Tag Archive for Rancho Palos Verdes

Hahn moves to study safety after Woods crash, sheriff calls it oopsie, and parking matters more than bike rider’s death

It only took the near death of a celebrity.

LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn is finally pushing for much needed safety improvements on Hawthorne Blvd, where golf legend Tiger Woods was seriously injured in a high speed end-over-end collision.

Hahn directed the county Department of Public Works to review safety on the stretch of roadway where the crash occurred, which residents described as a scene of frequent crashes.

However, no one ordered a similar review when a 32-year old homeless man, identified as Jonathan Valbuena, was killed in a hit-and-run a few miles north on the same deadly corridor.

And no one ordered immediate action despite the corridor’s inclusion on the equivalent of the High Injury Network under the county’s Vision Zero plan, which doesn’t seem to have made any more progress than LA City’s seemingly forgotten plan.

Then again, none of the six people who were killed or seriously injured over a five-year period in that deadly section of the street were famous.

Which, sadly, seems to make all the difference.

That’s not to say the dangerous downhill street where Woods crashed doesn’t need to be fixed.

But maybe we could do something where the rich and famous don’t live and drive, too.

Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

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On a related note, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has given Tiger Woods a pass on the crash, saying his wreck was just an oopsie.

Apparently, Woods was traveling without a driver to film a low-budget documentary show for Discovery when he crashed.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

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No bias here.

San Diego business owners complain about the loss of 22 parking spaces to create a temporary separated bike lane where a bike rider was killed last year.

Even though they’ll get them back when it’s converted to a protected bike lane later this year.

Yet there’s not a single mention of 65-year-old Dan Sweeney, who died nearly two months after a hit-and-run directly in front of their restaurants. Or that the driver left him in the street to die after getting out of his van and moving Sweeney’s bike out of the way.

Almost as if they don’t even care.

Nor, apparently, did anyone seem to care that the driver, 29-year old Mauricio Armando Flores, now faces up to four years behind bars after pleading guilty to leaving Sweeney bleeding in the street after running him down from behind.

He’ll face sentencing next month.

Thanks to Phillip Young for the last link.

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Local

Opponents of the planned restoration of the Ballona Wetlands have filed a lawsuit to stop the project, saying it’s not needed and could be harmful.

Billie Eilish is one of us, riding her bicycle while listening to the Strokes’ latest album.

 

State

Encinitas is starting construction on a long-awaited streetscape project to add a roundabout, buffered bike lanes and wider sidewalks to the Coast Highway in Leucadia.

A Chula Vista man was killed when a driver crashed into his motorized wheelchair as he was using a crosswalk.

Livermore officials back down and let a bike repairman keep working from home, at least for now, after over 9,000 people signed a petition supporting him.

A bike helmet offers protection against an overly aggressive Bay Area coyote.

Famed Beat poet, censorship-fighting publisher and City Lights Bookstore owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti was one of us, too.

 

National

A new US administration means the reintroduction of the 2019 Complete Streets bill, which would encourage safer, people oriented street designs throughout the country.

A new study of Chicago’s bikeshare system shows low-income workers and people of color relied on bikeshare more than their wealthier counterparts during the pandemic.

Minnesota-based Park Tools continues to rule the bike work bench.

Some people just don’t learn. A Boston vlogger took an “epic” ride on the frozen Charles River, just one week after he fell through the ice.

America’s first congestion pricing plan could get the go ahead now that the former Mayor Pete is heading the Department of Transportation, clearing the way for New York’s proposed program. Which could bode well for Los Angeles — if local leaders have the courage to move forward with Metro’s congestion pricing proposal.

He still can’t start a fire without a spark, but evidently Bruce was just drinking in the park.

A Newport News, Virginia man is using his pandemic downtime to ride every street in the city of !80,000 people. Which is a lot easier than it would be here in Los Angeles.

North Carolina politics could put the brakes on the bike boom in the state.

 

International

How to minimize the environmental impact of buying bike tires.

Road.cc examines where to find plus size bikewear, including LA-based Machines for Freedom.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a drunken hit-and-run driver got just two years and a month behind bars, despite leaving three bicyclists lying in the road with serious injuries.

That’s more like it. Italy has given food delivery companies 90 days to improve the way they treat bicycle delivery riders, saying the mostly immigrant workers are practically treated like slaves.

Maybe they see the bike writing on the wall. Volkswagen is now in the bicycle and ebike leasing and financing business, at least in Germany.

Once again, a bike rider is a hero, after an Indian man wrestled a leopard to the ground when it attacked his family as they were riding bikes together.

Kiwi bicyclists say another three years is too long to wait to improve safety on a popular riding route where a 65-year old man was killed riding his bike last year.

 

Competitive Cycling

Teams have been announced for the first ever women’s Paris-Roubaix.

The route for this year’s Giro has been officially unveiled, while Cycling News highlights five key stages in the race.

Bicycling highlights twelve cyclists to watch during the upcoming racing season; Sepp Kuss is the only American rider to make the list. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you. 

No bias here, either. Aussie women’s cyclists face discouragement over the lack of recognition and prize money given to their male counterparts.

