Tag Archive for legal settlement

Injured Encinitas bike advocate wins $11 million settlement, SaMo crashes drop 50%, and boring street racers into quitting

It’s the very definition of tragic irony.

In December of 2018, the executive director of advocacy group Cardiff 101 Main Street was run down by a driver while riding her bike on the sharrows on the North Coast Highway in the Leucadia neighborhood of Encinitas.

Exactly where she had long fought for safety improvements, including a road diet and bike lanes.

Roberta Walker, a longtime bike and pedestrian advocate, and former professional snowboarder, suffered multiple catastrophic injuries that left her survival in doubt for some time after she was placed in a medically induced coma.

This week, she settled a lawsuit with Encinitas for a whopping $11 million to cover past and future medical expenses, as well as what will likely be years, if not a lifetime, of rehab.

Although something tells me she’d gladly give up every penny to avoid those injuries and have her old life back.

Her lawyer argued that the sharrows were a dangerous condition of public property and a direct cause of the crash, in which she was run down from behind by a pickup driver.

Which, sadly, is about as good a description as any for far too many sharrows.

Thankfully, that won’t be a problem much longer.

The long-awaited project began preliminary construction activities last month and features traffic calming measures, buffered bike lanes, raised medians, roundabouts and enhanced crosswalks.

“One profound irony of this accident is that Ms. Walker herself had advocated for a dedicated bike lane in multiple City Council meetings,” (plaintiffs’ attorney Ed) Susolik said.

There’s no word on whether the driver ever faced charges.

Or even got a ticket for nearly killing someone riding legally, exactly where she was supposed to be.

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Santa Monica saw a 50% drop in traffic collisions over the last year as more people stayed home during the pandemic, and a 70% reduction in drunk driving due to the closure of restaurants and bars.

The city also repurposed street parking for al fresco restaurant dining, and built another 18 miles of protected bike lanes — which equals half of all the bike lanes built in Los Angeles in the 2019/2020 fiscal year, despite being just a tiny fraction of LA’s size.

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Apparently, the Burbank Police Department plans to bore street racers into giving it up.

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Today’s common theme is a host of new bikes, e- and otherwise.

Who wouldn’t want an ebike inspired by the legendary Caroll Shelby?

When you need your powerful ebike camouflaged for hunting.

A 24-year old Irishman created a new ebike designed to replace your car, and turned to Vietnam for manufacturing.

Or maybe you’d rather have a cross between a teeny tiny car and a throttle controlled adult e-tricycle.

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

After London cop carelessly cut off a bike rider, the officer made a U-turn and came back — to lecture the guy on the bike.

It’s a sad commentary when even carfree British streets aren’t.

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

Tragic news from the UK, where a bike rider is on trial for allegedly jumping a red light and slamming into a 73-year old man walking home from work; the victim died days later as a result of severe brain injuries suffered in the crash; bicyclist turned himself in after initially fleeing the scene. Yet another reminder that pedestrians are the only people on the street who are more vulnerable than we are. So ride carefully around them, dammit. And stick around after a crash. 

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Local

LADOT is planning safety improvements to a 1.2 mile segment of San Vicente Blvd east of Beverly Hills when the street is scheduled to be repaved this June; options include a separated or parking protected bike lane.

Metro is hosting a virtual bike repair and flat fixing class this Saturday.

 

State

A San Diego bike rider was lucky to survive when he swerved suddenly to avoid a garbage truck in a parking lot, and was impaled through the neck and jaw by a hook hanging from the front of a pickup.

UC Santa Barbara talks with geography professor Trisalyn Nelson, who created BikeMaps to allow bike riders to report trouble spots after yet another too-close call on her bike.

Authorities identified the victim of Saturday’s Turlock hit-and-run as a 44-year old Turlock man; police are looking for the driver of a charcoal gray Mercedes sedan with visible damage to the front and/or side.

Streetsblog is looking for freelance help in San Francisco.

A Gold Country bike columnist says unless you make a living on it, your bike is a toy, so have fun on it. Evidently, he’s never heard of bike commuting or transportation riding. Which doesn’t mean he’s not right about the fun part.

 

National

The Verge looks at the growing DIY ebike movement, citing the birth of Rad Power Bikes as a prime example.

Tragic news from Phoenix, where a 22-year old man was collateral damage when a shootout erupted between a group of people standing in a field as he was riding by on his bike.

It may be illegal to park in a Houston bike lane now, but that doesn’t mean it actually stops anyone.

Chicago’s Goose Island beer is marking the release of their new 312 Lemonade Shandy by giving away new bicycles to anyone who can find one of 50 giant lemons hidden throughout the city on — you guessed it — March 12th, aka 3-12. And they make damn good beer, too.

