Tag Archive for Orange County

Breaking News: Garden Grove bike rider killed in collision with semi driver; 11th SoCal bike death in just three weeks

Too often, we get word that someone had been killed riding a bicycle, but struggle confirm the story.

This time, we have the opposite problem.

According to the Orange County Coroner’s office, a 31-year old man was killed when he was hit by the driver of a semi-truck in Garden Grove just before 6 pm last Friday.

He was pronounced dead at the scene ten minutes later.

Unfortunately, that’s all we know.

No location was given, other than some street, somewhere in Garden Grove. No word on how the crash happened or who was at fault.

And no name or city of residence was given for the victim; that much, at least, should eventually be provided once they notify his next of kin.

Hopefully, the press will finally get around to the story and give us a little more information.

This is at least the 78th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 13th that I’m aware of in Orange County.

The victim was also the third Orange County bike rider to be killed in the last three weeks, and the 11th SoCal bicyclist killed in what has been a very bloody holiday season.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and all his loved ones.

Man killed riding bike in Buena Park Monday night; 5th SoCal bike fatality in five days

This hasn’t been a joyful holiday season on the streets of Southern California this year.

And it got even worse on Thursday, when the Orange County Coroner revealed a man was killed riding his bike in Buena Park on Monday.

Unfortunately, that’s virtually all we know about the crash that took his life.

The coroner identifies the victim as 45-year old La Mirada resident Carlos Bravo, who was injured in a collision at 10:21 pm, at an undisclosed location in Buena Park.

He died at UC Irvine Medical Center less than an hour later.

There’s no word on how the crash occurred or who was responsible, or if the driver was cited or detained.

This is at least the 72nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 12th that I’m aware of in Orange County.

It’s also the fifth SoCal bike death in as many days.

Note: I mistakenly wrote yesterday that the death of Mario Gomez in Huntington Beach was the 12th OC bicycling death this year, but that appears to have been just the 11th. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Carlos Bravo and all his loved ones. 

 

 

Wrong way bike rider dies after declaration of brain death, following Friday Huntington Beach crash

Nothing says the holidays in Southern California like another ghost bike.

That’s what we’ll need, once again, after a man was disconnected from life support on Sunday, following the Friday morning Huntington Beach collision.

According to multiple sources, the victim was struck by the driver of an SUV at Gothard Street and Heil Ave in Huntington Beach around 6:30 am Friday.

He was taken UCI Medical Center in Orange, where he was pronounced dead around 1:30 yesterday afternoon.

The Daily Pilot reports the 57-year old man, identified by the Orange County coroner as Anaheim resident Mario Gomez, was riding his bike against traffic when he was struck.

No word on which street he was riding on, or what direction he or the driver were traveling; both streets have unprotected bike lanes.

And yes, the driver remained at the scene, as legally required.

Huntington Beach police note that Gomez wasn’t wearing a helmet, which is valid for a change, since he died of head trauma. Although they don’t say how fast the driver was going, or if the crash would have been survivable with or without one.

Nor do they note whether he was originally from this country. Many Central American immigrants are taught to ride facing traffic, and bring that habit with them — too often with results that are all too predictable in Southern California traffic.

None of which absolves the driver of responsibility to pay attention to the road ahead of him, and note any conflicting traffic, regardless of which direction it’s coming from.

Any anyone with information is urged to call Huntington Beach Police Investigator Adam Turner, 714/536-5670 or Investigator Daniel Kim 714/536-5666.

And let’s give a special shoutout to The Orange County Tribune, which somehow labelled the violent crash that took the life of another human being a mere “mishap.”

This is at least the 69th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 11th that I’m aware of in Orange County.

It’s also the second bicycling death in Huntington Beach this year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Mario Gomez and all his loved ones. 

Thanks to a pair of anonymous sources for the heads-up.

 

Morning Links: The real reasons bike riders keep dying, $100k OCTA bike safety grant, and Oaxaca Day of the Dead race

Last week, Peter Flax explained why the NTSB — the National Transportation Safety Board — was wrong about their call for mandatory bike helmets to cut the rising rate of bicycling fatalities.

This week he’s back to spell out the real reasons people are dying on our streets.

And it ain’t a lack of helmets.

He starts by recounting the last decade’s decline in bicycling deaths.

Then this.

