Tag Archive for Eagle Rock

Metro BRT could remove Eagle Rock bike lanes, reaction to Wicksted sentence, and carmakers really are trying to kill us

Metro will host a second virtual meeting on Saturday to discuss alternatives for a proposed North Hollywood to Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit line.

Options include removing bike lanes on Colorado Blvd, while many bike advocates call for improving them and removing a traffic lane, instead.

The project has brought Eagle Rock NIMBYs out in force, who bizarrely insist that no one would ever take the bus to shop or dine at local businesses.

Meanwhile, Metro makes the unintended case for why bikes belong in their own lane next to, rather than in, busways.

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Earlier this week, we mentioned the plea agreement that gave Sandra Marie Wicksted just 16 years behind bars for intentionally running down Leslie Pray, killing the Claremont woman as she was riding her bike, and attempting to kill two other bike riders.

A couple of comments to that story are worth elevating and sharing here.

It’s hard to call 16 years in state prison a slap on the wrist. But this one feels wrong for a couple reasons.

If Wicksted really was suffering from psychiatric problems, she need treatment, not jail; too often we warehouse the mentally ill in jail, which doesn’t benefit anyone.

If not, a 16-year sentence for what amounts to first degree murder is ridiculously low. She could easily be out in half that time, or possibly less under current circumstances.

Either way, it’s yet another example of the outgoing DA’s repeated failure to take traffic crimes seriously.

Let alone do the right thing.

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Yes, carmakers really are trying to kill you.

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GCN thinks you need to improve your bike handling skills.

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

No bias here. A London paper celebrates drivers surreptitiously removing bollards from bike lanes, describing it as fighting back against the above mentioned mythical war on cars.

Meanwhile, another British tabloid is up in arms over Prime Minister Boris Johnson approving the equivalent of $206 million for new bikeways to satisfy “the public’s strong appetite for greener and more active travel.”

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Local

Whittier will install a memorial mural to honor a local man who rode his bicycle across country twice to lobby Congress to honor Vietnam vets.

 

State

A Bakersfield woman faces up to 40 years behind bars after she was convicted of murdering a man who tried to reclaim his bike after she had stolen it.

Bay Area officials discuss how to get more people walking and biking.

Sonoma County residents voted to extend a quarter-cent sales tax intended to fund road improvements, bike paths, transit and transportation projects.

 

National

Salsa is recalling some of their Cutthroat bicycles due to a possible fork failure; the recall affects 600 bikes sold in the US between September of last year and September this year, as well as another 100 sold in Canada.

A 49-year old mother of two remains missing six months after she reportedly rode her bike away from her Southern Colorado home last Mother’s Day, despite massive search efforts.

After a Kansas appeals court threw out his original two-year sentence as too lenient, a driver convicted of using his car to murder a bike-riding man following an argument between the two was resentenced to a still too low ten years and a month behind bars.

Tennessee officials are struggling to identify a man who was killed in a collision while riding his bicycle on Wednesday. One more tragic reminder to always carry some form of ID with you that’s not likely to be stolen after a crash.

A New York delivery person was killed when he was right hooked by the driver of a massive beer truck, while apparently riding an e-scooter in what passes for a protected bike lane. So naturally, the NYPD blamed the victim.

New York’s Vespertine NYC creates fashionable, reflective bikewear designed to keep you safe without looking like a clown.

A South Carolina man lost a whopping 460 pounds after starting a diet and getting on his bike less than two years earlier. Read it on Yahoo if Bicycling’s site blocks you.

 

International

Cyclist says ebikes are changing the world.

An Aussie paper explains how an Argentine bicyclist ended up covered with literally thousands of cactus quills.

They’re not looking forward to any Viking biking in Thunder Bay, Ontario; the city on the shore of Lake Superior plans to shut down all its bike lanes for the winter on Sunday, and open them up for parking.

This is why people keep dying on the streets. A Toronto-area man got a slap on the wrist for jumping the curb and killing a woman as she rode her bike on the sidewalk, while he was allegedly street racing with another driver who fled the scene; the judge said he hoped the paltry 26-month sentence would serve as a deterrent. Not bloody likely. 

Paris’ plan to remake itself into a 15-minute city — where everything you need is within a 15-minute walk, bike or transit ride — is spreading worldwide and becoming the new utopia for urban planners. Let’s hope it spreads to Los Angeles, too. 

Barcelona tries to one-up Paris in the walk and bikeability department, announcing plans to convert every third street in the city center to pedestrian-first zones.

 

Competitive Cycling

Nineteen-year old former junior world road race champ Quinn Simmons’ suspension for using a dark-skinned emoji in a tweet has been lifted; the apparently chastened American rider will return to his Trek-Segafredo team for next season.

 

Finally…

Move to the Ozarks for ten grand and a new bike. That feeling when your $20,000 custom bike is trashed by a careless driver less than a mile into your first ride.

And nothing like getting dropped by a 12-year old girl with a pro contract and her own YouTube channel.

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

Sheriff’s deputies kill Black bike rider in South LA, driver rams LA bike protest, and Metro nixes Eagle Rock bike lanes

Biking While Black has long been treated like a crime.

But it’s not supposed to carry the death penalty.

Yet that’s what appears to be what happened Monday afternoon when a pair of LA County Sheriff’s deputies spotted a Black man riding a bicycle on Budlong Avenue in the Westmont neighborhood of South LA.

They attempted to stop him for some unspecified traffic code violation, which could have been anything from riding the wrong way to riding a cruiser bike with raised handlebars.

Or it could have just been a pretext to stop and search, despite a lack of probable cause.

Twenty-nine-year old Dijon Kizzee attempted to flee on foot, and allegedly punched one of the deputies when they caught up to him a block later.

