Tag Archive for LA County Sheriff’s Department

Bass elected LA mayor, catch and release in sheriff’s cadet crash, and WeHo considers Fountain bike lanes Monday

Congratulations to Congresswoman Karen Bass on being elected as LA’s new mayor.

The first woman to hold the post, and only the second Black Angeleno, Bass defeated billionaire mall developer Rick Caruso, despite being outspent 11 to 1 as he dropped well over $100 million on his own campaign.

The question for us is whether the new mayor’s professed focus on homelessness, crime and housing authority will preclude desperately needed efforts to transform our streets to improve safety and get Angelenos out of their cars.

Let’s hope Streets For All and BikeLA, formerly the LACBC, are already in contact with her office to set up a meeting.

Because after years of neglect under outgoing Mayor Eric Garcetti, and successful efforts by various councilmembers to block progress in their districts, we don’t have any time to waste.

Meanwhile, Streetblog’s Joe Linton calls the recent election good news for livability and transportation, with the possible exception of CD11’s Tracy Park, who instantly becomes the most conservative member of the city council.

Park has professed support for multimodal transportation, yet drew much of her supporters from Westside NIMBYs who’ve fought bus and bike improvements.

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He was arrested for attempted murder.

Until he wasn’t.

Just one day after a wrong-way driver slammed into a phalanx of sheriff’s cadets, injuring 25 people, including five critically — and after reportedly turning the investigation over the the CHP — the LA Country Sheriff’s Department announced that Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez had been arrested on a charge of attempted murder on a peace officer.

Then turned around and announced he had been released without charges due to a lack of evidence.

No, really.

The premature arrest indicated the belief of investigators that Gutierrez had intentionally steered into the recruits, accelerating at he plowed through them, as we had surmised yesterday.

The only problem is a lack of evidence confirming intent. Outgoing Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva stressed that the release is provisional, pending collection of more evidence confirming his actions were intentional.

Why they jumped the gun and arrested Gutierrez on a presumption of guilt, rather than basing the arrest on actual evidence, is an open question at this time.

As is why they have apparently reclaimed the investigation from the CHP, after relinquishing it just one day earlier.

But with Villanueva leaving in a couple of weeks, its likely to become incoming sheriff-elect Robert Luna’s problem.

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West Hollywood is scheduled to consider whether to add protected bike lanes on deadk=ly Fountain Ave at Monday’s council meeting, which would require a reduction to one lane in each direction as well as removing parking spaces; refer to agenda item 4.B.

The lanes would provide a safer east-west alternative to dangerous Santa Monica Blvd, after the existing painted bike lanes on Santa Monica end east of La Cienega.

However, it would also require the removal of at least 150 parking spaces; an alternative plan for painted bike lanes would require removing up to 40 spaces.

Which means opponents are likely to come out in force in an effort to block it.

Meanwhile, WeHo Mayor Lauren Meister is on track for re-election, while former Councilmember John Heilman enjoys a 246 vote lead over Chelsea Wright for the second and third spots; the top three finishers will be seated on the city council.

Former Councilmember John Duran, who made cancelling the bike lanes the centerpiece of his campaign, is currently languishing out of the running in fifth place.

However, with the exception of Meister, who is already on the council, they won’t be seated in time to effect Monday’s decision on Fountain.

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This puts the problem of LA drivers in perspective.

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

Police in Youngstown, Ohio are looking for a bike rider seen on video near the site of three stolen catalytic converters.

Police now believe the fatal shooting of a 21-year old Bronx basketball player by a man riding an ebike was a case of mistaken identity. Which somehow doesn’t seem to make it any better.

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Local

The newly rebranded BikeLA is hosting a class on the Essentials of Group Riding this evening, and a South LA Pan Dulce Ride on Sunday.

 

State 

A San Diego woman whose husband was killed by a wrong-way driver while riding his bike to the movies calls on the city’s mayor to mark Sunday’s World Day of Remembrance for victims of traffic violence by doubling the budget for the city’s quick-build protected bike lane program, and lowering speed limits on the most dangerous Vision Zero corridors. Sounds reasonable to me.

Oxnard approved a $3 million plan for sidewalks and bike lanes in the city’s El Rio neighborhood.

Berkeley considers a proposal to offer its own instant ebike rebate program, which could be paired with the state’s ebike rebates, if they ever happen.

Bike co-op Rich City Rides is hosting a bike party and ride to celebrate the third anniversary of the protected bike lane on the Richmond San Rafael Bridge.

 

National

Damn good question. An updated edition of Jeff Speck’s book Walkable City asks why we don’t take traffic violence as seriously as terrorism, when you’re 568 times more likely to die in crash than at the hands of a terrorist.

The 22nd annual Cranksgiving bicycle food drive rolls in cities across the US tomorrow, including a return to downtown Los Angeles after a pandemic pause.

Portland bike advocates are suing the city under a 1971 state law that requires improving infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians any time a street is constructed, reconstructed or relocated. Unfortunately, California doesn’t have a similar law, although Los Angeles could if the Healthy Streets LA ballot proposition passes in 2024. 

An abandoned railroad trestle across a Corpus Christy, Texas bay could become a unique rail-to-trail conversion.

Remember this the next time someone tells you handicapped people can’t ride bikes, as a 70-year old Iowa man is using a recumbent bike to continue riding as he recovers from a debilitating stroke.

Jake and Elwood Blues would be thrilled to know Joliet, Illinois could soon be expanding on the city’s two — yes, 2 — existing bike lanes.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tosses her security detail under the bus, blaming them for double-parking in a bike lane to get some donuts.

Curbed says don’t blame ebikes for the recent rash of New York battery fires; blame refurbished batteries and mismatched chargers.

Pennsylvania’s governor vetoed a bill that would have allowed curb and parking protected bike lanes in the state, after the legislature tacked on an unrelated provision to strip power from Philadelphia’s district attorney.

More than 1,300 people will ride to Congress tomorrow to demand safer streets, following the route a US diplomat was taking when she was killed by a truck driver while riding in a Bethesda, Maryland bike lane in August.

Seventy-one year old former astronaut Bill McArthur is one of us, one of 700 riders who recently completed a multi-day bike tour across South Carolina.

 

International

Bike Rumor recommends the best gifts for the wrench in your life.

Speaking of handicapped bike riders, a British Paralympian paralyzed from the waist down will attempt to become the first person to ride an adaptive bike across the Antarctic Plateau.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a 13-year old British boy’s bike from his mother’s car after she rushed with him to the hospital when he fell off and broke his collarbone.

A bike advocacy group is urging Amsterdam officials to set a 12 mph speed limit for ebikes on the city’s bike paths, as faster ebikes continue to gain in popularity.

 

Competitive Cycling

A 25-year old Anchorage woman has parlayed her love of bikepacking into a new role as a champion bikepacking endurance cyclist.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could be a modern take on the classic Schwinn Stingray. Or maybe made from sustainable plywood. Everyone looks better on a lowrider bike.

And who needs a cargo bike when you can ride your bike with nine kids hanging on?

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Romero guilty of murder in Huntington Beach DUI bike death, and wrong-way driver injures 25 LA sheriff’s cadets

Guilty.

An Orange County jury convicted 28-year old Victor Manuel Romero of second-degree murder and hit-and-run in the 2019 death of Raymond MacDonald as he rode his bike in Huntington Beach.

Romero faced the murder charge after signing a Watson notice following a 2012 conviction for DUI, specifying that he could be charged with the crime if he killed someone while under the influence anytime in the future.

And he did.

Romero started the deadly chain of events by crashing into a bar owner’s car as he left a parking lot, before smashing into MacDonald’s bike and speeding off without slowing down, then fleeing on foot after finally crashing his car into a tree.

He had been drinking at a pair of Huntington Beach bars, and got into a fight with someone in the parking garage next door, which his lawyer bizarrely argued meant Romero was not responsible for his actions after suffering a brain injury.

Fortunately, the jury didn’t buy it.

He now faces 15 to life when he is sentenced in February.

Adding to the tragedy, MacDonald had just finished celebrating his 33rd birthday, and was towing a bike trailer loaded with gifts across the street when Romero ran him down.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.

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This is who we share the road with.

A wrong-way SUV driver plowed into a group of LA County Sheriff’s cadets on a Whittier training run Wednesday morning, injuring 25 recruits — five critically.

One of the five is on a ventilator, while others suffered life-changing injuries, including lost limbs.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who lost his run for re-election this week, describe the scene as looking like an airplane crash, with “bodies scattered everywhere.”

And in case anyone still thinks hi-viz is the key to bike and pedestrian safety, all 75 recruits on the run were wearing reflective vests, in addition to running in four columns accompanied by two black-and-white patrol vehicles and eight road guards.

Yet the driver still smashed into them at an estimated 30 – 40 mph. Not only did the 22-year old driver fail to slow down, there are reports that he continued accelerating as he sliced through the cadets — which could suggest this was something other than just another “oopsie.”

Reports varied on whether driver appeared to be under the influence after the crash, though cannabis was found in his vehicle.

He was taken into custody by the cadets, and was transported to the hospital with undisclosed injuries.

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No surprise here, unfortunately.

A year after acquiring Cycling Tips, Pink Bike and Trailforks, Outside has reportedly laid-off 12 percent of the workforce, with a focus on writing and editorial workers, including at sister publication VeloNews.

Needless to say, it was not well received by readers of the sites.

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Nice to see LA marking Sunday’s World Day of Remembrance for victims of traffic violence.

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Georgia senatorial candidate Hershel Walker somehow derided his opponent, incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock, for “letting” President Joe Biden ride his bike.

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

A Brooklyn councilmember is demanding answers from the local police precinct commander, saying it’s deeply disturbing that a noted bike lawyer was hauled off in handcuffs for attempting to remove a piece of plastic illegally obscuring a driver’s license plate.

A Hoboken city councilmember called for more bike lanes, days after he was hit by a driver who yelled at him to use the bike lane before crashing into him; the driver in question says it was just an “oopsie,” not road rage.

No bias here. A Conservative Member of the British Parliament says lowering the speed limit in Wales to 20 mph is just a ploy to raise cash while attacking motorists — even if it is almost universally ignored.

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

A bike-riding British naval commander has been cleared of using racially abusive language in a heated roadside road rage incident with a Black motorist, who alleged the commander called him a “Black cunt,” while the sailor insisted he had merely referred to the driver’s black car.

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Local

In what could be good news for bike riders, CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell conceded his re-election effort to challenger Hugo Soto-Martinez, who has promised to complete many of the bikeway projects O’Farrell had blocked until recently, along with pedestrianizing parts of Hollywood Blvd.

