Tag Archive for Jim Lyle

Vehicular homicide arrest in fatal Griffith Park crash, and man missing riding bike in Long Beach found dead of natural causes

Let’s start with Saturday’s senseless death of 77-year old Andrew Jelmert.

According to a story by the LA Times’ Rachel Uranga, Jelmert was killed by a speeding, possibly drunk, driver as he rode on Griffith Park’s Crystal Springs Drive.

Jelmert was run down from behind as he neared the finish line of a training ride for this year’s AIDS/LifeCycle Ride, which would have been his seventh time completing the weeklong San Francisco to Los Angeles fundraising ride.

He had already raised over $20,000 for the ride, which could now be lost along with his life.

Thirty-seven-year old Jairo Martinez was attempting to pass another car when he slammed into Martinez with enough force to shatter the windshield of his BMW, as well as Jelmert’s bike. The impact scattered bits of the bike across the hillside, where they were later found by Jelmert’s husband.

The only blessing is that in all probability, Jelmert literally never knew what hit him.

Martinez was arrested by sheriff’s deputies shortly after the crash, after he attempted to run away on foot. At last report, he was being held on suspicion of vehicular homicide, with more charges likely to follow pending results of his blood tests.

Meanwhile, KNBC-4 reports on the installation of Jelmert’s ghost bike Monday night.

Uranga succinctly captures the problem bike riders face riding in the park/freeway bypass.

Griffith Park, which occupies more than 4,000 acres of rolling hills, is popular with cyclists who whiz down its tree-lined roads, often crossing over from the nearby L.A. River bike path.

But the few bike lanes that exist do not have barriers separating riders from cars, according to the L.A. Department of Transportation.

Crystal Springs Drive parallels the 5 Freeway and is sometimes used as a cut-through during traffic jams. The posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour, but many drivers go significantly faster.

Too often, drivers come off the 5 and 134 Freeways, and continue through the park at freeway speeds.

I’ve had the crap scared out of me by speeding drivers using the wide shoulder to pass slower cars on the right, while I was riding on it.

It’s also not far from where Damien Kevitt was infamously run down by a hit-and-run driver while riding on Zoo Drive, and dragged underneath the driver’s van onto the 5 Freeway, losing his leg in the process. And nearly his life.

The simple fact is, cars don’t belong in parks.

We should all demand — not ask — that city leaders move immediately to block the offramp leading into the park, as the first step in banning cars entirely from Griffith Park.

Let the park flourish as just that — a park, not a high-speed sewer for overly aggressive drivers.

Because the simple fact is, parks are for people, not cars.

And tragedies like this will inevitably keep happening if we don’t.

Photo from the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Facebook page.

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Sad news from Long Beach, where Manuel Abotye was found dead at a local hospital after disappearing while riding his bike last month.

The 73-year old man from a small village in Mexico’s Sinaloa state was in Long Beach visiting his sister when he suffered shortness of breath, and died 30 minutes after being transported to the emergency room.

However, he went unidentified for weeks because he had left his ID at home, and was considered missing until his body was discovered on Saturday.

Yet another reminder to always carry ID when you ride.

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Jim Lyle forwards a Nextdoor notice about a Palos Verdes resident targeting people on bicycles.

The male owner of this green truck has been accelerating towards people riding bikes on the street as though he’s intending to hit them with his car. And, I don’t mean the part of the street where cars belong. I mean the parking area near the gutter not in the way of vehicle traffic. He’s done this to me twice, once so close I was sure he was going to hit me. He swerves away before contact. Be aware of this truck if you ride…I don’t know his name or or know him personally. I learned from a neighbor who saw him accerlerate towards me this morning that he’s known for unsafe, aggressive behavior (I wasn’t given other examples). This info has been given to the sherrif’s department as well.

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It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from longtime bike advocate, neighborhood council member and Bicycle Advisory Committee member Glenn Bailey, who forwards photos of Waste Management trash bins illegally blocking the heavily used bike lane on Reseda Blvd in Northridge.

He’s filed a complaint with the city’s Bureau of Sanitation, so hopefully he’ll get a response soon.

Or better yet, actually get action to keep it from happening again.

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Curses, Spectrum!

Because their service outage knocked me offline yesterday, we missed marking Bicycle Day, commemorating the 79th anniversary of the day LSD inventor Albert Hoffman discovered its psychedelic effects for the time.