He dropped a bundle of clothing he was carrying; the deputies opened fire when they reportedly spotted a semi-automatic handgun in the bundle — making Kizzee just the latest in a long line of Black and brown men and women killed by police under questionable circumstances.

But LA Congresswoman Karen Bass asks the same questions I have. Especially why did the deputes shoot after Kizzee dropped his weapon?

A day later, the Sheriff’s Department attempted to clarify, saying Kizzee had made a motion towards the weapon.

Which, again, can mean absolutely anything, from lunging towards it to merely pointing in that direction.

But what’s painfully clear is that he was not holding it or threatening them with it when both deputies shot him multiple times.

And continued firing after he was on the ground.

One witness insists he never had a gun, and what the deputies saw was his cellphone; however, authorities say a gun was recovered from the scene.

Another indicated that Kizzee had his hands in the air at the time of the shooting.

Sadly, I have no confidence in the Sheriff’s Department to conduct a full, fair and honest investigation of the shooting. Especially under the leadership of a sheriff who seems more interested in getting fired deputies back on the force than in protecting the people of LA County.

And one who continually denies the existence of tattooed gangs within the department, including a clique called The Executioners operating out of South LA.

The mere name of which raises questions anytime they fire a gun.

We need to wait for more information before drawing any conclusions about what actually happened, because initial reports are often wrong.

And we may never know what really happened, since the LASD doesn’t require body cameras on its deputies, although thankfully, that may soon change.

Yes, there’s an argument to be made Kizzee shouldn’t have run, and shouldn’t have fought with the deputies. Let alone carried a concealed weapon.

Although some of that could have been caused, or exacerbated, by Kizzee’s ADHD.

But nothing he did appears to have called for a summary execution without trial on the streets of LA County.

One thing is clear, though. 

It’s long past time to stop needlessly killing Black and brown people.

And no one should ever be executed merely for riding a bike with the wrong skin tone.

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Somehow, this didn’t make the news here in Los Angeles.

A driver rammed through a crowd of bike riders, apparently part of a rolling Black Lives Matter protest, at Melrose and La Brea on Sunday afternoon.

And may have deliberately tried to run down a 14-year old boy.

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Metro proposes taking a big step backward by removing bike lanes on Colorado Blvd in Eagle Rock, and replacing them with bus lanes that bike riders can use.

As long as they don’t mind having a speeding bus run up their ass.

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The candidates for LA City Council in CD4 will hold a virtual debate tonight.

https://twitter.com/bikethevote/status/1300636096330563584

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In what’s definitely the best story of the day, after discovering a boy riding his bike in his driveway, a man responded by taking some chalk and drawing a racetrack for the kid.

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Today’s common theme is an incredible string of violent assaults involving a question of bicycles, and who owns them.

A 19-year old New Mexico man faces a murder charge for fatally shooting another man in a dispute over the victim’s bicycle.

A Wisconsin man was arrested for using a knife to fight with another man, armed only with a belt, in the middle of a street over who owned a bicycle.

Police in New Jersey arrested two men for attempting to steal a bicycle, and swinging a bottle at the victim’s head.

An English man was knocked off his bike and punched in the face by a group of teenage boys, who then made off with his bicycle.

A 17-year old Irish boy faces a murder charge for allegedly stabbing an 18-year old man five times in a dispute over a possible stolen bicycle.

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

No bias here. A London paper blames a jump in rural bicycling injuries and deaths on weekend warriors chasing KOMs, without a single mention of the people in the big, dangerous machines.

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

A pair of Fresno men were injured when they were shot by someone on a bicycle, several minutes after first coming in contact with him.

An Arcata CA bike rider is under arrest for throwing several large rocks in a road rage incident, shattering a store window at a local shopping center.

Someone on a bicycle attacked a New York City judge, punching her in the jaw as she was walking to the courthouse Monday morning; it’s not clear whether she was the victim of a random attack, or if someone deliberately targeted her. Thanks to John Damman for the heads-up.

A New Jersey bike rider faces a sex charge for allegedly fondling a woman after circling back to assault her.

Apparently, it’s possible to have a drive-by shooting without a car, after a bike rider fired several shots at an Alabama home.

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Local

Apparently, LA bicycle advocates have gone “way beyond the pale of being pro-mobility” and are somehow tied to crooked developers. In that case, I want to know who’s getting my take, cause I’m sure as hell not getting it.

The Harvard Park intersection of Slauson and Western Aves ranks as the most dangerous in Los Angeles, in terms of the number of collisions.

LADOT wants your input on creating safe, stress-free connections on neighborhood streets. Thanks to Keith Johnson for the tip.

Metro is celebrating a long-delayed Bike Month in September.  Uh, yay?

Pasadena police wrote 82 tickets during a seven-hour crackdown on traffic violations that endanger bike riders and pedestrians; 67 tickets went to drivers, while 11 pedestrians were ticketed, along with just four bike riders.

Pasadena is extending their free Project Wheelie low-income bike repair program.

Santa Clarita sheriff’s deputies are holding their own bike and pedestrian safety crackdown today. As always, ride to the letter of the law until you get outside their jurisdiction.

 

State

The California legislature passed SB 288, which streamlines CEQA approval for environmentally friendly transportation projects such as bike lanes, light rail and bus lanes; now it goes to the governors desk for approval.

The rich get richer. Oakland has extended the parking protected bike lanes on iconic Telegraph Avenue.

Newly rebranded Jump dockless ebikes will return to the streets of Sacramento, after Lime bought the brand from Uber.

 

National

Yahoo names America’s most bike friendly cities, led by Portland and Minneapolis; California is represented by San Francisco and Oakland, ranking fifth and twelfth, respectively, as well as a surprising Irvine at 24th. Needless to say, Los Angeles is nowhere to be seen.

SGV Media talks with new PeopleforBikes CEO Jenn Dice.

An Oregon man will spend this month riding down the Left Coast from Canada to Mexico to call attention to suicide awareness.

