Tag Archive for Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Morning Links: LA’s hit-and-run epidemic, LA Mobility Plan could save lives, and Metro Bike may reduce fares

It looks like the press has finally noticed what’s happening on our streets.

In a piece for the Los Angeles Daily News, Josh Cain writes about the carnage of recent weeks.

The increase in bicycle deaths came despite what police officials said at the meeting was an across-the-board drop in serious traffic collisions in the city so far this year — fatal collisions and crashes resulting in serious injuries were down 10 percent, Moore said. Fatal vehicle-on-pedestrian crashes were also down significantly, falling 25 percent.

There were 18 cyclists killed in Los Angeles for all of 2017, and police officials said after the fatal collisions in April, the city appeared to be on track to match that total again…

Los Angeles statistics collected as part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative to eliminate traffic deaths showed that while all deaths from traffic collisions over the last three years, cyclist deaths continued to rise. In the San Fernando Valley, there were just three cyclist deaths in 2015, while last year there were eight.

In case you’re wondering, this is why I’m going to City Hall on the 18th, to demand our elected leaders have the courage to do the right thing.

It’s time to call the city council on their inaction on Vision Zero, and their repeated capitulations to traffic safety deniers in shelving vital lane reductions and other street safety projects.

And doing little more than talking about doing something to halt hit-and-run, while bicyclists and pedestrians — and even motorists — continue to suffer the consequences of their inaction.


Speaking of which, if you can’t join me on the 18th — or even if you can — feel free to send a letter demanding for safer streets for you, me and everyone else. Just email your letter to me by Wednesday, May 16th to ted at bikinginla dot com.

I’ll print them out and include them with the packages we’re giving each councilmember and the mayor, containing copies of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing.

A couple quick tips if you plan to write a letter.

  • If you can, try to work in the theme of our protest by asking them to have the courage to do the right thing.
  • Mention what council districts you live, work or ride in.
  • Stress that safer streets benefit everyone, whether on bikes, on foot or in cars.
  • Feel free to (politely) express whatever anger or fear you may be feeling
  • Demand they take immediate action to protect us all


A new study from the LA County Department of Health concludes that if Los Angeles actually built out the city’s Mobility Plan 2035 — which seems highly unlikely at this point — it could prevent up to 4,600 cases of cardiovascular disease each year, while saving over $160 million per year in health costs.

Which is just one more reason city leaders need to do the right thing. And one less reason to wonder what that is.


Metro is recommending much needed rate changes to its Bike Metro bikeshare program that would finally make renting a bike a single time cost the same as a bus ride for 30 minutes or less.


CBS Sunday Morning looks at Manny Silva, Compton’s Godfather of lowrider bikes.


The #1 phrase that belongs on the bicycling scrapheap of history: “In a crash between a bike and a car, the car is going to win every time.”

Seriously, there is absolutely no one who rides a bike — and pretty much no one on earth — who doesn’t already know that.

And it’s not a question of who wins.

It’s someone’s life.



Bike the Vote LA is hosting a 2018 June Primary Ballot Party next Wednesday to discuss options for the upcoming election.

Reseda residents say the LA River bike path has become a campsite for the homeless and IV drug users in the community.

Culver City lists their Bike Month events, while a Pasadena website looks at the upcoming Bike Week events in that city.

The South Pasadena Police Department will be conducting stepped-up bike and pedestrian safety operations throughout this month. You know the drill — ride to the letter of the law until you’re outside their jurisdiction. You don’t want to celebrate Bike Month with a traffic ticket.

Bike SGV is hosting their first-ever bird watching ride this Saturday.

The long-awaited Arroyo Seco Pedestrian and Bicycle Trail is nearing completion, if they can just figure out how to keep people using it from getting hit with golf balls.



The Orange County Register maps where Southern California’s deadly crashes occur in a sea of blood red dots.

San Diego’s three-year old Vision Zero program is focusing on 15 deadly intersections to improve safety.

