Tag Archive for Pacific Coast Highway

Streets For All virtual happy hour tonight, SoCal’s killer highway getting bike lanes in OC, and Prime Day bike deals

Let’s start with a reminder that Streets For All is hosting their latest virtual happy hour this evening, featuring Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis.

………

Southern California’s killer highway could be getting a little safer in Orange County.

According to the Daily Pilot, the stretch of PCH that runs through Huntington Beach is scheduled for a number of improvements, as part of a $14.8-million Caltrans project.

Among the scheduled improvements are rehabilitating the pavement — whatever that means — replacing traffic loop detectors and guardrails, and upgrading facilities to Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

In addition, the plans call for adding Class II painted bike lanes, although they will be downgraded to a mere bike route in some areas, forcing riders to fight for road space with impatient drivers.

That could mean relying on the dreaded sharrows, which studies show could be worse than nothing. And which appear to exist only to help drivers improve their aim and thin the herd.

Additional plans call for $21.2 million to be spent on two projects in Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Seal Beach, including unspecified pedestrian and bicycle upgrades.

………

Today’s common theme is Prime Day bike deals.

………

A Twitter user responds to Governor Newsom’s call to sue gunmakers by suggesting we should be able to sue the makers of killer cars.

Especially since the news media insists on holding their drivers blameless.

Not just cars that kill, but cars, trucks and SUVs that are literally built to kill, with no thought to the survival of anyone outside the vehicle.

And which are too often sold in a way that actually encourages the most extreme and dangerous behavior.

Thanks to How The West Was Saved for the heads-up. 

………

A new crowdsourced book says it’s not too late to stave off a carbon-fueled climate disaster.

Let’s hope they’r right.

Thanks to Pedal Love for the tip.

………

A lifelong car enthusiast explains why he’s starting to hate cars, and why owning multiple cars is an insanely bad idea.

And “why car dependency is terrible and why car enthusiasts should care about reducing traffic fatalities.”

Took the words right out of my mouth.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever painted swastikas along a Rhode Island bike path.

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

Palo Alto police arrested a 34-year old Mountain View man for robbing a 16-year old bike-riding boy; he was arrested riding a bike while carrying meth and drug paraphernalia, as well as the knife he threatened the teenager with.

………

Local

Streetsblog reports on last week’s groundbreaking for the Rail-to-Rail active transportation project through South LA and Inglewood.

Heartbreaking story from the LA Times about a young Black man who lived alone and worked remotely, whose body was found five days after he logged off from work, after apparently dying in his sleep from an undetected heart condition; among his possessions was a new bicycle with just four miles on the odometer.

 

State 

A pair of projects in the Coachella and Imperial Valleys have received grants from the Southern California Association of Governments, part of 26 grants up to $15,000 for active transportation projects in the six-county SCAG region.

More sad news from Northern California, where a Visalia bike rider was killed in a rear-end collision.

San Jose received a $10 million grant to install street lights and build out bike lanes on a nearly five-mile stretch of one of the city’s most dangerous roads.

The recent decision to permanently ban cars from a portion of JFK Drive through San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park could go to the voters, after opponents turned in enough signatures to get the question on the November ballot. Or opponent, actually, as the signature gathering effort was funded entirely by an heiress to the Dow Chemical fortune, who’s family apparently hasn’t done enough environmental damage yet.

A speeding hit-and-run driver ran down a man riding a bicycle in San Francisco’s Mission District, driving off with the bike’s front wheel still stuck to their grill; fortunately, the victim is expected to survive. Although the driver may regret leaving the car’s license plate behind.

 

National

Muscle and Fitness recommends bicycling as a low-impact exercise in the great outdoors that provides something for everyone from elite athletes to people battling serious illnesses, focusing on a survivor of stage 4 pancreatic cancer who rides 50 to 100 miles a week.

Money Inc lists ten jobs that often require using a bicycle.

Peloton is outsourcing its stationary bike manufacturing, shutting down its bikemaking subsidiary and laying off 570 people; the layoffs follow more than 3,000 earlier job cuts.

Gear Junkie rates the year’s best mountain bike helmets.

Las Cruces, New Mexico is using special green paint to lower the surface temperature of bike lanes, while making them more visible to drivers.

A carfree Portland Millennial is spreading her “glorious bike propaganda” to her 16,000-plus Tik Tok followers.

Wisconsin’s 32 foot high fiberglass sculpture of an 1890’s man riding a Penny Farthing has been designated as the world’s biggest bicycling statue.

Unbelievable. A 40-year old Florida man faces vehicular homicide and hit-and-run charges for killing a 74-year old man who wasn’t even riding his bike at the time — or anywhere near the roadway; the speeding driver hit a mailbox on the wrong side of road before losing control, driving off the road and hitting the victim, then crashing into a building.

 

International

Streetsblog’s podcast The Brake talks with British environmental psychology expert Dr. Ian Walker about why high gas prices and other disincentives don’t get people out of their cars, and why even incentivizing other modes doesn’t always work.

British bike scribe and bicycling historian Carlton Reid examines how Milan, Italy tamed its streets with bikeways, ping pong and polka dot plazas, a move that proved so popular that the mayor was re-elected with nearly two-thirds of the vote — 20 points more than he received in 2016.

Electrek previews ebikes expected to make their debut at the Eurobike 2022 trade show, starting today in Frankfurt, Germany.

An Emirati website examines why Middle Eastern countries are lagging in the fight to reduce traffic deaths. Just wait until they see the US, which is going the wrong way entirely.

 

Competitive Cycling

Yesterday’s stage ten of the Tour de France came to a sudden and unexpected halt when a group of protesters blocked the roadway. A statement from the group Dernière Rénovation — aka Last Renovation — says they interrupted the stage to “stop the mad race towards the annihilation of our society,” adding they “can no longer remain spectators of the ongoing climate disaster.”

Former Tour de France champ Bradley Wiggins, who won the race a decade ago, was criticized for calling the protesters imbeciles.

Yes, there was actually a race after the road was cleared of protesters, with Danish rider Magnus Cort winning in a mountain top finish; Germany’s Lennard Kämna missed taking the yellow jersey by just 11 seconds.

Covid reared its ugly face in the Tour after all, with two riders dismissed after testing positive and another allowed to continue, just 24 hours after the peloton had gotten a premature all clear.

 

Finally…

Nothing like a 20-foot long, two way bike lane, with arrows directing you to crash into a pole. That feeling when you’re still waiting for your bike and luggage to arrive, ten days into a two-week Icelandic bicycling vacation.

And that feeling when you run into your idol while riding your bike, then perform with him at a sold out concert.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Caltrans plans PCH bike lanes in Malibu, guilty verdict in DUI killing of LB family, and more on Griffith Park Drive closure

Caltrans is finally taking steps to tame SoCal’s killer highway.

Maybe.

