Tag Archive for Santa Clarita

Morning Links: DIY red cup protected bike lanes today, LA traffic deaths up despite Vision Zero, and a busy bike weekend

It’s National Red Cup Project Day. 

So go out and stake out your own protected bike lane by using your favorite brand of plastic red cups to mark your favorite bike lane for just a few bucks.

And knowing LA drivers, for just a few minutes before they run them over anyway.

But still.

Then send me the photos or video, and I’ll post them on here.

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Good piece from the LA Times’ Laura Nelson, who writes that, despite Vision Zero, traffic fatalities are up significantly in Los Angeles; advocates blame inaction by the city and a lack of commitment to improve safety if it means inconveniencing drivers.

I’d say that about sums it up.

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It’s a busy bike weekend in the LA area.

Culver City is looking for volunteers to clean up Ballona Creek on Saturday, presumably including the bike path.

Councilmember Bob Blumenfield hosts his annual Blumenfield Bike Ride in Reseda Saturday morning.

Long Beach’s popular Beach Streets open streets event takes place on Saturday, as well.

And the ever-popular CicLAvia rolls through the streets of Wilmington on Sunday, with their first event of 2015.

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KCBS-2 looks forward to Monday’s arrival of LA’s first two-way bike lane on Spring Street in DTLA.

Although unlike the photo they use to illustrate the story, it probably won’t be cobbled.

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Kindhearted Santa Clarita sheriff’s deputies surprised a young boy with a new bike after his was stolen; credit the local Bicycle John’s outpost for donating the bike.

Thanks to Nina Moskol, Chairperson of the Santa Clarita Valley Bicycle Coalition for the heads-up.

Speaking of Santa Clarita, the city’s mayor looks forward to next month’s visit by the Amgen Tour of California, while encouraging residents to explore the city by bicycle.

And a columnist for The Signal decries a “relative bloodbath of pedestrian and bicycle accidents” in the area, saying more must be done to improve safety, especially on busy six-lane McBean Parkway.

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Today’s common theme: mountain bikes.

Recently retired football great Rob Gronkowski is one of us; Bicycling offers a little unsolicited advice as he takes up mountain biking.

Congratulations to gun maker Smith & Wesson, whose attempt to enter the mountain bike market ranks 41st on USA Today’s list of the 50 worst product flops of all time.

Finishing our mountain bike trifecta, Outside offers seven tips for beginning mountain bikes, whether or not they answer to Gronkowski.

But wait, there’s more!

The Orange County Register’s David Whiting takes a docent-led mountain bike tour through the volunteer-managed Irvine Ranch Conservancy, which he says most people have never heard of, even though at 40,000 acres it’s nearly as big as Bryce Canyon National Park and even more spectacular.

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Local

Spectrum News 1 is the latest LA news outlet to look at the city’s new program to install permanent memorials to fallen bicyclists.

A former LA city planner states the obvious, suggesting that LA traffic congestion is only going to get worse and that solutions like walking and biking remain woefully underfunded, without the safe infrastructure necessary to make them work. However, he also blames increased density and transit oriented development, as well as reduced parking requirements, calling them frauds, without citing evidence to back it up.

An op-ed in the LA Daily News says California drivers won’t willingly give up their cars.

This is who we share the beach with. A woman tells what it was like to get run over by an LAPD SUV while sunbathing on Venice Beach.

Santa Monica’s Breeze bikeshare program could be on the chopping block due to competition from dockless bikes and e-scooters, as the city faces budget cuts and layoffs under a program to speed payment of its $448 million unfunded pension liability. 

He gets it. An op-ed from the vice chair of the Long Beach Transit board of directors says everyone deserves safe streets.

This is who we share the roads with. A Long Beach bus driver faces charges for sideswiping more than a dozen cars while driving at three times the legal alcohol limit.

Signal Hill police will be cracking down on violations that endanger bike riders and pedestrians net month.

 

State

California’s Complete Streets bill moves forward after passing through the Senate Transportation Committee; SB127 would require Caltrans to consider the safety of all road users on any state-owned road.

That’s more like it. An El Cajon woman driving with a suspended license got three years behind bars for the hit-and-run crash that seriously injured a nine-year old boy who was riding his bike to school.

A San Diego TV station says bike riders and skaters at a new pump track think the park isn’t big enough for both of them.

A 75-year old Indian Wells man was hospitalized with significant injuries after he somehow crashed into the back of a parked city van Thursday morning.

Riverside sheriff’s deputies are still on the lookout for the red light-running hit-and-run driver who killed a 21-year old Eastvale man as he was biking home from work five years ago; deputies originally arrested a man who admitted to driving while “drunk out of his mind” and thought he had hit something that night, but phone records placed him miles from the crash site.

The speeding driver in the Sunnyvale crash who intentionally rammed eight pedestrians and bike riders as they waited at a red light was reportedly suffering from PTSD from his time in the Army; witnesses said they heard him repeatedly moan “Thank you, Jesus” following the crash.

 

National

A tax bill pending in Congress could mean an extra $53 a month in your pocket for commuting by bike.

Fast Company says people only realized just how much they’d miss ebikes after they were taken away.

Breaking a sweat today can provide health benefits up to a decade later.

An Oregon weekly offers its annual bicycling edition, with stories ranging from BMX and gravel grinding to low stress bicycle networks.

Phoenix says what’s a few traffic deaths between friends, bucking the national trend by voting not to adopt a Vision Zero plan.

A new study from an Arizona professor recommends leading bicycle intervals or split LBIs to reduce the risk of collisions with right-turning drivers.

Colorado comedian Wally Wallace discusses the second edition of his bicycle and comedy festival in tiny Trinidad CO, choosing the city of slightly more than 8,000 people because it’s halfway between Los Angeles and Chicago by train.

A Boise, Idaho bike cop is about to log 100,000 miles on his bike.

