Archive for Bicycle Safety

Bike rider killed by train in Riverside

Always wait for the barriers to lift at a railroad crossing.

A Riverside bike rider didn’t, and sadly, paid the price.

According to the Press-Enterprise, the woman was riding her bike east on Mission Inn Ave in downtown Riverside when she stopped to wait for a southbound train around 11:10 this morning.

As soon as the train passed, she continued across the tracks while the crossing arms were reportedly still down and the warning lights flashing. She was then hit and killed by a train traveling north on the tracks, whose approach would have been hidden from sight by the other train.

The victim is identified only as an apparent transient in her 30s.

This is the 20th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third in Riverside County. That compares to 41 in SoCal this time last year, and six in the county.

She is also the first bike rider to be killed in a collision with a train anywhere in Southern California since August of last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and her loved ones.

Bike rider killed in Hollywood collision

This is not the news anyone wants for Bike Week.

Or any other time for that matter.

Reports started coming in yesterday evening that a bike rider had been killed at the intersection of Hollywood Blvd and Hobart Blvd in Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, it took until this afternoon to get official confirmation.

According to the police report, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding north in the west crosswalk on Hobart at approximately 3:07 pm Wednesday when he was struck by a car headed west on Hollywood.

The impact apparently knocked him into a parked car on the north curb, before falling back into the street. He died at the scene.

LAist reports that the crosswalk has a blinking yellow light to warn drivers that someone is crossing. However, it’s unclear if it was working at the time, or if the rider had activated it.

They also quote a comment from a Reddit thread indicating that the driver was taking an 84-year old grandmother to the hospital; however, while there are several hospitals nearby, they are all in the opposite direction from which the car was headed.

It’s unclear from the description who might have been at fault.

It’s legal to ride on the sidewalk in Los Angeles, which means it is also legal to ride in the crosswalk.

However, the LAPD interprets the law as requiring cyclists to ride in the direction of traffic when they enter a crosswalk. In this case, that would have required the victim to cross on the east side of Hobart, but the only crosswalk is on the west side.

On the other hand, unless the victim was traveling at a high rate of speed, the driver should have had time to see him and react before he reached the opposite side of the road.

If there’s a lesson to learn from this, it’s that you should never count on drivers seeing you and stopping in time, in a crosswalk or anywhere else; always wait until they actually stop before trying to cross in front of them.

This is the 19th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the ninth in Los Angeles County; it’s also the fifth in the City of Los Angeles.

That compares with 41 in the seven county SoCal region this time last year, and 17 in the county. However, it’s one more than in the City of LA on this date in 2014.

Update: The victim’s granddaughter has identified him as Thomas Galvan Munoz, a resident of the area for 30 years who rode his bike through the streets of LA every day. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Thomas Galvan Munoz and his loved ones.

Thanks to Michael MacDonald for the heads-up.

Morning Links: Injured SD cyclist needs your help, CA keeps dopers on the road, and Winnipeg ups the ante on ciclovías

Once again, a bike rider needs your help.

Earlier in the week, we mentioned that a San Diego cyclist was seriously injured when a wrong way driver tried to enter a mall parking lot through the exit lane. However, the story didn’t identify the 61-year old victim.

Now it turns out he’s well-known in the San Diego area.

Paul Kroeger is a 40-year veteran of the bicycling industry, and the long-time Master Mechanic at Hi-Tech Bikes. According to the shop’s Facebook page, Kroeger is in stable condition despite suffering major injuries, and faces a long, hard recovery.

A fund has been established to help cover expenses; in the first 11 hours, it had raised nearly $6,000 of the $25,000 goal.

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California legislators reject a proposal for roadside testing of suspect drug-using drivers, evidently opting to keep dope-impaired motorists behind the wheel, where they can do more harm.

Smart.

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Love this idea.

Instead of a ciclovía, Winnipeg is closing some of the city’s streets on Sundays and holidays to turn them into designated bike routes.

Drivers who travel more than one block on any of the four streets face hefty fines for violating the closures.

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Bike lawyer Edward Rubinstein looks at the weather forecast for next week, and asks if the Amgen Tour of California is the cure for the state’s drought.

