Archive for December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Please accept my best wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous new year.

May you, and all your loved ones, experience a year filled with peace and joy. And may every bike rider who celebrates this new year make it through to 2015 in one piece.

Update: Calimesa hit-and-run victim dies two weeks after collision

This is not what I wanted to write about today.

I was hoping to end this year on a positive note. But maybe the good news is simply that this bloody year, with its epidemic of hit-and-runs and far too many cyclists killed or injured, is finally coming to an end.

And maybe the new year that starts tomorrow will be a better one for all of us.


News broke today that a cyclist in Calimesa suffered major injuries in a Sunday hit-and-run.

According to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, the bike rider was riding south on Calimesa Blvd just north of Singleton Rd in the small town east of Redlands and Moreno Valley around 12:25 pm. Witnesses saw a northbound car drift over the centerline and hit the rider head-on before fleeing the scene.

The victim was identified on Don Davidson’s Facebook page as Phil Richards, but it does not mention his age or residence.

In a second Facebook post, he said Richardson coded overnight after spending Sunday afternoon in surgery for multiple injuries, but was revived and in surgery again on Monday morning to stop internal bleeding and relieve pressure in his abdomen. Fortunately, he does not appear to have suffered head or spinal injuries — remarkably, since he was reportedly hit at 50 mph.

The car reportedly struck Richards on the left front, damaging the car’s left side and headlight. The vehicle is described only as a compact four door sedan, light blue or green, driven by an elderly white-haired white or Hispanic man.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the department’s Cabazon Station at 951-922-7100.

Prayers or good wishes are definitely in order.

Thanks to Cleave Law and Tom Herman for the heads-up.

Update: The Riverside Sheriff’s Department has made an arrest in the case. 

According to a press release from the department, a deputy assigned to Calimesa noticed a 2005 Ford 500 matching the description of the suspect vehicle, with damage consistent with the collision, parked in a driveway in the 1200 block of Cherry Lane. 

After towing the car to examine the evidence and talking with the owner, 42-year old Calimesa resident William Donald Johnson was booked for felony hit-and-run.

Then again, Johnson had a full week to sober up if he had been drunk or otherwise under the influence at the time of the collision.

Meanwhile, the victim, who has been identified on Facebook as Phil Richards, remains hospitalized following several surgeries

Thanks to Kevin for the heads-up.

Update 2: I’m sad to report that, according to Don Davidson’s Facebook page, Richards died of his injuries at 5 pm on Saturday, January 11th.

This is the 89th bicycling fatality in Southern California resulting from injuries suffered in 2013, and the 12th in Riverside County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Phil Richards and all his family and loved ones.


In somewhat better news, another hit-and-run driver is in custody as of Monday evening after he ran down a rider on an adult tricycle Monday afternoon.

According to the Ramona Sentinel, 69-year old James Swift was riding south on Montecito Road at around 1:05 pm. He was crossing Main Street on the green light when he was apparently right-hooked by a 2002 Yukon Denali.

Witnesses report the driver actually stopped and placed the stroke victim back on the seat, saying he was sorry before running back to his truck and fleeing as fast as he could.

Fortunately, witnesses got the license number of the truck, and CHP officers were able to convince him to turn himself in. The 31-year old driver, who was not publicly identified, faces charges of hit-and-run and driving without a license.

But at least he said he was sorry, right?


Finally, Ed Ryder offer moving photos of the ghost bike for Pete Tomaino, the popular 82-year old cyclist killed in Laguna Hills on Christmas Eve.

The way this year has gone, maybe that’s a sadly appropriate note to end on.




Just the links: Your between the holidays reading list

LA’s last Critical Mass of the year honors the city’s fallen cyclists. As LA still works on wayfinding signage, other local cities point the way. That stooped tall bike gets even stoopidly taller, and more LA-centric. A road diet wish list for the Eastside. It’s now legal to park your car at a broken meter, but still illegal to park your bike at one in LA, whether it works or not. Santa Monica writer says all those new bike lanes will cause more congestion, rather than relieving it. From rising bike riding 1940’s starlet to hunting accident paraplegic, and dead at 31.

