Tag Archive for Claremont

Another LA councilmember indicted for bribery, Claremont clarifies apparent bike ban, and bike riders get Gavined again

My apologies for the recent unexcused absences. 

You know I’m having a bad night when I post an explanation for why I won’t be posting something that day.

A really bad night is when I don’t manage to post anything at all. 

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The beat goes on at LA City Hall, where yet another councilmember has been indicted for bribery.

Longtime LA-area politician Mark Ridley-Thomas was indicted for allegedly bribing a former dean at USC to admit a family member into a graduate program while he was serving on the LA County Board of Supervisors, before getting elected to the city council after he was termed out by the county.

He is the third current or former councilmember to be indicted for bribery in recent years, although Mitch Englander was convicted of receiving bribes, and Jose Huizar charged with doing the same.

And that doesn’t include CD12 City Councilmember John Lee, who remains on the council, despite reportedly figuring prominently in the bribery charge and conviction of his predecessor.

Maybe that’s our problem.

Maybe we need to take up a collection to bribe a few councilmembers, so bikes can get their attention for a change.

Meanwhile, the New York Times looks at the redistricting controversy that could send recently elected CD4 Councilmember Nithya Raman to represent the San Fernando Valley, where no one voted for her, while disenfranchising  her current district and leaving them without the bike, pedestrian and transit-friendly representative they voted for.

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Claremont has apparently learned the error of their ways, correcting a badly worded draft ordinance that could have been read to ban bicycles on at least one street, in violation of state law.

Credit Erik Griswold with sounding the alarm.

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Evidently, we’ve been Gavined again.

Streetsblog reports Governor Newsom vetoed AB 1147, which would have required better data and analysis regarding greenhouse gas reductions, while calling on Caltrans to develop a pilot program of branded bicycle highways.

He apparently wielded his overactive veto pen out of spite because the bill’s author, Laura Friedman, blocked Newsom’s $7.6 billion transportation bill in a dispute over what segments of high speed rail to fund first.

And no, I don’t know what a “branded” bicycle highway is, either.

On the other hand, Newsom did sign AB 773, which will make it easier to make Slow Streets permanent, as well as partially or completely closing streets for al fresco dining.

He also signed Friedman’s AB 43, which will allow cities to lower speed limits, but not until July 1st, 2024.

And Newsom signed SB 69, which will shut down the state’s “the defunct and bankrupt North Coast Railroad Authority,” and transition it to the Great Redwood Trail Agency, which will be charged establishing a rail trail through the redwoods along California’s North Coast.

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We’ve been following the case of the coal-rolling, 16-year old Texas driver who slammed into six bicyclists on a training ride in Waller County, and trying to read through the lines to figure out why the kid wasn’t charged on the spot.

We don’t have to wonder anymore.

Erik Griswold forwarded a powerful blog post from the Houston lawyer representing the victims from earlier this month, which has somehow gone unreported in the media.

Our 6 clients are suffering from horrible injuries including broken vertebrae, cervical and lumbar spinal injuries, broken collar bones, hands, and wrists- many of which require surgical intervention- as well as multiple traumatic brain injuries, lacerations, soft tissue damage, road rash, and extensive bruising. And those are just the physical injuries.

The driver of the black F-250 that crushed our clients’ bodies and left them and their bikes splashed and scattered across the roadway is a 16 year old Waller, Texas male. Through our own investigation, we’ve learned his name, his address, the names of his parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, neighbors and family friends. We know the names of the businesses owned and operated by the driver’s family. We know where he was earlier in the day, prior to crashing into our clients while they were more than 70 miles into their USAT tri-club training ride. We know the identity of his passenger (a local 17 year old male from a neighboring town) and a pretty good idea about the role he may have played in causing the crash that sent ALL of our clients to the hospital; 2 by Life Flight, 2 by ambulance, 2 by personal transport…

The driver’s family’s connections in Waller are a legitimate reason for concern, but I know that Charlie and Peter are very well versed in handling the challenges that nepotism can create.

They go on to add this —

The backdrop of the Waller Bike Crash is one riddled with anti-bike bias. Charlie knows all too well as he has recent experiences with judges there, one who actually lamented to him that Waller, TX “doesn’t like [our] kind.” Charlie has formerly represented several cyclists who were targeted and ticketed by Waller police over the last couple of years…This advocacy includes exposing and fighting against those who choose to selectively enforce the law for only a select few.

Our clients are not only hostages to the truck driver’s behavior and their own broken bodies, but also to a criminal process that is supposed to help make them “whole” again in a place that “doesn’t like [their] kind.”

Which reads like a perfect example of saying something without saying it.

Without mentioning the names of the driver’s family members, or their social, financial and/or official positions, the post makes it very clear he’s part of, and protected by, a powerful family in the country.

And that achieving justice in the face of the county’s extreme anti-bike bias will be an uphill climb.

It’s definitely worth a click to read the whole thing.

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Streetsblog reports that Norwalk is beginning work on a bicycle master plan.

Thanks to Joe Linton for the heads-up.

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LADOT offers a quick look at last Sunday’s CicLAvia.

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That feeling when you win the Nobel, but have no use for the prime parking spot that comes with it.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for forwarding the tweets.

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Kermet is one of us, too.

But then, we already knew that.

And yes, that’s something to sing about.

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A UK bike advocacy group celebrates one of the country’s most celebrated bike illustrators.

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

No bias here. A British mayor complains he’s been abused for trying to stop “silly cyclists” from getting killed riding recklessly after dark.

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

A 41-year old man faces charges for running over a 12-year old girl with his bike as she was walking to school in Corona, then stripping naked and making lewd comments; he was arrested as he rode naked past students arriving for school.

Rome, New York police are looking for an ax-wielding, bike-riding robber who made off with a 14-year old boy’s bicycle after threatening to chop his head off.

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Local

LA is taking another step towards creating a continuous bikeway along the LA River, with plans to close a 2.9-mile gap in the San Fernando Valley.

A letter writer takes the LA Times to task for publishing an op-ed from a homeless advocate complaining about a bike rider who loudly objected to two men blocking the LA River bike path to comfort a homeless man, comparing it to a post on Nextdoor. Ouch.

Santa Monica-based Bird announced a new, integrated smart sidewalk protection technology designed to keep users from illegally riding the company’s e-scooters on sidewalks.

While Los Angeles tries to redefine what “Complete Streets” means to include sort-of, semi-complete streets, Culver City is busy building the real thing with a Complete Streets makeover of Washington Boulevard, including dedicated bike and bus lanes connecting downtown to the city’s E Line, nee Expo, station.

LA County Sheriff’s deputies disproportionately stop, search and handcuff Black people in the Antelope Valley, apparently for the crime of walking, biking or driving while Black.

 

State

Streetsblog complains about Gavin Newsom’s “deeply disappointing” vetos of bills to legalize Stop and Yield for bike riders and decriminalize jaywalking, saying the governor relied on flawed data.

A San Mateo letter writer complains about “confiscating” parking spaces from low income, working class neighborhoods, calling it callous and punitive. Evidently, she’s unaware that poor and working class people ride bicycles, too — many as their only form of transportation.

A letter writer from Northern California’s Plumas County makes the case for bike lanes, noting that he’s 60 year old and rides a bike 60 to 70 miles a week to stave off congestive heart failure. But we all know bike lanes only benefit young, healthy adults. Right?

 

National

America Walks will offer a webinar tomorrow on how to take on harmful jaywalking laws. Just a tad too late for those of us in California, though.

Now you, too, can build your own ebike with fat, low profile wheels intended for custom cars.

KC bike and pedestrian advocates called for safety improvements after a man was killed by two separate hit-and-run drivers while leaving Sunday’s Kansas City Chiefs game.

Kindhearted cops in Jasper, Texas raised funds to buy an adaptive bicycle for a 12-year old special needs girl.

Life is cheap in San Antonio, where a 70-year old woman will serve a lousy ten days behind bars and another hundred on house arrest for the drunk driving death of a bike rider.

Evidently, things are no better in Chicago than the Antelope Valley, where bike riders in predominantly Black neighborhoods are eight times more likely to be ticketed than riders in mostly white neighborhoods.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer promises to deliver for the Deliveristas, promising federal infrastructure funds to build rest areas for New York delivery riders, as they band together to protect their own safety.

A paralyzed former Army Ranger living in Virginia has made it his mission to provide adaptive bicycles for paralyzed and disabled children and veterans.

 

International

A British Columbia drunk driver was 2.5 times over the legal alcohol limit when he killed a bike rider, after texting a woman he was arguing with that he was going to get fucked up. And did, apparently.

The theft of high-end bikes continues in London’s Richmond Park, as machete-wielding thieves on motor scooters attacked a man and made off with his nearly $8,000 bike, the fourth such theft this week. Note to self: Don’t ride in Richmond Park.

Evidently, parking in bike lanes isn’t just an American thing, as a London bike rider snapped a photo showing at least seven drivers parked in one.

An English bike rider credits his helmet with saving his life — not from a collision, but when a brick wall collapsed on him as he was riding by. So always wear your helmet 24/7, on or off your bike, just in case.

After British bike riders ridicule a ridiculously short ten-foot bike lane, county officials contend it’s not really a bike lane, but just bike markings and parallel stripes on the pavement. Which is kind of what a bike lane is.

Does anyone really need the new Van Moof ebike that can do 37 mph? That would make it a motorcycle under California law, requiring a helmet, driver’s license and license plate.

A Turkish woman has taught 72 women to ride bikes in just the last five months, in an area where it’s not considered inappropriate for a woman to ride a bike. Which implies that there are places in the country where it is.

 

Competitive Cycling

A 31-year old woman is set to face charges of causing involuntary injuries and endangering others for causing a mass crash on the opening stage of this year’s Tour de France, by holding a handwritten sign reading Allez Opi-Omi — go grandma and grandpa — in front of the peloton.

Four-time Tour de France champ Chris Froome says he still dreams of getting a record-tying fifth win. Someone who shall not be named once won seven Tour de France titles, before unwinning them by doping.

Legendary cyclist Eddy Merckx says Slovenia’s Tadej Pogačar has the potential to do even better than he did. Which is saying something, since Merckx is generally considered the greatest of all time.

American Olympic bronze medalist Emma White announced her retirement at the ripe old age of 24, just days after winning this year’s Sea Otter Classic.

 

Finally…

That feeling when your neighborhood is closed to kids, because cars. Note to paramedics — don’t leave the damn keys in the ambulance.

And, um, well…

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

Bike riders Gavined by governor’s veto pen, rude writer confronts rude rider, and bad Claremont proposal threatens bikes

We’ve been Gavined.

We’re only a few years removed from when Jerry Brown became a verb meaning a too close pass, after he vetoed legislation establishing a three-foot passing law.

Twice.

It took a third try, and a vastly weakened law, to get it past Brown’s overactive veto pen.

Now Gavin Newsom is trying to take his place by irrationally vetoing bike and pedestrian safety laws.

Consider this statement that accompanied his veto of the Safety Stop Bill, otherwise known as the Idaho Stop or Stop as Yield, which has gone into effect in several other states without an accompanying jump in carnage.

And note, there’s no bike in carnage, but there’s sure all hell a car.

While I share the author’s intent to increase bicyclist safety, I am concerned this bill will have the opposite effect. The approach in AB 122 may be especially concerning for children, who may not know how to judge vehicle speeds or exercise the necessary caution to yield to traffic when appropriate.

Fatalities and serious injuries have been on the rise on the state’s roads since 2010. The Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System shows that, since 2015, there were 3,059 crashes involving bicycles at an intersection in which the primary collision factor was failure to stop at a stop sign. The data indicates bicyclists were determined to be at fault for 88 percent of the collisions resulting in fatalities and 63 percent of those involving injuries.

So let’s be clear.

Few, if any, legitimate sources use that 88% figure; most researchers find fault either evenly divided, or drivers at fault for most crashes involving bike riders.

While it’s a useful tool, the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, better knows as SWITRS, is hardly the most reliable source. SWITRS depends on voluntary self-reporting by law enforcement agencies, which results in most, but not all, serious collisions being reported.

It is also dependent on the CHP and other law enforcement agencies with their infamous windshield bias and lack of adequate training in bike law.

And never mind that of those 3,059 collisions at intersections where someone failed to stop at a stop sign, it wasn’t necessarily the person on the bike who failed to stop.

Drivers blow through stop signs at least as frequently as people on bikes, and with far more deadly results.

And as we’ve said many times before, even the most reckless bike rider is primarily a danger to him or herself, while a reckless driver is a danger to everyone around them.

Not to mention Gavin also killed a very good law decriminalizing crossing the damn street, for similarly specious reasons — despite clear evidence that it has resulted in biased police enforcement against people of color.

Although to his credit, he did sign a bill that allows the first small steps towards weakening the deadly 85th Percentile Rule and lowering speed limits.

So maybe Gavined should be the new term for irrationally rejecting bike and pedestrian safety rules.

Or maybe that’s what we’ll call it when someone gets a ticket for otherwise safely rolling a stop sign or crossing the street mid-block, which would have been legal under the laws he rejected.

Or both.

Because we had high hopes that California would finally take a long-delayed rational step forward to make it safer and easier to get around without a car.

But instead, we got Gavined.

In today’s photo, a family takes a break on the front plaza of LAPD headquarters during yesterday’s CicLAvia in Downtown Los Angeles.

And my apologies for the lack of attribution for the people who sent me links for today’s post. Too be honest, it’s nearly 5:30 am as I finish this, and I’m just too damn tired to go back and see who sent what. But I thank you, and truly appreciate the help!

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A worker with a homeless organization complains about a rude bike rider on the LA River bike path, in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times.

He was standing on the pathway, comforting a homeless man who’s longtime partner had just died, when a man on a bike yelled at them to get out of the path.

These were the circumstances when you, spandex-clad and biking south along the river, yelled at the three of us to get out of the path, to which I responded with a predictable vulgarity.

I was surprised when you returned to insist that I apologize for my foul language and for forcing you to shift lanes. You seemed genuinely certain you were the injured party, and I imagined you carrying that for the rest of the day — telling your friends about the confrontation, using it as an example of our ongoing civilizational decline…

Things shouldn’t be like this. I took your behavior as evidence that you, like many of my neighbors, view unhoused people exclusively as nuisances, similar to bad traffic on the 5 or our most recent oat milk shortage.

As usual, though, we’re only hearing one side of the story.

Undoubtedly, the man on the bicycle would see things differently; he had no way of knowing about the death of the homeless man’s partner.

But based on what we’ve been told by the author of the piece, it would seem like they were both wrong.

He could, and should, have moved the homeless man off the pathway to avoid blocking a path used by countless people every day. It’s likely that the two people comforting a homeless man blocked more of the path than he realized.

The bike rider could have also held his tongue as he rode past, assuming there was enough room to get by. Yes, it’s annoying when people stand on a bike path. But that’s what people do.

And sometimes, as in this case, there’s a reason for it.

The author also could have responded without swearing at the bike rider, which seems uncalled for under the circumstances.

So what we’re left with is two people behaving badly, and one whining about it in the pages of the Times.

Neither of whom seem very sympathetic in the retelling.

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Eric Griswold calls our attention to a very badly worded motion before the Claremont city council that could ban bikes from one or more surface streets, in violation of state law.

So just to be clear, under California state law, bike riders have all the rights and responsibilities of motorists, and must be allowed on any public street where cars are allowed, with the exception of some limited access highways.

While some cities have tried to ban bikes from certain roadways, it’s questionable whether it can be legally enforced. Although fighting it could mean taking it to the state appeals courts, which is a slow and costly process.

So let’s hope Claremont takes another look at this wording, and sends it back for a rewrite.

And maybe gets a new law firm for the next draft.

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Sunday marked the return of CicLAvia to DTLA, exactly 11 years to the day after the first one.

And yes, a good time was had by all.

Even our very own BikinginLA intern, who not only experienced her first CicLAvia, but also took her first pedicab ride.

Not to mention her second. And loved every minute of it, thanks to our very kind and friendly driver.

We also had a chance to talk corgis, bikes and city finances with the man who may just be LA’s next city controller.

Maybe he could put his own corgis to work sniffing out financial irregularities at city hall.

https://twitter.com/kennethmejiaLA/status/1447365863363923969

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Show this tweet the next time someone complains about bike lanes in front of businesses.

Then wait for the inevitable “Yeah, but this isn’t Madrid.”

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

An editor with Esquire wants us to feel sorry for him for getting his first traffic ticket in 30 years for right-hooking a bike rider who came off the sidewalk “out of nowhere.” Evidently, though, the cops understood that no one ever comes out of nowhere if drivers are paying attention, even if he doesn’t.

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

There’s a special place in hell for the man who brutally attacked an 18-year old woman in South Los Angeles as she was walking with her young brother, stealing about 30 bucks before making off on a bicycle.

New York police are looking for a bike-riding man who shouted a racist comment at an Asian woman before bumping her with his bike.

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Local

All five candidates to replace pseudo-environmentalist, bike lane-blocking, thankfully termed out CD5 City Councilmember Paul Koretz will participate in an online debate on mobility on October 25th, sponsored by Streets for All.

Congratulations to LA’s Silver Lake neighborhood, which is officially the world’s 14th coolest neighborhood.

This is who we share the road with. A man was beaten to death by bystanders after using his car as a weapon to intentionally crash into several people on a sidewalk when he was tossed from a Hawthorne business, then crashed into a building as he tried to get away, only to be pulled from his car and killed by members of the crowd he attacked

Not everyone turned out for CicLAvia on Sunday, as some people took part in the return of the bike ride on the course of the Long Beach Marathon. Although I suspect some people did both.

 

State

An Orange County woman got her stolen bike back a day later, after cruising the neighborhood with her dog until she spotted a man riding it, and the police in Santa Ana recovered it for her.

Cycling Tips looks at Day Two of this year’s Sea Otter Classic.

Moving piece from a Berkeley publicly funded paper about the 81-year old retired firefighter who died of a heart attack while riding his bike last week.

The San Francisco Chronicle examines the lack of equity for two San Francisco drivers who killed two bike-riding women in separate crashes on the same night; one driver got a lousy 16 days behind bars, while the other has been held in county jail for five years on $10 million bail, without ever getting a hearing.

 

National

Treehugger says US ebike sales are up a whopping 240%.

How to repurpose old wheelbarrows to build your own DIY bike trailer.

Chicago residents petition to restore a Slow Street, after the city continues its campaign to remove them.

In a major traffic collision, an eight-year old Ohio girl was riding her bicycle when she was struck by a 10-year old boy and 8-year old girl in a pony cart, spilling them all.

Two hundred Massachusetts bike riders turned out turned out to honor the sacrifices of police and firefighters who gave their lives to protect the public.

Bicycling rates continue to rise in the Big Apple, with a 33% jump in weekday ridership.

Jersey City NJ bike riders are getting the secure bike parking we all need with a Black and Brown-owned Brooklyn-based startup that provides customizable bike storage pods that can fit in a single parking space. Let’s hope they come here to SoCal soon.

Woody Harrelson is one of us, riding a bike around DC shortly after punching a drunk man at the Watergate Hotel, who allegedly lunged at him when Harrelson asked him to delete photos of him and his daughter. .

 

International

Birmingham, England announced a transformative plan to cut motor vehicle use by requiring drivers to use a ring road, rather than allowing them to drive across the city, while introducing a fleet of zero-emission cross-city buses and additional protected bike lanes.

Oh, bother. Local residents agree on protecting England’s Hundred Acre Wood, made famous by Winnie-the-Pooh, Eeyore and Piglet et al, though there’s less agreement on whether to allow bicycles. Although something tells me Pooh would welcome bikes.

Nice story from the UK, where YouTube BMX star Zak Jones gave a young boy with autism a new bike after meeting him at a skate park, when the boy, who had never ridden a bicycle, decided to become a cycling star like Jones.

It takes a major schmuck to borrow a Kenyan boy’s bicycle, then turn around and sell it.

Life is really cheap in Malaysia, where an appeals court confirmed that a driver got a walk for killing eight — yes, eight — teenagers on the customized bikes known as basikal lajak. And she got her driver’s license back, too. I don’t care who you are, it takes major recklessness to crash into eight people on bicycles with enough force to kill them all.

Covid is delaying construction of a Sydney, Australia bikeway, as “snobbish” and “narrow minded” residents work to stop it.

Australian actor Samuel Johnson is one of us, possibly to his regret, after permanently losing his sense of smell when he was struck by a driver while riding his bike.

 

Competitive Cycling

Slovenian cyclist Tadej Pogacar won the Il Lombardia classic, in the final race on this year’s WorldTour calendar.

Pink Bike offers a photo essay from the Red Bull Rampage, calling it the greatest show on earth.

British sprinting star Mark Cavendish turned up at the women’s Tour of Britain to speak out in support of women’s cycling.

Congratulations to SoCal’s own Coryn Rivera, who is now Coryn Labecki, after getting married and moving to a new team.

American BMX cyclist Connor Fields crash in the Tokyo Olympics left him with a serious traumatic brain injury and memory loss, raising questions about whether he can recover enough to compete again.

 

Finally…

That feeling when your new low-end e-mountain bike is okay for everything, except riding mountains. Who needs the Batmobile when you’ve got a turbo-charged bicycle?

And clearly, dooring is nothing new.

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

1 killed and five injured in horrific Portland SUV attack, and LA/Long Beach motocross legend dies mountain biking

Let’s go with a slightly truncated post today.

I’ve been struggling with a bad internet connection all night, thanks to a rapidly failing router. 

So I’m going to post this while I still have a connection, and we’ll catch up with the rest of the news tomorrow after I — hopefully — get this damn thing replaced. 

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Horrific story from Portland, where a driver careened down more than 12 city blocks, intentionally slamming into everyone in sight.

This is how the Portland Oregonian described the attack.

Tyler Meyer, 30, said he saw the SUV swerve into his lane on Belmont Street, then strike a cyclist as he turned sharply onto 30th Avenue. Meyer said the suspect, who was speeding and running red lights, then clipped a pedestrian at Stark Street and 15th Avenue, did a U-turn and smashed into two people who became wedged between the SUV and a retaining wall at Stark and 19th Avenue. The driver then ran into an elderly woman on 19th, before doubling back and striking another pedestrian, Meyer said.

One woman in her 70s was killed, while five other people suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Larry Wolfe said he had an appointment to meet the person who was killed, a woman in her 70s, at the corner of Washington Street and 19th Avenue. Wolfe told The Oregonian/OregonLive he saw the woman get hit by a car and scream. He said he started walking toward her, then saw the car come back and hit her again. The car then did a U-turn and dragged the woman for some time, Wolfe said.

The male driver attempted to flee on foot after crashing his SUV, but was soon corralled by bystanders who kept him from leaving until police could wrestle him to the ground.

Meyer said he also watched the driver run into the El Camino. He said the man attempted to fight bystanders and threw potted plants from nearby homes.

“I told him, ‘I think you just killed a lady up the street,’” Meyer said. “He laughed and said, ‘Ah, that’s too bad.’”

There’s no word yet on whether this was a terrorist attack, a case of mental illness or if there was some other reason for his murderous attack.

But it serves as yet another reminder that we trust anyone who can pass a simple test with operating a two-ton weapon capable of inflicting mass casualties.

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Sad news, as motocross legend Mike “Too Tall” Bell died over the weekend.

The 63-year old Los Angeles native and Hall of Fame member, who rode out of Long Beach, reportedly suffered a heart attack while mountain biking; no word on where it happened.

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While Los Angeles is stuck in reverse, Pomona and Claremont are moving forward to improve safety for everyone.

And holding on to some of that water we’ll be flushing out to sea this week.

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

A Marin horseback rider complains about “irresponsible aggressive mountain bikers…fueled by a combination of righteousness, adrenaline and anger” after a woman was seriously injured when she was apparently thrown off her horse in some sort of conflict a mountain biker.

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Local

LAist takes a deep dive into the heartbreaking death of a four-year old girl killed in a collision while walking with her mother in Koreatown in 2019, and the continuing failure of Los Angeles officials to curb traffic violence. And why over a hundred pedestrians die in the city every year.

 

State

Alameda is getting its first fully protected, Dutch-style intersection. Which is one more than LA has.

Santa Rosa is proposing a redesign of a killer roadway, improving crosswalks and adding new bike paths and curb extensions to a half mile stretch where three people on foot or bicycles were killed in a single week in 2018. Which raises the question of what the hell were they waiting for? Something like that should have fixed within months, not years.

 

National

Bicycling picks up a paywalled story from Popular Mechanics — which is also available on Yahoo in case Bicycling’s paywall blocks you out— about how riding a backward bike, which goes left when you turn right and vice versa, will break your mind. So seriously, what’s the point of all those paywalls if you can get it for free, anyway?

A pair of Connecticut men take the long way across the US, riding 5,000 mile through 18 states along the way. On the other hand, a Florida man plans to ride solo 11,500 miles around the perimeter of the US to raise funds for a cancer charity. Although as we’ve seen before, planning to do something isn’t the same as doing it.

New York bike riders could see more protected bike lanes, despite the pandemic, as the transportation department emerges relatively unscathed from the city’s budget crisis.

The sponsor of Virginia’s wide-ranging bicycle safety bill says it should pass easily, saying he doesn’t expect any opposition to allowing bike riders to treat stops as yields, and requiring drivers to change lanes to pass someone on a bicycle. Evidently Virginia’s AAA and state police don’t have their heads so far up their don’t have the windshield bias of their California counterparts.

 

International

Cycling News explains everything you need to know about ebike motors before you buy your next bike.

Yes, please. Scotland will now give people living near designated Low Emission Zones the equivalent of more than $1300 in grants to buy a bicycle or ebike, or to use towards public transportation.

Bike Radar looks at the top five road bike trends for the coming year.

Fixie riders in Singapore will now need at least one brake on their bike.

McDonalds is finally taking steps to welcome people on bicycles — in the Philippines, anyway.

Speaking of the Philippines, the country voted to approve a network of popup bike lanes and “safe emergency pathways” for non-motorized vehicles, which could be made permanent.

 

Finally…

Actually, the best Peloton alternative remains riding your bike outside. When you’re riding with four outstanding warrants, marijuana, meth, Dextroamphetamine Clonazepam on your bike, put some damn lights on your bike.

And anyone who can turn car parts into a bicycle deserves an A+.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a damn mask, already. 

Update: Claremont woman killed in Friday the 13th bicycling collision, driver arrested for vehicular manslaughter

Sadly, Friday the 13th lived up to its reputation for a woman riding her bike in Claremont.

According to the Claremont Courier, the woman, identified only as a Claremont resident, was riding north on Mills Ave near Rockford Drive around 9 am Friday.

A driver headed in the opposite direction lost control attempting to pass another vehicle and skidded across the roadway, hitting the victim head-on.

She was taken to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, where she died.

Thirty-eight-year old Claremont resident Cheryl Becker was arrested for vehicular manslaughter. She also faces a charge of child endangerment because her children were in the car with her at the time of the crash.

Not surprisingly, police say speed may have been a factor.

A street view shows a two lane roadway on Mills, with a center turn lane and bike lanes in each direction. Police say there’s been an increase in unsafe driving on the street in recent months, including drivers exceeding the 40 mph speed limit.

Friday’s crash took place just blocks from where Sandra Wicksted killed Leslie Pray in a 2018 collision as Pray was riding her bike. Wicksted was sentenced to 16 years for voluntary manslaughter earlier this week, after prosecutors pled down from the original murder charge.

This is at least the 56th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 15th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

Update: The victim has been identified as long-time Claremont resident Terri Wolfe Ingalls, who was killed less than a week after her 62nd birthday. 

According to the Claremont Courier, she was run down just moments after leaving her home. Her final act may have been waving to her neighbor as she set out on her bike. 

The paper describes her as a “thoughtful, lovely” mother of four, and grandmother of seven, who checked in on her elderly parents every day. 

They’ll all have to find a way to get along without her now.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Terri Wolfe Ingalls and her loved ones.

Morning Links: Getting crushed by car culture, safety versus convenience, and LA’s new sideways bike lane sweeper

Let’s start with today’s must read, as an editor for The Outline says he’s seen the future.

And it’s not us.

There is also the unrelenting, often murderous hostility of drivers toward pedestrians and people on bikes. No cyclist I know has not been menaced by an enraged driver — brushed past within inches, bumped at an intersection, run off the road — and most of us have been menaced more than once. No pedestrian who has to cross at a mid-block crosswalk is unfamiliar with the experience of a driver actually speeding upwhen they see you; no one who has crossed at a regular intersection is unfamiliar with a turning driver laying on the horn and waiting until the last second to jam on the breaks as you scurry out of the way.

The car is a very specifically American symbol of freedom, but like so many instruments and symbols of American freedom, it is a tool of domination and control. A car is a missile and a castle, a self-propelled, multi-ton fortress, hermetically sealed against the intrusions of weather, environment, and, of course, other people. Drivers view the world through the lenses of speed and convenience — most of the anger at cyclists, in my experience, is at having to drive at something resembling a normal urban speed limit because there’s a bike in front of them — but also through the lens of ownership. Streets belong to cars. The rest of us are interlopers, invaders, invasive species.

He goes on to blame car culture, not the internet, for the crushing disconnection and loneness rampant in out society, as we move things further and further apart, forcing us to live more and more of our lives in motor vehicles.

Seriously, take a few minutes to read it.

We’ll wait.

Then take a couple more to see just how right he is, as a new traffic congestion study is criticized for being too pro-car, while ignoring the “new realities of multi-modal transport.”

Making it all too clear that the auto-centric way of thinking won’t die easily.

Photo by John Howard from Pixabay.

………

Then there’s this one from Grist, questioning whether New Orleans can keep bike riders safe, as it revamps the streets with 75 miles of bikeways surrounding the downtown area in the next few years. 

This is a life-saving effort,” De Wulf said of his krewe’s push. “Would you rather have someone die on a bicycle, versus someone being inconvenienced for five minutes of their day?

Sadly, I’ve heard the answer to that one too many times, in dozens of public meetings, and in the comments online.

Because far too many Angelenos would rather get home a couple minutes earlier, your life or mine be damned.

And that, my friends, is what we have to change.

………

On the other hand, it looks like Claremont bike riders may have won that battle, at least on Foothill Blvd.

Michael Wagner’s excellent CLR Effect reports on the progress of Claremont’s nearly completed curb-protected bike lanes on Foothill Blvd, which is looking pretty damn good at this early stage.

Hopefully neighboring cities will pick up on it, and extend them beyond Claremont’s city limits.

Although, like anywhere else, some drivers are a little slow to take the hint.

One of my major regrets lately is that I don’t have time to keep up with some of my favorite blogs. Starting with Wagner’s, which does an exceptional job of keeping up with biking in the Far East. 

Of LA County, that is. 

So don’t make my mistake. Bookmark CLR Effect now, and keep checking back to see what’s new.

It’s okay if you got so caught up you miss a new BikinginLA every now and then. Just don’t let it happen too often.

………

After trying out several models, Los Angeles is ordering a cute little mini-street sweeper for protected bike lanes.

Hopefully it will work upright, as well as sideways. Although it won’t get a lot of use either way unless LA builds some more protected lanes.

………

A new study shows women who say they have genital pain and numbness while riding a bike are far more likely to suffer from sexual dysfunction.

So don’t grit your teeth and try to ignore it.

Get to a bike shop and buy a new seat to take the pressure off. Or get a good bike fit to change your positioning in the saddle.

Even if you have to get a friend to help and do it yourself.

………

Local

A writer for City Walk talks with bike and Complete Streets supporter Sarah Kate Levy about her race to unseat David Ryu in LA’s 4th Council District; Glendale has an election coming up next year, too.

WeHo sheriff’s deputes wrote 72 tickets to e-scooter riders over an 18-month period ending in July, mostly for riding on the sidewalk, compared to 800 scooter tickets over the same period in Los Angeles.

Surprisingly, Pasadena is working on a return of the legendary ArroyoFest next year; the original 2003 event may have been the region’s first modern day open streets event, shutting down the historic Arroyo Seco Freeway, aka the Pasadena Freeway, to motor vehicles, and opening it up to all human-powered forms of transportation.

Boulder CO-based Bicycle Retailer and Industry News is looking for sponsors for an ebike tour of Long Beach, Pasadena and Santa Monica bike shops next month. Or better yet, just sponsor me and I’ll be happy to ride an ebike almost anywhere you want.

Long Beachize’s Brian Addison reports that 20 people have been killed in motor vehicle collisions in the city this year, including ten pedestrians and three people on bicycles. Yet no one there is calling for a ban on cars, unlike bikes or scooters if their users dare ride on the sidewalk or collide with someone.

Simon Cowell is one of us. And so is his son, as the TV talent show judge hopped on his bigass ebike to take the five-year old boy for a ride through the ‘Bu.

 

State

A former San Diego County sheriff’s deputy has pled guilty to sexually assaulting 16 women while on duty, including a woman he groped while she was riding her bike; he faces a well-deserved five years behind bars, and will have to register as a sex offender.

 

National

A new app promises to let you use bikeshare, scooters and transit systems across the US, including Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus.

Outside profiles a 57-year old African-American grandmother who rode her bike across the US just five years after suffering a stroke, learning about gears along the way. And she plans to do it again.

A Milwaukee convenience store owner says he’s fed up with getting robbed by roving gangs of bike riding kids, saying he’s losing $5,000 to $6,000 worth of merchandise a day.

After retiring, a kindhearted Michigan man spends his days fixing up bicycles to donate to kids in need.

A Connecticut Bikes for Kids program gave out 36 bicycles and helmets to underprivileged kids over the weekend, a small part of the 500 bikes they give out each year.

A writer for the New York Daily News says a new bike lane will endanger children because they might get run down by speeding bike riders. Or maybe because emergency vehicles might get stuck in traffic. Or, something.

The NYPD continues to blame the victim, saying an ebike rider was at fault for the crash with a garbage truck that left him critically injured; not surprisingly, Steetsblog sees things differently.

Maybe they could have a chat with the CHP. After a South Carolina high school guidance counselor was killed in a rear-end collision, state troopers charged the driver with driving too fast for conditions. The same law is on the books in California, but the CHP doesn’t seem familiar with that section of the vehicle code. Then again, LA County Sheriffs could use a brush up, too.

 

International

A British woman is planning to swim the English Channel, five years after losing a leg when she was run over by a truck driver while riding her bike; she’ll be joined by a pair of air ambulance paramedics on her swim, including the one who saved her life.

Just heartbreaking. Moments after finishing a 45-mile Scottish charity ride, a man learned his father had collapsed and died while taking part in the same bike ride.

The family of a fallen Irish bike rider calls for safer infrastructure and a ban on dangerous passing to protect bicyclists on the Emerald Isle.

Your next Dutch bike could be very strange, heavy, uncomfortable-looking and 3D-printed.

A new study suggests Barcelona’s plan to limit car use and reserve 70% of street space for bicyclists and pedestrians could save 667 lives a year. Which seems like an oddly specific number.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews explains why Slovenian cyclist Primoz Roglic finds himself in the Vuelta’s red jersey instead of competing in the Tour de France earlier this year. And looks at former mountain biker Sepp Kuss’ rapid rise to a stage victory in the Vuelta.

The next time someone tells you ebikes are cheating, point them to Belgian pro cyclist Wout Van Aert, who’s using one to rehab a severely torn muscle suffered during the Tour de France.

London’s Independent looks back on legendary 1960s Italian cyclist Felice Gimondi, one of just seven riders to win all three Grand Tours, including his first Tour de France when he was just 22. Even in his best dope-fueled days, Lance never even tried to win any of the other Grand Tours. 

If James Joyce was a mediocre bike racer. Or writer, for that matter.

 

Finally…

Until you get eyes in the back of your head, a new bike helmet could be the next best thing. If you’re going to break out of prison, at least try to change clothes before getting on a stolen mountain bike the next day.

And we may have to deal with f’ed-up LA drivers, but at least we don’t have cope with schtupping copperheads.

Or toxic plants, for that matter.

 

Morning Links: Bikeshare ebikes, Long Beach bike rider seriously injured, and killer Claremont driver still in hospital

Today’s common theme is ebikes for rent.

LA’s Metro Bike officially unveiled new ebikes as part of their bikeshare program at Union Station.

Los Angeles isn’t the only major city experimenting with ped-assist ebikes, as Philly adds ten to their existing bikeshare program.

Paris is rolling out the world’s biggest fleet of ebikes, expanding to 20,000 ebikes available for long-term rental.

Although speaking of ebikes, nothing says your new electric vehicle has to has two wheels. Or any, for that matter.

Photo shamelessly borrowed from Metro Bike website.

………

More bad news.

The Press-Telegram reports that a Long Beach bike rider was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after a crash on westbound Spring Street near the 605 early Wednesday morning.

And yes, the driver stayed this time.

It really shouldn’t be news when a driver remains at the scene. But thanks to LA’s epidemic hit-and-run culture, it is.

Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

………

According to the Claremont Courier, vehicular murder suspect Sandra Wicksted remains in the hospital for injuries she suffered when she allegedly ran down Leslie Pray as she ride in a Claremont bike lane; she continues to remain in custody on $6.1 million bail.

Meanwhile, CLR Effect’s Michael Wagner offers a beautiful, moving look at the ghost bike ceremony and vigil for Pray.

………

Local

A writer for City Watch says Metro and LA City Planning deserve Dubious Achievement Awards, in part because of a lack of bikeshare and accommodations for bike riders at new Purple Line stations, and the new transit neighborhood plan.

The LACBC wants you to tell them about blocked bike lanes — after you report them to LADOT.

An LA Times reader says impound distracted drivers cellphones. Or better yet, make them drive over their own phones; maybe the treat of that will actually make them put ’em down.

 

State

Grist looks at three climate change winners and three losers in this week’s California election — and includes people who ride bicycles and buses on the plus side.

Escondido is building a Missing Link Bike Path to connect two existing bike paths through the downtown area, with a combination of offroad bike paths and on-street protected cycle tracks.

Sad news from San Jose, where a 51-year old man died after he was hit by a driver on Saturday while allegedly running a red light on his bike.

Writing for the San Francisco Examiner, a bike lawyer explains the possible penalties for drivers who kill.

San Francisco approves plans for a combination parking-protect and curb-protected bike lane on busy Townsend Street leading to a Caltrain station.

Streetsblog SF calls Caltrain’s restricted bike cars easy picking for thieves, who can walk off with the unprotected bikes while their owners sit in other cars.

Twelve Sonoma high schools are attempting to cut their carbon footprints by developing safer routes to schools, allowing students to walk or bike.

 

National

A new report questions whether America’s love of driving has gotten stuck in traffic.

Bicycling says every bicyclist has to take part in an evening group ride. Even though many, if not most, never do.

Bike Portland says the jury is still out on the city’s new bike-friendly speed bumps, with channels cut into them to allow bicyclists to ride through, rather than over, them.

Tired of dealing with leaves piled in bike lanes, a Portland inventor built his own pedal-powered street sweeper.

The University of Oregon has kicked e-scooters off campus this year to give the school time to develop an official scooter policy.

Albuquerque bike riders say drivers are ignoring the 18 mph speed limit on the city’s bicycle boulevard, zooming through at up to 31 mph. I’d be happy if LA drivers just slowed down to 31 mph every now and then.

The Tulsa OK city council calls on the state to change the law to allow bike riders to legally take the lane.

An active transportation advocacy group worked with local residents to develop plans for a road diet and protected bike lanes on a deadly Chicago street.

One of the four Florida bicyclists critically injured by a 91-year old driver has died; he was described as an experienced, elite century rider who once finished third in the online Strava Challenge. Local residents have demanded safety improvements as a result of the crash.

 

International

Police in Derby, England are on the lookout for a bike-born serial groper who has been attacking women in the city center.

Bike riding has the second greatest gender gap among transportation modes in the UK, behind only motorcycles.

A British study concludes that driverless cars may have to be programmed to break the law at times to keep humans from taking advantage of them, while a US paper says they they may be programmed to kill you. So no different than human drivers, in other words.

Figures from Britain’s Department of Transportation show that an average of 10 pedestrians suffer lie-threatening injuries in collisions with people on bicycles each month, an increase of 17%. Which could be due entirely to more people walking and bicycling. And says nothing about who was actually at fault.

The Irish Times considers the best bike tech accessories.

A Maltese bike advocacy group says build safety infrastructure for pedestrians instead of criminalizing jaywalking.

Heartbreaking story, as an Australian bike advocate penned an open letter calling for safer streets just days before he was killed in a crash. In the wake of his death, Queensland police have decided to re-examine his complaints about dangerous passes by drivers.

Scofflaw cyclist and supermodel Elle Macpherson freaks out the Aussie press by going topless for a leisurely beachfront bike ride. Although in this case, that means without a helmet.

 

Competitive Cycling

Canadian pro Rob Brittan recounts his 1,000-mile bikepacking trip across the wilds of Western Canada to prepare for the world championships. Judging by his last place finish at the worlds, maybe his next trip should be a little shorter. Or longer. Or something. 

 

Finally…

When life gives you too many bike wheels, make spherical art. Putting a 102-year old, two-wheeled bullet-scarred WWI vet on public display.

And don’t ride your bike because it’s green; ride because it’s fun and annoys drivers.

 

Morning Links: OC fire captain critical after DUI crash, Claremont cyclist murdered, and hit-and-run driver ID’d

Tragic news from Costa Mesa, where an 18-year veteran of the fire department is fighting for his life after he was run down by an allegedly stoned driver.

Fire & Rescue Captain Mike Kreza was riding on Alicia Parkway in Mission Viejo around 8 am when he was struck by a car driven by 25-year old Stephen Taylor Scarp, who remained at the scene.

Scarp was being held on $100,000 bond after police found multiple prescription medications in his car.

Kreza remains unresponsive; the Costa Mesa Fire Department tweeted that the next several hours will be critical.

A crowdfunding campaign has raised over $70,000 in just 24 hours, nearly triple the original $25,000 goal.

Let’s all say a prayer, or whatever you’re comfortable with, for Mike Kreza’s full and fast recovery.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

………

In case you missed it over the weekend, there was more bad news from Claremont, where a bike rider was murdered by a driver who allegedly used her car as a weapon.

Police say that Leslie Pray, a 54-year old Claremont resident, was intentionally run down by 61-year old Sandra Wicksted, also from Claremont.

Wicksted reportedly had swerved in the direction of other bicyclists just moments before turning her wheel towards Pray, and swerving across the roadway to slam into her bike as Pray rode in the bike lane on North Mills Avenue near Radcliffe Drive.

Police found several empty liquor bottles in Wicksted’s car after the crash. She was arrested on suspicion of murder, and being held on a $2 million bond.

Tragically, Pray had only started riding a few months earlier.

………

The combative hit-and-run driver who killed a Van Nuys bike rider hours after Halloween, then fought with police who tried to take him into custody, has been identified as 20-year old Santa Monica resident Alexander Daniel Furtado.

No word yet whether he was actually in the military, as he claimed, or if the camo fatigues he was wearing were just a Halloween costume.

Furtado is being held on $50,000 bond for suspicion of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

The victim still has not been publicly identified.

………

The LACBC’s annual Operation Firefly campaign, which hands out free bike lights to riders who need them, kicks off in San Pedro tonight.

………

Lest ye forget, tomorrow is Election Day. And your chance to Bike the Vote for awhile.

Speaking of which, Bike the Vote LA offers their indispensable voters guide for tomorrow’s election.

The LA Times provides their total list of 2018 election endorsements.

LAist has advice on how to pick a judge to vote for.

Los Angeles Magazine explains what all those confusing propositions actually mean. And has a list of businesses that will give you a deal if you come in with your I Voted sticker .

………

Local

No surprise here. Bird has filed suit against Beverly Hills and their misguided total ban on dockless bikes and scooters. The only question is what took them so long?

The map has been released for next month’s CicLAvia as it returns to the Heart of LA.

California announced the latest round of Bicycle and Pedestrian Education Grants, including $550,000 to SCAG’s Go Human campaign, and a total of $375,000 to the City of LA; Pasadena and Long Beach received $175,000 and $150,00, respectively.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton digs into the lawsuit from self-appointed NIMBY activists Fix the City trying to halt desperately needed growth along the Expo Line. And apparently not grasping that more residential building means less traffic, not more.

 

State

Riverside has opened its first bikeshare system with 55 ped-assist ebikes.

Ride through the Anza Borrego Desert State Park on November 17th, and get rewarded with a cold beer.

Hundreds of bike riders rode through Ventura County in the annual fundraising ride in honor of Mike Nosco, 14 years to the day after he was killed when his truck collided with an unlighted farm vehicle.

A new $13 million bike and pedestrian bridge with provide Palo Alto residents with a crucial link over the massive Highway 101 for the first time in 60 years.

San Mateo County bicyclists now have a safer, green bike lane across a dangerous bridge. Even if the photo clearly shows an SUV driving in it.

Uber’s JUMP Bikes ped-assist dockless e-bikeshare system has expanded throughout the Sacramento area, including bike friendly Davis.

 

National

Good question. A drivers website asks why hit-and-runs are at an all-time high nationwide, but doesn’t really come up with an answer. Although someone should tell them hit-and-run is a crime, not an accident.

General Motors is getting into the ebike biz — and they want you to name it.

A Portland homeowner posted a huge sign in his or her window demanding that bike riders cut some slack when they try to access their own driveways.

The Houston Chronicle says walking and biking in the city can be way too dangerous. Meanwhile, a Houston bike advocacy group is increasing the frequency of their bike safety classes, including what to do in an emergency situation, in the wake of a deadly year for the city’s bicyclists.

Once again, Texas copies California — this time our hit-and-run drivers, and the low bail for the crime. Thanks to Stephen Katz for the heads-up.

A Cincinnati TV station reminds us of the dangers to bike riders and pedestrians after yesterday’s time change. Speaking of which, this is what you look like to drivers in the dark without lights.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A Wisconsin driver smashed into a group of girl scouts at they were picking up trash along the shoulder of a highway before fleeing the scene; three girls were killed along with a parent, and another girl is in critical condition.

A 57-year old New Hampshire man rode 5,000 miles across the US, accompanied by his eight-year old dog following behind in a trailer.

A New York resident tries various ways of getting around the city, giving ebike riding an A+ rating — if you can tolerate universal loathing.

A DC website says Philadelphia is kicking the district’s butt on Vision Zero, while a Philly magazine says the city is making progress, but still has a long way to goNever mind that they’re both miles ahead of LA.

A year after Hurricane Irma, a beachfront Hollywood FL bike path is still covered in sand.

One of the four Florida bicyclists run down by a 91-year old driver last week has been released; two others remain in serious/critical condition, while a fourth is in stable condition.

 

International

Evidently, it’s open season on bike riders in Canada. The father of an Ottawa crash victim called the verdict a disgrace as a driver was acquitted in the speeding, hit-and-run death of his bike riding son; the driver claimed he fell asleep at the wheel and had no idea he hit anything, despite awakening to a loud bang.

An English bike rider is snatching phones from unsuspecting women as he rides by.

Shocking yes, but not surprising. Six out of seven drivers who kill bike riders in the UK get off without any jail time. And only a third lose their licenses. It’s probably no different on this side of the Atlantic.

Horrible story from Britain, where an injured bike rider froze to death waiting for help in a cemetery, after police drove off when they didn’t find her when they responded to a call.

Great idea. An Irish politician proposes offering financial incentives to encourage kids to bike to school, similar to the country’s bike to work program.

No bias here. An Irish columnist calls for detente and cooler heads in the conflict between bicyclists and drivers — while painting bicyclists are crazed maniacs willing to go to war with the poor motorists, who have no choice but to drive.

How to plan your fall culinary tour of Copenhagen.

Caught on video: A 24-year old German artistic cyclist performs stunts Peter Sagan could only dream of.

Your spare parts could help keep riders on the road in Kampala, Uganda.

Logging the way to better Kiwi mountain biking.

Melbourne, Australia’s Green Party proposes a 10-mile, multi-lane bike superhighway as the centerpiece of the city’s nascent bicycle network.

The Australian version of Lifehacker considers weather you should get an ebike; among the downsides, they say, is people will hate you and you might hate yourself.

 

Competitive Cycling

Former Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins defends his defense of Lance Armstrong, saying he’s “sick of being told how to feel about the sport by people who have never ridden a bike.”

The Cannibal heads Rouleur’s inaugural Cycling Hall of Fame class, along with famed bike builder Ernesto Colnago and British icon Beryl Burton.

VeloNews debates the merits of next year’s Tour de France versus Giro d’Italia routes.

 

Finally…

Forget bike riders, golfers should be the ones wearing helmets. If you’ve wanted to see Lance suffer, you finally got your wish.

And Apple wants to copy cycling’s pelotons for their electric cars.

Hopefully they’ll avoid taking half of it down by crossing wheels.

 

Update: Driver arrested on murder charge for intentionally running down a Claremont bike rider

Wrecks are seldom accidents.

But they’re usually not on purpose, either.

Yet that was the case in Claremont today, where a driver is facing a murder charge for intentionally running down a woman as she rode in a bike lane.

According to the Daily Bulletin, 54-year old Leslie Pray was riding north along the 1900 block of North Mills Avenue near Radcliffe Drive around 11:30 am today when she was deliberately struck by the driver of a 1996 station wagon.

Pray was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police arrested 61-year old Claremont resident Sandra Wicksted at a nearby hospital after a brief investigation.

There’s no word on how — or why — the crash happened, or whether the two women knew each other.

Wicksted is being held on $2 million bond. Then again, if she could pay that, she probably wouldn’t be driving a 22-year old station wagon.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Claremont Police Department at 909/399-5411.

This is at least the 42nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 21st that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

And the first one that was, allegedly, on purpose.

Update: KABC-7 reports that Wicksted was driving in the opposite direction on Mills, and swerved across the road to strike Pray’s bicycle.

The presence of skid marks on the street demonstrates her path across the road, as well as indicating she was braking as she crossed the roadway. Which is odd for a driver who was attempting to hit someone. 

However, the station also says other bike riders told police that Wicksted had swerved towards them just moments before she killed Pray.

She is also suspected of being under the influence; several empty liquor bottles were found in her car after the crash.

Tragically, Pray had just started riding a bike this summer.

Update 2: A ghost bike will be installed at 7 pm today

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

Thanks to Erik Griswold and Megan Lynch for the heads-up. Photo by Erik Griswold. 

Morning Links: Political news and endorsements, Caltrans feints at engagement, and how to lose bike vote

Let’s talk election news before we move on to other subjects.

Starting with a handful of endorsements from Bike the Vote LA, as they rush to get them in before next month’s LA city election.

First up, they’ve endorsed CD15 Councilmember Joe Buscaino for re-election. Buscaino has been a strong supporter of bike lanes and safer streets in his district. And unlike most LA city councilmembers, had the backbone to stand up to San Pedro residents who demanded removal of a road diet intended to improve safety for students on their way to school.

While they’re not making an endorsement in CD9, currently represented by Curren Price, they shared this questionnaire response from opposition candidate Adriana Cabrera. Cabrera seems to grasp the importance of bikes in a community where many residents rely on them for transportation, calling for a return of the Central Avenue bike lanes Price had removed from the Mobility Plan.

And like the LACBC, Bike the Vote takes a strong stand against the anti-growth Measure S, portraying it as a ego project from Michael Weinstein, head of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which “will only make housing prices, traffic congestion, and social inequity worse.” Never mind that almost all the funding for the measure has come from AHF, instead of being spent for the benefit of patients and the prevention of HIV/AIDS.

Although that’s not nearly as strong a stand as the LA Times took in rejecting the measure, describing it as a “childish middle finger to City Hall” that will worsen the city’s housing crisis and stifle economic development.

Finally, the LA Weekly asks if bike shop owner Joe Bray-Ali can defeat anti-bike incumbent Gil Cedillo in CD1, noting the historical difficulty in beating an incumbent councilmember in the City of Angels. It should also be noted that Cedillo’s stated opposition to bike lanes that benefit just a “small, tight-knit community of cyclists” flies in the face of his self-proclaimed support for immigrants, many of whom rely on a bicycle as their sole source of transportation.

………

Maybe they don’t really want to talk to us.

In an apparent effort to get public input on Caltrans’ new Bike and Pedestrian plan without really having to engage the public, Caltrans is holding exactly three public meetings — yes, 3 — to discuss the plan in a state of 38 million people.

That works out to 12.6 million people trying to squeeze into each room. Which means you should get there early if you want to attend the meeting in Santa Ana on March 6th.

Never mind that by not holding meetings in Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Francisco or Sacramento, they are bypassing the state’s major population centers. And the overwhelming majority of people who walk or ride bikes.

But at least you can attend the meetings virtually, via webinar.

After all, we’re easier to ignore that way.

Which would seem to be the point. Because you don’t limit it to just three meetings for the entire state of California if you really want to hear from the people.

………

That’s one way to lose the bike vote.

A candidate for Claremont city council parked his car, which doubles as a campaign ad, in a Claremont bike lane. And left it there.

Which, as it turns out, appears to be semi-legal there, if you ignore the state prohibition against blocking bikeways.

However, it does guarantees that every rider who has to change lanes to go around it will notice the car, and most likely remember his name on election day.

When they cast their ballot for his opponent.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

………

People on bikes are heroes once again.

Or make that twice.

A San Antonio postal carrier can credit a bicycling nurse for saving her life, after she teamed with other riders to help after postal worker was shot in the leg.

And a British bicyclist saves a pair of swans from morning commuters by herding them off the road.

………

They’re one of us, too.

Actress Bella Thorne rides the sidewalks of LA with friends until she gets a flat. Maybe someone should tell her those can be fixed pretty easily.

New York celebrity chef Seamus Mullen lost 70 pounds by cutting out processed carbs and getting back on his bicycle.

And Lily Allen doesn’t just sing about riding her bike through London, she actually does it.

………

Brit Tour de France champ Bradley Wiggins won’t be making any ski jumps for awhile.

Afghan and Pakistani cyclists compete in a 217-mile race through Pakistan’s militant-torn northwest province in an effort to bring the countries together and promote tourism.

………

Local

The Beverly Press attempts to explain LA’s Vision Zero plan to the general public.

Santa Monica’s dangerously auto-centric Lincoln Blvd could get a pedestrian-friendly makeover; while there are plans to improve bicycle crossings, there don’t appear to be any plans for bike lanes on the boulevard.

This is why you have to support your local bike shop. Pomona’s Coates Cyclery will be closing at the end of this month after 83 years in business; owner Corey McCroskey blames competition from online sites. Clearly, it’s not just a SoCal problem.

 

State

AAA says don’t raise gas taxes and vehicle fees to fix roads, just cut state transportation bureaucracy. But how do they expect to speed up bridge and highway repairs by firing the people who do the work?

An Orange County man gets 56 years behind bars for fatally stabbing another man, then riding away on a beach bike; it was his third strike after two previous violent crimes. And another OC man gets 15 years to life for a drunken, high-speed crash to that killed a man as he slept in his own home.

Mariner’s Mile on the West Coast Highway through Newport Beach will eventually be remade into three lanes in each direction, with bike lanes and no street parking. Hopefully, they’ll take steps to slow traffic and avoid making it into a high-speed throughway with just a lousy stripe of paint to protect people on their bikes.

Riverside is the latest city to stage enhanced enforcement of traffic offenses that endanger bicyclists and pedestrians, today and again on the 27th.

Palm Springs police use a bait bike to bust a bike thief who was also carrying over an ounce of meth.

An alleged drunk hit-and-run driver says he fled the scene of a Bakersfield collision because he was scared. Imagine how his bike-riding victim felt.

Four Bay Area communities agree to cooperate on a regional bicycle network.

Famed cyclist Barry Bonds, who used to be a baseball player, crashes the San Francisco Giant’s annual fan fest on his bike.

Marin mountain bikers vow to defy the ban on riding most county trails to force them to open more space for bikes; an Op-Ed in the local paper calls the group “extreme,” and says bike access and conservation just aren’t compatible.

 

National

Forbes says cyclists may get the most benefit from self-driving cars, but could be the biggest challenge for them.

Oregon is connecting already existing mountain bike trails in five national forests to create a single 650-mile mountain bike trail traversing the entire state.

Two-thirds of Denver voters would support a sales tax increase to build out the city’s bicycle network, including a number of protected bike lanes, within the next five years. Although drivers and business owners don’t seem to like the latest one.

Houston cyclists call for safety improvements after two riders were killed in collisions with light-rail trains during Super Bowl weekend.

A Massachusetts naturopath builds a better e-velomobile. But don’t expect the world to beat a path to his door.

A Philadelphia Op-Ed says the now-cancelled Philadelphia International Cycling Classic is good for the city. Meanwhile, the communications director for the Philadelphia bike coalition pens an Op-Ed of his own, skillfully dismantling the auto-centric arguments of a motorist fringe group.

 

International

A British Columbia cyclist says drivers have to be cruel to be kind, and stick to the right of way rather than waving bicyclists through intersections ahead of them.

Love this. Canadians tourists bring bicycles with them to explore Cuba, then leave them behind to help young cyclists when they go home.

A Canadian bike magazine talks with Michael Colville-Andersen of Copenhagenize fame.

Hundreds of Londoners stage yet another die-in to protest the dangers bike riders face on the city’s streets.

London police are looking for a bike rider who collided with a 72-year old man after the older man died two weeks later; the bicyclist stayed at the scene, but police didn’t record his name at the time.

A Scottish Paralympian with cerebral palsy is crowdfunding a new racing tricycle after hers was destroyed when thieves stole her car and crashed it into a gas station with the bike inside.

Caught on video: A Brit bike rider shames a van driver into getting out and picking up his litter. I may have been known to pick trash up and return it to the offending person with a polite “I think you dropped this” in my more reckless days.

FedEx refuses to deal with a Brit cyclist who was terrorized by one of their road-raging drivers because his blog doesn’t have a high enough profile, and accidently sends him an email saying so. Which probably means I’m toast if a FedEx driver ever tries to run me down.

A British insurer has developed what may be the world’s first bicycle street gritting machine, designed to spread salt on frozen bike lanes to prevent injuries.

British drivers reject using the Dutch Reach to keep from dooring bike riders because it’s just too hard. Although officials illustrate it with a bizarre video showing drivers reaching through an open window to grab the door handle from the outside, rather than just opening the door with the opposite hand.

After she was dumped by the man who taught her to ride, a Philippines woman realizes that bicycling is her one true love.

 

Finally…

Seriously. If you’re riding your bike after dark while drunk, with dope, a bunch of concealed knives and an active warrant, put some damn lights on it. Nothing like learning the hard way that a crossing gate sensor doesn’t recognize carbon fiber — and getting stuck with the bill to fix it.

And Elon Musk is boring Los Angeles. No, literally.

 

Update: Bike rider killed in close pass on Mt. Baldy Road last Saturday

No name.

One lousy paragraph.

Evidently, that’s all the life of a Fontana cyclist is worth, as the Claremont Courier reports a bike rider was killed on Mt. Baldy Road last Saturday.

According to the paper, the 59-year old victim was riding south on Mt. Baldy Road near Evey Canyon around 7 am on Saturday, June 14th, when a 77-year old driver attempted to pass him. She hit him with the passenger side mirror of her SUV, knocking him to the ground with great force.

He died after being airlifted to USC Medical Center with severe head trauma. The paper notes that he suffered the injuries despite wearing a helmet, which suggests a significant impact.

No other information is available at this time, including the names of the victim and driver.

The collision is still under investigation. However, even without the new three-foot passing law going into effect until September, this would appear to be a clear case of unsafe passing at the very least.

This is the 46th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 19th in Los Angeles County.

Update: Comments from Cheryl and Sierra Ornelas identify the victim as Carlos Vasquez, who was riding with his son at the time of the collision.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Carlos Vasquez and his loved ones.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

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