

I’ve learned the hard way that there’s nothing more dangerous than having an angry driver behind me. And it was pretty clear that I was probably going to have to defend myself.

So I quickly pulled over to the side of the road, positioning myself between two parked cars that offered protection from his car, and got off my bike.

He screeched up to a stop next to me, and stared at me in a threatening manner. So I pulled out my cell phone and held it out so he could see me dialing.

“911,” I said. “Do you want to stick around to see what happens next?”

With that, he screeched off down the road, still clutching the illegally hand-held cell phone he’d had plastered to his face the whole time.

I jumped back on my bike and chased after him, holding out my cell phone to take a photo of his license plate, but lost him in traffic before I could get a clear shot. Then rode home angrily replaying the situation in my head, with images of going all De Niro on his ass.

In the end, I think I handled about as well as I could, responding to the threat without escalating the situation — or crossing the line myself.

Just another angry interaction on the streets, serving as a reminder that things may be improving for cyclists in a lot of ways. But there are still angry, dangerous drivers out there.

And we’re still at risk from them.

It also shows once again why L.A.’s proposed bike anti-harassment ordinance is so vital for our protection. This was a textbook example of exactly the sort of incident it’s intended to address.

Even if it wouldn’t apply on the mean streets of Beverly Hills.


I got an email earlier this week from a reader who recommended the CitySourced app for the Windows, Droid, iPhone or Blackberry smartphones, or Garcetti 311 for iPhones.

These applications allow reporting of all sorts of biking problems in Los Angeles. For example, I was biking up the bike lane on Westwood Avenue a day ago and saw 2 cars parked in the bike lane within a matter of 2 minutes. I often see this illegal parking in the bike lane on Gayley Avenue going past In-and-Out as well. You can now report this with a quick picture of their car/license plate/bike lane (in same photo). You can also report abandoned bicycles, potholes, sidewalk cracks (e.g., Westwood park abandoned bike path), etc. Your reports are saved so you can review them in the future.

On another subject, he also wanted to note that he recently emailed the Westfield Century City mall to ask about bike parking, and was happy to get a response indicating that they have bike racks near the valet station. And he was even more please that they agreed with his suggestion to add that information to their website.

It always makes me a little happier when people become more aware that people use bicycles to shop just like anyone else. And then they respect bike lanes more when they are aware that we’re important customers too.

From what I’ve seen, the bike parking at Westfield Century City could use a lot of improvement.

But he’s right. When businesses understand that cyclists spend money just like drivers do — or as some studies have shown, even more — they’ll make sure we have the facilities we need.

And that our rights are respected in their business, and on the streets around them.

San Diego man killed in motorized bike collision; you’re invited to ride with the EPA on Tuesday

Fifty-seven year old Gary Galvin died a week after suffering severe injuries while riding his motorized bike in Oceanside. The San Diego resident somehow hit a tree on January 17th for unknown reasons; he passed away on Saturday due to blunt-force head injuries, despite wearing a helmet.


Services will be held tomorrow for a Ramona man killed in a SWSS* last Friday when his bike allegedly strayed across the yellow line and struck a flatbed truck.

According to the CHP, thirty-seven year old Steven “Steve” Garner may have been under the influence at the time of the collision. If the driver’s version is true — and he appears to be the only surviving witness — Garner was weaving as he rode, and somehow hit the truck’s trailer.

However, it would seem that a cyclist would have to be extraordinarily drunk to not notice or be able to avoid a large truck on the other side of the road. And how a bike could strike a truck with enough force to be thrown 65 feet through the air would seem to defy explanation.

*Single Witness Suicide Swerve


A nice obituary in the Ridgecrest Daily Independent about Allyn R. Berryman, a WWII vet who lived an interesting life, from consulting with Jacques Cousteau to cycling from Fairbanks to Mexico City.

Just a reminder not to judge people by what they appear to be at the end of their lives; the elderly men and women you meet may have lived a life that would put yours — and mine — to shame. Never hurts to say hello and find out.


The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition invites you to ride with the EPA on Tuesday the 1st, and announces the date for this year’s River Ride on June 5th, so mark your calendar. Or better yet, just click the link and register now.