The state transportation agency, which has responsibility for deadly Pacific Coast Highway, announced tentative plans to stripe bike lanes on a 16-mile stretch of PCH, from Malibu Lagoon to the Ventura County Line.

However, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press, Malibu officials complained about what they called vague plans, which could include the removal of over 2,000 roadside parking spaces.

And the state Coastal Commission might have something to say about it, since their rules prohibit the removal of beach access parking, while requiring some form of mitigation.

Never mind that the Malibu mayor’s primary concern seemed to be whether bicyclists would be ticketed for riding in the traffic lanes instead of the bike lane.

So much for the city’s flirtation with accommodating people on bicycles in recent years.

Maybe he should be asking why the state agency insists on having a major highway run through the heart of the coastal city, instead of turning it into a Complete Street Main Street to serve the needs of all residents and road users, rather than primarily benefitting cut-through commuter traffic.

And yes, CVC 21208 requires bicyclists to use the bike lane if they’re riding slower than the speed of traffic.

The plans call for a painted, Class II bike lane, although bike riders called for a buffer zone next to any remaining parking, as well as next to traffic speeding by at — or often above — the 50 to 55 mph speed limit.

Someone also asked why the bike lane was planned for the west side of the city, rather than the east side where it’s needed more.

Good question.

Thanks to Austin Brown for the heads-up.

………

This is who we share the road with.

A 23-year old Long Beach man faces up to 45 years behind bars after he was convicted of three counts each of murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated for killing an entire family on Halloween night in 2019.

Carlo Adrian Navarro was just 20 years old when he drunkenly drove onto the sidewalk, striking a mother and father, and their three-year old son, as they were walking home from trick or treating.

He’ll be sentenced in September.

With a little luck he could be out by the time he’s 50.

………

As we mentioned yesterday, Los Angeles has closed a roughly one-mile section of Griffith Park Drive in Griffith Park to cars, at least for now.

The pilot closure comes in response to drivers using the park as a cut-through route to avoid freeway traffic, putting bike riders, pedestrians and other park users at risk.

Streetsblog reports it’s part of a multi-phase effort to fast track safety improvements to the park.

SAFE, aka Streets Are For Everyone, the traffic safety organization founded by Finish the Ride’s Damian Kevitt, hosted a ride on Saturday attended by hundreds of bike riders to mark the closure.

Lionel Mares shared his photos from the ride.

SAFE and Finish the Ride Founder Damian Kevitt

LACBC Executive Director Eli Akira Kaufman, Streets For All founder Michael Schneider, and California State Senator Anthony Portantino

………

Claremont Cyclist / CLR Effect author Michael Wagner sends us a photo from the July Ride Around Pomona, saying the long line of broken bollards doesn’t instill much confidence in the ability of drivers around the Cal Poly campus.

If your kid goes there, you might want to call just to make sure they’re okay.

………

Streetfilms says Emeryville, California mayor John Bauters is the biking mayor your city needs.

Especially if your city is Los Angeles.

Never mind that Bauters sports Peter Flax’s Sharrows Are Bullshit t-shirt.

………

British tennis pro Cameron Norrie is one of us.

………

Stephen Hallet forwards this context-free photo he ran across recently.

Something tells me there’s a story there. Albeit a painful one.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

No surprise here. Texas officials dramatically undercharged a driver who intentionally drove onto the wrong side of the road, instead of the felony assault with a deadly weapon the crime calls for. 

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

A Houston man made his getaway by bicycle after robbing a Burger King with a gun pointed at a worker’s head.

………

Local

Metro has begun construction on the Rail to Rail Active Transportation Project, a 5.5-mile shared use path connecting the A (Blue) Line and the upcoming K (Crenshaw/LAX) Line through Inglewood and South Los Angeles.

The Fullerton Observer offers photos from that city’s 4th of July holiday bike parade.

 

State 

There’s a special place in hell for the hit-and-run driver who fled after striking a 13-year-old bike rider in Merced County, leaving the boy hospitalized with minor injuries.

 

National

Accessory maker Knog is introducing a waterproof, Apple-compatible “super loud bike alarm and highly accurate bike finder.”

Road Bike Rider offers advice for long-distance riding with “at least some measure of comfort.”

A Portland man faces multiple charges for a racially biased attack on a bike-riding man and his five-year old daughter, after yelling slurs based on their Japanese ancestry while repeatedly punching the father in the head, as well as punching the little girl in her bike helmet. There’s not a pit deep enough for a jerk like that.

Denver is renewing its ebike rebate program after an initial rush depleted the funds in a matter of days. Meanwhile, California’s ebike rebate program continues to tread water waiting for the people in charge to get their shit together.

Chicago Streetsblog complains that People For Bikes ranks the city well below “car-centric, bicycle-sparse metropolises like Houston and Los Angeles” in their annual ranking of bike-friendly cities.

Gotham gets mini street sweepers to clean the city’s protected bike lanes.

 

International

Alleged killer Kaitlin Armstrong reportedly fled the US using her sister’s passport, and had a receipt for plastic surgery when she was arrested in Costa Rica last week; she faces a first degree murder charge for the fatal shooting of gravel cyclist Moriah “Mo” Wilson.

Apparently, hit-and-run isn’t just an American problem, as drivers have fled in over 1,500 crashes in the last three and a half years in England’s West Midlands, including 28 fatal crashes.

A new Polish study suggests male bike riders should stand on their pedals every ten minutes to avoid genital damage that can lead to erectile disfunction and fertility problems.

Cairo, Egypt is unveiling a 45 dock, 500 bike bikeshare system to fight climate change while providing an alternative to the city’s crushing traffic.

 

Competitive Cycling

Wout van Aert won Tuesday’s stage four of the Tour de France to extend his hold on the yellow jersey; Red Bull profiles the Belgian ‘cross champ as he turns his attention to road cycling.

The annual 2,700-mile Tour Divide is becoming even more extreme, as climate change-driven wildfires, flooding and extreme drought conditions pushed competitors to the edge.

The inaugural Life Time Grand Prix moves on to Beaver, Utah this weekend with the 70-mile, mixed terrain Crusher in the Tushar race, featuring “60 handpicked WorldTour roadies, gravel pros, track world champions and MTB Olympians” competing for a $250,000 purse.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to use an excavator to break into a bike shop, make sure you can get the bikes out past the rubble afterwards.

And who doesn’t need a little monkey-faced Wednesday weirdness?

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Candidate list for June primary, Times’ Abcarian says Vision Zero “impossible,” and PCH claims another victim

Pick your ponies and place your bets.

The Los Angeles City Clerk has posted the latest list of candidates filing for the city’s June primary election.

Like most California elections, not everyone is a serious candidate. But there are some genuine choices hidden among the clowns and wannabes.

………

No, Vision Zero is not “impossible.”

LA Times columnist Robin Abcarian writes that eliminating traffic deaths is a worthy, but impossible, goal.

