If you’re coming here looking for my take on yesterday’s election results, you won’t find it.
Oh, and Mr. Garcetti? If you’re looking for someone to help out with bike issues, I’m available.
If you’re coming here looking for my take on yesterday’s election results, you won’t find it.
Oh, and Mr. Garcetti? If you’re looking for someone to help out with bike issues, I’m available.
Just a quick note to let you know I’m still alive, and haven’t suffered another computer failure.
Although Verizon and I may need to have a little chat about my internet connection.
My morning has been filled trying to keep up with LA Streetblog, where I’ll be guest editing for the next few days. That’s where you’ll find my contribution exhorting bicyclists and transportation advocates to get off their butts and get out and vote.
Even though I know far too many won’t.
I’ll try to get a new post on here for tomorrow. And you can find me on Streetsblog through Thursday.
Excuse me if I’m a little livid.
Okay, mad as hell, to the point that my head may explode.
Because once again, a story has surfaced of a cyclist seriously injured on the streets of Beverly Hills. And once again, the local gendarmerie is either incompetent, or just doesn’t give a damn about a bike rider bleeding on their streets as a heartless motorist just drives away.
It’s an all-too-common complaint I’ve heard from far too many bike riders. They get hit by a car in the Biking Black Hole, and there’s little or no follow-up by the Beverly Hills police.
And as a result, little or no justice.
The latest case comes courtesy of L.A. Streetsblog, as they follow-up with Paul Livingston, a rider so critically injured in a hit-and-run that he’s able to walk only through the miracle of modern medicine.
Let alone still alive.
The last thing Paul remembers that day is being put on a stretcher before he woke up in a hospital bed six days later. He suffered spinal and pelvic fractures. His pelvic bone, broken in half and pushed upwards into his bladder had severed blood vessels causing him to bleed internally. When he was first admitted to the hospital he was hypotensive, which means his organs were shutting down with the lack of blood and his body was going into shock. Paul underwent three abdominal surgeries within the first two days just to stop the bleeding. On the fourth day, the doctors were able to fix his pelvis and then he went through spine surgery only to have pelvic surgery once again to get it back to its original position. Paul also suffered from post-operative infection from the abdominal surgeries. Finally, with his fever gone, he was healthy enough to have his spinal fusion – as a result, Paul is a bit shorter now.
You’d think that any competent police agency would conduct a thorough investigation of such a serious felony, and do everything necessary to bring the near-killer driver to justice.
I ask him about the person who hit him, self-identified as Victoria Chin. He tells me that during the time of his recuperation, he had been in touch with the Beverly Hills Police Department to find out what was going on with the woman who hit him and then ran. Apparently, they were dropping the ball on his case as they never even processed her car for evidence. And her explanation for not stopping, as given to the BHPD, “There was no place to park.”
The technical loophole that Victoria Chin falls into is that no one could properly identify her even though the day after the collision she called the BHPD herself. The police officer she spoke to said she had to come in to the police station to turn herself in. She then called back saying she would be in tomorrow. The police officer reminded her to bring her car in for processing. The next day, Chin showed up without her car and with a lawyer. She only admitted to being Victoria Chin refusing to say anything else. Her lawyer asked the police officer if they were going to book his client. BHPD said no. So, the lawyer asked if they were going to arrest his client. BHPD said no.
They let Victoria Chin go. No arrest. No charges.
It’s far from the first time something similar has happened.
Beverly Hills police and courts have repeatedly dropped the ball on cases involving cyclists. And while they have responded to pressure from riders, it shouldn’t be up to us to force them to do their damn jobs.
Now don’t get me wrong.
I’m not anti-police.
In fact, I have a great deal of respect for most cops, and have often been impressed with the responsiveness of the LAPD when I’ve dealt with them on various issues. While there are always a few bad apples, I’ve found overwhelming majority of officers are caring and committed to doing their best to protect the public and bring justice to those who have been wronged.
But there is simply no excuse for any department dropping the ball so badly in so many cases where bike riders are run down on their streets. And given that it happens so often, the question arises whether it’s the fault of a few incompetent cops, or if there is a willful, systemic bike-blindness within the department that emanates from the top down.