Hoffman famously dropped a few tabs and attempted to ride his bike home, experiencing the first trip on a bike trip.

And inspiring both the best and worst music of the 60s.

Read the first link on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you. 

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She gets it.

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Catch up on the latest Bike Talk, as they catch up on Calbike’s recent Bike Summit.

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Join Sunset For All and the LACBC as they explore the corridor while promoting local businesses and plans for protected bike lanes on Sunset Blvd.

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

Texas authorities are looking for the driver of a white jeep caught on camera swearing at a bike rider, who responds by flipping the bird; the driver then makes a U-turn and veers onto the wrong side of the road to threaten the rider, nearly sideswiping him.

Also from Texas, the owner of a car customization business is catching well-deserved flack after posting video of a pickup driver rolling coal at an unsuspecting bike rider, then claiming to be just “vaguely aware” of the video he himself posted, while suggesting that someone’s personal actions shouldn’t reflect on the business they work for. Or own, evidently.

A British bus driver avoided a fine for a punishment pass because the cops didn’t use the right form for their prosecution notice.

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Local

Metro and Metrolink will both offer free rides on Friday for Earth Day, including free Metro Bike rides.

A new poll shows Los Angeles voters want real action to address air pollution and extreme heat caused by climate change. Let’s hope our elected officials are listening, and actually do something for a change. Like building out the mobility plan and the transportation portion of the mayor’s Green New Deal. 

Los Angeles received a $5 million grant from Congress to build a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge at the Pacoima Wash to provide safer access to the planned El Dorado Park.

Streets For All calls on everyone to reach out to the Metro Board today and next Thursday to help get Eagle Rock’s Beautiful Boulevard plan for the NoHo to Pasadena bus rapid transit line over the finish line.

Pomona has opened a beautiful new two-way curb-protected bike lane on Valley Boulevard.

The popular 626 Golden Streets open streets event returns to South Pasadena, San Gabriel and Alhambra on May 1st.

 

State 

Something doesn’t add up. Just days after we learned that California is the nation’s sixth most dangerous state for bicycle riders on a per-capita basis, the Bike League ranks the late, great Golden State as the 4th most bicycle-friendly state in the US. Evidently, to paraphrase Mark Twain, it’s a great place to ride. If you live.

The CHP and Santa Barbara sheriff’s deputies are looking for the driver of a purple Toyota Scion, who fled the scene after running down a 20-year old man riding his bike near Santa Maria, leaving the victim with major injuries.

 

National

No, bicycles don’t cause traffic congestion or slow down your commute.

Consumer Reports offers advice on how to shop for a new kid’s bike.

A Utah woman is suing Seattle ebike maker Rad Power Bikes, claiming a loose stem on the bike she assembled caused her to crash, since the instructions didn’t tell her to check the tightness of the stem.

Speaking of Utah, a cute video captures an eight-year old Utah boy teaching his four-year old little sister how to ride a bike for the first time.

A Colorado judge dropped the murder case against Barry Morphew, whose wife disappeared without a trace after leaving for a Mother’s Day bike ride two years ago. However, it was dismissed without prejudice, allowing prosecutors to refile when and if they have a better case.

New York commits $11 million to sweeping streets and bike lanes.

 

International

Lebanese commuters are taking to their bikes in increasing numbers, driven — so to speak — by the a fuel crisis aggravated by the war in Ukraine.

More proof that bike lanes increase property values, as rental units close to London’s cycle superhighways draw a 20% premium over similar units elsewhere.

Five-time British Olympic champ Bradley Wiggins revealed that his struggles with depression stem, at least in part, from being sexually groomed by his cycling coach when he was just 13 years old.

Justice delayed, as a Malaysian appeals court has stayed the six-year prison sentence given to the woman who killed eight teenage bike riders after plowing through the group of kids riding modified bikes.

 

Competitive Cycling

Italian world champ Elisa Balsamo was disqualified from Saturday’s Paris-Roubaix Femme, after getting a little too much assistance from the team car in returning to the peloton after suffering a flat.

VeloNews offers a photo essay from last weekend’s Paris-Roubaix, aka The Hell of the North; Cycling Tips does, too.

Once again, a bike race spectator has taken down a competitor, as a fan applauding on the side of the roadway caught the handlebars of Belgian pro Yves Lampaert during Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix.

