Morning Links: Wicksted to stand trial for murdering bike rider, throwing in Mariposa towel, and new CicLAvia Hollywood map

Let me start with a brief personal message today. 

Like many people, I’ve struggled to comprehend the incomprehensible in recent days, and make sense of a world that doesn’t any more. So let me say how fucking proud I am to live in a city made up of countless races, religions and communities.

Simply put, Los Angeles is richer for all of us.

I love being part of our rainbow-hued, multi-ethnic, multi-faith and multi-oriented bicycling community.

And I’m proud to be a small part of such a vital segment of our city — one that keeps riding, regardless of how much we’re marginalized, and despite those who would force us off the roads and elected leaders who turn their backs on us.

We’ve got a long way to go just to break even and claim even a small part of the streets for our own. 

But we’ll get there. 

And riding bikes helps it all make just a little more sense. 

Photo by Tim Mossholder from Pexels

……….

We may finally see justice for the murder of Claremont bike rider Leslie Pray.

According to the Claremont Courier62-year old Sandra Marie Wicksted will be arraigned today after being found competent to stand trial for drunkenly swerving her car across the street — intentionally — to crash into Pray, for no apparent reason.

Allegedly.

She also faces three counts of attempted murder for swerving at other people on bicycles before slamming into Pray, as well as one count of attempted grand theft.

Wicksted is currently being held on $6.1 million bond — over three times the original bail amount.

And she faces a very long time behind bars if she’s convicted.

………

A lawyer’s website says an 85-year old man died two weeks after he was struck by a driver in Seal Beach on July 8th, in an apparent hit-and-run.

However, I’ve been unable to confirm either the crash or his death at this point; if anyone has any information, let me know.

………

Burbank bike rider Doug Weiskopf says he’s given up on his long-running fight to gain access to the Mariposa Bridge over the LA River.

Burbank’s neighborhood bullies on horseback have managed to fence off our public section of the Los Angeles River and make it their own taxpayer-funded riding preserve.

It would be very easy to walk around the massive iron gate that’s recently been installed just off the Victory Boulevard overpass, but after seven years of battling there and in court against forces far more powerful than I am, with very little support from other cyclists and bike advocacy groups, I’ve sadly given up on it.

On the other hand, there are three new bike and pedestrian bridges currently planned or under construction in the Griffith Park area.

So hopefully, it won’t be a problem for long.

………

CicLAvia has unveiled the official map for next Sunday’s Meet the Hollywoods open streets event through East Hollywood, Hollywood and West Hollywood.

It will go right past my favorite Hollywood building, the legendary and recently restored Mayer Building at Hollywood and Western.

Can’t wait to see what the Militant Angeleno will have to say about that one. And what else he’ll come up with along the route.

And yes, that’s a hint if the Militant is reading.

………

Great piece from the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay about LA’s past and present national cycling champ Justin Williams, and his elite Legion of Los Angeles cycling team.

Assuming you can get past the paywall, that is.

Gay also answers the question I’ve long had about why the teenage cycling phenom from South LA never made the pro tour.

And thankfully, it’s not because the door was closed to a black cyclist earlier this century, like LA’s other former national crit champ has claimed.

It’s a stirring rebirth for a cyclist who was tapped early in his career to be an elite American talent. Williams won a lot when he was young—he took the under-23 national criterium championship when he was 19, and was part of a track pursuit title in 2009 with teammates including Taylor Phinney. His ascension would stall, however, as he grew disillusioned—as an African-American who grew up in the inner city, Williams said he felt a “disconnect” from the Europe-African-American who grew up in the inner city, Williams said he felt a “disconnect” from the Europe- based sport and its stubborn structures—and a promising sprinter wound up coming back and deciding to stay home.

“I would say the U.S. National team didn’t have the right system to develop a rider like me,” Williams says. “I think that was an opportunity missed.”

It’s definitely worth the time to read.

PS — They tell me deleting your cookies might get you in. Even if it didn’t work for me.

………

One local event we missed yesterday, before we move onto the big wide world of bike news, as Lyft and Santa Monica Spoke team up for a free scooter skills class.

………

Maybe not so fast.

Heartbroken family members demand greater police enforcement of people on bicycles after the NYPD reported that a bike rider fled the scene after crashing into a pedestrian, who died a few days later.

And no bias from the anti-bike NY Post, which featured an op-ed claiming it’s now the pedestrian Davids against the Goliath of the New York bike lobby. Never mind that pedestrians outnumber bike riders by magnitudes in the city.

Only problem is, maybe it never happened.

Yes, the victim was found unconscious in a bike lane.

But according to the city’s medical examiner, no determination has been made as to whether he was struck by a bike, hit-and-run or otherwise, or just fell and hit his head.

Then again, knowing how New Yorkers love to park in bike lanes, there’s nothing to say there might not have been a car involved in some way.

Unfortunately, though, there’s no way to stuff the genie back in the hyperventilating Gotham media bottle.

………

J. Patrick Lynch forwards footage of an awesome handcycle from behind the Red Curtain in 1970s Poland.

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Tell your boss you have my permission to waste a minute and a half with a little rocking downhill action.

Unless you are the boss, of course.

As if watching something like that could ever be a waste of time.

