Tag Archive for Laura Shinn

LA’s non-emergency traffic emergency, Lancet report offers hope for climate crisis, and Fetterman aims to loosen MUTCD

He’s got a point.

Maybe the emergency posed by the fire that closed a mile-long section of the Santa Monica Freeway isn’t that much of an emergency after all.

If it was, they might be doing more to get people out of their cars and onto transit than just talking about it. Or maybe onto bikes, for that matter.

Like reducing or eliminating fares for Metro buses, trains and bikeshare.

Although to be fair, while Metro continues to charge full fares, the much smaller Commuter Express Service will be free for the remainder of the year.

Then there’s this.

After a decade of complaints, and official denials that it was even a possibility, traffic signals were altered to speed up trains that have long been absurdly forced to stop at traffic signals.

And often blocked by drivers who didn’t clear the intersection, leading to long — and apparently needless — delays in service.

Photo from Metro Bike website.

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The prestigious medical journal Lancet released an extensive report outlining the “most up-to-date” health effects of climate change, and the urgent need to confront the crisis of a warming planet.

Along with a surprising degree of hope in low-carbon future, suggesting “there are transformative opportunities for a healthy, prosperous future for all.”

Health-centred climate action could still save millions of lives every year. A just and equitable transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy and energy efficiency can reduce the health harms of energy poverty, power high-quality health-supportive services, and prevent the millions of deaths occurring annually from exposure to fuel-derived air pollution. Greener, people-centered cities, and balanced, low-carbon diets can support transformative improvements in physical and mental health. 

Bicycling can, and should, be part of that equation, providing virtually carbon-free transportation that offers exceptional public health benefits.

Besides, it’s fun.

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Apparently, there’s more to Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman’s proposed Building Safer Streets Act than we realized.

We mentioned last week that he had introduced the bill. Now Streetsblog is explaining just what’s in it.

There’s a lot packed into the slim bill’s seven pages, including changes to the Safe Streets and Roads for All program which would guarantee that 10 percent of funds are set aside for communities under 250,000 residents. It would also finally close the loophole that allows roughly one-third of states to keep their federal safety funding if they set roadway fatality “targets” higher than the number of deaths they recorded in previous years, and prevent the Federal Highway Administration from giving states points on grant applications for projects that raise speed limits on non-freeway roads.

The bulk of the legislation, though, gets deep into the weeds of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, a once-obscure 800+ page manual whose revision prompted a flood of 25,000 comments from safe streets advocates concerned that its upcoming revision wouldn’t adequately center the needs of people outside cars. And with pedestrian deaths already setting records, Fetterman says those changes are long overdue…

Many of those standards are pretty benign, like the rule that a green light should mean “go” everywhere in America, or that a stop sign should be shaped like an octagon rather than a square. Others, though, have far more dire implications, up to and including who lives and dies on U.S. streets. The Manual’s infamous “85th-percentile rule,” for instance, recommends that the number that appears on speed limits signs be set within five miles of per hour of the speeds that 85 percent of drivers naturally travel when no one else is on the road — even if those velocities are lethal for pedestrians, and despite the fact that the standard was created for two-lane rural highways and is widely considered unsafe in urban contexts.

The MUTCD acts as a bible for traffic planners and engineers, protecting transportation agencies from liability, while limiting innovative or even merely decorative approaches.

Like the pink crosswalks that were originally planned for the intersection in front of Pink’s Hot Dogs to mark their 80th anniversary in 2019.

But which were nixed for being out of compliance with the MUTCD.

One version advised against safe bike lane intersection treatments that are common across U.S. cities, a move that the National Association of City Transportation Officials warned would amount to a “poison pill” for the thousands of cities whose infrastructure would instantly become non-compliant. Other provisions discouraged the use of colorful crosswalks, despite the fact that studies show they can actually slash vulnerable road user crashes by 50 percent compared to the all-white designs the Manual recommends.

And when cities want to use those life-saving design elements anyway, they’re often scared off of doing it, lest they fall out of compliance with the all-powerful Manual — even though, technically, not all of its recommendations are legally binding, much like its companion document, the AASHTO Green Book. In part because remaining in compliance with the MUTCD may shield transportation agencies against lawsuits, many traffic engineers tend to treat it more like a Bible with strict commandments than a “recipe book” that encourages chefs to sub out the nuts if they’ll send the person who’ll actually eat the dish into anaphylactic shock.

And the FHWA and other government agencies, in turn, often require engineers to conduct costly studies to prove that deploying safe road designs is worth granting an exception to those restrictive federal standards — even if piles of research have verified that those designs save lives, and that the standards in the Manual don’t.

It’s worth taking a few minutes to read the whole article, because this is clearly a bill worth following.

And one that might actually have a chance in a divided Congress.

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Heartbreaking first-person account from the husband of fallen bicyclist, architect and urban planner Laura Shinn, who was killed by a stoned driver while riding to work in San Diego’s Balboa Park two years ago.

Steven Shinn makes the case that his wife would still be alive if the city had built the long-promised protected bike lanes on Pershing Drive, which might have saved her from the man now serving 13 years for the needless meth-fueled morning crash.

My grief is worsened every time I hear an uninformed comment about road safety in our community.

“We do not want protected bike lanes in our neighborhood reducing traffic lanes and parking spaces.” My wife’s life would have been saved if those bike lanes had been protected. Studies from cities around the country have demonstrated the effectiveness of protected bike lanes to save lives without inconveniencing drivers.

Adding protected bike lanes and removing some parking benefits more than just cyclists. Local businesses see as much as a 49 percent increase in retail sales from new protected bike lanes. People who cycle to local shops spend up to 24 percentmore than those who drive and they shop more frequently. Adding protected bike lanes to streets reduces injury crashes for all road users by 58 percent and does not increase traffic congestion over time. If Pershing Drive had a protected bike lane, Laura would be riding with me today.