But lost in the excitement over Sunday’s start of the Amgen Tour of California is Saturday’s start of the Giro d’Italia.

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Local

Metro says give your car a break and take a bike instead. Although sell your damn car and use the proceeds to buy a few Pashleys for your family has a ring to it, too.

More on the unveiling of a new PCH safety video produced by the PCH Taskforce, along with the kids’ bike rodeo in Malibu on Friday. Full disclosure: I’ve helped represent the LACBC on said taskforce for several years, though I had nothing to do with the creation of the video.

New LA-made bike socks offer maps of some of the city’s iconic bike routes.

The LA Weekly looks at Long Beach’s young, gay, Latino and bike-friendly mayor.

 

State

A San Diego County Supervisor rides 25 miles along the coast to work, promising to promote safe cycling and demonstrate how much fun bike commuting can be. I dare any LA County Supervisors to do the same; hell, I double dog dare you. So there.

In a new podcast series, Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks with BikeSD’s Sam Ollinger, who somehow managed to turn a bike blog into a powerhouse advocacy organization with 1,200 paying members. And counting.

Carlsbad police recover 35 stolen bicycles; if you lost a bike recently, call 760/931-2142 or email judy.thomas@carlsbadca.gov. And register your bike now so it can be identified if does ever happen to you.

The Great Western Bicycle Rally offers a four day bike fest in Paso Robles at the end of this month.

San Francisco plans to lower bicycling injuries by elevating bike lanes. The city is also testing triple bike racks on some of the hillier bus routes.

A Marin County cyclist collided with an 80-year old woman while riding on a multi-use pathway. Bike riders should always use extra care when riding near any pedestrians; on the other hand, the local paper never even considers the possibility that it might not have been the rider’s fault.

Nice story, as the victim of a fatal Chico hit-and-run is still having a positive effect on the world two years later. Note to ChicoER: A drunken hit-and-run — with a BAC four times the legal limit, no less — is a crime, not an accident.

 

National

The Travel Channel lists the nation’s top 10 cycling cities. LA must have come in at number 11, right?

A new bike helmet includes built-in front and rear lights. I just happened to see one of these on Sunset Blvd Monday evening; it wasn’t that bright at dusk, but should stand out after dark.

A road raging Portland bike rider is photographed throwing a U-lock at a teenage driver’s car. I’ve said it before — no matter how angry you are or how much you think the driver deserves it, never resort to violence. Period. Great photo, though.

A new Salt Lake City poll shows nearly everyone loves the city’s bike lanes. Except Republicans.

A French cyclist has his recumbent stolen from his Colorado campsite, just one week into a planned 18-month round-the-world tour.

The NYPD is decriminalizing sidewalk riding, opting to issue traffic tickets instead of criminal summons.

Tragically, a Louisiana bike rider is killed by a hit-and-run driver just one day before his 46th birthday.

Florida commits to installing buffered bike lanes when possible. Which wouldn’t have helped the rider who was intentionally run down, then shot at by a driver; the suspect faces multiple felony charges.

 

International

An Ottawa writer suggests kicking bikes off the bike paths.

London’s Telegraph expresses concern that the increase in bicycling is putting Britain’s economic recovery at risk, because a whopping 5% of people polled had taken out personal loans to buy either a car or a bike. No, really, I think they’re serious.

A pair of Scot students design a bike rack with a built-in lock, so you don’t have to tote a heavy U-lock everywhere you go. Or have one to throw at the driver behind you, for that matter (see above).

The great-grand-nephew of its founder is reviving a classic Latvian bike brand.

An unconscious Aussie man was found lying in the street wearing a bike helmet; police eventually found the bike the apparent hit-and-run victim was riding in the top of a tree.

The Thai hit-and-run driver who plowed into a group of cyclists, killing one, turns himself in four days later. But swears he wasn’t drunk and that he pulled over to talk on his cell phone. Honest.

 

Finally…

Here’s one problem we don’t have in LA, as a noted South African cyclist faces surgery after colliding with a water buffalo; sadly, the buffalo didn’t make it. The next time a truck runs you off the road, it may not have a driver to yell at.

And if you’re carrying a billiard ball wrapped in a bandana, put some damn lights on your bike…wait, what?