It’s not a question I can answer right now.
Fortunately, charges were finally filed in the Livingston case, despite the failure of the department to conduct the most basic investigation.
In late august 2012, over a year after the crime, Don Ward wrote about the crash here at Streetsblog and elsewhere informing people about Paul’s situation and called on the cycling community to join them at the Beverly Hills City Council Meeting to draw attention to his case.
For a moment, Paul pauses his story, speechless, he swallows and then tells me that four months later, after the public outcry and the persistency of his lawyer, Otto Haselhoff, the DA of Beverly Hills is finally pressing charges. The helplessness that Paul describes to me, all his suffering, mental and physical anguish, had begun to lift. He quit drinking, started jogging, he was able sleep through the night.
“Knowing that something can be done, that there will be some kind of justice, this changed my life.”
It’s long past time for Beverly Hills Police Chief David Snowden and new Mayor John Mirisch to meet with bicyclists to find some solutions to the dangers we face on their streets. And the apparent lack of support we get from the police.
In the meantime, I will continue to avoid Beverly Hills as much as possible. Not just because of their failure to provide a single inch of bikeway anywhere in the city.
But because I don’t trust the police to
give a damn conduct a thorough and honest investigation if I end up bleeding on their streets.
My apologies for not having anything new up here this morning. I spent last night writing a new post for L.A. Streetsblog about a simple way to correct a needless problem on Santa Monica’s Bay Street near the beach. You can see it here.
There’s big news in L.A. bike politics today.
This morning the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition unveiled a list of questions they sent to all eight candidates for mayor — yes, there are four candidates you’ve probably never heard of, along with the four you probably have — and 40 candidates who qualified for the City Council ballot in the City of Los Angeles this morning.
The questionnaires were developed primarily LACBC Planning and Policy Director Eric Bruins with input from the coalition’s Civic Engagement Committee. And range from questions about improving infrastructure and putting a stop to hit-and-runs, to what it would take to make the candidates feel comfortable riding on the streets of L.A.
As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the LACBC isn’t allowed to endorse or support any particular candidate, financially or otherwise.
Instead, they’ve prepared these questionnaires to get candidates on the record for their support or opposition to local bike issues, so you can make an informed choice on who to support with your time, money and efforts.
And more importantly, with your vote in the March 5th election.
Frankly, I think you’re smart enough to make your own decisions, as long as you have the information you need.
Which is why it’s up to you to make sure the candidates running for your vote complete the questionnaires. Ask them if they’ve answered it yet.
And if not, demand that they do.
Because you deserve to know where they stand if they want your support, and the votes of the estimated 1.35 million people who ride a bike in L.A., as estimated in the current bike plan.
And the countless others who’d like to if they felt safer doing it.
The event, co-sponsored by LA Streetsblog, Los Angeles Walks and the Bikerowave takes place at St. Andrews West LA Church’s Nolte Hall, 11555 National Blvd, starting at 7 pm, with light refreshments to follow; so far, three of the four candidates on the ballot have agreed to participate.
Of course, every election in every city council district matters. The only way to ensure that L.A. continues its remarkable progress in accommodating bikes is to elect candidates committed to continuing and expanding that progress.
But this race may matter more than most, as Rosendahl has been the bicycling community’s biggest friend at City Hall for the past several years, and will be very missed.
Especially if we don’t elect someone who supports bikes to replace him.
The LACBC is also looking to host candidate forums in the other contested council districts before the March city election; if you’d like to get involved in organizing a forum in your district, email me at the address below.
Finally, if you want to support the LACBC in ensuring the election of bicycle-friendly civic leaders, join the Civic Engagement Committee at 6:45 pm on Tuesday, January 29th at the Pitfire Pizza on Second and Main in Downtown L.A. You don’t have to be a member of the LACBC to participate; the meeting is open to anyone who lives, works or rides in L.A. Or wants to.
Email bikinginla at hotmail dot com to be added to the online discussion list.
Just a quick note.
I’ll be writing a series of articles on bicycling in Santa Monica for LA Streetsblog over the next several days. The first, an apology to the city and people of Santa Monica for opposing the city’s designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community, appears today; others will appear next week.
