Tag Archive for Josh Cohen

Bike League addresses South LA bike rider killed by deputies, Streetsie Awards announced, and don’t be a schmuck

I may have to start a new religion. 

Three days after my laptop died, it somehow miraculously resurrected itself yesterday morning. 

No assurances that it’s up and running for good, but at least it gives me a chance to catch up on this week’s news. And maybe buy a little time to come up with the money to replace it. 

Photo by Life Matters from Pexels.

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The Bike League offered a statement on the killing of Black bike rider Dijon Kizzee in South LA last week, seemingly shot in the back by sheriff’s deputies as he tried to run away from a traffic stop.

I’d planned on just posting an except from it, but the whole thing is worth reading.

Dijon Kizzee was a bicyclist. He was a person on a bike. He was a Black man in America on a bike.

According to police reports he was doing something illegal on a bike, violating a section of the traffic code. As most people who bike know, most of the traffic code was not created for them; is not known by many people, including law enforcement; and is enforced in a highly discretionary manner. Much of the traffic code that deals with bicycling is focused on protecting the rider from the drivers of motor vehicles that we share streets with. We as an organization are committed to doing whatever we can to make bicycling safe for everyone, including reducing interactions between bicyclists and the police that can escalate into violence.

A biking code violation should never lead to police violence and deadly force.

Dijon Kizzee died after being stopped while bicycling. A protected bike lane or statutory change would be unlikely to change that.

Racism is much larger than bicycling, but to make safe streets for everyone requires confronting racism. Confronting institutional racism in our justice systems, police practices, and cycles of investment is necessary to make safe streets for everyone.

To make sure that #BlackLivesMatter to us as a bicycling organization, bicycling while Black must be treated as a threat to the safety of bicycling in the same way that we treat lack of infrastructure, distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, and the many other things that people think of when they think of bicycle safety.

Los Angles Sheriff Alex Villanueva says the department has almost concluded its investigation of the shooting, and is just waiting to interview one of the deputies, who still hasn’t spoken with investigators over ten days after the shooting.

Meanwhile, there’s this hard-hitting piece by a Black writer, who wonders when we’ll talk about the fear Black people experience as they walk their dogs, ride their bikes and work in their yards, as opposed to a fear of Blackness.

An Asian man in Garden Grove was the victim of a racist rant from a neighbor as he rode a stationary bike in his garage; the woman only left after he picked up a knife. Needless to say, the woman’s husband insisted she’s not racist and it was all a misunderstanding. Hint: If you don’t recognize your own neighbor, and describe him as having “slanted eyes,” you’re pretty damn racist.

And an Illinois woman faces hate crime charges for trying to run Black bike riders off the Winnetka Pier, falsely telling them they needed a permit to be there. Correction: I originally wrote that the incident took place on Chicago’s Navy Pier, rather than Winnetka. Thanks to Andy Stow for the correction.

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Congratulations to BikinginLA sponsors Jim Pocrass and Josh Cohen on being honored with this year’s Streetsblog LA Streetsie Awards.

Other honorees include LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Culver City Councilmember and former Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells, LA City Commissioner and CicLAvia Chief Strategist Tafarai Bayne, and climate advocacy group Climate Resolve.

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This one’s definitely worth the click. And maybe even a few copycats.

Thanks to W. Corylus for the heads-up.

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That feeling when you can’t decide whether to build a cycle track or a pump track.

bike lane in Körmend, Hungary from UrbanHell

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Leslie Jones is one of us now, too.

https://twitter.com/Lesdoggg/status/1302365492070379520

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It takes a major schmuck to tell a handicapped bicyclist who doesn’t have use of his legs that he can’t use his mobility device on public trail.

Whether or not it’s technically within the rules.

Seriously, don’t be this guy.

https://twitter.com/KalhanR/status/1304259089262931969

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

An unlicensed driver faces charges for intentionally trying to run down a mother riding with her young daughter, after they complained he was blocking a San Francisco bike lane.