 

23-year old bike rider killed last week in Granada Hills truck collision

Today is turning into a very sad day.

Last Thursday, I received a secondhand report that a bicyclist had been killed in Granada Hills earlier in the week. Since then, I’ve been working with Asher M to confirm the report, without success

Sadly, that came today, when the LAPD’s bike liaison for the Valley Traffic Division confirmed that that a rider was killed last week.

According to his email, the victim was crossing Nordhoff Street while riding north on Petit Ave when multiple witnesses report he went through the red light while riding against traffic, and was struck by a vehicle.

No time was given for the collision.

Asher was able to track down Facebook and Instagram pages identifying the victim as 23-year old Andrew Fang. A memorial post indicates he was on his way home from school when he was hit by a truck, and died in the hospital the following day.

A fund has been established to help his family cover the unexpected costs relating to his death. As of today, it has raised a little over $3,800 of the $10,000 goal.

This is the 18th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth in Los Angeles County; it’s also the third in the City of Los Angeles. That compares with 16 in the county and four in the city this time last year.

Update: The wreck occurred at 7:50 pm, so visibility may have been an issue, as well.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Andrew Fang and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Asher M, whose assistance was invaluable.

62-year old crosswalk rider killed in Santa Ana left cross collision

Bad news from Santa Ana.

I learned late last night from a source in Orange County that a bike rider was killed in a left cross while riding in a crosswalk Monday evening.

The victim, identified by the Orange County Coroner as 62-year old Robert Horton, was riding in a crosswalk along 17th Street when he hit by a car turning left onto the northbound I-5 Freeway onramp around 5:20 pm.

He was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where he was pronounced dead at 6:06 pm.

Presumably, Horton was riding on the sidewalk when he rode into the crosswalk; no word on which side of the street he was on or which direction he was riding.

Riding on the sidewalk is banned in the downtown area in Santa Ana; whether that would apply along the freeway is unclear. Depending on how the local police apply the confusing laws on riding in a crosswalk, he could be blamed for the collision if he was riding against traffic.

However, looking at Google Earth, it’s unclear how the driver could have made a legal left turn onto either onramp, since they appear to be designed for right turns only, with left turns blocked by the median.

And while the Orange County Register identifies the make and model of the car, there’s no word on the driver. Or even if the car had one.

This is the 17th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Orange County. That compares with 38 and eight, respectively, this time last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Robert Horton and his family. 

Thanks to James Johnson of Johnson Attorneys Group for the heads-up.

Weekend Links: Bike the Vote endorses Ramsay, bike protest at Malibu City Hall, and rough week for LA cyclists

Too much news, good and bad, for one weekend.

So let’s dive right in.

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Bike the Vote LA has officially come out in favor of Carolyn Ramsay in the May 19th election for LA’s Council District 4, which they describe as crucial for LA cyclists.

And as someone who lives in the district, so do I. Bike-friendly improvements can’t come soon enough to an area where there are far too few safe and comfortable options for cyclists.

Riders are invited to join Bike the Vote LA to canvass for Ramsay on Saturday.

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LA’s Mobility Plan 2035 goes before the Planning Commission on May 29th at the Van Nuys City Hall. The plan incorporates the 2010 bike plan, which has been gutted in some areas by a handful of city councilmembers, despite being unanimously approved the council in 2011.

Evidently, unanimous votes don’t mean what they used to. Maybe they had their fingers crossed.

You might want to consider showing up to tell the Planning Commission how you feel about that.

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If you ride PCH or the Malibu Hills, you owe it to yourself to protest the illegal mistreatment of cyclists by the motorists on the highway, as well as by members of the LA County Sheriff’s Department.

Join Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson at Malibu City Hall at 9 am on Saturday, May 9th, or meet him at Will Rogers State Park to ride into the city as a group. And hopefully not get any tickets for not riding in the non-existent bike lane along the way.

This has been an ongoing problem in the area, as bike riders work with the department to ensure fair enforcement, only to see new officers transferred in who don’t understand the basics of bike law, so the process starts all over again.

And it’s time it stopped.

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It’s been a rough week for LA cyclists.

According to a Facebook account, two bike riders training for the AIDS/Lifecycle Ride were mugged and robbed at gunpoint by three men on the LA River bike path Wednesday night.

