Morning Links: LA club rider suffers life-threatening injuries, distracted driving addicts, and LACBC Bike Month calendar

Once again, we seem to be the bearer of bad news.

Very bad, in this case.

I’m told a Los Angeles-area man is on life support after a solo crash while on a club ride last weekend.

I was forwarded this Facebook post from his ex-wife. However, I’m withholding his name for now out of respect for his family.

As many of you know, my ex-husband was in a horrible bike accident on Saturday morning. He had ridden from the Rose Bowl to Duarte with his bike group, and while the group was riding in a parking lot at the Santa Fe Dam, he hit a parking curb at low speed and went over the bike’s handlebars. He hit the ground face first, so his helmet offered no protection. He fractured his skull, broke his neck and spine, and suffered many other injuries. Yesterday the neurologist said that he couldn’t detect any brain activity, and that there is about a 1% chance of the best case scenario at this point, persistent vegetation. The Don we knew is gone.

My heart aches for our children…Don loves them dearly and is very proud of them, as we all are. I am also sad for his loving family and friends who will miss him dearly. And I am so, so sad for Don, his suffering, and the lost opportunities and experiences he will never have…

I’m heading back to County USC with the kids this morning. Don is on a ventilator in an induced coma, and the hospital is still running diagnostic tests on him. Please send up a prayer or good thoughts for him and his loved ones. Show your family and friends how much you love them, savor the blessings you have and pay them forward. You never know what life will deal you.

 

As she says, prayers or good thoughts are in order, whatever you’re comfortable with.

And tell your loved ones how much you care now, before your next ride.

Because bicycling is usually a safe activity. But as this case reminds us, bad things can happen unexpectedly.

I’ll follow up if I learn more.

………

This is who we share the roads with.

According to the LA Times, insurance companies are tracking distracted driving and smartphone usage by drivers. And the news isn’t good.

Although that shouldn’t surprise anyone who spends much time on the streets.

The report says one out of every 12 drivers is considered to be addicted to their phones, which they define as looking at a smartphone at least a third of the time while driving. A number that’s predicted to rise to 20% of all drivers within the next three years.

Yet remarkably, one-third of the worst distracted driving offenders consider themselves extremely safe drivers.

Right up to the point they run someone else down. And then probably blame the other person.

The story says apps that remind drivers to put their phones down or track how much they use their phones while driving can cut usage by 35% to 40%.

But the only real solution will be requiring smartphone makers and carriers to block everything but navigation apps and 911 calls on the driver’s phone while the car is in motion.

And yes, that includes the text readers and in-dash internet systems car makers inexplicably insist on building into their vehicles to satisfy their phone-addicted customers — and make them more dangerous for everyone else.

………

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s proposal for an LA Green New Deal was criticized for it’s auto-centric focus and waiting until it’s already too late to address climate change.

Not to mention halving the commitment to build 40 miles of bike lanes a year that we were promised in the 2010 bike plan.

And since LADOT shifted to measuring distances in lane miles after the plan was adopted — in effect counting each side of the roadway as separate bike lanes — that actually works out to just 10 miles of new bike lanes per deal.

Not exactly a solid commitment to a greener, bike-friendlier future.

………

It’s May.

Which means Bike Month in Los Angeles, and most of the US.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition has kindly provided a calendar of Bike Month events in the City of Angels.

Metro has a more complete Bike Month calendar here.

Sadly, the annual Bike Month wrap-up at Union Station isn’t on it, which mens it’s probably not happening this year.

………

Congressional leaders met with Donald Trump yesterday morning, and left with an agreement for a two trillion dollar infrastructure bill.

Sort of.

After the meeting, the White House waffled on the price tag, and both sides agreed to meet in three weeks to discuss how to pay for it.

And only then will discussions begin on what, exactly, the government will buy with that money — if, and only if, they actually agree on funding, which seems pretty unlikely at this point.

The good news is, along with highway and bridge repairs, airports, mass transit and high speed internet, there could be a few dollars left over for bikeways.

We hope.

………

Local

CiclaValley catches three bad drivers in the space of just two minutes.

Los Angeles has agreed to share data with Waze and other similar apps in exchange for excluding some streets from their rat run, cut through driving route recommendations.

LAist considers LA’s first two-way bike lane in context of the bikelash we’ve seen in other areas.

The mayor of Inglewood appeared to be responsible for a collision near USC that left an injured LAPD motorcycle cop as collateral damage.

Pasadena is in the final design process for its first two-way protected bike lane on Union Street. The city will hold a public meeting tomorrow evening to discuss the project.

Santa Monica will conduct a bike and pedestrian safety enforcement operation on Monday. As usual, ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits, so you’re not the one who gets ticketed.

Despite widespread handwringing over e-scooter injuries, statistics from Santa Monica’s pilot program shows just 89 scooter related injuries last year; 49 of those involved a collision with a motor vehicle.

