Archive for Hit-and-Run

Morning Links: Glendale legislator wants to mandate helmets and hi-viz; help Finish the Ride fight hit-and-run

Forget riding in regular clothes. Or going out for a quick ride without your helmet.

Or even building a successful bike share program.

All those are likely to be tossed out the window if Glendale State Senator Carol Liu has her way.

Not that she’s anti-bike. In fact, I’m told that she’s a regular supporter of bike initiatives.

But on Wednesday, Liu surprised everyone by introducing a proposed law that would require all bike riders, even those over 18, to wear a bike helmet every time they ride. Along with reflectorized hi-visibility clothing anytime they — that is, you — ride after dark.

And by surprised, I mean blindsided. Even people who regularly work with the senator on bike issues had no idea this bill was in the works.

The reaction was almost instantaneous. And universally negative.

Cyclelicious calls it the “Remove Cyclists From California Roads Law of 2015″ or, alternatively, the “Harass Minorities On Bikes Law of 2015,” both of which have been the result of misguided attempts to impose and enforce helmet laws elsewhere.

Longbeachize cites stats and studies to support the argument that the choice to wear a helmet should remain just that.

And Streetsblog points out it doesn’t address the actual dangers on our streets, like distracted driving and speeding.

Let’s ignore the fact that while requiring bike helmets has been shown to reduce the level of head injuries in other countries, it’s done so by reducing the level of bike riding. Fewer cyclists on the road mean fewer riders getting hurt.

And that helmet laws for riders under 18 in this country have been blamed in part for the dramatic drop-off in bike ridership by America’s youth.

Never mind that Australia’s restrictive helmet law has been blamed for the failure of bike share programs in that country, since no one can legally rent one without donning a helmet.

The simple fact is, bike helmets are not the magic safety devices many people wish they were.

Bike helmets are only designed to provide protection in impacts up to 12.5 mph. In other words, a relatively slow fall off your bike, not a collision with a speeding car.

Yes, they can offer some degree of protection in a wreck. But thinking of them as the bicycle equivalent of a seat belt or air bag is dramatically off base.

And while they can help prevent head trauma, they aren’t designed to prevent concussions. Or to protect against injury to any other part of the body.

Which is something Senator Liu should understand, since her own nephew was wearing a helmet when he was killed, and his girlfriend paralyzed, in a collision with a drunk driver in 2004.

Yes, I always wear a helmet when I ride. But I never count on it to save my life.

A bike helmet should always be seen as a last line of defense if all else fails, not the first. It’s far better to avoid collisions and falls in the first place.

And like the requirement to wear hi-viz after dark, it puts the responsibility for safety on cyclists, rather than on government officials, road planners and yes, drivers to ensure our roads are safe.

Just like those ridiculous flags pedestrians are expected to wave as they cross the street. And in a marked crosswalk, no less.

It leaves it up to us not to get hit, rather than up to drivers not to hit us.

A far better alternative would be to encourage, rather than attempt to force, helmet use allowing bike riders to discount the cost of a helmet on their taxes. And encouraging federal officials to raise the safety standards for bike helmets to do more good in real world situations.

Along with taking steps to educate both cyclists and drivers, and improve out streets to prevent collisions in the first place.

Let’s hope this wannabe law dies a quick and quiet death in the legislature. Before it ends up killing the bike boom we’re currently experiencing.

Thanks to Bill Davidson for the heads-up.

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Davidson also points out that other ridiculous proposed bike law, which would have required bikes to have a blinking white tail light after dark has been amended to require a blinking red light instead.

Probably because as originally written, it would have gone against traffic safety regulations for virtually every country around the world, which require white lights in the front and red lights on the rear of virtually every vehicle.

On the other hand, many cyclists are currently breaking the law by using a red tail light, rather than the red reflector our outdated laws currently require.

Bike riders should have the option to use a red light, blinking or steady, in place of a reflector. And to use lights, ankle straps or other means of signaling their presence in place of the wheel and pedal reflectors currently required.

The point should be to maximize visibility and safety.

Not adhere to obsolete regulations that do neither.

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Damian Kevitt’s Finish the Ride foundation is preparing to post their first billboards to fight the epidemic of hit-and-run.

But they need your help to raise the funds needed to put them up.

He’s also looking for input on which of the two alternative concepts you prefer. If you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments below and I’ll make sure he sees them.

H&R Billboard 1

H&R Billboard 2

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Must read piece by Stephen Corwin on LA’s disastrous addiction to cars, which he compares to cancer. And says driving less won’t fix it.

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Good advice from CABO on how to fight a bad bike traffic ticket.

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A webinar will be held on Friday, February 27th to discuss how stress level analysis can result in more effective bike network planning.

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Local

Flying Pigeon says South Pasadena officials deserve to be sued for blocking LA bike lanes from connecting with their equivalent on the other side of a dangerous bridge.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department recommends registering your bike to keep it from being a target for thieves.

CICLE is looking for Web Developer/SEO Engineer.

Santa Monica’s upcoming bike share program is officially named Breeze. Which will inevitably lead to comments like “Breeze blows” the any time a problem develops.

The monthly Spoke(n) Art Ride rolls this Saturday.

The authors of Where to Bike Los Angeles will host a ride with the LACBC this Sunday to the Pointe Vincente Lighthouse.

Malibu is hosting a public meeting on Thursday to discuss the PCH Public Safety Study. If you ride the notoriously dangerous highway, make plans to be there.

 

State

A Laguna Beach writer says the city has done a lot in response to recent bicycling fatalities, but there’s more to be done. However, sharing a bike lane with pedestrians is never a good idea.

A Riverside cyclist is severely injured in yet another hit-and-run.

Safety is the top priority for this weekend’s Tour de Palm Springs after Lavonne Koester was killed during last year’s ride.

Bike advocates say San Francisco isn’t doing enough to fulfill its commitment to Vision Zero. On the other hand, they’re doing more than LA is.

Bike racks sprout in downtown Merced.

 

National

CityLab takes an in-depth look at road rage, and says the solution may lie in better street design and road planning. Meanwhile a Seattle writer says middle fingers won’t solve anything.

An Arizona hit-and-run driver admits to smoking dope on a daily basis, but blames his eight-year old victim anyway.

My hometown newspaper concludes their devastating look at a local hit-and-run by asking if justice was done. Also a must read.

A Pennsylvania man rides his bike every day. And has for 32 years.

Now that’s more like it. A severely drunk Louisiana driver faces up to 30 year in prison for killing one cyclist and severely injuring another; the driver’s BAC was nearly four times the legal limit.

 

International

Today is International Winter Bike to Work Day. Which should be very easy to do here in LA.

Just in time for Valentines Day, Vancouver gets heart-shaped bike racks. Then again, so does London.

After a Canadian bike rider is seriously injured in a collision, he gets a $6,000 bill from the driver’s insurance company for damage to the SUV that laid him up for three months.

Twitter helps a London cyclist get his bike back four months after it was stolen and taken to Spain, while another Brit can’t seem to get rid of one.