A Minneapolis transportation columnist says if you want a happy commute, travel by bicycle.

The NYPD is cracking down on red light-running bike riders, after a woman suffered a fractured skull that left her in a coma when she was struck by a food delivery rider who blew through the light. Seriously, unless you live in Idaho or Arkansas, stop for the damn red light, already — especially when pedestrians are present.

A DC website says it’s very charitable to conclude that the cop who hit a bike rider as he rode in a crosswalk actually had the right-of-way, as the local police insist.

Life is cheap in North Carolina, where a speeding driver who killed an 18-year old basketball star while he was riding his bike walked with just 75 days behind bars — and even that was suspended.

A travel writer visiting New Orleans says bikeshare is a surprisingly good way to tour the city.

 

International

Research papers usually tell just half the story about exercise science, since they too often leave women out of the equation, according to a Cycling Weekly writer.

Heartbreaking video from England, where a balance bike-riding three-year old became collateral damage in a road rage dispute between two drivers; remarkably, the truck driver who killed him was cleared of wrongdoing. Evidently, road rage is perfectly legal in the UK, even if it kills an innocent person.

You’ve got to be kidding. Life is cheap in Britain, where a “remorseless” hit-and-run driver walks without a single day behind bars for leaving a triathlete with serious injuries after deliberately cutting in front of her bike — and saying she deserved it, calling it karma, for the crime of delaying his car for a few moments. Let’s wish him well, because karma’s got a nasty way of coming back to bite you in the ass.

Seriously? Japan Today points out the dangers of reckless bicycling, while noting that police blame bike riders for “nearly 100%” of crashes with pedestrians. While we have an obligation to ride safely around people on foot, anyone who’s ever had someone step off a curb or turn around in front of them knows that’s pretty damned unlikely.

The Japanese man whose wife and three-year old daughter were killed when their bike was struck by an 87-year old driver calls attention to elderly people who can no longer drive safely. We’ve got to find a better way to identify unsafe drivers and take the keys out of their hands. Because despite what Elon Musk says, self-driving cars are a long way off.

 

Finally…

When you’re sexually harassed by your e-scooter.  Here’s your chance to tour Winterfell by bike.*

And yes, I would.

In a heartbeat.

*dragons not included

Morning Links: LACBC Open House tonight, and Amgen Tour of California gets Santa Clarita to Pasadena finish

It’s Day 14 of the 4th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive.

Your support keeps SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every day.

And allows me to devote whatever I have left on this planet trying to make it a better place for people on two wheels. 

Anything you can give helps, and is truly and deeply appreciated!

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The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition will celebrate their 20th anniversary tonight with an Open House at LACBC headquarters on Spring Street in DTLA.

The event is open to members only. However, you’re welcome to join the LACBC at the door if you’d like to attend.

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Evidently, we got it right.

The Amgen Tour of California announced the host cities for next year’s race, starting in Sacramento on May 12th, and ending with a final stage from Santa Clarita to Pasadena a week later.

But you already knew that last part.

Or at least you did if you read BikinginLA yesterday.

After noting that the Daily Breeze posted, then removed, a story about that final stage, we speculated that the paper may have jumped the gun on a news embargo by the race.

Sure enough, when the stages for next year were announced this morning, they included the aforementioned final stage.

So congratulations if you read that before the official announcement was made.

You got a jump on cycling fans around the world.

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Forget singletrack. Try mountain biking down ramps, jumps and endless flights of stairs at breakneck speed through the alleyways of Medellin, Columbia.

Sort of like this.

Okay, maybe exactly like that.

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This one is pretty self-explanatory.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

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Local

The LA City Council will vote next Tuesday to raise speed limits on 67 streets around the city to comply with the deadly and outdated 85th Percentile Law.

Marketplace looks at LA’s efforts to bring e-scooters and dockless bikeshare to Boyle Heights and other lower income neighborhoods.

Bike SGV says Metro is scheduled to vote this morning on an unhealthy, unsustainable package of auto-centric proposals to replace the now-cancelled 710 Freeway extension.

Not even a Welcome to Glendale sign  is safe from traffic violence.

 

State

Safe Routes to School is hiring a Southern California policy manager.

A Los Altos bicyclist says one size does not fit all when it comes to bike lanes. Or paths.

‘Tis the season. A group of St. Helena bike riders greet Santa Claus on the city’s kickoff to the holidays.

 

National

Walt Disney was one of us. So was Sylvia Plath.

Bike Snob argues for not wearing a bike helmet, saying you don’t have to wear one just because the pros do. On the other hand, you don’t have to not wear one just because he says so.

Quartz says scientists are still debating whether drivers pass helmet-wearing bicyclists closer than non-helmeted riders.

Bicycling continues their profiles of people who made positive changes in their lives through bicycling, like this man who was pushing 400 pounds before he lost 150 after he started riding.

A new study being conducted by Portland State University will look at how bicycle and pedestrian street improvements affect retailers and other businesses.

More proof that drivers are the same everywhere, as Albuquerque NM traffic engineers are working on keeping cars out of a new bike and pedestrian crossing, because motorists keep ignoring the posted No Motor Vehicles signs.

A bike rider found dead on a Boulder CO bike path in October died of a meth overdose.

She gets it. A Lincoln NE letter writer says it’s cheaper for the city to go into debt to build a bike lane than pay for injured bike riders because they didn’t.

Memphis gets a road diet right, reducing a five lane boulevard in the medical district to three lanes, with wheel stop-protected bike lanes, hi-viz crosswalks and self-watering planters.

NYPD officials refuse to call the thumb tack attack on a city bike a terrorist attack, settling for describing it as a nasty crime. And insist they’re taking it seriously.

A New York driver was arrested for hit-and-run, even though the cops were probably at fault in the crash for parking in a bike lane, which forced the victim to swerve her bike around their van.

 

International

Modacity offers photographic proof that it is possible to take your Christmas tree home on a bicycle. And lots of people do it.

