Thanks to Elizabeth T, Michael W and Wayne H for their generous support to help keep SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every day! And especially for the kind words that came with it.
An English woman somehow miraculously survived a 100 foot fall onto rocks after accidentally riding her bike off a seaside cliff. But she didn’t escape unscathed, suffering a broken skull and right eye socket, a dislocated and broken jaw, two broken wrists, two broken ribs, several broken vertebrae, a broken elbow and some broken fingers, as well as a “horrendous” bone-deep lacerated thigh.
When it unexpectedly turns into a roadway for lost drivers.
Josh Hamilton forwarded this photo he took Tuesday morning on the Ballona Creek Bike Path in Culver City, along with the following note.
Longtime reader and wanted to share something that happened this morning.
Turns out there is nothing preventing cars from entering the bike path at Sepulveda Blvd (and minimal signage) and 2 people in a car accidentally drove onto the Ballona Creek Bike Path. They were driving slowly when I stopped and spoke with them near the pedestrian bridge at the school next to the path.
I assume they were foreign tourists as they were in what seemed like a rental car with out of state plates and they didn’t speak English. They mistakenly had Google Maps set to bicycle directions. They were concerned and clearly meant no harm, but it’s clearly an issue if drivers can just enter the bike path on accident or on purpose.
The Orange County Bicycle Coalition sends word that half the Seal Beach Blvd bike lanes will be closed for the next six weeks.
@bikinginla The popular bike lane on southbound Seal Beach Blvd is closed for a few hundred feet near Adolfo Lopez. Work will finish ~Dec 24. There are "Share the Road" signs in the area, or riders can turn west on Westminster to the SGRT or PCH. The northbound bike lane is open.
Bruce Willis is one of us, taking up bicycling after he sold his motorcycles and donated the profits to support active and retired soldiers. Although you can’t win with the British tabloids, who criticize people who don’t wear helmets and ridicule them if they do.
The NY Times also piles on with the victim blaming by offering tips on how to stop your distracted walking. Unlike distracted driving, no one has ever been killed by a distracted pedestrian. And there are few, if any, stats to support the idea that there has been a rash of distracted walking deaths.
That’s more like it. A Calgary man could face up to life in prison for the meth-fueled hit-and-run that killed a 15-year old boy and seriously injured his friend as they were riding their bikes; prosecutors waived 11 other charges against the man, who was driving a stolen vehicle without a valid driver’s license.
If you see a lone bike rider with kitty litter panniers and a full lumberjack beard making his way east from the Santa Monica Pier along Broadway, Ohio or Santa Monica Blvd this afternoon or evening, say hi to my brother Eric.
It’ll surprise the hell out of him.
I’m going to take a few days off to enjoy his visit, and pretend to enjoy my birthday this year.
Barring anything unforeseen, we should be back later in the week.
So ride carefully and defensively for the next few days. I don’t want to have to come back to write about you, or anyone else.
Bat photo by Miriam Fischer from Pexels; see next item.
Seriously, if you were in the bicycle rental shop at 1 Irvine Park Road in Irvine Regional Park recently, and you had any contact with a bat, call the Orange County Health Care Agency’s Communicable Disease Control Division from 8 am to 5 pm at 714/834-8180, or call 714/834-7792 after hours.
Or if you have a pet that may have come into contact with a bat in the area, call your vet right away.
Or just wait until you’re foaming at the mouth, and people assume you’re just another angry NIMBY screaming about bike lanes.
Delhi, India gives LA drivers a hint of things to come as the city begins odd/even days to fight smog and traffic congestion; drivers with even license plates can drive one day, while drivers with odd plates can drive the next. Does that mean people with personalized plates don’t get to drive at all? This is the future we all have to look forward to if NIMBYs and traffic safety deniers keep fighting attempts to create safe, practical alternatives to driving.
A Garden Grove man was sentenced to 26 years to life behind bars for the unprovoked attack that left a passing bike rider dead; 19-year old Bryan Ortega was knocked off his bike and repeatedly stabbed by 23-year old Troy David Son, even though there was no history between the two men, who did not appear to know each other.
Omaha NE has completed a 38-mile interconnected bicycle network just in time for next month’s Bike Week. But those damn bike riders are just never satisfied, saying it’s not enough. Unbridled sarcasm aside, at least they have an actual network, unlike LA’s disjointed and inadequate patchwork of bikeways that don’t connect to anything or go anywhere.
An Iowa letter writer calls for bicyclists to pay their fair share, and get a motorcycle license because they move too damn fast. Because evidently, it’s not enough for bike riders to subsidize drivers with their tax money.
Massachusetts legislators advanced a bill creating a three-foot passing law and 25 mph speed limits, but rejected a clause that would have expanded the use of interlock devices to fight repeat drunk driving. There’s no excuse for driving drunk, ever. Some people will tell you anyone could get caught after having a few drinks, but the easy solution is just don’t drink if you have to drive.
The New York bike rider who allegedly blew through a red light and seriously injured a pedestrian was a homeless man, who told police his gears and brakes weren’t working right. The victim’s boss issued a statement calling for license plates for people on bicycles, saying lawbreaking bike riders put peoples lives in peril. Never mind that the last time a person was killed by a bike rider in Gotham was 2014, while 64 people have been killed by cars this year alone.
Sad news from the IE, as a Long Beach bike courier fell to his death while hiking on Mt. Baldy.
According to the Long Beach Post, Daniel Nguyen, a former CSU Long Beach cycling team member, fell 1,500 feet off the steep mountainside while trying to rescue a fellow hiker.
A gofundme account has been set up to help his family pay funeral costs; it’s raised over $12,000 in less than 24 hours.
My apologies for the late notice on this one.
The Orange County Wheelmen are hosting a two-day League of American Bicyclists Smart Cycling class tonight and Saturday; dinner and coffee are included in the Thursday session.
And next week the Orange County Bicycle Coalition is offering its Cycling Savvy course from the American Bicycling Education Association on Friday the 12th and Saturday the 13th.
They describe the course this way:
Cycling Savvy classes are incredible, intensely empowering classes, that are geared toward all bicyclists, not just “roadies”. Everyone can learn how to be a bicycle driver, and we really show folks how to do it.
Cycling Tips says creating an electromagnetic bike wheel is theoretically possible, but unlikely in practice. But I have faith; if pro cycling can find a way to cheat, it will.
Meanwhile, a writer says go ahead and let cyclists use motors when they race, but only at certain times and places. Or better yet, just put pedals on motorcycles and get it over with.
At least the Santa Monica section of the beach bike path is clear of sand, despite 15 miles of county-controlled pathway being closed; SaMo sweeps their limited section of the path five to seven days a week, depending on the season, while the county sweeps just twice a week.
A tri website says nothing good can come from confronting others in traffic, after a motorcycle rider records a road raging truck driver pulling a gun on him after flipping him off. I’ve had some interactions that ended well after I explained why I was riding the way I was. And others that didn’t.
Santa Fe considers a bikeshare program despite concerns over equity; the lack of a credit card or smartphone could keep low income people from using the system.
Pittsburgh cyclists wonder why streets and sidewalks were cleared of snow, but bike lanes weren’t. Which is one problem we’re not likely to have in LA anytime soon.
A jury awarded an unarmed Florida man $23.1 million after he was shot four times and paralyzed by a Palm Beach sheriff’s deputy, who stopped him for the crime of riding his bike into traffic. Or maybe just biking while black. Thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up.
Where have we heard this before? An Indian traffic expert says cycling lanes won’t work because the streets are too narrow, traffic volume is too high, and drivers too undisciplined.
Bicycling fatalities in Australia have dropped to their lowest level since 2009 while the number of riders has increased. With 32 cycling deaths last year, the country had just three more fatalities than LA County, despite having over twice the population.
The LA Times looks at how the effects of Prop 47 are helping to keep petty criminals on the streets, including a meth head bike thief. Although they get one thing wrong; it was the state legislature that increased the threshold for felony theft to $950, prior to the passage of Prop 47. Thanks to Gil Solomon for the heads-up.
Better Bike offers a ice a nice reflection on the LACBC’s recent volunteer bike and pedestrian counts in the LA in three very different area, with very different results.
Los Angeles broke ground Saturday on a new two-acre park at the confluence of the LA River and Aliso Creek in Reseda, including a three-quarter mile bikeway which will eventually connect to the LA River bike path.
A British Columbia mayor is more open to improving bike safety after experiencing a dangerous riding route himself. Getting elected officials out on bikes is often the key to winning them over; maybe Paul Koretz and Gil Cedillo would finally see the light if we could get them to ride Westwood and North Figueroa with us.
Pete van Nuys, Executive Director of the Orange County Bicycle Coalition, sends word that the popular Pacific Coast Bike Route will remain open this weekend, despite the scheduled Ironman race.
After months of emails and the threat of lawsuit, organizers of the Ironman 70.3 race through Camp Pendleton have agreed to assign volunteer course marshals at the south end of San Clemente to permit regular bicycle traffic between that city and Oceanside.
In recent years Caltrans in San Diego has been issuing permits to the event which has become increasingly possessive of the only connection between Orange and San Diego Counties for 100 miles.
Those permits violate Streets and Highways Code 888, intended to assure citizens that when Caltrans builds a freeway it will not sever connections for non-motorized travelers.
The I-5 freeway alternate is the popular Old Hwy 101 to Las Pulgas, through a portion of the Marine base. When the Marines close it for maneuvers Caltrans routinely opens the shoulders of I-5 for bicyclists. But the race permit even closed those shoulders, stranding bicyclists in Oceanside and San Clemente for up to 5 hours. With little or no notice riders from LA County usually had no choice but to turn around.
Thanks to the hard work of Seth Cutter, Bicycle Coordinator for Caltrans San Diego, the agency convinced Ironman to do what most bike race organizers do: use course marshals to cross civilian bikes and peds. Caltrans is posting signs alerting motorists to bicycle presence. And anyone riding to San Diego’s Bikes & Beers event should find the route open fast along I-5’s shoulders all the way to Oceanside.
Australian cyclist James Rapley lost his like while biking in Los Angeles.
If you want to grasp just an inkling of the love a parent has for his son — and the enormity of that loss — take a moment to read that page and browse through the website.
As you may recall, Rapley was on an extended layover at LAX on his way home from his new job in Chicago to join his family back in Seymour, a small country town in Victoria. So early in the morning of December 22nd — the last Sunday before Christmas — he rented a bike and took off to explore the beachfront bike path from LAX to the Palisades.
It must have seemed magical to ride along the nearly deserted beach at that early hour. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday morning myself.
For some reason, he made a detour onto Temescal Canyon; maybe he wanted the challenge of the steep uphill after the easy ride along the coast. I often do the same, even though it’s not a comfortable bike lane, as drivers frequently go too fast around the sweeping curves, and cut into the bike lane regardless of whether anyone is in it.
In other words, what followed could have happened to me. Or to any of us.
As Rapley rode in the bike lane, doing absolutely nothing wrong, he was struck from behind by an allegedly drunk, and possibly texting, 19-year old driver. He died there on the side of the road; I can only imagine his final thoughts, 8,000 miles from home and the loved ones who were eagerly awaiting him.
I’m told his family has dug deep to fund the scholarship, to be given to a rural student studying engineering or science at Melbourne University, as Rapley had done. But it will take a lot more money to make the scholarship a success, and honor a good and cringe man who should still be with us.
I’d love to see some significant donations come from here in LA. It’s the last place he ever saw, and we owe him and his family a debt we can never repay.
My wallet is pretty anorexic right now, but I’m going to do my best to send a little something their way. I think we owe him that.
Meanwhile, I’ve started making inquiries about how we can convert the bike lane he was riding in into the state’s first parking protected bike lane. It will take a change in state law, which currently requires cars to be parked within 18 inches of a curb.
But this is an ideal location for it, with no cross streets from PCH to Palisades High School, roughly 3/4 of a mile up the hill. And it would, for large portions of the day, help eliminate the risk riders currently face from aggressive and distracted drivers with little respect for a line a paint.
Because the best way we can honor James Rapley is to ensure it never happens to anyone again.
This sort of things always pisses me off.
A friend of mine reports she was assaulted while riding in Huntington Beach over the weekend when a group of idiots in a passing car threw a cup of ice at her, hitting her on the ass.
The good news is, she was able to maintain control of her bike and avoid a potentially dangerous fall, making it nothing more than a major annoyance. The bad news is, she wasn’t able to get a license number or good description of the car, so the jerks remain free to do it again to someone else.
For anyone unclear on the subject, throwing anything at a bike rider runs the risk that they might lose control and fall, or swerve into traffic or parked cars in an attempt to get away. The result can be serious injury, whether or not that was the intent of the attacker.
And it takes a real jackass to attack a woman riding alone after dark.
Evidently, life is cheap in Ohio, as a doctor gets a whopping 15 days in jail for seriously injuring a cyclist while driving drunk. Why should drivers take drunk driving laws seriously when the courts don’t?
According to the site, the male rider, whose name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin, collided with a motor vehicle while riding on Artesia Blvd east of Stanton Ave around 7:45 pm Sunday.
The driver who killed Campion Ritz has been charged with felony hit-and-run causing death and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence; prosecutors are asking for $100,000 bond. Reports are that he was allowed to keep driving despite a conviction for possession of a controlled substance, and a host of driving offenses that were dismissed as a result of his guilty plea.
And that is exactly how authorities help keep dangerous drivers on the streets until they finally kill someone.
Update 2: The OCBC has confirmed that the rider who was killed on Sunday was a 51-year old male resident of Buena Park. He was riding without lights or reflective gear, despite the full darkness at that hour, and was not wearing a helmet; whether that could have made a difference is still to be determined.