Unfortunately, we have to start the week with bad news.
Longtime Los Angeles bike advocate Dennis Hindman has been reported missing by his family, according to a message I received from his niece.
It’s unclear how long it’s been since anyone has seen or heard from the Toluca Lake resident; CiclaValley reports he has been missing for over two months, though a convenience store clerk said she’d seen him just two to three days ago.
Hindman is one of the city’s best bike safety and policy wonks, capable of digging into the smallest details of a project to highlight a specific issue, or uncover hidden problems or unexpected benefits.
He has been a supporter of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition for nearly a decade, if not longer. During my time on the board he was an active participant in virtually every committee I was involved in, and never failed to volunteer for the bike count or attend any LACBC event.
He’s also a semi-regular contributor to this site, as well as others. And a frequent commenter on LA Streetsblog dating back nearly to its founding, offering detailed statistics to back up his opinions.
And he’s someone I consider a friend.
Let’s hope this is just a big misunderstanding, and he turns up safe and sound, with a good explanation for why he’s been gone.
If you have any information on his disappearance or where he might be, please contact me and I’ll forward it to the right people.
Update: I’ve received more information from Hindman’s niece.
His family is concerned that he may have had a diabetic episode; apparently he was hospitalized at the end of August for extremely high blood sugar.
His rent was last paid in mid-September, and has not been paid for this month; a police officer visited his apartment and discovered the milk in his refrigerator had expired in August and his bicycle was missing.
Where he was been for the last two months remains a mystery.
Update 2: Dennis Hindman has been found safe in a local hospital. More details when they’re available.
More bad news, as a member of the Big Orange Cycling club was killed in a collision while riding outside Phoenix AZ yesterday.
The victim has been identified on Facebook as 36-year old Rob Dollar.
No details on how the crash occurred are currently available; however, Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson suggests that a teenage driver may have drifted into his lane.
I’m told Dollar had recently moved to Gilbert, Arizona, where he was in the process of forming an Arizona chapter of the SoCal riding club.
He’s described as fantastic guy with a big heart, and “a total badass on a bike.”
This comes exactly one week after Big Orange member Dan Martin was severely injured in a crash while riding home last Sunday, leaving him in the ICU with a broken neck. A crowdfunding campaign to help defray his medical bills has raised over $18,000 in four days.
She was reportedly driving stoned when she crossed onto the wrong side of the road to avoid another cyclist, and hit Dollar head-on.
Police recovered what’s described as “a quantity” of marijuana that had been tossed outside her car by Dominguez or her passengers.
Dollar had been descending from the top of South Mountain when he was struck by the car around 9:40 am; he died at the scene.
Thanks to Jon for the heads-up.
Sad news of a different sort, as Bike SD founder and Executive Director Sam Ollinger is leaving the organization, which has helped turn San Diego into what is rapidly becoming one of the most bicycle friendly cities in Southern California.
I first encountered Sam when she emailed me asking what one person could be do to help make what was then a very challenging and bike-unfriendly city a little safer for people on two wheels.
I have no idea what I told her.
But I’ve watched as she’s become one of California’s leading bike advocates, helping pave the way for women to rise to the highest ranks of advocacy.
There’s no doubt that she will do well at whatever she chooses to do next.
But San Diego bicyclists owe her a huge debt. And the city will be much poorer without Sam’s voice.
As we’ve noted before, the war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes is all too real.
A Kentucky woman was injured by fishing line strung at neck level in an Elizabethtown park; police found several other booby traps hidden nearby.
A road raging Toronto driver brushes a bicyclist with his mirror, then tries to run him off the road.
A tailgating British driver get 17 months, along with a 21-month ban on driving, for attacking a bike rider who asked if he’d just robbed a bank.
And an Aussie rider was hit in the face with a cup of ice thrown from a passing car, breaking his glasses and cracking his helmet.
On the other hand, bike riders aren’t always the good guys. Or the victims.
Tragic irony, as a 91-year old New Hampshire woman who had travelled the world by bicycle with her husband was killed in a collision with a bike rider as she walking along a roadway.
A 73-year old British man selling memorial poppies was seriously injured when he was stuck by a bike rider.
And a Singaporean bicyclist is facing charges for killing a 73-year old pedestrian in a crash.
However, let’s not forget that, regardless of how the media portrays it, the person on the bike is not always at fault.
You should always use extreme care around pedestrians, grant them the right-of-way, and slow down to pass them with the same sort of margin you’d expect from a driver.
But people can be unpredictable under the best circumstances. I’m sure most of us have had someone step into the roadway to cross without looking, or make an unexpected turn into your path.
Just as drivers have an obligation to avoid us, we have an obligation to avoid crashing into people on foot if it’s at all possible.