 

State 

Streetsblog talks with Bike East Bay Advocacy Director Dave Campbell, who is leaving the organization after 26 years of fighting for safer streets in the East San Francisco Bay Area.

Sad news from Modesto, where a man riding a bicycle was killed in a collision Tuesday evening. He must have been the victim of a sentient self-driving car, however, since there’s no mention of a driver anywhere in the article.

 

National

Politico talks with former DC and Chicago DOT director Gabe Klein, who is now tasked with overseeing EV infrastructure for the Biden administration.

Gear Junkie recommends ten gifts for the bicyclist in your life. Even if the only bicyclist in your life is you.

A new study from Oregon State University shows bike boxes really do improve safety at intersections for people on bicycles.

The rich get richer. Just one day after we mentioned the ebike rebate program in Austin, Texas, the city announced it is more than doubling the amount available for rebates, from $600 to $1,300.

Chicago’s mayor was deservedly blasted online after an advocacy group posted video of her guards double-parked in a bike lane for a doughnut run.

‘Tis the season. An Ohio man is preparing for holiday bike giveaways, after spending the year collecting, fixing and donating bikes for kids who need them; he estimates he’s given away nearly double the 3,000 bikes from last year.

A Connecticut driver learns the hard way that it may not be the best idea to flee the scene after severely injuring the bike-riding brother of the state’s lieutenant governor.

New York considers a ban on secondhand and uncertified lithium-ion ebike and e-scooter batteries, which have been blamed for an increasing number of fires.

An 18-year old Virginia man now faces additional charges for the alleged drunken crash that killed one woman and seriously injured another as they were riding together this past August.

South Carolina advocates are calling on the legislature to repeal a ban on red light cameras, as a national study shows the traffic cams reduce fatalities by 20%. Hopefully, a new city council will reconsider LA’s ban on red light cams, too.

An Orlando bike cop was lucky to escape with minor injuries when he was dragged by a fleeing driver following a traffic stop, and was still stuck on the vehicle when the driver crashed into a tree.

 

International

A new report shows it’s still not safe to travel through London if you’re not in a car.

Bicycling deaths are even spiking in bike-friendly Belgium, as fatalities hit a ten-year high for the first nine months of this year.

An Indian man has just 21 countries left in his around-the-world bike tour of 191-countries, which began four bikes and 18 years ago; one of the bikes was purchased by the Polish prime minister, after his previous bicycle was stolen while touring the country.

 

Competitive Cycling

Lachlan Morton, the Aussie cyclist who beat the Tour de France peloton to Paris in his own Alt Tour, has now set his sites on breaking the 78-day record for riding around the world set by Scottish long-distance cyclist Mark Beaumont in 2017.

World handbike champ Mitch Valize is working with a lab in the Netherlands to improve the high-tech materials and design of his handcycle, comparing it to the design of F1 race cars.

 

Finally…

That feeling when science proves ebikes are more efficient and fun than regular bikes. If you’re going to burglarize vehicles, try to hide your wet bike tires from sharp-eyed cops.

And if the prices are too good to be true, you may have been conned by yet another fraudulent SRAM website.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

DA won’t prosecute deputies in Dijon Kizzee shooting, and drunken Huntington Beach hit-and-run death goes to jury

It looks like there won’t be any justice for Dijon Kizzee, after all.

The Los Angeles County DA’s office announced that a pair of sheriff’s deputies won’t be charged for killing 29-year old Dijon Kizzee in South LA in 2020, in what began as a traffic stop for the crime of riding salmon on his lowrider bike.

Kizzee attempted to flee on foot, and was shot 16 times in the front and back as he ran away after picking up a gun he had dropped, suggesting the firing continued long after he was on the ground.

Never mind that Kizzee never pointed the gun at the deputies, or attempted to confront them with it.

His death came during the protests over the killing of George Floyd, which may have contributed to his decision to flee when the deputies tried to stop him.

His family has filed a $35 million claim against the county, which is a required precursor to filing a lawsuit. His family’s attorneys have called it a case of “biking while Black” in the largely Black and Hispanic neighborhood, where riding against traffic is a common response to dangerous streets.

Meanwhile, Knock LA insists there’s no evidence to support crucial details of the deputies stories.

Kizee’s shooting was just one of a number of questionable shootings by LA County sheriff’s deputies, which led to weeks of protests in the local community.

And like the other cases, no action by Los Angeles Count District Attorney George Gascón, who ran on a platform of holding police accountable for their actions.

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The trial of 28-year old alleged drunk driver Victor Manuel Romero has gone to the jury for a verdict, three years after the hit-and-run crash that killed 33-year-old Raymond MacDonald in Huntington Beach.

Romero was over twice the legal alcohol limit during a series of hit-and-runs, starting with crashing into the car belonging to the bar owner where he’d been drinking, and ending when he fled on foot after slamming his car into a tree.

Sandwiched between was MacDonald’s death as he rode his bike in a crosswalk on Beach Blvd at Adams Ave.

Romero’s public defender had bizarrely claimed that he wasn’t responsible for his actions, blaming a head injury sustained in a fight in the bar parking lot for his actions.

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People responded to yesterday’s call to turn out to oppose plans to remove bulb outs on Fair Oaks Ave in South Pasadena, would would make the street even more dangerous for anyone not in a motor vehicle.

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Orange County continues to make slow but steady progress on building new bike facilities, including new bike lanes in Buena Park.

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UC Davis grad student Megan Lynch continues to question why the campus enjoys its newly renewed status as a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly University.

Particularly after a bike-riding student was killed by the driver of a university truck, in a crash that still hasn’t been adequately explained.

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Yet another ebike rebate program is kicking in before dysfunctional California can get its fully funded ebike rebate act together.

This time in Austin, Texas.

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It’s the opposite of road rage, as a bike rider in the UK apologizes for crash into a van, and the driver says “don’t worry about it.”

@norfolkdashcam

The Van Driver was fine about the situation. No dramas. #Accident #Cyclist #Cycle #Van #Norfolk #NorfolkDashCam #UKRoads #DashCamFootage #DashCam #UKDashCam #CaughtOnCamera #Fail #CyclistsOfTiktok

♬ original sound – Norfolk Dash Cam

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Now that’s what I call an endorsement.

Averaging almost 14 mph for 34 hours on a heavy three-speed roadie isn’t bad, either.

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‘Tis the season.

Over 300 Odessa, Texas second graders got matching new bikes and helmets thanks to Occidental Petroleum and bike charity Wish for Wheels.

Kansas City’s first bicycle collective is celebrating 15 years of turning junk into transportation for the city’s most vulnerable residents.

A team of 200 volunteers are working to prepare 400 “gently used” bicycles to give to Atlanta kids in need this holiday season.

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

A Hoboken, New Jersey city councilmember says he was the victim of a road-raging driver, who intentionally plowed into his bikeshare bike.

A London man was lucky to get out of the way when an SUV driver accelerated at him as he attempted to block the vehicle with his bicycle, destroying his bike.

London bicyclists are subjected to “dehumanizing language” and abuse on social media, and fear that anger could translate to attacks on the roads.

No bias here. A leading Swiss economist says that people on bicycles can be up to four times more damaging to the environment than cars, accusing officials of using “creative accounting” and “official tricks” to hide the damage done by bikes — apparently because he somehow thinks all bike riders refuel with beef, and drivers evidently don’t. 

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

Police in New York are looking for a man on an ebike who shot and killed a promising 21-year old basketball player.

Hampshire, England police are on the lookout for a man on a bicycle who threatened and shoved a man riding a mobility scooter after he moved his scooter over to let the bike rider pass.

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Local

No surprise here, as the woman whose home was destroyed by actress Anne Heche in a drunken crash last August has filed a $2 million lawsuit against Heche’s estate; Heche later died from her injuries after falling into a coma once she was finally extracted from the fiery crash.

 

State 

He gets it. A Rancho Bernardo author says we must “recognize and respect that walkers and bicyclists have the right to safety on our roads.” And we can’t use the fact that there are “bad actors in every mode as an excuse to not address the reality of these tragic incidents.”

San Diego has announced the three finalists in a contest to name the city’s new mini electric street sweeper, designed to remove trash from bike lanes and other narrow spots, even as San Diego reduces the frequency of street sweeping in large swaths of the city.

Bakersfield officials held a public workshop to develop a package of traffic calming tools that can be used to tame the city’s notoriously deadly streets.

 

National

Bicycling rates the best early Black Friday ebike sales available right now. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

Channing Tatum is one of us, as his relationship with Zoë Kravitz went public last year when a New York paparazzo spotted Tatum giving Kravitz a ride to her writing partner’s house on the back of his BMX bike.

A new accessible mountain bike trail built on the site of a former New Jersey wild animal park is designed to accommodate bike riders of all abilities

A local weekly ranks the top ten Philly bikeways for your next visit to the City of Brotherly Love.

 

International

Canadian Cycling Magazine goes riding on dirt roads through the interior of Mexico from Puerto Vallarta to Mexico City.

Bike shops holding out for big Black Friday sales may be disappointed, as new research shows UK shoppers are holding onto their money.

The Jerusalem Post says riding a bike is a great way to get to know your city better.

Hanoi, Vietnam is considering a one-year bikeshare pilot program with 1,000 bikes — including 500 ebikes — available at 94 docking stations throughout the city

 

Competitive Cycling

After a pair of top ten finishes in the Giro Donne and Tour de France Femmes, Italian classics specialist Silvia Persico thinks she has a real shot at winning the women’s Tour.

Some of the top pros are hanging up their bike shoes and pulling on running shoes to keep in shape during the off season.

 

Finally…

Your next bike seat could be made of environmentally friendly cork. Now you, too, can build your own DIY bike made entirely of nuts.

No, not the kind you eat.

And shockingly, painted stripes and car-tickler plastic bendy posts are no match for bigass trucks.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Arrest made in Redondo Beach hit-and-run, and Venice Blvd protected bike lane extension approved — and delayed

Maybe it’s a secret.

LA County Sheriff’s deputies made an arrest in the hit-and-run that left a 15-year old Redondo Beach boy with severe road rash, after the driver dragged the teen and his bike under his truck last month.

But they’re not telling us who the suspect is, or giving any details about him.

The driver was arrested after the deputies spotted the truck in Rolling Hills Estates on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, he’s likely to face just two years behind bars due to California’s overly lenient hit-and-run laws.

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LADOT told the Mar Vista Community Council that the new extension of the Venice Blvd protected bike lanes and bus lanes will be moving forward.

Sort of.

