Tag Archive for Nick Venuto

Catching up on long list of upcoming bike events

After a long, hard week marked by too much bad news and a jury decided that sun in your eyes is a reasonable reason to kill an experienced cyclist, it feels good to get back to a weekend chock full of wholesome bikey goodness, now with extra added royal visitors.

Enjoy it while you can, because L.A. life as we know it will cease to exist next weekend.


Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Flying Pigeon hosts their monthly Spoke(n) Art Ride on Saturday, July 9th at 6 pm, with the ride starting at 6:30. That will be followed by the Get Sum Dim Sum Ride on Sunday, July 17th at 10 am. All rides meet at Flying Pigeon Bike Shop, 3714 North Figueroa Street in Highland Park.

Saturday, July 9th there will be a car wash to raise funds for the Culver City 11, the cyclists injured when an allegedly drunk, speeding and distracted driver plowed into a group of late night bike riders in Culver City on June 16th. The event will take place from 10 am to 5 pm at Manny’s Carwash, 4635 E. Valley Blvd.

A memorial ride and walk will be held on Saturday, July 9th in honor of Nick Venuto, the cyclist killed in North San Diego last month when a car went off a busy highway and struck him on an off-road bike path. Participants will meet at 8:30 am in the south parking lot at Westview High School, 13500 Camino Del Sur in San Diego, with the ride & walk starting at 9.

Sunday, July 10th, L.A. Creek Freak and bike advocate Joe Linton will lead a CicLAvia Community Group Ride, gathering at 12:30 pm at Hollenbeck Park and rolling at 1 pm. There’s a suggested donation of $5; unlike CicLAvia, the streets will be open and riders are expected to obey all traffic laws during the easy 9 mile ride.

The South Bay Bicycle Coalition hosts the final workshop to discuss the proposed new South Bay bicycle plan from 7 to 9 pm on Monday, July 11th at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd.

On July 15th, life as we know it will come to an end when Carmaggedon occurs with the closure of the 405 Freeway through West L.A. True believers in freeway widening and car culture will immediately be raptured out of the construction zone, leaving those left behind to fight for survival on the streets of the city; for those lucky few who make it through the weekend, life will return to some semblance of normal when the freeway reopens on Monday the 18th. Or you could just, you know, ride your bike instead.

West L.A.’s annual Brentwood Grand Prix will take place on Sunday, August 7th on San Vicente Blvd in Brentwood; races start at 7 am and run through 4 pm.

Tuesday, August 30th, Santa Monica’s Library Alehouse will host a benefit night for Streetsblog LA; 5% of all food and drink purchases will benefit Streetsblog; 2911 Main Street.

Mark your calendar for L.A.’s Ultimate Bike Weekend, as the 2011 L.A. edition of the Tour de Fat comes to town on Saturday, October 8th, followed by the next CicLAvia on Sunday, October 9th, offering an expanded route taking participants another 2.5 miles into Boyle Heights.

Finally, the LACBC’s City of Lights Program will host their 2nd Annual City of Lights Awards/Fundraising Dinner on Thursday, October 27th from 6 to 11 pm at CARECEN HQ, 2845 W 7th Street. Tickets will be available for $45 later this year.

Victims and driver identified in San Diego bike path collision; speed may have been a factor

One was a 40-year old father of two small children; the other is a 51-year old father of a college age son. One was an executive with a bioenergy company; the other is president and CEO of the YMCA in San Diego County.

One was a bike commuter on his way home; the other an avid triathlete who rides several times a week.

Both are married; neither one knew the other.

Yet yesterday, both men were the victims of a possibly speeding driver who lost control of her SUV and ended up flipping over on the bike path they were riding on.

Now bioenergy executive Nick Venuto of Poway is dead, while YMCA CEO Baron Hederlin-Doherty is in stable condition, his body shattered with broken hips, ribs and arms, according to the North County Times.

The San Diego Union Tribune’s SignOnSanDiego reports that 27-year old Sheena Saranita was driving her Ford Escape at an estimated 65 – 80 mph when she attempted to change lanes. She overreacted after seeing a vehicle in the right lane and went off the road, climbing the 15-foot embankment, blowing through a chainlink fence and flipping over onto the bike path; her SUV landed on its side, hitting both riders in the process.

Police don’t think drugs or alcohol were factors in the collision; no word on whether Saranita may have been texting or otherwise distracted behind the wheel. However, the nature of the collision would suggest that either excess speed or some sort of distraction could have been a factor.

According to the Union Tribune,

Dr. Dave Chotiner, a dentist from Carmel Valley, witnessed the accident and was the first to render aid. He said Venuto, who appeared to have been hit first, died within minutes. Herdelin-Doherty was lying on his back about 40 feet behind Venuto.

He said Saranita was out of her SUV near Venuto and was yelling hysterically, “you have to help him.”

Both papers feel compelled to report that the riders were each wearing helmets, despite the fact that bike helmets can’t, and were never intended to, protect against a multi-ton vehicle travelling at highway speeds.

And as Hederlin-Doherty’s injuries make clear, helmets can do absolutely nothing to protect against injuries to any other part of the body.

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m a firm believer in wearing a helmet every time I ride. But in a collision like this, they would have been of little, if any benefit.

And whether or not the victims were wearing them is truly irrelevant in this case.

My heart and prayers go out to the family, friends and loved ones of Nick Venuto, and best wishes to Baron Hederlin-Doherty for a full and fast recovery.


On a related subject, I’ve received word from a source who doesn’t wish to be identified that cyclist Richard Lauwers is doing very well, back on his bike and is now a firm believer in the power or prayer. As you may recall, Lauwers was critically injured last January when a driver went off the road and hit him while he was riding on the Huntington Beach Bike Path; the driver, Glen M. Moore of Newport Beach, was allegedly intoxicated and racing a BMW driven by Michael D. Roach.

And a memorial will be held this Sunday for Nick Haverland, the 20-year old Ventura College student killed last month in an allegedly drunken roadway rampage. Driver Satnam Singh was reportedly  involved in three separate collisions in a matter of minutes, injuring five other people.

Update: Jim Lyle forwards some good news about Adam Rybicki, the cyclist critically injured when he was hit by an underaged, allegedly drunk driver in Torrance in April. While he has been unable to respond to verbal commands, he is now moving his hands and responding to commands and questions written on whiteboard. Clearly, he faces a long road back, but this is the first news that offers real hope for his recovery.