Tag Archive for fallen cyclists

Morning Links: Permanent memorial for young Valley bicyclist, Aussie distracted driving cams, and more NY anti-bike bias

One tragic note before we get started.

I’m told that a man from Altadena has been gravely injured in an apparent solo fall while riding with a friend in the Northern California backcountry.

The victim is currently being treated in a Bay Area hospital for severe neck, spine and brain injuries.

I’m withholding his name and other details for now out of respect for his family and their privacy.

But prayers or best wishes are definitely in order.

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He gets it.

Bike advocates rededicated the ghost bike for 15-year old Sebastian Montero, who was killed by a speeding driver while riding his bike in Woodland Hills on Easter Sunday last year.

The ceremony also saw the installation of the city’s first permanent marker honoring a fallen bicyclist, one of up to 20 per year the city will install with a reminder to drive safely.

Photo from Councilmember Bob Blumenfield’s Twitter account

Councilmember Bob Blumenfield struck the right tone, reminding the small audience about the big hole Montero’s death left in the lives of everyone around him.

And that a simple sign wasn’t going to fix anything.

“The signs themselves are wonderful,” said Blumenfield. “[But] they’re not going to solve our problems with people dying on the roads.”

It will take a renewed commitment to Vision Zero by the people elected to serve all of us — not just the people in the big, dangerous machines.

And a willingness on their part to stand up to NIMBYs and angry drivers that has been sorely lacking in the city in recent years.

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Great idea.

Inspired by the death of his friend James Rapley, the Australian bike rider killed on Temescal Canyon while on a layover at LAX six years ago, an Aussie entrepreneur has developed an automated camera system designed to capture drivers illegally using a handheld cellphone.

The automated cameras from Acusensus are designed to work like red light or speed cameras to provide photographic proof of the driver breaking the law, along with the license of the car.

Presumably, tickets would follow in the mail.

It would likely require a change in the law to use them in California, where red light cameras are allowed at local discretion, but speed cameras are currently prohibited.

However, it should withstand privacy concerns, since there is no legal expectation of privacy for anything that is readily visible in public.

Although the state’s overly entitled drivers would likely rise up to complain, just like too many do over any attempt to hold motorists accountable and keep them from breaking the law.

But there are few things the state could do virtually overnight that would have a greater impact on safety and do more to save lives.

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No bias here.

The bike-hating New York Post says bike riders are killing pedestrians, and accuses the city of not doing anything to stop it.

Then they go on to explain there were seven pedestrian deaths in the last nine years — something works out to less than one a year, along with another 250 injured each year.

While one death is one too many, the paper doesn’t bother to mention how many bike riders were injured or killed in crashes with pedestrians.

Never mind who was actually at fault in those crashes.

And as anyone who has ever had a pedestrian step out into bike lane without looking, or turn suddenly in front of your bike can tell you, it ain’t necessarily the person on two wheels.

Nor do they bother to put it all in perspective by citing the 100-plus pedestrians killed by motorists each year.

Which only works out to a margin of slightly 100 to one, anyway. Making it pretty damn clear who represents the real danger to people walking.

But who cares about facts if it sells newspapers.

Right?

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Speaking of which, a New York study shows zombie pedtextrians isn’t really a thing after all.

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Go for a Monday mountain bike ride with the great Peter Sagan.

But maybe drop a little dramamine first.

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Thanks to Sgt. Helper for forwarding video of a bike-riding nun who could probably drop most of us.

Well, me anyway.

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Local

Hats off to LAPD officer Andrew Gonzalez, who rode his bike 300 miles from LA to Stanislaus County to deliver a flag to the family of a fallen Newman police officer who was killed during a traffic stop last year.

Katherine Schwarzenegger and Chris Pratt are two of us, as they enjoy married life on a mountain bike ride in Los Angeles.

NoHo’s Chandler Bikeway is set to get $1.2 million in improvements. None of which is apparently aimed at improving safety for bike riders.

E-scooters are officially banned in the ‘Bu.

The Daily Breeze recounts the story of deadly Vista Del Mar, including the failed 2017 attempt to install a road diet, which was ripped out when drivers insisted on their God-given right to go zoom zoom even if it keeps killing people.

 

State

A San Diego woman suffered severe head trauma when a driver leaving a parking lot smashed into her bike as she rode on the sidewalk. Yet another example of why riding a bicycle on the sidewalk isn’t as safe as most people think.

After a Murrietta boy was hit by a car while riding his bike, the kindhearted people at Target gave him a new one.

Sad news from Bakersfield, where a 56-year old bike rider died after allegedly making an abrupt left turn into the path of a pickup driver.

San Jose police bust ten suspects in a series of burglaries targeting bike shops, as well as construction sites and school districts in the Bay Area.

A San Jose columnist goes for the jugular, arguing that a bike rider killed in a head-on collision on popular Mount Diablo would be alive today if parks officials hadn’t ignored a judge’s 27-year old order to improve the roadway. Thanks to Robert Leone for the link.

Officials identified the victim in last week’s fatal hit-and-run in East San Jose as a 44-year old San Jose man. Thanks to Ralph Durham and Robert Leone for the heads-up.

Indicating a total misunderstanding of what speed limits are for, a Santa Rosa-area letter writer says drivers should be required to drive the speed limit, and bike riders should get the hell out of the way so they don’t slow down the more important people in cars. Just like drivers, bicyclists are required to pull over when safe to do so if there are five or more vehicles stuck behind them and unable to pass; the law does not apply if there are two or more lanes in each direction, or if the people can safely pass them.

Three new members were named to the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame in Davis; the trio will be inducted November 2nd.

A Eureka woman was busted for trying to pass a phony $100 bill at a bike shop to buy a bicycle for…wait for it…$5.46. Sound like maybe she was getting a fake bike for her fake money, anyway.

 

National

New rules for the national parks system would allow ebikes on any trails other bicycles are allowed on, providing new access to the wilderness for older or less able-bodied riders.

Buzzfeed says Amazon’s next day delivery is bringing chaos and carnage to America’s streets, while the company avoids responsibility for the harm they’re causing.

New street design guidelines from the American Society for Landscape Architecture show why inclusive cities start with safe streets.

Guarantee your kid wins playtime at the park with his or her very own Harley-Davidson e-balance bike.

Portland police finally busted the bike thief who stole a 69-year old man’s $11,000 bicycle in a strong-arm robbery in July; a friend of the victim had filmed the thief riding it shortly after the theft.

A hit-and-run bike rider rode over the hind leg of an eight-month old Labradoodle puppy on an Idaho greenbelt, snapping it in two, then simply rode off. Which makes him no less of a cowardly a-hole than any heartless hit-and-run driver. Schmuck.

Kansas City MO develops the usual factions in the fight over bike lanes, as advocates argue for improving safety and boosting local businesses, while opponents fear harm to businesses and want to keep their dangerous streets just the way they are.

A Texas man refuses to take no for an answer after doctors told him he’d never ride a bike again when he lost his leg in a horseback riding accident, completing a 168-mile ride on a prosthetic leg he designed and built himself.

An 18-year old girl rode 550 miles on a tandem bike with her father from Chicago to Toronto for her first day of college, while a Flint MI bike shop owner saved the day when they developed a crack in their tandem’s steering tube.

More proof hit-and-run isn’t just a California thing, as Chicago police are looking for the heartless coward who slammed into a mountain bike rider, and left him to die on the side of the road. Thanks to Art S for the tip.

After a legally blind Indiana man’s bike was stolen, a friend spotted it on someone else’s porch and stole it back.

Congratulations to Ohio officials for keeping a dangerous driver on the roads until he killed someone. The alleged drunk driver who killed a bicyclist on Saturday had been charged with driving while impaired seven years ago, but prosecutors pled it down to a single count of reckless driving with a small fine; the victim was chief counsel to a former Ohio governor. Which means his blood is on their hands.

A driveway vigilante is under arrest after a New York driver took the law into his own hands, deliberately slamming his SUV into the screwdriver-toting bike rider he suspected of breaking into his vehicle, and killing him.

New York’s former parks commissioner says bike and pedestrian traffic in Central Park has become so chaotic and dangerous due to its growing popularity and lack of pedestrian and cycling safety infrastructure that he won’t ride his bike there anymore.

An op-ed in the New York Daily News says sure, bikes are all fine and good, but the city’s Belmont neighborhood needs its parking. Unlike, say, every other neighborhood that says the same thing, until they find out they’re actually better off with more bikes and fewer cars.

Need a haircut? A bike-riding New York barber says he’ll go anywhere to cut hair, traveling from Machu Picchu to Tokyo.

Now that’s more like it. A Philadelphia man is suing a delivery company for repeatedly blocking a bike lane, as well as the city’s parking authority for failing to enforce it.

A Delaware man who is “hardly a bike-phobe” says they’ve already had several bike riders killed in the area, and its totally the fault of those careless, lawbreaking vacationers on bicycles.

An op-ed in the Washington Post says we can have an enormous impact on improving our cities by making it easier to ride a bike and harder to drive a car.

Life is cheap in Virginia, where a woman walks without a single day behind bars despite a conviction for reckless driving in the death of a man riding his bicycle.

A new Clemson University study confirms that daytime taillights can significantly improve your safety. Speaking strictly for myself, I’ve had far fewer close calls since I’ve started riding with multiple taillights and an ultrabright headlight during the day. As much as it really pisses me off to have to do it. 

 

International

London is changing building design rules for skyscrapers to reduce the wind tunnel effect for bicyclists.

A British writer calls for taming the automotive hegemony on our streets by banning all car advertising.

Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden is one of us, too, going for a casual ride with her two daughters.

A new study shows cargo bikes are more efficient than delivery vans in urban areas, so the UK government put its money on…flying taxis.

It’s a long, long way to Tipperary, and an Irish columnist just wishes you’d show a little respect and use your bike bell on the way there.

Yet another study confirms the safety in numbers effect, as a new Belgian study shows motorists will adjust how they drive in relation to the number of bicyclists on the street.

South African police ended a nearly two-year reign of terror when they arrested a Zimbabwean man for murdering a bike rider and a hiker in a national park, as well as eight other nonfatal stabbings and muggings.

A New Zealand charity refurbishes bicycles to give to refugees, and teaches the recipients how to ride them, giving them new hope in the process.