Meanwhile, no more information yet regarding the cyclist killed in San Diego last night. I’ll update the story as details become available.
Maybe it was something in the water.
Or maybe it was a little lunar lunacy in anticipation of tomorrow’s Blue Moon.
But Thursday’s ride to Manhattan Beach and back was marked with more Stupid Driver Tricks — and not just drivers, as a few cyclists and pedestrians insisted on getting into the act — than I usually see in a month.
But this one takes the cake.
All this woman had to do was wait a few seconds until the light changed, and she could have easily gotten out of that parking lot with her dry cleaning.
Instead, she pulled out directly towards the car in front of her. When that didn’t work, as he failed to magically disappear from her way, she backed up, pausing as I pulled up next to her. Then looked directly at me, and cut me off anyway — as the driver next to me and I both shook our heads, arms extended in the universal WTF gesture.
And yes, I may have made another gesture that didn’t show up on camera as I pulled up next to her.
No, not that one.
Even though experience has taught me that Corgis make much better pets than peeves.
As they note, film crews are required to have a permit before they’re allowed to block a bike lane, or any other traffic lane, for that matter.
And yes, a bike lane is a legal traffic lane, albeit one reserved for bikes, just as HOV lanes are reserved for vehicles with more than one occupant. Or people willing to pay for the privilege of driving alone.
Which means that, without a permit from the city — which is remarkably easy to get — film crews have no more right to block a bike lane than they do the center lane on Wilshire Blvd. Though that never seems to stop them from doing it anyway.
The story also notes, correctly, that you have every right to demand to see that permit, whether they like it or not. And that if they don’t have one, you’re entitled to call the police — or Film LA — and demand that they move the offending cones to reopen the bike lane.
Although getting someone to actually care enough to do something about it can be another matter.
Then there are the seemingly inevitable comments from film crew workers unwilling to even attempt to obey the law.
Including this one from a self-described Assistant Location Manager who threatens to have anyone who asks to see the permit arrested on false charges.
As an Assistant Location Manager, the guy whom you will probably be approaching for a film permit, which will then be followed by your venting hippie diatribe about why my working trucks are blocking your bike lane here’s what I am going to do….Ask to see my permit, which I will produce for you. Then it will be I who will call the cops and claim that you threatened my production company with extortion, which I will be able to produce witnesses for. I will also suggest to the officer who responds that we spotted you taking illicit drugs not far away from my set, which I will also produce witnesses for. Being that most bikers I know engage in the occasional to regular use of drugs, I will most likely be right. When your being cuffed and taken to jail, I will then sell your bike on ebay….I may even use the funds to put gas in my Ford F-150 (not a Prius). You guys want a fight, your going to get one…
Point is, we are losing production jobs everyday to other states and cities because of BS like this. My methodology may seem machiavellian but I will do whatever it takes to keep filming in Los Angeles, keep food on my family’s table, and not be forced to move to keep working in film industry which provides a much needed paycheck and health benefits to family and I. Be warned, if the working trucks are parked in a bike lane, bike around us and go on your merry way…
Nice way to put a good face on Hollywood, dude.
And summing up exactly why many people in this town are fed up with self-entitled production crews, regardless of the jobs they create.
Yes, we all want to put an end to runaway productions, and keep those high-paying jobs right here at home.
But Hollywood needs to take a long, hard look at itself, and accept that other people in this city have rights, as well.
Joe Devito forwards a photo of the ghost bike for Michael Vega, the 25-year old cyclist killed by a hit-and-run driver earlier this week in Rancho Cucamonga.
And judging by the comments, it sounds like we’ve lost a great guy.
A few other quick notes:
Flying Pigeon looks at Tuesday’s meeting of the LACBC Civic Engagement Committee. Downtown is rapidly being redrawn to support bicycling. Glendale letter writer doesn’t seem to grasp the concept that bike lanes make streets safer, not the other way around. Three San Diego firefighters are on trial for beating the crap out of two bike riding brothers after calling one a bicycle faggot. A rocket scientist Ventura motorcyclist hates on California’s new three-foot passing law, missing the concept that it is actually possible to drive safely; and that emergency vehicles get an entire lane, while bicyclists only get three feet.