California’s three-foot passing law goes into effect in 2014, but not until September. San Diego’s BikingBrian tours the Oregon coast on video. Getting around Catalina by bike. Cal Fire rescues an injured mountain biker near Lake Elsinore. Bike riders are the real scofflaws on our streets, right? Woodland writer says taxing bikes — and pedestrians — isn’t a bad idea; a self-proclaimed scofflaw cyclist and tax specialist echoes those thoughts. A Chico paper calls on the city to rethink, rather than close, a bike path.

The top 10 bike stories of 2013. A new lighted bike suit makes you look like a comic book superhero; or you could just put lights on your bike. If someone booby-trapped a highway in a way that could kill a motorist, they’d face criminal charges; do it on an Albuquerque bike path, and it’s just a dangerous prank. A Texas bike blogger is killed despite campaigning for safer streets. A St. Louis cycling instructor claims bike lanes are dangerous with no evidence to back it up. A Milwaukee cyclist is killed in a hit-and-run by driver with 13 previous traffic violations — yes, 13 and still driving. Even Boston liberals hate bikes, while a bike riding Boston letter writer says I’m okay, but the rest of you suck. New York’s New Year’s Eve ball drop will be powered by Citibikes. DC writer takes newspaper to task for not showing riders in bike helmets — in a story about bike theft, no less; I’m a firm believer in helmet use, but contrary to popular opinion, they aren’t magic devices that ward off all risk of injury to the wearer. Orlando cop kills a cyclist in a collision; witnesses say the officer wasn’t at fault. Learning to ride a bike in Margaritaville.

Bike use is booming in Latin America. Bicycle-oriented Mexican town fights for the country’s first slow zone. Nice interview with Chris Bruntlett of Vancouver Cycle Chic. Jamaican cyclist Horace McFarlane arrested on drug charges. Bike Radar looks at the unique partnership between supercar maker McLaren and the copyright bullies of Specialized. Brit cyclist is honored as a hero for saving two girls from an attacking dog. The Royal Mail throws in the towel on bike deliveries; meanwhile, I’ve heard several reports of UPS delivering by bike in the LA area. TdF champ Chris Froome picks the Cannibal’s brain on how to win riding clean. Scot motorists are glad more bike riders are getting tickets. Kolkata police say there’s no proof banning bikes will improve traffic. Taiwan cyclists will be included in holiday DUI stops. Kiwi bike riders call for changes in the country’s mandatory helmet law. Two Aussie men face charges for whacking cyclists with a rolled-up newspaper from a passing car. A British woman sets a new record by bicycling to the South Pole.

Finally, the next time someone says cycling isn’t safe, remind them you’re not even safe from drunk drivers in your own home; turns out the killer driver had a history of DUI and couldn’t legally be on the road, but was anyway.


Update: Bike rider killed in Claremont collision; 54% increase in LA County bike deaths this year

It’s happened again.

For at least the third time this month, a bike rider traveling in a designated bike lane has killed in an apparent rear-end collision, this time in Claremont.

According to KTLA-5, the victim was riding east on Baseline Rd at or near Bonnie Brae Ave around 10 am today when he — or possibly she — was hit by a vehicle traveling in the same direction. While road position is not mentioned, the story notes the presence of a bike lane; a wide, curbside lane is clearly visible in Google’s street view.

Another report put the collision site near the Vons at Baseline and Mills Ave.

The victim was declared dead at the scene. The driver remained at the scene and is reportedly cooperating with police.

This is at least the 86th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, compared to 74 last year, and the 37th in Los Angeles County — 13 more than each of the last two years.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his or her loved ones.

Thanks to Michael Wagner, Erik Griswold and Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

Update: According to Michael Wagner of CLR Effect, the victim appears to be a man in his 70s, who was hit near the intersection with Edinboro Ave, between Baseline and Mills.

Claremont Patch reports the collision occurred at 9:54 this morning.

Update 2: KTLA-5 reports the victim is 76-year old La Verne resident Ali Mirage. The driver, a 54-year old woman whose name was not released, has not been charged pending the outcome of the investigation. 

Update 3: The Daily Bulletin reports Mirage was honored with a ghost bike on Tuesday. Family members remember him as a fearless free spirit who loved nature, life and exercising.

Update: Panarama City hit-and-run victim dies; 17th confirmed LA bike fatality in 2013

Yet another bike rider’s life hangs in the balance, in one of the worst holiday periods in memory.