It’s a brave and powerful piece, which calls on San Diego to make life-saving changes for Sunday’s World Day of Remembrance for the victims of traffic violence.

And again, one well worth reading.

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‘Tis the season.

Another holiday gift guide for bike riders, this time from Bike Radar, while Business Wire lists early Black Friday deals on ebikes.

Maybe California’s moribund ebike rebate program will finally launch in time to take advantage of the Black Friday deals. And maybe pigs will fly out of my butt.

It’s been known to happen.

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

No bias here. The Detroit News somehow manages to publish a 115-word article about the tragic death of a 54-year old woman killed in a collision with a semi-truck while she was riding a three-wheeled bike, without ever mentioning that the truck had a driver.

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

A bike-riding man has been arrested for a series of a dozen arson fires in LA”s Boyle Heights and Chinatown in just a one hour span; another person was busted for setting apparently unrelated fires. It would have been impossible to set that many fires over such a distance on foot, and difficult using a car in rush hour traffic. So, yay bikes?

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Local 

While we literally beg for safer streets, Metro plans to torch $207 million for induced demand-inducing, climate arson freeway expansions in Long Beach and Cerritos — money that could go for rapid expansion of protected bike lanes or bus lanes, instead. Or it could pay for system-wide fare-free transit, with $50 million or so in change left over.

Maybe he should stick to bikes. Arnold Schwarzenegger is being sued over a collision that allegedly left a woman permanently disabled, just weeks after another lawsuit was filed by a bike-riding woman injured as he was driving his massive GMC Yukon.

WeHo is teaming with the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition to host a mobility popup on westbound Santa Monica Blvd at Hilldale Ave and eastbound Santa Monica Blvd at San Vicente Boulevard on November 27th, to give away free bike lights and discuss mobility projects underway in the city.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department is promising a zero-tolerance approach to speeding on deadly PCH through Malibu, in the wake of four Pepperdine students killed by a driver allegedly doing 104 mph in a 45-mile zone. Good luck with that, since they don’t have a fraction of the deputies assigned to that area that would be required to effectively police the highway. 

Residents of Santa Monica’s Wilmont neighborhood are rattled after two bicycle crashes at the same intersection in two weeks; Paul Postel was lucky to escape with broken and bruised ribs, and only learned about the death of Tania Mooser at the same spot as he lay injured on the pavement.

 

State

Santa Ana received a $199,900 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety to promote bicycle and pedestrian safety; Goleta got one, too, for the oddly specific amount of $103,587.

This is who we share the road with. A 47-year old San Diego man has been convicted of murder, as well as other charges, for the drunken hit-and-run that killed a toddler last year; Margarito Angeles Vargas was driving at over two-and-a-half times the legal alcohol limit when he ran down 19-month-old Annaleeh Rodarte as she crossed the street with members of her family.

 

National

Bicycling recommends the best rain gear to keep you riding. Unfortunately, this one doesn’t seem to be available anywhere else, so you’re on your own if the magazine blocks you. 

Trek lost a trademark infringement case after the court ruled a Washington state woman’s Ranger Trek brand won’t cause confusion with the much bigger bikemaker; Trek is ranked #4 on a list of “trademark bullies” for its overly litigious approach to protecting its brand.

Electrek reports cops are now using ebikes to catch people on ebikes, much as they use seized muscle cars to catch speeders.

Portland’s planning commission voted to speed housing construction by rolling back requirements for bike parking. But cars are still fine, apparently.

HuffPo reports on mounting “bombshells” in the Austin, Texas trial of Kaitlin Armstrong for the perceived love triangle murder of gravel cycling champ Moriah “Mo” Wilson, as the prosecution rests and the defense begins to make their case.

Chicago Magazine has chosen “bike lane revolutionary” Christina Whitehouse as their Chicagoan of the Year, honoring her as the founder of grassroots advocacy group Bike Lane Uprising.

Chicago Streetsblog takes local TV station WGN to task for a misleading report suggesting a new 1.3-mile protected bike lane is dangerous.

No surprise here. A new report shows that the quality of service for New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare has declined since ride-hailing company Lyft assumed operations, and that service is even worse in low-income areas that could benefit from bikeshare.

A Virginia paper says legislators across the US are puzzled why traffic deaths are spiking, even though people are driving less — then goes on to explain how speed cams could solve the problem, suggesting they’re not that confused about it.

 

International

Cycling Weekly pens an ode to the iconic Shimano 105 groupset.

Momentum offers advice on how to dodge a right hook on your bike commute. My best advice is don’t trust any driver, and expect any car on your left to suddenly cut you off.

Toronto’s Biking Lawyer calls on the city to ban right turns on red lights, arguing that someone’s life could be at stake, a year after a young woman was killed while riding her bike in a crosswalk by a driver making an illegal right turn. Although the fact that it was already illegal didn’t seem to stop that driver.

Bicycling reports on Amsterdam-based TV cycling journalist Orla Chennaoui’s decision not to wear a helmet when she rides her own bike. As usual, you can read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you. 

 

Competitive Cycling

Bad news for cycling fans, as the GCN+ service and GCN App will be kaput as of December 20th.

 

Finally…

Your next T-shirt could feature a cat in a bike basket. Your next hot pink e-cargo bike could fight cancer. Your next energy gel could be a packet of Heinz.

And your next pizza could come on an ebike with a built-in pizza oven.

Assuming you like mediocre pizza, that is.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Unproven “white privilege” claim in Dr. Michael Mammone murder, and 13 years for meth-fueled death of Laura Shinn

Fox News is repeating unproven claims the Dana Point killer muttered “white privilege” while fatally stabbing Dr. Michael Mammone last Wednesday.

The network had apparently removed references to the statement from their earlier stories, but resumed claims Tuesday that 39-year old Vanroy Evan Smith had made the racist comments after brutally running Mammone down from behind as he waited at a red light on his mountain bike, then getting out of his car and stabbing the Laguna Beach emergency physician to death.

Fox based their story on a report from a Chicago ABC affiliate, which cited a “neighbor” who declined to be interviewed on camera, but who claimed to have heard the comment after running outside, following what sounded like a gunshot.

However, there is no mention of the allegation in the story from Los Angeles-based ABC affiliate KABC-7.

The Orange County DA’s office also said they were unaware of the allegations. And those closer to the incident, such as the witnesses who disarmed Smith following the stabbing, have apparently said nothing to support the allegations of racial bias in the attack.

Photo of Dr. Mammone ghost bike by Photo by Walt Arrrrr.

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That’s more like it.

Thirty-nine-year old Adam David Milavetz was sentenced to a well-earned 13 years behind bars for the meth-fueled death of noted architect Laura Shinn as she rode her bike to work in San Diego’s Balboa Park in 2021.

Milavetz was sentenced to spend three years in county jail for an assortment of misdemeanor counts, including drug possession charges. He will then be transferred to state prison to serve another ten years for manslaughter and other felonies.

He pled guilty to running Shinn down from behind while she was riding in the painted bike lanes on Pershing Drive.

After the crash, witnesses saw Milavetz run across the street to toss a bag over a fence, which was later determined to contain several smaller bags of meth. Police also found meth, fentanyl and hypodermic needles in his car following his arrest.

Pershing Drive was slated to receive a two-way protected bike lane and pedestrian pathway before Shinn’s death; the project is expected to finally be completed in 2024.

Just a tad too late to save Shinn’s life.

And if that doesn’t piss you off, it sure as hell does me.

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CicLAvia is partnering with Los Angeles Ale Works in Hawthorne and Culver City to kick off the 2023 season this Friday, with the launch of their new seek-la-VEE-a West Coast IPA.

The free event will be held in conjunction with the Culver City Arts District Night Market.

It serves as the prologue to eight CicLAvias this year, including two CicLAminis, starting with the curiously straight The Valley CicLAvia on Sherman Way February 26th.

But seriously, with do we really need another West Coast IPA? How about a nice dunkel, doppelbock or black lager for a change?

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Allow me to offer a correction from yesterday’s post.

The tweet below portrays new bike lanes on Central Ave in South LA, not Alameda in DTLA as I somehow insisted, even though it says Central Ave right there in the tweet.

To further complicate matters, I thought I was writing about was this community bike ride celebrating the new bike improvements on Anaheim Street in Wilmington.

And even then I still got it all wrong.

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Good question.

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

No bias here. A Santa Barbara writer complains about bicyclists “hurtling” along the State Street promenade, claiming it’s only a matter of time before someone hits “one or more unsuspecting people out for a leisurely stroll.” Never mind that a green bike lane had to be removed from the street because people wouldn’t stop walking in it. 

A Victoria, British Columbia columnist says it seems like open season on bicyclists, as drivers go out of their way to make riding more difficult. And dangerous.

No bias here, either. London’s Telegraph insists injuries have surged on a new protected bike lane, based on just three — yes, three — bicycling injuries. Which is 300% more than before, when no one rode there.

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Local 

Streets Are For Everyone’s Damian Kevitt recaps the recent die-in at Los Angeles City Hall.

Urbanize says a decade-old Complete Streets proposal for South LA’s Broadway-Manchester corridor is still alive and kicking; the $46 million makeover would include a four-mile Class IV cycle track, pedestrian and bicyclist amenities, and hundreds of new trees. Both streets are on the city’s High Injury Network for the sadly neglected Vision Zero program.

Streetsblog reports the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies will host a Biking While Black film screening and panel discussion tonight at the James Bridges Theater.

Longtime LA-area civic leader Rick Cole calls for making Pasadena a 15-minute city by bringing back the streetcar.

Tiny South El Monte will invest a $1.6 million state grant in implementing Safe Routes to Schools, with pedestrian improvements planned for 23 sites across the city; however, it doesn’t seem to include plans for any bike infrastructure.

The Los Angeles Business Journal looks at Swiss ebike maker Thömus SA’s new Santa Monica HQ and flagship retail boutique on Montana Ave. And no, I still haven’t heard from them. 

 

State

In an apparent attempt to increase deaths and injuries among bike riders and pedestrians, while fanning the flames of the climate crisis, a San Diego state legislator has introduced a bill to legalize cruising everywhere in the state, and prevent police from enforcing local ordinances banning the practice.

A Los Olives bike rider suffered major injuries when they were struck by a driver Monday afternoon; the fire department notes the victim was wearing a helmet, which may or may not have had anything to do with the outcome.

 

National

Ebike sales have slowed for the first time in five years, as prices have climbed 25% since the start of the pandemic.

An outdoor site recommends five national parks for beginning bike riders.

Burglars targeted a Portland bike shop for the fourth time in less than a year.

A Bellingham, Washington writer makes the case for lowering the state’s DUI blood alcohol limit to .05.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a Denver woman’s bike after she had ridden across four continents and 35 countries, while raising thousands of dollars for charities along the way.

A pair of bills in the Virginia legislature would allow bike riders to legally proceed on leading pedestrian intervals, as well as legalizing the Idaho Stop for stop signs and traffic signals.

Atlanta is receiving $30 million in federal funds to improve access and safety for bike riders and pedestrians, which will be matched with $10 million in funding approved by local voters.

 

International

New data shows London’s congestion pricing plan has been an unqualified success; the plan — which has outlasted two mayors, six prime ministers and one queen — has resulted in a nearly 50% drop in motor vehicle traffic since 2002.

Interesting idea. A London-based startup plans to retrofit existing freestanding bike racks with heavy-duty chains that lock and unlock with a smartphone app. Although the question would be who is responsible if your bike gets stolen anyway.