An Aussie op-ed says just painting bike lanes on a street and assuming bicyclists will be safe and motivated to use them is delusional, and does nothing to encourage more people to give bike riding a try.

The Philippines considers a bill that would require elected officials to use public transport. We need something like that here, like requiring officials — elected and otherwise — to walk, bike or use transit at least once a week.

 

Competitive Cycling

A “crazy week” ends at the Vuelta with yet another leader change.

Cyclist looks at the winners and losers in the Vuelta’s first week, while Cycling Weekly confines itself to five talking points from stage 9.

One of those losers was Tejay van Garderen, who was forced to drop out with a broken finger following a crash on Thursday.

Rouleur considers how tiny Slovenia rose to the top of the cycling world.

A Mexican cyclist got a two-year ban after getting busted for doping. But the doping era is completely and totally over, right?

Once again, a bike rider is a hero, as a bicyclist competing in a Russian bike race loses control and veers off the course, but grabs a little girl to protect her as he falls.

Finally…

Yes, a bike lane can save your life the next time you inhale a wasp while riding. If you’re going to take your loaded shotgun into Home Depot, at least get off your bike first.

And don’t toss trash out the window of your chrome-covered Lambo.

Especially if there’s a bicyclist around.

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One final note. 

This is exactly how I feel when I post most mornings. Now if I could only figure out how to include a decent bottle of booze as a downloadable attachment.

Morning Links: Justice for Deborah Gresham, bike settlements soar due to bad LA streets, and BAC meets tomorrow

Finally, there’s justice for a fallen bike rider.

It’s been 16 months since Walking Dead fan page author Deborah Gresham was hit by a driver while riding her bike in Stanton.

And left to die in the street, literally within site of her own home.

The driver, Ricardo Hernandez Sandoval, was arrested less than an hour later after horrified witnesses followed him to his home. He was booked on charges of felony hit and run, felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter.

Now I’ve been informed that he was sentenced on Friday to four years for vehicular manslaughter under the influence, and five years for the fatal hit-and-run, to be served consecutively.

In other words, nine years total, along with fines and restitution.

I’m also told the assistant DA had to wipe tears from his eyes when Gresham’s children gave their witness statements.

It won’t bring Deborah Gresham back. But for once, a fallen SoCal cyclist got justice from the courts.

If you haven’t yet, take a few minutes to read Peter Flax’s moving, must-read story about this tragedy. Photo from Ghost Bikes LA.

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Great story in the LA Times about the soaring cost of settlements involving bike riders who were injured due to the city’s failing streets.

According to the story, the City of Los Angeles settled with 17 bicyclists last year for a total of $19 million, over four times more than in any previous year.

That’s $19 million that could have gone to fixing the streets before anyone got hurt, rather than waiting until it was too late.

It was those settlements that inspired Councilmember Mitch Englander’s misguided proposal to ban the striping of bike lanes on any streets with less than an A pavement grade, and removing any existing ones from streets with a B or less.

Which would leave few, if any, bike lanes anywhere in Los Angeles.

And only serve to increase the city’s liability when bike riders continue to get injured on streets that used to have bikeways.

The story quotes me on that, as well as talking with BikinginLA sponsor and Calbike board member Josh Cohen.

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The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee will meet tomorrow night in Hollywood; the BAC is the only official voice for bike riders in the City of LA.

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The LACBC has unveiled a new video explaining who they are and what they do as part of their 20th Anniversary Celebration.

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Local

It shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s ridden a bike through there to learn that the intersection of Devonshire Street and Reseda Blvd is the most dangerous one in the state.

LA2050 is offering a total of $1 million in grants to five organizations for projects designed to make Los Angeles, “the best place to learn, create, play, connect and live.” Applications will start being accepted on March 1st.

A bike rider was hit by a car in Pacific Palisades last Wednesday; no word on how the victim is doing. The driver somehow claimed to be driving just 15 mph in a 45 mph zone at the time of the crash.

Tomorrow the UCLA Bicycle Academy intends to confront the members of the Regents Health Services Committee to demand that the statewide UC Health system lose its automotive bias and recognize the health benefits of bicycling.

LA celebrated the official opening of a one-block long Green Street in the Del Rey neighborhood, connecting Westlawn Ave with the Ballona Creek bike path.

 

State

Sad news from Hesperia, where a father drowned rescuing his nine-year old son from the California Aqueduct, after the boy slipped in as they rode their bicycles along the canal.

Caltrans is warning about construction delays on the the coastal bike path north of Ventura through the month of February, though the path will remain open.

A decision could be made this week on the proposed San Luis Obispo bike boulevard that has brought the anti-bikeway NIMBYs out of the woodwork.

For the first time, you won’t need a vintage bicycle to participate in the Eroica California in Paso Robles.

More sad news, this time from Oakland, where a man on a bike was killed in a collision with a big rig truck.

 

National

Slate says requiring bicyclists to wear sensors so self-driving cars don’t crash into them is cheating, and autonomous vehicles should be able to spot people riding bicycles on their own, without outside help.

Details have been released for this year’s Ride the Rockies bike tour through the Colorado high country; it will cover 418 miles and nearly 26,000 feet of vertical climbing in six days. And it will visit the tiny lakefront town where my mother worked as a waitress when she was just 18.

Seriously? The death of a Kansas cyclist competing in the state time trial in 2015 was the catalyst for a proposed state law prohibiting negligent driving. Except the penalty would be a whopping $45, which isn’t likely to change anyone’s driving habits.

Michigan is doubling the width of a four-foot bike lane and adding other safety improvements, after two women were killed there two years ago. Maybe they could try making improvements like that before someone gets killed. Which goes for Los Angeles, and everywhere else, as well.

New York news media goes berserk after mobs of “crazed, angry cyclists” swarm drivers, smashing a car window and punching a driver. Although it turns out it was really just 16 teenagers on bicycles, and the cop who was injured was hit by a car making a U-turn to go after them.

 

International

Canadian cross-country ski clubs are slowly opening their trails to fat bikes.

Ofo dockless bikeshare comes to London, as the Guardian says it will be to cycling what Uber is to taxis.

LA bike riders aren’t the only ones who have to deal with crappy pavement.

The economic impact of bicycling adds the equivalent of nearly $1 billion to the Scottish economy.

 

Competitive Cycling

The incomparable Katie Compton had to settle for second place in the women’s world cyclocross championships, finishing behind Belgian Sanne Cant.

Belgium’s Wout van Aert won the men’s world cyclocross title for the third consecutive year.

 

Finally…

Buy a bike, bore your dinner companions. UFC champ Connor McGregor is one of us.

And yes, you just got dropped by a priest on a folding bike.

No doubt staged, but still fun.

Guest Post: CiclaValley invites you to remember fallen riders at next week’s SF Valley Ride of Silence

Ghost bike for Cairo Castaneda in Studio City

Ghost bike for Cairo Castaneda in Studio City

In the past few years, CiclaValley has become one of the leading voices for bike advocacy in the LA area, with a focus on the San Fernando Valley. Today he offers a guest post on next week’s Ride of Silence to remember fallen bike riders.

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Cycling is a community.

It doesn’t matter how fast you ride, what bike you have or how often you do it. You have a connection knowing that your fellow cyclists share the same joys and anxieties as you.

When news breaks that cyclist has lost their life, you can’t help but think about what that person left behind. Family. Friends. Even children. It is a perilous world, but one where we can use these tragedies to teach us how to live.

Last year, I attended my first Ride of Silence in Pasadena. I had no idea what to expect or how many people would be there, I just thought it was important to go to show my dedication to this community.

There were at least one hundred riders on hand, but what was more powerful than our size was the symbolism coming from riding together in absolute silence. Riding down Colorado Blvd., people took notice not only of our large group, but also the message we were sending without any sound.

I knew from that day one year ago that the San Fernando Valley, with over 1.8 million residents, needed a ride of our own. As I continued my preparations for the ride with LACBC, my planning changed when in early April, Cairo Castaneda lost his life in Studio City at an intersection that is very familiar to me. Danny Gamboa of Ghost Bikes came to place the memorial and since that time, people have continued to pay their respects by adding details making it a beautiful shrine.

This ride will now quietly roll by this site.

The goal is to spread the Ride of Silence, not just to the valley, but countywide as well.

Please come out to support our ride in North Hollywood next Wednesday night on May 18th. It meets at the North Hollywood Red Line Station at 6:30 p.m. If you cannot make it out into the valley, Pasadena’s ride will be meeting the same evening at the Rose Bowl, and you’ll also find other rides in Orange County, Thousand Oaks and Oxnard.

Cycling is a great community because we care about each other. Let’s show everyone else as well.

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CiclaValley mentioned other RoS in Southern California.

You can find all the OC rides on Bill Sellin’s site, including rides in Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Orange and Santa Ana; information on the Oxnard ride can be found here, and Thousand Oaks here.

I’ve long had a vision for a Ride of Silence down Wilshire Blvd from Santa Monica to Beverly Hills. Maybe one day we’ll be able to make it happen.

 

Morning Links: Memorial ride for RPV cyclist, 11-year old advocate writes for Times & Mt. Hollywood stays car free

Most fallen cyclists are fairly anonymous, their deaths, while tragic, affecting only a relative few.

Then there are those who are well known in the local community, among their fellow riders as well as others.

Redondo Beach resident Pissanuk Jonathan Tansavatdi, known as Jonathan to his friends, fit that description.

According to Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson, the 29-year old rider, who lost his life descending Hawthorne Blvd in Rancho Palos Verdes this week, was a member of his Big Orange riding club.

He cites Matt Miller, another member of the club, who wrote a remembrance of his best friend.

Jon wasn’t just strong, either. He was kind. After the last bro ride, we sat on our top tubes for 10 minutes outside his apartment while he gently encouraged Bader to ride hard, but also to ride more safely and obey the rules of the peloton.

Off the bike He was a prodigious success. He was a founding member of the Rubicon Project, a tech startup that made it big. He just left to found another start up company that had already secured several million in investments.

Perhaps most impressively, Jon had invented his own photosharing app, nearly at the beta testing stage, that allows users to automatically share photos with friends nearby via bluetooth. We mused how useful an app like that would be on our rides.

More than anything, Jon loved his family. He spoke of his sisters and mother and wife with compassion, understanding, and a clear desire to protect them.

Clearly, he was someone who touched a number of people in his all-too-short life, and will be missed by many.

A memorial ride will be held this Saturday at the weekly FDR ride, departing from Miramar Park in Redondo Beach at 8:10 am.

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I’ve often mentioned that homeowners and renters insurance can cover your bike if it ever gets stolen, even away from home. And recommended carrying high levels of uninsured motorist coverage on your auto insurance to protect you while you’re riding your bike.

But bike lawyer John McBrearty offered some good advice I hadn’t considered in a comment on yesterday’s post about the UCLA student raising funds to pay legal fees, after she was sued by the driver that hit her for damaging his car.

You are absolutely correct about Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist protecting you on the bike-possibly it’s the most important insurance a cyclist can have if the correct policy limits are purchased. However, while homeowners/renters insurance will not provide liability coverage while you are operating a motor vehicle it will cover you for liability if you are on a bike. Much the same way it covers you for liability if someone trips and injures themselves on your property or if your dog bites someone at any location. Of course, you should always read the “Exclusions” section of your policy to see what they don’t cover, some dog breeds are excluded from coverage but I have never seen an exclusion for a bike accident that was caused by the policy holder. Liability coverage only protects you from third parties who are making a claim against you. Again, that’s why UM/UIM coverage is so important for a cyclist also. UM/UIM will also protect you if you are walking, running or otherwise if you are hit by someone who is uninsured or underinsured.

Meanwhile, after mentioning it here yesterday, her gofundme account has reached over $7,000 of the $9,000 goal as of this writing.

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Great piece from precocious traffic safety advocate and future mayor Matlock Grossman, who says LA streets should be safe for 11-year olds like him to ride a bike.

My vision of a livable city is one where kids like me can ride our bikes to school, or to orchestra practice, or wherever, and our parents don’t have to worry about our safety. Streets where cars can only go 20 to 30 miles per hour would be a great start. People driving would still be able to get where they are going in the same amount of time, but the roads would be much safer for everyone — young and old, rich and poor, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians…

By the time L.A.’s mobility plan is supposed to be in place in 2035, I will be 31. I don’t want my children to have to write newspaper articles to make it easier for them to ride their bikes to orchestra class. Safe streets belong to everyone.

It’s well worth reading the full piece.

I only wish most adults understood the need for safe streets as well as he does.

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In a victory for hikers and bike riders, the city announced plans to charge for parking at the Griffith Observatory, while expanding shuttle service throughout the park — except for the highly contested Mt. Hollywood Drive, which will remain closed to vehicular traffic.

Give CiclaValley credit for telling the full story the news media based theirs on.

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Local

The Nation asks if a revitalized LA River will become a playground for the rich, crowding out everyone else. Which is surprising, since I didn’t even know the former left wing bible was still around.

The Easy Reader News names Hermosa Cyclery the South Bay’s best bike shop.

Long Beach has a shiny new aqua-colored and still unnamed bikeshare system, which will eventually offer 500 bikes at 50 stations throughout the city. Down the road, it should be compatible with Santa Monica’s Breeze bikeshare, which is blowing through the Santa Monica College campus.

 

State

A Rancho Mirage resident says the city’s leadership doesn’t seem to represent people like her, who aren’t afraid of change and support the planned 50-mile CV Link bikeway through the Coachella Valley.

Even Barstow in getting bike lanes on its Main Street.

A San Francisco couple lived just five blocks apart, but they met, fell in love and got engaged at the Solvang Century bike ride; this year’s edition rolls Saturday.

No bias here. A San Francisco TV station says an Antioch cyclist wasn’t hit by a car, but collided with it, instead.

After nearly declaring war on bike-riding tourists last year, Sausalito plans to expand a Bike Ambassador program to help alleviate problems caused by too many people on two wheels. On the other hand, they never seem to complain about all the tourists on four wheels, which made my last visit there pretty miserable.

 

National

A scary new study says distracted driving is the new normal, as motorists spend over half their time paying attention to something other than the road.

Bicycling offers useful advice on how to make sure the bike rack you’re using is secure. Or you could just build your own.

After helping her husband Kurt set the new record for riding the most miles in a single year, Alicia Searvogel plans to tackle the women’s record.

An auto-centric Seattle radio host argues for keeping the streets dangerous and letting pedestrians die, fearing that advocates will lie about an uptick in pedestrian deaths to demand safer streets. Then again, he doesn’t sound like a prince on other subjects, either; thanks to NE Seattle Greenways for the latter link.

An Iowa columnist learns first hand what it’s like to bike like a bike cop.

A Houston weekly lists six streets where people “probably” won’t die riding their bikes. Maybe they should move to Boston, which claims to be tied with DC for the nation’s safest big city for cyclists and pedestrians.

A Missouri woman plans to ride 13,000 miles, stopping at churches in 37 states to raise awareness of sex trafficking.

Forget Vision Zero, says New York police commissioner — and former LAPD chief — Bill Bratton, who insists there will be traffic deaths as long as there are people on the roads. Maybe the city should find someone to do the job who doesn’t give up before he starts.

 

International

A writer for the Guardian offers 10 tips to conquer your bike commute.

A Scottish paper asks if the draconian new fines on Australian cyclists offer a lesson to be learned, or just make the state a laughing stock. You can probably guess how riders in New South Wales, who say they remain terrified on the Aussie state’s roads, would respond.

Seriously? Even the attorney for the former enforcer for Australia’s Banditos biker gang said he had “anger management issues” after getting out of his car and beating a bicyclist for not using a bike lane. Yet he walked with just a fine and a four month license suspension. Evidently, the only crimes they take seriously Down Under are cyclists riding sans helmets.

An Aussie woman insists she told the story of deliberately running down a bike rider who flipped her off hundreds of times, but only in an attempt to frighten off a man she thought was a “child rapist,” never imagining he might actually turn her into the police. Sure, let’s go with that.

A Kiwi bike commuter says he supports better bike facilities, just not if it involves closing his own street to vehicular traffic.

 

Finally…

Who needs real dog, when you can buy one made of recycled bike parts? If you’re going to steal a bike, don’t leave your old one covered in your DNA at the crime scene.

And Lance may have cheated, but he never put itching powder in his rivals’ shorts.

That we know of.

 

Popular bikeway to remain open this weekend, scholarship fund for fallen cyclist, and your Morning Links

Pete van Nuys, Executive Director of the Orange County Bicycle Coalition, sends word that the popular Pacific Coast Bike Route will remain open this weekend, despite the scheduled Ironman race.

After months of emails and the threat of lawsuit, organizers of the Ironman 70.3 race through Camp Pendleton have agreed to assign volunteer course marshals at the south end of San Clemente to permit regular bicycle traffic between that city and Oceanside.

In recent years Caltrans in San Diego has been issuing permits to the event which has become increasingly possessive of the only connection between Orange and San Diego Counties for 100 miles.

Those permits violate Streets and Highways Code 888, intended to assure citizens that when Caltrans builds a freeway it will not sever connections for non-motorized travelers.

The I-5 freeway alternate is the popular Old Hwy 101 to Las Pulgas, through a portion of the Marine base. When the Marines close it for maneuvers Caltrans routinely opens the shoulders of I-5 for bicyclists. But the race permit even closed those shoulders, stranding bicyclists in Oceanside and San Clemente for up to 5 hours. With little or no notice riders from LA County usually had no choice but to turn around.

Thanks to the hard work of Seth Cutter, Bicycle Coordinator for Caltrans San Diego, the agency convinced Ironman to do what most bike race organizers do: use course marshals to cross civilian bikes and peds. Caltrans is posting signs alerting motorists to bicycle presence. And anyone riding to San Diego’s Bikes & Beers event should find the route open fast along I-5’s shoulders all the way to Oceanside.

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Australian cyclist James Rapley lost his like while biking in LA.

Australian cyclist James Rapley lost his like while biking in Los Angeles.

A memorial website and scholarship fund have been set up in honor of Australian cyclist James Rapley, killed while riding on Temescal Canyon last December.

If you want to grasp just an inkling of the love a parent has for his son — and the enormity of that loss — take a moment to read that page and browse through the website.

As you may recall, Rapley was on an extended layover at LAX on his way home from his new job in Chicago to join his family back in Seymour, a small country town in Victoria. So early in the morning of December 22nd — the last Sunday before Christmas — he rented a bike and took off to explore the beachfront bike path from LAX to the Palisades.

It must have seemed magical to ride along the nearly deserted beach at that early hour. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday morning myself.

For some reason, he made a detour onto Temescal Canyon; maybe he wanted the challenge of the steep uphill after the easy ride along the coast. I often do the same, even though it’s not a comfortable bike lane, as drivers frequently go too fast around the sweeping curves, and cut into the bike lane regardless of whether anyone is in it.

In other words, what followed could have happened to me. Or to any of us.

As Rapley rode in the bike lane, doing absolutely nothing wrong, he was struck from behind by an allegedly drunk, and possibly texting, 19-year old driver. He died there on the side of the road; I can only imagine his final thoughts, 8,000 miles from home and the loved ones who were eagerly awaiting him.

I’m told his family has dug deep to fund the scholarship, to be given to a rural student studying engineering or science at Melbourne University, as Rapley had done. But it will take a lot more money to make the scholarship a success, and honor a good and cringe man who should still be with us.

I’d love to see some significant donations come from here in LA. It’s the last place he ever saw, and we owe him and his family a debt we can never repay.

My wallet is pretty anorexic right now, but I’m going to do my best to send a little something their way. I think we owe him that.

Meanwhile, I’ve started making inquiries about how we can convert the bike lane he was riding in into the state’s first parking protected bike lane. It will take a change in state law, which currently requires cars to be parked within 18 inches of a curb.

But this is an ideal location for it, with no cross streets from PCH to Palisades High School, roughly 3/4 of a mile up the hill. And it would, for large portions of the day, help eliminate the risk riders currently face from aggressive and distracted drivers with little respect for a line a paint.

Because the best way we can honor James Rapley is to ensure it never happens to anyone again.

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This sort of things always pisses me off.

A friend of mine reports she was assaulted while riding in Huntington Beach over the weekend when a group of idiots in a passing car threw a cup of ice at her, hitting her on the ass.

