Tag Archive for Damian Kevitt

Happy LA Bike Month, Los Angeles Vision Zero fail, and Damian Kevitt calls for support for school zone speed cam bill

My apologies for Friday’s unexcused absence. 

Just another of the many and varied joys of diabetes, a cruel disease that can take you from feeling okay to passing out in a matter of minutes, for no apparent reason.

And yet another reminder to get yourself checked if you’re at risk, and do whatever it takes to avoid getting it. Because you don’t want this shit. 

Seriously. 

Today’s photo of irresistible cuteness by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

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Happy Bike Month, Los Angeles.

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Despite — or maybe because of — an up to 70% drop in traffic fatalities, roadway deaths declined just 3% in Los Angeles last year, thanks at least in part to a dramatic jump in speeding as empty streets encouraged drivers to use a heavy right foot.

This is how LAist explained it.

Based on preliminary data reported by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, 238 people died in collisions last year, compared to 246 in 2019 — a decrease of about 3%.

That slight dip pales in comparison to how sharply car travel fell in greater L.A. and beyond in the early months of the pandemic. Schools closed, many workers stopped commuting to their offices, and local and state stay-at-home orders drastically limited the places and activities we could drive to in our cars.

In mid-to-late March 2020, daily vehicle traffic fell as much as 70%. Last April saw traffic volumes decrease by 30% to 50% compared to the start of the year. Daily driving has been increasing since that historic plummet, but still remain below typical levels, according to city traffic data.

And despite a drop last year, bike and pedestrian deaths are still up over the five years since LA adopted Vision Zero in 2015.

Which isn’t the way it’s supposed to work.

The basic philosophy behind Vision Zero is that humans will make mistakes on the road and crashes will happen, but by redesigning streets to reduce speeding and better protect vulnerable road users, those crashes don’t have to cause severe injuries and deaths. But as the data has shown in recent years, L.A.’s current approach is not working…

While fewer people were killed and seriously injured in crashes overall last year, not all L.A. communities experienced less traffic violence. According to preliminary data compiled by LADOT:

  • The number of pedestrians killed by drivers fell about 12% overall, but increased in some neighborhoods
  • Slightly fewer cyclists were killed last year (15, compared to 19 in 2019)
  • The number of motorcyclists killed in crashes jumped about 45%
  • Motor vehicle occupant deaths were nearly unchanged

Pandemic or not, it’s clear that LADOT’s piecemeal approach to reducing traffic deaths isn’t working.

And it isn’t Vision Zero, by any definition.

The basic philosophy behind Vision Zero is that humans will make mistakes on the road and crashes will happen, but by redesigning streets to reduce speeding and better protect vulnerable road users, those crashes don’t have to cause severe injuries and deaths. But as the data has shown in recent years, L.A.’s current approach is not working.

It’s long past time Los Angeles stopped talking about Vision Zero, and got off its collective ass and did something about it.

Because I’m every bit as tired of writing about fallen bicyclists as you are reading about it. And don’t get me started on all the other people needlessly killed on our streets.

For any doubters out there, yes, ending traffic deaths is possible. If — and only if — we have the political will to make it happen.

Speaking of LAist, just like their parent public radio station KPCC, they survive on public donations.

So open that wallet if you can spare a few bucks

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SAFE founder and Executive Director Damian Kevitt, who lost a leg — and nearly his life — to a hit-and-run driver who was never caught, makes a heartfelt plea to fight for SB 733, which would allow automated speed cams in school zones.

Sadly, California is one of the only nine states that expressly forbids speed safety cameras in school zones. This tool has been available since 1987 and is unquestionably effective. Data in cities across the country, such as New York, Seattle, and Chicago, show that speed safety cameras reduce traffic injuries and fatalities and change driver behavior. More importantly, there are already thousands of schools across the country that currently use speed safety cameras to protect kids, teachers, and parents.

The common sense bill, which would only impact people breaking the law and endangering innocent kids and adults, has been severely watered down by Senate Transportation Committee Chair Lena Gonzalez, a Democrat misrepresenting Long Beach, at least in this case.

As currently written after it was butchered in committee, the law would only allow a pilot project in four schools out of more that 20,000 in the state.

As Kevitt writes,

This is an insult to victims of traffic violence and the coalition of support, especially given the immediate problem and widespread, documented effective use of speed safety cameras across the country.

One of the harder things I have had to do is tell victims of traffic violence — who were emotionally prepared to testify in committee — that this lifesaving bill wouldn’t make it through committee due to political forces that are hard to explain. Why would police unions work to fill a bill that so obviously would help save lives? It is heartbreaking.

But we will pick ourselves up and gain strength. The voices of traffic violence will not be silenced. Safety advocates will not accept that denial of the science. Equity groups will demand accountability. And, in the end, we will save lives.

He urges you, and all of us, to call or email Gonzalez’s office to express your outrage, and demand this life-saving tool to protect innocent lives.

Here’s that link again for her contact information, and sample scripts you can follow.

I’m planning to do it later today. I hope you’ll join me

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I’ve been remiss in not mentioning the LACBC’s virtual LA Rivers Challenge, which replaces their popular LA River Ride, as the world still struggles to shake off the pandemic.

Join us the entire month of June for a virtual challenge in place of the LA River Ride. 2020 was supposed to mark 20 years of River Ride, but we had to put our beloved event on hold due to the pandemic. We’re making up for it in 2021 by inviting you to 30 days of riding, walking and running the historic waterways of Los Angeles!

The LA Rivers challenge is all about doing the mileage goal that is best for you. Select the goal that excites you, tests your abilities, or that you can do with your family. There is a distance for everyone to ride, walk or run.

Opening March 15th, registration is just $40, but follow up on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for exclusive discounts. You also have the opportunity to support healthy, sustainable and equitable streets by choosing to fundraise for LACBC while meeting your mileage goals. You can earn great prizes at key fundraising milestones and will qualify for The 2021 LA Rivers Challenge Drawing to win one of our grand prizes TBA! Whatever your contribution, you will be supporting the work of LACBC, as we try to make Los Angeles a safer and more inclusive place to ride, walk and run.

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This is who we share the road with, part one.

Part two.

Part three.

It’s no surprise that we can’t manage to do anything about man shootings, when we still can’t even do anything about stopping people from using their car as a multi-ton weapon of mass destruction.

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While we’re on the subject, there’s good news from Maryland, where bike cam video was used to convict a driver for an aggressive punishment pass.

We need to change the law here in California, where police are currently prohibited from ticketing drivers or charging them with misdemeanors unless they actually witness the infraction.

And no, witnessing it on video doesn’t count, for some strange reason.

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GCN offers advice on how to find good riding routes when you’re new to the area.

And GCN considers one of bicycling’s most vital questions, and one of the last remaining forms of legal doping.

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I’m all in.

Seriously, we could use this right here in Los Angeles.

And right now.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the heads-up.

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A sharp-eyed Megan Lynch spotted LAFD bike paramedics on the red carpet of last week’s Academy Awards.

And thanks to Vyki Englert for spotting the LAFD logo on their panniers.

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Nothing sexier than someone on a bike.

Okay, maybe the right someone.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes is all too real.

Someone sabotaged a beginners bike trail in Scotland with obstacles including tree branches, and fence posts with rusted razor wire, which could seriously injure an unsuspecting rider. Or worse.