DC authorities are looking for a driver who intentionally ran down a man riding a bike; for a change, the police are treating it as a homicide.

An Ontario, Canada letter writer says bike lanes should be built on a “use it or lose it” basis, suggesting they should be removed if not enough people use them. Maybe we should put the same rule in place for motor vehicles.

No bias here. A British tabloid exposes the “secret” hand signs that bicyclists use to warn other riders about road hazards, which drivers apparently aren’t supposed to know about.

No bias here, either. A British motoring magazine says Covid-19 is being used as an excuse to rob drivers of their precious traffic lanes, and motorists need to keep fighting to claw them back.

Or here, as a British tabloid goes ballistic claiming a fire truck became stuck by a planter intended to block traffic on a Slow Street — even though the fire captain said in the same article that they didn’t get stuck, and supported the traffic restrictions as a safety measure.

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

A group of New York firefighters chased down and detained a bike-riding man who swerved onto the sidewalk to punch a 60-year old woman, apparently at random.

A Saskatchewan woman suffered serious injures when she was struck by a bike rider who rang his bell before plowing into her; the crash may or may not have been his fault, but leaving the scene afterwards was.

Seriously, don’t be that person, part two. A woman on a bike rode off without an apology after being confronted by a child’s mother for hitting and dragging her one-year old daughter in a London Park.

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Local

Surprise! It’s Bike Month in LA County, such as it is this year. Instead of Bike to Work Day, we’ll have Ride a Bike Day on Tuesday the 22nd, aka World Car Free Day; you can celebrate virtually with Burbank and the LACBC.

This is how you change the world. South LA’s East Side Riders Bike Club has been serving a free breakfast to the community all summer; now they’re extending hours to feed children before school, and working on serving lunch.

Look, we get it. It’s great that the former Governator is one of us. But we really don’t need to see daily photos of his daily ebike rides through Santa Monica.

 

State

The bike boom is going full force in San Diego, where a new study shows bicycling rates shot up 40% over last year since the Covid-19 stay at home order was issued.

Highland police will conduct a bike and pedestrian safety enforcement crackdown today. Standard protocol applies — ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits, so you’re not the one who gets ticketed.

A Big Bear bike rider says it’s time to dust off the local bike plans, because there are too many drivers “who either don’t see cyclists or don’t like cyclists on the road.”

The family of a Vallejo bike rider will receive a $6 million settlement from the city, after he was fatally shot by a cop who wanted to warn him about riding on a busy street.

A Los Altos bike rider describes roads emptied by the fires in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties as a cycling Nirvana. Even if everyone was being asked to stay off them.

Santa Clara-based chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices is getting into the bike business with a pair of eponymous ebikes.

 

National

Nice read from a new bike rider, who comes to the realization that it’s okay to take up space on a bike. And that some drivers insist on getting in front, even when it’s not smart.

Cannondale is recalling defective front racks on some of its Treadwell bike models.

A bike rider documented the destruction from a wildfire that ravaged his southern Oregon town.

Now that’s more like it. A Nebraska man got 18 years behind bars for the hit-and-run death of a Colorado bike rider; that compares with just four years for a similar crime in Los Angeles.

A Texas man is riding 3,000 miles around the perimeter of the state, after previously riding 4,900 miles through every street in Austin.

This is why you don’t chase down a bike thief. A Wisconsin teenager faces an attempted murder charge for repeatedly shooting a man who chased after him when the teen allegedly stole a bike from his property.

Chicago has seen a spike in bicycling fatalities, with seven deaths so far this year, including the first death on city’s e-bikeshare.

This is the cost of traffic violence. An assistant Brooklyn DA and experienced bicyclist was killed when she was struck by the driver of a charter bus while riding her bike; advocates point the finger at New York Mayor Bill de Blasio for failing to make the city safer. De Blasio responded by saying if you think riding a bike in the city sucks now, just imagine what it would be like without him.

