More mass casualty bicycling wrecks, LA considers safe streets proposals, and NJ whitewashes Biking While Black bust

Mass casualty crashes involving bikes just keep piling up on American roads.

For the second time in a month, six bike riders have been injured in a collision on a Texas highway.

This time, the crash occurred in Liberty County northeast Houston when a driver slammed his car into a group of people taking part in an annual ride across the US from San Diego to St. Augustine, Florida.

Two of the victims were airlifted to a hospital, while at least one more was transported ambulance.

No word yet on the condition of the victims or just how the crash occurred.

That follows last month’s crash that injured another six bike riders when a 16-year old driver injured six people riding their bikes while training for a triathlon in nearby Waller County, Texas , after he tried and failed to roll coal with his pickup.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Fall River, Massachusetts reported his own wife was in the ICU after a driver ran a stop sign and plowed into a 60-mile ride hosted by the Narragansett Bay Wheelmen, striking three riders; she suffered 12 broken bones, two broken collarbones and punctured lungs. Unfortunately, there’s no word on the other victims.

Maybe it’s time we classified cars as weapons of mass destruction.

Because clearly, they are.

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Streets For All is raising the alarm about tomorrow’s Los Angeles City Council Meeting, which will take up a trio of proposals to take advantage of new state laws to improve safety on the streets.

The first (Council File 21-1222) supports a Permanent Slow Streets program. It would expand existing slow streets to many more communities, and provide a framework for outreach and money for implementation.

The second (Council File 21-1223) begins the process of lowering speed limits on hundreds of miles of previously raised streets in Los Angeles. This is possible thanks to a recently passed state bill, AB-43, which Streets For All enthusiastically supported.

The third (Council File 21-1224) begins the process of installing cameras on buses (made possible by AB-917, a bill that Streets For All enthusiastically supported). These cameras will automatically send tickets to cars that are illegally parked in bus lanes. Cars illegally using the bus lane are the single biggest source of delays to buses, and this solves the problem without using police enforcement.

You’ll find call-in instructions to attend the virtual meeting, a link to submit your comments in advance, and talking points to help craft your message on the link above.

Meanwhile, the Transportation Committee of the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council will discuss bike lanes on Hyperion and Riverside tomorrow night.

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Call it a New Jersey whitewash.

A county prosecutor concluded that a group of white cops were perfectly justified in seizing the bicycles of a group of Black and Brown bike riders who separated from a larger rideout.

The teens were busted for the crime of failing to have a bicycle license and registration as they rode through the upscale Perth Amboy community, with the arrest captured on a viral video.

Even though it’s highly questionable whether that requirement can be enforced against anyone who doesn’t live there.

And it’s highly questionable whether drivers would have their cars impounded for what would normally be a simple fix-it ticket.

Never mind that Black bike riders bear the brunt of enforcement in the state.

Nothing to see here. Just another case of biking while Black or Brown.

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Yet another example of keeping an elderly driver on the road until it’s too late.

A 90-year old Florida woman could continue to drive until her license was finally suspended last month, a full year after nearly killing a woman and injuring her husband as they were riding their bikes.

She told investigators she fled the scene because she was “so scared” — but apparently not too scared to have her damaged car towed in for repairs to coverup the crime.

She remains free on bond while facing two counts of felony hit-and-run, and can look forward to getting her license back next April.

Meanwhile, her victim continues to deal with the effects of 17 broken ribs, a broken arm and wrist, a collapsed lung and paralyzed vocal cord, and torn finger tendons and ligaments.

Not to mention brain injuries.

But other than that, no reason why she shouldn’t keep driving at 91, right?

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The San Diego Bike Coalition is looking for volunteers for next Sunday’s CicloSDias open streets festival.

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Nothing like celebrating Halloween with a people-protected bike lane. Thanks to Keith Johnson for the link. 

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A reader who prefers to remain anonymous forwarded this video offering a short history of a 1910 firefighter’s bicycle, complete with coiled hose.

Although the story of the three-day old saint was kinda fun, too.

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

Chicago police are looking for the passenger in an Audi who punched out a 69-year old bike rider, after the man picked up fast food bag the passenger had dumped out of the car, and placed it on the hood of the Audi; police credit his helmet with saving his life.

A Brisbane, Australia woman faces attempted murder charges for intentionally ramming a man on a bicycle, then trying to run him over while yelling racial slurs until he jumped over a fence to get away. Meanwhile, the man’s bicycle was apparently stolen by a passerby after he was forced to abandon it.

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

A 24-year old employee of Jamis Bikes was formally charged with first degree murder for beating a co-worker to death with a sledge hammer to steal her credit cards. He then went home to shower and change clothes, before coming back to call 911 to report a woman had been injured; he confessed the crime to police when they questioned him.

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Local

Speaking of Streets For All, the transportation PAC is hosting an afterparty and fundraiser after the CoMotion transportation conference on November 18th; a minimum $50 advance donation is required for entry.