They get it. The UK’s Department for Transport says plans to boost bicycling and walking must take women’s safety into account.

France’s bicycling federation calls for urgent action to improve safety after bicycling injuries and fatalities jumped 30% last year over 2019; they blamed much of the increase on “increasingly aggressive” drivers, particularly in rural areas.

A new Dutch study shows that people who buy ebikes more than double the amount they ride — and the results are the same when people are provided one as part of a trial program.

 

Competitive Cycling

Italian pro Marta Cavalli says she’s ready to go, after a 2022 campaign that was cut short by a concussion in the Tour de France Femmes.

Organizers have cancelled Turkey’s four-stage Tour of Antalya in the wake of the devastating earthquakes that have killed thousands of people in Turkey and Syria.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you announce a new road diet to your constituents, even if you don’t know what a road diet is. Or when you need a “cute li’l mascot” just to remind drivers not to be jerks and run people over.

And sometimes the old “pull my finger” gag means something entirely different.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

13 years for Adam Milavetz in death of San Diego architect, and LA would be healthier if residents biked to work

Eighteen months after a noted architect was run down in San Diego’s Balboa Park, her killer has been brought to justice.

Thirty-nine-year old Adam David Milavetz accepted a plea deal on Thursday in the death of 57-year old Laura Shinn.

Milavetz pled guilty to to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated after prosecutors dropped the initial murder charge; he’s expected to be sentenced to 13 years behind bars.

Shinn was riding her bike through the park on her way to work as director of facilities planning at San Diego State University when she was run down from behind by Milavetz, who was allegedly high at the time of the crash.

Witnesses reported seeing him run across the streets and dump a bag containing baggies of meth after the crash; police found still more meth, fentanyl and hypodermic needles in his car.

While there’s no mention of a Milavetz having a previous DUI conviction, the original murder count suggests that he may have signed a Watson notice, indicating he was aware he could be charged with murder if he killed someone while driving under the influence in the future.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.

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A new study examines the health impact of healthier commutes.

The authors considered the impact on public health if Los Angeles residents commuted 2.5 miles by bike each day for five years instead of driving.

The result was a 12.4% net reduction in mortality risk, and 600 fewer deaths over the five year period.

However, areas with more Black and Hispanic residents and a lower socioeconomic status showed a significantly lower benefit, suggesting a need for mitigation strategies in marginalized communities.

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Another “alarming” study reports over one million children were found to have suffered broken bones as a result of bicycling collisions and falls over the past twenty years.

According to the study, 71% of the fracture patients were white males between 10 and 15 years old. Children who rode without a helmet were most likely to suffer an injury, with 87% of helmet-less riders suffering a skull fracture.

Although that last stat seems somewhat questionable. It seems more plausible that 87% of children who suffered a skull fracture weren’t wearing helmets.

And while that one million figure sounds alarming, it works out to an average of just 50,975 fractures a year across the entire US.

A 2014 study shows that one in three children will suffer a bone fracture before the age of 18. With approximately 73 million children under 18 in the US, that works out to an average of 1.35 million adolescent fractures a year.

Which makes 51,000 less than 4%. And a pretty insignificant figure.

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Good question.

The New York Times asks why we keep widening highways when experts know it doesn’t work.

The paper examines projects in Houston and Jersey City, while also using LA’s cancelled 710 widening project as a prime example.

Interstate 710 in Los Angeles is, like the city itself, famous for its traffic. Freight trucks traveling between the city and the port of Long Beach, along with commuters, clog the highway. The trucks idle in the congestion, contributing to poor air quality in surrounding neighborhoods that are home to over one million people.

The proposed solution was the same one transportation officials across the country have used since the 1960s: Widen the highway. But while adding lanes can ease congestion initially, it can also encourage people to drive more. A few years after a highway is widened, research shows, traffic — and the greenhouse gas emissions that come along with it — often returns…

The cancellation of the Route 710 expansion came after California learned the hard way about the principle of “induced demand…”

When a congested road is widened, travel times go down — at first. But then people change their behaviors. After hearing a highway is less busy, commuters might switch from transit to driving or change the route they take to work. Some may even choose to move farther away.

Yet Caltrans and Metro continue to flush tax money down the toilet by pushing for ever wider highways, and “just one more” high speed interchange which promises to fix everything.

But only serves to make traffic worse in the long run. Not to mention damaging the climate even more.

It’s long past time to stop wasting billions on highways, and start investing in alternatives to driving.

And yes, that includes making it safer and more convenient to choose riding a bike instead of getting behind the wheel.

Chances are you’ll live longer. And so will our planet.

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Now this is what I’d call a close pass.

Especially since passing vehicles usually look further away on camera than they feel in real life.

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Gravel Bike California remembers the late, great Huell Howser and his visit to the Los Angeles Wheelmen’s annual Fargo Street Hill Climb.

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Evidently, jumping rope while riding a bike has become a worldwide trend. Just days after we saw a Culver City bike rider performing the stunt, an Indian woman has posted video of herself doing the same thing.

https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cmtj1PJqggh/?utm_source=ig_embed&ig_rid=dac42c49-3683-4a3b-b525-dcffbcdaa34e

Then again, maybe Indian bicycle riders are just more skilled than the rest of us.

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

No bias here. Online conspiracy mongers have concluded that the concept of a 15-minute city is just a ploy by cabal of global elites to control the masses. Um, sure

A ghost bike for a Denver hit-and-run victim had to be taped back together after another hit-and-run driver crashed into it in the middle of the night, less than a month after it had been installed.

Kansas City has paused work on a seven-mile protected bike lane after business owners rose up to fight it, and a city councilmember drafted an ordinance to rip them out.

A Michigan bike path will be closed for the foreseeable future after someone drove a white truck onto it and crashed into an old wooden bridge; needless to say, the driver didn’t stick around afterwards.