According to a press release from the LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division, a cyclist was riding west on Burnet Ave when he was struck by an unknown vehicle headed south on Lanark St in Panorama City. A street view shows a typical Valley intersection.

Investigators were called around 7 am; no word on when the collision occurred or how the victim was discovered. The rider was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries. No arrest has been made, and no description of the suspect vehicle was provided.

The LA Weekly reports that the victim’s son has identified him as a 57-year old man, but asked than his name be kept private for the time being.

According to the paper, the victim is in grave condition and not expected to survive.

He told the Weekly his father sustained a “severe brain injury” and that his “condition deteriorated” to the point where family members were told his chance of survival was essentially “zero.” He said he’d keep us updated.

He also requested the media’s help in finding the person who left his father in the street to die.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Valley Traffic Division Detective William Bustos at 818/644-8021 or Officer Scott DeWitt at 818/644-8027; anonymous tips can be given to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800/222-8477).

This comes after at least three bicycling fatalities in the past 10 days.

Update: According to the LAPD, the victim, who has still not been publicly identified, has died.

This is the 87th — and hopefully last — bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 38th in Los Angeles County. It’s also the 17th confirmed bike death in the City of LA, over three times the total for 2012, and four times the total in 2011.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and all his family and loved ones.

Update 2: The victim has been identified as Dimitar Batchiyski


Famed bicycle tool maker Paul Morningstar was found dead in his booby-trapped home on Saturday morning.


Storage company contributes $17,000 to Bahati Foundation, founded by Compton’s own former US Crit champ Rahsaan Bahati. Ride the Santa Monica Mountains on New Years Day. CORBA invites you for a little off-road riding on January 11th. The New York Times looks at the LAPD’s idiotic crackdown on DTLA pedestrians; thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up.

Camarillo reaches the final phase of a four-mile bike path. Wildomar will get bike lanes and sidewalks on two major streets. The Badwater Ultramarathon race will bypass Death Valley this year due to the National Park Service moratorium; the Furnace Creek 508 bike race will likely suit. Thirteen reasons you should make a resolution to ride to work. English research scientist killed by big rig truck in Oakland. There’s more than one way to celebrate Christmas.

The boom in bicycling causes the old bike tax suggestion to rear its ugly head once again — despite the fact that bikes cause little or no wear and tear on the streets and cyclists already overpay for their share of the road. Michael Eisenberg also forwards news of the hot rod of electric bikes. Building a better fat bike for Arctic riding. Colorado tests a new way to measure bicycle traffic. Cyclists petition for bike lanes near Colorado National Monument. Turns out there’s another bike swallowed by a tree, this time in Oklahoma. An Alexandria VA resident says trading parking spaces for bike lanes in a worthy sacrifice.

Pro cyclists pick the best and worst of the recent racing season. New safety devices can’t cure bad road design. Motorized traffic is declining in London, but so is bicycling. Kiwi rider hit by egg from moving car.

Finally, in a pair of stories worthy of the season, a Mesa AZ cop rescues a little girl from a kidnapper — then buys her a new bike after the one she was riding is impounded as evidence. And a Good Samaritan buys a Chicago woman a new bike after she posts a very public notice when hers is stolen. 

Update: 82-year old bike rider Peter Tomaino killed in Laguna Hills Christmas Eve collision

Photo by Ed Ryder

A battered bike bears witness to its fallen rider; click to enlarge. Photo by Ed Ryder

Yet another bike rider won’t be coming home to his family this Christmas.

Earlier this evening, Orange County cyclist Ed Ryder emailed me with news that a bicyclist had lost his life in a Laguna Hills collision — news that has since been confirmed by the Orange County Register.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was apparently leaving the Ralphs parking lot on the westside of Paseo de Valencia south of Alicia Parkway when he was struck by a vehicle.

Photo by Ed Ryder

Photo by Ed Ryder

The Register says he collided with the vehicle, which seems unlikely.

Judging from the photo of the bike, it looks more like a side impact; the front wheel isn’t tacoed, while the rear wheel appears to have been separated from the bike.

Unfortunately, no other information is available at this time; most of the Register’s story is hidden behind their paywall.

This is the 85th confirmed bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 12th in Orange County; that compares with 74 and 14, respectively, in 2012.

There is also an unconfirmed report that a rider doored in LA’s Brentwood neighborhood earlier this month has died.

