Bad year for SoCal bike deaths, urban roads get deadlier, and Transportation Comm’s new vice chair is one of us

Last year was another terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year for SoCal bike riders.

But at least it was better than the year before.

Maybe.

According to our latest count, at least 82* people lost their lives while riding a bicycle in the seven county Southern California region last year, just two less than the previous year.

Although that figure is likely an undercount; I’ve heard of a half dozen or more deaths this year that I wasn’t able to officially confirm, but which undoubtedly happened.

It’s also the same number of SoCal bicycling deaths reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 2019, the last year before the pandemic, when 81 SoCal riders also lost their lives.

The total for last year reflects the 26 bike riders I counted killed in Los Angeles County last year, which again is likely a dramatic undercount.

A total of 35 bike riders lost their lives in LA County in 2021, which was over twice the total of 17 that I had counted; I also counted 15 in 2020, compared to 27 reported by the NHTSA.

Which suggests that the local media is failing to report a number of bicycling deaths in the Los Angeles area, for whatever reason.

I also counted 14 bicycling deaths in the City of Los Angeles last year, which is in line with verified totals of 18 and 15 in 2021 and 2020.

Further afield, San Diego County suffered 12 deaths last year, which was a significant improvement over 17 in the previous year, though much higher than the 7 and 8 people killed riding bikes in the county in 2020 and 2019, respectively.

Meanwhile, Orange County appeared to have their worst year in recent memory, with 17 people killed* riding bikes last year, compared to just 7 in 2021, 15 in 2020, and 13 in 2019.

Although it is important to note that only the totals for 2020 and 2019 have been verified by the NHTSA; 2021 data isn’t currently available through their website.

Riverside and San Bernardino Counties also showed increases last year, with 11 bicycling deaths in Riverside County, and 10 in San Bernardino County. Ventura County suffered 4 deaths — half the previous year’s total — while Imperial County recorded none for the third year in a row.

Here’s a quick recap of bicycling deaths for each of the seven counties.

Los Angeles County

  • 2022 – 26
  • 2021 – 35
  • 2020 – 27
  • 2019 – 38

Orange County

  • 2022 – 17
  • 2021 – 7
  • 2020 – 14
  • 2019 – 13

San Diego County

  • 2022 – 12
  • 2021 – 17
  • 2020 – 7
  • 2019 – 8

Riverside County

  • 2022 – 11
  • 2021 – 9
  • 2020 – 8
  • 2019 – 5

San Bernardino County

  • 2022 – 10
  • 2021 – 7
  • 2020 – 6
  • 2019 – 7

Imperial County

  • 2022 – 0
  • 2021 – 0
  • 2020 – 0
  • 2019 – 6

Ventura County

  • 2022 – 4
  • 2021 – 8
  • 2020 – 4
  • 2019 – 4

Source: 2021-2022 BikinginLA, except 2021 LA County data from Los Angeles Times; 2019-2020 NHTSA FARS data

While compiling records of this sort is necessary to bring about desperately needed changes to our streets, it also reduces human tragedy and loss to a statistic.

So if you want to see the people behind these numbers who we’ve so needlessly lost, start here and just keep scrolling.

Photo by Ted McDonald from Pixabay.

Correction: A comment from Dawn made it clear that I had miscategorized a story about her father’s August death in Irvine. 

*After correcting the error and adding it back into the totals for OC, that made 17 people killed riding their bikes in the county last year, and 82 in Southern California, instead of 16 and 81, respectively, as I had originally written.

My apologies for the mistake. 

………

On a related subject, rural areas are becoming safer, while urban environments are growing ever deadlier.

And the photo at the bottom of this thread goes a long way towards explaining why.

………

Promising news about the new LA City Council Transportation Committee members we mentioned yesterday, at least two of whom have taken bike tours with the new BikeLA (formerly the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, or LACBC).

Meanwhile, new CD11 Councilmember and Committee Vice Chair Traci Park is one of us, as well.

Now if she just votes that way, we should be in good shape.

………

Transportation PAC Streets For All is hosting their next virtual happy hour next Wednesday, featuring my councilmember, CD4’s Nithya Raman.

………

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

A former contestant on the UK’s version of The Apprentice criticizes plans for traffic filters on Oxford streets, saying you won’t be able to drive more than 15 minutes in any direction — and somehow manages to get the whole thing wrong.