The goal is worthy, but why go out on a limb with a big, bold promise that is so obviously doomed to fail?

In Australia, at least, they call the effort “Toward Zero,” which seems more realistic…

As long as there is traffic, there will be traffic tragedy, especially in a car-centric city like ours, where you cannot drive an inch without seeing distracted drivers holding phones. How many times have you been stuck behind a car at a red light that doesn’t move when the light turns green because the driver in front is poking at a screen? At least while they aren’t moving, they aren’t killing anyone.

The obvious problem with that attitude is the question of just how many deaths are acceptable as the cost of just getting from here to there.

Graphic by tomexploresla

And if that number is anything other than zero, which of your loved ones are you willing to sacrifice to the motor vehicle gods?

Which makes it clear that one is the only acceptable answer.

Abcarian’s right that we may not get there today. But it’s up to all of us to do everything we can to make sure we get there tomorrow.

To her credit, she does identify one of the biggest problems with Vision Zero, with each of the city’s 15 councilmembers free to implement their own vision of how to end traffic deaths, or the lack thereof.

As well as the lack of alignment between the city and county, with Los Angeles aiming for 2025 — just three years from now — while the county aims to end traffic deaths a decade later.

Never mind the other 87 cities that call LA County home.

But the solution to that is to coordinate, not forget it. Then give the city and county transportation agencies the power to override individual councilmembers and supervisors to do what needs to be done to save lives.

Which also serves to shield our elected officials from blame by angry drivers, which is what some of them really care about, anyway.

And while we’re at it, someone please tell Ms. Abcarian the difference between a crash and an accident.

………

Southern California’s serial killer highway has claimed yet another victim.

………

Pass the word, teens can grab a quick Benjamin from Walk ‘n Rollers for customizing a bicycle.

………

Remember, you always need a truck or SUV to go to the hardware store.

………

Sometimes it’s not who we share the road with, but what.

https://twitter.com/WarrenJWells/status/1491487543455465472

………

Here’s that great East Side Riders video we weren’t able to embed yesterday.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

Someone in newly bike friendly San Diego clearly doesn’t get it, ruling that no action is necessary for a traffic signal clearly designed to thin the herd by encouraging drivers to turn left through a bike lane while bike riders still have the green. Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

There’s a special place in hell for the couple who flipped off a bike-riding Florida boy as they passed him in their car, then whipped a U-turn and threatened him with a gun when he responded in kind, before proceeding to pistol whip and slap him repeatedly; they were arrested after the boy managed to record video of the couple, along with their car and license plate.

A 67-year old Scottish man was left shaken after a construction worker pelted him with cement when he stopped his bike to ask if they had a permit to block an Edinburgh bike lane with a cement mixer.

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

A thirsty armed robber helped himself to cash and a canned drink from a Houston convenience store before making his getaway on a baby blue bike.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman takes a hard look at mayoral candidate and current Councilmember Joe Buscaino’s motion to crack down on bike chop shops, which could also catch legitimate bike repair in its wide net. Including if you decide to fix your own bicycle outside on a sunny day, if it’s too broadly written.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton checks out the new bike lanes on Yosemite Drive in Eagle Rock.

This is who we share the road with. A Manhattan Beach man claims a driver ran him over in a grocery store parking lot, then backed up and ran over him again, in a dispute over face masks that began inside.

Camilla Cabella is one of us, taking a bikeshare ride through the streets of LA with a “mysterious” friend. Oh, and she likes ice cream, too.

Rihanna showed her generosity Sunday, stopping by the West Los Angeles VA Campus with practical, needed gifts for homeless vets, including bike locks.

 

State

The annual Tour de Palm Springs returns to the Coachella Valle this weekend, with safety measures and law enforcement in place to hopefully keep participants safe, which hasn’t always been the case.

A 55-year old Navy vet is suing Caltrans, Bakersfield and Kern County after he was injured riding his bike into an open manhole on a Bakersfield sidewalk, which was left unmarked by orange cones or other warning devices.

The US Forest Service settled a lawsuit by agreeing to allow ebikes on non-motorized trails in the Tahoe National Forest.

 

National

Yes, please. A quartet of Democratic congressmen urged the president to request full funding for the new Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program in the next budget, which would provide $200 million a year for five years for biking and walking projects.

US ebike sales are on their way to one million units a year in the US, and one billion worldwide.

A new lawsuit accuses Peloton of bullying competitors and entering into sham agreements to secure its market position.

In a case of real life imitating art, actor Bob Odenkirk revealed his near-fatal heart attack came as he was riding an exercise bike on the set of Better Call Saul, which may or may not have been the same make that killed Mr. Big in HBO’s Sex and the City reboot, and nearly killed Mike “Wags” Wagner on Billions.

Talk about Viking biking. Try riding an ice bike across Wisconsin’s frozen Lake Winnebago in 13° weather.

Frightening story from New York, where a man called the NYPD to report a parked truck illegally blocking a bus stop, and immediately started getting death threats from the truck’s owner — even though his call should have been confidential.

 

International

Treehugger recommends their picks for the best bike cargo bags.

Towing your kids in a bike trailer may not be good for their lungs, as a new British study shows the lower position exposes them to more pollution that someone on a bike seat.

No bias here. And no surprise, either, as a new study from the UK shows that drivers and bike riders are treated differently by the press following a crash.

British bicyclists rode to protest a “discriminatory” daytime ban from the Bedford town center, which resulted in 3,200 fines for the equivalent of $107 — including one issued to a man on the second week of his around-the-world bike tour.

Now bike thieves aren’t even waiting until the bikes are assembled. Thieves hijacked 10,000 Shimano ebike parts by gassing the driver at a German service station.

Pakistan’s Associated Press captures a photo of an old man selling bundles of traditional handmade brooms from his bicycle.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai is one of us, riding with a group to check out a new beachfront bike path. And yes, I included that one just so I could use his full title.

 

Competitive Cycling

Black cycling legend Major Taylor’s 119-year old wood-rimmed Peugeot bike is returning for an exhibit at the Indiana State Museum in his Indianapolis home town.

Tadej Pogačar is back on his bike after testing positive for Covid.

We Love Cycling looks at inter-generational cycling dynasties.

In a scene straight out of Breaking Away, a local Colombian kid falls in and holds his own alongside Rigoberto Urán and Tom Dumoulin on a training ride. Except they don’t put a tire pump through his spokes.

 

Finally…

When you’re carrying meth on your bike with several outstanding felony warrants, maybe try not to make your escape through a snow-covered field.

And enough said.

https://twitter.com/schmangee/status/1491506749794361345

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Bicyclist killed at PCH and Big Rock in Malibu; 4th Malibu PCH bike death in nine months, and 2nd at the same intersection

Southern California’s killer highway has claimed the the life of yet another person on a bicycle.