Trial has begun in the case of the driver who killed tandem cyclists Greg and Alexandra Bruehler, resulting in the single saddest photo I’ve ever seen. Here’s a good reason not the be an idiot, as a road-raging Detroit cyclist runs a red light, hits a truck, punches the driver — and gets fatally shot as a result. A PA cyclist is the victim of an early season drive-by pumpkining. Maybe cyclists should be licensed — and paid to ride. Ex-framebuilder Dave Moulton notes that doping has been around as long as competitive cycling.
Come back a little later in the day Friday, when we’ll have a giveaway contest to celebrate National Trail Mix Day. No, really, there actually is one. And I’ll see if the video came out on some of those other Stupid Driver Tricks over the next few days.
Rather than try to tell the story myself, I’ll let Damien fill you in.
The beer is chilled and sitting in the (gasp) car. The sponsors are lined up for the raffle. Heck, there’s even rumors that we’re going to have a band for part of the evening. Tomorrow night from 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. is the first Streetsblog fundraiser at the Eco Village, 117 Bimini Place. Anyone not familiar with the Eco-Village should click on this link for directions, and note that it’s a couple of blocks away from the Beverly/Vermont Red Line Station. The suggested donation is $25, but feel free to give whatever fits in your budget.
A lot of people have helped make this event happen. A pretty awesome sounding buffet is being put together by a pair of caterers, Dawn Carey Newton and Deborah Murphy, with an Eco-Salad and some home cookin’ from my house as well. We’ll have beer from our best friends at New Belgium Brewing and a non-alcoholic drinks courtesy of Trader Joe’s. In addition to some good drinks, we’ll have a presentation including the handing out of four Streetsie Awards to Biking In L.A., the Eco-Village, City of Lights and the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council, the debuting of the first L.A. Streetfilm that was written and produced right here in L.A., and a raffle with prizes sponsored by the Eco Home, Eco-Village and Orange 20 Bikes.
So if you’re looking for me tonight, I’ll be the one with the Streetsie Award in one hand, and a Fat Tire in the other.
And congratulations to the Eco-Village, the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council and the amazing City of Lights Program.
Evidently, the driver in the Ed Magos case will be charged after all. L.A. could have had the Backbone Bikeway Network in place years ago; Bikeside LA discovers a 1977 L.A. bike plan that shows a virtually identical system. Some of L.A.’s leading bike and pedestrian advocates call for a moratorium on street widening and peak hour lanes. The hit-and-run case that left local biking leader Roadblock laying injured in the street moves to trial next week. Damien Newton looks at why only one local city made Bicycling’s list of bike-friendly cities; you only have to ride the streets to figure that out. What does bicycle culture really mean? Long Beach’s biking expats offer some classic bike touring videos. The proposed ban on texting while cycling will carry a lower fine than texting behind the wheel. A Florida man is injured after being chased by dogs; if it happens to you, try ordering it to “sit” or “go home,” since most dogs will respond to a firm command. A Boston cyclist gets blamed for being in a cab driver’s blind spot; yeah, it’s not the driver’s place to check that or anything. Follow step-by-step as a Boston blogger uncovers the details of what may be a fatal cycling collision; you may not want to see the photos. The “nicest man you’d ever want to meet” is killed by a Denver-area bus in what sounds like a classic left cross collision. Best advice I’ve seen on what to do if you’re involved in a serious collision. A Florida cyclist plans to fight the ticket after a cop tells her to get on the sidewalk — despite signs saying Bikes May Use Full Lane, and in an area where riding on the sidewalk is illegal. Good advice for beginning cyclists — or any cyclists, for that matter. Mathew Modine carries his bike through a NY fashion show; I just want to know what’s in the bottle. Ottawa Councillors are encouraged to get on a bike and see how bad the bike lanes really are. Evidently, we’re not the only ones trying to get cyclists to vote. Britain’s Conservative Party leader gets blame — and praise — for riding without a helmet; I’d be happy to see any U.S. conservative on a bike, helmet or not. Yet another Euro pro team comes under suspicion for doping. The family of the British cyclist killed by a hit-and-run driver is reportedly devastated that she avoided jail because of pregnancy. Three cyclists were killed in Spain when a van plows into a group of 60 riders.