Mar Vista Voice offers a detailed thread capturing the highlights — or lowlights — of the meeting, including the power of local NIMBYs to delay, if not halt, vital safety projects.

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The world reached a tragic milestone this week — and one to which the US contributes more than its share.

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Meet LA’s cute little bike lane mini sweeper.

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

Four men have been arrested in the stabbing death of a 21-year old man in a London suburb; the men ran the victim down with their car and knocked him off his bike when he rode off after colliding with them.

A London bus driver lost his appeal to keep his job after he was fired for dangerously swerving onto the wrong side of the road to pass a bicyclist he thought was delaying him, then brake checked the bike rider, forcing him to ride up on the curb to avoid plowing into the bus.

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Local

You can look forward to bike lockers and bike racks at many stations when Metro’s K Line, aka Crenshaw Line, opens this Friday.

Streetsblog gives a rave review to GoSGV, the new monthly ebike rental program from ActiveSGV and the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.

More on the groundbreaking for Baldwin Park’s first urban bike and pedestrian path; the $1.15-million commuter bikeway will take you to Kaiser Permanente and the In-N-Out HQ.

 

State 

The Huntington Beach City Council voted unanimously to approve construction of a half-million dollar bicycle boulevard on Utica Ave.

Goleta approved the $28.3 million San Jose Creek bike and pedestrian path connecting the downtown area with the beach and bike path on the other side of the 101 Freeway; the plan moves forward after languishing on the books for over 30 years.

Berkeley will reconsider previously approved protected bike lanes on Hopkins Street in North Berkeley, after learning it will require the removal of twice as many parking spaces as previously estimated. Because as we all know, places to store cars when they aren’t being used are far more important than protecting human lives — let alone giving an economic boost to local businesses

Unbelievable. A San Mateo County woman is dead after a truck driver slammed into her bicycle while driving on the wrong side of the road last month, because he was working on just two hours sleep and driving with a puppy on his lap; he veered onto the wrong side of the road when the puppy fell off and he bent over to pick it up. He faces a well-deserved charge of felony vehicular manslaughter.

 

National

A car site tries out Audi’s Cellular Vehicle-To-Everything (C-V2X) safety system to alert drivers to the presence of bicycles, and the other way around. Although it only works if both the bike rider and the driver have it installed.

A writer for Forbes says Rad Power’s RadRunner Plus electric utility bike is the best ebike for college students. Never mind that he admits he hasn’t tried the other bikes, owns two Rad Power bikes already, and his son rides one on his California campus. So, totally objective, then.

Speaking of Rad Power, the ebike maker faces another lawsuit after one of their bikes allegedly “malfunctioned and failed catastrophically,” causing a fire that damaged a Pennsylvania man’s home and car.

They get it. A New York website says we need ebike incentives, not bans.

 

International

After spending four years riding around the world, a man discovers that travel isn’t about the destination.

Good question. A Toronto paper wants to know why there are still thousands of ring-style bike racks on the streets, even though the city has known for more than a decade that they’re subject to theft; after the current rate, they’ll finally replace the last one sometime between 2041 and 2050. Canadian law may vary, however, knowing about the problem and failing to fix it could means the city can be held liable if a bike is stolen from one.

A European site questions why bicycles have remained largely unchanged for 150 years, despite the a number of “demonstrably superior” designs.

A Scottish teenager set a new record by riding to 76 of the country’s castles, covering 480 miles in six days.

Britain’s active transportation nonprofit Sustrans calls on the country’s new government to make protected bike lanes on school routes an urgent priority.

Go truffle hunting by bicycle on Tuscany’s fabled Strade Bianchi gravel roads, while staying at an 800-year old wine estate.

We Love Cycling, the bike-focused website from Czech carmaker Škoda, takes a look at some of the lesser known bike-related world records. Maybe we should all take a crack at the world’s highest bunny hop; I’m pretty sure I can clear at least an inch. Maybe two.

Israeli medics treated 2,741 people for bicycling injuries over Yom Kippur, when people traditionally take advantage of the empty streets to ride their bikes.

A comprehensive review of existing literature by an Australian university on the reasons why people don’t ride bikes points the finger at “fear of motorist aggression” and poor quality and badly maintained bike lanes. Other reasons include a lack of bike education, mandatory helmet laws, and overly hilly bikeways.

 

Competitive Cycling

The high-tech National Cycling League will offer a $1 million dollar purse, in addition to prize money for individual crits in Miami, Atlanta, Denver and DC.

Here’s your chance to become a fully supported endurance cyclist. Three people will be selected for the Ultra Distance Scholarship, each of whom will receive a custom Stayer Cycles bike, full Albion bike kit and nine months of training support from Velogi Cycle Coaching in preparation to compete in next year’s Pan Celtic Race.

This is the crap women’s cyclists have to deal with. After Dutch pro Lorena Wiebes rode to victory in Belgium’s Binche-Chimay-Binche, she had to contend with an overly handsy and persistent race official, despite making it clear she was uncomfortable having his hands on her body.

 

Finally…

Where else can you go for a bike-friendly drag brunch in DTLA? Your next aluminum-frame ebike could be assembled at home using an ancient Chinese woodworking technique.

And that feeling when a 90-year old man chases a thief down and beats the crap out of him for stealing his wallet, after the man got in by claiming he fell off his bike.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Hit-and-run drivers critically injure bike riders in San Dimas and Carlsbad, LA begins process to lower some speed limits

Breaking news: The Citizen app is reporting that a man on a bicycle was killed by a driver in Highland Park. 

The crash occurred at South Ave 60 and the offramp to the 110 Freeway around 12:20 am. 

Hopefully we’ll get more news later. 

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LA County Sheriff’s deputies are looking for the hit-and-run driver who severely injured a man on a bicycle in San Dimas late last month.

The 37-year old victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was riding along the curb on Fifth Street west of Eucla Ave around 6:30 pm on January 27, when he was run down from behind by the driver of a dark colored Dodge Ram pickup.

The driver briefly stopped a short distance away before driving off, leaving his victim bleeding in the street.

Investigators ask anyone who lives in the area to check their surveillance cameras for any video that might show the crash or the suspect.

Something sheriff’s investigators should have done themselves in the first few days, if not hours, following the crash, before any video would be deleted or recorded over.

But maybe they were, like, busy or something.

Anyone with information is urged to call San Dimas Traffic Detective Christopher Bronowicki at 909/859-2818.

The video is difficult to watch, so make sure you really want to see the crash and its aftermath before you click play, because you can’t unsee it once you do. 

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A San Diego County family is looking for answers five days after a retired Los Angeles firefighter was found unconscious and badly injured next to his bike in the middle of El Camino Real in Carlsbad.

Seventy-four-year old John Burgan is in a coma in critical condition with internal injuries, as well as fractures all around his skull, face, ribs and right femur, after an apparent hit-and-run.

The location and condition of his undamaged bicycle suggest he may have been struck by the wing mirror of a driver’s vehicle while making his way to the left turn lane at Hosp Way.

Anyone with information is urged to call Carlsbad Police Officer Adam Bentley at 760/931-2288 or email adam.bentley@carlsbadca.gov.

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Finally, a little good news from LA City Hall.

Streetsblog is reporting that the City Council Transportation Committee has taken the unprecedented step of — wait for it — actually lowering speed limits in the City of Angels, in hopes of maybe making a fewer of them.

Angels, that is.

The city’s hands have long been tied by the deadly 85th Percentile Law, which worked in conjunction with speeding drivers to push limits ever higher, regardless of whether the new speeds were actually safe.

It took a new state law, sponsored by Burbank Assemblymember Laura Friedman, to reform, but not repeal, the 85th Percentile Law to allow the city to begin reducing speeds on city streets.

However, the committee’s action covers just 177 miles out of LA’s more than 6,500 miles of streets.

But it’s a start.

………

It looks like New Yorkers overwhelmingly support safer streets, and using automated traffic cams to do it.

Even if their efforts are hindered by the state legislature, which should sound familiar to anyone in California.

New Yorkers want these changes to make streets safe. An Emerson College poll found that 68% of city residents support lowering the speed limit to 20 mph, and 72% want the city to have authority to set its own speed limits. A Siena College poll found that 85% of New York City voters, including 84% of car-owners, support red light enforcement cameras. More than three-quarters of New York City voters, including just about the same share of car owners, support automated speed safety cameras.

Not only are the speed and red light cams popular, they’re also effective.

As one example of the consequences, consider New York City’s speed safety camera program, which is currently only permitted by Albany to operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday. In effect, Albany forces cameras to be off for more than half of the hours in any given week. Speed safety cameras are wildly effective: A 55% drop in all traffic fatalities and a 72%decline in speeding followed the launch of the program. Speed safety cameras also avoid racial biases that may be present in armed police stops and avoid risks of stops turning violent or deadly. However, in 2020, nearly 40% of people killed in fatal traffic crashes died in speed safety camera zones, but when the cameras were forced to be off. Speeding doesn’t sleep, but state law forces our speed safety cameras to get plenty of shut-eye.

Let’s hope California legislators are paying attention.

Not to mention the LA City Council, which cancelled the city’s red light camera program, for reasons that mostly boiled down to angry drivers who didn’t like getting tickets for breaking the law.

………

I wouldn’t count on plastic bollards to keep you safer. Even if these are better than the flimsy car-tickler plastic bendy posts.

https://twitter.com/gatodejazz/status/1494014664346259457

Personally, I consider anything marked by plastic bollards to be a separated bike lane, rather than a protected bike lane.

Because those little posts don’t protect anyone.

………

Burbank police will be offering bicycle registration next Wednesday afternoon.

And cookies, too.

………

A new movie documents a woman’s efforts to get back on her mountain bike after struggling with Crohn’s disease.

………

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

No bias here. A Cincinnati op-ed calls bike lanes a “misappropriation of funds,” calling for the money to be spent fixing potholes rather than catering “to a small group of citizens that happen to bicycle.” Never mind that potholes are more dangerous for people on bikes than those safely ensconced in a couple tons of steel and glass.

You’ve got to be kidding. Residents of an Ontario, Canada city claim proposed bike lanes would violate Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees the right to life, liberty and security of the person. Because the bike lanes will have to be built over their dead bodies, evidently.

………

Local

A Metro committee approved a five-year, $6.1 million contract for new keyless bike lockers at a number of Metro stations, replacing the much derided keyed lockers currently in use.

Bicycling rides through Malibu Creek State Park with volunteers from the National Park Service’s Mountain Bike Unit, which helps introduce kids to mountain biking while making the trails more inclusive. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you. 