Photo by Ed Ryder

Photo by Ed Ryder

Update: Every bicycling death is tragic, but this one seems even more so. And not just because it happened on Christmas Eve.

According to the Orange County Coroner’s office, the victim was 82-year old cyclist Peter Tomaino, profiled by Orange County Register columnist David Whiting as OC’s toughest cyclist.

According to Whiting, Tomaino was a minimum 100-mile a week rider, even at an age when most riders have permanently parked their bikes — despite being hit by cars and other cyclists, and crashing so many time he’d lost track of the number of times he’s been hospitalized. 

Tomaino’s wife, 15 years his junior, would just as soon see her husband end his cycling career. But the exceptionally fit and lanky Tomaino will have none of that. Of those who say he’s too old to ride a bicycle,Tomaino says, “What do they know? They’re not athletes.”

With a dismissive wave of his hand, he looks me and declares, “Guys like us, we don’t stop. Heck, I’d rather be dead if I can’t cycle.”

Sadly, he got his wish yesterday.

Thanks to Ed Ryder and an anonymous OC source for the head’s up.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Peter Tomaino and his loved ones.

Update: According to KCBS-2, the collision occurred around 1:45 pm Tuesday; he was declared dead at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo at 1:58 pm. 

The station reports the driver was not suspected of drug or alcohol use. 

Meanwhile, both Ryder and OC cyclist and attorney David Huntsman point us to this letter Tomaino wrote to Cycling News over a decade ago.

I read Gordon Dillow’s article on drivers that are in a hurry and run through red lights. Believe me I can appreciate what he is talking about. I’m a 70 year old cyclist who is out there every other day riding 50 to 60 miles. I had one serious accident because of a driver running a red light. A lot of drivers have no consideration and don’t realise how vulnerable we cyclists are. So please drivers look out for us cyclists and let us enjoy our rides without the fear of being hit.

Peter Tomaino
Laguna Hills ,USA
Saturday, November 3 2001

Update 2: David Whiting of the Orange County Register movingly remembers his fallen friend.


Correction: My apologies to OC Register’s David Whiting, who I misidentified as Dan in my rush to get this story online — then repeated my error in the comments. 

Too much bad news for Christmas Eve, and a long list of pre-holiday reading

Let’s start with the bad news.

And there’s just too much of it for Christmas Eve this year.

First up, the Daily News identifies the Sheriff’s Deputy who killed cyclist Milt Olin on December 8th as a 16-year veteran from the Malibu/Lost Hills station, despite a lack of confirmation from the department. The collision is still under investigation; two weeks later, investigators still haven’t spoken to all the witnesses. Thanks to Deb Fort for the link.

There’s still no ID on the cyclist killed by a Metrolink train on December 6th. The victim is described as a Hispanic man over 21 years old, about 5’2” and 144 pounds, with brown eyes and a black Mohawk, and a red stud earring in one ear. Anyone with information is urged to call coroner’s investigator Daniel Machian at 323-343-0754 or the coroner investigations division at 323-343-0714.

Australian publication The Age fills in the blanks on the death of countryman James Rapley, who was just passing through LA when he was killed by an alleged underage — and possibly texting — drunk driver while riding a rental bike up Temescal Canyon.

And a comment on the Brentwood Patch website says the cyclist doored on Barrington Ave in Brentwood two weeks ago today has died. I’ve reached out to members of the LAPD for confirmation, but no response yet.


The news isn’t much better in the pro ranks, as 21-year old Swiss rider Felix Baur was killed in a collision while training in Spain last Wednesday. Meanwhile, 26-year old Euris Vidal — who was scheduled to join the Incycle-Predator Components team next year — was shot and killed while trying to stop a robbery in the Dominican Republic on Sunday.


Four missing mountain bikers are found safe after spending an unplanned night in the Angeles National Forest. A new short film follows the life of an abandoned bike in East LA. One of California’s best schools was founded in honor of a 13-year old girl killed by a distracted driver while her family was riding in Wyoming. Cast your vote in the LA Streetsblog Streetsie awards. Julia Roberts rides a Dutch bike through the ‘Bu. British bike scribe Carlton Reid offers an in-depth look at the elevated California Cycleway which stretched from LA to Pasadena in the early 1900s. Mark your calendar for next month’s Arroyo Seco tweed ride. In a heartwarming story, hundreds of cyclists join a Santa Clarita rider in completing the ride that almost took his life a year ago. Bikes and bike advocates rank high in this Long Beach year-in-review.