And the Coalition is asking for your input on questions to ask the candidates in this year’s March 8th City Council elections.


The Venice Neighborhood Council votes to support extending the beachfront Marvin Braude Bike Path to the marina inlet jetty, from where it currently stops at Washington Blvd. C.I.C.L.E. is hosting an Urban Expedition Ride around the Sepulveda Dam Basin and Lake Balboa, with a free pre-ride maintenance workshop by the Valley Bikery; thanks to KPCC’s Siel Ju for the heads-up. Santa Monica’s Cynergy Cycles invites you to explore the latest offerings from leading European manufacturers on Feb. 17th. LADOT continues to stripe bike lanes on Rinaldi and Reseda in the Valley. Flying Pigeon offers a short but delicious list of bike friendly businesses. Volunteers help beautify a neglected bike path in Arleta. How do you say hipster in Español? Los Fixis Bicicletas seems to come pretty close. Four years in jail for the Sacramento woman who dragged a cyclist under her car for a quarter-mile in a drunken hit and run; you may remember the story of a witness running up and grabbing her keys to stop her. Bay Area cyclists look for love on two wheels.

The history of women in cycling. Great series of photos showing stars from Hollywood’s golden age riding bikes. Bike lawyer Bob Mionske offers advice on where and how to pass while on a bike, although the accompanying graphic seems to be missing; my rule of thumb is to give everyone — cyclists, pedestrians and motorists — the same three feet passing distance I expectt. A Denver bike cop is hit by a driver who claims he just didn’t see him; for once, that excuse probably won’t work. The Springfield Cyclist gets a compliment on his bike one night, and nearly run over the next day. Boston goes from worst to one of the country’s best biking cities in just three years. A DC area cyclist is ticketed for speeding, doing 31 in a 25 mph zone. Attention Twitterati — #bikeschool takes place tonight from 6 to 7.

Alberto Contador will be the latest to be stripped of his Tour de France title for after being banned for one year for doping, although he won’t be fined; new winner Andy Schleck says he doesn’t want it. A new social networking campaign says it’s not a race, give cyclists space. Maybe it’s time for a mandatory helmet law for motorists.

Finally, Contador is just the latest, as doping dates back at least 2800 years. Upon further testing of the B-sample, Pheidippides has been disqualified in the first Marathon, and victory awarded to the Persians.

Not again — 16-year old cyclist fatally shot in Pomona

A 16-year was shot and killed in Pomona around Tuesday night. According to the L.A. Times, police found his body lying next to his bike after receiving a report of a “man down” around 10 pm; they’re searching for two male possible suspects who fled the scene in a dark-colored vehicle.

This comes less than a month after a 14-year old boy was killed while riding his bike in South L.A.; a $50,000 reward is being offered in that case.

Let’s not let oversized, inefficient SUVs get in the way of much needed bike lanes on Main Street

A proposed road diet could turn this...

Let’s talk road diets.

Or more precisely, let’s talk about the one LADOT proposes for Main Street in Venice.

Following the disastrous reception the Wilbur Avenue road diet generated in the Valley last year, with motorists outraged by the loss of their high-speed, cut-though commuter route — regardless of the benefits or safety for the people who actually live there — LADOT has gone out of their way to engage the public on Main.

And yes, in advance, this time.

Go figure.

Unlike Wilbur, where the arguments for and against the road diet took place after it was installed with no public notice, LADOT reached out in advance in an attempt to build support beforehand. But this time, instead of drivers complaining about the loss of a through lane slowing them down, or having to find an alternate route to one that was never intended as a cut-through commuter route, the complaints came from cyclists who didn’t like the plan’s specifications.

Valley, meet Venice.

And this...

That negative response from some people was surprising, because the road diet merely takes the street design that already exists in the Santa Monica section and extends it south to the Venice portion between Navy and Windward Circle.

So if you want to see what a difference a road diet can make, just take a ride between Windward Circle and Pico Blvd. Or vice versa.

Night, meet day.