The situation seemed great—until it wasn’t great. Right around 2011, things started arcing in the wrong direction. In 2010, a total of 618 cyclists were killed—hardly miraculous, but the lowest toll in at least 40 years. Then every year after that, the number of casualties has gotten progressively worse. The newly released 2018 statistics mean that the fatality rate for riders has risen 37 percent in just nine years—and NHTSA data indicate that the death rate for urban and female cyclists has soared even more.

So while the NTSB analysis focused primarily on encouraging or mandating greater helmet use, as well as things cyclists, road designers, and carmakers should do so riders are more conspicuous to motorists, those factors don’t really explain why a serious, sustained uptick of deaths began in 2011. It’s not like helmet use had a major decline, or cities ripped out quality protected bike lanes, or high-viz apparel or auto headlights got worse. These factors, especially related to road design, might have an impact on fatalities going forward, but they don’t explain why more cyclists have been dying in the past decade.

It’s a must read for anyone who wants to understand what the real problems are, and why we keep dying.

And do something about it.

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Orange County’s OCTA announces a grant to improve bicycle safety and education.

The Orange County Transportation Authority has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety for a year-long community program dedicated to pedestrian and bicycle safety classes and distribution of safety equipment for people walking and biking.

The aim of the program is to increase safety and reduce traffic-related injuries and fatalities. OCTA will use the funding as part of the agency’s ongoing commitment to deliver transportation solutions, including for active transportation – biking, walking and skating.

“OCTA appreciates the strong partnership we have formed with the state’s Office of Traffic Safety to work toward enhancing safety on our streets,” said OCTA Chairman Tim Shaw, also a City Council member in La Habra. “OTS has provided grant funding for the past three years to develop programs improving conditions for walking and biking, and ongoing grant funding will help us with one of our primary goals of reinforcing safety throughout Orange County.

Activities to be funded by this year’s grant include:

  • Pedestrian and bicycle safety classes
  • Distribution of bicycle lights and helmets
  • Distribution of reflectors for pedestrians

The need for increased safety training is clear. Bicycle and pedestrian-related collisions have been on the rise for the past decade.

“No matter which way you get around, you play a part in roadway safety,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “These grant programs are intended to educate residents on ways they can make themselves and those around them safe when they walk or bike.”

The pedestrian and bicycle safety program and distribution of safety materials will occur throughout 2020. Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For more information on bicycle programs and safety in Orange County, and to stay updated on where classes are being scheduled, visit octa.net/bike.

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The LACBC is looking for volunteers to help give out free bike lights to riders who don’t have them in Koreatown next week.

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Tune into Bike Talk at 6 pm tonight to hear, and maybe chat with, Juli Briskman, the Virginia woman who lost her job after flipping off Trump’s motorcade.

And responded by running for office — and winning.

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

A 13-year old New York boy credits an Emergency 911 app on his phone with scaring off a group of older boys on bikes who tried to rob him.

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Local

A 35-year old Fontana man was arrested for a Pasadena hit-and-run that left a juvenile bike rider hospitalized with critical injuries; he was booked on suspicion of hit-and-run and DUI resulting in serious injury or death. Let’s all say a pray or offer best wishes that the kid makes a full and fast recovery.

People for Bikes invites you to join the weekly Ride and Pint mountain bike ride rolling out of Pedlar’s Fork in Calabasas every Thursday. You can find it, and other great rides, through their Ride Spot app.

The future of Santa Monica’s Breeze bikeshare is in doubt as it faces stiff competition from dockless bikeshares; the city will have to fork over $225,000 in subsidies just to keep it operating for the next year. West Hollywood has already pulled the plug on its money-losing sister operation.

 

State

Seven Orange County communities will host the first Meet on the Beach festival, offering a carfree open streets experience along 1.5 miles of Beach Blvd to reimagine what the street could be. Thanks to the Orange County Bicycle Coalition for the heads up.

Temecula is opening a new pump track bike park this Tuesday.

A new 32-page manual put together by a pair of San Francisco advocacy groups explains how to build protected bike lanes that work for everyone, including pedestrians and disabled people.

The long-promised bike and pedestrian lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge connecting Contra Costa and Marin counties will open tomorrow, despite continued efforts in some quarters to convert it to a yet another lane for motor vehicles. Because everyone knows just one more traffic lane will solve all our traffic problems forever.

