Tag Archive for Arkansas

Morning Links: LAPD corrals South LA Slasher, Arkansas adopts Idaho Stop, and LA isn’t the happiest place in US

Looks like they finally got him.

We hope.

After a nearly two week, bike-born crime spree that left nine men and women with severe cuts to their necks and faces, LAPD detectives announced yesterday that they have made an arrest in the South LA Slasher case.

Police identified 19-year old Len Rey Briones, a homeless man residing in South LA, as the suspect.

Briones would allegedly ride his mountain bike up to the unwary victims and slash them in the face with a knife or some other sharp object, then ride off before they had time to react.

He was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

………

Call it the Arkansas Stop Law.

Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a bill that will bring the Idaho Stop Law to the state, allowing bike riders to treat stop signs as yields, and red lights as stop signs, as long as there is no conflicting traffic.

This makes Arkansas just the second state to adopt the full Idaho Stop Law, though Delaware allows riders to treat stops as yield, but not roll through red lights.

Colorado also permits riders to roll stop signs, but leaves it up to local jurisdiction whether or not to actually allow it.

You can probably guess which state was the first to adopt the law.

Meanwhile, Northwest Arkansas is attempting to promote itself as a mountain biking destination, catapulted onto the global stage by winning the 2022 world cyclocross championships.

This new law certainly won’t hurt.

And it’s proof that promoting safe bicycling isn’t a liberal or conservative issue.

Just a human one.

Can’t wait to hear the first person argue that a similar law won’t work here because “This isn’t Arkansas.”

………

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that communities with a high level of bike commuting also rank high on the list of America’s happiest cities.

Which probably explains why Los Angeles checks in at a lowly 82nd.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on. A Colorado Springs CO bike rider suffered three broken ribs and a broken clavicle when someone booby trapped a popular bike trail, stringing a rope across the trail just half an hour after he and a companion had passed through in the opposite direction.

………

Former pro cyclist Phil Gaimon is riding with this year’s Chef’s Cycle for No Kid Hungry; he has just over $1,800 to go to meet his $7,500 fundraising goal.

And hopes to raise an additional $100,000 for No Kid Hungry over the summer.

………

Local

Spectrum News 1 examines the Venice Great Streets project, and the road diet that sent opponents into fits of apoplexy. Then again, they only need to see the words Vision Zero to get the pitchforks and torches out.

Keep Rowena Safe offers their endorsements for the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council.

LA Walks introduces new Executive Director John Yi, replacing outgoing ED Emilia Crotty.

Santa Monica will host a Repair Cafe at the Camera Obscura at Palisades Park on Saturday to fix common household items; a bike mechanic from the Santa Monica Bike Center will be on hand, as well.

You’re invited to join an exploratory ride for the upcoming Mission to Mission 626 Gold Streets open streets event this Sunday.

The LACBC hosts their rescheduled tour of historic San Fernando and environs on Sunday as this month’s Sunday Funday Ride.

CiclaValley celebrates spring with a gravel bike ride on Sulphur Spring Road.

State

California considers joining Utah in dropping the legal blood alcohol level from 0.8. to 0.5. Which is probably the most effective way to increase the number of legally drunk drivers on the road.

The 405 Freeway will be shut down overnight between Beach Blvd and Goldenwest Street in Westminster this Saturday as part of a project to replace the Bolsa Ave bridge, eventually providing new bike lanes and sidewalks, as well as two additional lanes.

Caught on video: A thief makes off with a $5,000 bicycle from a Costa Mesa bike shop after giving a fake ID and riding off during a test ride.

The San Diego bike rider seriously injured in a crash with a scooter user was reportedly riding salmon on the boardwalk near Belmont Park; he suffered several fractured vertebrae and two broken ribs.

A Pismo Beach resident filmed a bike chop shop operating openly in the Oceano Dunes Nature Preserve, along with other illegal activities common to homeless encampments.

VeloNews looks forward to next weekend’s Sea Otter Classic in Monterey.

Cupertino is not so impressed with Apple’s proposal to pay for $9.1 million in bike and pedestrian improvements, in lieu of an employee head tax on local businesses.

San Francisco may beat Los Angeles to be the first California city to impose congestion pricing.

National

A new nationwide study shows an average of 25 children are treated in emergency rooms for bicycling injuries every hour; there was no significant difference in the rate of injuries whether or not the children were wearing bike helmets.

Outside offers their picks for the country’s best supported bike rides, including California’s Sierra to the Sea ride this June.

Salsa has issued a recall for their Warbird and Vaya bicycles due to a risk of the frame breaking.

Hundreds of Lime dockless bikeshare bikes ended up stacked in a Reno scrapyard after the company was unable to reach an agreement to continue its contact with the city. Evidently, there are no poor or homeless people up there who could have put the bikes to better use, or kids who could use a new bike.

A Texas bar is being sued for serving a man who got behind the wheel after getting extremely intoxicated and plowed into a group of bicyclists, killing one and seriously injuring another; naturally, the bar’s owners blame the victims for throwing themselves in front of a drunk. Unfortunately, California law prevents bars from being held accountable for the actions of their customers, no matter how drunk they help them get before driving home.

An 87-year old Texas man suffering from macular degeneration showed off his new bike, after a group of kindhearted people pitched in, with the help of a retired bike shop owner, to replace the one he had stolen.