Plans for that London bike superhighway hits a snag when British officials decide they don’t want bike lanes besmirching Buckingham Palace. But all those traffic lanes in front of the palace are perfectly okay.

Evidently, it’s a universal problem. After Egypt installs bike lanes, they turn into parking lots.

An Aussie website compares underground bike racing to the Fast & Furious, and uses LA’s bike scene as the prime example.

 

Finally…

You’re not a MAMIL, you’re a grown man on bike. A Montana lawmaker’s proposed legislation would ban yoga pants, among other “provocative” garments, in response to Missoula’s equivalent of the World Naked Bike Ride is appropriately laughed out of committee.

And when you buy this $52,000 bike basket they’ll throw in the bike for free.

 

Morning Links: LA finally gets tough on hit-and-run, Calimesa driver convicted in fatal DUI hit-and-run

Now that’s more like it.

After years of rampant, unsolved hit-and-runs that have made this the City of Fallen Angels, Los Angeles is finally getting tough on fleeing drivers.

Streetsblog reports LA will establish its own Amber Alert-style emergency notification system after Governor Brown vetoed a similar statewide system last year. Alerts will be sent out on social media, including Facebook and Twitter, to warn the public to be on the lookout for drivers responsible for serious hit-and-runs.

In addition, the city is establishing a standing reward for information leading to the conviction of runaway drivers, ranging from $1,000 for a collision resulting in property damage with no injuries, up to $50,000 for fatal collisions.

It won’t remove the incentive to flee.

But maybe if more drivers are convicted of the crime, others may think twice about flooring it following a wreck.

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William Donald Johnson has been convicted in the allegedly booze and drug-fueled hit-and-run death of cyclist Phillip Richards in Calimesa at the end of 2013. He reportedly fled the scene after crossing the center line to hit Richards head-on.

Johnson faces up to 15 well-deserved years in prison.

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Local

The next Bicycle Roundtable is scheduled for 6:30 pm this Thursday at Metro headquarters. The agenda includes updates on bike share, bike platform symbols and complete streets policy; the latter earned them national recognition for last year’s efforts.

A USC student was hit by a car while she was riding in a marked intersection near campus, while those darn cops refuse to play fair, hiding behind cars and trees to catch law-breaking Trojans.

Ciclavalley examines the Forest Lawn Death Trap as part of a series on the worst bike lanes in Los Angeles. Which sadly seems to be a much longer list than the best ones.

South Pasadena’s Monterey Road may be up for a road diet.

 

State

San Diego finally hit the on switch for its long-delayed bike share system.

A salmon cyclist suffers two broken wrists in Brea collision when she’s hit by a car pulling out of a parking lot; drivers seldom look for anyone coming against traffic.

Participation will be off at this weekend’s Tour de Palm Springs due to a lack of available hotel rooms, while riders taking part in the tour may have to wait for the presidential motorcade to pass.

A Texas man and his dog bike from Main to Monterey the long way.

 

National

An Anchorage man averaged a speedy six mph on a 225 mile fat bike race along the frozen Iditarod trail.

Someone is removing ghost bikes from the streets of Houston. But at least the city is getting green lanes downtown.

Only 18 bicyclists have been injured using Chicago’s bike share system since it was introduced 2-1/2 years and 3.2 million rides ago. Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s successful bike share is expanding into neighboring Kentucky.

The seemingly endless battle of bikeways versus parking rears its ugly head once again, this time from St. Paul business owners. Because only motorists could conceivably spend money, not bike riders. Right?

Wisconsin’s conservative governor takes aim at funding for bike and pedestrian projects.

Stickers saying “I parked in a bike lane” are called too passive aggressive for New Yorkers, who are more likely to simply bash a windshield with a U-lock according to one Gotham cyclist.

How to ride a Mississippi roundabout.

A road raging West Palm Beach driver intentionally crashes into a bike rider, then gets out and punches him, apparently just for being in his way.

An Orlando writer discovers biking to work is more fun than driving, though a DC writer might disagree after giving up biking to work following a solo crash he can’t remember.

 

International

A look at the history of bicycling superhighways, both real and vaporware, starting with the elevated bikeway that eventually became LA’s first freeway. Meanwhile, City Lab criticizes all those farfetched plans to remove bikes from the streets, because it’s not the bikes that are the problem.

Safety fears keep British kids from bicycling.

London cyclists stage another massive die-in to call for safety.

Talk about distracted driving. A Scottish driver is photographed using headphones, a mobile phone and a laptop computer while he drove, all at the same time.

Greg LeMond handicaps this year’s Tour de France, saying Froome is the favorite but don’t Quintana count out. And says cycling needed Lance to crash and burn.

A cold-hearted Aussie woman actually bragged to family and friends about fleeing the scene after hitting a bike rider, leaving him to die of hypothermia in a ditch.

Caught on video: riding on top of a car may be taking sharing an Australian road just a tad too far.

 

Finally…

You might have to wait awhile to print your own bike, at least if you actually want to ride it.

And Walmart’s newest bicycle shaped objects are assembled in the US from foreign-made parts, while Scottish kilts come from Long Beach, courtesy of a cyclist who evidently wanted to air things out after a hard ride.

 

A rider fallen, family and friends shattered, and a young woman on the verge of hard time

It’s hard to believe it’s been a full year.

Yes, all traffic deaths are tragic.

But some seem more troubling than others, haunting the edges of memory until something — an anniversary, a ghost bike, a news story — brings it back full force. And you’re struck once again by the incredible waste of it all.

A life taken for no reason.

Other than a driver’s carelessness and — alleged — criminal behavior.

A 21-year old bike shop worker taking the long way to work early on a Sunday morning, run down from behind by an 18-year old girl accused of having meth in her system from the night before.

It was exactly one year ago today that Joseph Robinson was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding in a bike lane on Santiago Canyon Road in Orange while on his way to Jax Bicycles in Irvine. Sommer Gonzales was charged with the crime after being arrested in a parking lot not far away on Santa Margarita Parkway, reportedly while hiding evidence in a friend’s car.

It was thanks to an off-duty firefighter that Robinson was discovered off the side of the road, on the verge of death. And that a police officer had the information he needed to spot Gonzales’ car and make an arrest.

OC Battalion Chief Mark Stone was on his way to work when he spotted the badly damaged car traveling in the opposite direction, and began looking for what — or who — the car had struck. The only visible sign of the crash was a tumbleweed smashed against a guardrail, and a single bike shoe resting on the road.

Evidently, I’m not the only one who’s been haunted by Robinson’s needless death.

A memorial ride was held in Irvine this morning; hundreds of riders were expected to participate, escorted to the site of his ghost bike by Irvine police and CHP officers.

Meanwhile, Gonzales faces felony charges for vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated, driving under the influence of drugs causing bodily injury, hit-and-run causing death and possession of a controlled substance.

In addition, she’s charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, with sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury and fleeing the scene of a crime, according to the MyNewsLA website.

The site reports she could spend over 15 years in state prison if convicted on the felony charges, with an additional six months in county for the misdemeanor count.