Unbelievable. After a Reno bike rider gets left crossed by a driver, a local  TV station blames the victim for hitting the car.

A Wisconsin family drove across the US to deliver 50 refurbished bicycles to a Lutheran mission in Texas, to donate to underprivileged children in El Paso and across the border in Juarez, Mexico.

New York responds to a jump in traffic deaths by lowering the speed limit on nine major streets. Which compares to Los Angeles, where speed limits only seem to go in one direction. And it ain’t down.

New York won’t be upgrading the bike network in the Bronx, despite four bicycling deaths in just three months; instead, the city will respond with heavier police enforcement, even though that didn’t help when they tried it earlier this summer.

New York Magazine offers advice on everything you need to start mountain biking, from the bike up.

A Christian radio host claims a bike rider harassed him as he was leaving the White House last week, while denying he tried to punch the other man, despite video appearing to show exactly that.

A North Carolina company is literally reinventing the wheel, creating a new bike wheel with carbon spokes half the weight of metal spokes.

A kindhearted Georgia cop bought a new bike for a Walmart employee, after a bike theif forced him to walk to work.

Kindhearted Florida sheriff’s deputies got a new bike for a 13-year old boy after his was destroyed by a hit-and-run driver.

 

International

Road.cc offers advice on crosstown bike commutes.

Another reminder to slow down and ride carefully on bike paths — and always carry ID — after an unidentified Windsor, Ontario man suffered life threatening injuries in a collision with another bike rider.

Scotland will invest $100 million a year for the next five years to improve conditions for bicycling and walking, along with reallocating more road space from cars to bikes.

A new study shows that closing central Madrid boosted retail spending nearly 10%. Thanks to W. Corylus for the link.

Sad news from Australia, where 26-year old BMX legend Charlie Gumley apparently drowned while on a kayaking trip.

 

Competitive Cycling

In today’s spoiler-free Tour de France update, that guy with the unpronounceable name won the race’s first mountaintop finish

Sunweb cyclist Tiesj Benoot escaped without any major injuries after crashing over a guard rail in Tuesday’s fourth stage of the Tour. But his bike wasn’t so lucky.

Bicycling looks ahead to today’s stage five.

The BBC talks with South LA’s Williams brothers about their efforts to diversify cycling and create bike racing superstars.

This is what is looks like when photographers don’t get the hell out of the way.

 

Finally…

This is what you get when bikemakers consider getting into the e-car business. Seriously, don’t touch the horses when you zoom by on your ebike.

And that feeling when you’ve got a big truck tire to move, and your cargo bike must be in the shop.

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

Morning Links: Warning tourists about bad LA bike lanes, slow roll to Major Taylor’s bike, and celebrate Eagle Rock bike lanes

Seriously.

How sad is it that the Fodor’s Travel site feels the need to warn tourist against LA’s slow buses, distracted drivers and virtually nonexistent bike lanes?

While we’re on the subject of size, let’s talk about how to get around. You have a lot of options, so choose wisely. You can rent a car, ride a bus, take the metro, hail a taxi, use a ride-sharing app, or scoot (ugh). Lesson 1. Never ride the bus. It takes too long to get anywhere. Lesson 2. The metro doesn’t go everywhere, so pick your routes carefully. Lesson 3. Ride-sharing apps are infinitely cheaper than taxis (download Uber and/or Lyft). Lesson 4. If you must, scoot. The newest transport kids on the block are Lime and Byrd, electric scooters that make it easy to get around individual neighborhoods. Just be careful because bike lanes are scarce and L.A. drivers don’t look (read: they’re on their phones).

Photo by Sergij from Pexels.

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Sounds like fun.

You’re invited to take a slow roll from Leimert Park to Pasadena on Novenber 16th to see the actual bike ridden by turn of the century African-American cycling legend Major Taylor, recently purchased by the owner of Velo Pasadena for his own bicycling museum.

That’s the turn of the previous century, not the last one.

As in the 1890s.

Which makes Taylor just the second black world champion in any sport. Even if he was riding on wooden rims.

Thanks to David Huntsman for the heads-up.

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Or maybe you’d rather come out this Saturday to celebrate Eagle Rock’s bike lanes, and plan for more Complete Streets to come.

Thanks to Felicia G for the tip.

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Who needs a mountain to mountain bike?

Unless you speak German, feel free to skip the first 1:30 or so.

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

A road raging British driver was fined the equivalent of $5,800 for grabbing a teenage bike rider by the collar and twice spitting in his face, after the boy flipped him off when the driver honked at him.

But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels who are the problem.

Sacramento police are looking for the bike-riding jerk who slapped a woman on the ass, then came back several minutes later and did it again.

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Local

Bike Talk talks Metro Culture, and the death of a four-year old girl crossing the street with her mother in Koreatown last week.

Congratulations to UCLA on being named a gold-level Bicycle Friendly University, the first school in LA County to achieve that status.

Actor Christian Bale is one of us, as he rides his cruiser bike to Venice with his five-year old son in tow.

Long Beach is mourning the death of artist and graphic designer Katie Phillips, who was also one of the founders of the city’s Kidical Mass; described as a “beautiful soul,” she passed away over the weekend.

 

State

You can now pre-order the recently adopted California Bicycle Special License Plate for your car or truck; the state is required to get 7,500 pre-orders before it can go into production. Or you could skip the license, sell your car and get a new bike or ebike instead. Just saying.

Tickets for distracted driving have dropped in San Diego. Which is less likely to be the result of drivers putting their phone away than police giving up in the face of overwhelming numbers.

Watsonville bike riders are getting shiny new green bike lanes today.

A reminder that Los Angeles police still don’t have a bait bike program despite rampant bike thefts, as police in Danville bust a man who cut the lock and tried to ride off on their GPS-equipped bike.

 

National

Dockless mopeds are soon headed to a street near you.

Your next ebike could be a Harley Rude Boy.

NPR examines the struggle by the National Parks Service to develop policies on whether or not to allow ebikes in each individual park, and how.

Oregon state police have released the full 38-minute body cam video of the arrest of a young black woman for the crime of riding salmon on the campus of Oregon State University, which has been criticized for excessive force.

Denver’s mayor agrees to study lowering default speed limits to 20 mph, but cuts funding for the study nearly in half.

Heartbreaking story from Texas, where a man sacrificed his own life to save his fiancé, pushing her off her bike as they were riding together just before he was struck by a motorist.

Queens bicyclists protest the 500 days since they were promised a protected bike lane along the city’s “Boulevard of Death,” which hasn’t even been started yet.

The author of a history of bicycling in NYC says things are better than they used to be, but bikes will probably always be “somewhat marginalized.”

A Streetsblog op-ed says New York public meetings are getting meaner and less truthful in the Trump era. A phenomenon we’ve unfortunately seen here in SoCal, too.

This is why people keep dying on the streets, as authorities manage to keep yet another dangerous driver on the road until it’s too late. A Pennsylvania man with a history of blackouts and seizures behind the wheel faces a vehicular homicide charge for blowing a stop sign and plowing into a man on a bike; he’s had at least three other seizure related crashes.

Bicycling deaths are up nearly 30% over last year in South Carolina.

Atlanta installed a temporary pop-up bike lane connecting two other bike lanes for the next week to give everyone a chance to see how it works before they complain.

The admittedly drunk driver who plowed through a group of bike riders during a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade pled guilty to 14 counts, but will still go trial next week on two remaining counts of vehicular homicide; how much time be spends behind bars will be determined by whether a judge rules his BAC was above .20 at the time of the crash.

There’s a special place in hell for the Florida couple that held a 12-year old boy at knife point and took his bicycle, locking it inside their home.

 

International

Forget carbon. Your next ebike could be made from injection-molded thermoplastic.

A London man is on trial for killing a pedestrian while he was riding an ebike, which was allegedly traveling faster than the law allows.

An English security cam video shows just how fast a bike thief can make off with an unlocked bike. Hint: How long does it take to hop on one and pedal away?

A British town is offering an amnesty to get people to return stolen bikeshare bikes.

The UK will reconsider the rules governing diplomatic immunity, after admitting government officials knew the wife of an American diplomat responsible for the hit-and-run death of a young motorcycle rider was going to flee the country to avoid prosecution.

An Indian regional leader multi-modaled his way to the voting booth, traveling by train and pedicab, and finishing the journey by bicycle.

 

Finally…

Undying for a good time. What good is a new bike path if it’s under water most of the year?

And why run for president when you can go by bike?

Morning Links: $4.5 million settlement in broken street death, new laws aren’t helping OC, and windshield bias in CD7

LA’s poorly maintained streets and lack of safe bicycling infrastructure will cost taxpayers $4.5 million dollars.

And cost a bike rider his life.

The city council agreed to a settlement in the 2014 case of Edgardo Gabat, who struck a two-inch ridge of concrete on Colorado Blvd in Eagle Rock, and was thrown over his handlebars.

Sadly, the city knew about the problem after other riders had been injured there, but failed to fix it. Yet continued to list Colorado as a bicycle-friendly street, despite a lack of any bicycling infrastructure or warning signs.

As the LA Times points out, this settlement comes as Los Angeles debates whether to invest Measure M local return funds in fixing the streets or supporting Vision Zero projects.

Clearly, both are necessary. Because sometimes, it’s the same thing.

And as large as this settlement is, I have a feeling Gabat’s family would gladly give it all back just to have him with them again.

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It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from David Whiting of the Orange County Register, who says new laws and thousands of dollars spent improving safety haven’t cut the county’s bicycling death toll, averaging one rider a month killed in traffic collisions.

Yes, he stresses the need for bike riders to be polite and obey the law. And he’s not wrong about that, although no one ever seems to suggest that every driver has to obey all the laws and be ambassadors for motoring.

But he does point the finger where it belongs, at distracted drivers and dangerously close passes that violate the state’s three-foot law. And notes that fines for littering exceed the penalty for nearly killing another human being with just inches to spare.

The kicker to the story, which ends with a call for Wednesday’s Ride of Silence, is that his own wife returned home from a ride as he was writing it, and reported that a man in a truck yelled an obscenity at her.

Which really shouldn’t surprise anyone, unfortunately.

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Streetsblog considers the new protected bike lanes on Foothill Blvd in Sunland-Tujunga, which were installed as a Vision Zero measure in response to the death of bike rider Jeff Knopp. And how they entered the debate between CD7 council candidates Karo Torossian and Monica Rodriguez, as the formerly bike-friendly Torossian offered a windshield-perspective comment about bike lanes being “rammed down our throats.”

Meanwhile, the Eastsider repeats questions for the candidates for CD1, and once again, gets crickets from incumbent Gil Cedillo.

For all the problems that have surfaced recently with Joe Bray-Ali, it’s hard to imagine he could be any less responsive or more out-of-touch with the district than Cedillo has been.

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This is why you don’t retaliate against drivers, no matter what they do or how pissed off you are.

A Santa Clarita man was sentenced to 188 days behind bars for throwing a bottle at a car after the driver apparently cut him off as he rode his bike on the sidewalk.

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CNN visits the Madonna del Ghisallo chapel above Lake Como in Italy and its shrine to cycling and the Giro d’Italia.

A major crash took down 50 riders in the Giro, sending a number of riders out of the race and into the hospital. Meanwhile, Vincenzo Nibali’s homecoming was ruined when one of his teammates got the cycling equivalent of a red card for shoving another rider off the road.

The Modesto Bee previews the Amgen Tour of California, which starts this weekend, and says keep an eye on Peter Sagan. French rider Julian Alaphilippe won’t be defending his title, or competing in the Tour de France, for that matter, after knee surgery knocks him out for at least four weeks.

Southern California’s Coryn Rivera returns to compete in the four-stage women’s Tour of California after becoming the first American the Tour of Flanders; full rosters were released for the women’s teams.

The course for this summer’s Manhattan Beach Grand Prix will go backwards.

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Local

Metro invites you to attend the grand opening of the long-awaited Hollywood Bike Hub on Friday the 19th at 9 am.

CiclaValley looks at last weekend’s NBA Reunion and BMX Bike Show, which oddly had nothing to do with basketball.

The LACBC will be hosting a pair of bike safety classes in Inglewood this afternoon and this evening.

The Bikerowave bike co-op invites you to bring your bike in on Saturday to get ready for Bike to Work Day, and score some swag from Metro.

Santa Monica gets serious about reducing traffic fatalities, including hiring a Vision Zero Czar, increasing funding, improving infrastructure, updating the bike action plan, and addressing the city’s speeding problem. Maybe LA could take a few hints from them.

The year’s first Redondo Beach TEDx talk addresses the city’s transportation issues, like how to reduce driving and where more bike lanes are needed; sadly, the discussion came just two days before a 13-year old girl was killed riding her bike along PCH.

Speaking of the young victim in that case, the Easy Reader News offers the most complete account yet of what happened that tragic night, and the heartbreaking impact Ciara Smith’s death has had on the community. If the story doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, you’re a stronger person than I am.

Long Beach approved plans for a new 2.5 mile bicycle boulevard in the southeast part of the city. Thus demonstrating to its much larger neighbor that it is in fact possible to build the things that are included in a city’s bike plan.

 

State

Good question. The Human Streets website asks if it’s possible to get the data needed to pass the Idaho Stop Law in California without actually trying it first.

An injured mountain biker was airlifted after falling off his bike at the top of Coyote Run Trail in Wood Canyons Wilderness Park near Laguna Nigel.

Laguna Beach is looking for more input to create a more inviting entrance to the city, including a multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists.

Cal State Fullerton police are looking for a bike-riding man who threatened to kill a woman who rejected his sexual comments.

Newport Beach boldly backs out of plans to improve safety on Bayside Drive, canceling plans for a roundabout, as well as an alternate plan for a road diet. Because obviously, you don’t want to do anything to save lives if it might possibly inconvenience someone.

Sixteen bike repair stations will be installed at fire stations throughout Ventura County over the next year; a 10-mile family friendly ride will be held on Monday to celebrate the first one.

Bakersfield police are still investigating a member of a prominent local farming family in the January hit-and-run death of a woman riding her bike; police found an empty vodka bottle in the SUV of the driver, who has at least one previous DUI.

A Bay Area TV station offers advise on what you need to start cycling, albeit from a strict roadie perspective.

 

National

A new study shows increasing bicycling infrastructure can reduce fatalities and severe injuries as much as 75%. It includes Los Angeles as an example, even though LA has drastically cut back on building bikeways, and largely forgotten its 2010 bike plan.

People for Bikes says living plants make great diverters and traffic calming measures while doubling as on-street storm drainage.

Oregon considers a new 4% – 5% excise tax on the sale of new bicycles to fund transportation projects; while bike advocates may not like the idea, they’re not going to the mattresses.

Chicago is about to get its first contraflow bike lane, on a road where people frequently ride salmon to avoid busier streets.

As we mentioned awhile back, Pittsburgh-based ultracycling legend Danny Chew is back on track towards his goal of riding one million miles in his lifetime, now using a handcycle after a crash that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

Hundreds of police officers are riding from New Jersey to DC for the annual Police Unity Tour to honor officers killed in the line of duty.

The homeless man who stabbed a Connecticut man to death as he neared the end of a ride to Miami to propose to his girlfriend won’t stand trial after being declared incompetent by the judge.

 

International

A writer for Cycling Tips says there’s no such thing as “just” a concussion, and every brain injury has to be taken seriously. I concur, from experience.

London’s Telegraph shares ten cycling routes you should tackle on your next trip to the UK.

After former three-time Tour de France champ Chris Froome was intentionally hit by a car while training in France, the BBC asks how safe the roads in the UK really are for people on bikes.

The Guardian says police have to crack down on vicious drivers, because bike riders don’t deserve to be killed by bike-hating motorists for jumping lights or hopping curbs.

Caught on video: Yesterday we mentioned the road raging London mother-to-be who will be having her baby behind bars after running a bike rider off the road and into a tree; today, horrifying security cam video of the crash was released. Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

A Dutch art student left her bike in an English town when she returned home, with a note encouraging people to use it and return it for others to use.

The Paris Velib bikeshare goes electric with a new operator, ebikes and a new parking scheme that doubles dock capacity.

 

Finally…

The best way to lose a race — and get laughed at — is to celebrate your victory a lap early. Unless it’s nearly getting run over by the peloton posing for your Instagram pics.

And if you’re going to flee the scene after a drunken crash, make sure the cyclist you hit wasn’t a bike cop.

They take that shit seriously.

 

Update: Experienced cyclist dies in Eagle Rock solo fall; 9th LA bicycling fatality this year

Sometimes, all it takes is a crack in the street to take a rider down.

That appears to be what happened last week in Eagle Rock, as a bike rider died in a solo fall on Colorado Blvd.

Details are still very sketchy. However, reports are that Edgardo Gabat, reported to be 55 or 56 years old, was riding on Colorado Blvd east of Figueroa last Thursday when his wheel got caught in a crack or seam in the pavement and he fell hard. He was taken to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, where he died some time later.

No other details are available at this time. And no word on whether he was wearing a helmet; this appears to be the sort of slow speed fall that bike helmets are designed for, as opposed to the often high speed impacts of traffic collisions.

A ghost bike ceremony will be held at the scene at 9 pm this evening.

This is the 63rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 24th in LA County. It’s also the 9th bike death in the City of Los Angeles, which compares to 11 in the city this time last year.

Update: According to Carlos Morales of the Eastside Bike Club and Stan’s Bike Shop in Monrovia, Gabat was a very experienced cyclist who always wore a helmet. He was also a popular member of Adobo Velo, Southern California’s largest Filipino-American cycling club. 

He also notes that the area around this intersection is notorious for poor pavement conditions, resulting in several traffic incidents involving cyclists. In fact, Morales is aware of at least one lawsuit that has been filed against the city by a bike rider who injured there. 

Update 2: In a comment below, Joseph Pagulo says that he was riding with Gabat, and that his fall came in the middle of a descent, so it did not occur at a slow speed.  

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Edgardo Gabat and all his loved ones.

An open letter to cyclists from the Rock Store photographer, and a warning about a dangerous NELA bike lane

Cyclists tackle The Snake on Muholland; photo by Paul Herold

Cyclists tackle The Snake on Muholland; photo by Paul Herold

Sometimes, my posts get written for me.

Not that I’m complaining.

This is one of those occasions, with an open letter to cyclists from a well-known motor sports photographer. A couple of videos. A request for witnesses from an LA bike lawyer.

And a friend who played an unwanted game of bumper bike near Westside Pavilion on Pico Blvd.

……….

First up is that open letter to cyclists who ride the famed Snake on Mulholland, aka the Rock Store ride, from Paul Herold, known around the world for his photos of the cyclists, motorcyclists and high-end sports car drivers who test their skills there.

I can’t say I agree with everything he’s written. On the other hand, I don’t ride there; some cyclists who do tell me his advice is spot on.

Either way, it’s worth a read.

Dear Velonauts,

Rumour has it that Amgen’s 2014 Tour of California will be returning to The Snake (the Rock Store climb) this May with the same circuit format we all enjoyed so much back in 2010. While I can find no confirmation on the TOC web site, I see ample support for the rumour in the faces of scores of new visitors I am seeing every weekend. Enthusiasm is not the only thing I am seeing in those new faces though….fear, horror, dread, anger frustration and rage are there too, mixed in with the usual fatigue and desperation. I can’t help much with fatigue. But perhaps I can help ease some of the fear, dread, loathing and rage.

And there's the problem; photo by Paul Herold

And there’s the problem; photo by Paul Herold

After sitting on The Snake camera in hand for seven years of weekends and holidays, I have some ideas to help make your ascent or descent of the Rock Store more enjoyable and safer. First, some perspective.

The Snake is one of the greatest 2.3 mile stretches of tantalizingly twisty tarmac on the West Coast. Located on Mulholland Highway north west Los Angeles County, the road is accessible to millions of car enthusiasts, motorcycle riders and cyclists. And it ain’t no secret. Crash videos from The Snake on YouTube are viewed by tens of millions viewers world wide. Visitors from South America, Europe and Asia are on the hill every weekend to witness the spectacle in person. Unsurprisingly, the top sweeper known as Edward’s Corner, is probably as famous and recognizable as any street curve in the world.

Local car clubs regularly include The Snake on their weekend cruises. National car clubs run The Snake for their national events. Individuals in everything from tricked out Civics to convertible Bugatti Veyrons run The Snake on a normal weekend. And the vehicles Jay Leno brings are sweet enough to ruin your diet.

Photo by Paul Herold

Rider down; photo by Paul Herold

Motorcyclists from all over the USA ride The Snake too. For some, it is a jumping off point for hundreds of miles of canyon and coastal riding. For many, many others, it is an end destination.  I have seen individual riders pass me over 50 times in the course of a day, up and down, again and again loving every minute. The mix of motorcycles is split between crotch rockets, sport tourers and cruisers.

So…how do you stay safe on your bicycle, amidst the mechanized din? Here are my suggestions.

  • Please ride single file. Don’t force overtaking traffic into oncoming lanes. If you are riding with two friends or twenty please respect the rights of the traffic behind you.
  • Lose the ear buds. It is unlawful and dangerous. Not every motorcycle or car has loud pipes.
  • Ride early….or late. The mechanized madness peaks between 10am and 3pm.
  • Hug the white line. I read many years ago that if you can’t keep your road bike on the line, you shouldn’t be on the street. The white line is your friend. Hug it robustly.
  • Generally, the higher the RPM of the vehicle approaching you, the less skilled the operator. Stay alert.
  • Don’t stop and sightsee in turns. Step over the guardrails if you must, unless a wheelchair sounds like fun.
  • Another rider down; photo by Paul Herold

    Another rider down; photo by Paul Herold

    Imagine an out of control car or bike heading your way from the other side of every blind apex…and pick your line accordingly. If a driver or biker is going to lose control, it will usually be at the exit of a turn.

  • While climbing, courteous riders vacate the apex post haste. There is only one ‘best line through’ any turn. If you don’t need that line, don’t hog it
  • If you didn’t climb it, don’t descend with abandon, because you don’t know what road hazards may await…oil, wet patches, gravel….
  • Ride with a GoPro or dash cam. If you complain to me about a car or motorcycle, I can’t educate/mediate/excoriate unless I know who it was.
  • Prepare your body. Out of shape climbers rock to and fro enough to move themselves around within their lane.
  • Prepare your mind. This is not an abandoned country road. You are going to get ‘buzzed’. You are going to hear a horn or two. And you will certainly hear some throaty exhausts.
  • Prepare your bicycle. The Snake is not where you want to discover a slow leak or frayed cable.
  • I keep water, velo tools, tubes (thank you Ashton Johnson of Franco) and air in my truck at all times. So if you are in need, find me on the hill.
  • This is what you may see coming from behind; photo by Paul Herold

    This is what you may see coming from behind; photo by Paul Herold

    STAY OFF THE YELLOW PAINT! It is slick as bal… er, uh… ice. If you try and corner on the yellow lines, you will go down.