 

State 

PeopleForBikes released the schedule for next months 2022 Bicycle Leadership Conference in Dana Point.

Riverside County prosecutors rejected a hit-and-run charge against a man who killed a 62-year old bike rider outside of Hemet last week, as well as a charge of driving without a license, sending the case against Carlos Arturo Acosta back to the CHP for further investigation.

Three San Luis Obispo men pled guilty to killing a man riding a bicycle in a 2019 gang shooting.

San Francisco Strava artist Lenny Maughan marked the Year of the Tiger by using his bike to sketch the prowling cat atop the city map, riding 90 miles in four days to create the intricate artwork.

 

National

A Seattle website calls for the repeal of the county’s bike helmet mandate, saying it leads to biased enforcement against the homeless and people of color, while a local public radio station considers the hopefully soon to be repealed law.

The owners of a Dolores, Colorado bike shop do the right thing, applying for state historical funds to restore the 116-year old building they call home in the town of less than 900 people.

A new report shows Austin, Texas leads the nation in building bike lanes, with nearly 100% of the spending devoted to protected bike lanes. That compares with Los Angeles, where less than 40% of our already paltry efforts goes to protected lanes.

After Chicago bike riders complained about the removal of a bike lane, the city painted sharrows on the sidewalk and said “ride there.”

A Long Island legal columnist offers advice on what to do if you’re struck by a driver while riding your bike. Although he gets the order wrong; contacting your insurance company can wait until you preserve the evidence and get your ass to a doctor.

Sad news from New York, where an ebike rider died nearly a month after he was doored by a taxi passenger; naturally, the NYPD blamed the victim, allowing the driver and his passenger to go their merry way.

 

International

Life is cheap in British Columbia, where a man got a lousy 30 months for the drunken hit-and-run that killed a man riding a bicycle, then tried to blame an innocent co-worker for the crash. Never mind that it was the third time in six years he’d been accused of DUI. Just one more example of authorities keeping a dangerous driver on the road until they kill someone.

Popular BBC presenter Jeremy Vine was knocked unconscious when he hit a pothole while riding a Penny Farthing over the weekend, and was thrown over the handlebars; he was lucky to escape with just a black eye. And from that height, it’s long damn way down.

A 93-year old South African man got his stolen bike back after neighborhood watch members spotted a man walking it down the street; he was given the bike by his parents for his 21st birthday, and has ridden it for more than 70 years.

 

Competitive Cycling

Egan Bernal continues his recovery from a near-fatal training crash by riding a stationary bike for the first time since he was injured over three weeks ago in Colombia.

Belgian ‘cross star Toon Aerts professes his innocence after testing positive for a banned drug before his sixth place finish in the worlds. Although it’s kind of hard to explain why a healthy cyclist would have a breast cancer drug in his system if he wasn’t doping.

 

Finally…

How to ride a six-legged tandem. If you’re going to bust out a bike shop window to steal a $7,000 e-mountain bike, maybe try riding off instead of walking it down the street.

And maybe make sure the paint is dry first before riding through it.

………

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

Stoned killer of Costa Mesa fire captain gets 16 to life, Peloton PR disaster, and bike-riding car vandal strikes in Norwalk

Time’s running out to give to the 7th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive! Just 12 days left to help keep all the best bike news and advocacy coming your way every day!

Thanks to Nick R, Steve M, Sean M, Penny S and David M for their generous donations to help support this site, and keep the corgi in kibble for the next couple months.

So don’t wait. Give now via PayPal, or with Zelle to ted @ bikinginla.com.

Any amount, no matter how large or small, is truly and deeply appreciated. And needed.

………

Sixteen to life.

That’s the sentence handed down to 28-year old Stephen Taylor Scarpa in the drugged driving death of Costa Mesa Fire Captain Mike Kreza.

Scarpa, a former drug counselor, was convicted of second degree murder for jumping a curb in Mission Viejo, and running down Kreza as he was riding on a sidewalk.

Kreza was training for an upcoming triathlon when Scarpa slammed into him, as he was driving home from partying all night with a cocktail of drugs in his system.

Scarpa told investigators he’d taken meth, fentanyl and “undefined downers,” and had been awake for days before getting behind the wheel.

Someplace he had no business being under any circumstances.

Kreza left behind his wife and three young daughters, who have been understandably devastated by their loss, and who struggle to go on without him.

Hopefully, Scarpa can get clean behind bars, and do something to benefit society when and if he gets out..

………

More on last week’s Peloton PR disaster.

Peloton stock prices plunged in the wake of a key character dying after using one on the first episode of the Sex and the City reboot, And Just Like That…

Meanwhile, the New York Times wants to know if the company can sue over it, while Peloton responds by resurrecting the victim in a new ad.

This comes just two years after the company’s self-inflicted PR fiasco with their widely panned Peloton Wife holiday commercial.

Maybe they should just avoid the holidays from now on.

………

Sheriff’s deputies in Norwalk are looking for a bike-riding man who vandalized a pair of cars last week.

………

‘Tis the season.

Third graders at two Tustin schools thought they were going to learn who won a new bicycle in an essay contest; instead, all 143 kids got a new bike, courtesy of Aliso Viejo’s Dirtbag Mountain Biking Club and Bikes for Kids.

Volunteers in Madera, California built 215 bikes ranging from tricycles to 29″ mountain bikes to give to children in need.

A motorsports dealer in French Camp CA was hoping to give 200 bicycles to local kids over the weekend, a tradition of giveaways that began when he decided to fix up and donate 30 bikes four years ago, rather than throw them away. And yes, I had to look that one up to figure out where the hell French Camp is.

Volunteers in Tyler, Texas continued a 35-year tradition of rebuilding bicycles to donate to local kids for the holidays.

Over 200 people turned out for the longest-running holiday themed bike ride in the Boston area, many dressed as Santa or other seasonal characters. Although probably no one bothered to dress as Krampus, darn it.

A Georgia auto shop owner has given away hundreds of bicycles over the last ten years. And this year was no exception.

Panama City, Florida’s Salvage Santa oversaw efforts to rebuild 350 bicycles to give to local kids and organizations, an ongoing effort for the past 43 years.

Florida’s Jack the Bike Man has over 2,000 bicycles to give to kids “at the bottom of the food chain” this year; a tradition that started with just 20 bikes 15 years ago.

………

Zackary Rynew calls attention to LA’s use of plastic bollards to keep cars safe. Yet somehow, they have trouble using them to protect people on bicycles.

………

Volunteers are needed to work this weekend’s Holiday Carnival at the Velo Sports Center, and experience three days of competitive track cycling.

………

The open streets revolution is spreading worldwide.

The latest evidence comes from Kenya, where three major streets were closed to cars and opened to people in the city of Kisumu on Saturday.

Thanks to @Menorman for the heads-up.

………

Apparently, Joe Jonas is one of us, taking to a bike on the streets of New York to get to his latest show.

https://twitter.com/JonasBrosBros/status/1469468216367845376?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1469468216367845376%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.iheart.com%2Fcontent%2F2021-12-10-joe-jonas-rode-his-bike-through-new-york-city-to-get-to-jingle-ball%2F

………

There’s a special place in hell for the hit-and-run driver who fled the scene after knocking a nine-year old DC kid off his bike. Fortunately, he didn’t seem to be too badly hurt.

As usual though, you can’t unsee it. So be sure you really want to watch a little kid get run down by a heartless coward before you push play. 

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

………

You still have time to make a bid on the jersey Lachlan Morton wore on his alt-Tour de France run, where he followed the entire race route while putting in more miles, and riding solo. And still beat the peloton into Paris.

………

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

No bias here. Plans to close a longstanding gap in Seattle’s famed Burke-Gilman Trail hit a snag when the Teamsters and local businesses complained that putting a bike lane through the area will make it more dangerous for their businesses and truck drivers. Because apparently, running over a bicyclist get blood on their big, bad trucks.

No bias here, either. A retired New Jersey planner and engineer says forget installing bike lanes in downtown Northampton street, because bike riders can just get off and walk. And it’s just too dangerous for people on bicycles on the street without them, anyway. That sound you heard is thousands of near simultaneous head-slaps from every bike rider reading that crap.

Or here. A DC writer says just because a four-year old kid was was hit by a car while riding in a crosswalk, that’s no reason to call for safer streets. And misrepresents safety studies to say protected bike lanes are no place for kids.

A British man in his 30’s was critically injured in what police are describing as a deliberate attack, as the driver used his car as a weapon to run down the victim on his bike before fleeing the scene.

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

There’s not a pit in hell deep enough for the bike-riding thief stole two days worth of cash donations to a San Francisco toy drive.

A Pennsylvania man faces charges for hurling a sharp-edged rock into a passing car, slightly injuring a boy inside, after the driver swerved close to him to avoid rocks in the roadway; he admitted to keeping the rock strapped to his bike for exactly that purpose. Seriously, don’t do that. Ever. Period.

………

Local

Thieves scaled a fence to break into a home in LA’s Mid-Wilshire neighborhood, stealing a $2,700 ebike and power tools while the residents were in the house.

Police have identified a 29-year old man as the victim of a fatal shooting in a homeless camp along the LA River bike path in South Gate.

A 23-year old mountain biker was in serious condition Saturday after he was airlifted following a fall in the Santa Monica Mountains above Pacific Palisades.

 

State

Caltrans has issued a new Complete Streets policy, which states that all Caltrans projects will, by default, provide “comfortable, convenient, and connected complete streets facilities” for bikers, walkers, and transit riders. Let’s hope they live up to it this time.

Encinitas is looking at installing a two-way, barrier-protected bike lane on the Coast Highway to help people on bikes get to the legendary Swami’s Beach.

The San Diego Association of Governments, aka SANDAG, will consider implementing a road usage fee that would charge drivers for each mile they drive. Which is one of the best reasons I’ve heard to ride a bike instead.

 

National

A digital photography site offers tips on how to get better shot of bicycling events.

Bicycling offers advice on when to fix your own bike — and when to let someone else do it. As usual, read it on Yahoo it Bicycling blocks you.

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss considers the zen of ignoring obstructions in the bike lane. Which seems like kind of a metaphor for life.

A legal website looks back at how government regulations killed off the forerunner of the e-scooter a hundred years ago, and questions whether history will repeat itself.

Over 300 bike riders turned out for a memorial ride down the Las Vegas Strip to remember five men and women killed by a meth-fueled semi driver a year ago while on a group ride just outside of town.

A formerly 306 pound Indiana man credits bicycling with helping him drop 136 pounds in just 18 months; he started on a stationary bike, before bicycling neighbors invited him to come outside and ride with them.

