Tag Archive for Maruta Gardner

Morning Links: Cyclist threatened by Metro driver, SD DUI hearing, and Phoenix scares kids off their bikes

Did a Metro employee try to run down a cyclist while on duty?

That’s what carfree bike rider Randall Fleming says happened to him last week as he rode on South Hope Street in Downtown LA.

He tells his story in the following press release.

Metro-Van-Attempts-to-Run-Down-Bicyclist-Page-1

As noted in the release, Fleming did forward photos of the driver and the van, however, I’ve chosen not to publish them at this time pending further action in this case.

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In a preliminary hearing for Jonathan Domingo Garcia, witnesses report the 23-year old man drove past popular San Diego neighborhood activist Maruta Gardner twice without stopping as she lay dying in the street after he allegedly ran her down while she was cleaning off graffiti.

According to her husband, she had just taken a photo and was putting her Kindle back in the basket of her adult tricycle when Garcia’s car slammed into her.

He faces charges including gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run driving after he admitting to drinking and smoking dope before getting into his car.

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Episode 1Let’s give credit to Phoenix AZ, for producing what may be the single most distasteful and off-putting series of bike safety graphic novels ever.

They may actually prove effective in improving safety, however, by scaring kids and their parents off their bikes forever.

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Local

A writer for the New York Times discovers you can actually visit LA without a car, and even participate in CicLAvia while you’re at it. Just don’t pick the watercress downstream from a horse crossing.

Richard Risemberg says LA doesn’t need a test cycle track near the government offices on Los Angeles Street.

Santa Monica is preparing for the arrival of the Expo Line by improving bike and pedestrian facilities in hopes of getting people out of their cars.

A Valencia bike trail was shut down Wednesday, along with two lanes of traffic, when someone left a leaky canister near the curb; about a gallon of the unknown substance leaked into the gutter. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up; she also sends word of Indonesia’s bicycle rickshaw karaoke pedicabs.

Long Beach is looking for public input to refine the city’s 15-year old bike plan; current efforts include a bike/ped bridge over the San Gabriel River, connecting the Atherton Street bikeway to the San Gabriel Bike Trail.

CiclaValley talks with members of Walk Bike Burbank about the city’s first open streets event this Saturday. But don’t oversleep or you’ll miss the hour-long ciclovía from 8:30 to 9:30 am.

Santa Monica Spoke invites you to participate in the local edition of the worldwide Brompton Urban Challenge scavenger hunt on April 30th; they have a limited number of folding bikes you can borrow for the event.

Team LACBC will host a training ride for next month’s Climate Ride on La Tuna Canyon Road this Saturday; everyone is invited to join in, whether or not you’re participating in Climate Ride yourself.

The May edition of the LACBC’s Sunday Funday ride will visit local landmarks in an 18-mile journey through Northeast LA on Sunday, May 1st.

 

State

Police at UC Irvine use a bait bike to bust a pair of bike thieves; one of the men was already on probation for a previous bike theft. Prison overcrowding and an increase in the threshold for felony theft means few bike thieves ever face serious consequences, even if they do get arrested.

Cal Poly SLO won a national challenge to develop a pedal-less fluid-drive bicycle, thanks to a unique clutch design that enabled the bike to coast more efficiently.

An 85-year old Burlingame recumbent rider was injured in a collision with a garbage truck; fortunately, he’s expected to survive. The news wasn’t as good in Clovis, as a 40-something man was killed when he was hit by a car while riding in a bike lane.

Cars have been banned from one of two roadways up San Francisco’s Twin Peaks for a two-year trial period; only bikes and pedestrians will be allowed on the western loop offering the best views of the city.

San Francisco will host the city’s third annual Walk & Bike to Worship Week next month.

Oakland’s famed Telegraph Avenue is getting a green separated bike lane.

 

National

A writer for Popsugar says biking is the best, despite the silly clothes. Seriously, can we get over this whole thing about the ugly cycling attire? You don’t need spandex to ride a bike. And it can actually look pretty damn good on some people.

Assuming it’s stolen, a Salt Lake City man buys a $5,000 bike from a guy at a 7-11 for $300 in hopes of returning it to its owner.

Apparently, a Kansas State University research and extension agent assumes bicycle helmets are the only thing needed for bike safety. Helmets are a last resort for when all else fails; it’s far better to prevent any need for them by avoiding collisions and falls through safer infrastructure, teaching and obeying bike laws and riding defensively.

Over 15,000 bicycles have been stolen in Chicago since 2010. And only 62 recovered.

The Wall Street Journal says ex-UCLA basketball star and famed Dead Head Bill Walton is all about the bicycle these days.

What may be the oldest continuously operated bike shop in the country is still going strong in Queens NY after 98 years.

 

International

A Canadian sous chef chased down a bike thief and recovered a bike stolen from his restaurant after spotting something suspicious; the owner got her bike back after he a note left on the street.

Yesterday we mentioned a story about British thugs stealing a boy’s bike the day before his bar mitzvah in a strong arm robbery; today’s news is better, as kindhearted strangers raise £1,000 to replace it in less than 24 hours.

Bicycling is up 46% over the last decade, though the country’s notorious weather is keeping many off their bikes. Although someone should tell the writer the phrase is “put a damper on,” not “put a dampener on” it. Even if that seems appropriate for the soggy climate.

 

Finally…

Bike corrals can’t stop speeding drivers from running stop signs. Your next BMW could be a $1,590 Long Beach Blue bicycle.

And a new study from the UK shows that eating just 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate boosts endurance as much as beet juice.

And tastes a lot better.

 

Morning Links: Koretz prevaricates on Westwood Blvd, possible 15 years in SD hit-and-run, and sing the joys of hi-viz

The UCLA Daily Bruin reports on last week’s City Planning Commission meeting, where commissioners voted to keep the Westwood Blvd bike lanes in the plan.

And they cite CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz as saying transportation policy for Westwood was developed without “consulting him or the community.”

Funny, that’s not the way I remember it.

I attended a number of meetings where the 2010 Bike Plan, and specifically Westwood Blvd, were discussed, dating back to when the initial plan was first unveiled in 2009.

All of which were attended by Koretz’s staff members, and at least some by Koretz himself. Including one highly contentious meeting that focused solely on Westwood, where supporters argued with angry residents and business owners protesting the possible removal of bike lanes and/or a traffic lane to in order to accommodate bike lanes.

Those complaints were heard loud and clear. The result was a revised plan creating a floating bike lane that would have retained all traffic lanes, and kept parking by flipping it from one side of the street to the other between the morning and evening rush.

However, business owners refused to consider it because it meant their customers would have to cross the street to get to their shops. Meanwhile neighboring homeowners, who were addressed directly, simply didn’t want bike lanes on “their” street.

Koretz responded to their complaints by halting a nearly-completed engineering study of bike lanes on the boulevard, followed by putting a permanent hold on installation of the bike lanes themselves at the behest of local residents. Even though I’m told the study would have showed the bike lanes would improve safety with no significant impact on traffic flow.

In response, traffic planner Ryan Snyder developed a plan that would have added bike lanes along most of Westwood, with sharrows in a small section where there was too narrow for bike lanes, while keeping all parking on both sides of the street and retaining existing traffic lanes.

Yet even the “Remove Nothing Plan” was rejected out of hand, this time out of supposed fear for the safety of cyclists on the busy street. Which never seemed to be a concern for opponents in any discussions prior to that point, making it seem that they were simply fishing for any argument to stop the plan.

And never mind countless outreach efforts by the LACBC and their bike ambassadors, and multiple presentations to neighborhood councils and homeowner groups.

So it wasn’t that there wasn’t any outreach, or effort to address the concerns of Koretz and local community members. It’s just that they insisted on sticking their fingers in their ears and stomping their feet like petulant two-year olds while shouting “No! No! No!”

To say neither he nor the community was consulted is disingenuous at best, if not an outright lie.

We deserve better from our elected officials.

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Brace yourself, this one gets complicated.

San Diego’s NBC-7 reports that Jonathan Domingo Garcia, the 23-year old hit-and-run driver who killed adult tricycle-riding community leader Maruta Gardner as she was cleaning off graffiti in Mission Beach last week —

  • Was drinking 40-ounce beers with a friend just hours prior to the wreck
  • Spent the afternoon slashing tires and otherwise vandalizing cars with said friend
  • Got behind the wheel with alcohol, marijuana and another unnamed depressant in his system
  • Drove away after rear-ending another car
  • Later passed the same car on the right as the driver tried to stop him
  • Drove on the shoulder at twice the posted speed limit
  • Didn’t stop after hitting Gardner, but pulled over later in a parking lot to examine the damage to his car
  • Drove back to the crime scene, refusing to stop when a cop tried to flag him down
  • Hit another car trying to get away
  • Apparently couldn’t have cared less when told his victim was going to die, asking only if his car was damaged and when he could get it back

The station says he could get 15 years hard time if he’s convicted.

Somehow, that barely seems like enough.

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Never mind getting drivers to pay attention. The key to safety is obsessive hi-viz, according to this 1978 bike safety vid dug up by British bike historian Carlton Reid.

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Local

The LA Times is hosting a half-day conversation on the future of transportation in Southern California, including talks with Mayor Eric Garcetti and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, as well as discussions on self-driving cars, hyperloops and the next steps for LA. It appears to be free, but you have to apply for an invitation, which may or may not be granted.

A writer for the Pasadena Weekly says you are not a driving instructor, so keep your horn to yourself; it’s not intended to tell others how to drive, give them the audible equivalent of the bird, or tell slower traffic, including cyclists, to get the hell out of your way. Amen, sister.

CiclaValley offers some breathtaking bike photography from around the world.

 

State

A Fallbrook website offers photos of the recent 12 and 6 Hours of Temecula endurance mountain bike races.

Business owners on a Santa Barbara street complain that plans for a bike lane would violate California environmental laws by removing 100 parking spaces along the street; they swear they support bike lanes, just somewhere else where it would cost a lot more. No, seriously, they say removing parking spaces and giving people an alternative to driving would be worse for the environment.

Salinas bike lockers are going unused. If no one is using bike lockers, chances are they’re either in the wrong place, unsecure or people don’t feel safe riding there.

San Jose police arrest the driver who fled the scene and abandoned his car after running down a cyclist last week.

 

National

Once again, a new study upends your training diet by announcing fried foods are now good for you. Although a greasy meal before your next century could prove a little problematic.

A bike lawyer describes the risks of riding in the door zone, calling it a dangerous game of Russian roulette for cyclists.

In a long and wonky piece, People for Bikes says it looks like major changes are coming to the national street design committee that will make it friendlier to bicycling and walking.

Another example of women earning a fraction of what men do. After a Las Vegas gambler bets a woman gambler $10,000 she can’t ride her bike from Vegas to LA in 72 hours, he bets another guy $600,000 he can’t ride from LA to Vegas in 48.

Houston plans to make the notoriously auto-centric city more bike friendly, including a long-term proposal for 861 miles of “high-comfort” bikeways. Does that mean you have to ride them on a plush bike?

A Michigan cop told a cyclist to tell it to the judge when he was ticketed for impeding traffic by riding in the roadway, even though the rider insisted he was within his rights. So he did, and he won.

Big name, bike riding NASCAR and IndyCar racers team up with former pro cyclists on a 60-mile ride to the Daytona Speedway to promote bike safety.

 

International

Now that pro cycling is allegedly cleaning up its act, amateur cyclists represent the next frontier in doping. Meanwhile, Lance’s lawyers say cycling was a cesspool back in his day, and only a fool would have believed it when he insisted he wasn’t doping. I guess that means there were a lot of fools back then, myself included, who truly wanted to believe.

Cycling Weekly says leave your bike at home when you travel, and rent one at your destination instead.

Evidently, the British press has run out of fresh scandals, and is resorting to replaying the greatest hits of recent bad bike behavior.

Yale looks at Germany’s new 62-mile bike superhighway.

An Indian cyclist hopes to win gold at the Rio Paralympics despite being born without hands.

If you see downed power lines, don’t ride over them; an Aussie rider learned that the hard way.

As bicycling gains in popularity, Singapore advocates hope to convince more people to commute by bike.

A travel website suggests bicycling is the best way to visit Bagan, Myanmar, which it describes as a temple-filled, real-life Narnia where bikes rent for $1 a day. You just have to walk through the right wardrobe to get there.

 

Finally…

It’s one thing to reject a bike lane to preserve parking, but voting to preserve illegal double-parking may set some sort of NIMBY record. Now you can wash your clothes while you pedal; if they can figure out how to put that on an actual bike so you’ll have clean clothes to wear at the end of your ride, I’m in.

And you know we’re making progress when even burglars are going multimodal. Thanks to Margaret for the heads-up.

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San Diego woman killed by alleged road raging, DUI hit-and-run driver

Sadly, a well-loved San Diego woman has died a day after she was struck by a hit-and-run driver in Mission Beach.

Sixty-nine-year old Maruta Gardner had reportedly gotten off her three-wheeled bike to remove some graffiti at the entrance to the jetty at 800 San Diego Place around 5:45 pm Friday, when an alleged road raging driver sped around to the right of another car, driving on the shoulder and slamming into Gardner.

She was hospitalized with a skull fracture and life threatening injuries, and passed away before 11 am Saturday.

The 23-year old driver, who has not been publicly identified, reportedly got out of his car to check the damage, and paused to look at Gardner before getting back into his car and speeding away. He was stopped by police a short distance later and was arrested suspicion of driving under the influence.

A retired educator, Gardner was well-loved within the local community, and recognized forgoing out of her way to help make it a better place. She had been honored by the city council last November for her years of service to the city.

She made a habit of riding her tricycle along the beach looking for graffiti with cleaning materials in tow.

Friday, it cost Gardner her life.

This is the 15th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in San Diego County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Maruta Gardner and all her loved ones.

Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up.

 

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