 

Finally…

How did Kermit ride his fixie, anyway? Turning your single-seat bike into a six-legged tandem, even if some people don’t like it.

And don’t hold any bake sales for Lance just yet.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a damn mask, already. 

Update: Bike rider killed by moving truck in Rancho Palos Verdes

Ghost bike for Jonathan Tansavatdi; photo by Jim Lyle

Ghost bike for Jonathan Tansavatdi; photo by Jim Lyle

Word is just coming in that someone has been killed while riding a bicycle in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Very few details are available at this time.

However, KNBC-4 reports the victim was struck by a moving truck on Vallon Drive near Hawthorne Boulevard around 2:50 pm this afternoon; presumably they mean a truck for a moving company, rather than one in motion.

According to the station, sheriff’s deputies believe the truck, which KCBS-2 identifies as a big rig, was making a right turn off an undisclosed side street when it struck the rider.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. No other information is available at this time.

A satellite view shows Vallon as a narrow, winding residential road; Via la Cresta is the only cross street that enters it, just above Hawthorne, though Vallon connects with Marne Drive just below Hawthorne.

This is the 24th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 6th in Los Angeles County.

Update: The Daily Breeze confirms the collision occurred at Vallon and Via la Cresta.

Update 2: KNBC-4 changes the location once again, writing that the collision took place at Hawthorne and Vallon.

According to a sheriff’s spokesperson, the victim was riding down the hill on Hawthorne at a high rate of speed, estimated at 45 mph. The driver of a Mayflower truck turned right onto Hawthorne in front of the cyclist, who was unable to stop at that speed.

The driver continued on, reportedly having no idea the rider had collided with his truck. 

However, if the rider was really going that fast, he would have hit with a significant amount of force, making it seem odd that the driver failed to notice. 

Regardless, sheriff’s deputies concluded that the driver didn’t break the law, and everything he did was “legal at the time.”

Update 3: In their report from the scene, which I was unable to view last night, KNBC-4 reports the truck was stopped at the red light headed west on Hawthorne, and made a wide turn onto Vallon when the light turned green.

The victim, who still hasn’t been publicly identified, apparently rounded a blind curve on westbound Hawthorne while descending at a high rate of speed; unable to stop, he slammed into the side or rear of the truck. 

The driver continued on, dragging the bicycle roughly 200 feet up Vallon before finally coming to a stop. 

There’s no way to know if the victim would have had a chance if the driver had stopped after the initial collision.

Update 4: The victim has been identified as 29-year old Redondo Beach resident Pissanuk Jonathan Tansavatdi. Thanks to Martin Blount for the heads-up. 

Meanwhile, Blount forwards a video showing the descent on Hawthorne Blvd. The intersection at Vallon comes into view at the 1:30 mark, with the riders passing through at 49 mph, giving credence to the police theory that Tansavatdi may have hit the truck at 45 mph.

Update 5: I’ve heard from a relative of Tansavatdi, who described him as sunny, cheerful, handsome, talented engineer, and a friend to many.

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

Thanks to Richard Masoner for the heads-up. 

Road raging driver mows down cyclist in Palos Verdes

The bike is dead. Fortunately, its rider isn’t.

The Daily Breeze is reporting that a road raging driver deliberately ran down a bicyclist before slamming into a series of cars.

According to the paper, Palos Verdes Estates resident Doug Castile was riding on Via Pacheco around 6:30 pm when he was Jerry Browned by a driver who sideswiped him, then backed up and hit him again when he complained.

Castile said he yelled, “Hey, you just hit me!” The driver of the black car then put it in reverse, backed up behind the bicyclist, pulled forward and pushed the bicyclist into the plants.

“The guy put it in reverse again, backed up, and ran over my bike,” Castile said. “At that point, my feet are clipped in the pedals on my bike. I unclipped my feet and jumped off the bike into the plants and he’s running over my bicycle back and forth.”

The driver, who wasn’t identified in the story, reacted bizarrely when Castile reached reached into his pocket for his cell phone.

“He says, ‘What are you reaching for, a gun?’ It just was so odd to hear that statement. I took my hand out of my pocket. I thought this guy is capable of anything,” Castile said.

At that point, the driver sped off, slamming into an unknown number of parked and moving vehicle before his car finally became disabled on Ganado Drive and Sheriff’s deputies made an arrest.

Castile was able to escape with scrapes, while his $3,000 to $4,000 bike was destroyed.

The paper says police were unsure whether the driver was suffering from a mental condition or committed a deliberate assault.

Unfortunately, anyone can buy a car and get a license, regardless of mental or emotional stability. And in the wrong hands, it can become a weapon.

As we have seen too many times before.

Thanks to Jim Lyle for the heads-up.

Update: The Daily Breeze identifies the driver as 65-year old William Thomas Kelly of Torrance. He’s being held on $30,000 bond on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon; hopefully, more charges — and a much higher bail — will follow soon. 

It’s also worth noting that deputies found Kelly unconscious in his car after it rammed the gates to an FAA facility, which could lead to federal charges. According to the paper, officer’s smelled alcohol on his breath when he was taken into custody — which could make this the fourth time he’s charged with DUI since 1991.

And yet he was still allowed behind the wheel to threaten the lives and safety of others.

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