I usually bike Main at least once a week; more in the summertime when the crush of tourists and locals out for a little sun make the beachfront bike path virtually impassible for anyone wanting to move above a slow walking pace.

And yes, like most of the bike lanes in Santa Monica, they’re far from perfect. More than once I’ve found myself dodging flung doors and swerving to avoid drivers casually pulling into and out of parking spaces, with no concept that the narrow band of paint on the street next to them might possibly suggest the presence of bikes.

Into this.

After all, why would anyone expect to find bikes in a bike lane?

But despite the fears expressed by some, I’ve never had any problems — with drivers or police — moving out of the bike lane when necessary to avoid obstacles real or imagined.

When time allows, I give a little signal — not quite a full extension of my left arm to avoid confusion that I intend to make a turn, but more of a three-quarter point to the left to suggest that I’m just coming out a little. Then I give a quick wave when I pull back over to thank the drivers behind for giving me a little space.

And I find drivers on the narrowed Santa Monica section far more willing to concede a little road space than on the wider, higher speed stretch to the south.

In fact, the stretch of Main between Rose and Abbot Kinney (called Brooks on the map) is the only road I ride regularly where I legitimately fear for my safety. Between impatient bus drivers, motorists hell bent on remaining well north of the speed limit and clueless beachgoers cruising for free parking — yeah, good luck with that — I’ve probably had more close calls there than anywhere else.

I’ve learned to ride aggressively there. I take the lane and keep my speed above 20 mph, merging into the flow of traffic. Yet still cringe as drivers blow by at over twice my speed, and bus drivers ride my ass so they can lurch to a stop just a few feet up the road. Or sometimes crowd me out if I continue past Abbot Kinney where the road gets narrower.

Which makes me wonder why anyone would prefer the dangerous, bike-unfriendly situation we have now to the much calmer, though admittedly not perfect, situation just a few blocks north in Santa Monica.

As it turns out, that’s not really the case.

For the most part, even most of those who oppose the current plan don’t advocate doing nothing. But other proposed solutions, such as traffic calming or separated bike lanes, while they might be preferable, aren’t viable in the current budget crunch and would require years before they could be implemented, while the proposed plan requires nothing more than a little paint and can be implemented almost immediately

That leaves advocates doing complex math to divide up the street to come up with a better solution, debating the merits of a 10 foot motor vehicle lane and 6 foot bike lane, as opposed to the proposed 11 foot vehicle lane and 5 foot bike lane.

LADOT prefers the 11 foot lane to accommodate all those wide buses, fearing that a rider traveling near the outer edge of the bike lane could risk getting mirrored by a passing bus. And having had sufficient experience with bus drivers in that area, I would contend their fears are well-founded.

I won’t reargue the merits of the various widths and configurations; you can find virtually every possibility debated in the comments on Damien Newton’s always excellent coverage of the story. Although as noted above, I have a strong preference for anything that will keep those bus mirrors away from my head.

But here’s the thing.

The entire debate hinges on the width allowed for parking, and the risk posed by the swinging doors of oversized SUVs.

LADOT’s plans call for a 5’ bike lane next to a 7’ parking lane — which means that all those Hummers, Escalades and Navigators so popular in L.A. would offer only a few inches of clearance if perfectly parked, or actually extend into the bike lane if parked like most people do in the real world. And their massive doors would block virtually the entire bike lane when carelessly flung open.

To some, that’s reason enough to kill the road diet and live with the dangerous situation we already have, preferring the devil we know to the one we know just up the street.

But consider this.

According to a study from San Francisco, 85% of all vehicle doors extend less than 9.5 feet from the curb.

Which means we’re concerned about the problem posed by just 15% of drivers who have more money than sense, and are willing waste their resources on the biggest, most expensive, least efficient and most dangerous-to-everyone-else private vehicles on the road.

Then consider that such a vehicle would have to be parked next to the bike lane, and occupied, at the exact moment you pass by. And just happen to fling open a door at exactly the wrong time.

That’s not to say it can’t happen. It happened to me on Abbot Kinney just last year.

But I would contend that the risk is a hell of a lot smaller than the danger posed by the speeding and frequently distracted drivers just a few blocks down the street.