New York’s spare mayor, who would take over if de Blasio stepped down for any reason, says he worries about his own safety while riding a bike, after getting hit by a driver while riding last week.

New York bike advocates call on the NYPD to stop prematurely blaming bike riders for their own deaths before even conducting an investigation.

No charges have been filed against a pro-Trump driver who plowed into a group of bike riders last week at a Black Lives Matter protest in New York’s Times Square.

Someone please tell “Northern Virginia’s leading news source” that robbing, assaulting and exposing yourself to people on a local bike trail is not the same as aggressive bicycling.

A group of North Carolina seniors were heroes after finding four grand in cash while on a bike ride, then tracking down the money’s owner who had literally lost his nest egg.

 

International

Once again, a bike rider is a hero, as a Canadian medical resident biking home from work came across someone passed out in the street, and was able to save their life with a dose of naxalone.

One of Canada’s best-know tech investors was paralyzed from the waist down when he was struck by the driver of jackknifed truck as he was riding his bike last week.

London bicyclists were twice as likely to be seriously injured or killed by speeding drivers during the city’s coronavirus lockdown.

Life is cheap in Wales, where a driver walked after playing the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, claiming he couldn’t see the bike-riding man he killed because the sun was in his eyes. A second driver played the same card in the same crash, but a jury didn’t buy it in her case.

Good for her. The wife of a fallen British bicyclist unleashed her fury on the court for the lenient sentence given her husband’s killer, who got just six months for hitting him head-on while speeding on the wrong side of the road.

Tragic news, as a well-known 86-year old UK bicyclist died while trying to ride the length of the country for a second time, after he was found in the roadway suffering from serious head injuries; he’d completed the 621-mile ride once before when he was 77.

A Berlin court ordered city officials to remove popup bike lanes that had been installed during the pandemic, after opponents accused them of using it to push through their traffic agenda.

Bollywood star Salmon Khan is one of us. Then again, he’s also an accused hit-and-run driver who was never held accountable.

An Indian man had a little time on his hands during the country’s coronavirus lockdown. So he used it to build an eco-friendly wooden bicycle.

Kenyans are taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis to fall in love with bicycling again.

Tokyo responds to the worldwide bike boom by doing exactly what Los Angeles has failed to do, building bike lanes on 62 miles of major roadways to accommodate the increase in bicycling.

 

Competitive Cycling

By now, it’s not a spoiler to report Britain’s Adam Yates put up a fight before losing the yellow jersey earlier this week, and said leading the Tour de France was fun while it lasted.

French favorite Julian Alaphilippe faltered when his legs gave out on a breakaway yesterday.

Italy’s Fabio Aru had to abandon the Tour due to physical issues that the Former Vuelta winner doesn’t understand himself.

Cycling Weekly catches up with everyone who’s gotten a financial slap on the wrist in this year’s Tour.

Bicycling offers 14 fun facts about the Tour de France you can use to impress your friends. Even though most American’s don’t care in the post-Lance fiasco age.

Seriously, if you’re going to get in the face of the competitors in the peloton, put your damn mask on.

And when people complain about the disparity between men’s and women’s cycling, this is exactly what they mean .

https://twitter.com/DreVorak/status/1302224388159188993

 

Finally…

Your next bike could be a Lamborghini. If you barely get out of the parking lot, you didn’t escape following a bank robbery, whether on a bike or anything else.

And apparently, victory does not always go to the sweaty guys in spandex.

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I continue to be amazed by the kindness and generosity of the people who read this site. Thanks to James L, Fred D, and Janice H for their very generous donations to help me get it up and running again.

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

Bike rider killed in Laguna Niguel, more coronavirus cancellations, and LA Marathon Crash Ride rolls Sunday

Before we get started, it looks like the foster corgi we’ve been looking after will get his well-deserved 15 minutes of fame in tomorrow’s LA Times

He and his owner will be featured in the City Beat column written Nita Lelyveld, with my wife and me in a supporting role. 