Great idea. Vancouver’s Spikes on Bikes program uses trained volunteers on bicycles to spot homeless people suffering from drug overdoses, and intervene in time to save their lives.

Calgary is overcoming growing pains in their two-year pilot program with Lime’s dockless bikeshare.

Fourteen bike riders from the UK combined to ride 4,200 miles in just four days, raising the equivalent of nearly $45,000 for cancer research; riders included a former Olympic-level cyclist recovering from a life-threatening brain injury.

A road raging British traffic instructor loses his job after being convicted of running a bike rider off the road because he had the audacity to ride in it.

Now they’re just showing off. The transport minister in the Netherlands is going far beyond Vision Zero to set a goal of no traffic collisions at all.

A market study for a newly opened New Zealand bike shop predicts that ebikes will make up 80% of bike sales in the country within five years.

 

Competitive Cycling

British Cycling is using Zwift to identify the next British cycling star with a 3D virtual reality eRacing Championship next February.

The San Francisco Chronicle says summer won’t sound the same without Paul Sherwen.

 

Finally…

Maybe there really is a conspiracy to keep mountain bikes skittish. How to match your bike to your kit instead of the other way around.

And reviewing bike helmets is one thing. Firsthand testing by crashing headfirst into a pile of rocks is another.

And not particularly recommended.

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Thanks to Kevin G, Robert K, Amanda G and Stephen C for their generous donations to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive

Morning Links: Englander proposes temporary dockless bikeshare ban, and BOLO Alert in El Monte hit-and-run

Not everyone is welcoming dockless bikeshare to Los Angeles.

CD12 Councilmember Mictch Englander has introduced a motion that would ban any dockless bikeshare programs in the city, with the exception of pilot projects sponsored by various councilmembers.

The motion calls on the city to develop guidelines for any future dockless programs, as well as penalties for providers who fail to live up to those standards.

This would allow existing programs from LimeBike and Ofo to continue in the port cities and Griffith Park, respectively, but could prohibit the LimeBikes at Cal State Northridge from being taken off campus.

While the motion seems a little heavy-handed, the experiences in other cities make it clear that unregulated dockless programs invite problems, along with the inevitable bikelash from people who find the bikes on their lawns or blocking the sidewalk.

Let alone in their trees or swimming pools.

Hopefully Englander and the council can find a way to develop effective regulations without stifling the growth of what could be a very effective way to reduce motor vehicle traffic.

Thanks to TJ Knight for the heads-up.

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Police in El Monte are asking the public to be on the alert to help find a hit-and-run driver who critically injured a bike rider.

Thanks to Tim Rutt for the tip.

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There will be a pair of public meetings next month to discuss a proposal to convert Pasadena’s Orange Grove Blvd into a complete street.

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A man riding a bicycle was injured in a collision near the Calgrove onramp to the 5 Freeway in Santa Clarita; no word on his condition.

Nina Moskol, chairperson of the Santa Clarita Bicycle Coalition, had this to say afterwards.

The location of this crash is a known bike corridor. The County has proposed bikeways plans to improve this area. The Santa Clarita Valley Bicycle Coalition has been discussing this area at every opportunity with LA County, Cal Trans, and City transportation officials.

To date, we have had no word as to what proposed improvements for safety will be implemented, when, or where exactly. What we do know is that this freeway/County road interchange is complex and under heavy use because of ongoing construction on the I-5 to complete pavement restoration (and possible HOV lanes). We encourage everyone to ride safely and carefully.

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Local

Curbed says the new Glendale-Hyperion Bridge will feature protected bike lanes on both sides, which would be a change from the painted bike lanes called for in the original plans, but it would still have just one sidewalk on the north side.

Somehow we missed this one, as Metro’s BEST program hosted a tweed ride in Culver City yesterday.

Clear your schedule next Sunday for Los Angeles Walk’s annual fundraiser and free block party

 

State

The LA Times reports on Montclair’s ridiculous law banning pedestrians from crossing the street while using any electronic device, including headphones or earbuds.

Officials opened the first section of the planned 50-mile CV Link bikeway around the Coachella Valley. Or it would be 50 miles, if Rancho Mirage was willing to let it besmirch their fair city.

Protected bike lanes could be coming to Oakland’s Lake Merritt.

Marin’s anti-bike lane crank columnist ridicules comments of a mode shift on a Bay Area bridge, saying 235 bike crossings a day pale in comparison to 71,000 motor vehicles. He’s got a point, although the question is whether there are any safe connections on either side of the bridge that encourage people to ride across.

 

National

Good piece from Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss, who says we need to get more kids on bikes.

Some Portland bike shops are beginning to shun brands owned by Vista Outdoor, which has been linked to a maker of ammunition and AR-15-type weapons.

A Wisconsin nonprofit intends to refurbish 1,000 bicycles to donate to local kids next month.

Heartwarming story from Milwaukee, where motorcycle maker Harley Davidson helped design a custom adaptive tricycle for a four-year old boy born without legs and forearms. And no, the story doesn’t explain how he’s going to pedal it.

Two Indiana men face up to 30 months in prison for building an illegal singletrack trail through an Indiana nature preserve.

A Philadelphia councilwoman proposes requiring city council approval for any bike lane that could affect the flow of traffic. Never mind that people on bikes are traffic, too.

 

International

A Caribbean-based physiotherapist explains how to avoid minor injuries when you start riding.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a road raging driver who threw oven cleaner on a bike rider — with her two kids in the car, no less — and leaving the victim with severe chemical burns, walked with a 12-month suspended sentence.

A British soldier has gotten six years for fatally slamming his car into a man riding his bike, after he was shown on video downing five beers and three shots in a pub.