Cyclelicious offers a year-in-review retrospective. The San Diego Bicycle Coalition lists their 2013 accomplishments, including the city’s first ciclovia. You still have time to join in the Harbor View Holiday Lights Ride in Corona del Mar at 5 pm this evening. Oxnard bike cop suffers minor injuries in a hit-and-run; thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up. The National Parks Service has thrown the brakes on endurance bike and running events in Death Valley, something we’d reported here a few weeks ago. Salmon cyclist killed in Lodi. Merced man tries to run down a bike rider in a jealous rage over a woman. Prison inmates refurbish bikes for kids. UC Berkeley manager dies from a heart attack after swerving to avoid a skateboarder while riding his bike. Think of it as a Street View for bikes for SF and NY riders. Chico shuts down a bike path in response to crime.

Elly Blue’s dog offers advice on bicycling with your human. US urban cycling is here to stay; let’s hope so. Americans are less likely to bike but more likely to be killed doing it according to a new study. Ten lessons learned from biking across the country. Colorado filmmaker offers tips on winter riding. A Houston website asks if the city’s drivers hate cyclists after a second rider is killed by a hit-and-run driver; in that case, they must really hate us here. Merry Christmas indeed, as a WI man pushes a boy off his bike to steal it. Chicago cyclists are about to get their first curb-separated bike lanes. Michigan non-profit gives bikes to 2500 kids. Ohio rider gets her stolen bike back for Christmas. UPS delivers by bike in Providence RI. DC Streetsbog wants your vote on the year’s biggest transportation stories, including the plan to tear down a Long Beach freeway. After Fayetteville NC’s Bicycle Man passes away, his wife continues his mission of giving 500 bikes to deserving children. The Florida cyclist dumped behind a dumpster by a heartless hit-and-run driver clings to life, but his prognosis is uncertain.

Who exactly are the real scofflaws in the UK? British paperboys and girls get new helmets and hi-viz to keep them safe after one of their peers is killed; not getting hit by cars would probably help more. A Brit letter writer says they built it, and no one came, so just give up already. Young Belgian pro attempts suicide after testing positive for clenbuterol after racing in China. The collision that left a Singapore cyclist in critical condition is caught on video; thanks to Danny Gamboa for the tip. Even Bangkok is becoming a better place to bike. Yes, Australia’s helmet law reduced cycling rates, but maybe not so much. Aussie bike tourist gets shot in the eye with a paintball gun on the first day of a planned New Zealand tour.

Finally, no bikes involved. Just a Texas driver who drank cologne to mask the scent of alcohol on his breath after he was stopped by police following a hit-and-run; nice try, anyway. And a woman pedals her hi-tech tricycle in a race to the South Pole; thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the link.

Please accept my best wishes for a very merry Christmas, and the happiest of holiday seasons for all.

Update: Fatal bike collision on Temescal Canyon in Pacific Palisades

The aftermath of today's fatal collision; photo by Clifford Phillips

The aftermath of today’s fatal collision; photo by Clifford Phillips

I’m still waiting on official confirmation, but the news doesn’t look good.

A tweet from West LA Traffic Division Captain Brian Adams reports that the LAPD is working a fatal traffic collision at Temescal Canyon Road and PCH in Pacific Palisades.

At the same time, I received an email from a reader who had just passed the intersection and saw a mountain bike with the rear wheel crushed, and a car stopped nearby with its windshield bashed in; the rider was nowhere to be seen.

Of course, that does not necessarily mean the rider was killed. But it sounds like prayers or good thoughts are in order.

More details as they come in.

Update: According to KCBS-2, the collision occurred around 9:15 Sunday morning when a vehicle drifted into the bike lane on Temescal Canyon and hit the rider from behind. The victim was declared dead at a local hospital, later identified as St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica; another report says he was taken to UCLA Medical Center in Westwood.

And yes, the driver remained at the scene. 

A comment from Lois below indicates the collision occurred about a quarter mile above PCH on the eastbound, uphill lane. 

Having ridden through there many times myself, that is one of the few bike lanes where I don’t feel comfortable, as many motorists drive far above the speed limit and drift from their lanes on the many curves, both up and downhill.