The Malibu Times is reporting that a bike rider was killed on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu Thursday afternoon — the same day another victim was killed on PCH in Huntington Beach.

And at nearly the same location another bike rider was killed just a month ago.

The victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was struck by a driver at PCH and Big Rock Drive around 2 pm.

He was dead in the street by the time emergency personnel got there.

According to the Canyon News, the driver isn’t suspected of being under the influence, which suggests this was not a hit-and-run.

Traffic signals were upgraded at the intersection in 2014 to improve safety; clearly, it didn’t work.

Unfortunately, there’s no further information at this time. No word on which way the victim and his killer where going, or how the crash occurred.

This is at least the seventh bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

It’s also the fourth person killed riding a bike on PCH in Malibu in just the last none months. Just more evidence of a serious traffic safety problem in the beachfront city.

Correction: I originally misidentified the cross street as Black Rock, rather than Big Rock, for reasons that will forever escape me. Thanks to Andrew Goldstein for the heads-up. 

52-year old man killed riding bike on PCH in Huntington Beach; 2nd Orange County bicycling fatality in past 6 days

SoCal’s killer highway has claimed yet another life.

And once again, in Huntington Beach.

According to the Daily Pilot, 52-year-old Kelly Carrington was riding on Pacific Coast Highway, just north of Seapoint Drive, when he was stuck by a 79-year old driver headed north on PCH around 11:20 last night.

He was dead before police arrived.

The driver, who has not been identified, remained at the scene. Both he and his wife suffered minor injuries, and were taken to a local hospital.

Police don’t believe he was under the influence.

Investigators say only that Carrington was in the roadway when he was killed, making it unclear whether he was riding in the traffic lane or crossing the roadway.

It’s also possible that he was riding on the shoulder, and only briefly entered the lane to avoid some obstacle.

Anyone with information is urged to call Huntington Beach traffic investigator Doug Demetre at 714/536-5670 or investigator Vishal Rattanchandani at 714/ 536-5231.

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

His death comes just six days after a 71-year old man was killed in a Fountain Valley hit-and-run while riding his bike.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Kelly Carrington and his loved ones. 

Questions raised about PCH door zone warning, and driver crashes into home built by Lincoln’s great-grandfather

Evidently, I’ve ruined everything.

Yesterday, a series of tweets were directed my way to tell me I got it all wrong about the proposed changes to PCH that would seem to put bike riders in the door zone.

Those were quickly followed by a comment on here, and a series of increasingly rude and insulting private messages blaming me for somehow ruining 20 year of bicycle advocacy by repeating what was said in a news story from a Malibu paper.

Which I was apparently supposed to somehow be able to deduce had made some yet-to-be confirmed error in reporting the story.

Then again, I was also accused in those private messages of somehow plagiarizing that same story by someone who had apparently never read it, and clearly has no idea what plagiarism means.

Seriously, feel free to do a side-by-side comparison, and see for yourself if I copied anything.

While I wasn’t involved in this project, and had no idea it was even in the works before this week, I have long fought for bike safety on PCH in Malibu. And worked with and supported Eric Bruins in his surprisingly successful campaign to turn the city from extremely anti-bike to a newfound commitment to welcoming people on two wheels.

And this project was definitely not what I remember asking for.

I also don’t remember meeting Mr. Laetz during all those years that I represented the LACBC on the PCH Task Force, before illness forced me to step down.

Which doesn’t mean he wasn’t there, or wasn’t working for bike safety in other ways. With all the meds I’m on these days, I have trouble remembering last week, let alone what happened a decade or so ago.

But maybe he’s right.

My reaction to this project was based entirely on Wednesday’s story in the Malibu Surfside News, which said this in the very first paragraph —

A stretch of Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu that’s seen several bicycle collisions in as many years is being looked at for changes that will make it safer for bicyclists while adding motor vehicle parking.

Note that last phrase, “adding motor vehicle parking.”

The writer of that piece, Scott Steepleton, the editor of the Malibu Surfside News, cited a Malibu Planning Commission document as his source.

According to the July 19 meeting staff report by Jessica Thompson, associate planner, the changes “will provide increased travel space on the right shoulder for a combination of bicycle use and on-street parking, thereby improving safety on this segment of PCH.”

I never hid the fact that this was my source, and linked back to the story in my original post. I also sent the link to Mr. Laetz when he objected to my story to confirm where the information came from.

Yet he continued to attack me, both publicly and privately. Right up to the point I told him what he could do with himself, and blocked him from my personal Twitter account.

But again, that doesn’t make him wrong.

This is how he describes the project in a comment Mr. Laetz left on here.

WAIT A MINUTE, The city’s plan is to WIDEN the shoulder, by narrowing the median and shifting the traffic lanes to the center, No parking will be added, none will be eliminated. Te (sic) plan will leave shoulders that are in excess of 14 feet wide. It will also add marked bike lanes at the traffic lights. The Coastal Commission will not allow the city to add parking (reducing coastal access to bicyclists) or decrease parking (reducing parking access for people in vehicles). This plan is parking neutral. It will eliminate much of the wide, unused median. GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT.

Despite repeated requests, he never sent me a link to any source to back up his description of the project, though he did reference a story he claimed to have written for the Malibu Times, which I haven’t been able to find on their website.

However, assuming the shoulder will in fact be a minimum of 14 feet wide, while that may be enough room to safely pass an average parked car, it would leave only a sliver of space outside the door zone of today’s massive pickups and SUVs.

And that’s if the driver pulls all the way to the right, which hardly ever happens the real world.

It also raises the question of whether that space could be better used to provide a parking protected bike lane that would keep riders safely out of the door zone, as well as away from drivers cutting over to park their cars or pull out of a parking space.

And why maintain those plush eleven-foot traffic lanes, which encourage higher speeds, when they could easily be narrowed a foot to help slow traffic, and provide more space to work with on either side?

As I tried to point out to Mr. Laetz, even if this project would be wholly beneficial for people on bicycles, the worst thing that resulted from calling it out is that hundreds of bike riders are newly aware of it, and prepared to give it the scrutiny any bike project should have.

So go ahead and email your comments and concerns by Sunday night, if you haven’t already. And attend Monday’s virtual meeting of the Malibu Planning Commission to learn more about it if you can.

Full disclosure, I won’t be able to make it Monday evening. Somehow, I suspect my wife’s birthday has to take priority if I don’t want to see a permanent change my sleeping arrangements.

I’ve also offered to let Mr. Laetz write a guest post for this site to clarify anything he thinks we got wrong.

So far, he hasn’t responded.

I’ll let you know if he does.

………

I do my best to be as truthful and accurate as possible in everything you read on this site.

If I get something wrong, I’m more than happy to correct it, which I’ve done more times than I can count. Just reach out to me, either in the comments below, at the email address on the About page, or on Twitter @BikinginLA.

Just be able to back it up. And don’t be a jerk about it.

………

This is the cost of traffic violence.