Road.cc looks at presumed liability, which is the norm in most of Europe, and whether it would make streets safer for cyclists in the UK. If we ever want to end car culture and the automotive hegemony on our streets, we’ll have to adopt some form of presumed liability, which assumes the operator of the larger vehicle is at fault in any crash, because they have a greater responsibility to avoid a collision due to their greater ability to cause harm.

A Scottish newspaper makes the case for a 20 mph speed limit, saying initial opposition has died down nearly a year after it was implemented.

CNBC has discovered Copenhagen, where officials say traffic would come to a standstill if 15% to 20% of bicyclists switched to motor vehicles. Which suggest that getting 15% to 20% of Angelenos on bikes might get traffic moving again.

Chinese dockless bikeshare company Gobee has pulled out of Paris without warning, after quitting other European cities due to extensive vandalism.

Evidently, bike riders are second-class citizens in Kolkata, where they’re required to get off and walk their bikes across major streets.

A Canberra, Australia newspaper says there’s no reason for the country’s Capital Territory to reconsider its mandatory helmet law, which it calls a proven lifesaver. Even though multiple studies have questioned whether the health benefits of bicycling outweigh the benefits of bike helmet laws, which have depressed bicycling rates in Australia.

Japan is considering plans to build a suspended bikeway under a bridge connecting Shikoku and Awajishima islands. Or you can ride a 44-mile route connecting six islands in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea right now.

 

Competitive Cycling

ESPN considers how Cal Berkeley law school dean Molly Shaffer Van Houweling broke the 12-year old hour record in 2014.

Yes, the cycling season is underway already, as Spain’s Alejandro Valverde takes the Abu Dhabi Tour, and Dylan Groenewegen wins on the frozen cobbles of Belgium’s Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

 

Finally…

The best way to get over a bad breakup? Ride across the US. When the real Tour de France leads leads to fictional romance.

And now you, too, can own your very own dockless bikeshare bike to leave anywhere you want.

 

Morning Links: Charges filed in Santa Clarita hit-and-run; candidates for LA County 4th District Supervisor talk

Charges have been filed in the death of cyclist Rod Bennett in Santa Clarita last week.

According to the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, Lucas James Guidroz has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run resulting in death for fleeing the scene after running down Bennett from behind.

It will be interesting to see what evidence prosecutors to support the DUI charge, since Guidroz waited two days to turn himself in — and then only after his car was discovered — giving him plenty of time to sober up first.

Meanwhile, the Santa Clarita Gazette offers a nice profile of the popular music and math teacher who lost his life at age 53. And unlike the Signal, they get his name right.

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KPCC’s Air Talk program hosts a debate among the candidates for the 4th District LA County Supervisor to replace termed out Don Knabe, who’s held the seat for 26 years.

Bike the Vote LA rates US Rep. Janice Hahn as the top choice for the position.

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The family of fallen Panorama City bicyclist Peter Loretta is looking for the kindhearted stranger who comforted the homeless man as he lay dying after being struck by a car last month.

They’d like to thank him for his kindness. As should we all.

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Another Russian cyclist has tested positive for doping based on four-year old samples from the London Olympics. Meanwhile, Cycling Weekly asks the experts if doping can ever be eradicated from cycling. As long as there are benefits to cheating, people will find a way to do it. 

US pro cyclist Tejay van Garderen pulls his name from consideration from the Rio Olympics out of concern for the Zika virus with a pregnant wife at home.

VeloNews offers a nice profile of American cyclist Evan Huffman, who’s back racing for a domestic Continental team after two less than satisfying years on the WorldTour with Astana.

Two cyclists were bound by Taylor Phinney’s violent crash in the 2014 Nationals; one made it back to the top, the other hit bottom.

Cycling Tips looks at how unknown rider Greg Daniels surprised the favorites to win the US national road championship.

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Local

It could take until next month to fully reopen the LA River bike path. The Corps of Engineers should have most of the flood control barriers removed by the middle of this month, then LADOT could take up to another two weeks to ensure the path is safe to ride. And even then, some barriers could stay up until next year.

UCLA’s Daily Bruin endorses candidates — and in some cases, withholds endorsement — for the Westwood Neighborhood Council. Including one candidate who believes bike lanes on Westwood Blvd should have been studied before being rejected. He’s got my vote already.

The Eastsider takes a look at the co-ed Los Angeles Bike Polo team.

Portland’s Elly Blue, Joe Biel and Joshua Ploeg return to Santa Monica for a vegan bike-focused night sponsored by Santa Monica Spoke.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson reacts to having complaints of fallen cyclists and riders harassed by drivers ignored by the Traffic Safety Committee in Palos Verdes Estates.

Long Beach police bust a thief who tried to use a shovel to break the lock on a bike near the beachfront bike path.

Bike-friendly Long Beach Councilmember Suja Lowenthal prepares to step down after 10 years on the council. Meanwhile, the city ups their bike-friendly ante with 14 new recharge stations providing a fix-it stand and water fountain for cyclists.

 

State

Streetsblog looks at three bike-related bills in the California legislature; one that would explicitly authorize riding side-by-side — which is now tacitly allowed, since it’s not addressed in state law — appears to be in trouble.

Nearly 1,800 students in next year’s Stanford freshman class will get a new bike helmet, courtesy of a bike-riding Stanford parent and his wife.

Sad news from Sacramento, as a bike rider was killed in a collision trying to make a right turn out of a driveway.

 

National

Bicycling offers advice on where to position yourself on the road. Yet somehow recommends riding “a bit more into the lane,” rather than assertively taking the center of the lane as recommended by CyclingSavvy and the League of American Bicyclists.

Streetsblog says one chart shows why helmets aren’t the answer to bike safety.

Colorado’s governor vetoes an auto-centric bill that would have banned red light and speed cameras in the state, putting bike riders and pedestrians, as well as drivers, at risk.

A Boulder CO woman says a cyclist just came out of nowhere to pound her car and punch her in the face. The fact that she thought he came out of nowhere probably explains why he was so mad. But violence is never the answer.