 

National

EcoWatch makes the case for why your next car will be a bike.

Joe Biden attempts to boost his run for president with a new infrastructure plan that’s heavy on high-speed rail, transit and bicycling.

An Oregon Republican proves conservatives can support bicycling, too, as he announces his run for Congress.

Be careful carrying that bike. A 74-year old Detroit man was found dead after he fell down the stair while trying to carry his mountain bike up them.

He gets it. An op-ed in the New York Daily News calls for eliminating free parking to pay for free transit.

Britain’s Beryl bikeshare brand makes a beachhead in New York’s Staten Island, booting Lime and Jump; meanwhile, Lyft is pulling the plug on their e-scooter operations in six smaller market cities.

After a Virginia boy’s new bike was stolen, his bighearted neighbors pitched in to buy him a new one. Stories like this remind us that there’s still a lot of good in this world, despite how it may seem these days.

Florida’s Jack the Bike Man says he needs a miracle to keep giving thousands of refurbished bikes to kids in need, after the building housing the nonprofit was sold and the new owner jacked his rent up over $100 grand a year.

 

International

Cars could be killing us even without touching us. A new study has linked pollution from motor vehicles to brain cancer for the first time.

Bicycle Retailer reminds us that Trump’s trade war with China is still going strong, and the bikes are losing.

Your next bike helmet could be a custom-made, 3D printed number with individual hexagon-shaped crumple zones that the company says is safer than MIPS or WaveCel — if you have an extra $390 on hand.

A writer for Gear Patrol offers lessons learned from Trek’s mountain bike camp at the Whistler resort in British Columbia.

A pair of British doctors set a new Guinness record for circumnavigating the globe on a tandem bike, covering 18,000 miles in 218 days and 22 hours, breaking the previous men’s record by nine days.

He gets it. An Irish letter writer reminds the anti-bike crowd that roads are a public service that we all pay for.

A European bikemaker came up with a smart, if somewhat creepy and invasive, sales promotion, scanning Paris license plates to determine how much CO2 each car puts out, and using that figure to offer the owner a discount on a new bicycle.

Tom Vanderbilt explains how he went from riding solo to taking his family along, thanks to a trip to Italy.

Now that’s more like it. A stoned, speeding Australian driver will spend the next 11 years behind bars and be prohibited from driving for two decades after walking away from the crash that killed a Dutch woman riding a bike.

 

Competitive Cycling

Britain’s Cyclist magazine recalls the Motorola team that rose from the ashes of America’s late, great 7-11 team after the convenience chain declared bankruptcy — including the tragic death of Italy’s Fabio Casartelli in the 1995 Tour de France.

The UAE Team Emirates cycling team is considering legal action against Croatian pro Kristijan Đurasek following his four-year ban for doping. But cycling officials keep telling us the era of doping is over, right?

 

Finally…

Now you, too, can get your very own ebike branded by your favorite soccer team — as long as your favorite team is Paris Saint-Germain. When your round-the-world bike trip gets interrupted by a water-logged passport, just fly home and get a new one.

And nothing like a little Dia de los Muertos mountain bike racing in the middle of Oaxaca.

 

Hit-and-run victim Virgilio Lemus Garcia died last month, 3 days after Santa Ana crash; 22nd fatal SoCal bike hit-and-run

Unfortunately, the press seldom follows up once the ambulance doors close. And it may take weeks before we find out what happened afterwards.

If ever.

That’s what happened with 60-year old Santa Ana resident Virgilio Lemus Garcia, after he was left lying in the street by a hit-and-run driver early in the morning on Sunday, October 13th.

According to KNBC-4, Santa Ana police responded to reports of a man with a bicycle lying in the street at 5:20 am, at the intersection of Main Street and Warner Avenue in Santa Ana.

According to a witness, Garcia was riding his bike on Warner Ave when he was run down by the driver of a blue Honda, who only stopped briefly before hitting the gas.

Other reports indicate Garcia was headed north on Main when he was struck by a driver going west on Warner.

He was hospitalized in grave condition with severe bleeding his brain and throughout his body.

Sadly, Garcia’s niece reported on Facebook the following Wednesday that he had passed away, and was buried last week.

Video from the scene shows his mangled mountain bike near the curb, and the same black cowboy hat he wore in photos lying in the street.

Police are looking for a mid-1990s dark blue Honda Civic sedan with likely front-end damage, including broken head lights and a possible shattered windshield.