 

State

She gets it. A Costa Mesa op-ed calls on the city to undo the dominance of cars, and make room for the exploding popularity of ebikes. Oops. I originally misread the name, and misgendered the author of this piece. Thanks to Michelle Fay for the correction. 

Accused hit-and-run driver Lucas Beau Morgans pled not guilty to killing 75-year-old retired physicist Allen Hunter II as he rode his bike on South Coast Highway 101 in Solano Beach; the 21-year old driver faces up to 16 years behind bars on felony charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run causing death and two counts of DUl. Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up.

The San Diego Association of Governments, aka SANDAG, approved a future four cent per mile tax on motorists to fund transit projects, a possible replacement for gas taxes as more electric vehicles hit the road.

No surprise here, as San Mateo residents get out the torches and pitchforks over a plan to remove 214 parking spaces to install bike lanes and a bicycle boulevard, apparently preferring the convenience of free parking over the lives and safety of people on bicycles, including school kids.

 

National

Forbes offers five non-earthshaking reasons to buy an ebike, none of which will surprise anyone who’s been paying attention.

This is who we share the road with. The Boston Globe reports that protesters around the US have been injured by drivers ramming demonstrations, as several states are passing laws to make that legal. And yes, some of those victims have been on bikes.

Wired likes the new Apple Watch Series 7, particularly the “excellent” bike-friendly features. The battery life, not so much.

Your new e-BMX could be a Harley, complete with a milk crate front basket.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever pulled a knife on a 13-year old Queens boy to jack his bike.

 

International

Former New York Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan examines the bikelash paradox, in which any changes to the street will inevitably draw complaints from angry drivers and the accompanying media storm, yet mayors who make true transformational change get re-elected over and over, from Barcelona and Paris to New York and DC.

The indigenous Bolivian women known as Cholitas held their own bike race Saturday, weaving through car and truck traffic while riding their bicycles garbed in traditional attire, at an oxygen sucking 13,615 feet above sea level.

Former Vancouver, British Columbia chief planner Brent Toderian explains how the “trick-or-treat test” determines neighborhood walkability and design.

A contentious popup bike lane through a Vancouver park will stay after commissioners voted to keep it in place, despite complaints from drivers and local businesses. After all, parks should be for people, not cars.

Work still hasn’t been finished on upgrades to a London junction where eight bike riders have been killed in the past 13 years — including the latest just this past August — even though it was supposed to be done two years ago.

The husband of a British woman killed by a man on a bicycle five years ago says the country’s ministers are afraid of the bicycling lobby, blocking his fight for tougher penalties against bike riders who kill or maim others. Funny how so many people seem to think we’re a lot better organized and more influential than we are. 

People in the UK are complaining that a popular English forest is being ruined by mountain bikers and dog poop.

Rouleur considers the inescapable link between bicycles and coffee, while recommending the best coffees for people who bike. As long as you’re in the UK, or UK adjacent, that is; no guarantee you can find them on this side of the pond.

Romanian police have recovered nearly $700,000 worth of bikes stolen from the Italian cycling team last month, after unexpectedly discovering the 21 bicycles during a drug raid, including Filippo Ganna’s gold Pinarello.

Zimbabwe shoots the goose that laid the golden egg by imposing an annual tax on bike riders that disproportionately hits the country’s poorest workers, who turned to their bikes following a pandemic ban on public transit.

The bike boom continues in Japan, as bicycle prices rise as much as 11% due to continued demand.

He gets it. A Manilla, Philippines columnist says the city needs to get the weekend roadies to bike commute during the week in order to avoid a post-pandemic return to the city’s crippling traffic jams. Imagine what it could do for LA traffic if every spandexed weekend rider tried bike commuting to work just one day during the week.

 

Competitive Cycling

L39ion of Los Angeles founder Justin Williams proves to be an ungracious host by winning the inaugural Into the Lion’s Den race sponsored by his own team; Rally Cycling’s Olivia Ray won the women’s race.

Rouleur considers whether there remains a path to redemption for former German great and confessed doper Jan Ullrich, who has spent recent years mired in scandal, drowned in alcohol and lost to drugs.

Forty-year old German cyclist Trixi Worrack is hanging up her cleats after spending half her life in the women’s peloton.

Bike Radar examines the “wonderfully odd” world of a Swedish three-day Penny Farthing stage race.

Sad news from Chicago, where Broderick Adé Hogue of the amateur Half Acre Cycling team died three days after he suffered a severe head injury in a collision, despite wearing a helmet; witnesses say the 32-year old Hogue was in the intersection, riding in a crosswalk when the light changed.

 

Finally…

Probably not the best idea to throw your bike off your upper floor apartment. If you’re going to carry meth, weed and drug paraphernalia on your bike, put a damn light on it.

And it’s the harvest season, when the trees hang heavy with fresh bicycles.

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

2 comments

  1. Of recent mass-casualty events involving cyclists, it seems most are happening in TX. In fact I can’t think of any mass casualty cyclist wrecks in the last year that happened outside TX.

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