 

Finally…

Maybe that jersey pocket isn’t necessary after all. That feeling when your 1950’s style ebike offers a very illegal 40 mph.

And maybe put the helmet on before you try riding off on the bike you just stole.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Morning Links: Three-foot passing law sign bikelash in PVE, train bike racks in Seattle, and more kindhearted people

That didn’t take long.

Over the weekend we shared a photo forwarded by Jim Lyle showing the new signs promoting the three-foot passing law that went up in formerly bike-unwelcoming Palos Verdes Estates last week, replacing bike-unfriendly signs warning that bike laws are fully enforced in the city.

Now local residents have already taken to social media to bemoan the “ugly” signs besmirching their streets. And of course, complaining that bike riders never stop for stop signs.

Which, apparently, makes it okay to pass at less than three feet and run them off the road. Or worse.

However, since the complaining is being done on a website exclusively for residents of the exclusive Rolling Hills Estates, Lyle was kind enough to forward a sample of the comments.

image

PVE 2

PVE 3

PVE 4

Meanwhile, Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson posts multiple pages of the same anti-bike and anti-bike-friendly-signs vitriol, while reminding readers that the small victory represented by the signs only resulted from bike riders willing to turn out in force to ask for change.

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Hap Dougherty forwards photos of Seattle’s train system, where bikes actually have racks, rather than just an empty space at the back of the car.

Seattle bike racks 1

Seattle bike racks 2

With something like this, the relatively petite cars on the Expo Line could easily hold four bikes, rather than fitting two at best in the space currently available.

Or just one if the rider insists on standing with his or her bike.

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More kindhearted people.

After a 10-year old boy’s bicycle was stolen during a bike rodeo at a local school, Clovis police replace it for him.

After a 11-year old Canadian girl’s bike was stolen, the investigating officer slipped her mother some money for a new bike, and a family friend left a new bike on their doorstep.

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Local

CiclaValley says there’s an important meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss future flood control measures on the LA River, which hopefully won’t result in more closures of the bike path.

A bike rider was shot to death in broad daylight on a Bell bike path Saturday afternoon.

 

State

The Orange County Register paints bikeshare as just a “hip idea to central planners,” and a trendy and “most unnecessary boondoggle” that shouldn’t be the recipient of public subsidies. Unlike driving, which is only possible with massive public subsidies; apparently, the paper feels a desperate need to reaffirm their shaky conservative credentials after a change in ownership.

The Big Bear Cycling Festival began over the weekend, and continues with events all week.

The Lompoc Valley Bicycle Club has been meeting weekly for over 25 years to ride to Buellton for breakfast.

A Chico bike rider says he lost his sense of community after he went over his handlebars on a busy street, as people continued to drive by without stopping to help as he lay there unable to move with a broken arm, and his bike on top of him.

 

National

Portland police ride a 21-mile trail surrounded with homeless encampments searching for stolen bikes. And not surprisingly, find them.

New York police are looking for a bike rider who returned fire when a man in a Jeep shot at him. So why aren’t they looking for the driver of the Jeep?

North Carolina ups the bike-friendly ante with a shiny new four-foot passing law; motorists who force riders off the road, make them crash or even just make bicyclists change lanes will now face increased fines.

Funds that had been raised for a homeless Georgia college student who rode his bike six hours to register for class have been put on hold, as the woman who started the gofundme account has concerns about his story.

 

International

So much for that famed Canadian politeness. A bike rider is the subject of racial slurs after a driver and his passengers get out of their car and tell him to get off the street; however, he reports an outpouring of support after the story went public .

A London columnist claims she came close to being killed by a bike rider when she stepped out of a building on a narrow street without looking. But instead of deciding she should be more careful next time, blames the bike rider who managed to avoid her — and by extension, everyone who likes to ride fast.

Over 26,000 cyclists turn out for the 100-mile RideLondon, though the event had to be cut short after two riders were injured.

A British medical professor says think twice about that acupuncture for cyclists.

British trucking companies are told to remove signs warning bicyclists to stay back.

The widow of a Maltese hit-and-run victim asks drivers to think of the person’s relatives every time they speed past a cyclist.

A Kiwi cyclist says riders are treated like second-class citizens in New Zealand.