Our anonymous South Bay correspondent was in the courtroom recently for the preliminary hearing for Sommer Gonzales.

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The preliminary held Wednesday, January 21st, was lengthy and at one point during some protracted questioning by the defense, the judge interrupted to remind him that the purpose of the prelim is to present only the most germane facts.

And the facts appear to be these:

Sommer Nicole Gonzales had been hanging out at a private residence in Anaheim on Saturday night. About 3 am on the morning in question, she allegedly smoked meth. A couple hours later, she began her drive to visit a 24-year-old gentleman friend in South County, taking a route familiar to her. Her undamaged vehicle is seen on the video surveillance of a Villa Park 76 Station shortly before she reached Santiago Canyon Road. At 6:47 am she texted a reply to the persistent gentleman friend, saying she was going through Santiago Canyon.

At approximately 6:55 am, she left a frantic message on another friend’s mom’s voicemail, stating that she had “hit something” and needed help. (The mom, for the record, disapproves of her son’s acquaintanceship with Gonzales, and immediately deleted the message.)

Although video surveillance from the gated entrance of the nearby Loma Ridge Emergency Operations Center didn’t capture the impact that flung Joey’s body 200 feet through the air, it shows that Gonzales stopped and exited her damaged vehicle. She did not walk back towards the site of the collision. Instead, twenty-five seconds later, she got back in the driver’s seat and continued driving southbound on Santiago.

OCFA Battilion Chief Marc Stone, commuting northbound, noticed the smashed hood and shattered windshield of Gonzales’ car as it passed him by the south entrance of Irvine Lake. The magnitude of the damage to her windshield initially, very briefly, made him think the car had struck a deer, but his intuition instantly put him on alert. Three miles up the road, he spotted crunched-up tumbleweeds and a lone bike shoe nearby. The same surveillance video shows his truck slow and flip a U-turn. Off camera, he found Joey’s body and dialed 911. Just up the hill, the dispatchers at the Loma Ridge Facility, which houses the county’s emergency communications bureau, relayed the description of the damaged maroon Toyota to law enforcement.

A sharp-eyed Sheriff’s deputy located the suspect’s vehicle, along with the suspect and her 24-year-old gentleman friend, in a parking lot. She had burn marks on her lips and paraphernalia in her purse. She had all sorts of nystagmus and was uncooperative with officers who attempted to administer a field sobriety test. After very few questions, she was taken into custody.

The judge listened to both sides impassively, examining all the exhibits and asking pertinent questions. Throughout the hearing, he was observant, neutral and unreadable, even during the defense’s closing arguments that dropped jaws in the audience.

The defense, possibly sensing the hopelessness of requesting a dismissal of charges, contended that Gonzales’ behavior that night did not meet the definition of gross negligence. The judge disagreed, and stated several reasons to support his opinion: She was high. She was texting. She was on a road familiar to her as one popular with cyclists. She, for whatever reason, maneuvered her vehicle straight into a marked, eight-foot wide bike lane. She failed to investigate the cause of the damage to her vehicle. Fifteen miles away from the scene, she parked her car head-in so that the damage would not be so visible to passers-by. She called pretty much everybody except 911. She made conflicting statements to law enforcement. Her “credibility,” concluded the judge, “is a question for the jury to decide.”

And, despite his calmly expressed finding that the evidence in the case clearly merits a more thorough examination by trial, there was no mistaking his own incredulity at the defense’s claims. I’m fairly sure everyone else in the courtroom (with the exception of Gonzales and her lawyer) wanted to yell “YESSS!” and add a fist pump for good measure.

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She goes on to offer her personal take on the case:

Gonzales is an idiot for not taking whatever lenient plea deal she was offered, because it’s off the table now. Let alone for not learning anything about how to manage her addiction during three (count ‘em, three) stints in rehab as a minor.

And it’s disgusting that her gentleman friend hasn’t been charged as an accessory after the fact. He was helping her remove her possessions from her damaged vehicle when the two were discovered. He’s also the brilliant mind who suggested that she reposition her vehicle so that the damage would be less noticeable, and “accidentally” deleted the texts he sent and received that morning (it took a subpoena to his carrier, but the DA has them all).

Meanwhile, Orange County traffic engineers still think 55 mph is an acceptable speed on a downhill stretch with a blind vertical curve. And the tower visible off in the distance from where Joey was killed, the one that looks like a steeple?

It belongs to the county’s 911 dispatch center.

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Two lives were destroyed that morning; two families shattered and countless friends shaken.

Sommer Gonzales may have a chance to rebuild hers once she finally gets out of prison — assuming she’s convicted, of course.

Joseph Robinson will never get that chance.

 

 

Morning Links: CicLAvia sued over Wilshire hit-and-run; LaBonge keeps Glendale-Hyperion Bridge dangerous

Maybe you remember.

It was during the June, 2013 Wilshire CicLAvia when a bike rider was hit by a hit-and-run driver during the ostensibly car-free event.

Now CicLAvia has been sued by the rider, who suffered three broken vertebrae when an impatient motorist drove through the barricades blocking a cross street and sped across the boulevard, striking him in the process.

No arrest was ever made, making it impossible to sue the person actually responsible for the injuries. So instead, the victim’s lawyer is going after the nearest deep pockets, which is what lawyers are paid to do. Although how deep CicLAvia’s pockets are remains to be seen.

Presumably, the non-profit organization has insurance to cover cases like this, so it’s unlikely that it will affect future events. Although increased costs for insurance coverage and security are likely to make them more expensive to stage.

And don’t expect to hear CicLAvia respond to the suit. They’ve undoubtedly been advised by their attorneys not to comment publicly on the case.

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It’s been a long time since we’ve heard from erstwhile bike blogger Will Campbell, now an animal cop with the spcaLA.

Will explains that the local spcaLA is not associated with the national ASPCA, and any donations made in response to the ubiquitous ad with the sad-eyed dogs and cats won’t benefit homeless or abused animals here in the City of Angels.

He invites you to guess how many coins are in a jar he plans to donate to the society; the winner can have the donation made in their name. Or you can donate directly through the society’s website.

No, it doesn’t have anything to do with bikes.

But it’s a damn good cause.

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‘Tis the season.

A Turlock, CA group puts together 50 bikes to donate to the Salvation Army for underprivileged kids. A mountain bike group donates dozens of bikes to kids at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Grand Rapids MI volunteers give away 1,500 free bikes. Three-hundred Miami kids from needy families get new bikes, thanks in part to Walmart.

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Local

Outgoing 4th District councilmember Tom LaBonge’s insistence that no traffic lanes be removed from the soon-to-be redesigned Glendale-Hyperion Bridge force dangerous compromises to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians. The best solution may be to wait a few months until someone else sits in his seat.

The Eastside Bike Club hosts a ride on Sunday, January 4th to protest CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s misguided comments to the council that bike riders represent the 1%; let’s show him that real Angelenos — and voters — of all types ride bikes. Thanks to Jaime Kate for the tip.