One of the riders was eventually able to get away, but the other lost his bike and cell phone to the thieves.

Unfortunately, the account doesn’t say where it happened on the bike path. So be alert out there, especially at night. Thanks to Matt Ruscigno for the heads-up.

Then there’s this case, where a cyclist definitely didn’t get a three-foot passing margin.

In another Facebook account, a rider describes being passed by a vehicle so closely that the trailer it was pulling actually brushed his foot, scraping the side of his shoe — despite the fact that he was riding at the speed limit in a no passing zone.

Needless to say, the driver refused to take any responsibility, instead blaming his victim for being on the road. Or maybe the planet. Thanks to Mike Kim for the link.

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A Santa Ana cyclist is in critical condition after he was right hooked by a large truck when he came off a sidewalk into the street, and was caught under the rear wheels of the truck. He was dragged about 200 feet before the truck came to a stop.

As usual, the driver was not cited.

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Let’s catch up with the upcoming bike events.

Don’t forget Ride On! Bike Day at Amoeba Records from noon to 4 pm this Sunday, benefitting the LACBC.

All ages are welcome to the family friendly second annual Walk ‘N Roll Festival in Culver City this Sunday.

The Eastside Bike Club is hosting a breakfast ride on Sunday to kick off Bike Month.

Santa Clarita will host their free Hit the Trail community bike ride on Saturday, May 9th.

The LA edition of the worldwide CycloFemme Global Women’s Cycling Day movement rolls on Sunday, May 10th, starting at the Spoke Bicycle Café on the LA River bike path.

Tour LA’s iconic street art with the Eastside Mural Ride on Saturday, May 16th.

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Local

CiclaValley goes climbing.

Councilmember Jose’ Huizar calls for re-evaluating streets in Downtown LA to make them safer for bike riders and pedestrians.

A new bike from LA-based Pure Fix pays tribute to the late rapper Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls, and former NBA All-Star Rasheed Wallace. But could it support an extra large rider like Biggie?

Santa Monica businesses can join in the city’s 2015 Commuter Challenge: Bike Month to see which company can achieve the highest CO2 savings by having their employees bike to work through May. Which just happens to be National Bike Month, as well as the start of the National Bike Challenge.

Manhattan Beach residents raise a whopping 543% of their Indiegogo goal to market an affordable e-bike beach cruiser.

The long planned two-way bikeway connecting Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach should be rideable by Memorial Day.

Advice on bicycling in LA County from a student at Biola University.

 

State

Schedule your life around the TV viewing schedule for the Amgen Tour of California for the next few weeks. Needless to say, the women’s races won’t be televised — except for a one-hour 11 pm highlight show. So much for network support for women’s racing.

Unbelievable. San Diego police are looking for a road raging truck driver who hit bike rider in the head with a hammer during an argument. I repeat, he hit a bike rider in the head with a hammer. Proof that bike helmets really do help.

The San Diego Bike Coalition kicked off Bike Month a day early. Apparently, they were too excited to wait another day.

A Modesto driver gets six years for a hit-and-run that seriously injured a cyclist while she was high on meth; somehow, she was still allowed on the road despite two previous DUIs.

Sacramento considers putting more of their streets on a diet.

I’ve said it before: It takes a major schmuck to mug a small boy and steal his bike, this time in Calaveras County.

A proposed Merced bike path is the regional finalist in a $100,000 contest sponsored by Bell Helmets.

San Francisco buses get triple bike racks, something we’ve been promised down here now that the law has been changed to allow them.

A Marin equestrian says safely sharing every trail with bikes, hikers and horses is an illusion. Maybe so, but bike riders and hikers hardly ever poop on the trail.

 

National

Bicycling lists 10 mistakes for beginner bike riders to avoid.

A new bipartisan Safe Streets bill in Congress would give planners two years to adopt Complete Streets policies for all federally funded transportation projects.

Denver bike messengers adapt to a declining market, while a London bike courier spills his secrets.

Mountain biking ex-president Bush does his best Elvis impersonation while leading wounded vets across his Texas ranch on the first leg of a 100 mile ride.

A Milwaukee writer discusses how to transport your dogs by bike.