The good news is, she was able to maintain control of her bike and avoid a potentially dangerous fall, making it nothing more than a major annoyance. The bad news is, she wasn’t able to get a license number or good description of the car, so the jerks remain free to do it again to someone else.

For anyone unclear on the subject, throwing anything at a bike rider runs the risk that they might lose control and fall, or swerve into traffic or parked cars in an attempt to get away. The result can be serious injury, whether or not that was the intent of the attacker.

And it takes a real jackass to attack a woman riding alone after dark.

Then again, harassment isn’t reserved just for women riders.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton calls for a Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic deaths in the City of Angels. Now will our new mayor or council members step up to answer the call?

Metro’s Bike Week website is up. If you want to find me that Tuesday, I’ll be at the blessing of the bicycles.

LADOT Bike Blog looks at the problem of dooring. but let’s not forget that drivers are almost always at fault for dooring, since they’re required ensure that it’s reasonably safe and doesn’t interfere with other traffic before opening their door. And then, only as long as necessary.

A hero cyclist helps a Santa Monica woman recover her phone from a thief.

There are things you see while bicycling that should be seen by more.

 

State

California considers language that could bar bikes from most off-road trails.

Temecula could vote to support Federal legislation to create long-term, low interest loans to build biking and walking networks.

A close encounter of the potentially stinky kind.

A $9.4 million temporary bike path on the Bay Bridge will be torn down to be replaced with a permanent structure.

 

National

People for Bikes debunks the myths non-riders too often use against us; the answer for “Bicyclists think they own the road” could have been a lot better, though.

Bicycling says you may be getting too much sugar.

Evidently, life is cheap in Ohio, as a doctor gets a whopping 15 days in jail for seriously injuring a cyclist while driving drunk. Why should drivers take drunk driving laws seriously when the courts don’t?

A Louisiana schmuck driver faces charges for running over a four-year old bike rider while fleeing from police; the child suffered moderate to severe injuries.

 

International

The UK renews a campaign calling for cyclists and motorists to “Think! Cyclist” after a successful campaign that may not have changed anyone’s behavior.

Turns out Dickens — yes, that Dickens — supported safe and courteous cycling.

Customers of a Yorkshire paperboy pitch in to buy him a new bike when his is stolen while he was delivering his route.

An Aussie blog asks — and answers — what is a cyclist? My answer is a lot simpler; you’re a cyclist whenever you’re on or with your bike, just as you’re a motorist when you’re driving your car.

 

Finally…

Everyone needs a leather banana holder for their bike, right?

 

When You See A Cyclist Down

Today marks the second edition of the new guest column by LA bike lawyer Jim Pocrass. 

Yes, this is a sponsored placement. But he once again offers good advice — this time on how to help if you should come upon a downed rider.

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Jim Pocrass, Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

Jim Pocrass, Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

Bikes Have Rights™
By James L. Pocrass, Esq.
Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP 
 

 

Someone in my office came to me recently to tell me that as she was driving home she saw a bike accident. The car that had hit, presumably, the cyclist was parked nearby. There were a few people helping the cyclist, who sat in the middle of the road. She could hear the sirens of emergency vehicles that were on their way.

She said that though she wanted to stop to help, she felt that since there were people at the scene already, it wouldn’t be useful. So she didn’t stop. She asked me if I thought she should’ve stopped.

Upon thinking about the question, I told her I thought she should have. Because we work with so many cyclists who have been in bike accidents, we know what information the cyclist needs if they want to pursue a legal case.

In the immediate aftermath of a bike accident, even the most knowledgeable cyclist is probably shaken and stunned. If the cyclist has suffered serious personal injuries, they may be incapable of collecting the necessary information.

Also, there is no guarantee that the people who stop really know what information the cyclist – or the cyclist’s family – is going to need for legal action. More than likely, the people assisting the fallen cyclist are most concerned, understandably and rightfully, with the cyclist’s injuries.

If you see a cyclist down, of course the first thing to do is to call the police and to get the cyclist emergency medical assistance. If that is being done by others, you can best assist the fallen cyclist by writing down the following information:

  • Time & Place: Notate the time the accident happened as well as the location. You want to include approximate address, the nearest cross street(s), and the city.
  • Vehicle Information: Most importantly, get the license plate number and state. Note: if the cyclist was hit by a truck, you need to get the license plate number of both the cab and the trailer. They may be different. Write down the make, model, year, and color of the vehicle that hit the cyclist.
  • Driver Info: Get the driver’s name, phone, address, email, and driver’s license number (and state). Get the driver’s insurance information, including company and policy number.
  • Witness Info: Get the name, address, phone, and email of any witnesses (including any passengers in the vehicle).
  • Photos: One of the most helpful things you could do for the cyclist is to take pictures with your phone. You want pictures of the bicycle and of the car (multiple views and as close as possible). Then take multiple pictures of the scene of the accident, from numerous angles, as it relates to street signs, lights, corners, and curbs.

Once you have collected this information, write down your contact information, with a brief note that you have witness information and photos, and give it to the fallen cyclist, tuck it into the cyclist’s pocket, or give it to a paramedic to put with the cyclist’s possessions.

The worse the cyclist’s injuries are, the more important this information will be to the cyclist or to the cyclist’s family.