A San Francisco writer says she has good reason not to ride her bike right now, but she’s not ready to put it into storage.

The Press Democrat looks at custom bike builders in Sonoma County.

Sacramento installs its first parking-protected bike lanes in the downtown area.

Our own Phil Gaimon goes riding in Yosemite.



President Trump once again criticized former Secretary of State John Kerry for breaking his leg while riding his bike, saying you don’t enter a bike race at 73, and you’d never see him (Trump) in a bike race. Except Kerry was only 71 at the time of the crash, he was just out for a bike ride with full security during a break in tense negotiations, not competing in a race, and more than a few people older than that still race. And at least Kerry can ride a bike.

Gear Junkie looks at surprises in People for Bikes’ new list of the nation’s most bike friendly cities; meanwhile, Cheyenne WY ranked near the bottom, scoring just 1.2 out of a possible 5 points. Which just goes to prove that not much has changed since I tried to ride there decades ago, and vowed never to do it again.

A CEO in the energy field says Houston streets remain dangerous because the city doesn’t have the same sort of safety culture found in private industry, and that department heads should be fired if they can’t solve the problem.

There’s a special place in hell for the red light-running driver who struck an Illinois bike rider with her car, then got out to pick up her license plate before driving off and leaving him bleeding in the street.

Pittsburg cycling icon and two-time RAAM champ Danny Chew competed in his first marathon as a handcyclist, 20 months after he was paralyzed in a bicycling crash.

New York bicyclists get a little divine protection at the annual Blessing of the Bicycles; LA’s will take place at Good Samaritan Hospital on May 15th.

New York announces plans to put bike lanes on six bridges crossing the Harlem River, making the already bike-friendly city that much safer for everyone.

The New York Post starts by saying construction delays are turning a New York bike path into an obstacle course, then naturally have to blame people “biking out here like maniacs, like they’re in the Tour de France.”

Filmmaker Casey Neistat records a video telling the NYPD to focus on fixing problem streets instead of cracking down on bicyclists.



The body of a missing German bicyclist was found near the base of a 600 foot cliff, a day after his Polish riding companion was found nearby; both deaths are believed to be accidental.

They get it. Eighty-six percent of Victoria, British Columbia residents support more bikeways as an investment in the future, whether they ride bikes or not.

A Manitoba tribal chief is calling for safety improvements on the unpaved highway where three boys were killed while walking and riding their bikes.

This is why people keep dying on our streets. Prosecutors in Halifax, Canada drop charges of failing to yield to a vehicle against a driver who injured a bike rider, after concluding that a bicycle isn’t a vehicle because it doesn’t have a motor. Which basically gives drivers permission to do anything they want to anyone who isn’t in a car.

A London man was hospitalized in critical condition after a collision with a man riding a bike near a busy tube station. A reminder to always use caution around pedestrians, because they’re the only ones more vulnerable than we are. And they don’t always use caution around us.

Scouting Scotland’s ancient refuge huts for hikers and bikepackers.

Paris is demanding emergency action after a disastrous change in management companies for the city’s famed Vélib’ bikeshare system has left much of it inoperable.

Add this one to your bike bucket list — spending a week riding along the coast of Northern Italy.


Competitive Cycling

Outside explains how you can watch all the top bike races for less than $200 a year.

Chris Froome entered the Giro already banged up after crashing while scouting the Jerusalem time trial course; an Israeli billionaire bike lover is sponsoring the race to get more people in the country on bikes.

A Turkish rider was forced to withdraw from the new Israel-based cycling team in the face of death threats following Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

A 20-year old student at Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, Georgia is now a double U.S. Collegiate Cycling champ, after winning the road championship to go with the mountain biking title she won last fall.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 70-year old Kiwi cyclist keeps a deathbed promise to his friend to compete in race around a New Zealand mountain and finishes second, despite saying he’s not a racer; his friend had won the same race over 60 years earlier.