Perth, Australia releases ambitious plans to create a Dutch-style bicycle network suitable for eight to eighty-year olds.

A Philippine woman writes an open letter to a road raging driver who fatally shot a bike rider following an argument; the shooter claims he was provoked by the “arrogant” cyclist.

A Taiwanese taxi driver had a blood alcohol level over five times the legal limit when he slammed into two bicyclists; police found four empty beer cans inside the taxi, suggesting he’d been drinking behind the wheel.

 

Finally…

Apparently, the key to remaining royally attractive in your 50s is to ride a bicycle. What do NASCAR drivers do on their days off? Ride bikes, of course.

And now you, too, can have your own Nobel Laureate parking space. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

 

South Bay cyclist victim of a hit-and-walk

One of the primary arguments used to attack bicyclists lately has been the alleged carelessness — or aggressiveness — some bike riders show around pedestrians.

Never mind that a solid  collision between a cyclist and someone on foot is likely to result in injuries to both. And while people can point fingers at a handful of cases where careless riders have seriously injured — or even killed — pedestrians, it is a problem that goes both ways.

As just about anyone who has ever ridden any of Southern California’s beachfront bike paths can attest.

Case in point, this email I received yesterday from frequent South Bay contributor Jim Lyle.

Nine days ago, I was returning home from my morning ride up the coast.  As I navigated the bike path under the Redondo Beach pier, a woman ducked under the chain that separates the bike path from the pedestrian walkway directly in front of me.  I slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting her and went down, hard.  As I hit the pavement, I heard a “pop” and knew it wasn’t going to be a good thing.  I unclipped and tried to get up, but couldn’t bear any weight on my left leg due to the pain.

Here’s where it gets surreal.  The woman, with a bunch of her friends, did not offer to help me, did not ask if I was OK, or if I was hurt; they simply walked away as if nothing had happened.  Does that qualify as a “hit and walk?”

I was able to pull myself up using the bike to lean on and hobbled to an open area where I had cell phone coverage.  I called a friend who lives near the pier and asked her to come get me.  She arrived, put the bicycle in the truck bed, but I couldn’t get into the cab, it was too high and it hurt too much to move the leg.  I started to go into shock, tunnel vision and losing consciousness.  My friend called 911.  The EMTs arrived, put me on a gurney, and transported me to emergency.  X-rays revealed I had snapped a bone on my femur, but there was no displacement.  They gave me pain meds and crutches and sent me home.  I return to the orthopod in a couple of weeks to make sure there’s been no movement of the bone and I’m on the road to recovery. Otherwise, they’ll have to do surgery.  Meanwhile, I’m moping around the house feeling sorry for myself.  It could have been worse, much, much worse.

As you know, it is illegal (CVC and city ordinances) for pedestrians to use the beach bike path.  There are signs posted and “BIKES ONLY” is painted on the path every few yards.  Because these laws are not enforced, pedestrians, nannies, dog walkers, skaters, illiterates, and scofflaws use the bike path instead of the pedestrian walkway which is often within spitting range.  I always knew this created a dangerous situation for cyclists and pedestrians. And, now, I’m a victim.

In the past, a polite “on your left” or “bikes only, please” would be sufficient.  In future, when I’m back riding, I am no longer going to be very pleasant when I encounter the brain dead idiots who insist on endangering my health.  Police chiefs in the beach cities are going to know my name.  All it would take is a little public education and the occasional ticket to make the beach safe for all users, on two wheels or none.

I’m still fuming about the lack of humanity shown by people.  Surely, they’re in a minority, or are they?

Make no mistake.

Pedestrians are the only class of road users more vulnerable than we are. And we need to go out of our way to protect their safety, especially when riding on sidewalks and through crosswalks, where they should have unquestioned right-of-way.

And yes, I’ve seen cyclists plow through a crowded crosswalk, seemingly oblivious to the harm they may cause. And a Santa Monica cyclist was recently convicted, fairly or not, of assault with a deadly weapon for doing just that.

But as Jim’s email suggests, we aren’t always the problem. And we are just as vulnerable to their carelessness as they are to ours.

One other point.

Had he been able to stop the woman, she could have been held liable for his injuries, just as a bicyclist can be held legally liable for injuring a pedestrian. Or another bike rider, for that matter.

But whether she could be charged with leaving the scene of a collision is a question I can’t answer.

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