They say alcohol may have played a role in the crash, but didn’t explain how.

Garcia death came a little more than two weeks before last week’s fatal Santa Ana hit-and-run, and roughly five and a half miles away.

Anyone with information is urged to call Santa Ana Police at 714/245-8208 or 714/245-8700.

This is at least the 65th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the tenth that I’m aware of in Orange County.

Twenty-two of those deaths have been the result of hit-and-runs, including ten of the 21 bike riders killed since September 3rd.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Virgilio Lemus Garcia and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Bill Sellin for the heads-up, and his help in tracking down this story.

Santa Ana man killed by hit-and-run driver — ninth fatal SoCal bike hit-and-run in past two months

Enough!

Southern California bike riders are being left to die in the streets by heartless, murderous drivers at an ever increasing rate.

Nearly half of the twenty people who’ve died riding bicycles in the past two months have been killed by cowardly hit-and-run drivers, who refused to stop and render aid as required by law.

Or had the basic human decency to call for help, rather than leave another person suffering alone in the last moments of their life.

The latest hit-and-run victim lost his life early this morning in Santa Ana.

According to multiple sources, a man was found lying in the street next to a heavily damaged bicycle on the 300 block of Newhope Street near the Iglesia De La Comunidad chapel around three this morning.

KTLA-5 reports the victim, identified only as a 52-year old man, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The street has buffered bike lanes in both directions, though it’s not clear if the victim was riding in them. Police say alcohol played a factor, suggesting they believe he victim was under the influence, since the driver remains unknown.

There’s no description of the suspect vehicle, except that should have front-end damage.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Santa Ana Police Department at 714/245-8208 or 714/245-8200.

This is at least the 64 bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the ninth that I’m aware of in Orange County.

Twenty-one of those deaths have been the result of hit-and-runs, including nine of the 20 bike riders killed since September 3rd.

Update: The Orange County Coroner has identified the victim as 52-year old Santa Ana resident Daniel Martinez. 

Thanks to Bill Sellin for the heads-up.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Daniel Martinez and his loved ones.

 

Morning Links: Rabid bat in OC bike rental shop, helmetless teen in Burbank crash, and Ballona Creek closure this week

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.

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Rabid bicyclists are nothing new.

Rabid bats inside an Orange bike rental shop, on the other hand…

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.

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More information on the Burbank crash we mentioned last week, as a 16-year old boy was critically injured in the collision at Alameda Ave and Lake Street Thursday night.

Unfortunately, no further details are available at this time.

However, the police were quick to mention that the victim didn’t appear to be wearing a helmet, as required by law for anyone under 18.

But they failed to mention whether he suffered a head injury that a helmet might have prevented.

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A section of the Ballona Creek bike path will be closed for maintenance most of this week.

Thanks to Ted Faber for the tip.

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Maybe there’s a reason to buy an Apple Watch after all.

A Washington man is crediting his father’s watch with saving his life after a bad mountain biking fall.

Not only did the Apple Watch automatically notify the son his dad had fallen, it called 911 and informed them of his location.

Before the son could get there, his father was already in an ambulance and headed for the hospital.

If that’s not in the company’s next commercial, they need to fire their ad agency. Or marketing director.

Or both.

Thanks to Mike Cane and Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

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The Orange County Bicycle Coalition is offering a handy dandy little chart explaining the legal requirements for bikes, ebikes, hoverboards, e-scooters, motorized bicycles and motor-driven cycles, such as Vespas.

As (almost) always, just click to make it bigger and easier to read.

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A little tactical urbanism in action, as someone hacked a highway warning sign to give a clear, if slightly censored, message to drivers everywhere.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes is all too real.

A man is under arrest for intentionally using his car as a weapon after a Sacramento State student complained that he was parked in a bike lane, then getting out of his car and beating the victim as he was lying in the street.

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Local

UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup says parking reform will save the city, blaming free street parking and mandatory off-street parking for causing needless traffic, sprawl and housing unaffordability.

The LAPD says it broke up an e-scooter flash mob that was attempting to take over DTLA, and possibly the 101 Freeway, Saturday night.

LA Times letter writers give pedestrians the usual bicyclist treatment, blaming scofflaw distracted walkers for a rise in pedestrian deaths while absolving the people in the big, dangerous machines of any responsibility.

Kesha is one of us, nearly unrecognizable with her newly dark hair as she rides around Venice with her boyfriend. And yet, the fearless paparazzi somehow still managed to spot her.

A Bixby Knolls man discusses his disastrous, yet ultimately successful, attempt to revive the Long Beach Marathon for skaters, bicyclists and runners in 1999.

 

State

California Governor Gavin Newsom took a big step towards street equity by appointing former LACBC Executive Director Tamika Butler to the California Transportation Commission, along with Hilary Norton, who runs Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic, aka FAST.

The San Francisco Chronicle says California must overhaul its approach to transportation to fight climate change, and questions whether it’s up to the task. Based on what we’ve seen so far, the jury’s still out on that one.

In the best story of the day, an 86-year old Escondido woman is hooked after taking the first bike ride of her life on a tandem bike.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a customized road bike worth nine grand from a San Diego paracyclist when she went inside to get her shoes.

This is who we share the roads with. A road raging Florida man punched a Lake Elsinore motorcycle rider, before taking aim with his car and running over the victim’s bike.

Santa Cruz police cracked down on traffic violations that threaten the safety of bike riders and pedestrians, ticketing 24 drivers over a five hour period, along with one pedestrian. And just one bike rider, for failing to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

San Jose bike riders turned out in force for the city’s open streets event over the weekend.

Sad news from Vallejo, where a 66-year old man was killed when he was struck by a driver in an early morning crash; police blamed the victim for wearing dark clothing and not having a light on his bike, as well as having drugs and alcohol in his system.

 

National

The rich get richer. Tucson approves plans for more bike boulevards, on top of the nine the city already has. Which compares favorably to LA’s, uh, one.

Chicago cops busted a suspect who allegedly rode his bike up to a woman and shot her last week; one of the officers was shot in the leg making the arrest. Fortunately, both victims are expected to survive.

A Michigan appeals court has affirmed the sentence for the man who killed five bike riders and injured four more while driving under the influence of a veritable smorgasbord of drugs. The 53-year old man won’t be eligible for parole until he’s 90. Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

Tragic news from Cleveland, where a 38-year old man faces charges for carjacking an SUV with a toddler still strapped into a child seat, then killed a bike rider as he tried to make his getaway from the police.

After arguing in his car with a teenage boy, a slightly older man followed him into the Massachusetts woods and slit his throat as the victim tried to ride away, alleging he blacked out after the boy called him a racial slur.

Join the club. A New York councilmember says the city doesn’t have the resources to investigate hit-and-runs, with just 26 officers assigned to more than 42,000 cases every year.

Now that New York Mayor and erstwhile presidential candidate Bill de Blasio has finally given up on his quixotic quest for the White House, the press is insisting he refocus on being mayor, including getting the city’s Vision Zero program back on track.

For a change, the New York Post is kind, saying simply that the mayor has totally plateaued. And a writer for The Intercept wants to know why de Blasio is trying to kill him, accusing the self-proclaimed progressive NY mayor of favoring drivers over bicyclists.

Apparently, it remains open season on bike riders in New York, where a 14-year old boy was killed by the driver of a private garbage truck for the city’s 21st bicycling death this year — more than twice the total for all of last year. His family is demanding answers, as they should.

The New York Times says if you want to fight climate change, don’t drive so damn much. Although they might not have said it quite that way.

Long Island police evidently decide the constitution doesn’t apply to teenage bike riders, seizing the bikes of “disruptive” teens without pressing charges.

 

International

Cycling Weekly explores how to keep your bicycling obsession under control.

A British Columbia man learns the hard way that admitting to using heroin before riding his bike is a Get Out of Jail Free card for the cop that hit him.

No bias here. A Montreal columnist says he’s absolutely in favor bike lanes, except in the winter when he puts his bike away and drives everywhere. And accuses the city of being hostile to cars instead of just making room for people on two wheels, which he would probably hate in the winter, anyway.

Life is cheap in Yorkshire, England, where a hit-and-run driver walked without a single day behind bars for running down a bike rider, costing him the use of his thumb and killing his bicycle.

In yet another example of governments keeping a dangerous driver on the road until it’s too late, UK authorities blamed a variety of errors for failing to revoke a speeding driver’s license until after he killed another man, even though he had 25 points against his license — which should have been taken away with less than half that.

Scandinavian countries aren’t the only place where bicycling is a way of life. A reporter says everyone rides in the Tanzanian city of Shinyanga, where bicycles are the only form of transport.

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.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling Weekly examines how Dutch women came to rule the cycling world, and questions whether anyone can beat them at this week’s world championships. Short answer, not yet.

British cyclist Lizzie Deignan says parenthood has given her perspective, and that bicycling is less important to her than its ever been. But considering the world championships road course runs right past her parents’ house, she’s not going down without a fight.

 

Finally…

Repeat after me. If you’re carrying meth on your bike, put a damn light on it — and don’t consent to a search. Don’t throw away those banana peels, just shove them down your pants (scroll down).

And passing a group of bike riders is perfectly legal.

Doing it in the grass to their right, no so much.

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Thanks to Megan Lynch for her generous donation, which she said was an early birthday present. Any donation, for any amount or any reason, is always appreciated.

 

Update: Unidentified man riding bike killed in Las Flores collision on Oso Parkway

This is why you need to carry ID with you when you ride.

Yes, every time.

According to the Orange County Register, authorities have struggled to identify a man who was killed riding his bike in Las Flores early this afternoon.

The victim, who investigators believe was in his 30s, was riding on westbound Oso Parkway near Antonio Parkway, between Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita, when he was struck by the driver of a pickup around 1:45 pm Monday.

Sheriff’s deputies found the victim sprawled on Oso Parkway, dead on arrival.

The driver remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators. He is not suspected of being under the influence.

There’s no word on how the collision may have occurred, though the severity of the crash implies high speed.

A street view shows a three lane virtual freeway with a painted bike lane on the right, where drivers are likely to exceed the posted 55 mph speed limit — making an unprotected lane dangerously inappropriate.

And yet, somehow, an Orange County fire captain blamed the victim for not wearing a helmet, even though a crash at those speeds is unlikely to be survivable, with or without one.

This is at least the 41st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh that I’m aware of in Orange County.

Update: We finally know the identity of the victim, as well as a little more about how the crash happened. 

The sister of the victim has identified him on a GoFundMe page as Pablo Valdez, no age or residence given. 

According to the description, he was killed when the pickup driver pulled out of a gas station without looking.

Which means I was wrong in assuming that speed was a factor. Although it’s still questionable whether a helmet would have helped in this instance, if Valdez really was run over by the truck as his sister writes. 

As of this writing, the GoFundMe page has raised nearly $17,000 of the $20,000 goal.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Pablo Valdez and his loved ones.

Thanks to Kenny Uong for the heads-up

Photo of Pablo Valdez taken from GoFundMe page

 

 

 

Morning Links: 21-mile street fest coming to OC, LA 9th most dangerous bicycling city in US, and RuPaul gets it

Sounds like fun.

Seven Orange County cities will team up to reimagine Beach Blvd with a massive 21-mile open streets event on November 17th, featuring a number of festivals along the route.

Correction: Well, it would have been nice. But a comment from Mike Wilkinson clarifies what this event is, and isn’t. 

And it isn’t what I thought from the article above.

A 21 mile open streets event along Beach Boulevard in Orange County would be impressive and fun. Unfortunately, the event planned for November is definitely NOT an open streets event, and it’s definitely not 21 miles long.

The Meet on Beach event will feature “..live performances, food, giveaways and much more…” according to the MeetOnBeach.com website. That will give families fun reasons to enjoy the outdoors, and that’s a good thing, but it’s not an open streets event.

Beach Boulevard runs about 4.4 miles through the City of Buena Park. The city will close about 0.8 miles of the boulevard, which is less than one-fifth of the total, but just in one direction. Traffic on the busiest street in Orange County will still be rushing past in the other direction. Anaheim has about 1.4 miles of Beach Boulevard and will close about one-third of it (0.5 miles), again in just one direction. So far as I know, the other participating cities aren’t planning to close their parts of Beach Boulevard at all!

Joel Rosen, Buena Park’s Director of Community Development say’s it right. “… we hope to promote economic development and healthy communities along the historic 21-mile stretch…”. That sounds like a good thing to me, but it’s not an open streets event, where people can walk, run, skate, scoot or ride on empty streets and imagine what it would be like to be car free, even for just a day.

Photo courtesy of Daria Shevtsova from Pexels.

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Insider listed the 20 most dangerous US cities for bike riders.

New York was named the nation’s worst place to ride a bike, while San Jose and San Francisco tied for fourth.

So is it good news that Los Angeles only placed ninth?

In a word, no.

Meanwhile, the Bob Vila website ranks the nation’s top 20 cities for bicycling.

Santa Barbara was the highest rated California city at number 11, while Santa Monica checked in at 15.

Somehow New York managed to make both lists, coming in fourth this time, while my hometown was second to neighboring Boulder CO.

And needless to say, Los Angeles didn’t make this list at all.

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RuPaul gets it.

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Now that’s a bottle cap challenge.

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There are a couple of ebike recalls in today’s news.

Trek is recalling some of their Super Commuter+ 8S ebikes due to a manufacturing error that could cause the front fender to fall into the wheel.

Santa Cruz-based Faraday is recalling 4,450 of their distinctive-looking ebikes due to the risk of a broken seat post.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on.

When an Ottawa, Canada bike rider complained to a driver about a too-close pass, the road raging driver responded with a punishment pass that clipped the mirror on his handlebars.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton takes LADOT, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and several members of the city council to task for the city’s “dismal” trend of bikeway implementation, saying installing or upgrading just 13 miles of on-street bike lanes is nothing to celebrate.

Curbed says the North Atwater Bridge is slowly taking shape, and should connect bike riders and pedestrians with Atwater Village and Griffith Park over the LA River by the end of this year.

LA County approved a half-million dollar grant for Pasadena’s One Arroyo Seco Trail Project.

 

State

A proposed bill in the state legislature would triple the current $2,500 rebate for buying an electric car or SUV. The problem is, an electric car is still a car; the state should make the rebate apply to ebikes and transit passes, as well, to help get more cars off the streets.

A popular DIY bike track in San Diego’s Point Loma neighborhood could become a victim of the need for affordable housing.

Santa Barbara officials have identified the victim in last week’s fatal bicycling crash as a 54-year old homeless man who lived in the area; he was riding in the middle of the night without lights or reflectors.

Menlo Park proposes trading 165 parking spaces for bike lanes to help get people out of their cars.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a Bay Area Alzheimer’s patient’s custom ebike that was his only form of transportation.

 

National

A law professor writes that Americans shouldn’t have to drive, but the country’s legal system virtually forces them into their cars by squeezing out the alternatives.

A Harvard professor says less driving, more thriving in a call to reduce the number of cars in urban areas and increase the number of pedestrians.

Writing for Outside, longtime Bicycling writer Joe Lindsey says not only are bike riders not freeloaders on the streets, the bike lanes so many drivers insist we should pay for actually improve safety for everyone — not just the people on two wheels.

A new ebike currently raising funds on Kickstarter promises virtually unlimited range by recharging automatically as you pedal or coast downhill.

A Portland bike dance team is hanging up their BMX bikes after 15 years.

A pair of Good Samaritans are pushing the need for CPR training after saving the life of a 57-year old Texas man who suffered a massive heart attack while taking part in a 64-mile sportive ride.

A Minneapolis TV station asks whether an ebike can really replace your car. Short answer — for many people, yes.

Now the trees are out to get us. A Columbus, Ohio man suffered nearly a dozen fractures and a collapsed lung when a massive tree fell on him during a downpour as he was riding home from work.

Now that’s a good kid. When a young Maine boy won a new bike in a school drawing, he gave it away so another kid could “experience the joy a bike brings.”

An op-ed in the New York Daily News says the time to build more bike lanes is before someone gets killed, not after.

Hundreds of New York bike riders turn out for a die-in to protest the 15 people killed riding their bikes already this year — five more than were killed in the city all of last year. That’s the difference between New York and LA, where we’ve also seen 15 people killed riding bikes in the county, but hardly anyone seems to notice, and far fewer seem to care.

New York’s police commissioner says it’s perfectly okay for one of his cops to use deadly force to stop a bike rider for running multiple red lights. Maybe next time the NYPD will just shoot scofflaw bicyclists instead of using a car.

Great idea. Arlington County VA will conduct a Natural Disaster Trial to see how residents can survive and take care of their families by using bicycles after a disaster wipes out the region’s crucial infrastructure.

 

International

London’s Independent celebrates the joys of slow travel.