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

A blind British Columbia woman has filed a discrimination lawsuit alleging roundabouts and bike lanes create unsafe conditions for people with limited sight, after someone on a bicycle slammed into her as she got off a bus.

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Local 

Micromobility provider Helbiz is now offering dockless ebikes in Santa Monica, complimenting their acquisition of the Wheels sit-down scooters last year.

 

State

Encinitas hosted a successful Cyclovia on Sunday, as thousands of people took over a section of Coast Highway 101 through downtown Encinitas.

Old Town Goleta’s Bicycle Bob’s bike shop is switching ownership as Bob Zaratzian retires after nearly 40 years, and Trek Bikes takes over.

Bad news from Santa Rosa, where a man is in critical condition after he was struck by a driver while attempting to enter a road riding his bike.

 

National

An 82-year old retired rocket scientist offers tips for using ebikes for commuting and errands, saying electric cars are good, but ebikes are better. Meanwhile, a Florida letter writer says he hated ebikes until he got one.

A writer for Engadget says she sold the family’s second car, and bought a RadRunner ebike to carry her kid and groceries, instead.

Bicycling offers advice on how to actually share the road with someone on a bicycle. Unfortunately, this one doesn’t appear to be available anywhere else, so you’re on your own if the magazine blocks you.

A retired Spokane eye doctor shook off Ménière’s disease to ride her bike 3,000 miles through South America.

Utah’s governor released a public service announcement asking drivers to pay more attention to people on bikes, as bicycling crashes reach a record level in the state.

Life is cheap in Illinois, where an 81-year old driver walked with a lousy traffic ticket for killing a woman riding her bike; police initially blamed the victim, until location data from her smartphone proved she didn’t ride in front of the driver’s car. Once again raising the question of how old is too old to safely drive a car.

A New York Post op-ed credits the city’s new mayor with reducing pedestrian deaths down to pre-pandemic levels, but says he still has a lot of work to do.

Once again, the NYPD is accused of blaming the victim after concluding that a 25-year old woman was killed when she hit a parked car and fell into the street in front of a semi. But the owner of the car says his mirror was already broken, and she never hit it, with witnesses blaming the truck driver, instead.

The accused terrorist who plowed down several people on a crowded Manhattan bike path with a rented pickup goes on trial today in the first federal death penalty case of the Biden Administration; Sayfullo Saipov allegedly killed eight people in New York’s deadliest terrorist attack since 9/11.

 

International

Road.cc complains about the rising cost of bicycling, as high-end bikes continue to grow more expensive, and entry-level bikes suffer from feature creep. And no, the problem isn’t just due to the pandemic, inflation or supply chain issues.

Road.cc also reviews the new book Britain’s Best Bike Ride by John Walsh and Hannah Reynolds, about “the ultimate thousand-mile cycling adventure from Land’s End to John O’ Groats.”

A writer for The Guardian hits the nail on the head, asking how Britain can become a bicycling country if their bikes keep getting stolen. Which is exactly the same question I’ve been asking here. 

In a story that sounds all too familiar, a Kenyan newspaper says bicycle riders are on their own and in danger because town plans ignore them, with no bike lanes at all in two key regions.

Redditors continue to be entranced by South Korea’s solar panel-covered protected bike path running down the median of a major highway, although traffic noise and exhaust pollution continue to be problems. Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up. 

 

Competitive Cycling

If you can’t compete in the quadrennial Paris-Brest, try eating it, instead.

 

Finally…

That feeling when a police chase ends on a borrowed bicycle. Self-driving cars are becoming more like human drivers every day. And no, that’s not a good thing.

And a British inmate makes his escape on a bike he stole from the jail’s repair shop. But gets caught 41 miles away for illegally riding on a freeway.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

It’s Car Free Day, San Diego driver faces murder for meth-fueled death of Laura Shinn, and always carry ID on your bike

Happy International Car Free Day!

Metro Bike is offering a free bikeshare ride today to celebrate, along with steep discounts on 30 day and yearly passes.

And a European website says if there is a war on cars, Car Free Day is winning converts to the anti-car side.

So leave the car at home today.

Or better yet, declare your own personal war on cars, and trade it in for a new bike or ebike, and make it Car Free Day every day.

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A San Diego man faces years, if not decades, behind bars for killing a woman as she rode her bike.

Thirty-eight-year old Pacific Beach resident Adam David Milavetz is charged with murder for running down well-known architect Laura Shinn while high on meth as she rode her bike to work in a Balboa Park bike lane last July.

He faces an additional felony count of vehicular manslaughter while under the influence, giving jurors a choice of charges and potential sentences.

Milavetz, who works as a “420 mobilization tech” and delivery driver for a pair of cannabis dispensaries, entered a plea of not guilty to the charges; he has been held in custody without bail since his arrest.

He was arrested a month earlier for driving while high on meth.

And once again, authorities managed to keep a dangerous driver the road until it was too late.

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Momentum Magazine says there’s still a lot worth fighting for in the $3.5 trillion House infrastructure bill, even if Congress did cut the proposed $1,500 ebike tax credit in half.

The e-bike tax credit and other bicycle programs that make up the massive bill are as follows, and it signifies a welcome change and an indication of just how fast and how large e-bikes sales are growing:

  • E-bike tax credit: 15% on the purchase of new e-bikes (the first $5,000), up to $750 benefit value. The credit was originally proposed for 30%.
  • Bicycle commuter benefit: Allow use of pre-tax dollars to fund bike purchases and bike-share memberships.
  • E-bikes for business tax credit: An incentive of a tax credit of 30% for businesses to install e-bike charging stations
  • Funding to reconnect or enhance communities split apart by highway projects.
  • Opportunities to build a sustainable and complete bicycle network.

Meanwhile, drivers will continue to get a tax credit ten times that size for buying an electric car, as the government works to maintain the automotive hegemony on our streets.