There probably won’t be any bikes involved this time, even though the foster corgi’s owner is one of us, too. 

It’s a beautiful story.

And if I know Nita, she’ll tell it beautifully. 

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OC bike lawyer Edward Rubinstein has forwarded a Nextdoor post saying a bike rider was seriously injured in a collision on Alicia Parkway in Laguna Niguel on Thursday, along with an unconfirmed report that the victim didn’t make it.

Rubinstein relates the crash appears to have occurred in the southbound lane of Alicia Parkway between Aliso Creek and Highlands Ave.

There normally is a painted bike lane on Alicia, but it was removed in a recent repaving and hasn’t been restriped yet, leaving riders at the mercy of drivers who frequently exceed the 50 mph speed limit.

Update: Sadly, we have confirmation a man in his 60s was killed.

Hopefully, we’ll get more details today. I’ll get a story online later in the day.

Thanks to Edward Rubinstein and David Becker for the heads-up.

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More fallout from the COVID-19 coronavirus, as the annual Sea Otter Classic pulls the plug on this spring’s event, with hopes of rescheduling later in the year when the virus will hopefully be less active.

And Italy’s Strade Bianche and Strade Bianche Women Elite races were cancelled as cycling teams continued to withdraw from tomorrow’s races due to fears of the coronavirus.

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The LA Marathon takes place on Sunday.

Which means the annual semi-official Marathon Crash Ride will as well, with a 3 am meet time at the former Tang’s Donuts on Sunset, and 4 am start.

But as canadianangeleno points out, this year 3 am comes a little earlier due to the time change.

Meanwhile, Redditors offer a number of tips and feeder rides.

Thanks to everyone who helped confirm this year’s ride. There are far too many to thank here individually, but I really do appreciate the help from all.

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CicLAvia has posted photos from their recent South LA open streets event.

Meanwhile, the Militant Angeleno provides the CicLAvia schedule for the rest of the year, including a return to South LA before the year is over.

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Having failing to learn their lesson from the highly criticized Peloton Wife ad this past Christmas, Peloton now thinks you should give one to your mom for Mother’s Day.

No, really.

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Congratulations to BikinginLA sponsor, bike lawyer and all-around nice guy Josh Cohen on joining the board of the LACBC.

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Local

Santa Monica-based Bird is officially unveiling their new fat-tired Scoot e-mopeds, offering a seated ride with top speeds of 20 mph.

 

State

Newport Beach-based Electric Bike Company proves that you can build a quality ebike in the US.

Great idea. The San Diego Bicycle Coalition is hosting a monthly series of public bike rides celebrating new bus and bike lanes on El Cajon Blvd, featuring “weird and wonderful” entertainers along the way.

Pismo Beach’s formerly “swervey curvey” road is now straighter but “lumpy bumpy.”

 

National

Streetsblog looks at how the media helped build, and continues to reinforce, America’s car culture.

The foldable, carbon frame Companion Bike allows anyone to take a handicapped friend or family member out for a bike ride.

A writer for Grist says yes, ebikes really are good for the environment.

A Denver writer questions why it takes so long for bike lanes to get approval in the city. If he thinks that’s bad, he should try living in Los Angeles, where we’re still waiting for the 1977 bike plan, let alone the 2010 plan.

Speaking of Denver bike lanes, a new survey shows 80% of Denver residents support bike lanes, even at the expense of parking or travel lanes. It’s long past time someone did a survey of Los Angeles voters, which might surprise some of LA’s less than bike-friendly councilmembers.

Unbelievable. A Michigan appellate court rules a bike rider was at fault for a crash after he got high the night before and might have been looking at his speedometer, even though he was left-crossed while he had the right-of-way by a driver who wasn’t looking. And the driver allegedly admitted fault.

A stoned Connecticut driver got a well-deserved four years behind bars for a head-on wrong way crash that killed a bike rider, after using heroin prior to driving.

New York police are still looking for a gang of violent bike thieves targeting ebike riders on the Queensboro Bridge.

 

International

C/net loves GM’s new ebike foldie, which is designed to solve the first mile/last mile problem. And says it’s a shame it’s only available in three European countries right now.

Heartbreaking story from Ireland, where a man lived with locked-in syndrome for 16 years after falling off the handlebars of a friend’s bicycle, fully alert, yet trapped in his own body and unable to move.

PeopleForBikes considers how Paris raised bicycling rates 54% in just one year.

Speaking of Paris, the former French Health Minister and wannabe mayor insists that riding a bike isn’t good for you, and that plans for more bike lanes in the City of Lights were “violent.” No, really.

A 49-year old Indian soldier rode his bike nearly 2,200 miles from Tripura to Delhi in just 20 days to demonstrate the importance of fitness.

British bike scribe Carlton Reid previews a four-hour guided ebike tour of the religion, politics and Banksys of modern Bethlehem.

A writer for New York Magazine hops on her bike and rides deep into Sichuan province to escape the coronavirus and surveillance state in Chengdu, China.

That was fast. It took less than 24 hours for someone to toss Melbourne, Australia’s first Jump dockless bike into a pond.

This is who we share the roads with. A Chilean worker faces charges after somehow running down one of the famed Easter Island statues, or moai, with his pickup, causing incalculable physical, archeological and cultural damage.

 

Competitive Cycling

Sad news from Colorado, where German pro mountain biker Benjamin Sonntag was killed when he was struck by the driver of a pickup Wednesday afternoon.

A writer for Singletracks recounts the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo mountain bike endurance race through Sonoran Desert north of Tucson.

Bicycling sings the praises of the European Spring Classics, which may or may not even happen this year.

 

Finally

You may want to wipe down that bikeshare seat first. When you care enough to get the most expensive bike accessories, if not the very best.

And when you’re riding bikes with an outstanding warrant, don’t run the stop sign — and don’t toss your drugs when there’s a helicopter overhead.

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Thanks to Margaret W for her annual donation to support this site, and keep bringing you SoCal’s best bike news every morning. 

 

Morning Links: Dangerous SaMo corner, LA Calbike board members, East LA man killed in bike dispute

I count on my readers to keep us appraised dangerous situations.

Especially now when health issues continue to keep me off my bike.

For instance, Santa Monica cyclist Bill Jordan writes about a dangerous intersection after seeing a cyclist down Wednesday morning.

Wanted to make you aware of a bike car collision that occurred this morning at the bottom of the 23rd street hill behind the Santa Monica Airport where it intersects Dewey St. Two cars were stopped with multiple police officers on the scene and a crumpled bike in between the two cars.

Samo MapI’m quite familiar with the intersection, as I bike commute 1-2 days per week past it in both directions, and I can safely say it’s the spot I’m most concerned about on every ride. It’s also easily solvable with a little adjustments to traffic flow. As you can see in this crude graphic, evening rush hour traffic backs up 23rd St. (highlighted in red), typically all the way to Ocean Park Blvd.

This encourages people to use the comparatively empty 21st St, and then cut across Dewey, Navy, Marine, or even the alleyway between Navy and Dewey (highlighted in yellow). This would be fine, except drivers rarely remember to check the unimpeded southbound bike lane on 23rd before turning out into the stopped traffic. Since it’s a 3% decline, I often find myself riding the brakes to avoid running broadside into a car that didn’t realize there was more than one lane of traffic they were turning across. It is not surprising at all that the Strava Segment for that downhill section is called “Ocean Park – Rose Kamikaze.”

As for why the traffic backs up, you don’t have to go far to find the solution. The intersection at Rose Avenue and Walgrove has a light that is timed for the morning rush, when a number of people are coming west on Rose Avenue and turning north on Walgrove/23rd. However, that traffic doesn’t exist in the evening, but of course the lights follow the same pattern. This leads to lots of red light time for cars heading southbound on 23rd/Walgove, and creates the three quarter mile backup that encourages the unsafe neighborhood cut-throughs. Obviously with the morning collision the backup wasn’t the problem here, but it does show how unsafe the bike lane there is. Would love to know who could help fix this issue.

I’ve forwarded his email to Cynthia Rose of LACBC neighborhood chapter Santa Monica Spoke.

Any other suggestions for who he should talk to?

Update: I’ve just gotten word that the cyclist involved in this collision was popular LA rider Nate Loyal, who came out on the losing side of a collision with an SUV.

I’m told he was rushed to the hospital with a broken tibia, tibia and collarbone — but thankfully, no head injury. He’s scheduled for surgery today, but expected to be okay.

Best wishes and prayers for full and speedy recovery.

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Calbike gets four new board members, including San Diego’s Elayne Fowler, Silicon Valley’s Janet LaFleur, and our own Dorothy Wong and BikinginLA sponsor Josh Cohen.

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Sad news from Portland, as a beloved recumbent bike shop owner takes her own life, two years after she suffered a severe brain injury in a collision while riding her ‘bent. Thanks to David Wolfberg and Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

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LASD sketch of the suspect

LASD sketch of the suspect

Just heartbreaking. A 76-year old East LA man suffering from dementia was beaten to death last August in a dispute over a bicycle, which did not belong to him.

His killer, identified only as a Hispanic man with a trimmed mustache and beard — which he probably shaved off if he’s seen the news — rode away on the bike.

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Canyon Velo Cycling will host a Remembrance Ride for fallen OC cyclist Sherri Norton, three years after she was killed in a highly disputed collision. Thanks to Jeffrey for the news.

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Local

Mayor Garcetti promises to step up street repaving, and assures Streetsblog the new and improved streets will have the most recent approved designs, including bike lanes and continental crosswalks. Meanwhile, a city council proposal would allow residents to tax themselves to pay for road and sidewalk repairs.

Santa Monica approves the county’s first Smart Bike bike share system.

More on Friday’s planned crackdown by Santa Monica police to improve bike and pedestrian safety; and yes, for a change, they’re targeting drivers as well as cyclists and jaywalkers.

Peloton looks at last Sunday’s Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer competition up some of the city’s — and the nation’s — steepest hills.

 

State

The San Diego Reader looks back at fallen cyclist Udo Heinz and the bus collision that needlessly took his life.

Sometimes you’re just in the wrong place. An El Cajon bike rider suffers serious injuries when he’s collateral damage in a collision between two vehicles.

A San Bernardino bike rider is killed in a pre-dawn shooting.

Santa Barbara police issue nearly 100 citations to drivers and cyclists alike in a crackdown to improve bike safety.

It’s not all bad news, though, as Santa Barbara will build a new bike station at the city’s Transit Station. Thanks again to Megan Lynch for the link.

San Francisco will expand their bike share system while upgrading equipment.

The long-planned Bay Bridge bike path connecting Oakland and San Francisco could be in trouble after authorities choke on a $400 million-plus price tag.

 

National

Wired offers up nine things drivers need to stop saying in the debate over bikes vs cars. To start, we could stop positioning it as bikes vs cars. Or cyclists vs drivers.

A big-hearted, yet anonymous Oklahoma cop buys a boy a new bike after his was stolen.

New York looks at the progress made in the first year of Vision Zero, while Portland moves forward with their plan.

If I rode with a knife like that, I'd probably get more respect from drivers, too

If I rode with a knife like that, I’d probably get more respect from drivers, too

People for Bikes unveils a new bike safety campaign based on popular Pittsburgh series.

Caught on video: Just days after a Boston aggro bike filmmaker survives a brush with a road raging cabbie, he barely survives a right hook in the rain — then wishes the driver a happy Wednesday.

A Philadelphia cyclist intervenes to stop a bike thief, even after the outlaw flashed a gun.

The writer of Brooklyn Spoke explains why he’s opposed to the proposed New York ban on cellphone use while bicycling.