This is the 84th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 36th in Los Angeles County. It is also the 16th cycling death in the City of Los Angeles since the first of the year — over three times the number of bicycling fatalities last year.

Update 2: Pacific Palisades Patch reports the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was approximately 25 to 27 years old, and was hit hard enough to throw his body up to 20 feet through the air.  

One commenter on the site said she was told by an officer at the scene that the driver had been drinking — at 9:15 am — while the writer of the Patch piece says the driver himself suggested he was texting when the collision occurred.

John Rapley; photo from The Age

James Rapley; photo from The Age

Update 3: Police officials have identified the victim at 29-year old Australian tourist James Rapley from Victoria; the driver was 19-year old Mohammed Kadri of Santa Monica.

There’s something horribly wrong when someone can’t visit this country without returning home in a coffin.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for James Rapley and his family.

Update 4: Australian publication The Age confirms a comment from a friend of the victim that Rapley was just passing through Los Angeles when he was killed.

The paper quotes his father as saying Rapley, a software developer for Groupon in Chicago, had rented a bike during an extended layover on a flight back home to Melbourne for the holidays. An experienced rider, he may have enjoyed the challenge of tackling the steep climb, even on a rental bike.

His father also confirms the report that police said the underage driver had been drinking at that early hour.

“He was the sort of kid everyone hopes to have as a son,” John Rapley said.

“I just really want to get the message out that drink driving can affect you anywhere and it’s so stupid.”

No word yet on any charges the driver may face. Let’s hope the authorities take this one seriously — especially if reports that he was texting as well turn out to be true.

I can’t overstate the tragedy that someone just passing through our city is murdered by someone too young to legally drink, let alone be on the road in that condition. 

Update 4: The Santa Monica Mirror reports Kadri was arrested on an unspecified felony charge at 10:50 am, and released on $50,000 bail Sunday night — which seems low under the circumstances.

He is scheduled to appear in Downtown Municipal Court on January 16th; we should be able to learn what charges he’ll face then. Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

Cyclist critically injured in Rancho Cucamonga, but the question is how; plus your weekend reading list

A Rancho Cucamonga man is in critical condition in what may — or may not — have been a solo fall.

According to the Daily Bulletin, forty-seven year old Daniel Oliver Loera suffered significant head injuries when he fell from his bike at Foothill Boulevard near Monet Avenue at 6:08 Friday morning. Investigators aren’t sure if another vehicle was involved; however, as many bicyclists have learned the hard way, it’s possible for a passing car to cause a cyclist to fall without ever making contact with the bike or rider.

At last report, Loera was in critical condition at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton.

Anyone with information is urged to call San Bernardino Sheriff’s Deputies Adam Cervantes or Richard Buss at 909-477-2800.

Thanks to PValley Bike for the tip.


The LA Times looks at Girls Gone Riding, the nation’s largest women’s mountain biking group. A HuffPo writer asks if LA can be a bike city; actually, it already is, regardless of whether our civic leaders ever catch up to that fact. Meanwhile, the Times’ architecture critic says the city is getting better and bikes are part of that; New York’s Citi Bike makes his top 10 list, since LA doesn’t have a bike share program and isn’t likely to get one soon. Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers advice on how to win holiday arguments over bicycling. Writing for Flying Pigeon, Richard Risemberg confesses to being an accessible road user. LADOT Bike Blog visits the Valley’s 1.6 mile Brown’s Creek Bike Path, complete with ponies. Masked robbers steal a La Puente rider’s cruiser bike at gunpoint; thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up. A new park, walking path and brief bikeway are planned for the confluence of Aliso Creek and the LA River in Reseda. Boyonabike admits to being a dreamer. CLR Effect looks at bike racing in LA — 110 years ago.

San Diego unanimously passes a $312 million bike plan. Rancho Cucamonga kids get bikes for better grades. Apple Valley cyclists can look forward to over $400,000 in new and better bike lanes. Evidently, only special interest groups care about street safety, according to the San Francisco Fire Department. The SF Weekly questions the city’s official bike count showing a near doubling in ridership since 2006. A Napa woman donates 25 bikes out of her own pocket for a local toy drive.