Britain’s eleven-time world track cycling champ Sir Chris Hoy gave a video shoutout to a nine-year old boy after he suffered a concussion hitting a pothole on a charity bike ride.

A British ex-cop’s alibi for killing a highly visible bike rider in a crash is that he was too stoned on meth to have any idea what the hell he was doing. No, seriously.

It took an Irish woman eight long years to get justice, as a court awarded her the equivalent of $280,000 after her postman husband was killed in a crash while delivering mail by bike.

Serena Williams is sort of one of us, relaxing between matches at Wimbledon by riding a bike with her young son in her arms. Except her bike doesn’t move.

An Indian bicyclist remembers four extraordinary locations he saw on a 400-day solo bike tour from the Arctic to the Andes.

Roll a stop sign in one United Arab Emirates city, and you could see your bike permanently confiscated. Same goes for not wearing a helmet, or a fluorescent jacket after dark.

Um, no. A 20-year old Australian man wants to become a cop — despite killing a 28-year old woman riding a bike while driving at twice the legal speed limit on the wrong side of the road, hitting her head-on.

 

Competitive Cycling

Forget those guys riding their bikes around France. A comment from Mellisa informs us that you can catch a free one-hour recap of the Giro Rosa women’s stage race every day, courtesy of Trek.

No change at the top of the Tour de France leaderboard after yesterday’s stage four.

Drink your way through the Tour de France.

Canadian pro Michael Woods says he still runs, despite competing in his first Tour de France, because doing nothing but pedaling for 3 weeks makes you “a better bike racer but a worse human” physically.

A writer for Bicycling tries to stare into the soul of the great Eddy Merckx, and finds an abyss staring back. And no, I don’t know what that means, either.

A vegan Aussie endurance cyclist set a new record for the cross-country Trans Am Bike Race on a diet of hash browns.

A Kenyan website talks with the mother of professional cyclist James Mwaura, aka The Lion of Africa; Mwaura was shot four times as a child in an assassination that killed his father. 

 

Finally…

Sharrows do not a Complete Street make. It’s hard to keep a bike shop going these days; harder still if you don’t pay your back taxes.

And if you’re going to roll a red light, try not to crash into the lampposts.

 

Rally tomorrow demanding justice for Scott Clark; OC triathlete was collateral damage in alleged 2017 road rage case

No Morning Links today, due to the demands of this piece, as well as a few too many emergency potty runs caring for a sick Corgi.

I’ll try to catch up tomorrow with a rare Weekend Links if her belly allows; if not, we’ll be back on Monday with anything we’ve missed.

………

When does justice delayed become justice denied?

Apparently, when Orange County investigators drop the ball.

And the DA drops the case.

Bike lawyer Ed Rubinstein forwards a flyer demanding justice for a Laguna Hills father, teacher and triathlete who was killed over two years ago, the result of a road rage incident between two motorists.

Scott Clark, a fifth-grade teacher at Laguna Niguel Elementary School and four-time Ironman triathlete, was training for a race in January, 2017, when he ran into a crosswalk just as two women were arguing as they sped down the road in Laguna Nigel.

One of the women, later identified as Jamie Mulford, allegedly turned right from the left lane in front of the other car, cutting off the driver and forcing her  car into Clark as he crossed the street.

He suffered severe head injuries, and died two weeks later.

Mulford was arrested at the scene for suspicion DUI, but the charge was dropped because investigators failed to test her blood alcohol level for nearly six hours after the crash, by which time she was under the legal limit.

The DA eventually charged Mulford with vehicular homicide in the death of Scott Clark. Yet after numerous delays, the case was dismissed ths year when the DA said they could no longer prove Mulford’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Adding insult to overwhelming injury, Mulford sued Scott Clark’s wife for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress — choosing the two year anniversary of his death to file suit.

It took less than a month to have the case thrown out of court for lack of merit.

Which bring us to tomorrow’s rally calling for justice for Scott Clark.

Supporters of Clark — or anyone who believes in the safety of our streets — is urged to meet at Laguna Nigel City Hall at 10 am Saturday to walk to the crash site at Niguel Road and Alicia Parkway.

I don’t know if Jamie Mulford is guilty.

But I do know Scott Clark’s survivors deserve to have the case put in front of a jury.

And newly elected DA Todd Spitzer owes them that.

Thanks to Ed Rubenstein for the heads-up.

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