Over 100 Texas kids get new bikes for having perfect school attendance over the past year.

Sixty-seven University of Texas students will spend their summer bicycling 4,687 miles from Austin TX to Anchorage AK.

 

International

A London track cyclist died after suffering a heart attack when three separate ambulances failed to respond because the velodrome wasn’t in their outdated satnav systems.

London cyclists call on the city’s new mayor to live up to his promises to improve bike safety.

Now that’s more like it. Great Britain considers on-the-spot fines up to £5,000 — the equivalent of $7,200 — for passing bicyclists too closely. Which compares rather favorably to the measly $35 fine for violating California’s three-foot passing law.

The European Parliament issues a report on the state of bicycling on the continent.

Uber has started a new service for Dutch bike riders, which provides bike rack-equipped cars for an additional charge.

Caught on video: An Aussie truck driver repeatedly attempts to run a cyclist off the road, then exchanges curses with him at the next red light. If a driver tries to run me over, the last thing I’m going to do is wait next to him at a traffic light.

A Thai drunk driver gets four years and a $59,000 fine for killing three bike riders and injuring four others when she plowed into a cycling club last year.

 

Finally…

Get your hot bike back with Bunz. The traditional battle over bike lanes versus parking goes on — but this time, the other side is armed.

And if you’re going to assault an elderly driver for tailgating your bike, it’s probably best to get rid of the meth and syringes in your backpack before the police show up.

Or better yet, just don’t.

Update: Bike rider killed in Santa Clarita hit-and-run Wednesday afternoon

More bad news.

According to the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, a man on a bike has been killed in a hit-and-run while riding in Santa Clarita.

The victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was on the 20100 block of Placerita Canyon Road when he was struck by a car just before 4:30 pm. The paper places the collision near a curve just southwest of the entrance to Disney’s Golden Oak Ranch.

He was declared dead at the scene, his helmet lying nearby.

The paper reports the CHP conducted an intense hunt for the driver in the area; the suspect vehicle is described as a dark gray Mazda 3 with a roof rack and a possible broken windshield.

No other information is available at this time.

This is the 40th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 15th in Los Angeles County.

Update: The victim has been identified as 53-year old Valencia resident Rod Bennett.

He was riding a blue Eddy Merckx road bike in the far right of the eastbound lane when he was rear-ended by the driver, who continued east as he fled the scene, apparently without stopping or slowing down. 

Update 2: The CHP has updated the description of the suspect vehicle. They are now looking for a Silver Lexus CT 200H; some unconfirmed reports indicate it may have a roof rack and a damaged front bumper.

Meanwhile, the San Fernando Valley News reports Bennett was the band director and math teacher at Arroyo Seco Junior High School. The site describes him as an avid cyclist, as well as a musician.

Various Facebook posts confirm his interest in cycling, as well as identifying him as a jazz musician who performed around the Valencia area.

Update 3: The CHP has released a photo of the suspect vehicle, apparently taken from a surveillance camera. It appears to show a dark colored car, rather than silver; however, images like that can be deceiving. 

Update 4: According to the Signal, 28-year old Canyon Country resident Lucas James Guidroz was arrested after turning himself in at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station early Friday morning — five hours after the car believed to have been used in the collision was found in Newhall. 

Which gave him nearly 40 hours to sober up if he had been under the influence at the time of the collision. 

He was taken into custody on a single felony count of failing to stop at the scene of a collision causing injury or death.

Meanwhile, the chairwoman of the Santa Clarita Valley Bicycle Coalition says all cyclists on Placerita Canyon encounter distracted drivers, as well as those who appear to intentionally frighten or possibly hurt people on bicycles. 

To which commenters respond by blaming “arrogant” cyclists, apparently for simply existing. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Rod Bennett and his loved ones.

Thanks to John H for the heads-up. 

Morning Links: Tragedy in Santa Clarita, LA announces Vision Zero, and too much racing news for one day

Sad news from Santa Clarita, as a man apparently rode his bike to commit suicide Sunday morning.

According to the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, the unidentified man jumped to his death off the bridge on White’s Canyon Road at Via Princessa in full view of several people. Deputies said an overturned bicycle behind the yellow sheriff’s tape belonged to the man who jumped.

As others have said before me, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

No matter how bad things may look today, it will change. Maybe not now, maybe not soon. But it will. That’s the way life goes.

Hopefully the good, in the end, will outweigh the bad.

And you are not alone.

There are people who care. If you need help, call. Or talk to someone you know. Not tomorrow, not next week.

Now.

I want to see you back here tomorrow. And many more tomorrows after that.

NOTE: I heard from a relative of the victim who complained that the line about the permanence of suicide was glib. It was not intended that way; I learned it from a psychiatrist who specialized in treating depression. And it has helped me get through some very bad days.

I didn’t say this last night in my rush to get this online, but my heart and prayers go out to the victim and all his family and loved ones. Regardless of how he died, he was one of us.

Update: The victim has been identified as 23-year old Phillip Michael Griffin; a search had been underway since he went missing on Wednesday. 

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This is a big day in LA.

According to Los Angeles Walks, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will formally announce the city’s Vision Zero initiative to end traffic deaths in the City of Angels within the next 10 years. He’s set to make the announcement at the intersection of Cesar Chavez and St. Louis in Boyle Heights at 12:30 pm.

Of course, the question is whether the city is willing to make the tough choices that will require. As the recent controversies over Westwood Blvd, North Figueroa and the Glendale-Hyperion bridge make clear, many Angelenos — and a handful of elected representatives — still favor convenience over safety, and maintaining the automotive hegemony on our streets.

And are more than willing to twist that safety argument to preserve the status quo and keep our streets dangerous.

It will take strong leadership to make a dent in the number of deadly collisions in our city, let alone eliminate them in 10 years. And it can’t be done if we continue to carve out certain streets, neighborhoods or council districts.