Better Bike discusses how Beverly Hills fails to take California’s three-foot passing law or cyclist safety into account in a planned redesign of Santa Monica Blvd; you’re invited to discuss a new complete streets proposal for the boulevard at 7 pm tonight in the Beverly Hills Public Library. And maybe the topic of how political accountability takes a holiday in the Biking Black Hole will come up, as well.

A 26-year old Pomona bike rider was killed in a drive-by shooting. Bad enough we have to dodge cars; no one should ever fall victim to bullets.

 

State

An Irvine woman walks out of jail just hours after being sentenced to nearly a year in jail for intentionally running down an airport bike cop. If the courts won’t take a vehicular assault on a cop seriously, what hope is there for the rest of us?

A San Diego bike rider makes a remarkable recovery from an Ocean Beach hit-and-run that nearly took her life just two months ago.

A Bakersfield bike rider is killed in an early morning hit-and-run on Saturday.

Palo Alto proposes striking designs for a planned bike/pedestrian bridge over Highway 101.

 

National

Close associates of ex-six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought by ex-one-time Tour de France winner Floyd Landis, agreeing to pay the Feds $541,000.

Tucson bike ambassadors give away bike bells, arguing that the bells sound nicer than saying “on your left.” And every time one rings, an angel gets his wings.

The National Parks Service proposes allowing bikes to use a six-mile pathway in Bryce Canyon. However, a recent NPS rule change could mean cyclists could be banned from nearby roads if the bikeway is approved.

As if the state’s highways weren’t risky enough for cyclists, South Dakota expands the use of rumble strips to make them more dangerous.

Massachusetts’ state parks department approves a half-million dollar study on how to better accommodate bikes, recognizing that bicycling is a growing form of both transportation and recreation.

Pittsburgh installs a new stop box for cyclists, but fails to tell motorists what it’s for.

A North Carolina judge rules a motorist gave a cyclist enough passing distance — even though the car’s mirror knocked the rider off her bike. I’d hate to see what he thinks is too close.

It takes a real jerk to steal bikes from Florida foster kids.

 

International

Volvo announces a new safety system to provide proximity alerts between drivers and cyclists; of course, it only works if both are using the same system.

Aussie pro Simon Gerrans is out of commission for the next few months after breaking his collarbone while training.

Now that’s a big heart. A Kiwi cyclist forgives the motorist who ran him off the road and assaulted him before running over his bike.

Caught on video: A Chinese bike rider miraculously walks away after getting run over by a semi in a right hook; warning, though, you may find the video hard to take. Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.

 

Finally…

Aussie police conduct a drunk driving crackdown over the weekend, but the most wasted person they caught was riding a bike. Lance insists he would never cheat, at least not at golf; didn’t he used to say the same thing about bike racing?

And bad enough that bike riders have to dodge dangerous drivers; not even ghost bikes are safe. I’m afraid I’ve lost track of who sent this one to me, but thank you, anyway.

 

Morning Links: Arrest made in Anaheim hit-and-run; saddle up for Selle’s Christmas party in San Diego

An arrest is finally made in the hit-and-run death of an Anaheim mother early last month.

Daniella Palacios was riding her bike across the street just blocks from her home when she was run down by a white pickup, whose driver fled the scene without stopping.

Now 30-year old Buena Park resident Junior Lopez has been arrested for the crime. He’s being held on $50,000 bond, and his Ford F-150 truck has been seized as evidence.

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If you find yourself in San Diego tonight, make your way to the Selle Anatomica Christmas Party at 7939 Silverton Ave, Suite 806, from 6 to 9 pm. Just bring a canned good for the San Diego Food Bank and a “funky” item for the schwag exchange. RSVP in advance to fred@selleanatomica.com.

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Irvine and Riverside personal injury legal firm Avrek Law introduces the BikeSafe Bicycle Accident Reporting App, allowing you to report bike-related incidents throughout the SoCal region, or search for collision data by year or type. And yes, it does make an impact to see all those wreck sites on a single map.

Although I wish lawyers, of all people, would learn to call them collisions instead of accidents, since accident implies that no one is at fault.

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The LACBC is teaming with Better Bike to host a meeting on Monday on how to create a more bike friendly Beverly Hills. Personally, I’d start with a major attitude adjustment at City Hall.

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Lois forwards this photo of a gray-haired Burbank man who appears to be riding a ghost bike, right down to the RIP sign attached to the frame.

Stolen or not, I’d say that’s tempting fate just a little too much.

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Longtime LA Times columnist Patt Morrison says local bike riders should be required to get an “info license” to make them learn the rules of the road.

Aside from the fact that only the state can impose licensing requirements — cities can license bikes, but not riders — it’s an interesting, if muddled, unnecessary and ultimately unworkable idea.

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Local

Streetsblog reports on Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s snub of bicyclists as the City Council unanimously approved the city’s Call for Projects list. Meanwhile, Across LA asks who the real one-percenters are. And Richard Risemberg aptly describes Cedillo’s method of governing as a “tantrumocracy.”

The USC Bike Coalition unveils first bike repair station and pump on the traditionally bike-unfriendly campus.

UPS makes Burbank deliveries by bike.

Now that the San Gabriel Valley bike plan has been approved by all five cities involved, Monterey Park cyclists could see improvements as early as next spring.

Three Baldwin Park bike thieves are under arrest after the owner spots his stolen bike for sale on Craigslist.

 

State

An Irvine woman gets just a year in jail for intentionally running down an airport bike cop.

San Diego neighborhoods battle over plans to close an off-ramp to make room for a bike and pedestrian corridor, as local merchants fail to grasp that people on bikes spend money, too.

Paso Robles plans a L’Eroica Vintage Bicycle Event next April; participants are limited to riders on steel frame bikes built before 1987.

An Oklahoma man stops in Petaluma after riding 7,500 miles with his dog in support of animal shelters.

That’s a good problem to have, as a Bay Area Caltrain station struggles to keep up with demand for bike parking.

The civil trial begins in the case of a San Francisco bike rider killed in a collision with a 13 ton delivery truck. Police initially blamed the cyclist until the SF Bike Coalition found security camera footage that police hadn’t bothered to look for.

‘Tis the season, as a Turlock real estate agency donates 23 bikes for less fortunate children.

 

National

Requiring sideguards on large trucks could save the lives of countless cyclists and pedestrians.

People for Bikes looks at the nation’s 10 best protected bike lanes, including one right here in Temple City.

Biking pop star Katy Perry gets a custom painted ride.

DC bike riders are most likely to be white or Hispanic, and either wealthy or low income.

 

International

The ugly Christmas sweater fad spreads to bike jerseys. Although hideous might be a better word.

A heartbraking story from the UK, as a father is accused of killing his own bike riding son by passing too closely.

Unbelievable. An injured British cyclist is kept waiting over two hours before an ambulance finally arrived.

Good thing the peloton has been cleaned up. An Italian pro cyclist is caught using testosterone, despite serving an 18-month ban for doping. Meanwhile, banned cyclist Riccardo Riccò says it’s impossible to win a grand tour without doping; scary thing is, he may be right.