Once again, a pro cyclist has been injured in a crash with a race moto, as British hill climb champ Joscelin Lowden suffered a broken clavicle after crashing with a security bike. Maybe someday, race organizers will finally figure out that motor vehicles don’t belong in the damn peloton.

Then again, it’s not just the cyclists who are at risk from race vehicles.



Why not tri bamboo? Your next tires could be 3D printed, not pumped.

And hi-viz may not be the best choice if you don’t want to be noticed — like a mob assassin, for instance.


Innovative insights to prevent bike theft, DUI hit-and-run fire captain found drunk behind bars

There’s no shortage of advice on how to keep your bike from being stolen.

But it’s rare that someone offers insight that goes much beyond using a U-lock, locking your rear triangle or parking in a public place where your bike can be seen.

That’s why I was surprised when I was forwarded an email written by cyclist and former LAPD officer Craig White.

In it, White was responding to a recent rash of bikes stolen from garages on the Westside and the San Fernando Valley. And offering advice that goes far beyond anything I’ve encountered before.

For instance, he points out that many roll-up garage doors have windows at the top. The middle window can be punched out, providing easy access to the door mechanism and allowing thieves to reach inside and release the door so it can be pulled up. And then they’re free to walk right in — and right out with your bike.

The solution? Simply use a zip tie to secure the door mechanism so it can’t be pulled down and released.

Another prevention tool he suggests is to get an inexpensive hotel door alarm that alerts you if someone tries to enter your room. And hang it on an inconspicuous place on your bike, so it will sound if someone tries to move it, alerting you and possibly scaring the thief away.

It’s a cheap enough solution that I intend to get one and carry it with me for when I have to lock up my bike.

And of course, using a cable lock to secure your bike even when you park it inside.

After all, every extra bit of security helps.

Then there’s the question of how thieves know which bikes to steal, and which homes have bikes worth stealing.

White points the finger at the Garmin on your handlebars. He’s heard reports that thieves can track your GPS signal when they spot you riding and follow that signal to your home. Or hack your Stava or Garmin account to figure out where you live.

Likely? Maybe not.

Possible? Absolutely.

The simple solution is to make sure the info on your accounts is not public.

He also adds a suggestion I’ve made a number of times. Make sure you’ve recorded your serial number in a secure place — and keep a current photo of your bike the way it looks now, especially if you’ve made any changes recently.

And I’d take if a step further by encouraging you to register your bike. Bike Shepherd offers free lifetime registration, with tamperproof ID stickers available at REI for just $15.

Or you could just do what I’ve done for the last few decades, by keeping your bike securely inside your home — not your garage — when you’re not riding. And always keeping it within reach when you are.

Of course, that’s not always practical if you’re using your bike for transportation.

Which is why I now own a U-lock the size of a small SUV.

Thanks to my friends at GEKLaw for the heads-up.


Now this is just sad. If not pathetic.

Not too long ago, we were criticizing the apparent slap on the wrist given former Long Beach fire caption John David Hines.

Now it’s looking like he is a very sick man. And on his way to a long stint in state prison.

As you may recall, Hines was convicted for the drunken hit-and-run that severely injured cyclist Jeffrey Gordon in Seal Beach last April 1st, after spending the entire morning drinking in a Long Beach bar. He was arrested after witnesses followed him to his home, where police found him wearing urine-soaked pants, with a blood alcohol level of .24 — two hours after he left the bar.

Yet despite pleading guilty to driving under the influence, driving with a blood alcohol level in excess of .08, and hit-and-run, as well as sentencing enhancements for having a BAC over .20 and causing great bodily injury, he received just one year in the relatively plush pay-to-stay city jail in Huntington Beach.

A jail that actually lied — repeatedly — about his presence when our anonymous source called to confirm that he was staying there, I might add.

The judge suspended a much tougher sentence of five in state prison on the condition that Hines keep his nose clean.

He didn’t.

Last week, his jailers noticed Hines wobbling. And discovered he had a BAC of .22 — behind bars. And that he got the booze by filtering liquid hand sanitizer through salt to filter out the alcohol.

Now there’s a party trick for you.

And that was after a stint in rehab.

He’s now locked up in county jail, pending a probation hearing scheduled for March 16th.

That anonymous source also reports that Hines EMT certification has been revoked, along with his ambulance driver’s certificate. And his Class C driver’s license has been suspended until at least April.

It’s not often that I pity a drunk driver. Especially not one who sped off and left innocent victim — the kind he devoted his career to saving — bleeding in the street.

But Hines’s clearly has a serious problem.

Yes, he deserves prison. But he also needs help.


Thanks to Jim Lyle for the tip.


What should we think about an unarmed man getting shot by Sheriff’s deputies after getting stopped while riding his bike?

Deputies initially attempted to stop 26-year old Christian Cobian for not having a headlight on his bike late Saturday night. He reported responded by dropping his bike and running, then was shot when he reportedly reached into his waistband, making the pursuing officers think he was reaching for a gun.

Maybe it happened exactly that way.

On the other hand, police often have more important things to do than pull over a cyclist for a simple light violation. Which is not to say they never do, but more likely, it was a pretense to stop someone they thought looked suspicious, just as police may pull over a car with a broken tail light as an excuse to look inside.

Or the way some LAPD divisions reportedly used the now repealed bike licensing law as an excuse to stop — some would say harass — bike riders.

The minor traffic violation gives them probable cause to make a traffic stop.

The question is, why did he run?

Most likely, it was because there was a felony narcotics warrant for his arrest. It’s also possible that he might have been holding, though authorities haven’t mentioned any drugs being found on his body or in the immediate area.

And unless they happened to recognize him — which no one has mentioned up to this point — police had no way of knowing he was wanted. Or that he had a record and was on probation for receiving stolen property.

Then there’s the question of why an officer would shoot simply because a suspect reached towards his waist, without determining what he was reaching for first.

Given the current low hung fashions, it’s entirely possible he was just trying to keep his pants from falling down while he ran.

I’m not one to be overly critical of the decisions police have to make in the heat of the moment. Things happen fast, and officers have to make split second decisions that others have the luxury of endlessly analyzing after the fact.

But this one raises a lot of questions.

One of which is whether this should be included in the list of cycling fatalities. My gut reaction is to say no.

Anyone disagree?

Thanks to Erik for the link to the Weekly article.


A study from the Los Angeles County Department of Health shows it will take $40 billion dollars to make the six county region represented by the Southern California Council of Governments (SCAG) safe for cyclists and pedestrians over the next 25 years. The current budget allocates $6 billion — just 1.1% of the total $524.7 billion budget — for biking and walking projects, despite the fact that non-motorized transportation makes up 21% of all trips and 25% of the fatalities in the region.

Meanwhile, the Alliance for Biking and Walking has released their new study Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2012 Benchmarking Report. Despite a long-held myth that no one walks in L.A., Los Angeles ranks 20th on list of biking and walking cities, and 26th for bike/ped fatalities; California as a whole ranks 19th and 32nd, respectively.

L.A. County takes a tentative first step in fighting the unacceptably high rate of obesity by requiring wider sidewalks and bike parking, while studying other ways to make the county more friendly for the non-motorized.

And Dave Moulton points out the relationship between food diets and road diets.


A couple other quick notes —

Steve Herbert reminds us that new LACBC board member Herbie Huff is a Hollywood star, or Westwood, anyway. Roadblock rides in the King Day parade. Great photos from the recent cyclocross state championships. Maybe women are the real riding experts. Our friend Zeke sends word that Western North Carolina bicyclists are on their way to a new regional bike plan — even if they are dramatically underfunded, like cyclists everywhere. May 9th will mark the first ever National Bike to School Day.

And finally, a Turlock man celebrates his 8oth birthday by riding 103.5 miles.

Seriously, I want to be just like him when I grow up.