Finally, Reno Rambler reveals the secret behind the incredible lung capacity all champion bike racers possess.
*With apologies to The Killer
A lot of big events coming up in the L.A. bike world over the next few weeks. So mark your calendar and make your plans.
First up, simply because it is first up, is Bike Week at the Barnsdall Municipal Gallery, as Jennifer Moran, Brian Janeczko, Enci Box and Aurisha Smolarski present the collaborative project, In the Living Room of LA’s Bicycle Culture, through Sunday.
This is your chance to roll with the men and women in blue on routes of 15, 25 and 50 miles, starting at the Valley Traffic Division at the Plant in Panorama City and visiting various police stations throughout the Valley. Preregistration cost is just $25 for adults ($30 day of the ride) and $15 for kids under 12, and includes BBQ, a T-Shirt and official police escort.
The ride benefits the Los Angeles Police Cancer Support Group, which assists “members of the law enforcement community who are living with cancer, cancer survivors, family members, friends, or caregivers.”
I’m usually not a fan of mass charity rides, but this one sounds like a lot of fun. And after watching too many friends and family fight cancer, I can’t think of a more deserving cause.
Also on Saturday, the 2nd Annual ArtCycle, billed as a conjunction of art, music and bicycles. The free event takes place from 2 pm to 10 pm at the junction of Santa Monica and Madison in East Hollywood. Better yet, Santa Monica will be shut down to vehicle traffic in sort of a mini-CicLAvia, so bring your bike and check it out.
Next week marks the return of the new and improved Bike Summit — now expanded to include a broader view of non-motorized traffic and renamed the LA StreetSummit 2010, Biking, Walking & Beyond.
This was by far the most informative — and yes, fun — event I attended last year, whether on a panel or part of the audience. And a rare opportunity to connect with a broad cross-section of cyclists of every type, while listening to and meeting some of the leading authorities on a wide-range of transportation subjects.
It begins at 7:30 pm on Thursday the 18th with a keynote address at Occidental College’s Keck Theater by Janette Sadik-Khan New York City’s now legendary Commissioner of Transportation — the woman responsible for tripling the amount of bikeways in just 3 years, in one of the world’s most crowded, built-out and bike-unfriendly cities on the planet.
And like the song says, if they can do it there, they can do it anywhere. So hopefully every employee of LADOT and Metro, and every elected official in the city will be sitting in the audience taking notes right next to me.
Because this is one talk I won’t miss.
On Saturday, March 20, Street Summit takes place from 10 am to 5 pm at Downtown’s LA Trade Tech College.
The morning session starts with featured speakers including Carl Anthony, the founder of Urban Habitat; Charlie Gandy, Mobility Coordinator for the City of Long Beach — which is rapidly on it’s way to becoming one of the nation’s most bike-friendly communities — and Lydia Avila of the East LA Community Corporation (ELACC).
That’s followed by a series of workshops in the afternoon, with sessions starting at 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm, ranging from discussions on CicLAvia and the bike plan to diversifying the bike community and what the hell is happening in Long Beach. Along with about 26 others to suit virtually every taste and interest.
And yes, I’ll be attending.
In fact, I’ll be hosting a 1 pm workshop on bikes and politics with Aurisha Smolarski of the LACBC, Marcel Porras, Transportation Director for L.A.’s 13th Council District, and David Vahedi, a recent candidate for L.A.’s 5th Council District. More information on that next week.
And did I mention it’s all free? Even the lunch (insert “there’s no free lunch punchline” here).
But only if you pre-register by March 15.
Also on the 20th — and also courtesy of LAist’s Zach Behrens — comes word of the Hit the Trail rides in Santa Clarita.
The City of Santa Clarita invites residents to join Mayor Laurene Weste and the City Council for Hit the Trail on Saturday March 20, 2010. The 3rd annual community bike ride will kick off promptly at 10 a.m. from three convenient starting points across the City and culminate with an exciting Bridgeport Park Rally.