We haven’t seen that yet from our city leaders. In fact, we haven’t heard from the mayor on any of those controversies, or any of the other streets where opposition to bikes has blocked much needed safety improvements.

Hopefully, that will change today.

In fact, it has to.

………

Way too much racing news today.

Taylor Wiles won the second stage of the women’s USA Pro Challenge; Kristen Armstrong ended up winning the short three-day tour by 29 seconds over Wiles on Sunday. Taylor Phinney’s mom — who was a pretty decent cyclist herself — is thrilled to see how Colorado has embraced women’s bike racing.

Saturday’s men’s stage was taken by Roman Kreuziger after a long breakaway, while BMC’s Rohan Dennis finished with the main pack to hold a 44 second lead. He held that lead to win the Pro Challenge, with teammate Brent Bookwalter taking second.

Earlier in the race, Dennis had chucked his panini at a rider who attacked when the peloton stopped to pee.

Across the Atlantic, BMC won the team time trial on the first day of the Vuelta a España; however, no individual times were recorded due to a dispute over the unsafe conditions of the sand-covered route. On the other hand, at least they didn’t have to outrace a tank.

After all the rumors about motor doping over the summer, Vincenzo Nibali did it old school, getting bounced from the race for holding onto a team car to catch up to the peloton after a crash. Astana teammate Paolo Tiralongo posts a nasty eye injury he suffered in that same crash. All of which supports Deadspin’s observation that the Vuelta is the best race of the season, calling it “as spectacular as a relatively tame sport gets.”

And for future reference, you might want to keep your eye on a 16-year old racer from San Diego’s Torrey Pines High School.

………

Sometimes, cyclists really are heroes.

On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Washington Post tells the story of professional cyclist Ken Bellau, who returned to his New Orleans home after competing in the Tour of French Guyana, hopped in a boat, and saved over 400 people from the flooding caused by the hurricane.

………

Local

South Pasadena neighbors team up to chase down a one-man bike theft crime wave; the thief had been busted three times for similar crimes in just the last 45 days.

Pasadena’s newly passed general plan calls for increased density in the urban core while encouraging people to walk, bike or ride transit.

 

State

A Laguna Beach website asks if it’s possible for hikers, mountain bikers and wilderness habitat to co-exist.

A Coronado letter writer says beaches and bicycles are not at match. A statement disproven daily at pretty much every beach, everywhere.

Those anti-bike Coronado people couldn’t have been happy on Sunday, as 3,400 cyclists rode around the bay, through the town and across the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in a fundraiser for the San Diego Bicycle Coalition.

A reminder from Santa Cruz that drivers are required to make a right turn from the farthest lane to right, which means merging into a bike lane rather than turning across it. But make sure to check for bikes first.

Deb Hubsmith’s hometown newspaper says the late founder of Safe Routes to School showed the impact one person can have in a short lifetime.

The Bay Area’s Bicicletas Por la Paz is a band, bicycle advocacy group, awareness collective and food kitchen rolled into one.

The Sacramento paper says it’s long past time to make safe, easy bicycling a priority.

A South Lake Tahoe cyclist is back home after riding through Iran to meet with school children to promote peace, although not everyone in this country welcomed his efforts. Or in that one, probably.

 

National

Now that’s more like it. A Reno man gets 20 years for the drunk driving death of a 16-year old bike rider; he was nearly twice the legal limit when he was arrested. Similar cases here seldom result in more than a couple years.

A Chicago writer rides Missouri’s 238-mile Katy Trail with her husband, even if their starting point was under water. Meanwhile, the Windy City has a shiny new three-mile elevated rail-to-trail conversion.

The Chicago man who was brutally beaten by five honor students was selling the bike to raise money for school; his attackers reportedly believed the bike was stolen.

Cleveland prepares to paint a buffered bike lane on a newly resurfaced street. And bizarrely puts the buffer next to the curb, instead of next to the traffic lane where it might actually do some good.

Sad news from Massachusetts, as a bike rider hit by a drunk driver in 1996 dies after 19 years in a coma; his family has forgiven the driver, but the DA has yet to determine if additional jail time is warranted as a result of the death.

President Obama and family ride their bikes through the drizzle on Martha’s Vineyard. Although judging by the photo, daughter Malia isn’t too happy about it.

A PA paper offers advice on how to teach someone to ride a bike safely. But despite what they say, might does not make right; drivers don’t have a superior right to the road because they’re in the larger vehicles.

If you really want your employees to ride to work, try offering a free bike valet like this New York company. But discourage them from stealing a bikeshare bike to commute with.

A Baltimore driver hits a cyclist while trying to pass on a curve, then gets out of his SUV and hits him some more. With his fists. Showing how non-seriously authorities take traffic violence, he’s out on just $25,000 bail.

 

International

A musician rides 1,800 miles across Canada to perform, while supporting a movement for clean air, food and water.

Bicycling looks at how Bogotá’s ciclovía changed the world. I’m not sure the new Mobility Plan would have passed without CicLAvia, which is based on the Bogotá event.

Better bike routes and more bicycling could solve the traffic problems in Manchester UK.

A British bike rider was lucky to get away with a broken wrist and hand injuries after someone sabotaged his bike by disconnecting his brakes; the local government councilor crashed into a lamp post after careening down a hill at 30 mph.

A private postal service in Edinburgh delivers the mail by bike for a third less than conventional services; not surprisingly, business is growing by booming 20% a month.

A Chinese tourist who was kidnapped by Taliban militants while bicycling through Pakistan over a year ago has been freed by Pakistani security forces.

 

Finally…

It may not be safe for Florida kids to bike to school, but at least they can pedal at their desks. A new smart helmet could help avoid wrecks. Too bad we can’t get drivers to wear it.

And while the driverless car is still in development, the riderless bike is here today.