Ebike makers are teaming with local nonprofits to provide discounts to front line workers in the Bronx.

Heartbreaking story from DC, where a woman describes how she went from mom to traffic safety advocate following the death of her five-year old daughter, as she was riding her bike in a crosswalk last September.

 

International

Bike Radar offers advice on how to make your bike more comfortable.

A former London bike courier explains why he’s willing to risk prison to fight for safer streets for people on two wheels, and call attention to the impending climate emergency. Which is clearly already here.

Tripling current levels of bicycle use in London would result in the equivalent of a $6.62 billion boost to the local economy, according to a new study.

Great Britain has introduced new traffic rules to give bike riders, equestrians and pedestrians a higher priority on the road, with the new rules going into effect January 1st.

World champion British cyclists Rachel Atherton and her older brothers Dan and Gee are moving from racing mountain bikes to making them.

A German court ordered employers to provide all the tools their employees need to do the job, including bicycles and smartphones for delivery riders and bike couriers.

A pair of Italian teenagers were sentenced to 18 months behind bars for their roles in the gang that stole 22 bikes from the Italian national track team at October’s world track championships.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling Tips talks with the philosopher of the pro peloton, French cyclist Guillaume Martin, who has flown under the radar while notching a number of top ten finishes.

Belgium’s Wout van Aert is just as dominant at ‘cross as he is on a road bike, taking a snowy first place by more than a minute at Val di Sole, while the great Marianne Vos was narrowly edged out by 19-year-old Dutch cyclist Fem van Empel on the women’s side.

 

Finally…

One more time, if you’re riding a stolen bike in the wee hours of the morning, put a damn light on it.

And Burger King is preparing to field a whopper of a cycling team. Although credit Jay Cisco with a better take than mine.

………

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

$24 million settlement in 2014 Fiesta Island crash, LA County tackles racial bias in bike stops, and Culver City gets mobile

Evidently, justice delayed isn’t always justice denied.

It was seven long years ago when a wrong-way driver slammed into a group of 30 bicyclists on San Diego’s Fiesta Island, injuring ten people.

Theresa Owens was high on meth when she got behind the wheel, looking for a boyfriend she thought was cheating on her.

She was speeding on the 25 mph roadway, after turning the wrong way on the narrow, one-lane road, when she rounded a blind corner and smashed into the group of riders.

Six of the victims were seriously injured, with Juan Carlos Vinolo ending up paralyzed from the chest down, as well as suffering a long list of other injuries.

A jury divided the liability between Owens and the city in 2019, ruling San Diego was responsible for failing to maintain visibility on the roadway, despite knowing of the dangers.

They held the city responsible for 27% of the damages, while state law required the city to pay 100% of Vinolo’s past and future medical bills and lost earnings.

Yesterday that bill came due, when the San Diego city council agreed to a whopping $23.75 million settlement for Vinolo and his wife for the meth-fueled Fiesta Island crash.

Although something tells me they’d gladly give back every penny in exchange for the use of his legs again.

Meanwhile, the city could have saved a fortune just by trimming some bushes and reducing berms, instead of waiting until it was too late.

And maybe reworking the intersections to channel drivers so they can only turn in the right direction.

Thanks to Megan Lynch, Phillip Young and BikinginLA sponsor Richard Duquette for the heads-up. 

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.

………

Los Angeles County responded to a recent LA Times investigative report that found biased policing of bike riders by LA County sheriff’s deputies.

The Times found that the overwhelming majority of bicycle traffic stops conducted by deputies were in areas where people of color make up the majority of the population, and with limited bike infrastructure.

Seven out of ten of those stops involved Latino riders, and 85 percent of the riders stopped were searched by deputies — even though those searches only turned up illegal items eight percent of the time.

Just imagine the outcry if drivers were routinely placed in the back of a squad car while police searched their belongings following a simple traffic stop.

Let alone white drivers.

The LA County Board of Supervisors responded on Tuesday by unanimously approving proposals to decriminalize bicycling violations, including

  • Developing a diversion program allowing bike traffic school in lieu of fines for traffic tickets, which was approved by the state a few years ago, and
  • Drafting a change to county code to legalize riding a bicycle on the sidewalk in unincorporated areas, although only on non-residential streets without bike lanes.

In addition, the supervisors ordered a review of biased policing of bike riders by the sheriff’s department.

Not surprisingly, though, the sheriff’s department, which has attempted to stonewall virtually every other effort at oversight, had no response.

Granted, these are just proposal to develop new rules, so far. But it’s a big step in the right direction.

………

Newly bike-friendly Culver City officially kicks off Move Culver City this Saturday, featuring three new quick-build bus-bike lanes in the downtown area.

Quite a change from the not-too-distant past when Culver City cops would meet group rides at the city limits, and ticket riders for every real and imagined violation they could find, while they escorted them out of town.

………

Streets For All has posted video of last night’s mobility debate between the candidates for LA’s CD13, currently held by two-term incumbent Mitch O’Farrell.

 

………

Clearly, not even Tour de France winners are safe from dangerous drivers, as 2019 winner Egan Bernal was the victim of a far too close pass from a driver trying to squeeze into a non-existent gap.

………

Local

No news is good news, right?

 

State

The president of a college-prep nonprofit spent every Friday for the past month riding his bike to talk with teachers and students at nearly 30 Orange County schools, covering 200 miles by the time he was done. Thanks to Sindy for the link.

A bike-riding homeless woman went to court, and won the right to keep living in a Fountain Valley park, despite repeated attempts to force her to leave.

San Diego continues to make strides to meet their climate change goals and reduce car use by eliminating parking requirements for businesses near transit or in densely populated areas.

Sad news from Bakersfield, where a woman was killed when she allegedly rode her bike across the street in front of an oncoming driver. As always, a lot depends on whether there were any independent witnesses, besides the driver, who saw her ride out into traffic.

A Berkeley paper joins the Cal Berkeley student paper’s call to improve Telegraph Ave, and raises them by calling for making the iconic street carfree.

 

National

Last month’s Vision Zero Cities conference considered how the language used in ads and newspaper reports can hurt crash victims, who are inevitably blamed for their injuries.

An Arizona man is 6,700 miles into a planned 18,000-mile journey by bicycle to visit each of the more than 400 national parks in the US, although he may need to pick up the pace a little after hitting just 14 parks, leaving another 386+ to go. He’s attempting to raise $50,000 for conservation projects in the National Parks.

Speaking of national parks, Utah’s Zion National Park now has a new ten-mile bike trail on the east side of the park.

A Streetsblog op-ed says New York’s bike lanes need more protection than the usual plastic car-tickler bendy posts, which don’t keep anyone out.

A Washington Post op-ed says American bicycling has a racism problem, tracing the roots to discrimination against Southern Black bike riders around the turn of the last century.

Tragic news from Florida, where a 14-year old boy was found dead after he went missing while riding his bike on Monday; no word on the cause of death, though his school described it as an “accident.”

 

International

Montreal’s Bixi bikeshare had a record-setting year, with ridership up 74% as they packed the bikes up for the winter.

This is who we share the road with. A London woman mistakenly stepped on the gas instead of the brakes, jumped the curb and killed a man walking on the sidewalk, then lied to investigators by saying the man stepped out into the street in front of her. So naturally, the court let her walk without a day behind bars, and took her license away for a whole year.

Burglars broke into a British bike park and stole literally everything there was to take, from generators and Park Tools, to cash raised for a local air ambulance service.

He gets it. A writer for Britain’s Independent says we’ll never get to zero emissions until we admit we’re all climate hypocrites who want to stick to our comfortable, fossil-fueled lifestyles.

A member of the UK Parliament says the country’s lax hit-and-run laws give drivers an incentive to flee the scene rather than stick around and get tested for DUI. We have exactly the same problem in California, where lax penalties and minimal enforcement encourage drivers to flee, knowing they’re unlikely to ever get caught, or seriously punished if they are.

E-scooters in Paris will be forced to automatically slow down to just above walking speed in over 700 more crowded areas throughout the city.

Bicycle Dutch author Mark Wagenbuur has updated his classic explanation of how the Dutch got their cycle paths.

An Indian writer considers the benefits of getting your kids off their screens and onto bicycles.

He gets it, too. An op-ed by a New Zealand university professor explains why your next car should be a bike.

 

Competitive Cycling

The popular SoCal edition of the Belgian Waffle Ride gravel race hits the little screen with the new hour-long documentary This Is Not A Gravel Race premiering on Outside TV.

Britain’s Pfeiffer Georgi won the country’s road race national championship less than 12 months after breaking two vertebrae while riding in Belgium

The thief who stole Geraint Thomas’ bike was just 15 years old; Thomas said he was looking forward to checking his Garmin to see if the kid had any skills.

Track racing at the Velo Sports Center in Carson this weekend.

 

Finally…

Build your own DIY shaft-drive bike. Now you, too, can ride a hand-painted work of art, for the low, low price of 30 grand.

And we may have to deal with LA drivers, but at least we don’t…well, wait for it.

Thanks to Pops for forwarding the tweet.

………

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

$32.1 million award in Metro crash, LA Times calls for bike lanes and sheriff’s oversight, and Mar Vista bike chop shops

Thank you all for your support and kind words last week.

I’m not even close to a hundred percent yet, but at least I can write again without tossing my cookies. Not that I should be having cookies, anyway.

Now buckle in, ’cause we have a lot to catch up on. 

And please forgive me for not crediting people who sent me links this time; it was just too hard to keep up with while I was under the weather.

But thank you from the bottom of my heart to all who did. 

………

A jury awarded $21.6 million to the parents of Ciara Smith, the 13-year old girl killed by a Metro bus operated by a subcontractor four years ago when she rode her bike off a Redondo Beach sidewalk.

Combined with earlier settlements from Caltrans and Redondo Beach, they’ve now been awarded a total of $32.1 million, though the latest judgement will undoubtedly be appealed.

………

The Los Angeles Times responds to their recent investigative report that uncovered bias in traffic stops of Latino bike riders by sheriff deputies in LA County, by calling for legalizing sidewalk riding and building desperately needed infrastructure.

Instead of finding support for their carbon-free travel, cyclists in some communities face unsafe and unjust conditions. In East Los Angeles, only 1% of streets have bike lanes, meaning cyclists are expected to navigate crowded and often poorly maintained streets. Of course people are going to ride on the sidewalk, even if it’s prohibited, because it’s safer.

