Tag Archive for Santa Ana River Trail

Morning Links: Another ill-conceived bike license letter, rough road to Arroyo Seco, and Santa Ana River bike open house

Here we go again.

A Cleveland driver and motorcyclist trots out the same old ill-conceived demand that bike riders should pay a fee for the use of the roads.

And says we should all have a license plate on our bicycles so we can be held accountable for our misdeeds.

Unlike now, evidently, when people on bicycles get tickets just like anyone else.

But maybe he thinks he’ll be able to read a small, bike-sized license plate at a distance, and call the cops to have them track down and arrest the rider for running a stop sign.

Even though most states prohibit police from making an arrest for a simple traffic infraction. And cops aren’t even allowed to write a ticket unless they actually see the violation themselves.

But maybe his real concern is that people who ride bikes need to pay our fair share for the use of the roads.

In which case every bike rider should get a rebate, since almost every adult bike rider already pays the same gas taxes and registration fees drivers do, because most of us are one.

And we all pay the same state and local taxes, which pay for the overwhelming majority of non-freeway roadwork. Whether or not you use more than a slim fraction of it, striped or otherwise.

However, if his concern is that we should pay for damage to the road surface caused by our lightweight vehicles, he should add some zeros to that check. Because bikes cause an infinitesimal fraction of the damage caused by a typical car, let alone a massive SUV.

This chart originated on the now-defunct Pedal Fort Collins website, now found on streets.mn. Thanks to Jim Lyle for the heads-up.

Granted, many people who ride bicycles could and should show better adherence to traffic laws.

Just like most motorists. And pedestrians, for that matter.

Never mind that mandating bike licenses creates yet another barrier to riding a bicycle, pushing people back into their cars and making traffic that much worse for everyone.

But sure.

Let’s require virtually unreadable and practically useless license plates on every bike. And cut everyone who rides one a fat check for their share of the roads.

Because it will make people like him feel better.

Oh, and he also wants you to have a mandatory stroke light on the back of your bike.

Because drivers just love being blinded by bright lights. And they don’t complain enough about the flashers we use now.

That’s the license on my old Trek, measuring a whopping 3″ by 2.5″. Just try reading that on a moving bike from several feet away.

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Maybe things aren’t looking so good on the Arroyo Seco Bike Path after all.

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Riverside and San Bernardino counties are hosting a bike day and open house on the Santa Ana River Trail this Saturday.

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Vice looks at the thriving brotherhood of New York bike riders — particularly from Harlem and the Bronx — who prefer riding on one wheel.

Or maybe standing on the frame with no hands.

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Meanwhile, this New York ride out is exactly what has Long Island officials in a panic.

Maybe it’s less about what they’re doing on their bikes than who’s doing it.

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

A Boulder CO bike rider tells drivers I know you hate me, but please don’t kill me.

Someone tried to sabotage an Arkansas century ride by spreading tacks across the road the night before, leading to complaints of at least a dozen blown bike tires that could have resulted in serious injuries. Or worse.

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

New Jersey police are looking for a trio of bike riding porch pirates.

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Local

Los Angeles marked California’s Clean Air Day with free LADOT bus rides and Metro bikeshare rides.

No surprise here, as bike theft is up at USC, with 37 bicycles reported stolen last month.

UCLA reaches its lowest drive-alone rate yet, as just under half of students and staff members commuted to campus alone in their cars.

Keep Pasadena Moving, the Rose City offspring of traffic safety denying pressure group Keep LA Moving, will conduct an online survey to determine what people in Pasadena think of upcoming traffic safety projects. Anyone really believe their poll will be fair, unbiased and scientific? I didn’t think so.

Caltrans has killed plans for the proposed High Desert Corridor Freeway, which would have build eight to ten traffic lanes through the northern section of LA County, along with a bike path and rail corridor. Maybe they can take the nearly $2 billion in savings and apply it to building bikeways in the rest of the county.

 

State

Business owners on San Diego’s 6th Street are complaining that new protected bike lanes mean there’s no place to unload supplies.

A San Diego man suffered serious head and spine injuries when he lost control of his motorized bicycle in the Barrio Logan neighborhood.

A new report from the Circulate San Diego nonprofit group calls for a Vision Zero program for the North County region.

A 53-year old woman is fighting for her life after suffering major injuries in a Ramona-area hit-and-run; police thought they had the driver’s license plate number, but the plate turned out to be stolen.

Oxnard police are looking for the heartless coward who ran down a 46-year old man on his bike, dragging him 100 feet under his car and leaving him in critical condition with major injuries. Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up. 

Mountain View approved an $81 million Complete Streets makeover of El Camino Real, including protected bike lanes, wider sidewalks and new signalized crosswalks.

San Francisco bike advocates want to know if someone really has to die before the city finally gets around to finishing the protected bike lanes on Valencia Street.

Once again, bike riders are heroes, as a group of Roseville kids turn junior detectives and set out on their bikes to find a missing 97-year old woman.

 

National

Electrek takes a look at the new Tern HSD e-cargo bike, and likes it. But unlike most Terns, this one doesn’t fold.

Who knew there’s a nearly 3,000-acre wetlands park outside of Las Vegas — let alone with a 14-mile bike path?

Yet another example of authorities keeping a dangerous driver on the road until it’s too late. Or nearly too late, in this case, as a Utah driver faces multiple charges for fleeing the scene after hitting a six-year old boy and driving home with his bike still wedged under the car, leaving the kid with facial and skull fractures; the unlicensed driver had long list of traffic violations, including repeated failure to install an interlock device after a 2014 DUI.