And never mind that the prospect for the House bill aren’t looking good in the evenly split Senate, where Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema are insisting on further steep cuts to the bill, even though it has already been reduced $1.5 trillion from the original proposal.

Slate asks what if Congress helped bicyclists instead of drivers for a change?

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Yet another reminder to always carry ID when you ride.

Authorities in Sacramento are trying to identify a Spanish-speaking man who is trapped in a fugue state following a collision with a driver while riding his bicycle, and can’t even remember his own name.

But don’t rely on your wallet or cellphone, or anything else that can be easily stolen if you’re incapacitated in a crash; it may sound ghoulish, but it happens often enough to be a valid concern.

I always wear a Road ID when I ride. Or any other time I leave home.

I also keep emergency contact information written down on a slip of paper in my jersey pocket or seat bag; other people attach information on their shoes or directly to their bikes.

But do something. You don’t want your loved ones frantically searching for you if anything happens.

Thanks to “Zero Carbon” Kevin and Megan Lynch for clarifying where this took place.

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Unless you have to share the road with LA drivers, that is.

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If you build it, they will come. Women, too.

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GCN examines whether we should be afraid of bicycles made by carmakers.

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

Police in the UK criticize the “depressing level of selfish and poor behavior” shown by motorists during a sting operation to catch drivers who pass too close to people on bicycles; a fifth of all drivers were stopped for violations.

Meanwhile, a bike rider in Cornwall, England shares video of repeated bad passes by drivers.

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

Police in Regina, Saskatchewan tackled a man off his bicycle as he attempted to flee, booking him on 11 counts including weapons charges, assault and possession of burglary tools.

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Local

A Long Beach couple started a petition demanding safety improvements to Los Coyotes Diagonal after their son was killed by a suspected drunk driver while trying to cross the deadly street earlier this month, where far too many people have been killed in recent years — including a pair of bike riders just two years ago.

 

State

If you ride in the Santa Barbara area, the CHP will be distributing enough bike lights, reflectors and helmets for one thousand people in Isla Vista this evening.

An Oakland website examines why the area’s roads are among the deadliest in the state, and asks for their readers help in finding out.

Marin County drivers and officials are once again coming for the successful bike lane on the upper deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, after a study suggested that converting it back to a traffic lane could save drivers a whole eleven minutes, while costing bike commuters hours. Or forcing them back into cars. Sure, let’s just turn all the streets back over to cars. It’s not like there’s a climate or fatality crisis or anything to worry about.

 

National

National Geographic says there are good reasons to believe America’s pandemic bike boom will become a longterm trend.

A Tesla fan site explains how the carmaker’s Full Self-Driving Beta steers cars around bike riders and pedestrians. The problem is, Tesla is turning all of us into unpaid beta testers just by sharing the road with them, whether we like it or not. 

A Streetsblog op-ed says playable streets represent the next frontier in public spaces, with infrastructure and street furniture designed to inspire imagination.

A first-time ebike rider says the new 28 mph Specialized ebike won him over — especially the Garmin sensor feature that displays the position of cars around and behind the bike on a small screen on the handlebars. Although that maximum speed means a helmet is required in California, regardless of age, and it would be banned from separated bike paths.

Bicycling offers tips from the pros for beginning riders. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

A Nevada couple faces a shitload of charges for killing the wife of a Tesla co-founder as she rode her bike last July, then lying about who was behind the wheel; a TV reporter explains the driver is charged with reckless driving causing death, rather than vehicular manslaughter, because the former is a felony while the latter is just a misdemeanor. Thanks to Al Williams for the tip.

A suspected Arizona bike thief was killed after he dropped the bicycle to flee from police and ran out into traffic — and into the side of a box truck, before getting hit by another driver.

The Sierra Club magazine talks with Detroit bike riders about the difficulty of Biking While Black, even in a city that’s overwhelmingly African American.

Dayton, Ohio wants to destroy the 1892 building that housed the Wright Brothers first bike shop, saying it’s become a nuisance after falling into a state of “extreme disrepair.” Although once a historic site is gone, you can’t get it back.

They get it. A Bangor, Maine newspaper reminds us that pedestrian deaths aren’t statistics, they’re people. That goes for people on bicycles, too. Or anyone else who’s a victim of traffic violence.

Maryland is investing $16.8 million to fund 42 bike projects around the state. Although Amazon donated nearly half that amount to complete two bike trail segments near their Bellevue, Washington HQ2 alone.

 

International

The Finnish city of Turku is attempting to promote bicycling by experimenting with different types of secure bike parking, including public ebike charging cabinets that can automatically extinguish a battery fire.

If you can live without the extra bells and whistles and Garmins, you can get a new Chinese-made Tenways ebike right now on Indiegogo for less than half the price of the Specialized ebike.

Singapore Facebook users freak out after spotting someone riding a recumbent bike, accusing the low rider of courting death.

 

Competitive Cycling

Hats off to 23-year old Christopher Blevins, who became the first American to win a Mountain Bike World Cup race in 27 years on Sunday.

 

Finally…

That feeling when even a nine-foot fence and a pond aren’t enough to deter a bike thief. That feeling when you want an ebike, but secretly wish it was a motorcycle.

And don’t bother showing up for a Covid test if you’re not in a car.

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

Suspect arrested in Oceanside hit-and-run, murder charge in meth-fueled San Diego crash, and East LA CHP hit-and-run

Thank you to everyone for all the kind words. Your support really means a lot to me. 

The good news is, taking most of last week off helped lower my blood sugar levels over 25%, down to a more normal level for diabetics. 

It also allowed me to realize that not all the symptoms I’ve been dealing with were caused by my diabetes; the last medication my doctor put me on to lower my blood sugar was apparently caused a long list of damaging side effects. 

So we’ll what happens now that I’ve stopped taking it. 

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Maybe we’ll see some justice in San Diego County after all.