A Japanese cyclist is banned from riding his bike for 90 days after crashing while under the influence of quasi-legal drugs.

 

Finally…

Once again, a driver mistakenly assumes that gas taxes pay for the roads, let alone the bikeways on them, and blames scofflaw cyclists for breaking the law — unlike all those law abiding motorists. Bike riders are often turned away from drive-through widows; evidently, it helps if you use a gun and ask for the contents of the cash drawer.

And caught on video: Welsh cyclist Geraint Thomas plays Jingle Bells using bike bells.

 

Morning Links: The Times looks at rising bike hit-and-run rates; and the year’s most inspirational video

You already knew hit-and-runs were a problem for cyclists.

But maybe none of us realized just how bad it’s become.

According to the LA Times, overall injury and fatal hit-and-run rates have actually declined since 2000. Except for those involving bike riders, which have increased a whopping 42% since then.

It’s easy to lay blame for the increase on a rising rate of bicycling over the same period, which has grown 61% since the turn of the century, according to a recent report from the League of American Bicyclists. But the fact that overall rates have gone down while bike-involved hit-and-runs have gone up just raises the question of why so many drivers think it’s okay to leave a bike rider bleeding in the street.

Then again, maybe it’s just that a collision with a bike rider is less likely to leave the driver’s car too damaged to flee than a wreck with another motor vehicle.

Regardless of the reason, nothing will change until the law is changed to make the penalties for hit-and-run greater than the potential reward for running away.

And that won’t happen until someone can get it through our out-of-touch governor’s head that hit-and-run is a serious — and deadly — problem.

Especially for those of us who aren’t protected by a couple tons of glass and steel.

………

The Times piece also notes that an overwhelming 80% of all hit-and-runs go unsolved. And only half of the cases that do get solved result in a conviction.

In other words, drivers have a 90% chance of getting away with it if they hit the gas instead of the brake after a collision. No wonder hit-and-run remains at epidemic proportions.

In addition, the story profiles some of the victims of fleeing drivers — at least, the ones still able to tell their own story, including Paul Livingston, whose story was told here last June.

There’s a great interactive map, as well, that drives home the obscene number of bike-involved hit-and-runs every year, and where you need to be on the lookout for fleeing drivers. Including Long Beach, Santa Monica, DTLA, Van Nuys and North Hollywood — in other words, the places where you’re most likely to find people on bikes.

And the paper offers a video interview with Finish the Ride’s Damian Kevitt, who barely survived the gruesome hit-and-run that took his leg.

Then again, it’s not just an LA problem, as a Florida paper asks what kind of driver doesn’t stop after hitting someone.

Or more to point, what kind of pond-sucking scum would even consider it?

………

No surprise, as prosecutors have declined to press charges against the South LA bike rider allegedly beaten by cops while being held down after a brief pursuit.

Police had reportedly ordered Clinton Alford to stop while he was riding his bike on the sidewalk along Avalon Blvd, but he kept going because he says they failed to identify themselves as police officers. Then he ran when someone grabbed his bike from behind, which lead to the alleged beating.

Based on the description of events, though, the police appeared to lack probable cause to make the stop, since sidewalk riding is legal in Los Angeles. Which makes everything that followed, including alleged evidence of drug possession and accusations of resisting arrest, inadmissible in court.

Never mind that filing charges would stand in the way of reaching a settlement with the city over the beating.

………

Unbelievable. A Paso Robles cyclist is dead and her riding partner severely injured because the jerk behind the wheel dropped his effing cell phone and bent down to pick it up. Then had to swerve to avoid the stopped car ahead of him, slamming into the riders in the process.

Never mind that using a hand-held phone while driving is illegal in California.

Or that taking your eyes off the road to pick it up is idiotic.

………

Local

CicLAvia offers a narrative guide to Sunday’s event (pdf) from the real voices of South LA.

An Aussie travel writer takes a 32-mile bike tour of LA in — gasp! — a single day.

West Hills’ Spoke N’ Wheel Bicycles bounces back after a summer fire nearly put it out of business.

An important bike route through the UCLA campus is needlessly blocked by construction. And Porta Potties.

Santa Monica sees a dramatic increase in bicycling since 2000, nearly six times the national growth in cycling. And yes, this story is where I got that stat about the 61% increase in bike riding nationwide.

Riding for a great cause. The Midnight Ridazz annual All City Toy Ride takes place on Friday, December 9th. Thanks to James Hawkes for the link. 

The Eastside Bike Club is hosting a family-friendly Slow ES Cool — Cypress Park Ride to explore some of LA’s and the San Gabriel Valley’s beautiful sites and diverse eateries on Saturday, December 13th.

 

State

Riverside police plan to offer a $10,000 reward in the hit-and-run death of fallen rider D’Andre Sutherland.

A San Bernardino man is the victim of a bike-by shooting; he’ll survive, but may have trouble walking for awhile.

Evidently, they’re just a bunch of old softies, as a group of Hell’s Angels — yes, the notorious motorcycle gang — buy up all the bikes at a Fresno Walmart and donate them for needy kids. And not for the first time.

San Jose prepares to ban all bikes on the sidewalk because of a few overly aggressive riders.

The popular East Bay Bike Party has been cancelled for December due to out-of-control and disrespectful riders.

 

National

Evidently, bad research never dies, as the press continues to report on that highly flawed Governors’ report on bike safety.

Rails to Trails offers 10 great bike movie moments.

Your next GoPro could offer overhead shots, as the company is reportedly developing its own line of drones.

A Maine man admits to fatally running down his bike riding friend while driving drunk, after initially claiming he found him lying in a ditch.

New York City cuts the speed limit in Central Park to reign in all those dangerous bikes.

New York police use faulty, or perhaps made-up, data to justify a crackdown on bike riders.

 

International

A Vancouver writer says motorists must take more responsibility for keeping cyclists and pedestrians safe.

An Ottawa paper goes for major click bait, asking their readers whether an idiot on a bike or a moron behind the wheel is worse. How about the idiot editor who approved the piece?

A new association of the top pro cycling teams plans to bring a little more rationality to the sport.

A London writer offers up five mistakes that cancel out even the best bike lights.

London’s mayor Boris considers holding open streets events in the city after seeing similar events in Jakarta. If he thinks that’s impressive, we should invite him to Sunday’s CicLAvia.

Bike cams are being accepted as evidence in cases against Scottish motorists.

An American man and his 12-year old son tour Amsterdam by bike, including the Red Light District.

Caught on video: A Polish rider participating in a bikejoring competition — racing with dogs pulling her bike — is tackled by, not 10 Lords a Leaping, but a leaping herd of deer.

A Chengdu, China bike rider invents an air purifier that fits in a very big backpack.

 

Finally…

Florida cyclists connect through Facebook to get a man’s $5,000 Cannondale back before he even knew it was stolen. Lance just can’t keep away from the sport, as he admits to motorpacing BMC’s Tejay van Garderen.

And they must make ‘em tough Down Under, as a 13-year old boy rides his bike back home after being bitten by a shark.

………

One quick bonus video: Michael Eisenberg forwards what may be the most inspirational video you’ll see this year, featuring former race car champ and champion paracyclist Alex Zarnardi, who lost both legs in a car racing collision.

Seriously, if he can get back on a bike, so can I.

And so can you.

 

Morning Links: OC hit-and-run driver gets a slap on the wrist; Detroit’s Shinola opens a new store in Silverlake

Our Orange County source reports on the semi-successful conclusion of the case against the hit-and-run driver who critically injured a bike riding Santa Ana girl.

Arif Abdul Sattar accepted a plea deal yesterday. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail, with two days’ credit for time served, plus the usual fines & restitution. If he qualifies for home confinement, he can serve his time under house arrest instead. If not, he has the option of County or a city (a “pay-to-stay”) jail, though because of a change in his employment circumstances, he may not be able to afford city. His driver’s license was also suspended for a full year.

His lawyer had hoped to be able to get a no contest plea deal, because a nolo contendere cannot be used against him in the civil suit. The judge denied this request.

Terrifyingly, the judge cited some “mitigating circumstances” in allowing for the possibility of house arrest. One was the fact that he had called a lawyer right away after the incident. This is not a “mitigating circumstance.” This is Sattar’s tacit acknowledgement of his awareness that he had committed a crime. He probably didn’t even know which crime, because although he certainly deduced from the sudden opacity of his windshield that a collision of some sort had occurred, he was a little confused about the requirement to remain at the scene. For all we know, he was distracted and couldn’t remember what color his signal was at the time of the collision, and this factored into his choice to flee. The information that he proceeded thorough a green light comes from his young victim’s admission that she ran the red. Also, it was four days before he was interviewed by the police.

Another mitigating circumstance is Mr. Sattar’s “lack of priors.” Immediately after mentioning this, the judge then STATED HIS PRIOR, another vehicular crime which demonstrated the same selfish lack of consideration for others on the roadway, and was probably committed with the same vehicle.

I also only found out at the plea hearing that the family has had zero interest in assisting the prosecution. They’ve filed a civil suit (I have to check, but it may be just to cover medical bills, with no request for compensation for pain & suffering, etc). If I were a mama, I wouldn’t want my kid to have to face the evil fuck who snapped her bone like a twig and then left her for dead. Especially on a school day, y’know.

Nice to see yet another judge take hit-and-run seriously, especially even when it leaves a critically injured little girl bleeding in the street.

And yes, that is sarcasm.

……..

A suspected drunk driver is under arrest after clipping a Fullerton cyclist with his wing mirror, in a clear violation of the three-foot passing law. Although he doesn’t appear to have been charged with that yet.

The victim suffered serious injuries but is expected to survive. And as turns out it’s not the driver’s first DUI.

……..

Local

Somehow this one slipped under the radar, as Detroit-based Shinola opened their first West Coast store in Silverlake.

CICLE leads a leisurely holiday themed ride through Northeast LA on Saturday the 13th in conjunction with LADOT, LACBC and others whose names aren’t initials.

Santa Monica Spoke looks at the South LA CicLAvia, just two Sundays away.

 

State

A new petition calls on California to change the new three-foot passing law to allow drivers to safely cross the yellow line. Governor Brown has already vetoed a similar provision, so I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Bike Newport Beach is hosting a pre-Thanksgiving ride on Wednesday.

Boston’s Isolate Cyclist takes a critical look at those questionable San Diego stats blaming cyclists for most collisions. Meanwhile, a mind-reading San Diego-area letter writer knows why bike riders do those things we do.

Forty Riverside kids get free bikes, along with a talk by Olympic cyclist Amber Neben.

A cyclist takes you on a 70-mile ride around Santa Barbara — and describes how to control the lane in a dangerous situation.

 

National

People for Bikes offers an ode to the beater bike.

That nine-year old boy who said he was called by God to bike across the country has finished his journey, raising over $25,000 to fight cancer. No word on whether God gave him an attaboy at the finish line.

A good bike network is key for a successful bike share system. So much for LA’s planned system.

Forty-three year old pro cyclist Chris Horner will continue to ride, coming home to an unnamed American team for 2015.

My brother competed in the famed Iditarod sled dog race four times; this guy’s done it nine times, by bike. And without the help of dogs.

The Today Show discovers Cranksgiving.

Durham NC sets a policy allowing ghost bikes to stay indefinitely, unless someone complains.

 

International

Montreal’s threatened bike share system gets a reprieve for the next five years.

Turns out Sherlock Holmes is one of us. The modern, British heartthrob one.

The UK has nearly 10 million bike riders, one-fifth of whom ride every week.

The Australian National Museum is hosting an exhibition on bicycling Down Under.

 

Finally…

Scotts Valley police must employ brilliant interrogation techniques, as a man confesses to attempting to steal bikes after being caught red-handed inside a bike shop in the middle of the night after prying the door open. Another crack burglar is busted after falling through the roof of a Rohnert Park bike shop.

And evidently, action cams are nothing new. Wish that Rohnert Park idiot had been wearing one when he fell through the bike shop roof.

 

Morning Links: BOLO alert for El Segundo hit-and-run driver; Brit bike benefit-to-cost ratios off the charts

El Segundo police are looking for a hit-and-run driver who hit a bike rider.

According to the Daily Breeze, a dark haired, 20-something Asian woman was behind the wheel of a black BMW that fled the scene after running down the rider at Maple Ave and Center Street on October 29th.

Although how they can tell she had a thin build seated inside a car is beyond me.

A source tells me the speed limit in the area is just 25 mph; no word on how fast the driver was going. And no word on the rider’s condition.

……..

I think we all can relate at times.

The designer of Google’s self-driving car says “I’m a cyclist. I don’t like cars.”

Especially since 98% of cellphone-owning drivers say they know the dangers of texting behind the wheel, but three-quarters do it anyway.

……..

The British transport agency compares benefit-to-cost ratios for various means of transit, and finds bike are off the charts.

Road and rail projects are considered high benefit when they offer a benefit-to-cost ratio of just 2:1, while the country’s new cycling plans offer a ratio of 5.5:1 — and some are as high as 35:1.

I’d like to see a similar study here, where the results would undoubtedly be the same.

Correction: Initially, I had accidentally reversed the term benefit-to-cost as cost-to-benefit, which changes the whole meaning of the story. I have since changed it to read correctly. Thanks to Calla Weimer for the correction. 

……..

Local

A rental site creates a map of where your bike is most likely to get stolen in cities around the country, including right here in Los Angeles; be extra cautious locking your ride on the Westside. And Fox-11 gives a much appreciated shout out to BikinginLA as part of the story.

The Daily News looks at the LACBC’s Operation Firefly to provide lightless riders with free lights.

A Glendale cyclist is hit by a car, whose driver doesn’t flee for a change. Fortunately, the rider only suffered a broken arm.

Santa Monica Next explains that yes, SaMo is considering going ahead with their own bike share, but they’re working with Metro and the Westside COG to ensure compatibility with any future countywide system.

 

State

The Union-Tribune asks if San Diego can be a mecca for cyclists. Maybe, but I don’t plan to bow down in their direction anytime soon.

Good news from Murietta, as the critically injured cyclist who was run down by a drunk, distracted driver who was eating mushrooms and — as Opus the Poet pointed out — driving in the bike lane, is expected to survive despite major injuries.

Fair warning. If you’re riding a bike in Santa Barbara on the 11th and 12th, make sure you stop for red lights and stop signs.

San Francisco safety advocates rally for faster action on Vision Zero.

Longtime pro Chris Horner talks with a Bay Area business publication about how to build a winning culture.

A proposed Sacramento law goes beyond banning bikes from sidewalks, requiring cyclists to pass a test and get a $10 bicyclist license — something that would probably be illegal under California law, which supersedes misguided local ordinances. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

 

National

The top ten bike apps for Android users. Because not everyone has an iPhone. No, really.

Making cities more bikeable helps return them to a more human and livable scale.

A new study shows what we already knew. If you build a safe bicycling network, more people will ride their bikes and overall health improves.

Someone posted an illegal sign on a Hawaiian road to warn drivers about Japanese bike riders who don’t know the rules of American roads.

The body of a French adventurer has been found six months after he disappeared in an effort to walk, bike and canoe across Alaska.

A new Utah radar system can detect cyclists at red lights. Maybe they could put them in cars, too.

You’ve got to be kidding. The driver whose carelessness nearly killed American cycling legend Dale Stetina in Colorado gets off with restitution and a 60 hours of community service.

As usual, Boston’s Bikeyface nails it in sort of celebrating bike-cations.

A New York TV station panics over speeding cyclists in Central Park, some of whom exceed the posted speed limit by a whole 5 mph! Which naturally leads to…

The NYPD promises to give drivers a little leeway when it comes to enforcing the city’s new 25 mph speed limit. But cracks down on bike riders.

A drunk NYC cyclist hands his bike over to an unarmed thief just because the guy asked for it. Well, okay then.

A New Orleans judge clears the way for a road diet that will probably benefit the businesses suing to halt it.

 

International

A British sustainable transport group says the country’s roads aren’t safe enough, as bicycling injuries and fatalities go up 10%; no word on whether that corresponds to an increase in ridership.

The Netherlands opens the world’s first solar bike path to generate electricity while providing a safe route between two cities. Seems a little problematic, but we’ll see.

Polish cyclists evidently in search of that healthy glow ride through the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Yes, that Chernobyl.

An Indian city gets a new Dutch-inspired cycle track. Which coincidently, just happens to surround the chief minister’s residence.

Katy Perry buys a bike helmet, after she’s spotted riding without one in violation of Australia’s mandatory helmet law. I used to see her riding along the beach in the South Bay so often I started to think we were dating.

Celebrating bikes on a gran fondo-style ride through Japan.

 

Finally…

Repeat after me: if you’re riding a bike with a crack pipe in your pocket and a rock in your pants, don’t deliberately ride in front of a police car. Evidently, God likes bikes, as a nine-year old says the Almighty told him to ride across the country; he must have said something to the boy’s parents too, since they went along with the plan.

And the devil may be in the details, but he won’t be chasing competitors in the Tour de France anymore.

 

Morning Links: LA cyclist killed in Arizona; Santa Ana hit-and-run driver has long record and suspended license

Let’s start with the bad news.

LA cyclist Jesse A. Simon was killed while riding in Arizona last Thursday.

The driver who hit Simon to police he attempted to swerve at the last second when the 65-year old rider entered the roadway — apparently from the shoulder of the highway — but still clipped him with the pickup’s mirror.

Of course, in real life, that usually means the driver wasn’t paying attention and didn’t see the cyclist until it was too late, and simply didn’t react in time. Unfortunately, unless another witness is found, police will only have the driver’s statement to go by, since the victim is unable to give his side of the story.

I’m told Simon worked for LA Metro, though I don’t know what position he held with the county transit agency.

An earlier version of the story said he was riding through Arizona as part of a national bike tour; however, that has since been removed for some reason.

My prayers and condolences for Jesse Simon, and all his family, friends and co-workers.

Thanks to Alan and Vanessa for the link.

……..

Police make an arrest in the hit-and-run deaths of three trick-or-treating teenage girls who were killed in Santa Ana Halloween night.

Thirty-one year old Jaquin Ramone Bell was arrested on Sunday, and booked on felony hit-and-run causing death; he also had two outstanding warrants for domestic violence charges.

Unbelievably, Bell had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of child abuse and endangerment, DUI and hit-and-run with property damage for an August 1st collision in Anaheim. And was sentenced to a whopping 10 days in jail and three years probation on the child abuse count, and eight days — eight — for the traffic charges.

We should all thank the judge who set him loose to kill someone the next time.

Granted, he was driving on a suspended license when he killed the three girls. Although clearly that didn’t stop him.

Then again, that’s probably to be expected since he had violated probation seven times before.

And we can only guess whether he was drunk behind the wheel on Halloween, despite a three-month court ordered substance abuse program. Fleeing the scene gave him plenty of time to sober up before he was busted two days later.

If he had been drinking or using drugs, that is.

And did I mention that he had his own teenage children in the car with him when he fled the scene like the heartless coward he allegedly is, leaving three innocent children to die in the street?

Nice parenting lesson there, dude.

If you’re not disgusted, maybe you should be. Because once again, our courts failed to take traffic crime seriously, despite being given every possible warning that the suspect couldn’t be trusted.

But once again, they gave him yet another second chance.

And once again, an innocent victim died as a result. Or three, in this case.

Yes, they should charge the jerk with three counts of felony murder, lock him up and drop the key in the deepest pits of hell.

But maybe the people who let him off the hook over and over should do some of that time with him.

Meanwhile, Santa Ana officials vow to slow speeds and improve pedestrian safety, which is sadly lacking in the city.

……..

Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk offers a detailed report on the death of triathlete Gary Holmes, two-and-a-half years after he was run down by a DUI driver near Los Olivos.

……..

Local

Mayor Garcetti wants LA to experiment with pedestrian scrambles, already proven in Beverly Hills, Pasadena and yes, Westwood — as well as countless cities around the world. Yet the Times worries drivers will freak out over having to wait at red lights a few more seconds.

Groundbreaking took place on Saturday for the Greenway Trail, extending the LA River bike path another five miles through the San Fernando Valley.

LA erases DIY street safety efforts in Silver Lake, but lets gang symbols remain on South LA streets.

A suspected drunk driver hits a seven-year old Burbank bike rider; fortunately, the boy is expected to recover. So don’t expect the courts to take it seriously or anything.

Pasadena gets $172,000 to conduct a year-long bike safety program for children and their families.

 

State

Cyclelicious offers a statewide guide to today’s election.

Huntington Beach sees a jump in bike thefts. Evidently, you’re not safe on your bike in HB, and your bike’s not safe when you’re off it.