A trio of Illinois priests are on a five day, 350-mile bicycle trek across the Peoria diocese to encourage young men to join the priesthood.

A Michigan Planet Fitness gave a new handcycle to a man who was paralyzed in a motorcycle crash so he can compete in a Detroit marathon.

Indiana is planning to build a 90-mile bike path through five counties along the Wabash River. Which means one day, you might be the famous Wabash Cannonball.

A judge has ordered the release of an Indiana man convicted of murdering a college student in 2000 after she went for a bike ride, ruling he had ineffective legal representation.

A Columbia University grad student has developed a sustainability index to rank 35 American cities. Needless to say, the LA area checked in near the bottom, trailing every other California city listed.

That’s more like it. A US senator from Delaware hopped on a bike for a tour of state bikeways to promote the America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA) of 2019. Maybe if every elected official would try that, we might actually get safer streets.

I want to be like them when I grow up. The Baltimore Sun talks with a group of spandex-clad Maryland seniors who are still riding their bikes in their 70s and 80s, including one man who’s still doing half centuries at 89.

 

International

Lime is launching an international influencer campaign, tapping local advocates to promote their e-scooters. And maybe bikes, if they still plan to have them.

Kids in Columbia’s second largest city say they live for gravity biking.

Tragic news from British Columbia, where 22-year old Canadian ski cross racer Mikayla Martin died after crashing her mountain bike while riding on a trail with a friend.

Life is cheap on Canada’s Prince Edward Island, where a driver faces just two years for killing a woman riding her bike as she trained for a triathlon.

The BBC offers a photo essay of bicycling women and non-binary people of every description.

A British driver got lousy 21 months behind bars and a five-year driving ban for fleeing the scene after speeding through a red light and slamming into a bike rider, leaving him with multiple fractures; naturally, he tried to blame the victim for the crash.

A distracted driver in Great Britain was sentenced eight years in prison for killing a bike rider while chatting on his cell phone and driving the wrong way on a one way street.

A 16-year old English boy is on trial for murder, accused of tossing a bikeshare bike into the path of a motorcyclist and causing him to crash.

 

Finally…

Some cycling fashion trends are best forgotten. When bike cops police them, rather than ride them.

And the next time you can’t remember if an LA roadway is a boulevard, avenue or street, just check this handy-dandy color-coded map.

Map by Erin Davis

Update: Homeless man dies in collision with bike on Santa Ana River Trail

The Orange County Register broke the news late last night that someone had been killed in a collision with a bicyclist on the popular Santa Ana River Trail yesterday evening.

The collision occurred on the trail around 6 pm just north of Atlanta Avenue; the victim was taken to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, where he died an hour later. Initial reports were unclear whether the victim was another cyclist or a pedestrian.

This morning, a reliable anonymous source in a position to know wrote to clear up the confusion.

58-year-old pedestrian Johnathan Charles Coontz was struck and killed by a cyclist on the Santa Ana river trail in Huntington Beach yesterday evening. He was a homeless guy, the type who collect recyclables, and he usually had a bike that he used for transportation and collecting cans, so my guess (just guessin’ here) is that at the time of the collision, maybe he was pushing a heavily laden bike, either while scavenging, or while returning to his encampment.

Homeless camp out in the clumps of thick shrubbery along this stretch of path. It’s not a place I ride, but not because of the homeless, who generally keep to themselves.  It’s just dark, you need really bright lights and you need to look out for drunks crossing the path.

Still hoping to find out anything about the cyclist.

There was some initial confusion about jurisdiction, but CHP will be the investigating agency.

It’s rare that a collision with a bike results in death, but as this incident shows, it can happen — and has happened before — usually involving a pedestrian, through fatal collisions with other cyclists have occurred, as well.

The statistic I’ve heard is that roughly six people are killed each year nationwide as a result of collisions with bicycles; however, I don’t know where that stat came from or how valid it may be.

But it’s a reminder to ride carefully in areas where other people may be present. I’ve seen cyclists plow through crosswalks crowded with pedestrians, forcing people to dodge them to avoid being knocked down.

And you don’t want to be the one who has to live with something like this for the rest of your life. Which is not to suggest the cyclist is at fault in this collision; we have no way of knowing yet what happened in this case.

As this recent helmet cam video from Michael Eisenberg clearly shows, it’s not always the cyclist’s fault — in fact, he reports he likely would have hit the man if he hadn’t he slowed down to 8 mph in anticipation of pedestrians in the area.

Update: The Register confirms the identity of the victim, though they list his age as 58 — or possibly 52, judging from the headline — rather than 62, and say he was a resident of Costa Mesa.

According to the paper, Coontz was riding north on an Electra Cruiser when he drifted onto the southbound side of the trail, where he collided with another rider. The other cyclist, a 52-year old man from Midway City, was hospitalized, as well.

And let’s not discount the tragedy because he was apparently homeless at the time of his death. Many people have fallen on hard times in this troubled economy, for any number of reasons. Whatever combination of factors may have brought Coontz onto the streets, there are undoubtedly those who loved him, and will miss him.

Update 2: Koontz’s family and friends remember him as one of the best surfers in Newport Beach in the 1970s.

Please accept my prayers and condolences for Jonathan Coontz, and all his loved ones.

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