Oceanside police arrested 24-year old Oceanside resident Bailey Tennery for the hit-and-run death of Jackson Williams as he rode his bike on Oceanside Blvd July 15th.

At last report, she was being held on $150,000 bond.

The victim’s family had called for the public’s help in catching the killer. But it was a homeless man who recognized the car, and led police to Tennery’s home.

Let’s hope there’s a very large reward in the case. Or at least enough to get him off the streets permanently.

Meanwhile, the driver accused of the meth-fueled killing of 57-year-old Laura Shinn as she rode her bike through San Diego’s Balboa Park has pled not guilty to murder, as well as gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence of drugs causing injury.

Thirty-eight-year old Adam David Milavetz allegedly ran away right after the crash and dumped a couple baggies of white powder over a fence, which police believe were filled with meth.

The murder charge suggests that Milavetz has at least one previous conviction for DUI, and was required to sign a Watson advisement indicating that he could be charged with murder if he killed someone while driving under the influence.

He was also arrested on a separate DUI count on the 1st of this month.

Thanks to Phillip Young for the Oceanside heads-up.

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It looks like the accused killer of a Palm Springs bike rider could be in the wind.

A Riverside County judge issued a bench warrant for Yesenia Bibriesca, who apparently failed to appear in court on charges of fleeing the scene after killing 43-year-old Christopher Jones as he rode his bike in Palm Springs last year.

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East LA residents are calling for the CHP to fire an officer who just drove away after running down a 14-year old boy as he rode his bike at Whittier Boulevard and Williamson Avenue a month ago, leaving the boy with a concussion and shoulder injuries.

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A Sacramento sheriff’s deputy left the scene to respond to a call after backing into a bike rider, shoving the 65-year old man across a sidewalk and into some bushes; fortunately, the person wasn’t badly hurt.

A local TV station asks the obvious question — how the hell did the deputy not know she’d hit someone?

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Speaking of Sacramento, a man died nearly a month after an alleged drunk driver slammed into a group of bike riders on a Sacramento bike path.

Proving once again that there is nowhere safe from the big, dangerous machines and the equally dangerous people piloting them.

Case in point, this is who was share the living room with.

Thanks to Ralph Durham for the video, who blames the house for not wearing hi-viv, for the link. 

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Sunset4All is hosting a guided bike ride and happy hour this Wednesday. Meanwhile, the crowdfunding campaign for LA’s first public/private bike lane partnership stands at 57% of the $25,000 goal.

So what are you waiting for, already?

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Take a ride up Pacifico Mountain with Gravel Bike California.

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Who needs a mail truck when you’ve got bike lanes?

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This, too, is the cost of traffic violence.

A mother bear in Yosemite spends heartbreaking hours trying to wake her cub who left to die by a passing driver.

Photo from Yosemite National Park Facebook.

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

Why, indeed.

https://twitter.com/NYCBikeLanes/status/1418998097838055424

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

Apparently, there really are bike riders who swerve into traffic without looking, like this Philippine bicyclist who crossed three lanes of traffic to hit the side of a passing bus.

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Local

The LAPD held a bike ride in Mission Hills on Saturday to honor a fallen officer who died of Covid last July, and raise money for his twin infant sons.

No surprise here, as Los Angeles Magazine names the Santa Monica Helen’s the best bike shop in Los Angeles. Which isn’t to say it necessarily is, just that it’s the obvious choice. Any suggestions for who you’d pick instead?

Santa Monica cops bust two men burglarizing a Santa Monica bike shop on the 2900 block of Main Street, after several people were visible inside on security cameras; the address corresponds with the Bike Attack Electric shop.

Now we know how Nick Jonas broke a rib falling off his bike earlier this year.

 

State

Streetsblog updates the current status of transportation bills in the state legislature, including weakening — but not eliminating — the deadly 85th Percentile Rule, as well as bills allowing bike riders to treat stop signs like yields, and funding an e-bike rebate program.

Nice story from San Diego, where a Chula Vista family has turned to tandem riding to overcome a near-fatal e-scooter crash, as well as the son’s blindness and chronic heart and lung disease, while helping others.

San Diego bike advocates are demanding changes after the city’s recent rash of bicycling fatalities. And that was before two more people were killed in the city last week.

Continuing our San Diego trifecta, residents are complaining about rogue mountain bikers riding illegally in Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, damaging recently replanted areas.

Who says bike riders aren’t tough? A Fresno woman got shot in both legs in a domestic violence incident — then got on her bicycle and chased down the man who shot her, following him until police arrived. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Sad news from San Ramon, where New York Jets quarterback coach Greg Knapp died six days after he was critically injured in a collision while riding his bicycle; he had been an NFL coach for 23 years. The team’s head coach had asked for prayers for Knapp.

A white Sacramento woman accused a Black woman of selling drugs from her bicycle seat, apparently unable to grasp the concept that the woman was actually selling perfectly legal hair products.

 

National

Here’s one for my fellow diabetic Americans, as a new study shows bicycling reduces the risk of death from all causes for people with diabetes.

Another new study shows bikeshare saves the US $36 million in healthcare funds.

Vice compares today’s massive pickups and SUVs to the tanks that won WWII. And the tanks come out on the losing end.

Vans teams with SE Bikes for a new sneaker line celebrating Bike Life and BMX culture.

Bike Portland explains that sometimes, the best way to pass someone on a bicycle is not to.

A Colorado man faces up to six years behind bars after being convicted of killing professional cyclist Benjamin Sonntag; oddly, there was no charge for hit-and-run, even though he tried to flee the crash on foot, and had to be restrained with a taser until police backup arrived.

Um, okay. A Nebraska man faces charges for threatening another man with a knife, after the other man refused his generous offer of the same knife in exchange for helping him pick a bike lock in broad daylight.

The New York native who made headlines across the US for riding a bikeshare bike from New York to Santa Monica in search of a new home will now be living on Tulsa time.