A Vermont website worries that Complete Streets safety improvements will make things worse for cyclists in the wake of recent bicycling collisions. Even though none of them had anything to do with Complete Streets.

Bono still can’t play guitar five months after his bicycling spill in New York’s Central Park; it could take him another 13 months to learn if he’ll regain feeling in his hand.

Baltimore’s hit-and-run bishop gets defrocked four months after the alcohol-fueled death of a cyclist.

Wal-Mart isn’t responsible for the injuries suffered when a Mississippi boy took one of their bicycle-shaped objects for the spin through the store.

A Florida rider discusses when to pack it in and call the SAG wagon.

 

International

Advice on how to ride around the world from a Scottish rider who set a record doing it; a fellow world traveler writes about his plans to cross Australia by bike.

Here’s something LA riders can relate to, as a hard-won Toronto bike lane is blocked by a film shoot.

Canadian teens ride from Auschwitz to a Netherlands Nazi transit camp to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation Holland.

A UK rider is nearly garroted by an extended dog leash while riding on a bike path.

Caught on video: This is why you need good brakes, as a Brit bike rider barely avoids becoming bus fodder.

Also caught on video: The owner of a Dutch cat litter company converts his bakfiets into a kitty carriage for a 300-mile journey from Amsterdam to London.

VeloNews asks if the Vuelta has lost its mojo.

German police thwart an alleged plot to bomb a Frankfurt bike race; the race was cancelled in the wake of the arrests.

Touring China by bike may be the best way to find clean air and quiet in the booming country; meanwhile, a 28-year old Pomona College student is honored for teaching Chinese people how to take control of their own lives by building bamboo bikes.

 

Finally…

If you’re trying to sell a stolen bike, try to make sure your coffee-drinking potential customers aren’t off-duty cops. An Indian cyclist credits his survival in a hit-and-run in part to his knee and elbow pads, while a badly injured Brit rider thanks his badly mangled helmet.

Your next bike could be made of carbon fiber, ash and mahogany, though that wooden saddle looks a tad harsh. And you may never have to look up while you ride again; although personally, I’d be more impressed if it showed what’s behind me, instead. Thanks to Ed Ryder for the tip.

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One last note. I’ve been told about a possible bicycling fatality in Granada Hills on Wednesday, but haven’t been able to get confirmation; both the CHP and the LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division say they aren’t aware of anything. 

Let’s hope this one’s just a false alarm.

Morning Links: Turning private tragedy into help for others, and a 3-decade old AG opinion on sidewalk riding

Donny McCluskey in better days.

Donny McCluskey in better days.

Okay, so this one made me cry.

You see, one reason I write about fallen cyclists is the hope that somehow, some good will come out of such senseless loss. Whether in the form of improved safety measures at the site of the collision, or in some other way.

Patti McCluskey Andre made sure that happened.

It was just over three years ago that her brother, Donny McCluskey, stood waiting with his bike, for a Palm Springs red light to change. He was in the right place, exactly where he was supposed to be, obeying the law so many motorists seem to think we break with abandon.

Yet in the intersection in front of him, a drunk driver was hit by a motorist running that same red light. One of the vehicles went ballistic, spinning out of control and crashing into him; with his feet planted on the ground, there was nothing he could do to avoid the impact.

In seconds, he became collateral damage to the dangers on our streets, a victim of actions beyond his control.

The remorseful driver who ran the red light was ultimately convicted and placed on three years probation and community service. This at the request of the victim’s family, who saw no benefit in putting him behind bars.

In most cases, that would have been the end of it.

They would have walked away, mourning the loss of someone so dear to them, and trying to find some way to put it all behind them.

But Patti wanted Donny’s life to mean something.

So she started a fund in his name, which this month awarded its first two scholarships.

Here’s what she had to say:

Yesterday I had the honor of awarding the first 2 in memory of Donny McCluskey scholarships. Both recipients, Lisa Ponsford and Wendi Swanson are family nurse practitioners graduating in May with their DNPs. As FNPS working in our communities — they have the power to promote change at every level. Lisa works in the ER and Wendi in college health plus both are educators at WesternU. Both recipients are physically active and dedicated to changing population health with lifestyle interventions.