  • Be especially vigilant on the first Sunday of each month. A well attended Valley automobile event gets a lot of motors running, usually between 9am and noon.
  • Be prepared for anything. A group from Helen’s on a break neck descent came around a fast curve only to confront an armada of three radio controlled cars screaming towards them in the wrong lane. Semis, garbage trucks and longboarders are also sighted frequently.
  • Road shoulders at the exit of any turn are not the place for repairs. Cross the road or get well off to the side.
  • The better the weather, the more mechanized company you will have.
  • RIDE SINGLE FILE!

In these past few years, I have taken over I million photos on The Snake. In that time, I am aware of only three incidents in which a cyclist was hospitalized, and know of only five incidents involving motor vehicles vs. cyclists. The catalog of close calls and WTF’s could fill a reservoir, but the safety record still isn’t bad.  I’d guess that despite the frenetic nature of a sunny Sunday prime time on The Snake, you are still safer here than you would be on PCH…or in Kabul. ;).

Major speed differential creates danger among the various road users; photo by Paul Herold

Major speed differential creates danger among the various road users; photo by Paul Herold

And there is no real enmity among the motorcyclist towards the cyclists. The moto riders’ #1 complaint is when cyclist ride two or more wide. Conversely, the number one complaint I hear from cyclists is that they were buzzed by a motorcycle. Seems to me that if fewer cyclist rode in social formation, there would be fewer incidents of ‘buzzing’.

My experiences, observations and suggestions are limited specifically to weekend conditions on The Snake, but may have general applicability to narrow canyons throughout the Santa Monica Mountains. As May approaches, there will be more and more riders heading for the Rock Store climb, as our heroes will be doing in the 2014 Amgen Tour of California. The purpose of this letter has been to give you some perspective about The Snake and offer some suggestions that will keep you and everyone else safe.

Come. Ride. Enjoy. Buy pictures! And remember….You Will Never Ride Alone.

Ride safe,

Paul Herold
RockStorePhotos.com
 

………

Next up, Los Angeles Bicycle Attorney Josh Cohen offers a warning about a dangerous stretch of bike lane on westbound Colorado Blvd in Eagle Rock. And he’s looking for witnesses familiar with that hazard for a case he’s handling representing an injured bike rider.

A serious injury has been reported due to a dangerous condition in the center of the westbound bicycle lane on Colorado Boulevard, between Vincent Avenue and Mount Royal Drive, in Eagle Rock. The condition is a deviation in the center of the lane that runs for several yards parallel to and directly between the lines that delineate the bicycle lane. It consists of an undulating ledge that has formed where the asphalt of the roadway dips into a shallow trench where it meets the concrete that forms the gutter and sidewalk. Cracks also exist between traffic side lane line of the bicycle path and the number two vehicular lane (and bus lane). There is also a bus stop just west of and adjacent to the hazard, which makes navigating this section of roadway even more treacherous. Cyclists riding along this section of lane should use extreme caution and be especially mindful, as following the arrow at Vincent Drive that directly them into the bicycle lane on Colorado forces them into having to choose between avoiding a series of cracks on the left side, the ledge on the right, and possibly a bus that may be merging across their path.

Anyone with first-hand information or experience with this situation is urged to call him at 323/937-7105 or email josh@paulfcohenlaw.com.

……….

Okay, so it’s not LA. Or even Southern California.

Or the US, for that matter.

But I was forwarded this short video from Vancouver Cycle Chic about a veteran Vancouver politician, the man who loves him and their mutual love for bicycling. And liked it enough to share with you.

……….

I’ve long considered Streetsblog’s Damien Newton a friend, sometimes collaborator, occasional employer and always, editor of the best transportation website in the city.

On Wednesday, we can add dooring victim to that list.

Damien was riding his bike east on Pico Blvd between Overland and Beverly Glen Blvds — a busy stretch of roadway which inexplicably used to be considered a Class 3 bike route and isn’t anymore, for good reason — when he was dangerously buzzed by passing driver who nearly didn’t.

Riding my bicycle on Pico Blvd. going east between Overland and the really hilly section a driver buzzed so close to me (note: the lane to his left was empty) that I veered right…right into an opening car door that was opened inches in front of me. As I struggled to maintain balance, another car buzzed me and this time I toppled over onto my right side into an empty parking space directly in front of the Beverly Hills Bike Shop.

I probably terrified the woman in the car. To be fair, I doubt she was at fault. I came at her at a funky angle after reacting to the “Jerry Browning.” Frustrated, scared and filling up with adrenaline I took my helmet off and slammed it into the ground as Gunpowder clattered itself on the asphalt and I walked to the sidewalk. A 6’2 guy acting erratically after a high-stress incident probably seemed like something from another planet to this elderly woman who was gripping her steering wheel and staring at me.

Thank goodness he was able to limp away.

It could have been so much worse.

……….

Broadway make-over; photo by Patrick Pascal

Broadway make-over; photo by Patrick Pascal

Downtown’s Broadway has long lost the luster that made it the heart of pre-war LA. Now it looks like it could once again become the heart of a revitalized Downtown, as the city gives it a pedestrian, if not bike, friendly makeover.

Frequent bike commuter Patrick Pascal shares a photo showing the work has already begun.

……….

One of yesterday’s links was to the story of a Bermuda Dunes bike rider who was seriously injured in a hit-and-run. Now more information has come out.

And as too often happens, the truth is worse than anything most of us may have imagined.

According to MyDesert.com, 20-year old Liliana Avalos was talking on her cell phone as she drove down Country Club Drive at a high rate of speed, weaving through traffic and passing vehicles in the left turn lanes and right shoulder. She was attempting to pass yet another car on the right when she entered the shoulder and struck the 28-year old victim from behind before speeding off.

And in a sign of just how seriously the courts don’t take traffic crime, she was released within hours on a mere $25,000 bond.

No, really.

And we wonder why so many people don’t take traffic laws seriously.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

……….

Finally, music videos featuring the LA bike scene are becoming a very crowded sub-genre these days.

The latest is from Nashville-based indie-rock band And the Giraffe, who rigged a camera onto the front of a bike with some strapping tape, and rode around greater LA from PCH to the high desert, capturing a number of recognizable vistas.

The whole thing cost them about $200 to make; I’ve seen far worse for a comma and two or three zeros more. They talked about it with KPCC.

Not a bad song, either.

Maybe it’s time for a Beverly Hills boycott; confused Highland Park grocer opposes bike lanes

Let’s catch up on the recent news.

………

Beverly Hills declares war on L.A. transit users by actively opposing Measure J, which would speed up key transit projects throughout the county.

In other words, in order to keep it from going under Beverly Hills High, they’re more than willing to prevent the Subway to the Sea — and many other major projects that would serve transit users far from their over-privileged, Tiffany-crusted burg — from being built in our lifetimes.

Personally, I go out of my way to avoid spending money in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills, thanks to their almost complete lack of bicycling infrastructure.

Although to be fair, they do have a handful of bike racks to accommodate the riders they don’t accommodate in any other way.

But I’ve never called for a boycott of the city.

Maybe it’s time to change that.

………

Talk about tone deaf.

An Highland Park grocer opposes the bike lanes on York Blvd in front of his store — as well as bike racks — in the name of safety. Despite the fact that he ran over a little boy riding on the sidewalk in front of his store just six months ago.

And despite the fact that bike lanes move cyclists out of the way of that high-speed traffic he worries about — and helps keep more timid riders off the sidewalk.

Just a slight disconnect there.

And never mind that it’s legal to ride a bike on the sidewalk in Los Angeles — and yes, that is part of L.A. — despite what he says the boy’s mother was told by police.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

Update: Evidently, the grocery owner isn’t the only one who’s confused; I originally misplaced the market as being in Eagle Rock, rather than Highland Park. And misspelled Erik Griswold’s name as Eric.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, maxima mea culpa. Thanks to bikingly for the corrections.

………

SoCal bike scribe Patrick Brady of the Red Kite Prayer website goes down hard on Tuna Canyon Wednesday, requiring nine hours in the ER and nearly 50 stitches from a skilled plastic surgeon. Cycling in the Southbay says it could have been a lot worse — and could have happened to any of us.

Let’s hope he heals soon.

And if you’ve never read Brady’s writing, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. No one writes more beautifully about the sport we love.

………

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department launches its own probe into the death of Alfonso Cerda, killed in a collision with a Sheriff’s patrol car early Monday morning; despite initial reports, Cerda was unarmed — and was a U.S. citizen. There’s still time to participate online in Malibu’s PCH safety study. A section of the L.A. River bike path near Griffith Park will be closed for approximately four months to make room for — what else? — more cars. The North Mason Avenue bike lane could be closed for six months to allow parking at a newly built school; God forbid they should encourage students to walk, bike or bus to class. The monthly Spoke(n) Art Ride rolls this Saturday. Better Bike looks at the newly forming Bicycle Crash Support Group. Claremont City Council has the courage to reject speed limit increases mandated by a highly flawed law. The L.A. County Bicycle Festival takes place at the Fairgrounds in Pomona this Saturday and Sunday, including the annual Spooky Cross cyclocross race and a Velo Swap Meet and Market to raise funds for the Pomona Valley Bike Coalition.

An Orange County perspective on the melting post that is CicLAvia. The Orange County Bicycle Coalition looks at traffic collision data for Newport Beach. A Newport Beach community group talks bike safety. Solana Beach approves traffic calming and bike lanes on a busy street. Why doesn’t anyone ever suggest calling out aggressive drivers? Ventura County bike ride will raise funds for a cyclist seriously injured by alleged DUI driver. Berkeley gets its first CicLAvia-style Sunday Streets event this weekend; thanks to Meghan Lynch for the tip. A Sonoma driver drops dead in his driveway one day after running down two cyclists, critically injuring one.

New study explains how bike helmets work to reduce brain injuries. Bicycling explores what it’s like to dope; as Cyclelicious points out, it’s not just the pros who dope, just different drugs. Seattle cyclists get a permanent bike counter on a popular bridge; it’s long past time L.A. had a few. Clearly, killer hit-and-run drivers aren’t just an L.A. problem; thanks to Rick Risemberg for the link. If a 90-year old Wisconsin driver who ran down a cyclist on a bike path is incompetent to stand trial, why was he considered capable of driving? New York mandates safety classes for delivery cyclists. Studies from Portland and New York show the economic benefits of bicycling; in the East Village, at least, they get that bikes mean business. A Brit cyclist is hit by a school bus just 65 miles from the finish of a San Diego to New York ride.

Lady Gaga plans a charity bike ride for her Born This Way Foundation; for once, spandex bike clothes may not seem garish in comparison. Toronto considers whether an e-bike should be treated like a bicycle. Jakarta cyclists love the city’s newly constructed longest bikeway, though some question the quality. Where will the next generation of affordable bikes come from, now that Chinese manufacturing costs are going up? A drunk Brazilian driver deliberately runs down a group of cyclists.

Finally, the Dallas Department of DIY has been hard at work installing bikeways — even if the local press doesn’t know the difference between a bike lane and a sharrow. And a Gilbert AZ cyclist pleads guilty to the illegal citizen’s arrest of a jogger running in a bike lane.

Tempting, I know.

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