Murder charge for Riverside road rage attack, LA bike bridges to nowhere, and apparently I’m part of LA bike history

Before we get started, David Drexler reminds us that Sunday’s LA Marathon affords the perfect opportunity to ride through the streets of LA in relative comfort and safety. 

No word on whether the usual Marathon Crash Ride will take place before the race, though chances are people will show up for it anyway, officially sanctioned or not. 

But either way, major roads like Hollywood and Santa Monica blvds will be closed for hours because of the race, which will quiet nearby streets, as well. 

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.

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Thirty-two-year old Riverside resident Sergio Reynaldo Gutierrez has been ordered to stand trial for murder in the death of Benedicto Solanga, after allegedly running down Solanga intentionally as he rode his bike last July.

Gutierrez reportedly made a U-turn to run down Solanga as he was riding in the opposite direction, following what may have been a traffic dispute.

In other words, he’a accused of using his car as a weapon following a road rage dispute.

Gutierrez remains behind bars on $1 million bail.

Hopefully, he’ll be there a long damn time.

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Not surprisingly, Curbed’s Alissa Walker offers the best take on the recent invitation-only opening of the Taylor Yard Bridge, in which people apparently more important than you or me were instructed to drive to the opening of a bridge for people walking or biking.

And people walking or biking were largely locked out.

There are three new car-free bridges on a widely used four-mile corridor of the L.A. River — one of the few places where it is a meandering naturalized channel not fully encased in a concrete chute — and this morning was a chance to honor all three at once. Standing before a sign that read “Bridging Communities” in the same bright orange as the bridge, elected officials from every level of government — city, county, and state — gave speech after speech about connection. California assemblymember Wendy Carillo cited the “walkable, livable green open space our communities need.” L.A. city councilmember Gil Cedillo called it “a win for everyone” that “brings neighborhoods together…”

…Instead, L.A.’s Taylor Yard Bridge just exposes the distance between the people who say they care about walking and biking in L.A. and the people who actually walk and bike in L.A. The ribbon-cutting invitation (which I did not receive) provided attendees with driving directions only. Meanwhile, people who arrived from the west that morning and actually came to the car-free bridge using car-free modes of transportation found themselves locked out, as the ceremony took place on the eastern landing. At the end of the event, after giving their speeches about the role of walking and biking connections in reducing traffic and smog, the elected officials each walked back to their SUVs and drove away.

It’s worth a few minutes of your time, as Walker succinctly illustrates the problem with riding a bike in the City of Angels, where people on bikes are second-class citizens.

And bridges for bikes don’t take you anywhere.

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Evidently, I’m officially part of LA bike history.

Carfree writer and artist Eric Brightwell responds to the recent jump in gas prices with a detailed history of bicycling in Los Angeles, from the first dandy horses through bikes in popular culture, to the places you probably ride today and the clubs you may ride with.

And somehow finds it appropriate to include yours truly among the more recent developments.

Bicycle culture began to rebound in the 1990s and 2000s when there was a marked upsurge in bicycle advocacy and group-cycling culture. Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition was founded in 1998 by Joe Linton and Ron Milam. Critical Mass, a group cycling event, first launched in San Francisco in 1992, as “Commute Clot,” made its way to Los Angeles in or around 2001. Los Angeles Critical Mass is today the largest community bicycle ride in the US. In 2001 I bought my first Los Angeles bike, a 1972 Raleigh Sprite 27, from Lars Lehtonen, who around that time launched the bicycle event aggregator/calendar, Bike Boom. Wolfpack Hustle, a fast-paced ride, started in 2005. Midnight Ridazz, a late-night group bicycle ride, was launched in 2004. Ted Rogers started Biking in L.A. in 2008. You can also start or join a Bike Train.

2008? Has it really been that long?

No wonder I feel old.

It’s a surprisingly good read. And not just because Brightwell demonstrated the exceptional good taste to give this site a brief shoutout.

His “brief history” is anything but. It’s remarkably detailed yet still concise, and always entertaining.

But his relatively brief into should be mandatory reading for anyone who bikes or drives. Or gets around any other way, for that matter.

…As I write this I brace myself for rage from motorists. And while I sympathize with poor and working class people for whom gassing up truly is painful, so too is riding a bus bogged down in traffic or being hit by a car and when does a motorist every offer a cyclists or bus rider anything other than derision, a middle finger, and a blast from the horn? Cyclists, walkers, and mass transit riders have thicker skin, though — and if they’re car-free, save them an average of $11,000 a year in depreciation, maintenance, gas, repairs, parking tickets, registration renewal, and especially, paid parking that just may be the difference between having to live in a far-flung, car-dependant suburb and a dense, walkable, transitable, and bikeable communities in which a car is not only unnecessary but a burden.

So go ahead. Give it a read.

But give yourself a little time, because there’s a lot to digest here.

Thanks to E/Expo Line Ledger for the heads-up. 

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Calbike offers a roundup of all the bike-friendly bills that have been introduced in the new legislative session.

Much of it has a back to the future feel, with Assembly members reintroducing a series of bills previously vetoed by Gov. Newsom, with minor changes in hopes of getting them past his veto pen. They include bills to allow bike riders to treat stop signs as yields, legalize safely crossing the street mid-block, and fund connected bicycle networks.

Another measure would permanently exempt bike lanes, and other projects that don’t add motor vehicle capacity, from environmental review.

Additional proposals would require cities to include significant bicycle, pedestrian and traffic calming elements in their general plans, and change the vehicle code to require drivers to change lanes to pass someone on a bicycle.

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That feeling when you discover a bike/ped bridge over a car canyon that makes your commute that much easier.

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A little girl lies down on the job to giver her little sister a boost to learn how to ride a bike.

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San Diego bicyclists will ride next Saturday to show their support for the people of Ukraine, who more than deserve it.

Thanks to Robert Leone for the tip.

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

Life is cheap in the UK, where a hit-and-run driver got just 22 months for killing a man riding a bicycle who he had just been drinking with at the local pub, then hid his van and lied to the police about it

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Local

Make money while you help build a more livable Los Angeles. The Healthy Streets LA ballot measure is now hiring people to collect signatures to get it on the ballot; it would require the city to build out its already-approved mobility plan as streets get resurfaced.

A former LA city planner calls for switching to sustainable transportation to put oil-funded autocrats out of business.

Authorities have identified the 28-year old woman who was found dead along a beach bike path in Long Beach, however, no cause of death has been released yet.

 

State 

A San Diego ebike rider questions whether bad drivers and poorly maintained streets make the city too dangerous for people on bicycles.

San Diego is celebrating the grand opening of the new Georgia – Meade Bikeway tomorrow morning. Thanks again to Robert Leone.

Tragic news from Mountain View, where a 13-year old middle school student was killed by a truck driver while riding to school; needless to say, police virtually exonerated the driver, saying the driver wasn’t speeding or under the influence, even though the crash is still under investigation.

No surprise here, as Tesla fired the whistleblower who released video of one of their cars nearly running over a bike rider while in autopilot mode; Streetsblog’s Roger Rudick says that proves plastic doesn’t offer enough protection to keep people on bicycles safe.

 

National

Triathlete explains the difference between road and triple bikes.

Henderson, Nevada is opening the final link in a 12-mile rail-to-trail conversion named after the late Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; the pathway connects to a 220-mile trail system.

A Minnesota man faces charges for punching a passing bike rider and robbing him while the victim was unconscious.

Even in the oil fields of Louisiana, bike use is booming as gas prices continue to rise. Bike sales are up in Cleveland, too.

I want to be like him when I grow up. Despite suffering from diabetes, a 79-year old Hemingway lookalike still rides his bike 15 miles every day through his Florida neighborhood, after cutting back from 20 to 25 miles a day when he turned 75. Although I’ll pass on the Papa look, thank you.

Friends of a legally blind Florida man launched a crowdfunding campaign to buy him a new bike, after his was stolen when he chained it to a short post outside a Walmart; his poor eyesore kept him from seeing that a thief could just slide the chain off. The campaign has raised over $3,700 of the $5,000 goal.

The bridge tender who was operating a Florida drawbridge when a 79-year old woman fell off after it opened while she was walking her bike across the span has been arrested on a charge of manslaughter by culpable negligence.

 

International

Audi is partnering with Qualcomm and the maker of the Spoke app to develop a cellular vehicle-to-everything system that would alert drivers to the presence of bicycles. Presumably if you have the app installed and open.

Britain’s Parliament discussed the need to improve bike safety, following the deaths of two people riding bikes in Oxford in recent weeks. Somehow, it’s hard to picture Congress responding like that, even with nearly 850 deaths in the US.

Scary footage as a Welsh bike rider barely avoids getting crushed when a half-ton bale of hay falls off a passing truck.

Most bicycle companies are following the lead of other international corporations in pulling out of Russia; notable exceptions include French retailer Decathlon and German manufacturer Bosch.

 

Competitive Cycling

Outside offers an insiders look at racing with the L39ion of Los Angeles team at Arizona’s Valley of the Sun.

Someone stole 12 racing bikes from the Mauritian National Team, just one day before they were due in Egypt for today’s All African Championships.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to steal an ebike, maybe put some clothes on first. Or even if you’re riding your own bike. Repeat after me — if you’re riding your bike with an outstanding warrant and nearly four ounces of meth, stop for the damn stop sign, already.

And that feeling when not knowing your front from your back leaves you feeling deflated.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

One comment

  1. Rough read for me today as the one wreck involving the U-turn was the same MO as the guy who tried to kill me, and I started my blog about bike safety in 2008 also. So some good vibes, but mostly bad vibes today.

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