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

A British Columbia man faces charges for stealing a truck and using it to smash through a gate, then hoping on a bicycle to make his escape after the truck was disabled in the crash. Which raises a lot of questions, like whether the fact that he wasn’t charged with stealing the bike means he just happened to have it with him in case he needed to pedal away from the crime scene.

There’s a special place in hell for the Kiwi ebike rider who faces charges for repeatedly kicking a wheelchair-bound handcyclist in the head for no apparent reason, unless he was upset that she could go faster than he could on his ebike. Which is a ridiculous reason to do something so horrific.

………

Local 

Protected bike lanes are usually intended to improve safety, but Burbank residents wanted the new quarter-mile protected bike lane on Leland Way in order to halt graffiti and drag racing.

A travel magazine recommends touring West Hollywood by ebike, but apparently can’t distinguish between WeHo and nearby Beverly Hills.

 

State

No news is good news, right?

 

National

Even an automotive website questions whether the newest generation of electric SUVs are too big, too heavy and too fast. Depends on whether the goal is to get from here to there, or to send as many people as possible to the promised land.

Forbes looks at five trends this year that could impact the future of transportation. Although the modest state and local tax rebates for ebikes pale in comparison to the massive federal benefits for electric car buyers.

A writer for Adventure Journal geeks out over an 1880s ad for a Penny Farthing from Boston’s Columbia Bicycle Company. Then again, he’s not the only one geeking out, since I have a version of that ad on a t-shirt.

House Beautiful recommends the best bike storage racks for your home or apartment.

Singletracks considers the ethics of editing trails to preserve them or remove hazards.

Digital Journal addresses one of the burning questions of our time — how to take your dog with you when you ride your bike.

My friends at West Seattle Blog managed to scoop the local news media about hit-and-run and vehicular homicide charges against an alleged killer driver who fled the scene after running down a 63-year old man riding his ebike home from work.

An Arizona man has made a remarkable recovery following the crash in a Show Low, Arizona master’s race that killed one man and seriously injured several riders; 37-year old Shawn Michael Chock was quietly sentenced to 26-1/2 years behind bars for second-degree murder and felony aggravated assault.

Denver announced the return of the city’s highly popular ebike rebate program at the end of this month, although at a reduced level, with $300 vouchers for buyers or regular ebikes, and $500 for e-cargo bikes.

North Carolina’s Department of Transportation is giving away bike helmets to organizations to give away to people who need them.

St. Petersburg, Florida, is remaking a dangerous residential boulevard with barriers at four intersections, forcing motorists to turn while allowing pedestrians and bike riders to pass through, and effectively turning it into a bicycle boulevard, even if they don’t use the term.

A kindhearted Florida man spends his days refurbishing and assembling bicycles so children in need can get to school, and adults can ride to work.

 

International

Calgary bicycle advocates are calling for safer bike infrastructure, after reports of snow and ice clogging bikeways and creating a hazard for riders. Here in SoCal, our snow and ice comes in liquid form, but still creates hazards on days like this. So be careful out there. 

Bike Portland goes riding in London. Which I deeply regret I didn’t get a chance to do when my wife and I visited earlier this century.

British foldie maker Brompton will begin sourcing more parts from other countries, over fears that tensions between China and Taiwan could result in supply chain disruptions.

If you’re already wanted on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear, maybe illegally riding your bike on a pair of UK highways isn’t the best idea.

The newly crowned world darts champ credits a broken hip suffered in a bicycle crash when he was 15 year old with setting him on the path to pointed greatness.

The Guardian follows along as an Australian woman attempts to set a new record by riding 2,500 miles in 13 days.

No surprise here, as a new Aussie study shows the biggest barrier to biking is a fear of cars. Personally, I’m not afraid of cars. But the people driving them scare the shit out of me.

 

Competitive Cycling

Four time Tour de France champ Chris Froome will finally get a chance to go for five after his Israel Premier Tech team got one of two wildcard invitations to the race, with the other going to Norway’s Uno-X.

A ‘cross fan captures the chaos after Ryan Cortjens crashed at the Superprestige Diegem, and apparently forgot to get the hell out of the way.

 

Finally…

Now you, too, can build your very own DIY 6-passenger, throttle-controlled ebike. That feeling when no one wants to steal you bike, even if you want them to.

And who says you need two wheels to mountain bike?

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

2 comments

    • bikinginla says:

      My apologies, Dawn. Thank you for including the link, which allowed me to see I had miscategorized your father’s story. I’ve corrected it now, so it will show up in any future searches. I hope you and your family are doing well; I know the holidays can be very hard.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: