LA traffic deaths up while bike deaths spike, 19-year old San Pedro bike rider missing, and murder charge in AZ attack

No surprise here.

LAist reports that traffic deaths are up in Los Angeles for the first six months of this year, compared to last year’s already too high death total, with someone killed on the mean streets of LA an average of every 30 hours.

And it’s not just the people in the big, dangerous machines paying the price.

According to the site, serious pedestrian injuries are up 45%, while serious bicycling injuries climbed 34%. And bicycling deaths are up a whopping 40%.

It should also come as no surprise that hit-and-run deaths are up 25%.

In other words, we’re not exactly on track to meet Indian Ambassador Eric Garcetti’s — oops, I mean Mayor Garcetti’s — goal of eliminating traffic deaths in the City of Angels in the next three years.

Never mind all those safer streets we were promised as part of the mayor’s Green New Deal, which will now be up to whoever takes his place — thanks to Garcetti’s remarkably consistent failure to follow through on those promises.

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Authorities are searching for a 19-year old man who was last seen riding his bicycle in San Pedro Monday morning.

Jankell Hernan Aguilar is described as 5’6″ tall and 150 pounds, with “wavy black hair, a thin black beard along his jawline and brown eyes.”

Anyone with information is urged to call the LASD Missing Persons Unit at 323/890-5500.

………

As expected, prosecutors in Arizona have amended the charges against pickup driver Shawn Michael Chock to add a felony murder count.

Chock is the driver who allegedly aimed his truck at a group of bicyclists participating in a senior’s race in Show Low on June 19th, intentionally slamming his truck into ten people; 58-year old Jeremy Barrett died nearly a month later.

Chock was shot by police after standoff behind a hardware store, but has recovered from his injuries, and remains jailed on half a million dollars bail.

………

Make that $190 now.

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There’s a newly completed 13-mile trail leading from Kenneth Hahn to the coast.

Which doesn’t do a lot of good if you can’t get there safely.

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Sadly, it doesn’t take long for most Vision Zero programs to turn into empty promises when elected leaders lack the political will to follow through.

And Los Angeles is the poster child for those failed efforts.

So yes, it’s great that a federal Vision Zero bill has been introduced in Congress.

Let’s just hope it’s more than empty words this time.

Meanwhile, a second bill was introduced by Senators Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey to improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians.

The Vulnerable Road Users Safety Act implements National Transportation Safety Board recommendations, while directing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Highway Administration to —

  • Develop and update performance standards for visibility enhancement systems (i.e. for blindspot detection), connected vehicle technology, and vehicle headlamp systems
  • Establish standards for vehicle bumpers
  • Establish performance standards for automated pedestrian detection systems like automatic braking sensors
  • Include separated bike lanes and intersection safety treatments in the FHWA’s Every Day Counts initiatives and Proven Safety Countermeasures program
  • Improve and coordinate information collection to share, combine and publish detailed crash data allowing policy makers and governments to make data informed decisions

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

Toronto bike riders are “annoyed” that drivers are pushing planters into bike lanes to create illegal parking spaces, blocking the bike lanes they were intended to protect. Annoyed seems pretty mild under the circumstances; more like pissed off and endangered.

Three British bike riders were collateral damage when a suspected drunk driver made an ill-advised pass, crashing into another driver before his car was pushed into a group of bicyclists; all three victims were hospitalized, with one suffering life-threatening injuries.

You’ve got to be kidding. A driver in the UK gets annoyed at following a bike rider, and responds with a close pass and a brake check, followed by a punishment pass for good measure. And all he gets is a stern talking to from the cops.

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Local

Streets For All is hosting another Zoom happy hour at 5 pm on August 11th, featuring Burbank Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, who has been fighting for safer streets as chair of the Transportation Committee.

NPR picks up the sordid tale of the $200,000 in out-of-network medical debt that buried LA’s Phil Gaimon when a major track cycling crash ended his efforts to make the US Olympic team, even though he had insurance coverage. And even they agree he got hosed.

Outside calls Catalina Island a hidden gem for gravel biking.

 

State

Encinitas residents are accusing the mayor and councilmembers of cronyism in approving an $11 million settlement for a local bike advocate who was severely injured when she was run down from behind riding on sharrows. Something tells me she’d be happy to give all of it back if it meant not having to deal with the pain and lasting injuries.

Squatters took over a historic Baptist church in El Cajon during the pandemic lockdown, using it for a chop shop for stolen bikes.

 

National

Trek finally figures out that helping more people ride means more sales for them, starting a nonprofit foundation to help build bicycling infrastructure and mountain bike trails. And outlines the steps they’re taking to improve sustainability.

Conde Nast Traveler talks with author Jennifer Weiner about how she got hooked on solo bikepacking on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail.

This is what it looks like when a Seattle cop right hooks a man on a bicycle.

Great idea. A Colorado bike shop is offering a 10% discount to anyone who picks up at least ten pieces of trash off a bike trail.

North Dakota bike riders can celebrate this Sunday by legally rolling stop signs, when a new Idaho Stop Law goes into effect allowing riders to treat stops as yields.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 95-year old man is taking part in the nearly 500-mile RAGBRAI, the eighth time he’s taken part in the popular ride across Iowa.

An Iowa town remembers a 2008 EF-5 that devastated the region with a sculpture of a tornado made entirely of bicycles.

Houston bike riders call on the city to get more aggressive in implementing Vision Zero to meet the 2030 deadline.

After suffering the embarrassment of a group of white cops filmed arresting a Black bike rider for not having a bicycle license, Perth Amboy, New Jersey is eliminating their bicycle registration requirement. But it’s still illegal to “practice any trick or fancy riding.” Because we all know how damaging “fancy riding” is to the fragile fabric of society.

Seriously? An Orlando urologist says men should maybe cut back on their time in the saddle if they’re trying to have a baby — and not spend more that two hours on a bike regardless. If I’d thought riding my bike would have provided birth control in my single days, I would ridden a lot more than I did. And I rode a hell of a lot.

 

International

An Ontario woman says you don’t have to be skinny to ride a bike.

Toronto is installing centerline speed bumps extending into intersections to keep drivers from dangerously cutting corners.

A London man will spend the next two years behind bars for jumping a red light and slamming into a 72-year old man crossing in a crosswalk, who later died; the Albanian bike rider turned himself in after initially fleeing because he was in the UK illegally.

About damn time. Great Britain is revising the country’s Highway Code to give pedestrians and people on bicycles priority over motor vehicles on the streets, although it still has to be approved by Parliament. Now do it on this side of the ocean.

UK Prime Minister’s Boris Johnson tells local governments to leave bike lanes in place for at least a year, or face a cut in funding.

An Irish bike advocacy group demands immediate action in response to a 13% jump in traffic deaths so far this year. Let’s hope their government listens better that ours does.

Organizers have called off a planned 124-mile Aussie charity ride, after concluding that the “appalling standard” of Tasmanian drivers, combined with “poor road infrastructure” and drivers’ “hatred towards cyclists” made it too dangerous for people on two wheels.

In a brutal irony, an Australian bike rider was killed in a collision moments after he ignored a police attempt to stop him for riding without lights or a helmet, which is required in the country.

A writer for Cycling Tips truly captures the beauty of bicycling with a moving piece recalling a ride through Australian woods to heal from the pandemic year and the death of his father from cancer — but not until his father got to meet his new grandson for the first time.

 

Competitive Cycling

Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic upgraded his 2017 world time trial silver medal with gold in the same event at the Tokyo Olympics.

A German official was sent packing after using a racial slur in urging Nikias Arndt to catch up to cyclists from Algeria and Eritrea in the men’s time trial; German cycling federation sports director Patrick Moster’s comment was picked up on camera and broadcast across the nation.

Dutch cycling great Annemiek van Vleuten finally got her Olympic gold in the time trial, days after mistakenly celebrating what she thought was a win in the road race.

Forget the Olympics. The race to watch this Saturday is the eight-year old Telluride 100 mountain bike race, sanctioned by UCI for the first time.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you’re falsely labeled a “brutal bike thief” on social media for picking up the bike your neighbor was donating for underprivileged children. Do home runs count for more if they nearly hit a bike rider outside the park?

And maybe they could have worded this headline just a little better.

Unless the bicyclists were charged with murder, too.

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

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