But if it isn’t, it’s not always the person on two wheels who should get the blame.
After all that, we could all use a little good news.
A Colorado bicyclist is back on his bike after keeling over from a heart attack in the middle of a ride; he can credit a pair of Good Samaritans with saving his life until paramedics could arrive.
When a British man had to stop mountain biking after ten years due to illness, his friends pitched in to buy him an ebike. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.
After a road raging Brit driver posted video of a small group of cyclists riding in the lane ahead of him instead of a bike lane, the police respond by saying they had every right to be there.
Don’t plan on riding the curb-protected bike lanes on South Figueroa anytime soon. Urbanize.LA reports the MyFigueroa project now won’t be finished until next spring.
The LAPD blames the victim — and the press parrots it — after a pedestrian was killed in a Venice crosswalk when a driver stopped for him in the right lane, and a speeding driver whipped around him on his left. Yet somehow, the police say the victim stepped out into traffic, even though he was in a crosswalk with the right-of-way. Take this as a warning to never cross a street, on your bike or on foot, until every driver stops.
This is the callousness some drivers — and some prosecutors — have. After a pickup driver slammed into two women walking in a crosswalk near the 101 Freeway in Calabasas, killing one and injuring her daughter, the driver got out and dragged the dead woman to the side of the road, then backed up, parked her truck and pretended to be a witness to the crash. And the LA County DA’s office refused to file the serious charges recommended by the CHP, opting for just a single misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter count with a max of one year in jail.
A UCLA podcast talks bikeshare on campus.
Shockingly, the Bike League ranks California third among bike-friendly states; Nebraska comes in dead last. The question is whether California was really that good, or everyone else just sucked that bad.
Around ten thousand people turned out for Sunday’s CicloSDias in San Diego. Or maybe it was only hundreds.
If you build it, they will try to destroy it. A transit-oriented San Diego community is fighting plans to put a freeway onramp in the middle of their neighborhood, after a local non-profit whose mission is to get people out of their cars inexplicably endorses it.
San Francisco bike advocates get a crash course on the ins and outs of building bike parking.
Two new studies suggest self-driving cars could lead to even greater congestion, while forcing bike riders off the road. Although at this point, you can probably find a study suggesting autonomous vehicles will lead to everything from a bicycling Nirvana to an automotive apocalypse.
A Las Vegas cyclist talks about the dangers riders face on the roads.
A bridge over Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River gets a road diet to make room for a bike lane crossing it.
A New York writer says banning ebikes won’t solve the problem of scofflaw cyclists. Never mind that the people he’s complaining about are just trying to earn a living at the bottom of the food chain.
No disconnect here. A New York writer says nine bicyclists has been killed in the city so far this year, then goes on to say “bicyclists are the most dangerous group on NYC roads.” If getting killed makes you dangerous, then baby harp seals must be the most vicious animals on earth.
An Op-Ed in the Washington Post says there’s still some kinks to work out, but dockless bikeshare could be a success.
No disconnect here. A Virginia letter writer says cyclists should use common sense and stay off a road where drivers can’t seem to stay of the gas pedal.
Oh, nothing. Just a South Carolina man riding his bike with a deer slung over his shoulder.
A Vancouver man calls bike lanes the bane of his existence, suggesting any new bike lanes should have to be approved by referendum.
An Ottawa woman heads a group that rescues injured birds, setting out by bike early every morning to look for birds that have crashed into windows.
Montreal bike riders call for better safety, saying “If you do nothing, we will continue to die.”
An anonymous writer pens a heartbreaking letter to the speeding driver who killed his or her teenage sister as she rode her bike; decades later, the family is still waiting for an apology.
If you build it, they will come. A protected bike lane in Manchester, England is recording over 5,000 trips a day, comparable to London’s cycle superhighways.
A British bicyclist learns that a travel insurance policy offering “comprehensive cover while cycling” doesn’t exactly mean comprehensive. Or cover what you go cycling on.
Steve Katz forwards video of police in the UK going undercover to catch drivers making illegal close passes.
Pope Francis has been invited to launch the Giro d’Italia when it kicks off in Jerusalem next year.
Drivers in West Australia will now face a $400 fine and four points against their license for passing a bike rider closer than the equivalent of roughly three feet at up to 37 mph, or four and a half feet over that speed. In California, it’s just a $35 fine for passing closer than three feet at any speed. And even that is optional if the driver slows down to pass closer at a closer distance.
File this one under you’ve got to be kidding. An Australian writer says bikeshare is a terrorist’s best friend, because a bomb could be hidden in one. After all, it’s just so hard to find a cheap bicycle, or steal one, for that matter. Or some other object that could conceal an explosive device, like a car, backpack or baby carriage.
With one finger.
Thanks to Al Williams for the heads-up.