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

A murder suspect accused of killing his wife has ridden his bike over 3,000 miles around Denver, despite being on house arrest — and posted it to Strava.

A British man was lucky to walk with a suspended sentence after he was busted with the equivalent of over $2,700 worth of amphetamines when police stopped him as he rode his bicycle with a bloody face; no word on how his face got that way.

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Local

State Assemblymember Richard Bloom announces his candidacy for County Supervisor, basing his run in part on a 20-year record of advocating for a transit, bike and pedestrian-friendly Westside.

That’s more like it. Pasadena is considering four north-south corridors for bicycle boulevards.

A teenage mountain biker was airlifted from the Santa Monica Mountains after suffering painful wrist and shoulder injuries on Sunday.

A young boy celebrated his eleventh birthday Saturday with a 111-mile ride along the beach bike path from Santa Monica to Palos Verdes and back until he completed a century plus an 11-mile victory lap. When I was eleven, I was happy to ride around the block by myself.

Clearly, Long Beach isn’t afraid of road diets, proposing a lane reduction and bike path for a 1.4-mile section of Spring Street. Unlike a certain megalopolis to the north.

 

State

A 38-year old man in El Cajon suffered serious lower body injuries when he was struck by a driver moments after getting off his bicycle.

San Diego’s SANDAG has received a $12 million grant to complete a seven-mile segment of the Inland Rail Trail from San Marcos to Vista.

Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom take their eight-month old daughter for a ride through Santa Barbara on their massive ebikes.

Apparently, San Jose leaders aren’t afraid of road diets either, or LA’s seemingly inevitable angry driver backlash to them.

You know you’ve got a serious safety problem when two disabled people are killed crossing the same San Jose intersection in a single month.

Why pro cyclists like to train in Sonoma County. Surprisingly, it’s not the wine. Or maybe not just the wine. 

A Redding man calls it a life-changing moment when he wins a new ebike.

 

National

Cycling News considers the best ebikes for under two grand.

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss offers advice on how to not get your bike stolen.

A British website highlights “four epic cycling adventures that showcase the incredible landscapes of the USA,” starting with a ride down the Left Coast from Seattle to San Diego. My brother did that one just a couple years ago — along with riding to the Northwest from Western Colorado, and back again to Colorado from San Diego.

The American Southwest experienced a bigger bike boom than anywhere else in the world, including Europe and the rest of the US.

It takes a real schmuck to steal $20,000 worth of bicycles from a Dallas Boy Scout camp.

A Texas man is suing a sporting goods store after a bike fell off an upper display rack and landed on his head. Which is not funny at all, except that it is.

A Minnesota town is repurposing an old abandoned bridge over the Mississippi as a bike and pedestrian bridge, 40 years after it was closed to cars.

Celebrate Bike Month with a visit to Ohio’s Bicycle Museum of America, where over 800 bikes are on display, dating back to an an 1816 draisienne invented by Karl Drais that they credit as the first true bicycle. Although not everyone agrees. You can read that second link on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you, which it probably will unless you’re a subscriber.

New York mayoral hopeful Eric Adams pledges to build another 300 miles of protected bike lanes in the city during his first four years, if he’s elected, an annual rate nearly three times the 28 miles installed last year. Let’s get the candidates for mayor in next year’s LA election to make a similar pledge. And hold them to it.

A crowdfunding page raised $75,000 for a New York delivery worker who was killed when driver went into the bike lane to pass another car, hit the scooter the victim was riding, then went on to hit two parked cars and slam into an outdoor restaurant.

Two men with the same name are fighting back against a cease and desist order from the City of New York to remove their unpermitted dockless ebikes from the streets.

New York police stopped a salmon cyclist, and discovered they had nabbed a hate crime suspect responsible for a rash of anti-Jewish vandalism.

A Florida driver faces charges for intentionally driving off the road to run over a man she knew who was riding a bicycle.

 

International

Your next Subaru could be a single-speed mountain bike. If you live in Canada, that is.

This is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. A deadly Montreal underpass where a woman was killed riding her bike seven years ago now has a bike path with a concrete barrier to protect riders from passing drivers. And the ghost bike that was installed in her honor was removed Sunday to be transferred to a museum, where it will highlight the dangers on the streets.

Former Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams is one of us, as she goes for a London bike ride in a see-through top while filming a new six-part bio-series based on a memoir from Sex Pistols bassist Steve Jones. Sorry guys, they blurred that part out.

A Scottish bicyclist was forced to abandon his attempt to set a new record for the greatest distant ridden in a single week, after suffering a knee injury on the fourth day.

Those e-cargo bike front wheel skids may soon be a thing of the past, as Italian brake maker BluBrake introduces the world’s first ABS, aka anti-lock braking system, designed for electric cargo bikes. Thanks to Thomas Riebs for the tip.

She gets it. Germany’s first professor of bicycle traffic management says cars should give up space to make room for people on bicycles.

Ebike and electric scooter riders will now have to pass a theory test before they’re allowed to ride in Singapore, starting next month.

She gets it. The widow of a Kiwi bicyclist says a single mistake shouldn’t cost someone their life, while opposing jail for the truck driver who killed him.

 

Competitive Cycling

According to Cycling News, 21-year old Belgian cyclist Remco Evenepoel stands suspended between stardom and superstardom since breaking his pelvis at Il Lombardia last August.

Cycling News also examines the omertà in women’s pro cycling, where virtually no one is talking about the shameful poverty wages — or no wages at all — paid to riders below the WorldTour level.

Cyclist talks to pro cyclists about their less-than-favorable reaction to UCI’s new safety rules.

The popular Over the Hump mountain bike race series will make a comeback at Irvine Lake on July 20th.

 

Finally…

That feeling when your ebike has a sidecar. That feeling when the bike lane is blocked by a city bus, whose driver is busy having sex onboard.

And if you’re riding your bike after dark while carrying two bags of meth, put a damn light on it, already.

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Thanks to Matthew R for his monthly donation to help keep this site coming your way every day; your support is always welcome and appreciated, no matter how large or small. 

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

And get vaccinated, already.

Hundreds turn out in Hollywood for Sunday’s Finish the Ride

Sometimes it’s better to let the pictures tell the story.

So here are a few images and random thoughts from the start of Sunday’s Finish the Ride.

Hundreds of people turned out to join the fight against hit-and-run.

Despite the early morning start, hundreds of people turned out in Hollywood to join the fight against the epidemic of hit-and-run.

People of every description came together to ride, roll, walk or run; two LAPD officers ran the 10k route in full uniform.

People of every description came together to ride, roll, walk or run; two LAPD officers even ran the 10k route in full uniform.

State Assemblymember Richard Bloom: "You have a right to feel safe on the road."

State Assemblymember Richard Bloom: “You have a right to feel safe on the road.”

Nice to see new LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds and Executive Officer Bruce Gillman in the front row, a sign that the city is finally taking hit-and-run seriously.

Nice to see new LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds and Executive Officer Bruce Gillman front row center, a sign that the city is finally taking hit-and-run seriously.

Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell: "Damien, you're changing the world."

Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell: “Damien, you’re changing the world.”

Council members Joe Buscaino and Mitch Englander worked together to create a standing reward program for hit-and-runs, saying the hit-and-run epidemic "is a huge moral problem."

Councilmembers Joe Buscaino and Mitch Englander worked together to pass a standing reward program for hit-and-runs, saying hit-and-run “is a huge moral problem.”

Seleta Reynolds: "We should not accept hit-and-run as a natural consequence of just trying to get around."

LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds: “We should not accept hit-and-run as a natural consequence of just trying to get around.”

FTR Skaters

Surrounded by a sea of bikes, two women waited for their chance to skate the route.

Not all the participants were human. Because even a dog knows leaving someone lying injured or bleeding in the street is inhuman.

Not all the participants were human. Even a dog knows leaving someone lying injured and bleeding in the street — or worse — is inhuman.

The ride marshals gathered before the start to discuss the routes and keeping the participants safe on streets that were shared with cars.

The ride marshals gathered before the start to discuss the routes and how to keep the participants safe on streets that were shared with cars.

Finish the Ride founder Damian Kevitt joins the assembled riders for the start of the 50-mile ride; it was only two years ago that he lost his leg in a horrific hit-and-run.

Finish the Ride founder Damian Kevitt joins the assembled riders for the start of the 50-mile ride; it was only two years ago that he lost his leg in a horrific hit-and-run.

Kevitt sets off to lead the ride, just as he has lead the fight against hit-and-run since recovering from his life-threatening injuries; the driver who fled the scene after dragging him onto a freeway onramp has never been found.

Kevitt sets off to lead the ride, just as he has lead the fight against hit-and-run since recovering from his life-threatening injuries; the driver who fled the scene after dragging him onto a freeway onramp has never been found.

 

Morning Links: Damian Kevitt finishes the run, high-end bike thief busted, and are mouth guards next?

Here I am baptizing Damian Kevitt. Or maybe just cooling him off.

Here I am baptizing Damian Kevitt. Or maybe just helping him cool off.

Sometimes it’s not all about riding a bike.

We stopped by the LA Marathon Sunday morning to cheer on the runners, including Finish the Ride’s Damian Kevitt, who decided to run the race while he was still in his hospital bed after losing a leg in a horrific hit-and-run — and almost losing the other one.

Just two years later, he achieved what few would have thought possible at the time.

I’m told Kevitt finished the race roughly seven hours after the start, despite one missing leg and a painful, surgically repaired ankle on the other.

Damian Kevitt on his way to Santa Monica on a missing leg and a painful, surgically repaired ankle.

Damian Kevitt resumes his run to Santa Monica on a missing leg and a painful, surgically repaired ankle.

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Meanwhile, I was also pleased to see LA Fire Department paramedics ride — yes, ride — to the rescue of a runner in need.

Bike-born paramedics help an injured runner after riding to the rescue.

Bike-born paramedics help an injured runner after riding to the rescue.

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A Culver City man is under arrest for riding off with a high-end bike listed for sale on Craigslist.

He was also in possession of several other expensive bicycles that are presumed to be stolen, according to police.

So if you were the victim of a Westside bike theft, contact Culver City Police Detective Raya at 310-253-6318 or tobias.raya@culvercity.org to see if one of those very expensive bikes was yours.

Thanks to David and George Wolfberg for the heads-up.

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Evidently, a mandatory helmet law for adult bike riders doesn’t go far enough. Now you need a mouth guard, too; full body armor and bubble wrap remain optional. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the tip.

Meanwhile, a new study of Sweden’s law requiring helmets for children shows it hasn’t reduced head injuries, but has resulted in a drop in ridership among school children.

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Caught on video: A cyclist defies gravity to ride across the nearly sheer face of a Moab, Utah cliff.

Now that’s what I call a tough commute.

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Local

Good news from DTLA, as 7th Street is due to get an eight-block makeover paid for by Korean Air, which is developing the massive new Wilshire Grand project. All three options include bike lanes; personally, I’m all in on version three, which includes protected lanes.

The late Alex Baum will be honored with a memorial kid’s ride at the City of Angels Fun Ride on April 26th. Still waiting for the mayor’s office and LADOT to step up and hold a public memorial for one of the city’s leading citizens and a world-class bike advocate.

Compton wants your input on bicycling conditions in the city.

A Malibu restaurant owner builds a cycling community with the weekly Mangia ride.

Santa Clarita cyclists are invited to weigh in on proposed signage for bike and pedestrian paths.

 

State

A San Diego bike rider suffers a broken hip when he’s hit by a left-turning driver while riding in an unmarked crosswalk.

Thanks to efforts by the Chumash Indian tribe, the Solvang Century was intended to produce zero waste. Other than all those air cartridges, unpatched tubes, and energy gel containers cyclists always seem to leave in their wake, of course. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link. And thanks to Charles for catching a number of errors in this link.

The latest roadblock to a proposed Palo Alto bike bridge may have feathers.

San Francisco cyclists bare all to protest oil dependence at the city’s edition of the World Naked Bike Ride; they were joined by a handful of Kiwi riders half a world away.

Harmony builds between bicyclists and other BART riders, according to a new survey.

Spinlister plans to go head-to-head with Bay Area bike shares using a smart bike version of the Car2Go model.

The directors responsible for managing the Golden Gate Bride want to reserve the right to charge bike riders and pedestrians a toll to cross the bridge. But isn’t that what trolls do?

Marin County officials consider lowering the speed limit for cyclists on a multi-use path to just 10 mph, bicyclists could also be required to ride single file.

A hero bike rider runs across a Petaluma parking lot to catch a purse thief; even more impressive, he returned to find strangers guarding his bike and laptop.

 

National

No bias here, as a misleading headline says Oregon bikes may be able to run red lights; you have to read to story to discover the proposed law only allows riders to go through a light if it doesn’t change.

Must be nice. Minnesota’s bike lobby enjoys support from political candidates, as well as in the halls of government.

Three Wisconsin teenager are credited with saving the life of a bike rider following a solo fall.

An Ohio bike rider is charged with inducing panic after riding around a barricade and having to be recused from rising flood waters. But how exactly did that cause screaming hordes to run away?

Massachusetts bicyclists ask the state legislature to ban motorists from blocking bikeways; that’s already illegal here, but seldom, if ever, enforced.

 

International

Lost in the uproar over the recent CIRC report on professional doping cycling is the news that women riders are being exploited, both financially and sexually.

An Ottawa cyclist describes the joy he gets from riding in the city; a sentiment most of us can probably relate to.

London’s Telegraph says Lance has been offered a deal to reduce his lifetime ban — if he comes clean. So that the lifetime ban isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

A teenage Scot cyclist pleads guilty to dangerous cycling for hitting a couple on a tandem after running a red light while pulling a wheelie.

Owen Wilson rides a folding bike in Rome.

 

Finally…

I thought I’d heard every possible excuse for hit-and-run; evidently, I was wrong. No matter how inviting the trail might be, it’s probably not the best idea to mountain bike on a marine base without permission.

And the day construction to build a green bike lane in Monterey Country was completed, plans are announced to rip the lane out and widen the road. But can someone explain how it could take nine months and $2.2 million just to paint a bike lane?

 

Weekend Links: Marathon Crash non-Race is back on for Sunday, along with a long list of upcoming bike events

The popular event formerly known as the Marathon Crash Race is back on for this Sunday.

After being cancelled by city officials last year, the officially unofficial ride — now renamed the Marathon Hustle Ride —  will follow the LA Marathon route on closed streets hours before the runners take to the course.

Meanwhile, KPCC profiles Finish the Ride’s Damian Kevitt as he prepares to run the marathon this Sunday, two years after he lost his leg in a horrific and still unsolved hit-and-run.

He may have lost a leg, but clearly, his heart is fully intact.

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An open house will be held this Saturday to discuss the complete street makeover of Western Avenue through San Pedro and Rancho Palos Verdes; opposition is anticipated to bike lanes planned for the street so bicyclists are encouraged to attend.

Bike the Vote LA hosts an organizing meeting this coming Monday, March 16th. The new group has taken the lead in getting Los Angeles-area bike riders involved in this year’s election process.

Stan’s Bike Shop in Monrovia is hosting a Taco Night on Saturday, March 21st to raise funds for the shop’s Tour de Cure team.

A new app will allow you to soak in the sounds of next Sunday’s Valley CicLAvia, providing walkers with an “interactive soundscape” of the San Fernando Valley for the March 22nd open streets event. And yes, I’ll be there on my bike.

Kickstand-Kids-flyerKickstand Kids will host a Family Bike Event in Fullerton on Sunday, April 12th to raise funds to buy bikes for the children of New Alternatives. They’re asking for donations of kids and adult bikes, as well as helmets or other gear in good shape; contact daniswid@gmail.com, or donate online through their GoFundMe site.

Don’t forget LA Bike Week starting May 11th through 15th, including the annual Blessing of the Bicycles at Good Samaritan Hospital on Tuesday the 12th.

The Eastside Bike Club celebrates Bike Month with their annual Dodgertown Bike Ride on Saturday, May 16th, riding from El Sereno to take in a game at Dodger Stadium.

And the 15th annual LA River Ride rolls on Sunday, June 28th; the River Ride just keeps getting bigger and better every year.

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Local

LA Times readers react to the paper’s story about the proposed California bike helmet law; the Orange County Bicycle Coalition’s Pete van Nuys gets it right.

UCLA’s Daily Bruin calls on the Westwood Neighborhood Council to approve the much-needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd; the new Remove Nothing plan would do exactly that, adding bike lanes to the busy street without removing a single lane or parking space. So what’s the problem?

The LAPD explains the story behind that Tweet we linked to earlier in the week about a Newton division officer pitching in to help replace a 4th grader’s stolen bike.

Manhattan Beach residents want more money for bicycling in the city budget.

Glendale police respond to a fatal hit-and-run by targeting traffic violations, including headphone wearing and sidewalk riding cyclists.

 

State

The Bike League has issued a report card showing why California has jumped into the top 10 bike friendly states, and what we still need to work on. Personally, I’d much rather see modified strict liability, placing greater responsibility for avoiding a collision on the larger and more dangerous vehicle, than the vulnerable user law they suggest.

Laguna Beach will host a bike rodeo on Sunday, March 22nd.

Seal Beach’s Main Street Cyclery celebrates its grand opening under new ownership this Saturday.

San Diego is working on solutions to roadblocks facing the 24-mile Bayshore Bikeway.

A Merced elementary school principal is said to be improving after he was critically injured in a collision with a pickup.

A San Francisco TV station’s People Behaving Badly segment looks at brazen bike thieves in the city’s Bayview District.

A Sausalito councilwoman wants to limit the number of rental bikes allowed into the city; evidently, all those rental cars, and non-rental cars, are okay, though.

 

National

A cabal of elder engineers is apparently dedicated to stamping out what they perceive as deviant bikeway designs.

A new Bluetooth bike lock unlocks automatically through your phone and shrieks at potential thieves.

New Mexico’s annual Tour of the Gila is back on after an anonymous Colorado cyclist steps forward to sponsor the event.

A Wisconsin man is combining his love of biking and baseball by riding to all 30 major league stadiums this summer.

New York police are looking for a cyclist who wacked a motorist with his U-lock during a dispute. Seriously, no matter what the other guys says or does, never resort to violence.

New York’s MTA isn’t even interested in testing a rear wheel guard that could prevent cyclists and pedestrians from being crushed under the rear wheels of a bus.

Baltimore bike riders can get a full year of free, secure parking.

Atlanta police apparently aren’t interested when a driver A) leaves the scene after hitting a bike rider, and B) pulls a gun and threatens to kill the cyclist after the rider follows him home to talk about it.

Good Samaritans, including a corrections officer, save the life of a Florida cyclist when he collapses while riding his bike.

A Florida bike rider continues her fight for a 76-mile bikeway from Naples to Miami, although some Native American’s aren’t so sure it’s a good idea.

 

International

Good offers a good explanation of Vision Zero and why it matters, while City Fix says if you want a cycling city, design for traffic safety.

A 39-year old British soldier with early-onset Alzheimer’s embarks on a nearly 10,000 mile ride around the US and Canada.

London’s Evening Standard says the city’s new 20 mph speed limit will save lives, and drivers will just have to deal with it.

Scottish cyclists call for a version of Strict Liability, which assumes drivers are at fault in any collision with cyclists or pedestrians; thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

A new Dutch bike shakes its handlebars to warn of potential danger from the front, and its seat to warn of danger coming from behind. With our traffic, it could become the worlds first publicly rideable vibrator.

Caught on video: Bike racing becomes a full-contact sport — as if it wasn’t already — as a spectator grabs the handlebars of Australian rider Loren Rowney during a race in the Netherlands, resulting in a major endo and a broken collarbone as she sprints for the finish.

German carbon wheel and frame maker Lightweight combines with Audi to create the latest overpriced, high-tech racing bike from a carmaker dabbling in bikes.

A sidewalk riding New Zealand cyclist faces charges for running down a pedestrian and breaking his hip.

 

Finally…

As if LA drivers aren’t bad enough, now we have to worry about killer cows. A Florida bike rider somehow shot himself in the chest when the gun in his pocket discharged.

And no. Just…no.

 

Morning Links: Bike share is booming, Finish the Ride’s Damian Kevitt prepares to run the LA Marathon

There seems to be a common thread to today’s news.

LA Magazine looks at the long and winding road to bike share in LA County; in the meantime, private bike share programs are stepping in to fill the gap.

San Diego’s bike share system plans to expand to the popular Pacific Beach nightlife and tourist zone by summer.

And plans are already in the works to expand the Phoenix bike share program after a successful first three months; Cincinnati’s program is in a growth phase, too.

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Local

KTLA-5 profiles Finish the Ride’s Damian Kevitt as he prepares to run the LA Marathon this Sunday, despite losing his leg to a hit-and-run driver just two years ago.

Flying Pigeon discovers signs of hope in the form of bike racks adorning the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills. Unfortunately, none are within walking distance of the many doctors I see in the city.

The president of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce says the city must choose between a bikeable, walkable and livable future or a return to the dangerous plans of the past at the city’s Planning Commission meeting on Thursday the 18th.

 

State

KNBC-4 looks at the ill-advised legislation to require all California bike riders to wear a helmet, while a new Tumblr site offers photos of people on bikes who would become criminals under the law. Just to be clear: I never ride without a helmet, but they are not the bicycling equivalent of seat belts or air bags; bike helmets are designed to protect against low speed falls, not high speed collisions; mandating their use in all situations will do more harm than good.

The Tour of Murietta continues to grow as it reaches it’s 10th year.

Grist cites an advocate from San Bernardino County to say building bike lanes provides a path to social equity.

San Francisco’s Oak Street Bike Lane is now attractively protected, proving that neither bike lanes nor traffic dividers have to be ugly.

 

National

The 15th annual National Bike Summit opens in Washington DC.

A Portland bike thief is in custody after a friend of the victim spotted the purloined bike. Meanwhile, a Port Angeles WA bike thief reportedly said nothing as he pointed a gun at his intended victim; then again, I’d think the gun spoke volumes.

Now that’s more like it. Chattanooga police start efforts to improve bicycle safety — including a radar and camera equipped bike to catch drivers violating the three-foot passing law.

A Florida cyclist is critically injured during a police chase after a woman steals a Cadillac from a car wash. And another bike rider from the same state suffered life-threatening injuries in a hit-and-run collision with yet another stolen car.

 

International

Cycling legend Jeannie Longo was not among the French athletes killed in a tragic helicopter collision that took the lives of ten of her countrymen in Argentina Monday.

Your old bike parts could be powering a green economy in Guatemala.

A Brit cyclist is “nudged” off her bike by a hit-and-run double decker bus.

British bike scribe Carlton Reid says it’s time for the formerly bike riding country to go Dutch.

Speaking of which, Amsterdam has everything but enough bike parking.

 

Finally…

Tampa is getting a new green bike lane, which will look a lot like this one in LA, which doesn’t look like that anymore. But at least the local press recognizes where the danger comes from.

And one of my life’s goals has always been to get a speeding ticket on my bike; a British rider succeeded, doing more than twice the 20 mph speed limit in a London park.

 

Finish the Ride results in a large check, a 9% drop in hit-and-run — and your chance to help take up the fight

Over a year later, Damian Kevitt finishes the ride; photo courtesy of Finish the Ride.

Over a year later, Damian Kevitt finishes the ride; photo courtesy of Finish the Ride.

I got to meet one of my heroes last week.

Okay, two.

I was at the LACBC Board of Directors meeting Wednesday night when someone stepped up behind me and said he wanted to introduce himself.

I turned to see a tall man with a huge smile and a face I knew from countless news stories. A quick, almost involuntary glance down revealed an artificial leg he made no attempt to hide, and suddenly no introduction was necessary.

For reasons I will never understand, Damien Kevitt wanted to shake my hand.

I think he had that backwards.

I’ve been wanting to shake his ever since he fought his way back from one of the most horrific hit-and-run collisions I’ve ever heard of. Just surviving what he went through took more courage than most of us will ever need in our lifetimes.

And that was long before his amazing Finish the Ride campaign made him the public face of the fight against motorists who run away like the cowards they are, rather than stopping to take responsibility for their actions.

Under similar circumstances, most people would be happy just to survive. Let alone display the determination to get back on his bike as quickly as possible, despite the loss of a leg.

And even more to start a movement dedicated to justice, if not for himself, then for others victims of hit-and-run.

……..

Crowds at start of Finish the Ride; photo courtesy of Finish the Ride.

Crowds at start of Finish the Ride; photo courtesy of Finish the Ride.

It was a little later, after he had made a presentation to the board, that I gave a hug to another hero of mine.

Kevitt was accompanied by a woman who turned out to be one of the most awe-inspiring people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.

His mother, Michele Kevitt Kirkland.

Her name popped up from the very beginning in news stories about his collision. And virtually every story after that as she spoke for — and fought for — her son until he was able to do it for himself.

I have no doubt that it was her will and determination, as much as the skill of his medical team, that helped bring Kevitt through the first few days when his survival was in doubt.

Let alone every seemingly impossible step that followed.

……..

Congressman Adam Shiff addresses the crowd; photo courtesy of Finish the Ride.

Congressman Adam Shiff addresses the crowd; photo courtesy of Finish the Ride.

Kevitt was at the board meeting because he had named the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition as one of the beneficiaries of the event, along with the Challenged Athletes Foundation — in the unlikely event there were any profits to benefit from — and the coalition provided the organizational support necessary to pull it off.

At the last minute, though, sponsors started pouring in, from local bike shops to a major car dealership, as well as BikinginLA sponsor Pocrass & De Los Reyes. And news started spreading, not just here in LA, but across the US and around the world.

In the end, the turnout far surpassed anyone’s expectations. And the ride not only broke even, it resulted in one of the largest private donations the LACBC has ever received.

  • Over 700 participants
  • Five elected officials both speaking and riding, including a US Congressman
  • Over 16 media outlets represented
  • 26 festival booths
  • 22 entertainers performing for the crowd
  • $25,000 raised for the LACBC and the CAF

But the biggest success may have come as a surprise to everyone.

According to LAPD Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff, after rising steadily for years, the rate of hit-and-runs in Los Angeles has declined 9% since the first of the year.

A drop he attributed in large part to the publicity Finish the Ride received, and the message of responsibility behind it.

Which goes to show that the battle to stop drivers from fleeing may actually be winnable after all.

……..

From left: Jennifer Klausner, Damian Kevitt, JJ Hoffman, Michele Kevitt Kirkland and Alex Amerri

From left: Jennifer Klausner, Damian Kevitt, JJ Hoffman, Michele Kevitt Kirkland and Alex Amerri.

After a victory like that, anyone else would sit back and relax. Or maybe start thinking about next year’s ride.

Clearly, Damian Kevitt is not like anyone else I’ve ever met.

He not only credits everyone else with the success of Finish the Ride, he’s taking the fight to the next level.

Tomorrow night he’s hosting the first Hit and Run Summit — Gathering of the Minds at a church in Hollywood. And inviting you, and everyone else committed to doing something about this deadly, life-shattering epidemic, to attend.

Join us Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 7:00pm for the first “Hit and Run Summit – Gathering of the minds.”

Gather your voices and be part of something that will help change the streets of Los Angels in a positive light for young and old alike.

Join in on a united mission to make Los Angeles County a healthy, safer, and fun place to walk, run, and ride bicycles.

Come and network with a diverse community of people that believes in advocacy, education, and community building over dinner.

Please share this with anyone that could possibly benefit from this event. We will be providing useful contact information for various groups, and organizations for volunteer and/or assistance purposes.

Schools, mothers, clubs, and non-profit organizations are highly encouraged to attend and participate.

Address:
Hollywood Lutheran Church, Rear Gallery
1733 North New Hampshire, Hollywood, CA 90027
 
Time:
7:00PM Summit Opens, 7:20 Summit Starts, 7:50PM Dinner Served
 

*Keynote speakers will include experts in the following areas.

  • CREATING SOLUTIONS TO MAKE LA STREETS SAFER FOR EVERYONE
  • CAMPAIGNING ON HANDLING HIT AND RUN
  • CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LAW AND HIT AND RUN
  • CURRENT AND FUTURE LEGISLATIONS REGARDING HIT AND RUN
  • STATISTICS AND FACTS OF HIT AND RUN
“Safer roads in LA County for everyone!”

I’m not making many commitments these days as I work to get my own health back under control. But I plan to attend even if I have to drag myself there.

And I hope you’ll be there, as well.

 

Morning Links: Coddling drunk drivers, analysis of the new Bike League study and a moving new hit-and-run video

This is why people continue to die on our streets.

An Olympia WA man gets work-release despite his seventh — yes, seventh — DUI arrest; he’ll spend nights and weekends in jail, but be released every day to run his business. Odd that they don’t offer bank robbers and drug dealers the same consideration. And no word on how he plans to get there; let’s hope he won’t be driving.

And an Illinois lawmaker proposes a new bill to help keep more drunks on the road. Because it’s too inconvenient for them to find some other way to get around without killing someone.

………

More on the League of American Bicyclists’ 12-month study of bicycling fatalities across the US, as USA Streetsblog offers eight takeaways from the study released Wednesday, including:

  • Most fatalities occur on urban arterial roads
  • Hit-from-behind collisions were the most frequent cause of bicycling fatalities
  • Intersections are the most dangerous place for urban riders
  • Most victims were wearing helmets
  • The more people who ride in your state, the less risk you face

Vox provides their own analysis of the report.

………

A moving new documentary profiles Damian Kevitt and Ghost Bikes LA to call attention to the dangers cyclists face, especially from hit-and-run drivers. At only eight minutes long, it’s definitely worth watching.

………

Local

Streetsblog looks at Temple City’s new partially protected bike lane on Rosemead Blvd.

Both Milestone Rides and Boyonabike offer reviews of last week’s LA Bike Week, most of which I missed.

Santa Monica considers dropping speed limits to 15 mph near schools; then again, it doesn’t matter what the speed limit is if they don’t adequately enforce it.

Downey is preparing a new citywide bicycle master plan. They’d better hurry, as a bike rider was seriously injured attempting to cross a freeway onramp early Thursday morning.

 

State

Redlands gets a new Community Based Bicycle Master Plan, which will provide 175 miles of bikeways — a huge amount for a town of just 69,000. And a local market plans their own privately operated bike share program.

A new company plans to provide bike camping around San Luis Obispo.

Specialized finally puts their wind tunnel to good use by determining the aerodynamics of beards on bikes. Now if they’d just figure out if shaving your legs really makes you faster.

 

National

According to Forbes, American bicyclists save $4.6 billion a year by riding instead of driving; I’d like mine in cash, please. Meanwhile, Intuit explains just how that works.

A Grist writer says Idaho Stop laws infringe on pedestrians’ right-of-way; actually, cyclists are still required to yield to anyone with the right-of-way. Brooklyn Spoke says the subject is complicated.

Chicago drivers — including city bus drivers — are turning a buffered bike lane into their own traffic bypass lane.

The NYPD is back to ticketing cyclists in Central Park.

The US Pro National Championships roll in Chattanooga this Monday.

A Virginia lawyer offers advice on the eight things you should do right away if you’ve been injured in a bike collision. Seriously, though, you’d think an attorney would know not to call them accidents.

 

International

An Ottawa writer says the city doesn’t need any more bike lanes because they can’t make the climate bike friendly. Oddly, he doesn’t suggest they stop building roads due to adverse winter driving conditions.

Four hundred London cyclists stage a die-in at a notoriously dangerous intersection.

Liverpool plans to triple the number of cyclists who ride at least once a week.

A Melbourne bike rider is injured when she crashes into a police vehicle hidden by a blind curve on a bike path. The cops were targeting motorbikes and other motorized vehicles illegally using the trail, like… uh, them.

Aussie cyclists protest the country’s mandatory helmet law; ridership in Tel Aviv jumped 54% in just two years after the Israeli city revoked theirs.

Even Chinese robots can track stand, so why the hell can’t I?

 

Finally…

A road-raging New Hampshire bike rider shatters a driver’s passenger window, then takes his anger out on a nearby construction worker; no matter how angry you get, acting on it only makes things worse. A PA man posts a thank you for the man who stole his bike. And three young cyclists are arrested for speeding at a blistering 10 mph.

In 1899.

………

The Memorial Day weekend means heavy traffic this afternoon as people get off work early and rush to get home and get out of town. So ride defensively and watch out for drivers today, because chances are, they won’t be watching for you.

I expect to see you all back here safe and sound on Tuesday.

 

Morning Links: An inspiring and horrifying interview, outrageous bike news, and send a guy on Climate Ride.

Send this boy to camp. Or rather, Climate Ride.

Send this boy to camp. Or rather, Climate Ride.

Lots of news to catch up on before the weekend. So let’s jump right in.

……..

Sweet Ride USA’s Steve Isaacs offers an amazing, horrifying and ultimately inspiring interview with hit-and-run survivor Damian Kevitt in advance of Sunday’s Finish the Ride. Choose between the short 4:15 minute version and the full 16 minute one.

Unfortunately, it looks like illness is going to keep me from attending on Sunday, despite my best intentions. So if you’re planning to attend and would like to share your thoughts or photos, let me know.

……..

Here’s an intriguing invitation.

Inventor Eric F. has come up with what he describes as a “revolutionary bicycle safety device (US and international patent pending) that will save lives and visibly change the urban landscape.”

He’s looking for volunteers to participate in a focus group at Helen’s Cycles’ Santa Monica location, 2501 Broadway, on Monday, May 5th from 7 – 8 pm.

You can start your Cinco de Mayo celebration a little later. And it’s a good chance to check out the new green bike lanes in front of the shop.

Just watch out for drunks on your ride home.

……..

Congratulations to the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition’s Team LACBC on exceeding their fundraising goal for this year’s California Climate Ride.

But several of the team members are still short of the money they need to raise to participate in the ride.

I can personally vouch for everyone on the list, all of whom deserve to go on the bike adventure of a lifetime. And each of whom deserves your support for all they do to support your right to ride safely and enjoyably in the City and County of Angels.

In fact, I have never known a more committed and hardworking group of staff and volunteers, and as a board member for the past five years, I’m honored for the small part I play in supporting their work. Which is something I don’t say nearly enough.

But I’d like to call your attention to just one of those potential riders, and ask you to help him get from the California Wine Country to Sacramento next month.

Alex Amerri, President of the LACBC Board of Directors, has done an incredible job of guiding the organization through some turbulent times — often at the expense of his own career and personal life.

I’ve watched as he’s often put in more than full-time work in an unpaid, volunteer position. When he leaves the board — which hopefully won’t be anytime soon — he’ll leave the LACBC a far stronger, more stable and successful organization than he found it, positioned for even greater growth and influence in the years to come.

And you can’t ask any more than that of anyone.

However, the time he’s put in solving problems and creating opportunities for the coalition lately has meant he hasn’t had time to raise the funds he needs to participate in the Climate Ride. In fact, he’s less than a third of the way to his $3,500 goal.

So let’s send a boy to camp.

Or rather, a man to ride.

If you’ve got a little extra money laying around, make a donation to a good cause to support sustainability and improve our environment. And do it in the name of someone who truly deserves a few uninterrupted days on his bike.

And if not Alex, then help one of the other team members who do so much to help you.

Note: Alex has no idea I’m writing this. So let’s not tell him. Just let him be surprised when the donations start coming in, with no idea where they’re coming from or why.

……..

Prepare to be outraged.

It’s not unusual to find a story or two that makes a mockery of justice, and reminds us all that cyclists are still second-class citizens on our streets.

But today’s news carried three examples of just how far we have to go. And how self-centered, heartless and cruel some people can be.

First up, a Massachusetts woman is convicted of a reduced charge in a fatal hit-and-run when the judge rules that a second vehicle that hit the victim afterwards could have caused the fatal injuries. Never mind that the trailing vehicle would never have hit the rider in the first place if the hit-and-run driver hadn’t plowed into her and left her lying in the street.

Or there’s this, as Pennsylvania authorities refuse to file charges against a driver who killed a teenage cyclist — even though she was under the influence of cocaine and prescription drugs at the time. Nice to see them taking DUI so seriously.

And in a truly disgusting demonstration of genuine overly entitled, self-absorbed heartlessness, an Ontario — Canada, not California — driver sues the family of the teenage cyclist she killed for the emotional turmoil that taking his life has caused her. Evidently, she’s the real victim here, not the kid who lost his life, the parents who lost a child or the brother who OD’d because he couldn’t deal with the loss.

I never to wish ill on anyone. But I’m sorely tempted to make an exception in her case.

……..

Local

UCLA’s Herbie Huff and Madeline Brozen offer a rebuttal to the recent report showing bike lanes don’t cause traffic congestion if they’re put in the right place.

Cultural Weekly explains why CicLAvia has struck a chord with Angelenos. Although I’m not really sure that’s it.

Variety promotes this weekend’s first-of-the-year bike-in movie in Reseda Park.

KCRW’s DnA will host Reinventing the Wheel, a discussion on the future of mobility at the Helms Bakery complex on May 18.

Santa Monica police use a bait bike to get two bike thieves off the streets.

Long Beach offers a bike map of six downtown routes.

Santa Clarita plans a number of events around hosting a pair of stages in next month’s Amgen Tour of California.

 

State

The Idyllwild man who created the Stagecoach 400 mountain bike race finally finishes the route he designed after three failed attempts.

Streetsblog looks at last week’s California Transportation Choices Summit.

VeloNews rides the Amgen Tour of California route in reverse with the Rapha Women’s Ambassadors.

 

National

A new Strava map offers a detailed look at where people who use Strava run and ride bikes, which seems to be pretty much where people live. Then again, people who don’t use Strava ride everywhere.

A proposed MiniBrake promises to let parents stop their children’s bikes by remote control. Seems a little dangerous to stop a kid’s bike without warning, but it could keep them from riding into danger.

Treehugger lists five ways bicycling is getting better in the US. And one way it’s not.

A severely auto-focused Texas jerk letter writer says “You ‘need’ a car for business, shopping and taking your kids to Burger King. You only ‘want’ to ride your bike…” which places “an unreasonable safety burden on drivers of other vehicles.” Right. And maybe if those kids walked or rode to Burger King they might be healthier now, and as adults.

 

International

After a Brit thief steals a $4,200 e-bike, he calls the local dealer for advice on how to charge it. Which turns out to be the same guy he stole it from.

Lance says he’s still the winner of all those Tours de France, regardless of what anyone else says, while former Armstrong lieutenant George Hincapie promises an unvarnished look at pro cycling’s doping era in a new book.

Osaka police crack down on reckless cyclists — or any, for that matter — at the urging of local merchants.

 

Finally…

A cute 30-second video suggests the more you ride, the more calories you can take in. Not necessarily true, though, as I’ve learned the hard way.

 

No justice for a victim of road rage; hit-and-run victims urged join Damien Kevitt at Critical Mass next week

Evidently, tire tracks aren't sufficient proof of getting run over.

Evidently, tire tracks aren’t sufficient proof of getting run over.

Just a couple quick notes this morning.

First up, a painful reminder that justice for cyclists remains elusive, even here in relatively enlightened and bronze-level bike friendly Los Angeles.

You may recall last September we told the story of a bike rider who was harassed by a driver while riding home from work in Chatsworth.

He reported being passed in a dangerous manner, then repeatedly honked and yelled at after passing the car while it was stopped in traffic. When the rider paused to ask what the driver’s problem was, he was told bikes aren’t allowed in the street and threatened with a call to the police.

If only the driver had, he might have been quickly corrected and properly chastised. Instead, he got out of his car and physically threatened the cyclist. Then things got worse.

After that, he got back in his car and honked awhile longer. I was trying to explain to him my rights as a cyclist but he would not listen to me. He then drove slowly forward, making contact and slightly pushing my bike. I yelled at him, then he just nailed the gas. He knocked me to the ground and ran over my bike and right leg, then had to stop because there were two cars in front of him at the light.

As I got up, he got out of his car and told me that I am an asshole and I’m the reason people hate cyclists. I took the pic of him and his car about that time.

Fortunately, he wasn’t seriously injured, although it left him with leg pain that lingers today.

Unfortunately, it also left him with emotional scars caused by yet another failure of the justice system to take an assault with a deadly weapon seriously, when that weapon is a car and the victim is on a bike — despite having two witnesses to the attack.

I got this email from him last night.

I was just told today that the LAPD decided not to charge the driver who ran me over with any crime.  This news came as a extreme shock, to think that a driver can honk and yell at a cyclist then intentionally run him over, get out of his car, call that cyclist names then speed off, and not be charged with any crime.  It just makes me feel like I’m going to die riding a bike in LA and no one will care.  I trusted our system.  It has failed me and it has failed every cyclist in Los Angeles.  I don’t know if you care to update the story or ask anyone why he wasn’t charged; I’m told lack of evidence. But I had 2 witnesses, I had a smashed front wheel of my bike and badly bruised leg ankle and foot as well as tire tracks across my leg.  I was barely able to walk for 3 weeks and still to this day I have pain in my ankle and right foot. I’m just in so much shock right now.

Shocked is a good word for it.

Appalled, disgusted and mad as hell would be appropriate responses, as well.

He was clearly injured, he had physical proof of a collision and witnesses who could attest that the driver got out of his car and threatened him.

Yet somehow, that isn’t sufficient to file charges — even though I’ve been told by police that simply getting out of a motor vehicle is sufficient for a charge of assault in a situation like this

I can’t explain it. Except as a reminder of the bad old days when bike riders knew we couldn’t count on the LAPD for protection on the streets, let alone justice.

I thought we’d left those days behind as the cycling community established a better relationship with the police. But maybe I was wrong.

Meanwhile, I’ve strongly urged the victim to contact a lawyer to discuss filing a civil suit under LA’s still-untested bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

He would seem to have an ideal case.

And the best part is, he wouldn’t have to count on the police to lift a finger.

………

By now, you probably know the name Damian Kevitt.

He’s the man who riding his bike with his wife near Griffith Park exactly a year ago this week when a van driver stuck in traffic made an illegal U-turn, hitting his bike in the process.

If the driver had simply stopped, Kevitt might have suffered minor injuries. Instead, he floored it, dragging the trapped cyclist 600 feet onto the 5 Freeway before he was finally dislodged in front of high-speed traffic as the van sped away.

Fortunately, he landed near a doctor and an off-duty paramedic who were able to tend to him until paramedics arrived; otherwise, the outcome of this crime might have been much different.

As it was, Kevitt was among the most critically injured riders I’ve ever heard of who somehow survived their collisions.

And not only survived, but thrived.

A year later, Kevitt is back on his bike, an artificial leg replacing the one lost in the collision. And he’s inviting every cyclist to join with him on April 27th to Finish the Ride.

The easy, 12-mile ride will benefit the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and the Challenged Athletes Foundation. But more importantly, will allow us to honor the courage of an amazing man, while calling attention to the epidemic of hit-and-runs.

In addition, Kevitt is planning to hold a vigil in front of City Hall during the Critical Mass ride next Friday, February 28th. As part of that, he’s inviting anyone who has been the victim of a hit-and-run, as well as the families of those who have been lost to hit-and-run, to join him in calling for a stop to the crime, and justice for those who have been victimized by it.

If you’d like to join him — and I would strongly encourage it if you can — email him at damiankevitt@FinishTheRide.com, or leave a message at 206/495-3116.

As for justice, the heartless bastard who nearly took Kevitt’s life is still out there somewhere.

Despite a $25,000 reward.

 

Update: Gatto bill suspends licenses for hit-and-run; hit-and-run victim Damian Kevitt to finish his ride in April

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Last year, Glendale-area state Assembly Member Mike Gatto sponsored successful legislation to extend the statute of limitations in hit-and-run cases from three to six years.

The bill was stronger as originally written, though, providing an additional year from the date a suspect was identified. Still, the final version that passed the legislature on a unanimous vote of both houses was signed by Governor Brown — which is not always a sure thing — and went into effect on the first of the year.

Now Gatto is taking the next step in ending the epidemic of hit-and-and run.

According to a press release from his office, which does not appear to be online yet, Gatto has introduced legislation calling for automatic license revocation for any motorist who leaves the scene of a collision involving another person — even if the injuries are minor.

That’s revocation, not suspension.

(Update: Actually, it’s not. See below.) 

As such, it goes beyond the 2010 Life Before License campaign sponsored by the apparently dormant Bikeside LA, which called for license suspensions of varying length depending on the severity of the victim’s injuries. Because too often, drivers are allowed to keep their licenses after fleeing the scene, even in cases where the victim has been seriously injured.

And it corrects, in part at least, a loophole in California law that only allows serious consequences in cases resulting in death or serious bodily injury.

Even then, hit-and-run drivers too often walk off with a slap on the wrist. And their license.

“The only way to know if you hurt someone is to stop. The only way to get someone medical help is to stop,” said Assemblyman Gatto. “Allowing drivers who don’t stop to keep their license, adds insult to their victim’s injuries.” …

“AB 1532 will give victims of hit-and-runs solace, knowing that cowards who drive recklessly, and purposefully avoid responsibility for their actions, are no longer driving the streets,” said Assemblyman Gatto. “This is a sensible fix to the law that will lead people to think twice before leaving the scene of an accident.”

It’s not the full solution to hit-and-run.

But it’s something I’ve long called for to discourage drivers from fleeing the scene, and get drivers who’ve shown they can’t obey the most basic requirements for driving — let alone human decency — off the road.

We still need to address the fact that current law actually encourages drivers who have been drinking to flee the scene until they have time to sober up. As well as the fact that unless their vehicle is taken away, many motorists will continue to drive after their licenses have been taken away.

And again, with little or no consequences in far too many cases.

But Gatto’s bill is a vital step to control, if not end, the epidemic. And get some of the state’s most dangerous and heartless drivers off the road.

As Eric Bruins, Planning and Policy Director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, noted,

“Stopping and rendering aid after a collision is the most basic duty of a motorist. … Failing to do so can be the difference between scrapes and bruises and a serious injury or fatality. Anyone who flees the scene of an accident has demonstrated in the most cowardly way possible that they do not have the judgment necessary to keep their driving privileges.”

Update: Now that the bill has been posted online, it’s clear that the press release was misleading, at best. Rather than calling for revocation, as the press release stated, it would merely require that drivers who leave the scene have their licenses suspended for 6 months.

As such, it’s still a step forward, if a relatively small one. It’s not as strong as what was called for under Life Before License, and a lot weaker than what I’ve been calling for; whoever wrote Gatto’s press release should know there’s a big difference between suspension and revocation.

The bill would also amend current law to require that drivers who hit a person would be required to stop at the scene, rather than at the nearest location that would not impede traffic. 

The current provision has been abused by drivers who would leave the scene, then turn themselves in hours later with no penalty.

Thanks to Alex H for the correction

……….

The press release also notes that Damian Kevitt — the cyclist critically injured in a hit-and-run when a minivan driver dragged him onto the 5 Freeway after running him over near Griffith Park nearly a year ago — is planning to finish the ride that took his leg.

And nearly, his life.

Other hit-and-run victims are continuing the healing process.  Damian Kevitt was struck by a mini-van while on his bicycle and dragged more than a quarter-mile down the Interstate 5 Freeway in Los Angeles last February.  The collision resulted in dozens of broken bones and the amputation of one of Kevitt’s legs. Kevitt recently announced that he will be finishing the ride he started last year at an event on April 27, 2014 to raise awareness for hit-and-run victims and challenged athletes.

The suspect who hit him remains at large, despite a $25,000 reward. You can contribute to Damian’s efforts to raise $10,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

Seriously, I’m in awe of that guy.

……….

In a somewhat related, and horrifying, story, a Wisconsin driver faces charges for allegedly running down an adult tricycle rider, then fleeing the scene with his victim still lodged in his windshield. Fortunately, the rider wasn’t seriously injured, and managed to free himself after the driver arrived home, reports the StarTribune.

A Wisconsin man who became lodged in the windshield of a car that struck him said he turned to the driver and said, “Hello, I’m the guy you hit on the bicycle.” …

The man finally noticed Gove when he stopped the car outside his home.

“He looked at me and said ‘Who are you? What are you doing in the car?'” Gove said. “He started freaking out: ‘I’m going to jail, I’m going to jail.'”

Thanks to Michael McVerry for the heads-up.

……….

A 79-year old Glendora cyclist is critically injured when he’s left-crossed by an 86-year old driver.

Meanwhile, a 19-year old Temecula man faces nine years in prison after reaching a plea bargain on charges that he fled the scene after hitting a stopped car, then ran a red light to strike another car and a bike rider in a crosswalk; the cyclist survived, but the other driver died several days later.

And if you can get past the paywall, the OC Register’s David Whiting asks if the death of his friend means we should give up sharing the road.

That would be no.

For all the bad news — and yes, there’s been far too much lately — your risk of dying on a bike is an infinitesimal one in 6.3 million. You also face twice as much risk inside a car as you do on a bike, on an hourly basis. And research shows the health benefits of bicycling far outweigh any risks.

I write about the bad things that happen because every fallen rider deserves to be remembered, and even one victim is one too many. And because someone has to wake up our civic leaders to the need for greater safety for everyone on our streets.

Don’t let that scare you off your bike, though.

Because bad things may happen. But they’re highly unlikely to happen to you.

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LADOT unveils the next round of planned bike lanes throughout the city. Assuming anti-bike city councilmembers don’t block them, that is.

Meanwhile, the city officially unveiled new bike lanes on Virgil Ave. And LADOT introduces People St to help rebuild our city on a more human scale.

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Bike share programs around the US and Canada have been called into question, as the company behind many of the leading programs has filed bankruptcy. Hopefully, Bixi’s financial problems will be just a bump in the road for cities like New York and Chicago, though Time Magazine isn’t very hopeful.

Thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the tip.

………

Flying Pigeon looks at last weekend’s successful Tweed Ride.

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Finally, the National Business Review asks what you’d do if you knew how to stop bicycling deaths; evidently, the answer is not much, based on experience in Auckland. And Tennessee sheriff’s deputies threaten a bike rider with arrest after he’s assaulted by teenagers, even though they confessed to the crime; thanks to Charles Hudak for the link.

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