Both recipients were honored and touched to be chosen for this scholarship. All I can say is that I am honored to know them and wish they had known Donny, he would have been honored to have his name associated with these two!

Just how big a heart does it take to turn your own private tragedy into something so positive? Let alone something that will not only benefit those who receive them, but everyone whose lives they touch?

Patti has thanked me more than once for the work I do here. But I am in awe of her, and what she’s done to not only channel her own grief, but make our world a better place.

She’s currently raising funds for an additional scholarship for a graduate or doctoral student of Health Science at the same university. And promises to match every donation dollar for dollar.

I can’t think of a better cause.

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In light of yesterday’s guest post about riding on crosswalks, I was forwarded this 1993 opinion from then California Attorney General Dan Lundgren, concluding that the rules of the road do indeed apply to bicyclists on the sidewalk, and that sidewalk cyclists can be required to ride with traffic.

We note that certain rules of the road concern the use of the roadway in particular rather than the highway in general (e.g., § 2165 [except in specified circumstances, a vehicle upon the highway is to be driven upon the right half of the roadway]). Although a sidewalk is a separate part of the highway from the roadway, we believe that, given the factors discussed above, the intent of the Legislature was for the operation of a bicycle on a sidewalk to be similar to vehicular travel wherever practicable. Therefore, to the extent that a vehicle must be driven on the right half of the roadway, a bicyclist riding on an adjacent sidewalk must travel in the same direction as the vehicular traffic. This interpretation of section 21200 provides pedestrians with some assurance as to the direction of bicycle riders on sidewalks at all times. Such statutory construction is consistent with the well-established principle that “[t]he courts must give statutes a reasonable construction which conforms to the apparent purpose and intention of the lawmakers.” (Clean Air Constituency v. California Air Resources Bd. (1974) 11 Cal.3d 801, 813.)

Of course, an opinion of the AG does not have the force law.

It’s up to the courts to interpret and rule on the meaning of laws guiding the use of bicycles on the sidewalk, as well as the crosswalks. And laws can be amended, and interpretations change, over three decades.

I don’t know of any California city where sidewalk riders are routinely expected to ride in the direction of traffic. However, many police departments — including the LAPD — believe bikes become vehicles once they enter the street, and so must travel in the direction of traffic when they enter a crosswalk, yesterday’s post not withstanding.

But it’s interesting to see such a different interpretation of the law from thirty years ago.

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Somehow I missed this column from an auto-centric writer in my otherwise bike friendly home state, insisting that bike riders are law breaking junior partners who deserve only a small share of the road. And of course, the usual complaints about a “subset” of arrogant, self-righteous, self-centered and condescending riders.

A cyclist responds by shouting tongue-in-cheek taunts at other riders when he’s behind the wheel.

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An article in a Boston College environmental law review makes the case for how strict liability could even the scales on our roads, improve safety and encourage more environmentally friendly forms of commuting.

Like bicycling, for instance.

Strict liability is based on the assumption that motorists, as the operators of the more dangerous vehicles, have a greater responsibility for avoiding collisions, and so are presumed to be at fault in a collision unless it can be shown otherwise.

Adopting it here is probably the biggest step we could take to reduce reckless behavior behind the wheel and stop the carnage on our streets.

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Local

Thieves made off with nine bikes in DTLA in a one week period this month; eight of the purloined bicycles had their locks cut.

Turns out there’s already bike share in Century City, while nearby Westwood’s new bike corral is being put to good use.

Fear of a more user-friendly future on our streets rears its ugly head, as the president of the Miracle Mile Residential Associations waves a red flag and LADOT’s senior planner appears to backpedal on the city’s draft mobility plan.

The first bike lane in the ‘Bu finally opens, but it’s just a tad shorter than earlier reports. Instead of seven miles long, it’s two miles, along with an improved seven-mile bike route.

Glendale police held a fundraiser for next week’s 300-mile Police Unity Tour to honor fallen officers.

 

State

Irvine police make their second bust in two days of thieves stealing copper wire from the lights along a bike path next to the 405 Freeway. But at least the crooks were on bikes, right?

No bias here, as the Press-Enterprise says a bike rider was badly hurt when he ran into a car; never mind that he was actually right-hooked. Note to the P-E: The victim was cut off, not passing on the right; thanks to sponsor Michael Rubinstein for the link.