Hit the Trail offers the unique opportunity for residents of all ages to join in a leisurely community bike ride along the City’s extensive trail system. There is no cost to participate- just arrive at one of these three convenient starting locations by 10 a.m. for a fun-filled ride to Bridgeport Park:
Route 1 (6.1 miles) – Valencia High School (San Francisquito Creek Trail)
Route 2 (4.3 miles) – Placerita Junior High School (South Fork Trail)
Route 3 (7.1 miles) – Camp Plenty Trailhead at Camp Plenty Road and Soledad Canyon Road (Chuck Pontius Commuter Rail Trail)
County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky reminds cyclists about Metro’s upcoming bike and pedestrian count on the Valley’s Orange Line Bikeway March 24 and 27. To sweeten the deal, they’re throwing in free pizza and T-shirts at the training/orientation session on the 22nd.
Free food and T-shirts? Damn! They’ve discovered our Achilles heel.
Next month, Streetsblog holds it’s first fundraiser at L.A.’s Eco-Village on April 9th, honoring the winners of this year’s Streetsie Awards, including the L.ACBC’S City of Lights program, the Eco-Village, ArtCycle and a certain bike blogger you may be acquainted with.
And a little further in the future —
The following month, help support the city’s leading bicycle advocacy group with what is probably the city’s most popular yearly bike ride, the 10th Annual Los Angeles River Ride presented by the LACBC on Sunday, June 6th.
In case you were wondering where I was all afternoon…
The LACBC reports on today’s meeting of the LAPD Bike Task Force, including the release of a document signed by Assistant Chief Paysinger marking the first steps in the department’s new bike training program.
And now, a long, long list o’links.
Follow up the Street Summit with the Street/Bike Summit After Party, just a short currently feasible ride to the north. Take a look at the city’s first graphic street maps of bike collision data, with more promised soon. Will confronts a jerk driver who nearly turned him into roadkill. An upcoming UCLA Rosenfeld Forum on bold solutions for L.A.’s traffic problems evidently neglects to consider cycling. If L.A. really can get sharrows on the street by summer, it will only have taken 2 years; LADOT Bike Coordinator Michelle Mowery doesn’t think it’s possible — and if anyone cares, I vote for putting them on Abbot Kinney; low-traffic streets like Westwood’s Westholme Ave. don’t need them.
A Whittier cyclist dies over 2-1/2 years after the collision that killed him. Pro tips to help you master Google’s new bike maps; or try a video introduction, if you prefer. Refuting the myths that motorist use to fight cycling. Is San Francisco’s Muni driving more people onto bikes?
Dave Moulton asks what’s the problem with banning cell use while riding? A Connecticut cyclist sounds off about lazy drivers who put their dogs at risk. Colorado’s broken-ribbed cycling governor is officially back on the job. A teenager in Colorado is found guilty for shooting at a group of bike riders; the victim spit the bullet out of his mouth. Does a revival of the cruiser mean bikes are regaining acceptance as transportation? DC’s mayor gets a new Colnago EPS worth about $11,990 more than the limit he’s allowed to accept. Found outside a Boston-area Trader Joes, a handbuilt bike made of bamboo and gaffers tape. Very cool black and white photos of a slowly defrosting Windy city.
Contador throws down the Gauntlet for this year’s Le Tour by destroying the field in the 4th Stage of Paris-Nice. Marissa Tomei rides a bike through the heart of Italy. After the carnage leading up to South Africa’s Cape Argus bike tour, a rider argues that car keys and common sense seem to be mutually exclusive. A biking Vancouver city official is injured in a collision the day before he was due to open a bike lane he’d fought for. It’s not the Idaho stop, but London considers allowing cyclists to turn left (equivalent to our right) on a red; meanwhile, London’s mayor is urged to ban large trucks from key bike routes. Tesco unveils its first in-store bike shops; imagine a bike department between Produce and Dairy at your neighborhood Vons. Test riding the women’s spring-suspension model of the classic Brooks saddle. Jersey — think old, not New — narrowly avoids a mandatory helmet law for everyone, while passing it for riders under 18. A call to license all cyclists over 16 on the Isle of Man. A perfect cycle chic day on the streets of Copenhagen, brought to you by Biomega with an assist from Flying Pigeon.