Yet that rational decision makes cyclists a target for law enforcement. Nearly a quarter of bike stops in East L.A. were for sidewalk violations, The Times reported. In Lynwood, where there are no bike lanes at all, sidewalk violations account for 16% of stops. In West Hollywood, which is predominantly white, more streets have bike lanes and the city allows bicyclists to ride on the sidewalk in areas with no bike lanes. Less than 1% of bike stops were initiated because of sidewalk violations.

The paper also said the biased traffic stops and searches of bike riders call for stronger oversight of the sheriff’s department, which so far has attempted to avoid virtually any oversight.

Meanwhile, Streets For All urges your support for a motion at tomorrow’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting to legalize sidewalk riding in unincorporated Los Angeles County.

………

As long as we’re talking about the Times, opinion columnist Robin Abcarian joins a Mar Vista man searching local homeless camps and outdoor bicycle chop shops for his stolen bicycles.

And somehow managed, against all odds, to get them all back.

Never mind that the LAPD told her they don’t bother to look for stolen bikes.

Or the Catch-22 clownshow below when he tried to report the theft to the cops.

Weitz had tried to file a police report online. Because his garage was broken into, he was told, he would have to file in person. But his local LAPD outpost in West Los Angeles is not allowing walk-ins because of COVID-19. So he went to the Pacific Division station on Culver Boulevard but was told he had to file it in West L.A.

“My local lead officer said he would get in touch after I file my police report,” said Weitz, “but I can’t file my police report, so he can’t call.”

………

The teenaged pickup driver who mowed down a half dozen Texas bike riders while attempting to roll coal has been identified in court papers.

The well-connected son of prominent local sheep and goat breeders faces six counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, after initially being allowed to walk free when mommy and daddy reportedly showed up at the crash site.

Meanwhile, the Santa Rosa woman injured in the other recent Texas crash, where a pickup driver ran down three people on a cross-country bike tour and killed a Massachusetts man, is still waiting to fly home.

Doctors says she’s too fragile to leave the Houston hospital where she’s being treated for a collapsed lung, facial fracture, broken back, five broken ribs and a broken arm.

………

Streets For All will talk mobility with the candidates for CD13 this Wednesday, presumably including incumbent Mitch O’Farrell.

The street safety PAC also calls for supporting a 5.9-mile peak hour bus lane on La Brea Blvd from Sunset to Coliseum at or before tomorrow’s public meeting.

………

Metro announced the top-scoring picks for open streets events throughout the county over the next two years, including likely funding for CicLAvia and 626 Golden Streets.

https://twitter.com/ActiveSGV/status/1459484455362457605

………

One more reason to love the East Side Riders, as they continue to support, and feed, the Compton community.

And to contribute if you can, financially or otherwise.

………

If you’re reading this early enough, you may still have time to join a Twitter town hall calling for zero traffic deaths, in advance of this Sunday’s World Day of Remembrance.

Meanwhile, Finish the Ride will host a march for safer roads on Saturday, in an early observance of the World Day of Remembrance.

………

More proof that bike lanes are more efficient than regular traffic lanes. Regardless of drivers who claim no one ever uses them.

………

Taking a tiny approach to urban density in Denver.

And yes, there’s an itty bitty bike involved.

………

It’s a pity everyone seemed to forget the hard-earned lessons learned in the first major gas crisis back in the ’70s.

………

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

Late is better than never, apparently, as Bicycling belatedly catches up with the story of the white Texas man who severely beat a Black man who paused while riding a bicycle through the neighborhood they both share last month. As usual, you can read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you. 

DC drivers are using a new buffered bike lane for free parking.

An Orlando, Florida bike shop owner sounds the alarm on drivers using the bike path in front of his shop as a traffic bypass.

A London man suffered a broken collarbone when a driver deliberately ran him off his bike in the city’s Richmond Park — then fled the scene afterwards, of course.

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

Police in San Antonio, Texas released video of the fatal shooting of a man who fled when officers tried to stop him on his bike; he allegedly tried to pull a gun out of his waistband after one of the cops doored him and wrestled with him on the ground.

A British Columbia man faces charges for whacking a 65-year old woman with his bicycle, causing her to hit her head on the pavement, after she apparently confronted him for riding his bike on the sidewalk.

The award for the world’s biggest jerk — okay, one of many — goes to the Belgium bike rider who crashed into a five-year old girl last Christmas, and is suing the girl’s father for posting the viral video of it.

………

Local

A man was shot in the chest earlier this month while riding on a Culver City bike path, then was kicked in the face and punched by two or more men, for no apparent reason. Or at least, no reason the police have mentioned.

There’s still time to take a survey on how to transform deadly Western Ave between MLK to Century Blvd in South LA. Hint: fewer traffic lanes and more protected bike lanes.

A San Fernando group has called for the removal of CD12 Councilmember John Lee from the Los Angeles City Council Planning Committee; Lee was implicated in the Mitch Englander bribery scandal.

Streetsblog looks at the new raised, protected bike lanes on Burbank’s Hollywood Way.

A Claremont nonprofit is looking donations of usable bicycles in good condition, as well as “helmets, padding and locks” to help recent Afghan refugees. And no, I have no idea what padding means, either.

AARP hosts a virtual chat with CicLAvia this Thursday, including 65-year old longboarder and CicLAvia icon Swee (Ool) Woo.

 

State

Santa Ana will host a meeting tonight to discuss a proposed protected bike lane and bicycle boulevard on McFadden Avenue.

Orange County hikers complained about “hard-charging” mountain bikers at last week’s meeting of the Coastal Greenbelt Authority.

The San Diego Union-Tribune says the city needs to focus on the action part of its climate action plan, rather than patting itself on the back based on outdated statistics.

Streetsblog credits the San Diego Association of Governments, aka SANDAG, with having a lot to like in their draft 2021 transportation plan, despite questionable funding plans.

Santa Barbara County is loaning local residents free ebikes for up to five days to experience an alternative to driving.

It takes a major schmuck to steal a bike from a ten-year old Santa Cruz girl in a strong-arm robbery.

 

National

Do we really need to be told yet again that more highways mean more cars, more congestion and more environment and climate harming emissions?

One more reason to do your riding outside, as a 23-year old woman nearly lost her leg after developing a potentially fatal breakdown of muscle tissue following a high-intensity spin class.

Seriously? What kind of cash flow does this Oregon bike shop have when the theft of $100,000 worth of bicycles isn’t a major setback?

The Nevada state stoppers who investigated the crash that killed five bike riders outside Las Vegas eleven months ago never suspected semi-truck driver Jordan Alexander Barson was under the influence, even though he tested positive for meth hours later — an oversight that led to a plea bargain on reduced charges.

Congratulations to Austin, Texas, on being named home to the worst bike lane in the world.

Sad news from Iowa, where John Karras, the former newspaper man who co-founded RAGBRAI with another reporter, passed away last week at 91; the popular ride across Iowa was founded by the Des Moines Register nearly 50 years ago.

Hats off to a six-year old Ohio boy, who set a new record as the youngest rider to complete a backflip during a California BMX competition.

Once again, the death of a bike rider is no big deal, as a US postal worker faces just a misdemeanor charge and a traffic ticket for killing a 71-year old New York man riding a bike.

Curbed offers a detailed primer on perfecting New York streets, while embracing public spaces. All of which would apply here in Los Angeles, too.

A fallen bicyclist’s mother will finish the last 1,900 miles of his planned New Hampshire to San Diego bike tour, three years after he was run down by a driver shortly after leaving Hattiesburg, Mississippi; a crowdfunding page has raised just $330 of the $10,000 he was trying to collect for a children’s hospital.

A 22-year old Florida man has been charged with manslaughter after he failed to swerve his e-scooter out of the way of a woman riding a bicycle; the victim died of her injuries several days later.

 

International

No surprise here, as climate experts say electric cars won’t save the planet. But more active transportation will help.

Virgin founder Richard Branson showed off his injuries after his bike’s brakes failed and he crashed into another bicyclist while riding in the Virgin Islands; he credits his helmet with saving his life from the “colossal” crash. Seriously, I’ve had worse.

Glasgow, Scotland is joining the international trend of banning cars from urban centers.

The Smithsonian talks with the teenage girl who rode her bike 570 miles from her English home to Glasgow, Scotland for the COP26 climate conference.

London’s iconic Westminster Bridge is getting bollard-protected cycle tracks, which might have helped prevent the 2017 vehicular terrorism attack.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a 61-year old business exec walked with a suspended sentence for killing two men on bikes when he plowed his car into both as they rode together last year; adding insult to injury, he was fined a whole £475 — the equivalent of just $637 — in court costs.

A 21-year old British man was sentenced to life behind bars for strangling his 17-year old “friend” and leaving him to drown in a dispute over a bicycle. Seriously, if someone bullies you for months, let alone tries to kill you, maybe he’s not really your friend.

A new sensor developed by a Dutch company allows you to monitor the air quality as you rides. But do you really want to know what kind of crap you’re sucking into your lungs?

Cycling Tips alleges bullying and blackmail in the convoy that carried members of the Afghan cycling team to freedom.

Heartbreaking story from India, where an Indian soldier was one of seven people gunned down by ethnic rebels, just two days after promising his eight-year old daughter he’d bring her a bicycle as a belated birthday gift when he came home in February.

 

Competitive Cycling

Tragic news from Eritrea, where rising 21-year old cyclist Desiet Kidane was killed by a driver while training in the country; she was part of UCI’s World Cycling Center training program.

Apparently, even winning the Tour de France isn’t enough to protect against bike thieves, as Geraint Thomas learned the hard way when he popped into a coffee shop while training on the French Riviera.

A new book claims to be the first written by a Black bike racer about Black bike racers in one hundred years.

The EF Education-Nippo cycling team fired Columbian cyclist Sergio Higuita for riding a Specialized bike instead of team sponsor Cannondale, but quickly took him back after he apologized. His American teammate Lawson Craddock got fired and quickly unfired, for the same reason.

It takes some serious bike skills to get back in your shoe while it’s still clipped in the pedal.

https://twitter.com/VelonCC/status/1458483340537962496?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1458483340537962496%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.essentiallysports.com%2Fwatch-french-cyclist-pulls-off-insane-bike-adjustment-while-cycling-to-prevent-crash-us-sports-news-cycling%2F

 

Finally…

The top 10 reasons drivers don’t like us. Now they aren’t even waiting until the bikes leave the shop to run them over.

And SNL has good news and bad news on the ebike front.

 

………

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

Calls for investigation into biased sheriff’s bike stops, multiple charges in Texas coal roll crash, and more fed bike funding

Let’s hope they take it seriously this time.