The bike shortage induced by the bike boom induced by the pandemic has made its way to Bowling Green KY, home to the fighting WKU Hilltoppers.

Armed robbers are targeting New York delivery riders to steal the expensive ebikes they need to do their jobs.

 

International

The family of British motorcyclist Harry Dunn say they’re offended by an offer from American spy Anne Sacoolas to do community service for the wrong way hit-and-run that took his life, after she claimed diplomatic immunity to flee the country. Although you have to wonder about American intelligence services if they can’t figure out that Brits drive on the other side of the road.

A bike chain in the UK is facing well-deserved criticism for laying off 300 workers and shifting the rest to zero guaranteed hour contracts in an effort to slash costs, despite booming business from the bike boom.

 

Competitive Cycling

Vincenzo Nibali, who should know, says turn off those bike computers and power meters during a race and ride on instinct, like Strade Bianche winner Mathieu van der Poel.

Rouleur previews the upcoming Giro, the first of the three Grand Tours.

 

Finally…

Business up front, party in the back — a DIY mountain bike with a mullet. That feeling when the cops have you dead to rights for stealing a bike from a disabled person, and you somehow think you can do better in front of a jury.

And when you want to learn how to make a bicycle, among other things.

In Japanese.

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

Morning Links: $4.5 million settlement in broken street death, new laws aren’t helping OC, and windshield bias in CD7

LA’s poorly maintained streets and lack of safe bicycling infrastructure will cost taxpayers $4.5 million dollars.

And cost a bike rider his life.

The city council agreed to a settlement in the 2014 case of Edgardo Gabat, who struck a two-inch ridge of concrete on Colorado Blvd in Eagle Rock, and was thrown over his handlebars.

Sadly, the city knew about the problem after other riders had been injured there, but failed to fix it. Yet continued to list Colorado as a bicycle-friendly street, despite a lack of any bicycling infrastructure or warning signs.

As the LA Times points out, this settlement comes as Los Angeles debates whether to invest Measure M local return funds in fixing the streets or supporting Vision Zero projects.

Clearly, both are necessary. Because sometimes, it’s the same thing.

And as large as this settlement is, I have a feeling Gabat’s family would gladly give it all back just to have him with them again.

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It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from David Whiting of the Orange County Register, who says new laws and thousands of dollars spent improving safety haven’t cut the county’s bicycling death toll, averaging one rider a month killed in traffic collisions.

Yes, he stresses the need for bike riders to be polite and obey the law. And he’s not wrong about that, although no one ever seems to suggest that every driver has to obey all the laws and be ambassadors for motoring.

But he does point the finger where it belongs, at distracted drivers and dangerously close passes that violate the state’s three-foot law. And notes that fines for littering exceed the penalty for nearly killing another human being with just inches to spare.

The kicker to the story, which ends with a call for Wednesday’s Ride of Silence, is that his own wife returned home from a ride as he was writing it, and reported that a man in a truck yelled an obscenity at her.

Which really shouldn’t surprise anyone, unfortunately.

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Streetsblog considers the new protected bike lanes on Foothill Blvd in Sunland-Tujunga, which were installed as a Vision Zero measure in response to the death of bike rider Jeff Knopp. And how they entered the debate between CD7 council candidates Karo Torossian and Monica Rodriguez, as the formerly bike-friendly Torossian offered a windshield-perspective comment about bike lanes being “rammed down our throats.”

Meanwhile, the Eastsider repeats questions for the candidates for CD1, and once again, gets crickets from incumbent Gil Cedillo.

For all the problems that have surfaced recently with Joe Bray-Ali, it’s hard to imagine he could be any less responsive or more out-of-touch with the district than Cedillo has been.

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This is why you don’t retaliate against drivers, no matter what they do or how pissed off you are.

A Santa Clarita man was sentenced to 188 days behind bars for throwing a bottle at a car after the driver apparently cut him off as he rode his bike on the sidewalk.

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CNN visits the Madonna del Ghisallo chapel above Lake Como in Italy and its shrine to cycling and the Giro d’Italia.

A major crash took down 50 riders in the Giro, sending a number of riders out of the race and into the hospital. Meanwhile, Vincenzo Nibali’s homecoming was ruined when one of his teammates got the cycling equivalent of a red card for shoving another rider off the road.

The Modesto Bee previews the Amgen Tour of California, which starts this weekend, and says keep an eye on Peter Sagan. French rider Julian Alaphilippe won’t be defending his title, or competing in the Tour de France, for that matter, after knee surgery knocks him out for at least four weeks.

Southern California’s Coryn Rivera returns to compete in the four-stage women’s Tour of California after becoming the first American the Tour of Flanders; full rosters were released for the women’s teams.

The course for this summer’s Manhattan Beach Grand Prix will go backwards.