No bias here, either. A Hollister newspaper reports a bike-riding child hit a car and fell over, but fails to mention if the car was even moving at the time. And in more Hollister news, if you’re a known gang member carrying a concealed weapon, ride to the right, damn it.

San Francisco police arrest the unlicensed hit-and-run driver who plowed into three bicyclists earlier this month; she’s scheduled to appear in court today.

In an exercise in sheer stupidity, a San Francisco man is arrested for stabbing another man to death in a dispute over a bicycle.

Police in Menlo Park are looking for a bike rider who whacked a driver in the head with his bike lock after throwing something at his car. Seriously, no matter how much you think someone might deserve it, don’t resort to violence. Ever. Period.

 

National

Bikes hardly ever catch on fire. Unless maybe you’re on a Pedego e-bike; the company just recalled their batteries due to a fire hazard.

A new study says bike shares are more successful when the stations are close together. Are you listening, Metro?

A website lists the three best American cities to tour by bike. No, Los Angeles isn’t one of them.

Here’s that full report on bike helmets from Consumer Reports.

A Portland website asks if bike locks of the future could end 120 years of thieving bastards. Their words, not mine, but I like the way they think.

An Oregon judge gives a repeat drunk driver yet another second chance, despite already spending time in prison for killing a cyclist in 2004. The driver, not the judge. This is how we keep drunks on the road until they kill someone. Or in this case, kill again.

Yuma AZ changes the city ordinance to require cyclists to ride with traffic, after two-thirds of bicycling collision victims in the town were riding salmon. Which makes you wonder what the hell the law was there before.

Mad City cyclists will get a new $3 million bike and ped bridge this September.

A off-duty Cleveland cop is punched in the arm by an 81-year old man for riding his bike on a multi-use bike path.

Residents of a New York neighborhood complain about scofflaw salmon cyclists, unlike all those law abiding drivers on Gotham streets. Evidently, New York moms don’t teach their kids to look both ways before crossing the street, either.

LA may be the mecca for food trucks, but Pittsburgh is about to get the Porkrind Bike, delivering 15-flavors of free-range chicharróns.

A three-time DUI loser is sentenced to over 10 years behind bars for the death of a Virginia bike rider, after a BAC two-and-a-half times the legal limit — then has eight years suspended. See above about why we can’t get drunks off the roads before they kill. Or kill again.

 

International

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, a sociologist explains that Europeans are more likely to be injured riding a bike, though we Americans are more likely to wear a helmet. And says he doesn’t, even though he thinks he probably should.

Quebec’s Transport Minister is leaning against a mandatory helmet law, saying it would be hard to enforce.

An amateur Brit bike racer spends the equivalent of nearly $40,000 competing in a single year. Many amateur racers would like to just have that much money, let alone spend it on racing.

That’s one way to get the streets fixed, as a UK graffiti artist draws attention to potholes by drawing a penis around them. Thanks to Topher Mathers for heads-up.

The Wall Street Journal offers five things to know about riding in Amsterdam.

At least we only have to worry about LA drivers, as a South African cyclist was apparently killed by a giraffe.

 

Finally…

Slowtwitch offers advice on group riding for triathletes attempting to infiltrate the peloton. Advice on how to tell another rider his ass is showing through his spandex shorts.

And an off-duty Houston cop with crappy aim shot at a man stealing a bike from his porch twelve times — yes, 12 — because he “thought” the thief was armed. Apparently without hitting anyone, though police briefly followed a trail of dried paint or tomato juice.

Seriously, you can’t make this crap up.

 

BOLO Alert: Bike rider seriously injured in East LA hit-and-run

This one is hard to take.

Police are asking the public to be on the lookout for the driver of a white Toyota pickup who plowed into an East LA bike rider, then simply drove off without so much as slowing down.

KTLA-5 reports the wreck, which occurred at 9:15 am Monday, was caught on a security camera; fair warning, the video is stomach churning, to say the least.

The victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was riding east on the north sidewalk of Olympic Blvd when he attempted to cross Arizona Ave in the crosswalk. The driver of the pickup, which was headed south on Arizona, went through the red light, violently knocking the rider off his bike before turning right and speeding down Olympic.