 

Morning Links: New Santa Clarita bike safety campaign; Beverly Hills official calls you an organ donor wannabe

citys-bike-safety-campaign-raise-awareness-about-sharing-road-41943-2-288x322A new Santa Clarita bike safety campaign says Respect is a Two-Way Street.

But they lose me with the illustration of a bike crashing into a car. And the last line that seems to put responsibility on riders to avoid getting killed, rather than on drivers to avoid killing someone.

So what do you think?

……..

This is what cyclists are up against in Beverly Hills.

Better Bike’s Mark Elliot quotes Beverly Krasne, city council member and former mayor of the Biking Black Hole, in justifying her adamant opposition to bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd:

Cyclists are on a donor cycle mission – to give their organs to someone.

Somehow, though, her solution to our perceived recklessness is to keep the city as dangerous and anti-bike-friendly as possible.

Maybe someone should let her know most of us just want to get through her damn city without getting killed in the process.

……..

Police are reviewing the $100 ticket a DC cyclist got for following too closely after he’s buzzed, then brake checked by an angry truck driver — despite riding on sharrows at the time — after bike cam video of the incident is released.

Something tells me the officer needs a little retraining. Or maybe a new job.

And the driver needs to be behind bars.

……..

As long as we’re in DC, I somehow missed this one last week as the US Secretary of Labor says he just wants to ride his bike to work. And that the department is committed to making “cycling to work an affordable, easy and enjoyable option.”

Sounds good to me.

……..

Local

The Source says the new Metro bike map was released just in time for last week’s Bike Week.

The new Los Angeles Register looks at the Bike Kitchen.

The Bike League profiles LA’s own Miguel Ramos of Multicultural Communities for Mobility.

Free bike repairs and repair demos in Santa Monica on Saturday the 31st.

Santa Monica’s Cynergy Cycles is offering a discount on registration for the California Coast Classic Bicycle Tour benefitting the Arthritis Foundation. Which means I now have two medical conditions with their own benefit bike rides, and I’d like to stop there, thank you.

Long Beach’s monthly Kidical Mass continues to grow in popularity.

 

State

Ex-con Michael Reyes pleads guilty to killing Chula Vista bike rider Daniel Voigt while driving in a stolen car with a suspended license last month; he faces over 14 well-deserved years in prison when he’s sentenced in July.

San Diego considers building an enclosed bikeway under the Coronado Bridge, which currently bans bikes. I seriously want to ride that one.

Okay. The Tour de Cluck offers a bike tour of Davis-area chicken coops. Yes, chicken coops.

 

National

The problem with Same Roads, Same Rules is that neither was designed with bicyclists in mind. Amen, brother.

In an insightful piece, a rider says the bike industry shouldn’t forget the women who already ride in their efforts to reach the ones who don’t.

Ten reasons why Open Streets events like CicLAvia rock.

Only 1% of head injuries occur on bikes, while 48% occur in cars. But no one suggests helmets for automobile passengers. Or most business employees, for that matter.

Not surprisingly, Portland comes out on top in a new ranking of the best cities for bicycling; also not surprising is that LA is nowhere on the list.

My hometown bikes to work at 11 times the national rate. When I last lived there three decades back, it was pretty much just me.

Is anyone really surprised that a Nebraska football star won’t faces charges for stealing not one, not two, but seven bicycles? It’s long past time to stop coddling criminal athletes.

Evanston IL plans to encourage bicycling by banning bikes on some streets. Yeah, that’ll work.

 

International

Protected bike lanes are the best medicine for dangerous Winnipeg roads.

Great Britain honors the cyclists who lost their lives in World War I. That was the war so devastating it was supposed to end all wars. Despite their sacrifice, it didn’t.

Dover police knock a cyclist off his bike when he allegedly failed to respond to commands to dismount, then say he just fell off.

Bradley Wiggins wants to restore your faith in cycling. My faith in cycling is as strong as ever; my faith in pro cyclists, not so much.

IKEA is now offering an e-bike in some Austrian stores; no word on whether you have to build it yourself.

An Aussie writer debunks popular bicycling myths. And says yes, cyclists cause collisions but so does everyone else.

As China continues to re-enter the world, its citizens face the same dangers Westerners do, as a Chinese bike rider is kidnapped by Taliban militants in Pakistan.

 

Finally…

A Cambridge, Massachusetts bike safety campaign uses the local vernacular as it urges riders to Be Wicked Smaaht. And a British driver who killed a teenage passenger in a 130 mph crash — in a 60 mph zone, no less — has his sentence cut in half because he’s sorry. Oh, well okay, then.

 

Update: Bike rider killed in Santa Clarita collision; witnesses say salmon cyclist ran red light

More bad news, on what is turning out to be an awful day for SoCal cyclists.

According to SCVNews, an unidentified bike rider was killed in a collision in Santa Clarita this morning.

The rider, described only as an older teen or young adult, was crossing Magic Mountain Parkway on northbound Railroad Avenue — which becomes Bouquet Canyon Road on the other side of the intersection — around 7:50 am when he was hit by an LA County Sanitation truck turning left onto Railroad.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Witnesses report he was riding on the wrong side of the street, against traffic, and ran the red light at the intersection. He somehow collided with the eastbound truck, which was turning left onto Railroad. A story in the Santa Clarita Valley Signal suggests the sun may have been in the driver’s eyes; however, he likely wouldn’t have been looking for someone coming from the wrong direction as he turned in the opposite way.

The victim was reportedly riding a child’s bike; it’s also possible that it was a BMX bike, as many non-cyclists wouldn’t know the difference. It’s unclear if authorities know his identity, as he didn’t have any ID in his wallet.

The driver was taken to a nearby medical center for routine tests; however, there was no suspicion of drug or alcohol use, and a sheriff’s spokesman said he was unlikely to face charges.

This is the 75th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 32nd in Los Angeles County; that compares to 22 in the county for all of last year.

My prayers and deepest sympathy go out to the victim and all his family and loved ones.