A Massachusetts driver slammed her SUV through the side of a 371-year old house built by the great-grandfather of Abraham Lincoln, after swerving to avoid an early-rising squirrel.

Yes, that Abraham Lincoln.

Although it may have been the house’s fault, since the owners say there have been a number of near-misses since they moved in.

………

Apparently, pedicabs are nothing new.

Though seldom quite this cool.

https://twitter.com/anderspreben/status/1031213754724372480

………

A Utah TV station wins the award for best attempt to remove any agency for an injury collision, with a headline that suggests some unidentified “person” was injured when a car without a driver somehow collided with a bicycle without a rider.

………

Call a happy bike surprise.

https://twitter.com/Jonathan_Maus/status/1415896935374802946

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

After a Denver man attempted to stop a woman from stealing his neighbor’s $5,000 mountain bike, she returned in a beat-up SUV and smashed into another car while attempting to run him down. But even after they tracked the attacker to a nearby homeless camp, the police have refused to go in and do anything about it.

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

Must have been in a hurry. A New York “transit menace” snatched a bikeshare bike out of the hands of the person who rented it, rode it to the subway station, the jumped the turnstile to catch his train.

………

Local

No news is good news, right?

 

State

I want to be like him when I grow up. Bicycling talks with a 77-year old Lake Forest man who still rides a bike every day, despite two serious heart surgeries. Or maybe because of them. I mean, without all the heart problems and stuff. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you out.

San Diego letter writers continue to beat a dead bike lane horse, still complaining about the new protected bike lanes on 30th Street in North Park that are already under construction.

Police in Salinas are asking for the public’s help identifying a thief caught on camera stealing a mountain bike.

 

National

CyclingTips examines the custom Trek Domane Richard Branson pretended to ride to Sunday’s space launch, in what they accurately describe as part of a billionaire “dick-measuring competition.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

A culture website suggests four exciting US cities to ride a bike in. If you really want excitement, though, it’s hard to top mixing it up with LA drivers. Although it may not be the kind of excitement you want.

Nearly a hundred Portland-area kids now have newly refurbished bikes, thanks to an organization dedicated to giving kids free bikes who might not be able to get one otherwise.

No surprise here. Las Vegas is being sued by the family of a Black man who died in police custody in 2019 with a cop’s knee planted firmly in his back; Byron Williams was recorded saying 24 times that he couldn’t breathe, after getting stopped for the capital crime of not having a light on his bike. The family is being represented by the same lawyer who filed suit in the George Floyd case.

Montana’s first shuttle mountain bike park is now open near the Flathead Lake resort area, incorporating a shuttle service to carry riders from the end of one gravity trail to the start of another.

Heartbreaking news from Chicago, where an off-duty cop in a jacked-up truck ran over a little boy and dragged him to his death; nine-year old Hershel Weinberger was riding his bike in a crosswalk when the driver reportedly ran the stop sign, even if the local union head swears he stopped and looked both ways. But investigators failed to hold the off-duty officer accountable after he played the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, by claiming he just didn’t see the boy. Although chance are, just flashing his badge was probably enough.

Life is cheap in Michigan, where a driver faces a single year behind bars for killing a 16-year old boy riding a bike, after prosecutors allowed him to plead to a misdemeanor moving violation. Sad to know that’s all a kid’s life is worth to them.

A new study suggests 30% of DC crashes involving a bike rider or pedestrian go unreported, reducing the reliability of the data Vision Zero relies on.

 

International

Talk about flash photography. A British woman snapping a selfie captured the exact moment she and her brother and sister were struck by lightening as they were sheltering under a tree, after getting caught in a thunderstorm while riding their bikes to see their aunt; fortunately, they were all okay after being treated for burns.

The final stage of the Tour de France is just the start of festivities as Paris bounces back from the pandemic lockdowns, as only Paris can.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews talks with the stars of Thursday’s final hors catégorie climb, which was pretty much Wednesday on repeat.

Here we go again. CyclingNews is reporting that French authorities raided the hotel and team bus of the Bahrain Victorious cycling team before Thursday’s stage of the Tour de France, as prosecutors open a preliminary investigation into doping allegations. But we all know the doping era is over, right?

Road Bike Action wants to help you build the perfect bike for Sunday’s Belgian Waffle Ride.

 

Finally…

Why pro cyclists dance with their bikes. Your next (really weird looking) touring bike could come with a built-in chair and day bed.

And if you have to ask…

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

 

Protest Malibu’s PCH door zone plan, Caltrans District 7 active transportation plan, and Sunset4All halfway to goal

After we sounded the alarm yesterday, Streets For All is calling on everyone to email the Malibu Planning Commission.

The street safety PAC is urging bike riders to protest plans to widen a two-mile section of PCH to “improve bicycle safety” by installing even more roadside parking, forcing bike riders into the door zone.

And yes, that means you.

Ask the City of Malibu to add safe, protected bike lanes to PCH

Thanks to our friends at Biking In LA for pointing out that the City of Malibu is considering an item on its next planning commission agenda (item 5B) to improve safety for people on bikes on PCH.

However, their proposal is really a way to add even more parking for cars on PCH, while putting people in bikes in the “door zone.” We need them to do better, and eventually would love a protected bike lane for the entire stretch of PCH.

As usual, they include a link, complete with email addresses and a sample email, to contact the Malibu Planning Commission by this Sunday and voice your concerns over this dangerous “bike safety” plan.

Photo by DJ_Moertel from Pixabay.

………

Cuong Trinh, the Active Transportation and Complete Streets/ Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for Caltrans District 7, wants your input on the state DOT’s active transportation plan for the Los Angeles region.

Hello Community Stakeholder,

I wanted to let you know that we are undertaking the development of the Caltrans District 7 Active Transportation Plan.

Our plan serves as a needs assessment, by utilizing our government agency partners, non-government stakeholders and members of the public to identify bicycle and pedestrian needs along the State Highway System. In order to undertake the completion of this plan, we have a Consultant that is analyzing existing planning documents from cities and counties, as well as user and partner-submitted needs (using a location-based-needs survey) that your organization and its stakeholders can participate in.

The State Highway System includes all state-owned freeways, select regional highways and some local streets. All of these freeways, highways or local streets are signed by a red and blue Interstate freeway shield (Interstate 5) or a green California state highway shield (State Route 2).

Next Thursday, July 22nd, we invite you to attend one of our informational meetings intended for our non-governmental stakeholders where we will provide an introduction to the Caltrans Active Transportation Plans and the effort to complete the plan in Caltrans District 7, serving Los Angeles and Ventura counties. You may be aware that other Caltrans districts are also in the process of completing their district-specific plans as Caltrans has 12 districts that serve 58 counties statewide.