Los Angeles County leaders have called for an investigation into last week’s LA Times investigative report on the harassment bike riders face at the hands of sheriff’s deputies and the back seats of their patrol cars.

And Latino riders in particular.

The paper found that out of 44,000 bicycle stops conducted by LA County sheriff’s deputies, seven out of ten people stopped were Latino, and 85% of bike riders stopped were searched.

According to the paper, they found illegal items in just 8% of the searches — less than one half of one percent.

Never mind the highly questionable legality of those searches.

This is how a sheriff’s spokesperson explained it.

Riding a bike allows criminals “to traverse a neighborhood unnoticed, faster and safer than on foot, and additionally makes it easier to avoid police contact. We are not conducting traffic stops of persons obviously engaged in the use of a bicycle for exercise or amusement,” department spokeswoman Lt. Lorena Rodriguez said in September.

Apparently, no one wearing spandex has ever been up to no good.

Not to mention that bicycles allow perfectly law-abiding people to get to work, school and the market.

And for many, it’s the only form of transportation they have. But apparently, just riding a bike somehow makes people of color suspicious in the eyes of sheriff’s deputies.

Thankfully, LA County officials pushed back on Monday, with two county supervisors — Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis — calling for the legalization of sidewalk riding in unincorporated areas, which was used as a pretext for traffic stops in eight percent of the cases.

At the same time, members of the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission asked the department’s inspector general to conduct an investigation into the report, and racial disparities in traffic stops in general. And to look into whether the agency should be conducting traffic stops to begin with.

All of which sounds good.

However, County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is notorious for ignoring efforts by members of the Board of Supervisors, the Oversight Commission and the Inspector General to look into his activities, or that of the department he leads, since his upset election three years ago — to the point of refusing to comply with legitimate subpoenas for information and testimony.

And so far, they’ve been unable, or unwilling, to force him to comply.

The excuse Villanueva has given is that he isn’t subject to their authority, having been elected directly by the people. Even though both county and state law allows for an oversight commission with direct authority over the sheriff.

So don’t hold your breath.

An investigation is definitely called for. But whether it will go anywhere remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, remember that you are under no obligation to let police or sheriff’s deputies search your belongings without a warrant. And they’re not likely to get one based on a simple traffic stop.

They have the right to ask you for identification, although there’s nothing in the law that says you need a driver’s license just to ride a bike.

But whether or not you consent to a search of your bike, pockets, bags or backpack is entirely up to you.

………

About damn time.

The district attorney in Waller County, Texas is finally getting around to filing charges, over six weeks after a teenage pickup driver ran down six bicyclists while attempting to blow exhaust smoke into their faces, a violent act known as rolling coal.

The 16-year old driver, who has not been publicly named, is expected to face six counts of felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — one count for each victim, four of whom were hospitalized.

The charge carries a penalty of anywhere from two to 20 years for each count in Texas. However, as a juvenile, he is likely to face far less, unless he is tried as an adult.

Waller police came under intense criticism for failing to initially arrest, or at least ticket, the driver; as the investigation moved forward, it became clear the boy’s parents were influential in the community.

Meanwhile, Texas pickup drivers astutely note that rolling coal is for idiots.

………

More on the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure bill, which is currently awaiting Biden’s signature, as we continue to learn just what’s in it.

Bicycling Retailer reports that, in addition to the $11 billion in federal transportation safety funding we previously mentioned, the bill includes additional benefits for people who ride bikes, including Complete Streets and a big boost in the funding pool for bike projects.

The infrastructure bill includes:

  • An increase in funding for the Transportation Alternatives Program by 60%, with subsequent annual increases. The program is the largest source of federal dollars for bike projects like protected bike lanes, trails, and multi-use paths. The funding is currently limited to $850 million annually, and the bill would increase the program to $1.38 billion in 2022 and up to $1.48 billion in 2026.
  • A requirement for all states to develop standards for Complete Streets, a policy and design approach to ensure users of all ages and abilities have safe and convenient access.
  • A vulnerable road user assessment to determine how dangerous roads are for people outside of cars.
  • Inclusion of the model three-class e-bike definitions.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog lists several other “small victories” contained in the bill, including,

  • A new competitive grant program that will provide another $200 million a year to connect active transportation infrastructure to plug gaps in existing networks sand improve access to essential destinations
  • Another $200 million a year for the new Safe Streets for All program, which will fund Vision Zero projects throughout the U.S.
  • A further $200 million a year for the Reconnecting Communities pilot program, which will address the damages caused to BIPOC and low-income communities by the interstate highway system in a number of ways, including projects that promote active modes like pedestrian bridges and highway removals
  • A new requirement for states to devote 15 percent of their Highway Safety Improvement Program dollars to saving vulnerable road users’ lives if vulnerable road users make up 15 percent of their roadway deaths or more — a move that will impact nearly all coastal communities and a handful of upper midwestern states, too
  • A revision of federal crash reporting standards to better capture the causes of the pedestrian death crisis, including new provisions to better incorporate hospital data into federal stats, rather than just police data

………

San Diego County’s annual Udo Heinz Memorial Ride will roll out from Carlsbad on November 20th — a week from this coming Saturday.

This year’s ride will honor all fallen bicyclists, which the county has seen far too many of this year.

The ride was founded seven years ago in memory of Heinz, who was killed by an allegedly distracted bus driver while riding in Camp Pendleton in 2013.

Thanks to our latest sponsor, San Diego bike lawyer Richard Duquette, for the link. 

………

As we mentioned last week, the Los Angeles City Council’s Public Safety Committee voted to advance a proposal to ban bicycle chop shops on public property, even though chop shops dealing in stolen bicycles are already illegal.

This photo by David Drexler, of a homeless encampment at Venice and Grandview in Mar Vista, shows why it may matter, although it’s not clear from the photo whether that’s on a property belonging to the city.

If your bike disappeared in the area recently, you may be able to find it there.

Or part of it, anyway.

………

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

You’ve got to be kidding.

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

Police in Michigan busted a bike-riding bank robber as he made his getaway after allegedly hitting two banks in a single day.

………

Local

A Cheviot Hills website looks back to the earliest days of bicycling in West Los Angeles over a century ago, as the first generation of two wheelers gave way to more familiar names to Angeleno bicyclists, including local legends Alex Baum and Raymond Fouquet. Thanks to David Huntsman for the heads-up.

Long Beach could soon green light a $1.4 million project to improve traffic signals on deadly Los Coyotes Diagonal, including installation of new detectors for vehicles and bicycles. A good start, but what the street really needs is a road diet and protected bike lanes in both directions.

Authorities have identified the man killed by a gunman in Long Beach last week as a 31-year old father, who was riding his bike home from his studies to become a dental assistance; police believe the shooting was gang related.

 

State

This is the cost of traffic violence. A 13-year old Hemet boy went missing after he ran away from home on his bike two days before Halloween; he was eventually found as a John Doe in a local hospital, after he was struck by a driver just half an hour after leaving home.

A driver plowed into several bike riders near Los Olivos on Sunday, leaving one rider with serious injuries.

That’s more like it. San Jose bike cops will patrol a newly opened section of the Coyote Creek Trail ten hours a day, seven days a week. Something that should be done on at least a frequent basis on every bike trail, everywhere. Especially here in LA. 

Sad news from Stockton, where a 62-year old man was killed in a late night collision while riding his bike.

 

National

Bicycling says it’s time to switch to dry lube, already. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

The New York Times says the popularity of electric bikes doesn’t show any sign of fading, with ebike sales jumping 145% last year, and now outselling all-electric cars by more than two to one.

A Streetsblog op-ed says the revised edition of the MUTCD merely enshrines dangerous policies into law.

Alaska is experiencing a serious shortage of fat bikes and parts.

A Colorado bike rider shares what he learned tackling his first century ride.

Good idea. Link will cut the maximum speed in half for first-time e-scooter users in Hartford, Connecticut to improve safety until they get the hang of it.

Bike ridership on New York’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge nearly doubled over last year after a new two-way protected bike lane opened on the bridge in September.

 

International

Trek puts its money where its mouth is, pledging to match donations to World Bicycle Relief up to $500,000 through the end of the year; the nonprofit works to change lives by donating bicycles to people in need in developing areas.

Road.cc shares “affordable, high-quality” gadgets for bike riders for less than $135.

Interesting idea. A new light developed by a London designer shines a buffer grid onto the street around you, and automatically sends your location to a crowdsourced stress map when drivers get too close anyway.

Birmingham, England is finally getting around to installing bike lanes at an intersection where a young doctor was killed riding her bike four years ago.

British Transport Police are looking for a pair thieves who threatened a man with a weapon and wrested his bicycle away from while on board a train near Glasgow.

A 42-year old mother in the UK will spend the next five years behind bars for fleeing the scene following a drunk and stoned crash that killed a 61-year old man riding a bike; she told police the damage to her car was from hitting a fox. Although there may be a slight difference in size between a little fox and a grown man on a bicycle. 

An Aussie bike rider shares what it’s like to be dive-bombed by a swooping magpie.

 

Competitive Cycling

Fumiyuki Beppu, the first Japanese cyclist to reach racing’s highest level, called it a career after two full decades on the WorldTour.

 

Finally…

An ebike for people who like to pretend they’re on a modern motorcycle. When rumble strips protect the cars, not the other way around.

And that feeling when there’s an SUV parked on your singletrack trail.

https://twitter.com/SarahJ_Berry/status/1457115150583013380?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1457115150583013380%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Froad.cc%2Fcontent%2Fnews%2Fcycling-live-blog-8-november-2021-287627

………

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

LA deputies harass Latino bike riders, paranoid anti-bike Eagle Rock screed, and Cedillo keeps Temple Street deadly

Call it biking while brown in LA County.

The Los Angeles Times released a major investigative story Thursday on the harassment Latinos face riding a bicycle Los Angeles County.

Something we’ve been warning about for over a decade now.

Both Los Angeles police and LA County sheriff’s deputies have long used the simplest pretexts to stop and search bike riders of color, often handcuffing the riders or placing them in the back of a patrol car while rifling through their belongings for what amounts to minor traffic infractions or fix-it tickets, such as riding without lights after dark.

In fact, that was one of the primary reasons the LA city council canceled the city’s mandatory bike licensing program over a decade ago.

But while the problem continues for both Black and Brown riders in the City of Angels, it’s apparently much worse outside the city where the sheriff’s department has jurisdiction.

Especially for Latino men.

A Los Angeles Times investigation found deputies search 85% of bike riders they stop even though they often have no reason to suspect they’ll find something illegal. Most bicyclists were held in the backseat of patrol cars while deputies rummaged through their belongings or checked for arrest warrants.

