$32.1 million award in Metro crash, LA Times calls for bike lanes and sheriff’s oversight, and Mar Vista bike chop shops

Thank you all for your support and kind words last week.

I’m not even close to a hundred percent yet, but at least I can write again without tossing my cookies. Not that I should be having cookies, anyway.

Now buckle in, ’cause we have a lot to catch up on. 

And please forgive me for not crediting people who sent me links this time; it was just too hard to keep up with while I was under the weather.

But thank you from the bottom of my heart to all who did. 

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A jury awarded $21.6 million to the parents of Ciara Smith, the 13-year old girl killed by a Metro bus operated by a subcontractor four years ago when she rode her bike off a Redondo Beach sidewalk.

Combined with earlier settlements from Caltrans and Redondo Beach, they’ve now been awarded a total of $32.1 million, though the latest judgement will undoubtedly be appealed.

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The Los Angeles Times responds to their recent investigative report that uncovered bias in traffic stops of Latino bike riders by sheriff deputies in LA County, by calling for legalizing sidewalk riding and building desperately needed infrastructure.

Instead of finding support for their carbon-free travel, cyclists in some communities face unsafe and unjust conditions. In East Los Angeles, only 1% of streets have bike lanes, meaning cyclists are expected to navigate crowded and often poorly maintained streets. Of course people are going to ride on the sidewalk, even if it’s prohibited, because it’s safer.

Yet that rational decision makes cyclists a target for law enforcement. Nearly a quarter of bike stops in East L.A. were for sidewalk violations, The Times reported. In Lynwood, where there are no bike lanes at all, sidewalk violations account for 16% of stops. In West Hollywood, which is predominantly white, more streets have bike lanes and the city allows bicyclists to ride on the sidewalk in areas with no bike lanes. Less than 1% of bike stops were initiated because of sidewalk violations.

The paper also said the biased traffic stops and searches of bike riders call for stronger oversight of the sheriff’s department, which so far has attempted to avoid virtually any oversight.

Meanwhile, Streets For All urges your support for a motion at tomorrow’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting to legalize sidewalk riding in unincorporated Los Angeles County.

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As long as we’re talking about the Times, opinion columnist Robin Abcarian joins a Mar Vista man searching local homeless camps and outdoor bicycle chop shops for his stolen bicycles.

And somehow managed, against all odds, to get them all back.

Never mind that the LAPD told her they don’t bother to look for stolen bikes.

Or the Catch-22 clownshow below when he tried to report the theft to the cops.

Weitz had tried to file a police report online. Because his garage was broken into, he was told, he would have to file in person. But his local LAPD outpost in West Los Angeles is not allowing walk-ins because of COVID-19. So he went to the Pacific Division station on Culver Boulevard but was told he had to file it in West L.A.

“My local lead officer said he would get in touch after I file my police report,” said Weitz, “but I can’t file my police report, so he can’t call.”

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The teenaged pickup driver who mowed down a half dozen Texas bike riders while attempting to roll coal has been identified in court papers.

The well-connected son of prominent local sheep and goat breeders faces six counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, after initially being allowed to walk free when mommy and daddy reportedly showed up at the crash site.

Meanwhile, the Santa Rosa woman injured in the other recent Texas crash, where a pickup driver ran down three people on a cross-country bike tour and killed a Massachusetts man, is still waiting to fly home.

Doctors says she’s too fragile to leave the Houston hospital where she’s being treated for a collapsed lung, facial fracture, broken back, five broken ribs and a broken arm.

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Streets For All will talk mobility with the candidates for CD13 this Wednesday, presumably including incumbent Mitch O’Farrell.

The street safety PAC also calls for supporting a 5.9-mile peak hour bus lane on La Brea Blvd from Sunset to Coliseum at or before tomorrow’s public meeting.

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Metro announced the top-scoring picks for open streets events throughout the county over the next two years, including likely funding for CicLAvia and 626 Golden Streets.

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One more reason to love the East Side Riders, as they continue to support, and feed, the Compton community.

And to contribute if you can, financially or otherwise.

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If you’re reading this early enough, you may still have time to join a Twitter town hall calling for zero traffic deaths, in advance of this Sunday’s World Day of Remembrance.

Meanwhile, Finish the Ride will host a march for safer roads on Saturday, in an early observance of the World Day of Remembrance.

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More proof that bike lanes are more efficient than regular traffic lanes. Regardless of drivers who claim no one ever uses them.

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Taking a tiny approach to urban density in Denver.

And yes, there’s an itty bitty bike involved.

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It’s a pity everyone seemed to forget the hard-earned lessons learned in the first major gas crisis back in the ’70s.

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

Late is better than never, apparently, as Bicycling belatedly catches up with the story of the white Texas man who severely beat a Black man who paused while riding a bicycle through the neighborhood they both share last month. As usual, you can read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you. 

DC drivers are using a new buffered bike lane for free parking.

An Orlando, Florida bike shop owner sounds the alarm on drivers using the bike path in front of his shop as a traffic bypass.

A London man suffered a broken collarbone when a driver deliberately ran him off his bike in the city’s Richmond Park — then fled the scene afterwards, of course.

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

Police in San Antonio, Texas released video of the fatal shooting of a man who fled when officers tried to stop him on his bike; he allegedly tried to pull a gun out of his waistband after one of the cops doored him and wrestled with him on the ground.

A British Columbia man faces charges for whacking a 65-year old woman with his bicycle, causing her to hit her head on the pavement, after she apparently confronted him for riding his bike on the sidewalk.

The award for the world’s biggest jerk — okay, one of many — goes to the Belgium bike rider who crashed into a five-year old girl last Christmas, and is suing the girl’s father for posting the viral video of it.

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Local

A man was shot in the chest earlier this month while riding on a Culver City bike path, then was kicked in the face and punched by two or more men, for no apparent reason. Or at least, no reason the police have mentioned.

There’s still time to take a survey on how to transform deadly Western Ave between MLK to Century Blvd in South LA. Hint: fewer traffic lanes and more protected bike lanes.

A San Fernando group has called for the removal of CD12 Councilmember John Lee from the Los Angeles City Council Planning Committee; Lee was implicated in the Mitch Englander bribery scandal.

Streetsblog looks at the new raised, protected bike lanes on Burbank’s Hollywood Way.

A Claremont nonprofit is looking donations of usable bicycles in good condition, as well as “helmets, padding and locks” to help recent Afghan refugees. And no, I have no idea what padding means, either.

AARP hosts a virtual chat with CicLAvia this Thursday, including 65-year old longboarder and CicLAvia icon Swee (Ool) Woo.

 

State

Santa Ana will host a meeting tonight to discuss a proposed protected bike lane and bicycle boulevard on McFadden Avenue.

Orange County hikers complained about “hard-charging” mountain bikers at last week’s meeting of the Coastal Greenbelt Authority.

The San Diego Union-Tribune says the city needs to focus on the action part of its climate action plan, rather than patting itself on the back based on outdated statistics.

Streetsblog credits the San Diego Association of Governments, aka SANDAG, with having a lot to like in their draft 2021 transportation plan, despite questionable funding plans.

Santa Barbara County is loaning local residents free ebikes for up to five days to experience an alternative to driving.

It takes a major schmuck to steal a bike from a ten-year old Santa Cruz girl in a strong-arm robbery.

 

National

Do we really need to be told yet again that more highways mean more cars, more congestion and more environment and climate harming emissions?

One more reason to do your riding outside, as a 23-year old woman nearly lost her leg after developing a potentially fatal breakdown of muscle tissue following a high-intensity spin class.

Seriously? What kind of cash flow does this Oregon bike shop have when the theft of $100,000 worth of bicycles isn’t a major setback?

The Nevada state stoppers who investigated the crash that killed five bike riders outside Las Vegas eleven months ago never suspected semi-truck driver Jordan Alexander Barson was under the influence, even though he tested positive for meth hours later — an oversight that led to a plea bargain on reduced charges.

Congratulations to Austin, Texas, on being named home to the worst bike lane in the world.

Sad news from Iowa, where John Karras, the former newspaper man who co-founded RAGBRAI with another reporter, passed away last week at 91; the popular ride across Iowa was founded by the Des Moines Register nearly 50 years ago.

Hats off to a six-year old Ohio boy, who set a new record as the youngest rider to complete a backflip during a California BMX competition.

Once again, the death of a bike rider is no big deal, as a US postal worker faces just a misdemeanor charge and a traffic ticket for killing a 71-year old New York man riding a bike.

Curbed offers a detailed primer on perfecting New York streets, while embracing public spaces. All of which would apply here in Los Angeles, too.

A fallen bicyclist’s mother will finish the last 1,900 miles of his planned New Hampshire to San Diego bike tour, three years after he was run down by a driver shortly after leaving Hattiesburg, Mississippi; a crowdfunding page has raised just $330 of the $10,000 he was trying to collect for a children’s hospital.

A 22-year old Florida man has been charged with manslaughter after he failed to swerve his e-scooter out of the way of a woman riding a bicycle; the victim died of her injuries several days later.

 

International

No surprise here, as climate experts say electric cars won’t save the planet. But more active transportation will help.

Virgin founder Richard Branson showed off his injuries after his bike’s brakes failed and he crashed into another bicyclist while riding in the Virgin Islands; he credits his helmet with saving his life from the “colossal” crash. Seriously, I’ve had worse.

Glasgow, Scotland is joining the international trend of banning cars from urban centers.

The Smithsonian talks with the teenage girl who rode her bike 570 miles from her English home to Glasgow, Scotland for the COP26 climate conference.

London’s iconic Westminster Bridge is getting bollard-protected cycle tracks, which might have helped prevent the 2017 vehicular terrorism attack.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a 61-year old business exec walked with a suspended sentence for killing two men on bikes when he plowed his car into both as they rode together last year; adding insult to injury, he was fined a whole £475 — the equivalent of just $637 — in court costs.

A 21-year old British man was sentenced to life behind bars for strangling his 17-year old “friend” and leaving him to drown in a dispute over a bicycle. Seriously, if someone bullies you for months, let alone tries to kill you, maybe he’s not really your friend.

A new sensor developed by a Dutch company allows you to monitor the air quality as you rides. But do you really want to know what kind of crap you’re sucking into your lungs?

Cycling Tips alleges bullying and blackmail in the convoy that carried members of the Afghan cycling team to freedom.

Heartbreaking story from India, where an Indian soldier was one of seven people gunned down by ethnic rebels, just two days after promising his eight-year old daughter he’d bring her a bicycle as a belated birthday gift when he came home in February.

 

Competitive Cycling

Tragic news from Eritrea, where rising 21-year old cyclist Desiet Kidane was killed by a driver while training in the country; she was part of UCI’s World Cycling Center training program.

Apparently, even winning the Tour de France isn’t enough to protect against bike thieves, as Geraint Thomas learned the hard way when he popped into a coffee shop while training on the French Riviera.

A new book claims to be the first written by a Black bike racer about Black bike racers in one hundred years.

The EF Education-Nippo cycling team fired Columbian cyclist Sergio Higuita for riding a Specialized bike instead of team sponsor Cannondale, but quickly took him back after he apologized. His American teammate Lawson Craddock got fired and quickly unfired, for the same reason.

It takes some serious bike skills to get back in your shoe while it’s still clipped in the pedal.

 

Finally…

The top 10 reasons drivers don’t like us. Now they aren’t even waiting until the bikes leave the shop to run them over.

And SNL has good news and bad news on the ebike front.

 

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

2 comments

  1. Ted,thanks for covering the great verdict for the 13 year old fatally hit by a bus.It was a tragic loss of the “Pineapple Princess” who’s nick name showed she was an upbeat & energetic bicyclist.Linking the local newspaper articles was helpful as well because they identified the alleged dangerous road conditions leading to the loss.Well done & get well soon !

  2. Mitchell Guzik says:

    The LAT commentary was terrible. The article intimates the westside is somehow better for cycling. It’s no better along San Vicente, in fact, probably just as dangerous. The LASD should stop a lot more cyclist and motorists as well. The bike lanes mean nothing to most motorists. Just block and turn on your hazard lights. Have you seen the new bike/bus lanes along Washington in culver City with the low curb stops? They certainly don’t appear to consult with anyone who rides a bike when they add lanes or make changes to parking to accommodate and encourage more cycling. The war on cyclists is everywhere in this city. Look at Laurel Canyon Blvd., terrible from start to finish and it transverses many different property values.

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