Your organization and its stakeholders may be aware of bicycle and pedestrian needs on our State Highways. These needs can range from missing or broken sidewalks to gaps in bicycle lanes and paths along or across State Highway System facilities. We see that your input is critical in providing locations and context for those needs. With your help, we can prioritize those needs in our future highway projects. However, without sufficient input from our stakeholders, we would be short of sufficient information that our project engineers could use to address non-motorized user needs.

You can learn more about the CAT Plans, as well as take a survey (where users are invited to place pins on a map) at http://www.catplan.org and click District 7.

We have scheduled two informational meetings in the next week that you can attend at your convenience, as the same materials will be presented at either meeting. Therefore, you can attend one meeting that best fits your schedule.

Feel free to attend one of these (virtual) meetings at your convenience:

Also feel free to forward this to anyone from other organizations or people who may find the Caltrans Active Transportation Plans effort of interest or relevance, as we may have missed many organizations and local interests.

Should you have any questions regarding the CAT Plans, don’t hesitate to contact the project lead for the Caltrans District 7 Active Transportation Plan, at cuong.trinh@dot.ca.gov.

Hope you stay healthy and safe.

………

Sunset4All is now over halfway to their goal of raising $25,000 to fund a public/private partnership to build protected bike lanes on eastern sections of Sunset and Santa Monica Blvds.

………

If you’ve got a few extra bucks, take a moment to help support the LA-area’s most important voice for transportation news.

………

Now tell me again why businesses need to keep every car parking spot to survive.

………

GCN explains how to successfully deploy chamois cream to keep your bike from being a pain in the ass.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

Horrifying video from Idaho, where a 26-year old man faces charges for responding to a minor dispute between kids at a skate park by chasing two young boys in his pickup, and running over their bicycles after they barely jump out of the way. Never mind what kind of a sick schmuck would actually do something like that.

No bias here. A Missouri newspaper says a young boy was injured when he hit a car with his bicycle. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell what actually happened from the brief three-sentence article. But that probably wasn’t it.

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

There’s a special place in hell for a “‘bitter’ and jealous man” who rode his bike up to his ex-girlfriend as she got a London bus and threw a caustic chemical in her face, leaving her with severe acid burns; the attack followed a months-long harassment campaign.

………

Local

LAist looks at the continuing efforts by Metro Bike workers to form a union to protect their interests with the company who manages it for Metro. As the son of a union man, you probably don’t have to guess which side I fall on.

Surprisingly, Los Angeles didn’t make the list of the 20 US cities with the worst urban heat islands. Despite what it feels like here in Hollywood on hot days.

 

State

The 4th of July continues to take a toll on bike riders, after a 15-year old Fremont boy died of injuries he suffered in a collision while riding his bike that night.

Despite a number of street safety projects across the city, San Francisco is failing to make progress on Vision Zero, with roughly the same number of fatalities last year as in 2014, when the program to eliminate traffic deaths was adopted. On the other hand, at least they’re undertaking major Vision Zero projects, unlike a certain megalopolis to the south we could mention, which continues to just nibble around the edges.

A San Francisco website says yes, the city needs cheaper bikeshare. But it also needs to do something about those damn potholes and fractured streets.

Redding hopes the public turns out for a mile-long bike parade to celebrate the opening of a new two-way cycle track.

 

National

New Statesman considers how the “populous and multifarious history of women’s cycling” set women free.

A new study shows police traffic stops don’t prevent crashes, while unfairly targeting people of color.

Writing for Road Bike Action, a doctor explains how to treat and survive road rash. Don’t get me started. I once wiped out during a high-speed turn and ended up with road rash from my ankle to my chin. Good times.

Tucson, Arizona man faces a second-degree murder charge for the alleged drunken hit-and-run that killed a 56-year old man riding his bike.

After Tulsa, Oklahoma responded to complaints by ripping out a bike lane that had been installed without consulting the mostly Black residents of North Tulsa, a lone Black man walked the route carrying his bicycle in a powerful solo protest, saying that as a bike rider, he feels like a minority within a minority.

A Houston man got life without parole for fatally shooting a homeless man, after previously shooting the same man in the leg a few months earlier; he also faces charges for the fatal shooting of a woman riding a bicycle five years earlier.

A new book from Massachusetts-based author Peter Zheutlin spins a fictionalized tale about his real life great-great aunt Annie Cohen Kopchovsky, aka Annie Londonderry, famed for being the first woman to ride a bicycle around the world over a 125 years ago.

This is who we share the road with. Five children were injured when an allegedly stoned driver lost control of her car and slammed into a Rochester, New York home, coming to a stop in the living room where they were gathered.

Bizarre story from Philadelphia, where a driver was physically attacked by a bystander while trying to get away after running over a 12-year old boy with his pickup, with the boy’s bike still trapped underneath.

 

International

Fast Company says simply designing cities better — whether through superblocks, a Paris-inspired 15-minute city or going carfree — could cut deaths by all causes up to 20%.

The European Union commits to phasing out new gas and diesel-powered cars by 2035.

The booming gravel bike market is keeping titanium-frame bikemakers busy.

Outside continues to consolidate its growing monopoly on bike news with the purchase of Canada-based Pinkbike and CyclingTips, as well as the TrailForks mountain bike mapping app; the company already owns VeloNews, Peloton, Beta and Triathlete.

A British website explains how to keep your bike from being stolen, and what to do if it is anyway.

A Dutch village near Utrecht unveiled the world’s longest solar power-generating bike path, stretching more than the length of three and a half football fields, as part of a drive to be carbon neutral by 2040.

Speaking of Utrecht, the city’s latest new district will go even further in prioritizing bicyclists and pedestrians by banning cars entirely. Don’t mind me, I’ll just be packing my bags and dusting off my passport.

A Singapore woman begs bike riders to announce their presence to runners and pedestrians before passing by ringing a bell or saying “on your right” (or left, here), or even just “excuse me.”

 

Competitive Cycling

Defending champ Tadej Pogačar tightened his grip on the yellow jersey, as rivals tried and failed to wrest it from him on Wednesday’s penultimate mountain stage.

The New York Times and National Public Radio both pick up the story of Austrian cyclist Lachlan Morton’s remarkable solo ride along the entire Tour de France route, and every mile in between, raising over half a million for World Bicycle Relief while beating the Tour peloton the Paris by six days.

The popular Belgian Waffle Ride rolls into San Marcos this weekend with three days of festivals and bike racing, while the eponymous 132-mile multi-surface race takes place on Sunday.

A British woman was seriously injured when a commercial van driver apparently missed or ignored warning signs, and crashed into her while she was participating in an officially sanctioned time trial.

 

Finally…

How you, too, can become the country’s newest bicycle mayor. And always wear your helmet — it could save you from a tiger attack.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

 

Noted safety advocate’s tragic story of friend’s death as they were riding together is compelling — but it may not be true

Due to the time and effort this story has taken, there will be no Morning Links today. We’ll catch up on anything we missed tomorrow. 

Photo by Danny Gamboa.