As Joe Linton points out, with or without bike lanes, many — if not most — cyclists will continue to ride in the door zone, preferring the perceived safety zone next to the parked cars to what they see as the scarier, if actually safer, space further out into the lane.

So here’s my suggestion.

Let’s take a foot from the center turn lane, narrowing it from 10’ to 9’, as Linton proposed in his comment above, and add 6” to the bike lane on either side.

But then take it a step further.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no requirement that any car be allowed to park anywhere and everywhere. So let’s ban those massive SUVs and other oversized vehicles from parking along the curb on Main Street.

Do as other cities around the country have done for decades, and paint a line on the street 6’6” from the curb — wide enough to accommodate all but the widest cars and trucks — then ticket any parked vehicle that crosses it.

That will not only effectively ban big vehicles from parking there, but also force all other drivers to park close to the curb without encroaching on the bike lane.

They can find parking somewhere else. Call it their penance for buying a massive motorized behemoth like that to begin with.

After all, if you can’t ban an inefficient SUV in environmentally conscious Venice, where can you?

Yes, there’s a lot of room for improvement in the plan.

But even if we build the road diet exactly the way LADOT proposes, it will make the southern section of Main Street significantly safer than it is now. And provide a more livable, complete street that will benefit everyone who lives, works or goes to school nearby, while encouraging more people to venture out onto their bikes.

So lets try to improve the plan.

But not kill a good project simply because it’s not a perfect one.


Before I forget — again — a friend of a friend is planning a new line of handmade bike accessories, and would like your opinion on exactly what cyclists might want. So please help me make it up to her by taking a couple minutes to complete this quick survey.

After all, it’s not like I’ve been distracted lately or anything.

Today’s post, in which I get a new intern who doesn’t seem to grasp the concept

Meet Sienna, the newest non-cycling member of the BikingInLA family.

This is supposed to be about my take on the planned Main Street road diet.

But that will have to wait until things settle down a bit. (Here’s a hint, though: why in hell would we sacrifice a plan that benefits everyone — especially cyclists — in order to accommodate obscenely oversized Escalade, Navigator and Hummer parking?)

In fact, I had Sunday night blocked out to put my thoughts to silicon. But that was before a certain young lady caught my eye, and my wife and I decided it was time to expand the family.

So we’re now the proud parents of Sienna, a four-year old Pembroke Welsh Corgi — the same kind the Queen is partial to — adopted from an animal rescue late last night.

After overcoming a fear of men that allowed her to bond instantly with my wife while skittering from my slightest move, she has grown comfortable enough that she’s seldom more than a few feet from my side. And I have fallen hopelessly in love, even though she seems to have decided that her primary mission in life is preventing me from accomplishing anything.

A little more of this would help me get some work done. I'm just saying.

So if you notice any typos in this post, blame it on a rather successful attempt to blackmail me into a belly rub by lying on top of my keyboard.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, even though it’s a perfect day for a ride, my bike is going to stay in the stable because someone needs a long walk to burn off a little excess energy.

And I think maybe the dog does, too.

I’ll try to get back to that Main Street post after I’ve worn her out.

Or vice versa.


The Claremont Cyclist reports on Saturday’s memorial ride for masters champion Kevin Unck. No, rides like this won’t bring anyone back, but they remember and honor those who have been taken from us. And bring a lot of comfort to those left behind.


A Calgary survey shows local residents would like to ride their bikes, but most are afraid of the city’s streets. You could pretty much change the location to any North American city and the story would be the same — or Australia, for that matter. Meanwhile a rider in nearby New Zealand didn’t feel safe riding in Wellington, and unfortunately, he was right.


Good news — the C.I.C.L.E website is back after being down over the weekend; they do a lot of good for riders throughout the greater L.A. area.


The Bikeways Subcommittee of the L.A. Bicycle Advisory Committee meets downtown tomorrow at 1 pm; yes, you’re invited even if you didn’t get an invitation. How to get bike racks at your favorite shop or pub. Free bike fit and basic maintenance workshop at the Bikerowave on Feb 5 at 6 pm. The Times says CicLAvia is gearing up for round two, while Sacramento considers a ciclavia of their own. Long Beach begins a series of meetings to gather input on the city’s new bike plan. Speaking of Long Beach, cyclists down there are about to get separated bike lanes. A new pro-bike mural appears on Sunset, photo courtesy of @dudeonabike; Will Campbell completes the picture of the full mural. Flying Pigeon drastically detunes a bike. Stanford students promote bike safety with musical bike helmets and lockable lights. Turns out Just Another Cyclist’s Ross del Duca loves his Gatorskins as much as I do.

Freakonomics looks at the decline in driving. Bike blogger Biking Bis points us towards a very positive review for the popular Surly Long Haul Trucker. How to chose the right framebuilder for your new custom bike. Speaking of framebuilders, Dave Moulton says society will always have anti-social jerks, and some of them will be on two wheels; putting license plates on bikes isn’t going to change that. Cyclelicious notes that bike riders aren’t the only, or even most egregious, scofflaws on the road. Ohio bike lawyer Steve Magos notes that accidents aren’t, and careless driving is no different than shooting a bullet into the air and calling it an accident when it kills someone; he’s right. An Indiana man faces 100 years in prison for beating a man to death in a dispute over a bicycle. New York continues its crackdown on scofflaw cyclists “from now until forever.” A Maryland cyclist credits CPR from another rider with saving his life after going into cardiac arrest during a cyclocross race. Jens Voight looks forward to his 15th and last season as a pro cyclist.

Corgi-owner King George VI, or rather the actor who played him, makes news by riding his bike.  A 72-year old former record holder is killed in a collision in the UK; tragically, he was supposed to be in Tunisia, but cancelled his trip due to the recent unrest. British courts blame the lack of a helmet for an 85-year old woman’s death rather than the driver who killed her. A world champion French hurdler leaves the ICU after being hit on his bike.

Finally, a British blogger demonstrates his complete and total indignorance by a) criticizing a Brit Olympian who called attention to the country’s pothole problem, b) complaining that she pointed out the hazard it poses to cyclists, c) demanding cyclists should pay the country’s Road Tax, which hasn’t existed in decades, d) insisting — incorrectly — that drivers pay for their own share of the road, and e) telling cyclists if they don’t like potholes, they should carry some asphalt with them and fix it themselves.

And a Brit university student worries about cyclists because of, you know, people like her.

RIP Jack LaLanne, who taught the greatest generation and their baby boomer kids that exercise can be fun.

Weekend Links & Events — Memorial Ride for Kevin Unck, a bad week for competitive cycling

This is what January looks like in here in L.A.

Let’s start with the good news.

Eleventh District Councilmember and TranspoComm Chair Bill Rosendahl underwent successful surgery to treat atrial fibrillation. According to the press release, he was awake and doing fine just three hours after he was implanted with a new medical device as part of a clinical trial, and should be back at work next week.

Rosendahl has been one of the driving forces behind the current city support for the cycling community. I hope you’ll join me in wishing him a speedy recovery and years of good health.


A memorial ride will be held today for masters champion Kevin Unck, killed after losing control of his bike in gravel and mud on Glendora Mountain Road earlier this month. Riders will meet at the It’s A Grind Coffee House at 7325 Day Creek Blvd, Suite 103 in Rancho Cucamonga at 8 am.


An Orange County woman writes about the death of 8-year old Andrew Brumback, which occurred just feet from her front door. A Ramona cyclist is seriously injured in a collision with a big rig; alcohol use by the cyclist may have been a contributing factor, although the only witness seems to be the driver who hit him. A Carlsbad rider credits his helmet with saving his life in a hit-and-run on Tuesday that left him with five fractures. And a Modesto man gets 10 years for killing a cyclist while high on marijuana and painkillers, though some people wrote the judge to blame the rider for simply being on the street.


This wasn’t just a horrible week for SoCal cyclists; the racing world was repeatedly touched by tragedy as well.

Rising British star Lewis Balyckyi, an 18-year old rider expected to be part of the UK Olympic team in 2012, was killed on Tuesday when he was hit by a van just a few miles from his home. The pro cycling community reacted with sorrow after South African HTC Highland rider Carla Swart, winner of 19 U.S. collegiate titles, was killed when she was hit by a truck during training. And Aussie cyclist Amber Halliday is still in critical condition after a horrific crash caused when she clipped another rider’s wheel.


In other racing news, a new mayor in DC could put an end to plans to bring the start of next year’s Giro to the U.S. Frank Schleck has successful surgery to remove a metal plate inserted after his crash in the Tour de France. Lance Armstrong says he expects to be vindicated after new charges arise; the Times asks if it will hurt his image. Saxo Bank is still counting on Alberto Contador this year despite doping allegations; yeah, good luck with that. Former Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre and teammate Denis Menchov will be excluded from this year’s Tour after their team fails to get an invitation.

And Mark Cavendish had to fight his way through traffic — car, not bike — in the Tour Down Under when race stewards opened the road while he was still on the course; Garmin-Cervélo rider Cameron Meyer leads after four stages.


In upcoming events —

The Kit Karzen Foundation kicks off their program to promote cycling for kids with ADHD with a celebration at Cynergy Cycles2300 Santa Monica Boulevard in Santa Monica, on Saturday the 22nd, from 6 to 9 pm.

Glendale City Commissioners will consider the city’s proposed Safe and Healthy Streets Plan on Monday, January 24th at 6 pm at the Council Chambers at Glendale City Hall, 613 East Broadway. Residents, as well as anyone who works, goes to school, walks or rides through the city are urged to attend and offer comments.

Cyclists are invited to campaign door-to-door in support of bike advocate and 4th District City Council Candidate Steven Box on Wednesday, January 26th from 5:30 to 8:30 pm; meet at Box campaign headquarters, 5619 Hollywood Blvd.

The LACBC invites you to pitch in to help fix up the new Bike Wrangler space, where donated and abandoned bikes will be repaired for donation to bike coops and low income people in high obesity areas. The first work party will take place from 5 to 9:30 pm on Thursday, January 27th at 1205 W. 6th Street; the second will be held Sunday the 30th from 11 am to 5 pm; RSVP to

The Culver City Bicycle Coalition will host the first of their monthly Family Rides on Sunday, January 30th, at 10 am. The rides will start and end at Town Plaza near the Culver Hotel, 9400 Culver Blvd, and explore the city’s best bike routes; future rides will take place on the last Sunday of the month.

The California Bike Coalition will host a Bike Party in San Diego on Thursday, Feb 3rd from 7 to 9 pm. The party will take place at Velo Cult Bicycle Shop, 2220 Fern Street, with a suggested donation of $100.

Explore the romance of Metro L.A.’s near-coastal cities with the LACBC’s second Sunday Funday ride, I ♥ the Westside. Riders will assemble at the Santa Monica Pier, at the end of Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica at 9:30 am on Sunday, February 6th, with the ride starting at 10 am. The course will follow a mostly flat route 30-mile route through Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City, Westwood and Brentwood, before returning along the beach to the pier. It’s free to LACBC members and one guest, and will be lead by your humble host at BikingInLA.

Flying Pigeon and the Bike Oven host the free Spoke(n) Art Ride on the 2nd Saturday of every month; the next ride will take place on February 12th, starting 6:30 pm at 3714 N. Figueroa St. in Highland Park.

Ride in support of the Dream Act with the 50-mile L.A. to O.C. Dream Ride on Sunday, February 20th, Starting at Corazon del Pueblo 2003 E. 1st. Street in Boyle Heights and ending at Centro Cultural de Mexico 310 W. 5th Street in Santa Ana. Registration and $15 fee are due by January 28th, including lunch, dinner, maintenance during the ride and an overnight stay in Orange County.

UCLA will host a free day-long Complete Streets workshop on Friday, February 25th; participation is open to registered attendees. The workshop will take place from 8:30 am to 7 pm at the Japanese American National Museum at 369 East 1st Street Downtown. Contact to register, or call 310/562-7356.

And it’s never too early to mark your calendar for the second CicLAvia on April 10th, 2011.


A bad sign for leading local bike advocacy group C.I.C.L.E. as their website goes offline. Great photo from the L.A. Times of a lone cyclist rolling through a high tide on the bike path. Beverly Hills police declare the killing of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen closed, blaming it on a bike-riding ex-con acting alone. Long Beach announces a series of workshops for their new Bicycle Master Plan, starting with a ride on Saturday. Bikeside looks at Charlie Gandy’s recipe for a bike-friendly city. The Claremont Cyclist looks at what to expect in Stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California.

NASA astronaut Tim Kopra is scratched from next month’s shuttle mission after suffering an undisclosed injury while riding his bike, though rumor suggests a broken hip; thanks to Will Campbell for the heads-up. People for Bikes urges every cyclist to contact your representative in Congress. Bike to Work days can have a lasting impact on bike commuting rates. A lovely look at lugwork. Turns out the real scofflaws are the ones on four wheels. Washington considers five bills to make cycling safer. Bob Mionske follows-up on the sweetheart deal denial of justice perpetrated in the Vail hit-and-run case; anyone who doesn’t think this case stinks should check their sense of smell. New bike lanes in the Big Easy lead to a 57% increase in ridership — and a 133% increase in female ridership. Evidently, Pittsburgh’s cycling scene is pretty incredible. New York’s controversial Prospect Park West bike lanes haven’t made the street more dangerous; in fact, injuries due to collisions are down 67%. No need to stop riding during the winter, though parking can be a problem. City Fix jumps into the great helmet debate with Mikael Colville-Andersen, author of Copenhagenize and Copenhagen Cycle Chic.

After an Ontario cyclist is injured in a collision, readers respond by calling for a ban on winter riding. A UK cyclist is awarded £7000 for injuries due to a pothole. Most bikes stolen in Great Britain are taken from the owner’s home. VW introduces an electric folding concept bike. A look at biking in modern Morocco. An Aussie cyclist is ticketed for riding without a helmet in a police crackdown.

Finally, a YouTube commentator says of course Lance was on drugs; in fact, anyone who rides bikes for a living and doesn’t do drugs has to have something wrong with them. It’s funny stuff, unlike this guy, who gets paid to be but isn’t.

And sometimes bikes are allowed to go where others aren’t, except when they’re not.


Cyclist killed in Blue Line collision, third SoCal cyclist killed in three days

This has got to stop.

For the third time in the last three days — and the fifth time since the beginning of the year — a cyclist has been killed in the greater Los Angeles/Orange County area.

According to the Contra Costa Times, an unidentified Hispanic cyclist approximately 30-years old apparently tried to beat the Blue Line train across the tracks; or possibly was not paying attention — though how you miss an oncoming train is beyond me.

The collision occurred at 1:46 pm Thursday at the intersection of Pacific Avenue and Wardlow Road in Long Beach. Personnel from Long Beach Fire Department reported that the rider was dragged several hundred feet following the impact, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Please, take it front someone who grew up around trains.

You won’t beat a train across the tracks, and it’s not worth risking your life to try. I tired — and barely made it — once, and had a close enough call that I never want to try it again.

Note: the Contra Costa Times story has photos; however, there is a very disturbing image of the bike under the train that you may not want to see.

Update: The Long Beach Post has additional photos of the collision scene. Again, use your discretion; some people may be disturbed by the photos — myself included.

Does “Bike-friendly” Long Beach intentionally stomp on cyclists’ civil rights?

Long Beach has long proclaimed its intention to be America’s most bike friendly city.

And under the guidance of mobility coordinator Charlie Gandy, it’s gone far beyond any other city in Southern California in terms of building bicycle infrastructure and promoting cycling.

So it’s disappointing to find out that their bike-friendly attitude doesn’t extend to all cyclists. Or recognize the most basic rights guaranteed to all Americans.

As you may recall, controversy developed in October when the Long Beach police staged a heavy-handed crackdown on the city’s first official Critical Mass ride.