The victim was transported to County USC Medical Center with major head trauma.

The CHP, which investigates major traffic collisions in unincorporated areas of the county, is looking for a white, mid-‘80s Toyota pickup with an extended cab, metal rack and black side graphics.

Anyone with information is urged to call 323-980-4600 or the Traffic Management Center (TMC) at 323-259-2010.

Let’s find this heartless jerk.

Unidentified bike rider killed in Bloomington collision

Bad news from San Bernardino County.

According to the county coroners office, a bike rider was killed when he rode out into the path of a car in Bloomington yesterday evening.

The collision occurred about 6:48 pm near 11100 Cedar Ave when the rider reportedly darted out of a driveway into the path of an oncoming car. No word on why he exited the drive or didn’t appear to see the car coming.

The San Bernardino Sun reports the victim, identified only as a 34-year old Hispanic man, was transported to Kaiser Permanente in Fontana with severe injuries to his head and torso. He died at 7:26 pm, about 45 minutes after the collision.

According to the Sun, the victim was not carrying ID, and would have to be identified by the coroner.

Let this be a reminder to always carry some form of identification whenever you ride. Your loved ones deserve to know if anything happens, and your survival could depend on emergency care providers learning who you are and what medical conditions you may have.

I now ride with a Road ID that lists emergency contact numbers, as well as information about my diabetes. Just in case.

This is the 15th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in San Bernardino County. That compares with 34 in SoCal and three in the county this time last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones.

Thanks to James Johnson of Johnson Attorneys Group for the heads-up.

 

Update: Guilty plea in case of fallen OC cyclist Joseph Robinson

A source calling from the courthouse in Orange County has just reported that the driver who killed 21-year old Jax Bicycle Center employee Joseph Robinson has pleaded guilty to hit-and-run and drug charges, and will face significant jail time.

Sommer Niclole Gonzales, just 18 at the time of the collision, was sentenced to spend the next 11 years of her life behind bars after she admitted responsibility and waived her right to appeal.

Robinson was taking the long way to work on a sunny February morning last year when he was run down from behind while riding in the bike lane on Santiago Canyon Road.

He was hit with enough force to knock him and his bike completely off the roadway; his body was only discovered because an off-duty fire captain spotted a car with a shattered windshield speeding in the opposite direction, then saw a single shoe lying on the side of the roadway.

Gonzales was arrested in a parking lot a short time later as a friend helped her transfer her belongings into another car, in an apparent attempt to cover up her responsibility for the crime. She was found in possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia at the time of her arrest.

No word on why her friend wasn’t charged for assisting in the attempted coverup.

The victim’s family was reportedly in tears following the sentencing.

According to the source, the judge’s final words to her were “What a tragedy. Just because you wanted to do meth.”

Update: I corrected the above quote from the judge, which was off slightly due to a bad phone connection.

Gonzales will get credit for 888 days served, reducing her sentence by nearly two-and-a-half years; she’ll also serve three years parole upon her release.

Update 2: According to a press release from the Orange County DA’s office, Gonzales was found guilty of:

  • Felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated
  • Felony hit and run with death
  • Misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance
  • Misdemeanor use and under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance paraphernalia
  • Along with a sentencing enhancement allegation for fleeing the scene of a vehicular manslaughter

Robinson’s family offered emotional impact statements, including this video from his mother showing him riding in happier days.

Then there’s this moving quote from his sister.

“My heart literally hurts when I think about my brother, I can’t think about him without crying. My drive to work takes me right past the accident site where his ghost bike is still hanging. Every morning and night as I pass that spot, I tell Joey aloud that I love him and cry.”

If you’ve ever wondered what harm driving under the influence can cause, that pretty much sums it up.

Thanks to Jeffrey Fylling for the press release.

Update 3: My News LA adds more details, including quotes from Robinson’s family members and his girlfriend. 

The story also quotes Gonzales’ attorney explaining that she had first tried marijuana at age 12, and quickly moved on to meth, which she had been her drug of choice ever since.

According to the attorney, she knew she had hit something, and stopped to see what it was, but continued on when she didn’t see Robinson or his bike. 

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