An Illinois man who killed a woman and seriously injured her husband while fleeing from police will spend the next 12 years behind bars after accepting a plea deal.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 90-year old Ohio man is still riding after 35 years, despite two new hips and four heart bypasses.

A Boston magazine wonders what would it take to leave cars in the city’s rearview mirror and become a place for people, instead.

Leaving the scene after crashing an ebike into a pedestrian could result in a felony hit-and-run charge if a New York legislator has her way.

A 16-year old Pennsylvania girl somehow missed their blinking lights and hi-viz, and slammed into a group of four people riding their bikes as part of an Ohio church group ride, killing one man and injuring three other people.

A new Penn study shows how planners can use biometric data to identify dangerous areas to design safer streets for bike riders and pedestrians.

A Florida man became alligator bait after losing control of his bike on a curve, and sliding down an embankment where he was bitten by the nine-foot gator. Fortunately, both man and reptile will survive; the former thanks to a man walking his dog. But maybe it wasn’t the gator’s fault.

 

International

No, you can’t call the Queen as a witness.

Be sure to great passersby with a cheery hello if you’re riding your bike naked in Liverpool.

Apparently frightening easily, London drivers are “terrorized” by red light-running, wheelie-popping teens on bicycles.

Former Vancouver bike advocates Melissa and Chris Bruntlett share lessons from their new life in the Netherlands, while busting common myths about car-light cities.

The BBC takes to the bike path to learn from the Dutch how to build a nation of bike riders.

Yes, it can be done. A Polish city built out a complete 800 kilometer bike network — nearly 500 miles — in just five years. We could do that here in Los Angeles if city leaders actually wanted it.

Police in India arrested seven people for flying kites with nylon strings after several people riding bicycles and motorcycles were injured, including a 12th grade girl whose throat was slashed by a kite string as she rode her bike.

A group of Singapore scientists claim to have developed a tougher and safer bike helmet, with an outer shell made of a new type of acrylic thermoplastic resin that’s reinforced with carbon fiber.

He gets it. A New Zealand writer says most Kiwi bike riders are anything but “elitist.” The same goes here in Los Angeles. And just about anywhere and everywhere else.

 

Competitive Cycling

Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz was the surprise winner in the men’s Olympic road race, while Belgian Wout van Aert took the silver; American Brandon McNulty was leading with Carapaz with three miles to go, but faded at the end to finish sixth.

Austria’s Anna Kiesenhofer took the women’s road race, as the math PhD holder built a stealth lead with no one thinking to chase her. Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten mistakenly threw her arms up in victory, thinking she was first across the finish line, instead settling for silver.

SoCal’s Coryn Rivera was riding in honor of her late father, who died of Covid earlier this year; she claimed seventh in the road race as the top American finisher.

An Indianapolis paper looks at how Chloe Dygert made it back from a devastating leg injury after going over a guardrail at last year’s Worlds to compete in three Olympic events.

Olympic cycling is one of the few events to actually have fans.

The head of cycling’s governing body swears two-time Tour de France champ Tadej Pogačar is clean, and so is his bike.

VeloNews tells the “mind-blowing” backstory of how Leah Goldstein became the first woman to win the Race Across America, aka RAAM.

 

Finally…

Why bother pretending you’re riding a bike when you can pretend you’re in a video game? Tossing your bicycle off an overpass onto a highway isn’t one of the recommended uses, and could land your ass behind bars.

And then there’s this.

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

Update: San Diego bike rider killed in Balboa Park collision Tuesday morning; murder charge for alleged DUI driver

The death toll continues to mount in San Diego County.

Just five days after the county saw its tenth bicycling death of the year, another rider lost their life riding in San Diego’s Balboa Park.

The victim, who has yet to be publicly identified in any way, was riding on Pershing Drive, south of the Morley Field Disc Golf Course on the northwest side of the massive park, when he or she was struck by a driver around 7:30 this morning.

The rider was found lying unresponsive in the roadway when first responders arrived, and died after being transported to a similarly unidentified hospital.

The driver reportedly remained at the scene, and was cooperating with investigators; no word on whether police suspect distraction or intoxication played a role in the crash.

Video from the scene shows a mangled road bike off to the side of the road.

A street view shows a four lane roadway with no visible bicycle infrastructure. No other information is available at this time.

This death comes three months to the day after another person was killed riding across Highway 163 through the park.

This is at least the 36th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eleventh that I’m aware of already this year in San Diego County, which seems to be rushing to keep up with Los Angeles County, with roughly three times the population.

Update: Sasha Jovanovic reminds us that the stretch of Pershing where the crash occurred was supposed to have a separated bikeway by now

Update 2: The San Diego Union-Tribune has identified the victim as 57-year old San Diego resident Laura Shinn

According to the paper, Shinn was a prominent architect and planner who regularly commuted to her work at San Diego State University, where she oversaw the planning and design of several campus facilities.

Laura Shinn worked as SDSU’s director of facilities planning and was serving as the 2021 president of the board of directors of the American Institute of Architects’ San Diego chapter. She also was a founding member of the Women in Architecture group in San Diego.

In a statement, SDSU described Shinn as “an incredibly talented architect who helped oversee much of our university’s development and growth.”

Shinn was run down from behind as she rode north on Pershing, which the paper says does have a bike lane.

Thirty-eight-year old Adam Milavetz was arrested on suspicion of DUI after allegedly drifting into the bike lane to strike Shinn. 

The paper reports he was jailed on “suspicion of murder, gross vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of drugs.” The murder count suggests this was not his first DUI, and he had likely signed a Watson advisement as a condition of a previous conviction. 

He’s expected to be arraigned Thursday. 

Yet another example of keeping a dangerous driver on the road until it’s too late.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Laura Shinn and all her loved ones.

Thanks to Phillip Young for heads-up.

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