The Times’ analysis of more than 44,000 bike stops logged by the Sheriff’s Department since 2017 found that 7 of every 10 stops involve Latino cyclists, and bike riders in poorer communities with large nonwhite populations are stopped and searched far more often than those in more affluent, whiter parts of the county.

For all the stops and searches, deputies rarely catch criminals. During searches, they find illegal items just 8% of the time, The Times’ analysis shows. Weapons were seized just 164 times — less than half a percent of all searches.

And the stops can go far beyond embarrassment or inconvenience.

Some cyclists shrugged off the encounters as an inconvenience that comes with living in high-crime neighborhoods. Others felt deeply harassed, targeted because they fit the vague description of a crime suspect deputies claimed to be searching for, usually because they were the same race.

Being stopped was even more disruptive for some riders interviewed. One white bicyclist in Norwalk said he lost his job because he was two hours late to work after he was held in the backseat of a patrol car while deputies searched his belongings and questioned him about who in the neighborhood was dealing drugs and carrying guns. A Latino rider in East L.A. said deputies took him to jail after they found a pipe in a bag of recyclables he planned to redeem for cash. A Black rider said a deputy confronted him at gunpoint and ordered him to stop while he was riding home from Lueders Park in Compton and doesn’t understand why.

Sometimes the confrontations can turn deadly, as it did for Black bicyclist Dijon Kizzee in South LA last year, when he was fatally shot by deputies in what began as a traffic stop for riding salmon, a common practice in the area.

Seriously, take a few minutes to read the entire thing.

We’ll wait.

Because everyone deserves the right to feel safe on the streets, whether the risk comes from drivers or sheriff’s deputies.

And we’ll never get people out of the cars if a large segment of the population has to worry about getting stopped by cops just for who they are, or where they ride.

Meanwhile, the paper offers a behind-the-scenes look at how they uncovered the facts and reported the story.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

………

In a truly bizarre City Watch screed, a self-described Eastside community activist purports to speak for the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce in accusing Metro, two current and former LA councilmembers, a county supervisor and the former mayor of Glendale of conspiring with bike advocates to destroy businesses on Colorado Blvd, in order to claim business owner’s real estate development rights.

No, really.

Someplace along the line it became clear that there is a small coalition of players who are ramming the ‘road diet’ version of the Colorado Blvd piece of the Glendale to Pasadena BRT route. Politically, it’s the combination of Jose Huizar (until he was busted), Hilda Solis from the County Board of Supervisors, and now the Councilmember for CD 14 (and Candidate for Mayor) Kevin De Leon. The Mayor of Glendale was also involved until he ceased to be Mayor.

To be direct, I don’t think any of them give a rats ass about the local businesses that are going to get wiped out during the construction process.  I guess they are more interested in the land use opportunities for developers than actual businesses which have been around for years, providing the backbone of Eagle Rock.

The ex Mayor of Glendale got what he wanted; he owns property in the construction area, and senses opportunity. I guess Hilda Solis got what she wanted. According to folks in the know she left Congress so she could come to LA County, become a Supervisor, and retire after she termed out. Nice pensions.  Her machinations at the Metro Board would be consistent with this analysis.

But wait, there’s more.

Two other groups also personally benefit by this plan. TERA,The Eagle Rock Association, has a leader who is a rabid bicycle advocate, and has choreographed the bike movement ‘take no hostages’ road diet vision to get rid of all those nasty cars that people use to get around in.   Then there is another ‘leader’ on the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council who personally gained an architectural contract with Metro concerning the BRT, and has also shut down any gainsayers.

You know, to get to work and and even buy things at the local businesses.

Personally, I find them loud, inflexible, and nasty.  Nasty like attacking anyone who does not agree with them. And I have to wonder exactly how many of the bicycle crowd actually live in Eagle Rock, as opposed to all of the residents and others who use their cars to shop with the local businesses.

He goes on to accuse supporters of bus rapid transit and a Complete Streets makeover on Colorado Blvd of bullying and threatening opponents.

And he says he has the receipts to prove it.

Or not.

More objective observers have reported the exact opposite, with advocates being shouted down in meetings and confronted outside, and both threatened and doxed on social media.

But as proof of the bad behavior on the part of bike and transit advocates, he points to a Google Drive where he has saved hundreds of tweets from those supposed bullies.

Admittedly, I haven’t had time to read all of them, which would literally take hours. But all the ones I’ve seen have been pretty damn innocuous.

Like this, under the heading of Alissa Walker Bullying.

Full disclosure, I know Alissa Walker, she’s one of the least threatening people I know.

Then there’s this, under the heading Bullying Boulevard Sentinel, a local Eastside newspaper that has often opposed bike lanes and Complete Streets.

It would seem to be extremely paranoid to consider any of that threatening or bullying in any way.

Granted, there may be something more egregious somewhere in that vast collection of archived tweets.

But I sure as hell haven’t seen it yet.

……..

It’s truly heartbreaking how hard some of our elected officials have worked to keep our streets dangerous.

In this case, CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo teamed with CD13’s Mitch O’Farrell to cancel a shovel-ready road diet on one of the city’s most dangerous corridors.

With predictable results.

………

They get it.

The SF Gate asks why Gov. Newsom vetoed a bill that would have allowed people on bicycles to treat stop signs as yields.

And why a practice most bike riders — and drivers, for that matter — do on a daily basis remains illegal.

This Bay Area rider sums it up pretty well.

“They’re getting in the way of making it legal to be safe,” said Alex Lantsberg, a San Francisco cyclist.

Lantsberg said stopping at stop signs is in fact more dangerous for cyclists, who become “sitting ducks” in the face of “a 4,000-pound death machine.”

“You don’t want to lose the momentum of moving through a stop sign. It’ll turn people off from cycling,” he said. “I also think it’s safer for cyclists to maintain momentum and get away from cars.”

“A flesh and blood human on a 20-pound rolling triangle is much more at risk than a person in a steel-encased La-Z-Boy,” he added.

………

It’s hard for me to ask others to give when I’m not in a position to do it myself.

But if you’ve got a few extra bucks lying around, donate some of it to L39ion of Los Angeles to help put more bikes in schools.

The crowdfunding campaign has been stuck around $12,000 for several days. And it’s hard to imagine a gift that could do more long-lasting good.

………

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

Police in Honolulu are looking for a bike-riding hit-and-run suspect who allegedly fled the scene after darting out in front of a motorcyclist, leaving the man lying injured in the street. Although a description of 100 to 200 pounds doesn’t exactly narrow the suspect list. 

………

Local

Another writer for City Watch asks if anyone at LA City Hall got the memo from  the COP26 climate conference. Probably not. And if they did, they’re not likely to actually do anything about it.

Happy birthday to LA’s Griffith Park, which turns 125 this year.

 

State

Bakersfield bike riders are about to get a shiny new seven-mile bike lane, the missing link in a continuous 30 mile trail from Lake Ming to Buena Vista Lake.

Berkeley is facing the usual fight over preserving parking spaces, or improving safety for everyone on the road by installing bike lanes.

A New Hampshire couple calls biking across the Golden Gate Bridge the highlight of their visit to San Francisco.

A Sausalito driver faces multiple DUI, drug and weapons charges after allegedly running down not one, but two people riding their bikes Halloween evening; a search of his car revealed fentanyl and an illegal weapon, as well as a wooden billy club.

 

National

Bicycling offers a look at how a man recovered his life after a painful mountain biking crash led to a dependence on painkillers. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you. 

Bicycling also warns against seven technologies and standards to avoid when buying a used bike. Unfortunately, this one doesn’t seem to be available on Yahoo, so you’re SOL if you don’t subscribe to the magazine.

A writer for Reader’s Digest — which apparently still exists — swaps her car for an ebike for a week, and finds she doesn’t need it after all. Although the story comes off more as a long-form ad for the ebike she used than anything remotely objective.

Portland considers establishing e-cargo bike micro delivery hubs to help reduce truck and van traffic.

A Denver weekly talks with elite-level cyclist Andrew “Bernie” Bernstein, after the hit-and-run driver who nearly killed him was sentenced to just two years behind bars.

The Massachusetts man killed by a speeding driver on a cross-country ride with five other bicyclists foretold his death by noting Texas had the worst drivers they’d encountered so far; one of the two women injured in the crash was his fiancé.

Tragic news from New York, where a man started riding a bike to work over fears of using transit during the pandemic, only to lose his life at the hands of an unlicensed truck driver.

Philly residents describe just how dangerous it is to ride a bicycle in the City of Brotherly Love.

Tragic news from St. Petersburg, Florida, where authorities are trying to identify an elderly woman who suffered life-threatening injuries when she crashed her bike with an e-scooter rider; she arrived at the hospital without ID, and no identifying features. Yet another reminder to always carry identification with you when you ride. And preferably something that won’t get stolen if you’re incapacitated.

 

International

At last, a new indoor trainer that allows you to lean into turns.

Halloween is over, so it’s time for the holiday gift guides. Bike Rumor is off to an early start with their gift-giving guide for people on two wheels. Meanwhile, Pink Bike recommends 21 new bike tools for the coming year.

The Department of DIY strikes in the UK, as a local councilor fumes when “ignorant” vandals repainted their own bike lane, after their first attempt had been removed. So instead of removing it again, maybe they should just make it permanent.

A Dublin man and his backpack-riding Westie won’t be riding anytime soon, after thieves stole his racing bike, then took the ebike he borrowed the next day.

Canadian Cycling Magazine goes riding at rush hour in newly bike-friendly Paris, and calls it a dream.

Bike riders in Cyprus could soon be required to wear a bike helmet if a draft bill in the legislature passes. Similar measures elsewhere have been found to be counterproductive, while depressing ridership. 

Wellington, New Zealand is considering a plan to cut crosstown traffic by dividing the city into cells, which would allow drivers to get in and out, but not move freely from one to another.

A university lecturer in New Zealand says it’s parking that kills businesses, not bikes or buses.

 

Competitive Cycling

Florida ultracyclist Amanda Coker didn’t just set a new 24-hour record by breaking the 500-mile barrier, she also set 10 other Guinness World Records in the attempt.

Meanwhile, British pro Alex Dowsett came up short on his effort to reclaim the hour record, saying the biggest failure would have been to never try.

 

Finally…

Now you, too, can own your very own vowel-free, no-frills e-cruiser bike for about a grand. If you can’t trust your bike-riding neighborhood drug dealer, who can you trust?

And how drunk do you have to be to ride a bike home from a night out, only to discover the next morning it wasn’t yours.

………

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

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