………

It’s not unusual for advocates to disagree about bike and traffic safety.

It’s doesn’t necessarily mean one person is right and the other wrong. And it doesn’t mean we can’t respect one another, or work together on issues where we find common ground.

That’s the position I find myself now, after learning respected safety advocate Pat Hines, founder of the nationally recognized nonprofit youth program Safe Moves, opposes the California Safety Stop, aka Stop as Yield, bill that recently passed the state assembly.

Hines cites a personal tragedy in opposing the bill, when a friend was killed as they were riding together while training.

This is from a recent story from the Sacramento Bee.

For Pat Hines, founder of traffic safety group Safe Moves, this bill is personal.

While training for the 1984 Olympics, Hines and a fellow cyclist, Sue Latham, rode their bikes through an intersection, believing they had enough time to cross. Hines made it across, but Latham was struck and killed by an oncoming vehicle.

Hines tells virtually the same story in this 2013 piece from the Mountain View Voice.

Safe Moves founder, Pat Hines, started the organization in 1983, after her friend, Sue Latham, was killed while the two were riding their bikes together.

Neither of the two were wearing helmets, Hines recalls, “because I don’t like helmets and I had asked her not to wear one either.”

Hines blew through a stop sign and Latham followed her. And while Hines made it in time, Latham didn’t — she was struck by a passing car, which never stopped.

There’s just one problem.

It may not be true.

……….

I confess, I wasn’t aware of Hines’ opposition to AB 122, or the tragedy that spurred her life of advocacy, until a few days ago.

That’s when I received an email from Serge Issakov, a longtime advocate for San Diego bicyclists.

I don’t always agree with him, either. But I always respect him, and his opinion, and make a point of listening to whatever he has to say.

It was Issakov who pointed me to the article in the Bee, and called out the discrepancy in her story.

As the stop-as-yield bill is working its way through Sacramento there have been several articles about it, and several quote cycling safety advocate and former RAAM racer Pat Hines, who opposes the bill, saying that she was once riding with a friend, Sue Latham, who rolled a stop and was hit, fatally. I of course felt empathy for the horror Hines must have experienced as I first read the story in the Sacramento Bee.

He reached out to me after coming across this 2018 article from the LA Daily Mirror historic website, which tells a radically different story about how Latham was killed.

One which did not involve them riding together — or Latham running a stop sign.

In fact, she wasn’t even on her bike at the time.

California Highway Patrol investigators said that [Sue Latham] was apparently kneeling on the side of the highway, trying to unjam the gears on her bike, when a motorist hit her, throwing her 15 to 20 feet in the air, causing massive head injuries and leaving a pool of blood on Pacific Coast Highway. Whoever hit her dragged her to the construction site and partially undressed her to make it appear that she had been raped, and then made a second trip to get her bike, the CHP said. Because she was nearly 6 feet tall, investigators said it might have taken two people to drag her to where she was found.

As Issakov pointed out, two extremely different accounts.

One is a simple, and all too common story, about a hit-and-run that occurred after someone blew a stop, with tragic consequences.

The other, a bizarre tale that strains all credibility.

Except it’s the second version that seems to be true.

………

The story starts to change as you move back in time.

Starting with this 2008 story in the Sahuarita Sun, which cites Hines as saying Latham had run a red light, rather than a stop sign.

Hines told students she started the organization in memory of her best friend, Sue Latham, who died in 1983 when she was hit by a car while riding her bicycle along the Pacific Coast Highway in California. Hines, also on a bicycle, had run a red light, and her friend followed. Latham was thrown 65 feet and died in the hospital three days later.

Hines said she was young at the time of the accident, and reckless about traffic safety.

“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my friend,” Hines said.

Note that the story is also off by two years on the 1981 date of Latham’s death.

However, those discrepancies can easily be written off as a simple trick of memory.

More troubling is a 1993 story from the Los Angeles Times, which suggests Hines wasn’t with Latham at all when she was struck.

And again, the story incorrectly sets Latham’s death in 1983, rather than 1981.

She began (Safe Moves) after her best friend was killed on a bicycle Nov. 13, 1983, by a hit-and-run motorist. Sue Latham had been on her way to meet Hines for a morning ride on Malibu’s Pacific Coast Highway.

“The guilt I felt for Sue’s death was overwhelming,” Hines said. “I’d been responsible for her being interested in bicycle riding… I’d told her, ‘Don’t worry, the cars have to look out for us.’ ”

………

But when we go back to more contemporaneous accounts, like this 1982 Associated Press story published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel just over two months after Latham’s death, and archived on the California Digital Newspaper Collection maintained by UC Riverside, the story changes completely.

And the bizarre fake rape story starts to become much more credible.

It was near dawn on a cloudy Sunday morning last fall when Miss Latham set out alone from Santa Monica on a bicycle ride up the scenic highway.

She had moved to Los Angeles just two months earlier from Austin, Texas. Miss Latham, who held a master’s degree in quantum mechanics, seemed to be settling nicely into the Southern California lifestyle. She had joined a swim club and loved to bicycle.

As she pedaled her 10-speed into Malibu on Nov. 15, she apparently developed a problem with the bike and got off to make repairs along the shoulder of the road. As Miss Latham was working, an automobile swerved and struck her, throwing her 15 to 20 feet.

Investigators say the driver, and perhaps another person, got out of the car and dragged her to a site about 100 feet away. They removed her shorts and underpants, shoved her beneath a partially constructed home and drove off. Police say it was an attempt to make Miss Latham look as if she was raped and beaten.

Two days later, in a hospital, Miss Latham died of head injuries and the Malibu office of the California Highway Patrol had a homicide to solve…

The story goes on to describe a billboard campaign and reward intended to find Latham’s killer.

And it mentions Hines, with no suggestion she was with Sue Latham when she was killed.

Pat Hines, a member of the (Santa Monica Swim Club) and a friend of Miss Latham’s, is hoping to boost the reward to $100,000.

Ms Hines said friends told her that as soon as the emotional impact wore off, people would lose interest. It isn’t true, she said. “I get letters from people all the time”, including from those whose sons and daughters have been killed by hit-and-run drivers, she said. “People are desperate to help.”

“I don’t want to let it get by”, she said. “I don’t want her to become just another statistic.”

………

An even more contemporaneous article from the Austin American Statesman, written just a month after Latham’s death, tells her personal story in much more detail.

And confirms the tragic crime as told by the CHP, rather than Hines’ version of events.

The paper describes Latham as having a genius IQ, and publishing an article on the quantum mechanical study of a particular laser reaction in the journal of a prestigious British academic society, while studying for her masters at the University of Texas.

She was also a talented artist, with her work displayed in a New York gallery when she was just 17.

And she was active in the budding environmental movement of the 1970s, as well as campaigning for the Equal Rights Amendment.

