Morning Links: Triathlete killed in crash during race, bicyclist talks abductor into freeing her, and Riverside cyclist t-boned

Just a quick warning.

We’ve got some rough stories to start with today. So you might want to skip the first few items if you don’t want to deal with that this morning.

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A triathlete was killed when she was run down by a semi while competing in the bicycle portion of the Ohio 70.3 Ironman triathlon.

Police say the right lane of a highway was coned off to provide a safety zone for competitors, but for some reason she was outside the safety zone.

Which apparently made her fair game.

Never mind that organizers somehow thought a few orange cones would offer sufficient protection from high-speed traffic and heavy trucks.

Or that no one participating in a race would go outside the cones to, say, pass other participants.

Meanwhile, Stephen Collins points out the sheer idiocy of noting that the victim was wearing a helmet, as if that would somehow protect her from getting run over by a massive truck.

Or that the driver was wearing his seatbelt.

Seriously.

Photo by Mike Bird from Pexels.

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In another outrageous story, an Australian triathlete was knocked off her bike by the driver of a delivery van, bound with electrical tape, then kidnapped and driven to a rundown house on the outskirts of town where she was stripped and beaten.

Yet somehow, 27-year old triathlete and former cycling champ Nathalie Birli managed to talk her abductor into releasing her — by complimenting his orchids.

Police later used the GPS on her racing bike to track down the suspect and arrest him.

Let’s hope they toss him in a very deep hole until he gets the help he obviously needs.

Meanwhile, Megan Lynch reminds us that this case is eerily reminiscent of the killing of American biologist Dr. Suzanne Eaton on Crete, who was struck twice with a motor vehicle before the driver abducted and raped her, then abandoned her in a World War II bunker to die.

The difference is that Birli was able to talk her way out of it.

Raising the question of just what the fuck is wrong with these people?

As well as just how easy it is to turn a motor vehicle into a weapon.

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Robs Muir forwards a Facebook post reminding us all to be careful out there, after a Riverside bicyclist was t-boned by a stop sign-running driver.

But aren’t the people on two wheels supposed to be the dangerous ones who run stop signs and jeopardize all those poor, innocent motorists?

Maybe not so much.

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Evidently, Denver has some pretty spectacular NIMBYs, too.

Even after a woman was killed by a garbage truck driver while riding her bike, residents of the street she was killed on still oppose a bike lane.

So a local newscaster called them out, suggesting that maybe they shouldn’t argue for the aesthetic appeal parking while bodies are lifted off the street.

………

He makes a good point.

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Unbelievable.

A Milwaukee bicyclist was the victim of a strong-arm robbery while he was competing in a 24-hour race, after a man confronted him, then wrestled his bike away and rode off with it.

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Local

Los Angeles looks to close the eight-mile gap in the LA River bike path through DTLA and Vernon, creating a single 32-mile pathway in time for the 2028 Olympics.

The Long Beach Post goes riding with the Pedal Movement bike tour to visit the Pow! Wow! murals of the city.

 

State

Police in San Diego will conduct a bicycle and pedestrian safety operation today. So the usual protocol applies. Ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits, so you’re not the one who gets a ticket.

San Diego bike riders remember a fallen bicyclist a year after he was killed while inexplicably riding on a busy freeway.

A San Diego op-ed says everything is fine, just keep on driving and don’t let those bad, bad bureaucrats force you onto a bike or transit.

One last item from the self-proclaimed America’s Finest City, as Good Samaritans chased down a hit-and-run driver who ran a red light and knocked down a bike rider; the victim refused to go to the hospital, despite suffering a head injury.

A San Francisco op-ed by the head of Policy Initiatives for dockless e-scooter provider Spin says it’s time to rebuild cities for people, not cars.

Horrible tragedy in Turlock, where a bike rider was killed on the way to the hospital when the ambulance he was riding in after getting hit by a car rolled over when it was hit by a truck driver; five other people were injured. Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

A Davis columnist says the city was dissed in PeopleForBikes ranking of California’s top ten bicycling cities, which was topped by San Diego and didn’t include Davis at all.

After seven year’s, Truckee’s bike park is still going strong.

 

National

A writer for Bicycling asks drivers if their time is really more important than his life. That loud roar you hear is impatient drivers across the US screaming “yes!”

An expert on autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence suggests the solution to getting more kids to ride bicycles is to get fully autonomous vehicles on the road — which will presumably be safer and not bang into them as much. I won’t hold my breath. Especially since current AVs have a problem recognizing and avoiding people on bicycles.

A pair of Oregon women spent their Saturday night shoplifting from TJ Maxx, then running down a bike rider as they made their getaway, leaving the victim with serious injuries.

An Iowa priest overcame a stroke to take part in this year’s RAGBRAI ride across Iowa, with the help of friends and a ‘bent built for two.

Former Texas congressman and current presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke’s dad was one of us, hopefully passing along his passion for bicycling across the country, as well as his ability to lose well.

Once again, the Green Bay Packers rode borrowed bicycles to training camp, as area kids competed to to get their heroes attention and loan them their bikes.

A Chicago alderman wants to ban bikes on the city’s popular Riverwalk. Or maybe just the entire city.

The spirit of Major Taylor is energizing a Minnesota bike club, as they try to get more African Americans on bicycles.

She gets it. A St. Louis letter writer politely excoriates the local paper for calling a bike-car crash an accident.

Pennsylvania kids as young as 13 say the Bike Life movement helps keep them off drugs and out of trouble, even if they annoy the crap out of drivers when they swarm the streets.

Streetsblog says the Green Wave plan presented by New York’s mayor is “long-overdue — and not truly visionary,” but should make a clear difference, while the Daily News says now its up to the mayor to actually deliver on his promises.

No bias here. The traditionally anti-bike New York Post says in response to the previous news that “bike supremacy” is ruining the city, with “more turf torn from cars and pedestrians.” Never mind that bike lanes don’t take an inch from sidewalks. Or that bike delivery people who use those bike lanes are just doing their jobs, just like the delivery drivers the Post champions. Thanks to Tim Rutt for the link.

Aussie model Jordan Barrett is one of us, illegally riding on a New York sidewalk on a bikeshare bike with his newly bleached hair.

A North Carolina bridge dedicated to a fallen bike rider finally gets a plaque in his honor, 28 years after he died.

An Atlanta columnist kind of makes fun of Atlanta’s people protected bike lane last week but manages to get through the entire piece without saying much of anything. Although the protesters called it an LIT lane, for Light Individual Transport, to include scooters and other forms of micromobility.

 

International

An Ottawa newspaper succumbs to a severe case of both side-ism, telling everyone to act like adults and not attack one another when it comes to bicycle safety. Except the attacks were coming from a city councilor in response to bike riders saying they don’t want to get killed.

Speaking at a 288-mile fundraising ride in her honor, the family of assassinated British Member of Parliament Jo Cox says the country’s politics has gotten more toxic since she was killed by a far-right gunman.

Victoria’s Secret model Alexina Graham is sort of one of us, posing for a UK photoshoot astride a bicycle in the very practical riding attire of work boots and a tiny red bikini.

No, it’s not the English bikeshare system that failed when only 25 of the 5,000 promised bikes were ever delivered in the first place, it’s the people running it.

A doctor from the UK raised the equivalent of over $130,000 for a breast cancer charity by competing on a two-man team in the Race Across America.

New British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed a member of Parliament who champions the benefits of bicycling and walking as the country’s new roads minister.

An Edinburgh couple agreed to bike around the world in their initial Tinder message; 18 months and 19,000 miles — and one Yosemite marriage — later, they’ve made it back home.

Evidently, banning cars is more popular than they thought. Madrid’s new mayor is backing off a campaign pledge to reverse the ban on cars in the city center after a citizen backlash rises to defend it.

Four New Zealand bicyclists ended up in the hospital following a car-free crash at “reasonably high speed” while on a club ride.

 

Competitive Cycling

Twenty-two-year old Columbian Egan Bernal won this year’s Tour de France after gaining the lead in a controversial finish to stage 19, when organizers stopped the race early after hail covered the the course leading up to the finish, depriving France’s Julian Alaphilippe the opportunity to make up for lost time and defend his yellow jersey.

Newsweek tells you everything you need to know about Egan Bernal but were afraid to ask.

Team Ineos — the former Team Sky — marked Bernal’s win by turning Bernal’s bike yellow down to the water bottles, with special yellow-accented kits for his teammates.

Bernal says he doesn’t even know how to describe the feeling of happiness his victory gave him.

Billboard celebrates Bernal’s win with five bicycle-themed songs, most of which are, appropriately, in Spanish.

The Guardian says the only surprise is that it took a Columbian so long to win the Tour de France. Or anyone from South America, for that matter.

It wasn’t just Bernal. Bicycling lists the winners of all four categories that are celebrated with a colored jersey.

The pain of crashing out of the Tour with serious injuries is more than just physical. Especially when you’re carrying the hopes of the home country on your shoulders.

Outside says the motor-doping tests at the Tour de France are a joke, accusing officials of just going through the motions rather than actually looking for motors on competitors bikes.

Canadian Michael Woods became the first person to both run a sub-four minute mile and finish the Tour de France.

Gear Patrol questions when athletic gear so innovative it might be cheating should be banned from the sport, like Graeme Obree’s record-setting homemade track bikes.

 

Finally…

Never leave your bigass truck unlocked with the keys inside, or someone on a bike may ride up, toss his bike in the back and drive off with it. Pedal your bike up to your secluded treehouse; no, literally up.

And seriously, if drivers can’t see a rider on a one-ton horse, how the hell are they supposed to see us?

 

2 comments

  1. Richard Rosenthal says:

    I am a cyclist and I’ve had close calls with cars, as we all have. And yes, this is a bike-centric blog, so I can understand a pro-cyclist bias. However, the sarcastic tone of the article about the triathlete is over the top and uncalled for, even by Biking in LA standards. In a collision between a car and a bicycle, the cyclist isn’t always completely innocent, and the driver not always at fault.

    There is a Facebook page I follow, and someone who was there posted this comment: “We had a protected lane, divided by cones. She went out of our lane and into traffic to pass another rider. There were police and volunteers there at the merge, and abundantly across the course. Yes, sad and tragic and totally avoidable.”

    • bikinginla says:

      Sorry you disapprove. However, I stand by my comment about the sheer idiocy of thinking orange cones, police, or stacks of bibles for contestants to swear on would keep people competing in a race from crossing out of the safety zone and into the path of traffic traveling at highway speeds. And now someone is dead because of it.

      I don’t blame the driver, or the victim. I place 100% of the blame for this crash on the organizers of this race, who failed to get a permit to close down that entire side of the road, or find a safer place to stage it. Because people make mistakes, especially in the heat of competition, and you can’t control human nature.

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