At 6:40 am, a driver was reportedly unable to avoid him, and slammed into Velez-Segovia at roughly 55 mph.
Not surprisingly, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The LA County Coroner’s office places the location as the freeway onramp; however, neither source mentions which direction he was traveling in.
No explanation is given for why he was riding on the freeway, particularly in the traffic lane; bicycles are prohibited from all limited-access highways in Los Angeles County.
It’s possible he may have been riding on the shoulder, and moved into the traffic lane when the shoulder disappeared at the onramp. Or he may have been forced into the lane by cars entering the freeway.
Unfortunately, we’ll probably never get any answers beyond what is contained in the brief story.
This is at least the 57th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 25th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Nelson Mariano Velez-Segovia and his loved ones.
And they put the national figures in context with the City of Angels, along with what passes for an LA Vision Zero program.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti launched Vision Zero in 2015 with the goal of eliminating traffic deaths by 2025. The city has completed hundreds of projects, but the pedestrian death toll has soared — up 80% from 2015 to 2017, when 134 died. The number killed last year dipped slightly, to 127.
Eliminatingtraffic deaths is an “aspirational” goal, Dan Mitchell, chief engineer for the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, said. “But what other goal is acceptable? How many people, if it’s not zero? How many people should be allowed to die just getting around the city streets?
And there’s the problem.
We were told the 2010 Los Angeles bike plan was “aspirational” shortly after it was unanimously approved by the LA city council, too.
That’s exactly why Vision Zero is failing here, when it’s succeeding in other places.
Because Vision Zero isn’t aspirational. And it’s not a goal.
It’s a commitment.
It’s an unshakeable commitment to do whatever it takes to stop traffic deaths, and not settling for a lousy “aspirational” vision.
And until our elected leaders and the people charged with carrying it out get that, people will keep dying needlessly on our streets.
Persistent rumors have spread online saying the first victim, a teenage boy riding a dockless Jump ebike, was killed when he was struck by the driver of a Mini Cooper at 20th and Santa Monica Blvd Thursday afternoon, or that he passed away sometime afterwards.
As of Monday afternoon, neither was true.
At last word, he was still receiving care at a local hospital, though medical privacy laws prevent the release of his name or condition.
So let’s all say a prayer or send a few good thoughts in hopes that remains the case until he’s able to walk out on his own power.
Thanks to Mike Cane — that’s C-A-N-E, not C-R-A-N-E as I mistakenly wrote yesterday — for the heads-up.
CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell is looking for a $4 million grant to complete a 2.2-mile bike path on the east side of the LA River in Atwater Village. Los Angeles officials love bike paths, because they get people on bikes off the streets without annoying people in cars. Maybe he could look for a similar grant to fund the road diets and protected bike lanes that might actually improve safety in his district. Thanks to CiclaValley’s Zachary Rynew for the link.
The driver faces a single count of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for either striking the bike rider while driving on the wrong side of the road, or causing her to lose control and fall.
The driver said he thought he had plenty of room to pass a slow moving truck without hitting the pair of bicyclists coming in the opposite direction, and only realized he might have been wrong when the driver’s side mirror fell off his truck.
An investigator for the CHP somehow concluded that there was no evidence of a crash, apparently believing the man’s mirror just happened to fall off the same time he passed the victim.
Sure. Let’s go with that.
An earlier trial ended in a hung jury, leaning 10 – 2 in favor of a conviction.
A dark SUV eastbound 35th street stopped at Maple to avoid collision with our suspect vehicle moments prior to striking Roberto Diaz on his bike. We would like to talk to this SUV driver 213-833-3713 Central Traffic Division Detectives pic.twitter.com/nG3Nyi46tJ
After police rescued a five-year old Boston-area boy who wandered off in his pajamas, while pushing a bike with flat tires and a missing training wheel, an anonymous donor gave him a new one, along with supplies for the new school year.
Everyone. Literally anybody who’s ever been on a bicycle. Anybody who’s ever ridden mass transit, Metro, buses. Anybody who considers themselves a pedestrian. And scooter-ists, as well. And drivers, we want to hear from them, too. It’s an open invitation…
This Saturday’s Which Way L.A.-CBC? is meant to be a bit of a reckoning. There’s a moment in the program where I plan to just speak frankly about how we arrived at this moment.
I’m going to own the fact that I don’t think we are justifying our existence as we stand today. We need the help of basically everyone to become a better resource and a better support to the mission that we are fighting for.
I understand that the stakes are high. This is the moment that we need to turn this thing around. It starts with the input and the thoughtfulness of the people that we need to partner with to get this thing done.
The Which Way L.A.-CBC? community forum will take place from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. this Saturday, July 27, at LACBC headquarters at 634 S. Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles.
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it this time; for the foreseeable future, I’ll be home tending to a sick corgi who can’t be left alone more than a few minutes.
But I urge you to attend.
And maybe you could offer my input for me.
The LACBC should immediately form an associated 501(c)4 allowing it to engage in political activity; we desperately need a strong voice that can force our elected leaders and candidates to take the bicycling community seriously.
The LACBC should stop being afraid to take action, and be willing to take to the streets to demand real safety and protect the rights of bike riders.
The LACBC should be willing to back bike riders, and take a stand to support those who step up on their own to demand change, whether or not they’re members of the coalition.
And one more thing.
The LACBC — and the LA bicycling community — needs you now more than ever.
A Chico writer tells the story of her stolen bike, which a police detective said was probably already in pieces across the city hours after it was stolen. And now she’s afraid to ride to the market because she doesn’t want her new, cheaper bike to end up the same way.
Add one more to our recent collection of WWII bike photos, this time from a sailor stationed in Panama (see the last photo).
And a pretty snappy dresser, too.
My brother Randy Gustavo Alvarado found a trove of pictures of our Dad from his days in the US Navy as a Mechanic during WWII at the Panama Canal. I remember seeing them as a kid, but as an adult I appreciate them in a whole different light. #TonyAlvaradopic.twitter.com/NIyPEe07zU
Apparently having solved the problem of deadly, speeding drivers, Denver is turning its speed guns on bike riders who exceed the city’s 15 mph speed limit on bike paths, threatening $100 tickets for the first offense — whether or not you have a speedometer on your bike.
In an interview withKPCC’s Take Two, (Councilmember Bob) Blumenfield explained how the idea for the signs was borne out of a tragedy in Woodland Hills last April. On Easter Sunday, 15-year-old Sebastian Montero was struck by a car and killedwhile riding his bike on Burbank Boulevard.
Blumenfield was in contact with the boy’s family, as well as local police officers— together, they discussed ways to prevent future tragedies.
“I’ve been to too many of those ghost bike ceremonies, and they’re heartbreaking,” Blumenfield said.
After one officer, Duke Dao, suggested the idea for the memorial signs, Blumenfield ran with it.
I’m told be someone who worked closely with Blumenfield on the proposal that he’s absolutely sincere in wanting to do something to both remember the victims of traffic violence, and keep it from happening again.
But a simple sign’s not going to do that.
Blumenfield is one of the city’s better councilmembers on traffic issues, and is working to get a bike lane installed where Montero was killed.
But many of his peers have taken active steps to block desperately needed, potentially life-saving bikeways.
All voted to approve the memorials, while helping create — or at least not alleviate — conditions likely to require them.
Meanwhile, there’s a reasonable fear that the memorial signs will just blend into the streetscape, no more noticeable than the street signs indicating where police officers have been killed.
And if you haven’t seen those, that’s exactly my point.
Ghost bikes are intrusive and evocative. Granted, many drivers don’t know what they are. But once they do, they notice them every time they pass, and that drives the meaning home.
I’m not sure that will happen with these.
Especially if the limit of just 20 a year stays in place. It should be expanded to include not just those riders killed in the future, but the many riders who have needlessly lost their lives in the past.
And it should include pedestrians, as well, since they die in much greater numbers on LA’s mean streets than we do.
Maybe if hundreds of these memorial signs started to appear every year, blanketing every part of the city, people might finally get it. And realize that too damn many people are getting killed just because they rode a bike or went for a walk.
Then the council might finally do more than put up a sign.
Thanks to everyone who sent me links to this story.
The San Francisco Chronicle complains about the mythical war on cars, exemplified by a discussion of congestion pricing. Never mind that congestion pricing is intended to help improve traffic flow, which is hardly anti-driver. Or that nearly 100% of the roads are already dedicated to motorists, and the rest of us are just hoping for a few crumbs.
Taking a cue from LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s playbook, Baltimore’s mayor decides to rip out a protected bike lane, and says no way to a planned road diet. Although to be fair, she’s replacing the protected lane with a painted green lane. And she gave it four years, while Garcetti removed the non-protected bike lanes and road diets in Playa del Rey after just one month of driver complaints.
Sydney, Australia residents rise up against what they term a “nonsensical” bicycle superhighway, fearing it would somehow jeopardize pedestrians more than all those cars zooming past. Seriously, why is it that people continue to fight bike lanes that have repeatedly proven to be a net benefit to the surrounding community, regardless of any loss of parking?
The Verge looks at LA’s scofflaw underage e-scooter underground. Which is ridiculous, when you consider that a 16-year old can legally operate two tons of high powered glass and steel, but can’t legally ride a 15 mph scooter.
Bizarre tragedy in Chicago, where a motorist chased down a driver who fled after striking a bicyclist — moments after telling another rider in the group that he was going to jail — then was shot and killed by someone in a third vehicle as he argued with the hit-and-run driver. He was facing trial for discharging a weapon in a road rage incident last year, which he claimed was self-defense. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the heads-up.
Instead of demanding safer streets, the Washington Postcalls for kicking e-scooters off the sidewalk and requiring helmets for users. Never mind that mandatory helmets are impractical for a device that encourages spur of the moment usage, and could halt their rapid spread; few people just happen to carry a helmet with them everywhere they go on the off chance they might want to ride one.
First, because LA can be expected to rank high in bicycling fatalities — which are weighted heavily in the report — simply because it’s the nation’s second largest city. The only accurate measure would be to consider such deaths on a per capita basis.
Which is not to say too many people aren’t dying on our streets, due to the city’s failure to build the safe streets and bike infrastructure we were promised. Or to tame the toxic entitlement expressed by too many LA drivers.
Second, because this study is nothing more than click bait to get you to visit their site. It’s put out by a home security company that has absolutely nothing to do with bicycling or dangerous streets.
Unless you count the risk posed to bike riders by their own private security cops.
Yes, Los Angeles may be a dangerous place for people on bikes — and one that has done far to little to fix the situation.
But is it really the most dangerous place in the nation to ride one?
And probably not even the most dangerous place in Southern California.
A Boulder CO woman says out-of-control bicyclists and pedestrians have made it one of the most dangerous cities in the US for drivers. Which probably explains why there are so many ghost cars to honor all those drivers who were almost killed when they had to slow down or tap the brakes to a avoid a human being.
And a Texas woman was inches from becoming road kill when a pickup driver passed her at high speed with two wheels on — or over — the white line. Yet the response from the local police was, literally, “So what do you want us to do about it?“
Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman reports on last week’s rally and press conference to demand justice for fallen hit-and-run victim Frederick “Woon” Frazier, and the suspiciously timed South LA safe streets meeting that was scheduled at the last minute — and at the exact same time.
An Estonian bicyclist on an around the world trip should have skipped Winnipeg, Canada, where thieves broke the garage door where he was staying and made off with his tent and bicycle.
Elderly pedestrians say they’re being scared off a Nova Scotia multi-use trail by bike riders who speed and don’t signal. Seriously, it’s not that hard to slow down and show a little courtesy around other people. Although it’s hard to see how signaling would help when passing pedestrians from behind.
Yesterday morning, a reporter from outside of LA emailed me with a single, very simple question.
But the answer was just the opposite.
She wanted to why Los Angeles continues to be one of the nation’s deadliest cities for bicyclists.
This is how I responded.
That’s a complicated question.
There are a number of factors involved, but let’s start with the most obvious. Los Angeles is the second largest city in the US, so ignoring any other factors, we could be expected to have one of the highest traffic fatality rates.
We also have roughly 6,500 miles of surface streets, the most in the US. And due to the city’s mistaken obsession with LOS (Level of Service) until recent years, virtually all of those streets have been over-engineered to move as many vehicles as fast as possible, with little or no regard for safety.
That’s complicated by California’s deadly 85th Percentile Law, which allows drivers to set speed limits with their right foot. So you have streets that have been designed like highways, despite their original speed limits.
As a result, drivers naturally speed, which results in a continual raising of the speed limit until some LA streets have speed limits of 50 mph or more. And on those that don’t, drivers routinely exceed the limit by 10 to 15 mph — and complain in the rare instances that they get pulled over, because everyone else is doing it.
Add to that the smallest police force of any major city, resulting in just a few hundred officers patrolling the streets at any given time, most of whom are too busy dealing with major crimes to bother pulling anyone over for an illegal U-turn or weaving in and out of traffic. And until recently, police couldn’t enforce speed limits on most of the city’s streets, because LA failed to conduct the speed surveys required by the 85th Percentile law.
So is it any wonder that LA has what may be world’s most entitled drivers, who seem to feel they have a God-given right to do anything they want, with little or no fear of consequences?
Then there’s the lack of safe bicycling infrastructure in the city. While the city made great gains under the previous mayor, who committed to building 40 miles of bike lanes a year, that has trickled to a crawl under the current administration, resulting in less than 10 lanes miles a year. We have just a handful of parking protected bike lanes, no curb-protected lanes — the first is expected to open this summer on South Figueroa — and a few of what are questionably called protected lanes, guarded only by thin plastic flex posts, which are easy to drive over with no damage to your car.
To complicate matters, there is nothing even resembling a bikeway network in Los Angeles. With the exception of Downtown LA, it is virtually impossible to plan a safe route from one part of the city to another. Bike lanes start and stop at random, and usually don’t connect to anything, forcing riders to contend with high speed traffic and aggressive drivers.
As a result, a disproportionate number of LA riders use sidewalks instead of riding in the street, putting them at significant risk when they have to cross a side street or driveway. In addition, LA has a large immigrant population, many of whom ride bikes as their only form of transportation. And many of whom learned to ride against traffic in their home countries, and continue the practice here; in some neighborhoods, salmon cyclists make up most, if not all, of the bicycling victims according to the LAPD.
Do I even need to mention that there is no bicycle eduction in most California cities? Some of the local advocacy groups offer adult bike education, but that reaches only a handful of people each year. And usually not the ones who need it most.
Finally, Los Angeles has a weak mayor political system which gives the mayor limited authority, while placing most of the power in the hands of individual councilmembers. As a result, while the mayor has set some bike friendly policies, such as Vision Zero, actual implementation falls on each councilmember to approve or deny safety improvements in their own districts.
A fear of angry drivers — and voters — has resulted in the cancellation of shovel-ready road diets and bike lanes throughout the city, virtually halting any real progress on Vision Zero, let alone providing any alternative to driving for most people. And famously led to the reversal of several road diets installed in Playa del Rey last year when pass-through drivers, mostly from outside the city, rose up in revolt.
Los Angeles has great potential for bicycling. If the city actually builds out its Mobility Plan 2035, and the bike plan within it — which seems highly unlikely at this point — it will transform itself from the nation’s most traffic and smog-choked city into one of the safest and most livable communities anywhere.
But that’s a big if.
Caltrans celebrates the last day of Bike Month by discussing the role bikes can play as a legitimate form of transportation in reducing greenhouse gasses.