CicLAvia returns with 3 dates this year, a first-hand view of traffic violence, and bike rider shoots driver in self-defense

We all have something to look forward to this year, with the return of America’s largest and most successful open streets festival.

In the best news we’ve had in a pandemic plagued year and a half, CicLAvia will return next month in Wilmington on August 10th.

That’s followed by the traditional Heart of LA route in Downtown Los Angeles on October 10th — the same date as the first CicLAvia, also in DTLA, eleven years earlier.

And last but far from least, a long-awaited return to South Los Angeles on October 5th.

Here’s what our bike-riding friend at KCBS2/KCAL9 have to say on the subject.

Photo of an earlier CicLAvia in DTLA by yours truly.

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Every day as I search through the news, I find heartbreaking stories about fatal and near fatal crashes from across the US.

For every one I link to, there may be a dozen or more I don’t.

Just more collateral damage in our incessant obsession with getting from here to there as quickly and inefficiently as possible

Like this story from the very tip of the Pacific Northwest, a stone’s throw from Canada, about a 76-year-old man struck by a trailer pulled by a pickup driver while riding his bike.

Normally I’d read it, maybe mutter a quick prayer, and move on. Just another every day tragic occurrence.

Except this time, the details dovetailed with an email I received yesterday, in the form of a script, from fellow bike rider and corgi aficionado Mike Burk, who moved from SoCal to the cooler and cloudier clime a few years ago.

Fade in:

Late morning, driver’s POV.

Coming home from town this morning when we’re diverted off the highway to a side road because of a road block. At the intersection, noticed a truck towing a poorly loaded trailer carrying an old backhoe. The truck was stopped, the driver getting a ticket by a couple of sheriff’s deputies.

Finally back on the highway and two or three miles down the road. Flashing lights ahead. As we inched along I noticed a bicycle on its side and no rider around. Whatever happened is over (it had been only 90 minutes since we came that way into town).

Seeing the bike and the emergency vehicles, I got a picture.

Photo by Mike Burk

Dissolve to:

Early afternoon, POV over shoulder, sitting at computer.

Me, during a Zoom meeting with our homeowner’s association Publications Committee. Going over articles for our next month’s Kala Pointer Newsletter. One of the committee members asked, “Did you hear about Stan Cummings this morning? He was riding his bike…”

You can guess the rest. Yes, that was Stan’s bike. He was medivacced (sp) to Harborview Hospital in Seattle (40 miles… if you’re a crow). He’s in their TBI unit, not expected to recover well, if at all.

It didn’t take too long for someone following to dial 911 — and then for the sheriffs, local police, and state police to locate and stop the truck.

Stan is active in the community and on his bike. We’ll see what happens.

Fade to black.

Burk adds this final thought.

I forget that this can happen anywhere. We’re in a REALLY small town. Even after all the miles I’ve put on my bike, the thought of getting out on that highway (WA19 and WA20) up here just terrifies me. I keep to the back roads.

Sadly, that’s exactly the case.

The news stories I see come from everywhere English is spoken, and many places it’s not.

From big cities and tiny towns in every state throughout the US, as well as Canada, Mexico and Central America, the Caribbean, the UK, Europe, India, Africa, New Zealand and Australia. And virtually everywhere else, on every kind of roadway.

Yet somehow, the onus for safety inevitably rests on our narrow, unprotected shoulders, rather than the people in the big, dangerous machines who pose the danger to people on bikes, and everyone else.

It’s like living in a village where monsters roam the streets, dragging people off at random. And instead of doing something about them, we merely tell the villagers to be careful and lock their doors at night.

Like this rabidly auto-centric anti-Vision Zero diatribe, in other words.

Which is kind of like telling gunshot victims to dodge the bullets, rather than suggesting that maybe gun owners shouldn’t shoot them.

Frankly, I don’t have the answers anymore.

I just know I’m so damn tired of reading every day about still more innocent people dragged off by the monsters.

And worrying that one day they’ll grab me, too.

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Bike Talk talks protected bike lanes, from every angle.

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Speaking of which, the protected bike lane on Oakland’s Telegraph Ave has been so successful, the city wants to tear it out.

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Apparently, Minnesota’s annual Freedom From Pants Ride went off without a…well, you get the idea.

Thanks to Tim Rutt for the heads-up.

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Megan Lynch forwards this piece about a man seven years into a diagnosis of dementia, yet still riding his bike across Nova Scotia to fight the disease.

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Evidently, the Dutch city of Groningen was been a bicycle city for awhile.

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British bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid explores England’s old Great North Road from London to Newcastle, traveling in style in a classic Morgan sports car, accompanied by a Brompton foldie in the passenger seat.

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

In a truly bizarre case, a man on a bike shot a road raging Houston driver in self-defense when the male driver told a bike-riding couple they couldn’t ride in that neighborhood, then deliberately knocked the woman off her bike; her pistol-packing partner was let go, while the driver was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon.

No bias here. After a driver intentionally knocks a British man off his bike, she claims to be an ex-cop, and the current cops don’t hesitate to blame the victim. And a driving instructor uses the incident for a training video.

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

A man on a bicycle remains at large after shooting an Arleta man following an argument Sunday night.

Seriously? There’s not a pit in hell deep enough for a 23-year old English man who was caught masturbating on his bicycle, riding one-handed as he pursued women and young girls. Yet the bike-riding perv somehow avoided jail despite doing it not once, not twice or even thrice, but four times, apparently because the judge thought he’s a “promising student.”