Somewhere along the way, though, her interests shifted to the family business of writing, following in the footsteps of her novelist father and screenwriter sister and brother-in-law.

Which led her to move to Los Angeles to break into the business as a screenwriter and actress. And led to her friendship with Hines, then an advertising director for KRTH-AM.

“I met Sue in a restaurant,” Hines recalled. “I train daily on a bike, and Sue asked me if I knew any places to ride that were safe. I told her LA is really a bad place to ride…cars are everywhere and motorists don’t pay any attention to people on bikes. I said it was important to ride with somebody, and she kind of smiled and said, “I don’t worry about things like that…

The bike route Hines and other friends suggested was the Pacific Coast Highway, but they said the ride should only be undertaken early in the morning when traffic was light, preferably on holidays or weekends.

On the final day of her life, Latham borrowed her sister’s car, and parked behind Gladstones at Sunset and PCH, where she planned to meet the other members of the swim team later that Sunday morning.

Shortly after 7 am, Latham got off her bike on southbound PCH and knelt alongside the road; the CHP suspected she was fixing a mechanical problem.

That’s when the driver, who still hasn’t been caught 40 years later, veered off the side of the road, slamming into her.

Unconscious, and likely clinically dead, she was alone and defenseless against her killer or killers.

What happened next turned the case from a routine traffic accident into a bizarre incident that captured the attention of a city not known for its compassion.

Someone dragged Latham off the roadway, leaving her under a beach house under construction about 30 feet from the highway. Doctors later found sand in her brain.

After the injured woman was hidden from view, someone removed Latham’s shorts and underwear. her bike was concealed behind a nearby construction crane, and her backpack, containing her current journal, was stolen.

Note that there is no mention of Hines, or anyone else, being with her, other than the heartless cowards who took her life and went to extraordinary lengths to coverup the crime.

In fact, the story makes it very clear that, not only was Hines not with her, but wasn’t even aware of her death until the next day.

Outrage. The word comes up frequently in conversations with Californians who knew Latham or who have heard about the case.

One person who uses the word is Hines.

“We must have ridden right past her and not known it,” she said.

Hines said she got back to the restaurant where Sue had left her car about 2 pm that Sunday, but did not notice the Mercedes was still there.

The next morning, unaware of the accident, Hines saw Latham’s car in the restaurant parking lot about 6 am.

“It was still pitch dark,” she said. “I thought Sue might have gone swimming by herself. I ran up and down the beach but I didn’t see her.”

Then, assuming Latham must have been somewhere else, Hines went for a swim herself.

In fact, Pat Hines didn’t even learn about Latham’s impeding death until around 10 am Monday, when someone called the radio station to make sure Hines was okay.

The caller told Hines that an unidentified young woman had been critically injured in a hit-and-run on the Pacific Coast Highway. She had been admitted to Santa Monica Hospital as “Jane Doe.”

I knew it had to be Sue,” Hines said. I called the restaurant and found her car was still there. I called one of her friends and she said she had not seen Sue in two days.

Convinced the woman was Sue Latham, Hines contacted Latham’s brother-in-law.

She and the brother-in-law went to the hospital that Monday, and identified Latham.

Sue Latham died at 10:30 the following night.

………

None of this is to suggest that Pat Hines is intentionally lying.

Maybe, as Serge Issakov suggests, she just needed a compelling story for her advocacy work, and it evolved over time.

But time can play tricks on memory, especially when clouded by grief and survivor’s guilt.

Pat Hines lifetime of work on behalf of bike-riding children has surely earned our respect, and more than a modicum of consideration; there’s no telling just how many young lives she could be responsible for saving.

We also haven’t heard her side of this story. Issakov reached out to her for a reaction, but hasn’t received a response at the time this was written.

And I’m more than willing to post her response if she sees this.

Let’s also not forget that real story is, or should be, that there’s someone out there, living or dead, who’s gotten away with killing an innocent young woman for a full four decades.

But the next time Pat Hines tells the story of how Sue Latham died, whether to oppose AB 122 or any other reason, take it with a grain of salt.

Or maybe a five pound bag.

………

Eid Mubarak to all those observing today’s holiday!

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

And get vaccinated, already.

Two bike riders killed in Malibu collisions on PCH; just two of five fatal crashes on LA’s killer highway in recent weeks

My biggest fear when I agreed to surgery on my arm and hand was that someone would lose their life riding a bike, and I wouldn’t be able to write about the victim.

Which is exactly what happened in Malibu.

And not once, but twice.

The first came when three men were crossing Pacific Coast Highway just west of Busch Drive around 10:35 pm on Easter Sunday, one of whom was apparently walking a bicycle.

According to the Malibu Times, the man with the bike was struck and killed by a driver headed west on PCH.

A few moments later, one of his companions was struck and killed by a second driver as he scrambled to collect the victim’s belongings from the roadway.

Both men apparently died at the scene, just minutes apart. According to the paper, there have now been three people killed at the same spot in recent years.

Six days later, another man was killed while riding his bike at PCH and Corral Canyon.

The crash occurred sometime after dark on Saturday, April 10th.

The victim was riding without lights or reflectors when he was run down by a driver headed east on PCH at 51 mph, as recorded on the vehicle’s black box. He was knocked onto the other side of the highway, where he may have been struck by another driver.

There’s no word on whether the victim was riding on PCH or trying to cross the street. There’s also no word on whether the second driver remained at the scene.

Unfortunately, no identification was given for any of the victims, other than the first two men were homeless, while the third may have been.

But they all deserved better.

These are at least the 18th and 19th bicycling fatalities in Southern California this year, and the fourth and fifth that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

They are also just two of at least five people killed on PCH in Malibu since early March, along with another pedestrian and the driver of an SUV who went off the road.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for all the victims and their loved ones.

Thanks to Valley Duke for the heads-up.

 

 

 

 

Breaking news: Man killed in apparent solo bike crash on PCH in Seal Beach

Southern California’s killer highway has claimed yet another victim.

The Seal Beach Police Department is reporting that a man was found lying in the bike lane on Pacific Coast Highway near Seal Beach Boulevard around 9:17 Wednesday morning.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was taken to a local hospital where he died from his injuries.

According to the police, he was apparently riding in the bike lane when he hit some unidentified object, and was thrown from his bike.

The article stresses that no other vehicle was involved.

However, without identifying the object he allegedly struck, it’s also possible that the victim could have been sideswiped by a passing driver, or fallen in an attempt to avoid one.

There’s also no word on whether the victim was wearing a helmet, which might have helped in this situation, depending on the speed he was riding. Or it might have been of no use, since they don’t specify what injuries he suffered.

Hopefully we’ll learn more later.

Anyone with information is urged contact Traffic Investigator Keith Phan at 562/799-4100 ext. 1625, or email kphan@sealbeachca.gov.

This is at least the 45th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eleventh that I’m aware of in Orange County, which is having a very bad year.

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

Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

%d bloggers like this: