26.5 years for killer stoned driver in AZ master’s race, a damp last CicLAvia of 2022, and Orange Line bike path closure

It’s the second full week of the 8th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive

I’m often humbled by the support this site receives. And never more than I was on Sunday.

Saturday I was feeling low after we didn’t receive a single donation, leaving the fund drive hundreds of dollars behind last year’s record-setting pace.

Then on Sunday the floodgates opened. Not only did the sudden outpouring of support make up the deficit, it actually left us a little ahead of last year this morning. 

I recognized a lot of the donors, whether from giving in years past, sharing links or comments on here, or from their work on bike advocacy issues. 

Each and every one touched my heart, leaving me overwhelmed with gratitude. But none more than a donation from a loved one of a fallen bicyclist, who remembered the support I gave them in their time of need. 

All of which has me feeling incredibly humbled today.

I hope you’ll join me in offering a sincere thank you to André V, Greg M, Scott G, Penny S, Samuel M, David Matsu, John H, Anthony D, Mark M and Andre C for their very generous support. 

Because they’re the ones who gave from the heart to bring all the best bike news your way today, and every day. 

So don’t wait. Just take a moment right now to join them by donating via PayPal or Zelle.

We’ll wait.

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There’s justice in Show Low, Arizona, a year and a half after a stoned driver plowed into a master’s bike race, killing one man and seriously injuring eight other people, six critically.

Shawn Michael Chock was sentenced to 26½ years behind bars for the bizarre crime. The 36-year old man received a 16-year sentence for killing 58-year old Jeremy Barrett, and 10-1/2 years for assaulting a police officer, to be served consecutively, with no time off for good behavior for the first 16 years.

A defense attorney claimed Chock was once an accomplished bike racer himself, but suffered from mental health problems. He reportedly relapsed when he received bad family news after three years of sobriety, and blacked out after failing to take his meds and inhaling aerosol fumes, crossing over several lanes of traffic to plow into the racers.

Although that doesn’t fit with earlier reports that Chock was laughing as he steered into the victims, and made a U-turn to come back at them.

Which is kind of hard to do when you’re unconscious.

It’s also worth noting that a history of mental illness and substance abuse somehow wasn’t enough for authorities to keep Chock from getting behind the wheel until it was too late.

He was only arrested after officers shot his truck engine to disable it following a standoff with police behind a hardware store.

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Sunday marked the last CicLAvia of the year, as the streets of South LA opened to welcome bike riders, walkers, skaters, rollers, cowboys, and yes, even Dodgers, of every description, despite the cool, cloudy and sometimes wet weather.

Of course, it’s always after the event that those warm feelings give way to the typical LA challenge of just getting home in one piece.

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One of LA’s busiest bikeways shut down without warning, as Streetsblog discovered an unexpected closure on the Orange Line.

And as usual, the detour leaves something to be desired, dumping riders onto surface streets to negotiate their route with impatient drivers.

How long the repairs will take, and how long the closure will last, is anyone’s guess.

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The next time you complain about the crappy bikeways you have to use, or the lack thereof, remember this.

It could be worse.

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A distracted driver calls out the risk posed to safe, law-abiding bike riders from distracted drivers just like him.

Click on the tweet if the photo of the rider is obscured.

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This is who we share the road with.

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Who needs handlebars?

Or a head tube, fork or front wheel, for that matter?

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

No bias here. A Marin paper calls for “compromises” by limiting the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge bike path to weekend use by recreational riders — even though traffic congestion is no worse than before it was installed, and removing it on weekdays would just make traffic worse in other areas. In other words, they want bike commuters and local communities to compromise by surrendering to drivers.

No bias here, either. A Portland hotel manager complains about a parking protected bike lane in front of the hotel, as careless guests nearly collide with bike riders, and a guest’s car door “got hit by a bicyclist.” No, the guest doored the person on the bike, which is against the law.

Vancouver’s parks board is preparing to cave to angry, entitled drivers for whom one lane isn’t enough by ripping out a popular bike lane through the park, and restoring a second traffic lane so drivers can use it as a cut-through route.

A 24-year old Scottish man suffered multiple injuries after he was pushed off his bicycle by a couple men on a moped, for no apparent reason.

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

More proof ebikes are replacing car trips, as a British ebike rider conducted a carless driveby shooting, firing repeatedly into a car after riding up next to it, although he missed all the occupants.

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Local 

Metro is scheduled to start construction on the La Brea Ave bus lanes today, though the rain may have something to say about that.

Long Beach is considering lowering speed limits on 100 sections of city streets, including 23 that could drop to 15 to 20 mph.