Great idea. Springfield IL will install location markers on its 20 miles of bike paths to help first responders know where to go in an emergency. Docked bikeshare will return to Minneapolis this spring, though not to its twin city.

A Maine man will spend just 48 days behind bars for riding his bike up to a man in a drug store parking lot, threatening him with a knife and demanding money. Note to centralmaine.com — Seriously? Was the thief’s mode of transportation really his most important identifying feature? Would you describe a criminal who drove there as a motorist under the same circumstances?

Gothamist wants to know why the New York Department of Transportation ripped out a popular bike lane, and what happens now.

A Pennsylvania doctor is happy to be back on his bike less than a year after receiving a heart transplant, even if he can’t compete any more.

International

Here’s one more for your bike bucket list — bicycling the streets of Montevideo. I’m in.

Supporters say regular bicycles will survive, despite the competition from ebikes. If only because the growth of electric cars will put pressure on supplies of lithium, cobalt and other rare metals they both depend on for batteries.

London introduces a plan to replace commercial vans with cargo bikes, while hospitals are trying them out to deliver blood and tumor samples in anticipation of a new toxic air tax on motor vehicles to curb pollution.

Caught on video too: A pair of tag-teaming British bike thieves steal a locked bike in five seconds flat.

The Guardian examines how English workers built a 1951 bike tunnel under the Tyne River; it’s scheduled to reopen this year after an extended restoration. Thanks to Jon for the heads-up.

A very forgiving bike-riding woman tells an Irish court she doesn’t want the stop sign-running driver who seriously injured her when he crashed into her bike to go to jail.

Just days after an Aussie study said over half of all drivers think bike riders are less than human, a new study from the UK says over two-thirds think we’re inconsiderate. I’m not sure if that’s progress, or just typical Brit understatement.

Young South Africans use bicycles to bridge the divides left by apartheid.

Life is cheap in Japan, where a 26-year old man walked with probation following a conviction for attempted murder; he got angry during a fight with a relative, and threw a bicycle off the 12th floor of a building, striking a 76-year old woman walking in the courtyard below. Fortunately, she escaped with just a nearly six-inch gash in her forehead.

Finally…

Bike riders hardly ever engage in a one hour and 40 minute stand-off over a parking space. At least we don’t have to worry about deadly kite strings.

And if you’re riding with meth on your bike, despite being released on an earlier meth charge after your case was overturned, don’t run red lights.

And put a damn light on it.

Update: Seven high school students injured in Arkansas while biking to Santa Monica

Last night I linked to a horrifying story from Arkansas.

Multiple press reports indicate that a motorist plowed into a group of 13 bike riders from behind, injuring seven — three seriously enough to require helicopter evacuation to nearby hospitals.

News reports indicate they were on an organized tour riding from Charleston SC to Santa Monica. Now one of my regular contributors has dug a little deeper to get the full story.

That group of thirteen cyclists that was hit from behind are high school kids on an epic summer vacation! The tour company, Overland Summers, provides all sorts of adventures, including cross-country bike trips.

Several kids are still in the hospital, and one is in ICU, as of 7am this morning. According to Evan at the head office, parents of most of the injured are with them, having arrived by chartered plane late last night. The uninjured ones haven’t yet decided whether they’ll continue to Santa Monica. There’s another group of Overlanders two days behind, and they’ll probably make the determination whether to join with this second group once it arrives.

If the kids in this party are brave enough to push on, I totally want to meet them.

Unfortunately, the company’s website is down as I write this.

There’s no word yet on how this tragedy occurred. Distracted or drunk driving would be an obvious guess; however, we’ll have to wait for more details before we know for sure. So let’s hold off on organizing an online lynching party. It’s always possible, though unlikely, that a medical crisis or some other factor may have caused this collision.

But one thing is certain. With 13 riders on the roadway, the driver can’t make a legitimate claim he didn’t see them. If he — or she — didn’t, he certainly should have.

Meanwhile, I can’t imagine parents allowing their kids to continue on following something like this. But if they do, I hope the company lets us know.

Like my source, I want to meet them when they get to Santa Monica.

And give them a round of applause they’ll hear back in Charleston.

Let alone Arkansas.

Update: Overland Summers has issued an official statement in response to the collision, and promises to provide updates as things progress.

Newport, Arkansas – On July 2, 2013 seven individuals on an Overland bicycle touring program were injured when a car traveling on Route 17 struck the group. Police and paramedics responded to the scene. Three of the individuals were airlifted from the scene, including one individual who is in critical condition. The remaining four individuals were transported by ambulance and were being treated at local hospitals. Of these four individuals, two have been released. At this time, we at Overland would like to express our deepest concern for those injured and our gratitude to the emergency response teams.

Update 2: More detailed information from the Boston Herald.

The victims were participants in a Williamstown MA summer camp, when they travelled down to Charleston to begin the ride. The riders were hit from behind around 4:35 pm on a straight section of State Highway 17 offering clear visibility just two miles north of McCrory, Arkansas

Charges are possible against the 21-year old driver. 

Update 3: Sadly, the Overland Summer website reports that the critically injured rider, 18-year old Merritt Levitan of Milton, Massachusetts, has died of her injuries. Thanks to Andy R for the heads-up, and deepest sympathy for the victim’s family and loved ones. 

And there won’t be any welcoming party in Santa Monica for the surviving riders; perhaps understandingly, the company has cancelled the remainder of the tour

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