A Singapore bicyclist was criticized for leaving a painted bike lane to draft behind a trio of dump trucks. Although that would be perfectly legal in the US, though not necessarily smart, where most, if not all, states allow bike riders to take the lane if they’re riding the speed of traffic.

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Local

The Gateway Cities Council of Governments will discuss the ill-advised plan to widen the 710 Freeway, displacing homeowners and fouling the air to create more induced demand. A much better option would be to spend the same amount on transit, bikeways and pedestrian improvements so people don’t have to drive the damn thing.

Brooklyn Beckham is one of us, as soccer great David Beckham’s grownup son goes for a Beverly Hills bike ride with a friend.

 

State

Just days after a woman was killed riding her bike on North Torrey Pines Road in La Jolla near UC San Diego, another bike rider was injured when a suspected drunk driver drifted into the bike lane he was riding in, less than half a mile from where the first woman was run down.

The San Diego Union-Tribune considers how North Park’s new 30th Street protected bike lane will affect the community.

A Santa Barbara librarian says her new ebike was the best thing to come out of 2020.

San Jose police busted an alleged fence who specialized in high-end bicycles and construction equipment, while paying thieves a fraction of their actual value; he was caught with an estimated $100,000 of hot merch at the time of his arrest. If you’re missing an expensive bike anywhere in the Bay Area, give ’em a call, just in case.

Tragic news from South Sacramento, where a 76-year old man riding a bike was killed by a hit-and-run driver who briefly stopped following the collision, then ran over the victim to make her getaway.

For anyone up in the Sacramento area, the Davis Bicycling, Street Safety and Transportation Commission will meet on Thursday to discuss a number of proposals, including a newly funded plan to widen the I-80 corridor (bad), while possibly adding bicycling improvements (good). Thanks again to Megan Lynch.

 

National

Seriously? Women’s Health asks if outdoor bike riding is good for weight loss. Hint: A resounding yes!

Once again, a bike rider is a hero, after a California man raised $13,000 to provide running water to families in the impoverished Navajo Nation by riding his bike from California to New Mexico.

A Santa Fe, New Mexico school is tapping into federal funds to get more kids to bike and walk to school. Which is something every school should be working on.

Boulder CO police say there’s a nationwide bike shortage, so use a damn U-lock, already. Although they may not have said it quite that way.

More proof that collisions with pedestrians are just as dangerous for the person on the bike, as a 28-year old New York woman was left clinging to life after she crashed into a pedestrian walking in a Prospect Park crosswalk while she was riding in the bike lane. Seriously, ride carefully around pedestrians, who are just as unpredictable as people on bikes. And in cars.

An Atlanta bike rider flagged down paramedics after an 18-year old backup quarterback at Kennesaw State University was fatally shot near Pensacola, Florida; his 19-year old passenger suffered multiple gunshot wounds when their attackers fired over 50 rounds at their car.

 

International

TechRadar rates the “super smart” Cowboy 4 as their top ebike, saying it feels like the future of bicycling.

Mashable offers tips on what to think about before entering the ebike world. But they get the first tip wrong, suggesting that ebiking is just a seasonal thing for everyone but the most extreme bicyclists.

Offroad.cc shares their thoughts on what to look for in a used mountain bike.

Um, okay. Pink Bike looks at all the things that didn’t happen in the world of bicycling last month.

Life is cheap in British Columbia, where a hit-and-run driver walked without a single day in jail for killing an 18-year old man riding a bike. But at least he called 911 before driving off.

A young Black man plans to file a complaint against the Montreal cops who roughed him up and handcuffed him for the crime of not having a reflector on his front wheel. Or maybe because he stopped to watch them question another man.

Life is cheap in the UK, too, where a truck driver walked without spending a day behind bars for killing a 73-year old ebike rider, because the judge thought he showed “genuine and enduring” remorse. Which, oddly, won’t do a damn thing to bring his victim back.

A Singapore bike rider unfairly gets the blame for riding in the traffic lane when a driver slams into him from behind, throwing him onto the windshield before landing in the roadway; the victim sat up following the crash, so hopefully he’s okay. Warning: The dashcam video of the crash is absolutely horrifying, so be sure you really want to see it before you click on it.

 

Competitive Cycling

By now, you should have had plenty of time to catch up on the Tour de France. So it shouldn’t come as a spoiler to reveal that last year’s winner Tadej Pogacar not only reclaimed the yellow jersey, but tightened his grip on it before Monday’s rest day.

Breakaway specialist Thomas De Gendt argues the level of competition is much higher at this year’s Tour de France, thanks to a rash of young riders making their presence known.

Cavendish says he may be struggling, but don’t write off four-time Tour champ Chris Froome yet.

Mathieu van der Poel pulled out of the Tour after losing the yellow jersey to focus on winning mountain bike gold at the Tokyo Olympics. Judging by the video below, he might just have a shot.

A sports physicist considers how many calories you’d have to consume to ride like a pro in the Tour de France.

Nicholas Dlamini, the first Black South African to compete in the Tour, received a round of “rapturous” applause when he crossed the finish line on Sunday’s ninth stage of the Tour, despite failing to make the cut following a crash.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you get so drunk you can’t remember stealing a $1,000 bike. That feeling when you’re glad the bear only ate your bike seat.

And John and Yoko were both one of us.

Thanks to author Richard Risemburg for the heads-up.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

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