………

Sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

A pair of Long Island towns propose banning teenage swerving incidents, with a $100 fine and confiscating bikes or scooters for cutting in front of drivers or performing stunts in traffic.

A group of teenaged British “bike thugs” break the unwritten rule that swerving belongs outside by riding though a supermarket and wrestling with an elderly woman. Seriously, just don’t.

………

Local

KFI has more on the opening of Metro Bike in North Hollywood. LA officials, including Councilmember and Metro board member Paul Krekorian, celebrated the official Grand Opening of the docked bikeshare system on Thursday; it was Krekorian who cancelled the planned road diet and protected bike lanes on Lankershim Blvd that would have made it safer to ride in the NoHo Arts District.

Billy Bob Thornton’s Bad Santa costar Tony Cox hit a kid on a bicycle at some apparently secret location in Los Angeles yesterday as the boy was riding in a crosswalk; the victim wasn’t seriously hurt, so police concluded the crash was just an oopsie.

There will be a bike corral at this year’s Teen Choice awards in Hermosa Beach on Sunday; locals will be allowed into a special standing section to watch artists like Taylor Swift and the Jonas Brothers perform. So when will they provide safe and convenient bike parking at the Oscars, Grammys and Emmy Awards? The latter has already seen a top producer ride to the show.

 

State

A longtime Menlo Park resident says it’s time to build bike lanes and improve bicycling in the downtown area.

 

National

City Lab says lower speed limits do more than improve safety, they also help bring cities back to life.

Maybe trees aren’t so good for cities, and the walking and bike-riding people in them, after all. Personally, I’ll still take a tree-lined street anytime, thank you.

Turns out that bike thief busted in Idaho on Monday is accused of stealing over 40 high-end bikes in seven states, including California.

A Wichita KS man reminds bike riders to wear a helmet, insisting his helped prevent a concussion and stitches when he collided with another rider on a bike path. Although standard bike helmets don’t actually protect against concussions; you need a MIPS or WaveCel helmet for that.

Iowa bike advocates call on drivers and bicyclists to focus on safety after a truck driver slammed into a mother and her 13-year old son; naturally, the driver played the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, claiming he couldn’t see them because the sun was in his eyes.

This is who we share the roads with. An Iowa man is under arrest after allowing a 12-year old to drive his car, who proceeded to crash it into a four-year old kid riding his bike. Seriously, what the hell did he think would happen?

A kindhearted Wisconsin cop gives a little boy a new bike after his was destroyed in a garage fire.

They get it. A Michigan town is installing a road diet and bike lanes in the commercial district to bring in more pedestrians and bike riders, and spur business development.

Police in Massachusetts had to break up a fight between several people after a driver crashed into a bike rider, who had the right-of-way, although the story doesn’t say if the victim or his friends were involved.

A Massachusetts town is struggling to define what a bicycle is, after an e-assist party bike applies to use the city’s bike trails. Apparently, that reflects a gap in state law, although neighboring New Hampshire seems to have it down.

What the hell is going on in Atlanta? After the city saw a fourth e-scooter rider killed, the city’s mayor instituted a nighttime ban on dockless scooters and ebikes. As far as I’m aware, that appears to be far beyond the death toll for any other city, and in far less time.

The Palm Beach Post offers a photo essay of the city’s legendary Jack “the Bike Man,” as the nonprofit bearing his name creates a special “Never Again” bike honoring Majorie Stoneman Douglas High School, site of the Parkland massacre.

 

International

British bicyclist Mark Beaumont talks on the Guinness World Records site about what it takes to bike around the world in record time.

Bike Radar reviews the best inexpensive bike locks, while a writer for the site says e-mountain bikes are brilliant and you should buy one.

Sad news from Peru, where a 31-year old Japanese teacher riding his bike around the world was killed when he was struck by a truck driver.

The LA Times discovers car-lite and bicycle-obsessed Copenhagen. So now you can expect NIMBYs and other anti-bike lane forces to say “This isn’t Copenhagen.” Which will be a refreshing refrain from the usual “This isn’t Amsterdam.”

Two Cambodian sisters are shattering traditions and gender stereotypes to achieve their goal of becoming the region’s fastest women on two wheels.

 

Competitive Cycling

A number of pros from WorldTour cycling teams will park their road bikes this weekend, and mount mountain bikes for Colorado’s Leadville Trail 100 MTB race on Saturday.

The Irish Times says the death of 22-year old Belgian cyclist Bjorg Lambrecht is yet another reminder of the dangers of open road racing, saying he’s the eighth cyclist to die in competition in just the last three years.

Lambrecht’s team physician says it would have taken a miracle to save him, given the nature of his injuries, even if it had happened inside a hospital.

Tragic news from Tennessee, where former BMX age group national champ Riley Eugene Jenkins was killed in a motorcycle crash; he was just 20 years old.

One of just three wooden outdoor velodromes in the US is throwing in the towel after nearly 30 years of Minnesota winters have taken its toll.

 

Finally…

We may have to deal with LA drivers, but we hardly ever have to fend off a grizzly with a pocket knife. Keep dreaming of the day bikes will outnumber cars, comrade.

And here’s your chance to be a naked bike-riding Hulu extra.

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