Anyone interested in serving on your local Neighborhood Council should make plans to attend an information session hosted by Streets For All this Thursday. We need a lot more support for bikes on local councils to overcome the outsized NIMBY voices. 

Speaking of Streets For All, the transportation PAC is hosting a virtual happy hour with newly elected CD13 Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez on Wednesday, December 14th. Which would be a good opportunity to ask about his plans to improve bike safety and infrastructure in the Hollywood district.

 

State 

San Diego Magazine lists ten bike rides to meet the needs of every kind of rider.

‘Tis the season. Over 300 children in the Coachella Valley have new bikes this week, thanks to the Variety Children’s Charity of the Desert.

A Camarillo letter writer says he agrees with a driver that bike riders belong in the bike lane, if only the city had some.

They get it. The San Francisco Chronicle says instead of getting rid of Slow Streets, the city make them even better, arguing that it’s hard to view the Slow Streets experiment as anything but a wild success.

 

National

Bike counters recorded nearly 42,000 bike trips to Colorado’s Maroon Bells, fueled largely by the increasing popularity of ebikes.

‘Tis the season, too. A Boise, Idaho bike drive plans to give away 567 bicycles to kids in need over the holidays.

Sixty-seven-year old Joseph Kennedy reportedly confessed to the deaths of four men who disappeared after setting out on an Oklahoma bike ride, telling a friend he “killed the men and cut them up” because they stole from him.

Brooklyn firefighters rescued a semi-conscious man and two puppies after yet another fire allegedly started by an ebike battery.

A bill in the New Jersey legislature would make it the first state in the nation to mandate bike helmets for adults. Although similar laws have repeatedly been shown to be counterproductive, reducing bicycling rates and the safety in numbers effect, while disproportionately affecting low income riders and people of color. Thanks to Victor Bale for the link. 

Another seemingly sentient SUV, as a Philadelphia TV station reports a bike cop was hit by a Ford Explorer, whose driver apparently had nothing to do with it.

A 31-year old woman with Down’s Syndrome is able to ride a bike for the first time since she was a child, after a kindhearted stranger saw her competing for the title of Virginia’s Miss Amazing Senior Miss Queen, and gave her a new three-wheeled bike through a nonprofit organization.

 

International

A website for a drunk driving interlock ignition system reminds us that other countries have solved the problem of drunk driving, even if the US can’t seem to do it. Sort of like we can’t seem to solve traffic deaths, hit-and-runs, shooting deaths, poverty, universal healthcare…

A Spanish man touring the world by bicycle stops in Mexico’s Yucatán on his way to Argentina, accompanied by a dog he adopted in Spain, and another who adopted him in Mexico.

Mexico City’s Los Chilangos lowrider bike club is combating gang life by promoting a positive bicycle culture as an alternative to the world of drugs and gangs, although facial tatts are still welcome.

A Halifax, Nova Scotia bike shop says business is booming and employees are sticking around longer after they committed to paying a living wage, a full ten dollars above the area’s current minimum.

Over one thousand Londoners turned out for a 14-mile Black Unity Bike Ride across the city.

English police link stolen ebikes to the drug trade, robbery and other crimes, saying they’re being used to pursue criminal activity. Shocking that criminals would use stolen goods to do other crimes, I know.

A pair of British politicians call on their peers to practice what they preach by installing more “secure, accessible and sufficient” bike parking on the Parliament grounds.

A writer in the UK says a 3,427-mile ride around the coast of Britain saved his mental health during the pandemic.

France is marking the 80th anniversary of a successful suicide mission by British marines, who slipped behind German lines to destroy five ships; only two of the men survived the mission and escaped to safety, fleeing 100 miles by foot, bicycle and trains to Gibraltar.

An Islamabad, Pakistan paper makes the case for bringing the concept of carfree cities to the country.

Japan’s bicycle industry was reportedly built on the ironworking skills developed to build burial mounds dating back 1,600 years.

An Aussie designer says he doesn’t care about negative feedback, as he spends his days designing the world’s most outlandish concept bikes.

 

Competitive Cycling

Police have identified a 62-year-old German truck driver as a suspect in the hit-and-run death of Italian ex-pro Davide Rebellin, who died shortly after retiring from a 30-year racing career; police are still searching for the suspect.

 

Finally…

If you’re riding a bike with outstanding warrants — you, that is, not the bike — put a damn light on it already. Playing cumbias from the back a wagon pulled by a bike.

And we might have to deal with bored LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about being attacked by a wild boar while riding a bike.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

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