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Local

Metro invites you to attend the grand opening of the long-awaited Hollywood Bike Hub on Friday the 19th at 9 am.

CiclaValley looks at last weekend’s NBA Reunion and BMX Bike Show, which oddly had nothing to do with basketball.

The LACBC will be hosting a pair of bike safety classes in Inglewood this afternoon and this evening.

The Bikerowave bike co-op invites you to bring your bike in on Saturday to get ready for Bike to Work Day, and score some swag from Metro.

Santa Monica gets serious about reducing traffic fatalities, including hiring a Vision Zero Czar, increasing funding, improving infrastructure, updating the bike action plan, and addressing the city’s speeding problem. Maybe LA could take a few hints from them.

The year’s first Redondo Beach TEDx talk addresses the city’s transportation issues, like how to reduce driving and where more bike lanes are needed; sadly, the discussion came just two days before a 13-year old girl was killed riding her bike along PCH.

Speaking of the young victim in that case, the Easy Reader News offers the most complete account yet of what happened that tragic night, and the heartbreaking impact Ciara Smith’s death has had on the community. If the story doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, you’re a stronger person than I am.

Long Beach approved plans for a new 2.5 mile bicycle boulevard in the southeast part of the city. Thus demonstrating to its much larger neighbor that it is in fact possible to build the things that are included in a city’s bike plan.

 

State

Good question. The Human Streets website asks if it’s possible to get the data needed to pass the Idaho Stop Law in California without actually trying it first.

An injured mountain biker was airlifted after falling off his bike at the top of Coyote Run Trail in Wood Canyons Wilderness Park near Laguna Nigel.

Laguna Beach is looking for more input to create a more inviting entrance to the city, including a multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists.

Cal State Fullerton police are looking for a bike-riding man who threatened to kill a woman who rejected his sexual comments.

Newport Beach boldly backs out of plans to improve safety on Bayside Drive, canceling plans for a roundabout, as well as an alternate plan for a road diet. Because obviously, you don’t want to do anything to save lives if it might possibly inconvenience someone.

Sixteen bike repair stations will be installed at fire stations throughout Ventura County over the next year; a 10-mile family friendly ride will be held on Monday to celebrate the first one.

Bakersfield police are still investigating a member of a prominent local farming family in the January hit-and-run death of a woman riding her bike; police found an empty vodka bottle in the SUV of the driver, who has at least one previous DUI.

A Bay Area TV station offers advise on what you need to start cycling, albeit from a strict roadie perspective.

 

National

A new study shows increasing bicycling infrastructure can reduce fatalities and severe injuries as much as 75%. It includes Los Angeles as an example, even though LA has drastically cut back on building bikeways, and largely forgotten its 2010 bike plan.

People for Bikes says living plants make great diverters and traffic calming measures while doubling as on-street storm drainage.

Oregon considers a new 4% – 5% excise tax on the sale of new bicycles to fund transportation projects; while bike advocates may not like the idea, they’re not going to the mattresses.

Chicago is about to get its first contraflow bike lane, on a road where people frequently ride salmon to avoid busier streets.

As we mentioned awhile back, Pittsburgh-based ultracycling legend Danny Chew is back on track towards his goal of riding one million miles in his lifetime, now using a handcycle after a crash that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

Hundreds of police officers are riding from New Jersey to DC for the annual Police Unity Tour to honor officers killed in the line of duty.

The homeless man who stabbed a Connecticut man to death as he neared the end of a ride to Miami to propose to his girlfriend won’t stand trial after being declared incompetent by the judge.

 

International

A writer for Cycling Tips says there’s no such thing as “just” a concussion, and every brain injury has to be taken seriously. I concur, from experience.

London’s Telegraph shares ten cycling routes you should tackle on your next trip to the UK.

After former three-time Tour de France champ Chris Froome was intentionally hit by a car while training in France, the BBC asks how safe the roads in the UK really are for people on bikes.

The Guardian says police have to crack down on vicious drivers, because bike riders don’t deserve to be killed by bike-hating motorists for jumping lights or hopping curbs.

Caught on video: Yesterday we mentioned the road raging London mother-to-be who will be having her baby behind bars after running a bike rider off the road and into a tree; today, horrifying security cam video of the crash was released. Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

A Dutch art student left her bike in an English town when she returned home, with a note encouraging people to use it and return it for others to use.

The Paris Velib bikeshare goes electric with a new operator, ebikes and a new parking scheme that doubles dock capacity.

 

Finally…

The best way to lose a race — and get laughed at — is to celebrate your victory a lap early. Unless it’s nearly getting run over by the peloton posing for your Instagram pics.

And if you’re going to flee the scene after a drunken crash, make sure the cyclist you hit wasn’t a bike cop.

They take that shit seriously.

 

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