A Florida father files suit against FedEx after a driver kills his bike-riding special needs son; the driver was allegedly looking down while he accelerated, and didn’t even know he’d hit someone.

 

International

Bikes are an economic powerhouse, as Europe’s cycling economy has created 650,000 jobs. And could reach one million in just six years.

Brit cyclists plan a die-in and faux funeral to call attention to the need for safer streets.

Your next bike could be a junk. Literally, as Brit firm specializes in upcycling scrap cars into handmade bicycles.

Dublin is hiring a new cycling czar. Don’t bother applying, I’m taking it.

Germany considers sending convicted dopers to jail for three years, with 10 years for the doctors who help them.

Cycling Weekly looks at a bike that isn’t quite the one the won a stage in the Tour de France in 1959, and offers solutions to embarrassing problems on a bike. Just make sure no one is drafting on you when you break wind; then again, if you’ve got a wheel sucker behind you, it’s a good defense mechanism.

An Aussie councilmember proposes a boxy, so-called “smart helmet that would comply with the country’s mandatory helmet law, while providing a licensing registration number that can be read by road cameras. And it has built-in turn signals, brake light, visor with wiper blade, and offers a warning when the rider gets too close to pedestrians. Seriously, you can’t make this shit up.

 

Finally…

A Seattle website asks whether a bike rack has been circumcised; looks like it to me. So much for the common argument that no one rides in winter weather.

And fair is fair: A Chicago columnist is incensed that dog owners must carry proof of a license when their dogs go out to poop, but cyclists don’t need one — to ride, not poop. But maybe bike-hating writers should have one to write crap like this.

 

Morning Links: LA bike lawyer examines anti-harassment ordinance; shoes starting to drop in Milt Olin case

Los Angeles attorney Josh Cohen writes about LA’s cyclist anti-harassment ordinance for Plaintiff Magazine.

In it, Cohen — a BikinginLA sponsor — explains that the ordinance may not be the panacea we had hoped, since California law relieves insurance companies of responsibility for intentional acts — making it difficult to collect anything other than a small judgment in a harassment case, unless the driver has unusually deep pockets.

His suggestion is that most victims may be better off filing a case in small claims court for a flat $1000 judgment, rather than struggling to get an attorney to take the case when there’s little chance of a recovery.

He goes on to explain that you can file a form with the DMV to identify the driver. And even if you never see a dime, winning your case means you can get the DMV to suspend the driver’s license if he or she can’t — or won’t — pay.

Then again, getting a dangerous driver off the road is a victory in itself.

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The shoes are finally starting to drop in the Milt Olin case.

According to the Daily News, court papers show the sheriff’s deputy who killed him was texting moments before the collision, and may have been using the patrol car’s onboard computer.

However, it’s my understanding that police officers are exempt from the California law banning the use of handheld devices, which means he’s unlikely to be charged with texting while driving. Although he still could face charges for careless or distracted driving.

Of course, the real question is whether the deputy was texting a private number while on duty, or someone within the sheriff’s department. And whether, as many have suggested, that it is department policy — official or otherwise — for officers to use the onboard computer while driving.

If so, it could exonerate the deputy, but leave the department itself on the hook for Olin’s death.

Which may be why the DA’s office is taking so long to decide what, if any, charges to file. Or what laws may even apply in this increasingly bizarre case.

Thanks to Lois, John McBrearty, Mike Kim and Lisa Buckland for the link.

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Bike riders are being urged to attend tonight’s Laguna Beach City Council session to call for safer streets for cyclists and pedestrians following the death of John Colvin last month.

To the best of my knowledge, the 19-year old driver still hasn’t been charged, despite stopping over a mile away.

Just a reminder to please join us tomorrow night on the City Hall lawn to express our solidarity and support for urgent change to our transportation grid. We demand safe passage for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Laguna has a long way to go, but if our City Council sees how many of us care about this issue, and understand how we fear for our lives every time we mount a bike, perhaps we can spur some action.

Please spread the word and urge your cycle buddies to join us.

Livable Streets Laguna Rally
5:30-6:30
Tuesday, July 15
City Hall
505 Forest Ave

Bring your bike if possible.

Thanks to Jeffery for the heads-up.

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You’re invited to show up on Wednesday to protest Metro’s short-sighted plan to give mere crumbs to active transportation.

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And then there were none.

The last remaining former winner of the Tour de France abandoned the race today when Alberto Contador injured his knee in a solo fall. Despite a broken tibia, Contador did his best to finish the mountain stage.

Which means yellow-jersey bearer Vincenzo Nibali becomes the instant favorite, with a wide-open field behind him.

Meanwhile, to no one’s surprise, former Russian pro Denis Menchov — two-time winner of the Vuelta and one-time Giro winner — gets a two-year ban for doping.

And the great Marianne Vos wins her third Giro de Rosa, as Emma Pooley takes the final stage. In a show of total domination, Vos’ Rabobank-Liv teammates Pauline Ferrand Prevot and Anna van der Breggen round out the podium.

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Local

More on CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s Orwellian decision to halt the road safety project slated for North Figueroa. Maybe someone should tell Cedillo that increasing traffic congestion — as West Hollywood did in remaking Santa Monica Blvd — can be a good thing, leading to a vibrant and popular neighborhood.

In another loss for LA bicyclists, new buffered bike lanes on Vineland could mean the death of long fought-for lanes on nearby Lankershim.

Another link opens in the eventual 51-mile LA River bikeway with the opening of the Los Angeles River Headwaters greenway in the San Fernando Valley.

Santa Monica Museum of Art’s popular bike-centric Tour da Arts rolls August 26th; RSVP early because the bike ride always fills up.

Meetings are planned to integrate bikes into the new Expo Line extension in Santa Monica.

Five hundred women take part in Long Beach’s Beach Babe Bicycling Classic; the event also marked the announcement of an all-women’s Gran Fondo in Napa Valley next spring. Meanwhile, a writer says the city can and should take the lead in encouraging more women to ride.

 

State

A San Diego cyclist is injured after he’s cut off by a car exiting a parking lot.

The San Diego victim’s family is justifiably furious when the DUI driver who killed their father is let back out on the streets just over two years into a six-year sentence.

A Riverside man rides his bike back home. From Montana.

Despite finding more than 130 stolen bikes and frames, the Marin County DA drops bike theft charges against a woman suspected of buying hot bikes.

 

National

Bicycling’s Elly Blue compares abusive drivers to internet trolls. Sounds about right.

Great advice to support the ones who support you at your local bike shop.

Good for her. A transgender rider fights discrimination while taking the BMX world by storm.

An editorial writer for the Denver Post is nearly as sarcastic as I am in ridiculing the slap on the wrist given a killer hit-and-run driver from my hometown.

Does it really matter if drivers understand that bike riders have a right to ride in the middle of the lane? Aren’t they supposed to somehow avoid running over anyone directly in front of them anyway?

It takes a real schmuck to shove a five-year old Cleveland boy off his bike and steal his nine-year old brother’s Schwinn at gunpoint.

 

International

The typical Calgary bike rider is helmet-wearing man who prefers to ride on a bike path.

A Toronto writer says maybe drivers and cyclists could achieve some sort of détente on the road if we all tried thinking like the other guy.

A Brit cyclist celebrates World Naked Bike Ride Day with a bare solo ride on a major highway.

A UK man is pushed into a river when his bike is stolen in a strong arm robbery.

Team Rwanda is headed to the British Commonwealth Games.

Rants in the Australian media help fuel anger against bike riders.

 

Finally…

I don’t care how drunk you are, how on earth does anyone mistake the cyclist she just killed for a badger? And seriously, no matter how pissed off you are about the truck driver who nearly hit you, don’t lie and say he threatened you with a gun; it won’t end well for you.

 

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.

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