Update: The Daily News says the victim was in his 30s, with no explanation for the discrepancy or any other details. 

Update 2: The victim keeps getting older; the Signal identifies him as a 47-year old Hispanic man; his name has not been released pending notification of next of kin.

Update 3: The victim has been identified as 47-year old Luis Ochoa of Newhall. 

Update: Bike rider fatally shot in South L.A.; 15-year Santa Clarita rider critically injured in Wednesday collision

LAist is reporting that a bike rider was shot and killed in South L.A. yesterday.

Thirty-year old Darnell Charles was riding near the intersection of Menlo Avenue and Imperial Highway around 3:20 pm Wednesday when a car pulled up next to him. After exchanging words, the driver pulled out a gun and fired before speeding off.

No word on exactly what street Charles was on, or what was said. It’s possible it was a road rage case; however, it’s more likely that the shooting was gang related or that the driver and victim knew one another.

The fact that police know words were exchanged suggests that there may have been at least one witness to the shooting.

He was the first bike rider to be fatally shot in Southern California this year; it’s highly unlikely that he’ll be the last.

Update: The Daily Breeze adds more details to the story, identifying Charles as a former star football player for Leuzinger High School. 

According to the paper, the gunman got out of his vehicle and walked up to Charles before shooting him multiple times in the upper body, then fleeing in his car. Charles was transported to a hospital where he died at 4:50 pm.

The victim, who worked as a security guard, leaves behind a son. Police confirm that they suspect the attack was gang related. 

That does not necessarily mean Charles was a gang member, however; it suggests that the shooter is suspected of having gang affiliations, whether or not his victim did.

As I note in the comments below, the overwhelming majority of fatal shootings involving cyclists are gang related. Of the 17 SoCal shooting deaths since the beginning of 2011, gang involvement was confirmed or suspected in all but two.

Until we as a society decide it’s time to put a stop gun and gang violence, people will continue to fall victim to bullets on our streets. 

Some of them will be on bikes.

……..

In other news, a 15-year bike rider suffered life-threatening injuries in a collision with an SUV in Santa Clarita yesterday.

The rider, who has not been publicly identified, was struck by a vehicle driven by a 17-year old motorist around 5:30 pm Wednesday at the intersection of Fairview and Waterford Drives. Again, no information on how the collision may have occurred.

News stories note that the victim was not wearing a helmet; however, they don’t say whether he suffered head injuries, or if a helmet might have made any difference.

Anyone with information is urged to call Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Traffic Detective Travis Kelly at 661/255-1121.

Santa Clarita hit-and-run killer was high on meth, coke, grass and booze; now faces trial

After Marco Valencia plowed into a group of cyclists on Bouquet Canyon Road last July, he wanted a Sheriff’s Deputy to kill him.

The local Santa Clarita Valley newspaper quotes L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeffrey Burrow as testifying that “He told me to shoot him, that his life was over.”

Unfortunately for the riders he hit, the request came a little too late.

By the time Valencia was apprehended after a short chase, Joseph Novotny already lay dead or dying and four other cyclists were injured, two seriously.

L.A. County Deputy District Attorney John Allen Ramseyer accused Valencia of exhibiting a “willful, wanton disregard for human life.” According to Ramseyer, he had a blood alcohol level of .18 — over twice the legal limit of .08 — as well as methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana in his system at the time of his arrest.

Despite being under age at the time of his arrest, Valencia already had two prior DUI convictions when he appeared before Superior Court Judge Harvey Giss at the San Fernando Courthouse on Thursday. According to the Signal, Giss determined that there was enough evidence to try Valencia on “13 criminal counts, including murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run and several DUI charges.”

Giss set bail at $1.3 million, with Valencia’s next court appearance scheduled for Christmas Eve.

Somehow, I don’t think he’ll find anything good in his stocking this year — or for the next few decades, for that matter.

And Novotny’s family will have an empty seat at their holiday table this year.

And every year that follows.

………

A reminder that cyclists aren’t the only vulnerable street users at risk from hit-and-run drivers. Miguel Penayo tried to escape from the scene of a traffic collision in Bell last night after apparently feeling threatened by a group of men, driving directly at them and striking one man. He then struck and killed another man who was leaving a Starbucks — an innocent victim who had nothing to do with the preceding incident — dragging his body beneath the car for “some distance,” according to L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.

……..

For all you Dutch bike and cargo bike fans, Flying Pigeon will soon stock Nihola Cigar Cargo Bikes. Streetsblog offers a bike-focused calendar for the upcoming week. The new plan for the Whittier Narrows calls for more bikeways and bike friendly streets. Stunt cyclist Danny Makaskill demonstrates the skills you need to navigate rush hour traffic in Los Angeles. Charleston, SC looks to calm the conflict between cyclists and drivers. The New York Times magazine endorses the bicycle highway. Missouri considers building a hanging bike bridge over the Mississippi River. Philadelphia cyclists declare victory over the city’s first experiment with a road diet. Among the reasons not to bike to work, you could die — of course, the same argument could be made for not getting out of bed in the morning. Cheap helmets help, but fit matters, too. With the rise in cycling, expect bad press to get worse before it gets better. A UK “thug” is sentenced for killing a man in an argument over borrowing his bike. Apparently, drunk cycling is legal in New Zealand, but I wouldn’t count on it. Philippines cyclists ride for women’s rights. A Brit TV host had his “willy cut ‘half off’” in a childhood biking accident. The rash of bike thefts spreads to Oxford — yet somehow, becomes a reason to crack down on reckless riders. After 75 years, the debate over UK bike lanes goes on…and on…and on… Finally, an OP piece in car-centric L.A.’s leading paper calls on Angelenos to change their thinking and not view streets as exclusively for cars; it didn’t take long for the usual sniping about “traffic laws are for cyclists, too,” to start. Or for someone to suggest it’s all a commie plot.

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