Police are accused of waving cyclists through a stop sign, then ticketing riders who obeyed their apparent instructions. They also attempted to enforce a bicycle licensing law that violates state law, which limits penalties for failing to license a bike to a maximum of $10 — and prohibits ticketing any riders from outside their jurisdiction for failing to register their bikes with Long Beach.

In addition, the police decided, with no apparent legal authority, that fixed gear bikes without separate brakes violate the state law requiring bikes be able to make one wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement — a standard most fixies can easily meet.

And the police enforced those so-called violations by seizing the bikes of the riders involved — again, without any apparent legal authority.

Now, a new story from the Long Beach Post reveals just how far the city is willing to go to violate the civil rights of American citizens, simply because they travel on two wheels and have chosen to practice their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly under the banner of Critical Mass.

According to the Post, despite official denials from the city, the organizers of the ride attempted to get a permit in advance, which Long Beach officials failed to issue. Yet they were found in violation of a requirement that any group of 75 or more is required to get a Special Events Permit — even though that law was legally unenforceable because parts of it had been declared unconstitutional.

Long Beach City Manager Patrick West — a serious cyclist for 18 years — chillingly explains that the city is in fact targeting Critical Mass, and that any other ride, by any other name, would not face the same heavy-handed enforcement.

“Long Beach has been a leader in [developing] bike infrastructure. When a group goes out there to violate traffic laws, it brings more [negative] attention to the money that we’re spending on infrastructure, and angers the average motorist.

“If it’s a Critical Mass ride,” West continued, “you can expect our police department to be there to to monitor that. A Critical Mass ride is something that is going to attract the attention of our police department to prevent cyclists from, you know, to maintain the vehicle code. And I’m just speaking of Critical Mass. I’m not speaking about any other ride in Long Beach at all, whenever, where-ever, whoever. I’m speaking about a Critical Mass ride.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that called selective enforcement?

His words were born out by another crackdown on a Christmas ride intended to raise funds to help cyclists fight the tickets from the October crackdown. Suspecting it was actually a super-secret Critical Mass ride under another name, the police arrived in force and halted the ride before it could even begin.

According to City Manager Patrick West, “we suspected that the second [ride] was a Critical Mass ride and, in hindsight, it was clear to us that it was not a Critical Mass ride. We communicated that to the group, then I talked to Jerome Podgajski [founder of] and I apologized.

“The second ride involved many of the same individuals,” said West, “and, at the end of the day, it turned out that no one had any intention of creating a Critical Mass ride, so we would have supported that ride. We’re learning as we go along, and we’re talking to event organizers to just be careful about billing things as a Critical Mass ride because we’re very very conscientious of that group.”

In other words, better to apologize afterwards than get the facts right first. And it’s okay to violate the rights of one group, as long as you support other groups who may do the same things, but under a different name.

The writer, Sander Wolff, got the perspective of a local attorney about the first incident:

I asked attorney Robert Thomas Hayes Link, Esq., who grew up in Long Beach, what he thought of the incident. “As described by (cyclist) Gerry Campos, the supposedly bicycle-friendly City of Long Beach, by way of the conduct of the Long Beach Police Department, would seem to have arranged for a sting operation designed to discourage future cycling awareness activities within its borders. Whether the City managed this in a fashion that shields them from civil rights liability remains to be seen.”

Read the full article.

It clearly drives home the fact that Long Beach may see itself as bike friendly.

But a bike-friendly attitude goes far beyond mere paint on the street.

Unless and until the city begins to observe the requirements of the California Vehicle Code — which supersedes city ordinances — and interprets the law in a fair and legal manner, treating all cyclists equally under the law, it will continue to put to lie their self-proclaimed vision as the country’s leading bike city.

And continue to be a city that cyclists  — Critical or otherwise — might be better off avoiding.


Let me make one thing clear. I’m not a fan of Critical Mass; I tend to believe, like LB City Manager West, that it only serves to anger people who might otherwise support us.

But I am a big fan of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. And I cannot support any person, city, jurisdiction or authority that willfully ignores the law to violate the rights of any cyclist.

As Emma Lazarus said, until we are all free, none of us is free.

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