Washington state endorses the NACTO guide; one down, 49 to go. Dallas police recover a custom-made cruiser bike stolen from the former city manager. After a truck driver reported hitting “something” on a Missouri freeway, police drove by for 8 hours before discovering the cyclist he killed on the side of the road. For a change, Austin TX police crack down on dangerous drivers to protect cyclists; most departments seem to think the way to save cyclists is to go after the victims, which is the same approach the LAPD takes to pedestrians in DTLA. Chicago bike lawyer says the hyperventilating about bike helmets has got to stop; scaring bike riders off the roads makes them less safe for everyone. New York study shows new bikeways pay off for the businesses along their routes, but federal red tape could delay New York bike lanes. A Boston driver loses it when a cyclist taps on his trunk for blocking bike lane; thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the link. A PA man gets two to four years for the hit-and-run death of a 73-year old bike rider who was on his way to buy groceries.

Now that’s major chutzpah, as a Canadian hit-and-run driver asks the victim to help remove the bike from under his car, gives him money for the bike, then drives away. London’s mayor plans to de-lycrafy cycling in the city, while cyclists conduct another die-in. Bath England police are looking for a cyclist who has repeatedly lost it. The podium girl famously pinched by pro cyclist Peter Sagan gets a new bike for Christmas courtesy of Cannondale; he could pinch my ass, too, if they’ll give me a new bike. Riding to Soweto to honor Nelson Mandela. Is that a sawed-off shotgun in your riding pants or are you just happy to see us? An Australian bike rider dies a month after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver; clearly, hit-and-run is not just an LA — or even American — problem.

Finally, can someone please explain to me how a single-use invisible bike helmet hardly anyone owns — let alone can afford — could possibly be revolutionizing bike safety? And if your neighbor pushes you off your bike, do not respond by taking an axe to his home and car. Especially not if you’re riding your new Wu Tang fixie.

Thanks to Michael Young and Jim Lyle for their generous donations to help support this site.

Update: President of LA Wheelmen dies in riding fall

All week, I’ve been hearing rumors of a serious accident on an LA Wheelmen ride over the weekend.

Today I got confirmation. And the news is worse than we thought.

According to the LAW Facebook page, group president Pam Leven was involved in a riding accident when she touched wheels with another rider on Sunday. Both she and the other rider went down hard; unfortunately, she suffered injuries including a broken hip and collarbone, as well severe head and facial trauma. The second rider was not seriously injured.

She was taken to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where she died at 3 pm today after being taken off life support without regaining consciousness.

And yes, she was wearing a helmet when she fell.

I haven’t been able to find any other details yet; I’ll share them if and when I do. Please let me know if you have any additional information.

Her death is going to touch many local riders very deeply, as the Wheelmen are a popular riding group in the city, and Pam was well known, and clearly, well loved. In addition, she was the treasurer for the Independent Writers of Southern California for over 20 years; I’m told members of the group are in shock over her loss.

This is the 83rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, in what has turned out to be a very bad year. Since she was taken to UCLA, I’m assuming this occurred in LA County, which would make her the 35th bike rider to die in the county this year, compared to 22 last year.

She is also the sixth SoCal rider to die as a result of solo falls or collisions with another rider this year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Pam Leven and her husband Bob, and all their family and loved ones.

Thanks to Jim Lyle, Lynn Ingram, Jenna Radomile and Topomodesto for the heads-up.

Update: The initial draft was based primarily on Facebook comments, and contained a number of errors, which have been corrected above. Thanks to Monica Vogl for the corrections.

Update 2: I’ve received an unconfirmed report that the fall that took Pam Leven’s life occurred Sunday afternoon near the intersection of Sunset Blvd and Amalfi Drive in Pacific Palisades. 

That places it within the City of Los Angeles, which has now seen 15 bicycling deaths this year.

Update 3: In a comment below, cdp8 points us to the California Triple Crown blog, which offers an online memorial to Pam Leven. In it, he says she was on the Wheelmen’s Newcomer’s Ride when they turned off of Sunset, and she touched wheels with another experienced rider. 

From what I’ve been able to pick up, it sounds like no one was at fault here; it’s just the risk we all assume when we get on a bike and ride at that level. I could have lost my life a dozen times over in the years I’ve been riding if things had just gone a little differently.

It’s also clear that she was loved very deeply, both within and outside the cycling community, and she will be very missed.

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