BikeCrashReportBACK r1 (2)You don’t need our help to do this, but we did create a free, wallet-sized guide to carry with you should you have a collision or should you see a fallen cyclist. You can either download a version of it here, or send us an email and include your mailing address and we’ll mail you a hard copy of the guide.

A very experienced cyclist, whose case we are handling, told us that he had one of our guides in his wallet when he had his bike accident, and he was so shaken he never thought about using it.

So let’s help each other and gather the information necessary to strengthen each fallen cyclist’s legal case. If people will not be careful around cyclists because it’s the right and legal thing to do, maybe they will change their behavior when they feel the sting from their pocketbooks.

*California Vehicle Code 21200: A person riding a bicycle or operating a pedicab upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle. . .
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For more than 25 years, Jim Pocrass has represented people who were seriously injured, or families who lost a loved one in a wrongful death, due to the carelessness or negligence of another. Jim is repeatedly named to Best Lawyers of America and to Southern California Super Lawyers for the outstanding results he consistently achieves for his clients. Having represented hundreds of cyclists during his career, and Jim’s own interest in cycling, have resulted in him becoming a bicycle advocate. He is a board member of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.  For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact Jim Pocrass at 310.550.9050 or at info@pocrass.com.
 

Santa Clarita to honor fallen cyclist with silent ride

novotny-2Every cycling death is tragic. And unnecessary.

And this year, there have been far too many around here.

Whether it’s a father taking his son on a grand adventure. A local handyman who took up riding after losing part of his vision in an accident. A day laborer from Sonora, Mexico, who rode everywhere. A woman police blame for causing her own death by riding the wrong way on the sidewalk. Or a man in Orange County just trying to get home from work.

And then there’s Joseph Novotny.

Like Rod Armas and Jesus Castillo, he was killed by an accused drunk driver who fled the scene — a driver who had already been arrested multiple times, despite being too young to legally drink.

And it was preventable.

His killer was driving with a suspended license, and passing motorists had already reported him to the authorities. But despite their best efforts, sheriff’s deputies arrived just moments after he’d plowed his truck into a group of oncoming cyclists riding on the opposite shoulder of the road, and continued down the road.

Four cyclists were injured, two seriously. And Novotny was killed.

It could have been anyone of us.

Adding to the tragedy, he was on one of his first rides with the Santa Clarita Velo Club, having just moved to the area with his wife. Now she, and all those who knew and loved him, have to find a way to go on without him.

Next Saturday, October 3rd, the City of Santa Clarita and the Santa Clarita Velo Club are sponsoring a Memorial Ride of Silence in memory of Robert Novotny, and other cyclists who have been killed on the roads.

I’ll let Jeff Wilson explain:

Los Angeles cyclists and Biking in LA readers, we could use your help!

On July 11, 2009, 43 year old cyclist Joseph Novotny was struck and killed by an underaged drunk driver while riding his bike in the Bouquet Canyon area of Santa Clarita.

On October 3, Santa Clarita cyclists will ride silently in memory of Joe Novotny and all other cyclists who have been killed while riding. Please consider joining us to raise awareness of bicyclists and our right to use roads.

The 12 mile ride begins at 8am in Santa Clarita. A Sheriff’s escort will be provided as we ride into Newhall, then Stevenson Ranch, and finally back to Valencia. Most of the route is flat; other parts are somewhat hilly (but brief). Cyclists are asked to ride in silence and at around 12mph.

From Los Angeles, Santa Clarita is just minutes north of the San Fernando Valley. Take Interstate 5 north and exit at Valencia Blvd. Proceed east on Valencia until you reach Citrus Avenue. Turn left on Citrus Avenue. Free parking is available.

Unfortunately, while Metrolink service is available to Santa Clarita, the earliest northbound train will arrive after the ride has started.

I know it’s short notice, and you may have other commitments already. But if you’re planning to ride next weekend, I can’t think of a better place to do it.

Or a better reason.

And please, be careful out there this weekend. I want to see you all back here on Monday.

For more information, contact IreneTJohnson@yahoo.com, or click here to visit the Facebook page.

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Submitted for your approval: LADOT has finally released the full draft bicycle plan and scheduled dates and locations for public comment; Bike Girl calls the deadline for comments “infeasible,” while Dr. Alex notes that it excludes input from Neighborhood Councils. Pasadena has a meeting scheduled to discuss its new Bicycle Master Plan. Mark your calendar for the Festival of Rights to protest the illegal exclusion of bikes from the DWP’s annual Holiday Light Festival. We could have had bike lanes on Topanga Boulevard by now, no thanks to the Department of Currently Unfeasible, aka LADOT. L.A.’s leading bike wonk makes the case for making the case for active transportation. The only thing missing from Santa Monica’s new green maintenance facility is bike racks. Long Beach’s cycling expats offer a report from the road. An Arizona cyclist was killed riding with a group of other cyclists; he leaves behind a wife and three children, including a newborn. Evidently, cars really do make Americans fat. Proof there’s more than one way to park a bike. I don’t know what’s worse — that they put up speed bumps in a cemetery without warning cyclists, or that a few rude cyclists made it necessary. San Francisco police take a report of harassing a cyclist seriously. Finally, your word for the day is Traumadinejad.

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