 

State

San Diego’s iCan Bike camp has been helping kids with disabilities learn to ride a bike for a full decade.

About damn time. A street in San Diego’s North Park and South Park neighborhoods will lose up to 420 parking spaces to make room for bike lanes. That was my neighborhood when I lived in San Diego. So once again, somewhere I used to live finally becomes bike friendly long after I’m gone. Which means I may have to leave Los Angeles before it finally becomes the bicycling paradise it’s meant to be.

Finishing our San Diego trifecta, a World Cup mountain biker shows of the trails of his hometown.

A teenaged Vacaville robber was busted by a cop on a borrowed bike, when someone loaned the officer a bicycle to pursue the suspect through a rugged park.

Someone has been tossing nails on an Orangevale street for the past six months. And for a change, they’ve been nailing more than bike tires.

Railroad fans have filed suit against Sacramento to halt plans to remove unused rails to make room for a bike path, in hopes that they could be used for a vaporware excursion train someday.

 

National

Outside recommends the best cycling gear from their recent bike tests. I’ll take the Bontrager lights and Fizik road shoes, thank you.

Treehugger explains how to build a solar powered shed to recharge your ebike.

More proof that sidewalks aren’t the safest place to ride. A 16-year old Washington bike rider was injured when a driver decided to use a parking lot as his own personal cut-through lane to avoid stopping for a red light. But sure, tell me again how bicyclists never stop for traffic signals.

Montana police busted a pair of apparent bike thieves when they stopped a suspicious vehicle, and found a “high-value” bicycle in the back that had been reported stolen a few days earlier.

There may be a dispute over just how effective bike helmets are on the streets. But a North Dakota climate expert says put one on for tornado protection.

Tragic news from Tulsa OK, where a woman fled to Mexico before she could face charges for the death of her five-year old son, who was hit by a car after he fell off an e-scooter she was allegedly riding in a reckless manner; she didn’t even stick around for her own son’s funeral.

A Chicago boy received a new bike built for him by members of a girls soccer team, part of a program for high school students to give 100 bicycles to children of military service members.

A Minneapolis health company’s new office is designed around a bicycling theme, including bike seats and handlebars, to go along with the cycling team they sponsor.

That’s more like it. An Indiana city considers fining drivers $1,000 for dooring a bike rider.

Tragic news from Cincinnati, where a man pled guilty to accidentally shooting his own 13-year old cousin, who was caught in the crossfire of a gang dispute as he rode his bike home after helping clean a community center after school.

Pennsylvania considers allowing parking protected bike lanes on state roads; they’re already legal on city-owned streets.

We so need this in Los Angeles. A beta app allows DC road users to report dangerous drivers and look up their license plates for citations and outstanding tickets.

The Washington Post offers nine things to consider before you decide to go carfree. Including whether you live in sprawling Los Angeles.

Baltimore’s drunken, hit-and-run Episcopal bishop will be released from prison this month after serving just half of her seven-year sentence for killing a bike rider; Heather Cook was defrocked after her conviction, but her victim’s children will spend a lifetime without their father.

As long as you’re going to break into a Florida bike shop and walk out with a $3,500 mountain bike, you might as well take the change from the cash register with you.

 

International

A new self-charging, belt drive, single speed ebike promises you may never have to charge it.

Yes, it may have pedals. But that doesn’t make it a bicycle.

Victoria, British Columbia, has appointed Canada’s first bicycle mayor.

Instead of expanding the Saskatoon bike network, city leaders vote to roll it back by removing a bike lane and slowing down further implementation.

A Toronto website lists the city’s best neighborhoods for people who ride bikes.

A European website says a new bike registration system in Brussels can guarantee you’ll never have your bike stolen again. Actually, it only means your bike could be recovered if it’s stolen and someone finds it.

Clearly, beauty is no protection from dangerous drivers. The runner-up to 2017’s Miss France was killed in a collision while riding her bike with a friend, when she swerved to avoid a driver and was struck by a tractor driver pulling a load of logs.

Exploring Bern, Switzerland’s hidden gems by bike.

An elite Australian cyclist is dead, and a 21-year old woman will face charges for killing him, because she couldn’t resist texting her boyfriend seconds before running him down.

 

Competitive Cycling

Yet another bike racer has been killed in a traffic collision. Thirty-year old Australian amateur Damion Drapac was killed in a head-on collision while riding to a bike race. If the name sounds familiar, his father is the owner of the Drapac-Cannondale development team.

 

Finally…

That feeling when a dog holds more world records for riding a bike than you do. Coworking in a parking space for a pocketful of quarters.

And who needs a tent when you can tow your home behind your bike?

 

One comment

  1. Ralph says:

    Cyclists are reminded to wear helmets but the injury was a brokenarm?????

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