Bike share is finally getting ready to roll in San Diego, where the first stations were installed Monday.

A reminder that the end of Daylight Savings increases the risk for riders; make sure you leave home with the lights you’ll need later.

The Sacramento Bee says the recent governor’s report on bike deaths misses the chance to focus on real problems.

 

National

A new warning system alerts drivers to the presence of bikes, but only of they both have the same system installed. Or drivers could, you know, just pay attention.

A Tucson cyclist is killed by an unmarked patrol car.

A Minneapolis cyclist has his bike stolen after an alleycat race, but the thief returns it the same night.

An Illinois cyclist is killed by a driver who crossed onto the wrong side of the road; somehow, the state police still blame the victim.

New distracted driving laws took effect in New York state on Saturday.

A columnist for the New York Daily News claims New York’s new 25 mph speed limit, intended to save lives as part of the city’s Vision Zero, will just mean more lives lost to road raging drivers. Because, you know, it’s impossible to be patient or control your temper behind the wheel; then again, maybe he’s right.

 

International

Biking Cuba’s Bay of Pigs, which you are still officially prohibited from visiting if you carry a US passport.

Olympic cycling champ Chris Boardman offers 12 tips for urban cycling in a BBC video report. But Brits freak out over why he didn’t wear a helmet.

A British statistician looks at how safe cycling really is in the UK.

London police back two proposed bike superhighways. Which is what they called the city’s previous bikeways, which weren’t.

A Yorkshire paper says golf is out as middle-aged men in Lycra get on their bikes.

My favorite Scottish bike advocate and blogger explains why covered bikeways won’t work.

Pro cycling’s governing body may shorten two of the three Grand Tours.

Singapore has some way to go to become a cycling nation.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: A driving instructor and bike trainer explains why those damn cyclists ride in the middle of the road. A new study confirms that San Francisco’s streets are decidedly auto-centric, unlike every other city in North America, evidently.

And meet the bike for people who don’t ride bikes. But does it have a seat that turns into a lock — or wheels made of ice, for that matter?

 

Gov. Brown tacitly endorses hit-and-run; LA finally says enough is enough when it comes to traffic deaths

Once again, California cyclists have been Jerry Browned.

And this time, we’re not alone.

Everyone who uses the state’s streets and highways has been put at risk by our severely out of touch governor, who may be one of the last people left who has no idea that hit-and-run has reached epidemic proportions.

The state legislature gets it.

LA-area legislators Mike Gatto and Steven Bradford, and Corona’s Eric Linder — two Democrats and a Republican — successfully shepherded bills through both houses to address the rampant problem of drivers fleeing the scenes of collisions.

Although problem probably isn’t the right word. Crisis fits a lot better for a crime that afflicts nearly 50% of all collisions in the City of Los Angeles, and countless others throughout the state.

And yes, it is a crime.

One that kills and cripples far more people than mass shootings every year — even though that was something Governor Brown was quick to sign a bill to address.

Yet he apparently doesn’t think hit-and-run is a problem.

In vetoing four bills addressing hit-and-run — modestly increasing penalties, ensuring fleeing drivers lost their licenses for a mere six months, creating an Amber Alert-style warning system for the most serious cases and preventing wealthy drivers from buying their way out of criminal charges — he helped ensure that the crisis will remain one.

And that untold numbers of Californian’s will continue to bleed and die on our streets, since the governor sent a clear message — four, in fact — that it’s no big deal.

Thanks, Jerry.

Granted, he paid lip service to the seriousness of the problem (pdf). But then he went on to insist that current penalties are high enough.

Never mind that if penalties really were high enough, drivers would actually remain at the scene instead of driving home to sober up before turning themselves in. Or just pretending it never happened and hoping they don’t get caught.

And knowing they probably won’t.

Actions speak far louder than words. By vetoing all four widely varied bills — as well as another that would have increased penalties for vulnerable road users — Brown sent a clear message to heartless drivers to go ahead and flee.

Because even if you do get caught — which is less likely thanks to his veto of the Yellow Alert system — you’ll face a slap on the wrist, at best.

It took three tries to get a three-foot passing bill past his misguided veto pen. Each time weakening the bill by removing key features Brown objected to before he finally accepted a relatively toothless measure, with advocates making a mental note to strengthen it once he left office.

Which isn’t likely to be anytime soon, since he continues to enjoy a nearly two-thirds lead over his Republican challenger.

And that means, unless someone can manage to get the seriousness of the problem through his thick bald skull — hello AAA and CHP — we face another four years before we’ll finally have a new governor who may decide that too many people have been killed and maimed by cowardly motorists unwilling to face the consequences of their actions.

Then again, if his opponent in this year’s election, Neel Kashkari, were to come out strongly in favor of actually doing something about hit-and-run, he might change a few votes.

Including mine.

………

At least there’s better news from Los Angeles.

I was told over a year ago by someone involved in the process that the city’s new mobility plan would call for reducing — though not eliminating — traffic deaths. And that the words Vision Zero would appear nowhere in the document.

What a difference a year makes.

Whether it was the influence of Mayor Eric Garcetti, or new LADOT head Seleta Reynolds already putting her stamp on it, the just released document calls for eliminating traffic deaths in the city by 2025.

The new strategic plan, Great Streets for Los Angeles, reflects a fundamental rethinking of our streets, from the traditional focus on automotive throughput — moving as many vehicles through a given intersection as quickly as possible — to ensuring that everyone on those streets gets home safely.

And that, instead of destroying our neighborhoods, our streets will finally become the key to revitalizing them.

After years of never uttering the phrase — despite nearly ceaseless prodding from myself, the LACBC and others — city officials have finally joined New York and San Francisco in committing to a Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic fatalities.

Make no mistake. It won’t be easy.

In fact, as others have pointed out, it may be impossible.

But the key to Vision Zero is that it is a process as much as a goal. What matters are the steps taken to reduce the risk of traffic deaths, from calming traffic and reducing speed limits to improving crosswalks and bikeways. As well as increasing enforcement and education for everyone on the streets, and studying traffic deaths to determine why they happened and how they could have been avoided.

All based on the realization that even one fatality is one too many.

About time.

Or course, there’s more to the plan. As Streetsblog put it,

There’s plenty more in the plan that Streetsblog readers will love. We can’t get to all of it in this short article, but the plan includes: neighborhood traffic calming, bike share, car share, dedicated bus lanes, an improved bikeway network, transportation demand management, reducing disabled parking placard abuse, and plenty more.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Eric Bruins calls it “an ambitious yet achievable framework for the department over the next three years of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s term” and commends “LADOT’s new mission [which] prioritizes safe and accessible options for Angelenos of all ages and abilities, no matter their chosen mode of transportation.”

Then again, as bold as the plan is, it’s doomed to failure as long as individual councilmembers such as Koretz, LaBonge and Cedillo can opt out of already approved safety plans to ensure the streets in their districts remain dangerously auto-focused.

In other words is, we have to find a way to protect our nascent Vision Zero from elected officials with zero.

Vision, that is.

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