Injured Encinitas bike advocate wins $11 million settlement, SaMo crashes drop 50%, and boring street racers into quitting

It’s the very definition of tragic irony.

In December of 2018, the executive director of advocacy group Cardiff 101 Main Street was run down by a driver while riding her bike on the sharrows on the North Coast Highway in the Leucadia neighborhood of Encinitas.

Exactly where she had long fought for safety improvements, including a road diet and bike lanes.

Roberta Walker, a longtime bike and pedestrian advocate, and former professional snowboarder, suffered multiple catastrophic injuries that left her survival in doubt for some time after she was placed in a medically induced coma.

This week, she settled a lawsuit with Encinitas for a whopping $11 million to cover past and future medical expenses, as well as what will likely be years, if not a lifetime, of rehab.

Although something tells me she’d gladly give up every penny to avoid those injuries and have her old life back.

Her lawyer argued that the sharrows were a dangerous condition of public property and a direct cause of the crash, in which she was run down from behind by a pickup driver.

Which, sadly, is about as good a description as any for far too many sharrows.

Thankfully, that won’t be a problem much longer.

The long-awaited project began preliminary construction activities last month and features traffic calming measures, buffered bike lanes, raised medians, roundabouts and enhanced crosswalks.

“One profound irony of this accident is that Ms. Walker herself had advocated for a dedicated bike lane in multiple City Council meetings,” (plaintiffs’ attorney Ed) Susolik said.

There’s no word on whether the driver ever faced charges.

Or even got a ticket for nearly killing someone riding legally, exactly where she was supposed to be.

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Santa Monica saw a 50% drop in traffic collisions over the last year as more people stayed home during the pandemic, and a 70% reduction in drunk driving due to the closure of restaurants and bars.

The city also repurposed street parking for al fresco restaurant dining, and built another 18 miles of protected bike lanes — which equals half of all the bike lanes built in Los Angeles in the 2019/2020 fiscal year, despite being just a tiny fraction of LA’s size.

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Apparently, the Burbank Police Department plans to bore street racers into giving it up.

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Today’s common theme is a host of new bikes, e- and otherwise.

Who wouldn’t want an ebike inspired by the legendary Caroll Shelby?

When you need your powerful ebike camouflaged for hunting.

A 24-year old Irishman created a new ebike designed to replace your car, and turned to Vietnam for manufacturing.

Or maybe you’d rather have a cross between a teeny tiny car and a throttle controlled adult e-tricycle.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

After London cop carelessly cut off a bike rider, the officer made a U-turn and came back — to lecture the guy on the bike.

It’s a sad commentary when even carfree British streets aren’t.

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

Tragic news from the UK, where a bike rider is on trial for allegedly jumping a red light and slamming into a 73-year old man walking home from work; the victim died days later as a result of severe brain injuries suffered in the crash; bicyclist turned himself in after initially fleeing the scene. Yet another reminder that pedestrians are the only people on the street who are more vulnerable than we are. So ride carefully around them, dammit. And stick around after a crash. 

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Local

LADOT is planning safety improvements to a 1.2 mile segment of San Vicente Blvd east of Beverly Hills when the street is scheduled to be repaved this June; options include a separated or parking protected bike lane.

Metro is hosting a virtual bike repair and flat fixing class this Saturday.

 

State

A San Diego bike rider was lucky to survive when he swerved suddenly to avoid a garbage truck in a parking lot, and was impaled through the neck and jaw by a hook hanging from the front of a pickup.

UC Santa Barbara talks with geography professor Trisalyn Nelson, who created BikeMaps to allow bike riders to report trouble spots after yet another too-close call on her bike.

Authorities identified the victim of Saturday’s Turlock hit-and-run as a 44-year old Turlock man; police are looking for the driver of a charcoal gray Mercedes sedan with visible damage to the front and/or side.

Streetsblog is looking for freelance help in San Francisco.

A Gold Country bike columnist says unless you make a living on it, your bike is a toy, so have fun on it. Evidently, he’s never heard of bike commuting or transportation riding. Which doesn’t mean he’s not right about the fun part.

 

National

The Verge looks at the growing DIY ebike movement, citing the birth of Rad Power Bikes as a prime example.

Tragic news from Phoenix, where a 22-year old man was collateral damage when a shootout erupted between a group of people standing in a field as he was riding by on his bike.

It may be illegal to park in a Houston bike lane now, but that doesn’t mean it actually stops anyone.

Chicago’s Goose Island beer is marking the release of their new 312 Lemonade Shandy by giving away new bicycles to anyone who can find one of 50 giant lemons hidden throughout the city on — you guessed it — March 12th, aka 3-12. And they make damn good beer, too.

The bike shortage induced by the bike boom induced by the pandemic has made its way to Bowling Green KY, home to the fighting WKU Hilltoppers.

Armed robbers are targeting New York delivery riders to steal the expensive ebikes they need to do their jobs.

 

International

The family of British motorcyclist Harry Dunn say they’re offended by an offer from American spy Anne Sacoolas to do community service for the wrong way hit-and-run that took his life, after she claimed diplomatic immunity to flee the country. Although you have to wonder about American intelligence services if they can’t figure out that Brits drive on the other side of the road.

A bike chain in the UK is facing well-deserved criticism for laying off 300 workers and shifting the rest to zero guaranteed hour contracts in an effort to slash costs, despite booming business from the bike boom.

 

Competitive Cycling

Vincenzo Nibali, who should know, says turn off those bike computers and power meters during a race and ride on instinct, like Strade Bianche winner Mathieu van der Poel.

Rouleur previews the upcoming Giro, the first of the three Grand Tours.

 

Finally…

Business up front, party in the back — a DIY mountain bike with a mullet. That feeling when the cops have you dead to rights for stealing a bike from a disabled person, and you somehow think you can do better in front of a jury.

And when you want to learn how to make a bicycle, among other things.

In Japanese.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a damn mask, already. 

2 comments

  1. I have made this statement too many times, but sharrows are the abstinence-only sex ed of bicycle infrastructure. Money spent for the appearance of doing something, but does the opposite of intensions.

  2. Richard Fox says:

    The improvements can’t come soon enough. I rode that stretch once and thought it was too dangerous so I’ve been riding the parallel low traffic residential Neptune up the hill ever since. Unfortunately it’s one-way northbound so riding southbound you have to ride against traffic in the pedestrian walkway. The city should have realized how dangerous Coast Highway was through there and made the walkway a two-way pathway at least. The other alt road, Vulcan, is 2 way but higher speed/traffic and no bike lane or even sharrows. This stretch has been the missing link in at least my experience of rides down the north San Diego County coast.

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