Tag Archive for South LA

Update: Innocent bike rider becomes collateral damage in South LA police chase; victim identified as Colombian man

It was bound to happen sooner or later.

We’ve seen a number of police chases in recent years that resulted in close calls with people riding bicycles, with riders nearly struck by fleeing drivers.

Now you can remove “nearly” from that statement.

According to multiple sources, a man was killed while riding his bike in South LA Wednesday morning, collateral damage to a burglary suspect attempting to speed away from pursuing cops.

The incident began when the suspect allegedly tried to break into a vehicle near East 48th and Central Streets in South LA, and attempted to flee in his car with the owner of the vehicle in close pursuit.

The LAPD took over the chase near 48th Street and Central Ave, pursuing the suspect through several area streets before he slammed into the victim at 46th and Hopper Ave around 6:12 am, while reportedly driving on the wrong side of the roadway.

The victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was sent flying through the air, landing next to his badly damaged bicycle. A witness description suggests that he likely died instantly upon impact.

The driver lost control after the crash, smashing into eight other vehicles before rolling his car, coming to rest upside down in the street. He reportedly attempted to flee on foot before being taken into custody.

He will likely face yet to be determined felony charges, according to police.

One of which should be murder.

This is at least the 14th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County; it’s also the third in the City of Los Angeles.

And yet another tragic reminder of the dangers police chases pose to innocent bystanders.

Update: The victim has been identified as 46-year old Colombian native Jose David Monsalve Rojas

According to KTLA-5, 

A GoFundMe page set up by loved ones describes Monsalve Rojas as a father of five who left Colombia in search of a better life and had a dream, they said, of curing his daughter’s liver disease.

“Imagine, a regular morning now turned into a day we’ll never forget,” the campaign organizer wrote. “David touched lives in ways that words can barely capture. A soul so deeply devoted to his children.”

So far, the crowdfunding page has raised less than $700 of the modest $5,000 goal. 

Meanwhile, the speeding driver who struck Rojas with her Chevrolet Suburban SUV was ID’d as 23-year old Germaine Smith.

Smith is being held on $327,000 bond after being booked for felony evading causing death, as well as additional outstanding warrants,

Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD Traffic Group Detectives at 213/486-0690; information can be provided anonymously online or by calling 800/222-8477.

My deepest sympathy for Jose David Monsalve Rojas and all his loved ones. 

Help identify unconscious Boyle Heights bike crash victim, LA backing out of HLA, and South LA ebike lending library

Just 260 days until Los Angeles fails to meet its Vision Zero pledge to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025.
So stop what you’re doing and sign this petition to demand Mayor Bass hold a public meeting to listen to the dangers we all face on the needlessly mean streets of LA.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can. 

We’re now up to 1,095 signatures, so let’s get it over 1,100 today! Urge everyone you know to sign the petition, until the mayor agrees to meet with us! 

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay.

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Well, I survived Tax Day, although my bank account may be on life-support for awhile. I hope you and your accounts faired better. 

We have a lot to catch up on, so let’s get right to it. 

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Los Angeles General Medical Center is asking for help identifying a man who was struck by a driver while riding his bike at Fresno Street and Cesar Chavez Ave in Boyle Heights on Thursday.

The victim is described as approximately 55 years old, 5 feet, 11 inches tall, 150 pounds, with average build, brown eyes, a shaved head and multiple distinctive tattoos.

Anyone with information is urged to call Licensed Clinical Social Workers Brian Dillon at 323/409-3134 or Cristol Perez at 323/409-4317.

This offers yet another reminder to always carry ID with you whenever you ride — preferably in a form that isn’t likely to be stolen if you’re incapacitated.

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It’s now 117 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 34 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law — and counting.

Meanwhile, Forbes says other states should follow Colorado’s example of offering a $450 credit on the purchase of an ebike.

Which would make far more sense than California’s bizarre plan to provide a larger voucher to a relative handful of the limited number of low-income residents who qualify, and which is likely to get far fewer people out of their cars than a broader plan open to everyone.

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

Poor, put-upon Welsh drivers are complaining they’re being squeezed off the road, after a new two-way bike lane nearly the width of the existing car lanes was installed. Because apparently, enough room for a motor vehicle isn’t enough room to satisfy them.

In an apparent attempt to thin the herd, a town in the UK has installed contraflow bike markings on a number of narrow, one-way streets. And by narrow, they mean barely wide enough for a single vehicle going one direction.

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

The local DA says a Pennsylvania driver was justified in shooting a male bike rider who tried to forcibly enter the shooter’s car; the victim reportedly chased the driver, who had honked at him for blocking a line of backed-up vehicles, before opening the passenger door and trying to get in. Thankfully, the victim is expected to make a full recovery. Although I don’t suppose the driver considered just locking the door before getting out his gun.

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Local 

Urbanize looks forward to Sunday’s Venice CicLAvia. You’ll have to go without me this time; I’ll be home nursing a torn rotator cuff while looking after my wife’s broken shoulder. 

The LA County Sheriff’s Department will conduct a bicycle and pedestrian safety operation in West Hollywood tomorrow, ticketing anyone who does something that could jeopardize people walking or biking, regardless of who does it. Which means the usual protocol applies, so ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits, so you’re not the one who gets written up.

Beverly Hills has launched a six-month traffic calming pilot program on Clifton Way, installing curb-cut extensions and a pair of traffic circles, which should make the residential street safer and significantly more pleasant alternative to Wilshire Blvd. Assuming local drivers can figure out how to navigate it, of course.

People using the popular Ballona Creek bike path may experience intermittent closures on a lengthy section between Sepulveda Blvd and Sawtelle Blvd due to flooding; LADWP is reportedly investigating whether the problem is due to a broken water main, or the result of excess rainfall.

 

State

Calbike’s new Executive Director Kendra Ramsey recounts her experiences at her first National Bike Summit.

A decade after becoming the first Congress member to ride in the 545-mile AIDS/LifeCycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles, Burbank Rep. Adam Schiff hopes to become the first US Senator to take part.

Apparently, the San Diego Padres aren’t fans of bicycles after the club banned bicycles from Gallagher Square, aka the Park at the Park, as part of a new renovation, despite being allowed for the past 20 years at the ostensibly public property. Thanks to Malcomb Watson for the link.

Video of a half-dozen Santa Cruz cops swarming a Black man is stirring controversy over what started as a traffic stop for riding his ebike through a group of pedestrians in a crosswalk; he was arrested after refusing to identify himself to the cop who stopped him.

Awful news from Berkeley, where bike-riding man’s leg was severed when a driver crashed into a row of parked cars, pinning him in between; police may have saved his life by applying a tourniquet within two minutes of the crash. A comment on Mastodon says the city refused a federal grant to improve safety at the intersection. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Sad news from Modesto, where a 49-year old woman was killed when she reportedly rode her BMX bike around a railroad crossing barrier, and into the path of an Amtrak train east of the city.

A San Francisco business owner is going on a 30-day hunger strike to protest the centerline Valencia Street protected bike lane, which he claims is killing his business. The point of a hunger strike is being willing to risk death to call attention to the problem; a hunger strike with a limited duration is more like wanting to lose weight after the doctor refused to prescribe Ozempic.

The City by the Bay now has its first sidewalk-level protected bike lane.

 

National

Streetsblog talks with California 4th District Rep. Mike Thompson, the incoming co-chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus, who wants to get more of his fellow US Congress members on bikes.

Outside columnist Eben Weiss sings the praises of cotton clothing for bike riding, calling it the original performance fabric. As long as you don’t mind riding with sweat-soaked fabric clinging to your skin. And as for the original performance fabric, wool and silk might have something to subject.

Witnesses blamed an ebike rider for blowing through a red light, after the victim was struck by a New York cop in a marked patrol car. Seriously, if you’re not going to pay attention to the traffic light, at least look for the police before you blow through the intersection. 

Philadelphia protestors enjoyed coffee, churros and dance tunes as they partied to keep Sunday worshippers from parking in a bike lane.

An incumbent Baltimore city councilmember called for the bicycle community’s support against his “anti-bike” opponent.

 

International

Momentum ranks 30 of the world’s most beautiful bike routes. Yet oddly fails to include any in California. 

Momentum also considers whether cargo bikes are harder to ride, concluding they’re different, but worth the extra effort.

Road.cc looks at some of the world’s most expensive production bikes. For riders with more dollars than sense, apparently. 

Bike riders are on edge in otherwise bike-friendly Bogotá, Colombia, home to the world’s first ciclovia, where small gangs of robbers are targeting people riding bicycles, and a bike gets stolen every 42 minutes.

Hundreds of Toronto residents turned out for the city’s largest ghost bike ride in the past decade, to call for safer streets and honor the year’s third bicycling victim — which may be why Toronto is “getting a whack” of new bike lanes and pathways this year. Maybe if we had a turnout like that here in Los Angeles, we might finally see some safer streets, too. 

London celebrates 30 years of Critical Mass rides to fight for safer streets.

A “chatty” bike-riding French Bulldog charmed people in Amsterdam.

Le Monde considers how Taiwan became the world’s leading bikemaker.

This is who we share the road with. A 28-year old New Zealand man has been drastically undercharged for attempting to use his car to kill a 15-year old boy, who is fighting for his life after the man repeatedly, and intentionally, ran over him — yet the driver only faces a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

 

Competitive Cycling

A man after my tastes. Yorkshire, England’s Tom Pidcock won this year’s Amstel Gold Race, but remained decidedly unimpressed with the namesake beer.

Dutch great Marianne Vos slipped in to win the women’s Amstel Gold after her countrywoman Lorena Wiebes celebrated just a tad too soon; Canadian Cycling Magazine considers the worst premature cycling celebrations.

Velo looks at 18-year old American Andrew August, who makes his debut as the youngest rider to ever compete on the WorldTour.

Canadian Nadia Gontova won the women’s Redland’s Classic, as fellow Canuck Mara Roldan took the final stage in a two-rider breakaway; American Tyler Stites won the men’s GC.

No surprise here, as the US-based National Cycling League decided to “pause” operations for the 2024 season, and release all the league’s riders from their contracts. Which is business speak for shutting the whole thing down unless they can find more funding.

 

Finally…

That feeling when a driver can’t even see you on a Penny Farthing. When a gigantic gator tries to cross your path, maybe you should just let it.

And make your plans to tune in, turn on and drop out for this year’s Bicycle Day.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Avalos charged with murder for South LA dragging hit-and-run, a successful Arroyo Fest, and Malibu’s killer highway

Go ahead and call it murder.

Prosecutors are.

Felipe Avalos pled not guilty Friday, after he was formerly charged with murder and hit-and-run driving resulting in death or serious injury in the gruesome death of 65-year old bike rider Francisco Gonzalez in Willowbrook last Tuesday.

The 66-year old driver fled the scene with Gonzalez still trapped under his van, as Avalos twisted and turned for nearly a mile in his efforts to escape, before Gonzalez’ body was finally dislodged in Compton.

The murder charge suggests investigators were able to confirm witness accusations that the crash was intentional. Or maybe the DA’s office just decided that dragging a man’s body for almost a mile demonstrated intent.

Avalos will be due back in court on November 9th to set a trial date, although that date is subject to change.

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Evidently, a good time was had by all.

Sunday’s Arroyo Fest gave LA County residents a rare chance to take to a local freeway without having to encase themselves in a couple tons of glass and steel. Or having to dodge the usual overly aggressive, speeding, distracted or otherwise generally reckless drivers.

That is, when the crush of cars doesn’t turn it into a parking lot.

In fact, it was the first time in 20 years that the II0 Freeway had been closed to cars, and open to everyone else for what the Los Angeles Times termed “four glorious hours.”

For four glorious hours, cyclists and pedestrians had a chance to safely explore six miles of the 110 Freeway between Los Angeles and Pasadena, a stretch of roadway that opened in 1940 and typically carries more 100,000 daily motorists who brave its winding turns and scary entrance ramps.

Aside from events such as Sunday’s 626 Golden Streets ArroyoFest and other bike celebrations, such as CicLAvia, cycling in L.A. County is not for the faint of heart. The road network was built for automobiles. Bicyclists are often left to vie for space alongside cars on congested, poorly maintained streets. Fatal bike crashes are an intractable problem in the county, and efforts to build dedicated bike lanes have been spotty

This was the reality for the cyclists who joined the crowd of thousands in Northeast L.A. on Sunday…

The paper goes on to talk to a number of bicyclists who participated in the event about what they love about bicycling in greater Los Angeles, and what they’d change about it.

Which might have been the wrong way to frame the question, since the freeway closure likely brought out a number of people who would normally be reluctant to ride on city streets.

Meanwhile, the Pasadena Star-News reported tens of thousands of people turned out to enjoy the all-too brief opportunity.

And Los Angeles Magazine says people “walked, ran, biked, skateboarded, and even rode on horseback to celebrate the second iteration of this rare community event.”

https://twitter.com/GlennC1/status/1718837817558839451

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She gets it.

Los Angeles Times culture columnist Mary McNamara extended her beat Sunday to what she termed “Blood Alley,” as Pacific Coast Highway winds, or maybe speeds, through 21 deadly miles of Malibu coastline.

And by extension, some of the other iconic LA-area roadways too many drivers seem to think were built for high-speed thrills.

In Los Angeles, it isn’t just PCH that’s treated like a cinematic backdrop with often fatal consequences. After being featured in “The Fast and Furious” franchise, streets in Angelino Heights roiled with the type of street racing that has plagued other parts of Los Angeles for years. Angeles Crest Highway remains a draw for reckless driving too; despite increased Highway Patrol presence, there are yearly incidents of motorists taking its curves too fast and driving over steep cliffs.

So yes, Malibu definitely needs speed cameras, sidewalks and more signs reminding motorists that they are entering a residential area. Perhaps, as some including Shane suggest, those 21 miles of PCH that cut through Malibu should be designated as a boulevard rather than a highway, with all the traffic-law changes it would require…

There is no reason on God’s green Earth for anyone who is not involved in a professional auto race or being chased by actual monsters to drive more than 80 miles an hour, never mind 100. “The Fast and the Furious” is a film franchise; James Bond is a fictional character; and PCH is, in many places, a treacherous road that should be driven with care even if the Beach Boys are playing.

If you need the exhilaration of speed, go on a roller coaster.

Take a few minutes to read the whole thing.

Then read the paper’s examination of why LA County’s killer highway continues to claim more victims.

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As if we haven’t had enough bad news lately, someone riding a bicycle in Palm Springs was critically injured when they were struck by an alleged drunk driver early Saturday.

Twenty-two-year old Mecca resident Diego Pacheco was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence for the 1 am crash.

No word on the current condition or identity of the victim.

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Jury selection was scheduled to begin today in the trial of Kaitlin Armstrong for the murder of 25-year old champion gravel cyclist Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson in Austin, Texas earlier this year.

Armstrong was the subject of an international manhunt when she fled the country after allegedly shooting Wilson, who she saw as a romantic rival for the affections of professional cyclist Colin Strickland..

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

Police in Madrid are investigating what appeared to be an intentional attack, as a motorist accelerated into a Critical Mass-style protest ride in support of Palestinians, injuring five bike riders; however, the driver claimed he acted in self-defense after several riders assaulted his car.

News broke over the weekend that a New Zealand TV star erupted into a bizarre rant when a bike advocate approached him about allowing a bike path to pass through his estate earlier this year, calling her “the enemy” and saying she needed to “have her head cut off and brain replaced.”

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

A New Jersey man faces charges after a 70-year old man died two weeks after he punched the victim and knocked him off his bicycle; the incident allegedly began when the victim hit the man’s girlfriend with his handlebars, then called him a racial slur.

Police in Telford, England warned local residents about an “errant cyclist” riding an ebike who was abusing pedestrians and wheelchair users on a local trail.

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Local 

UCLA is bringing back a program allowing staff and graduate students to trade their parking permits for a free bicycle worth up to $900.

 

State

A writer for the UC Santa Barbara student newspaper puts tongue firmly in cheek, and suggests the Tour de France had been rerouted to the campus bike lanes for the second week of the fall semester, and all students were automatically entered.

Sad news from Fresno, where a man riding a bicycle was killed when he was struck by a train after apparently waiting for one train to pass, without realizing there was another coming from the opposite direction. One more reason why you should always wait for the crossing gates to go up before riding across the tracks. 

 

National

The Bike League is out with their latest list of the most Bicycle Friendly Universities, with Stanford, Colorado State University, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, the University of Wisconsin – Madison and Boise State University awarded platinum status. Only one of which is in my platinum-level bike friendly hometown.

Honolulu residents turned out to pick up trash and revitalize the bike path that runs along Pearl Harbor’s waterfront.

Velo talks with Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer about his career-long support for bike riding, as well as a possible national ebike rebate and how to advocate for bikes.

The driver who killed BMX champ Nathan “Nate” Miller in Las Vegas last month was somehow still on the road, despite receiving at least 19 tickets for driving without a license, registration or insurance. Just one more example of officials keeping a dangerous driver on the road until it’s too late; he should have been in jail, or had his car impounded, at the very least.

Chicago advocates are justifiably outraged after a hit-and-run driver who killed a man riding in a bike lane was released without charges, even though a Breathalyzer test showed she was two-and-a-half times the legal alcohol limit when the cops stopped her.

Hundreds of Pittsburgh bicyclists turned out for a 60-mile race around the city and up 13 of Pittsburgh’s steepest hills, as spectators offered participants a choice of water or beer.

Baltimore letter writers say no, bike riders belong on the streets, not in alleys.

 

International

Road.cc offers advice on choosing the right bicycle for commuting to work.

A new report from the UK shows that motorists fail to see a 22% of bicyclists, compared to just 4% of jaywalkers — and younger drivers miss seeing a whopping 31%.

A new German study concluded bicyclists are more caring and concerned with the “common good” than drivers, writing “the benefits of cycling over driving are more profound and sustainable than previously thought.” Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up. 

An Ottawa, Canada website says more residents of the city are riding their bikes through the winter months, even as climate change increases the risk from winter storms.

A Montreal writer says he’s grateful for the “insta-super-treatment” he received at a Vermont hospital after an endo on a rented ebike, compared to the endless waits in a Montreal hospital, and didn’t even mind the $10,000 hospital bill since his union insurance should cover it.

An American man completed a 963-mile journey from Nagasaki to Yokohama, Japan on a Penny Farthing, recreating a 1886 trip on the high-wheeler the Japanese called a dharma bicycle.

A Singaporean website asks if a new bikeway network is the answer to going car-lite, concluding that most people won’t give up their cars for a bicycle, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Australian traffic safety experts are calling for an investigation after bicycling deaths have risen more than any other group over the past 12 months.

 

Competitive Cycling

Velo has reaction from the peloton to the newly announced routes for next year’s men’s and women’s Tour de France.

 

Finally…

Who needs to rough it when you can tow your own portable treehouse behind your bike? Your next bicycle could be the illegitimate offspring of a track bike and a cargo bike.

And who says you have to see to ride a bike?

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

Oh, and fuck Putin

Update: 65-year old man riding bike killed in Willowbrook hit-and-run; victim dragged a mile under van in possible murder

For the 11th time in the last 18 days, someone has been killed riding a bicycle in Southern California.

And once again, it may be murder.

Multiple sources are reporting that a man was struck by a hit-and-run driver in Willowbrook this morning, and dragged nearly a mile under the killer’s van.

As if that was gruesome enough, witnesses report the crash appeared to be intentional, as well.

The victim was riding on Broadway at 117th around 9:15 Tuesday morning when he was struck by the driver of an older van; security cam video shows the driver continuing south on Broadway without slowing down.

According to KABC-7, the driver turned right on 120th, followed by a left on Athens Way. That was followed by another left at 124th, and a right on Broadway — all the while dragging the victim under the van.

His body was finally deposited at El Segundo Blvd and Broadway, in the LA’s Athens neighborhood.

KABC reports the victim’s mangled bicycle was found at the scene, and his shoes were strewn about on the street outside of Bo’s Mini Market at the initial point of impact.

Police are looking for a Hispanic man with long gray or salt-and-pepper hair, driving an older model white Chevy van with distinctive stripes on the side.

A police spokesperson would not confirm that this is being treated as a murder investigation, saying only that they need to speak to the suspect first. Because of course he’ll just admit to doing it intentionally.

Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD at 877-LAPD-247. As always, there is a standing $50,000 reward for any fatal hit-and-run in the City of Los Angeles.

This is at least the 46th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, the 12th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County, and the seventh in the City of Los Angeles. It’s also the 16th time someone riding a bicycle has been killed in a hit-and-run since the first of the year.

And it’s the third time a person in SoCal has apparently been run down intentionally while riding a bicycle, after bike riders were murdered in Dana Point and Huntington Beach earlier this year.

Update: Police have arrested 66-year old Compton resident Felipe Avalos for the grisly hit-and-run, after a witness provided the license plate number of the van. He was taken into custody as he was getting into the van, which matched the images provided by security cam.

Avalos has been booked on a charge of gross vehicular manslaughter — which carried a maximum penalty of six years — rather than murder, despite witnesses saying the crash appeared to be intentional. 

Update 2: The victim has been identified as 65-year old Francisco Gonzalez, as police have been unable to confirm whether the crash was intentional.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Francisco Gonzalez and his loved ones. 

Update: 50-year old man riding bicycle killed by hit-and-run driver in South LA; media silence is deafening

Evidently, leaving someone to die alone in the streets of Los Angeles just isn’t news anymore.

At least, that was the case Wednesday night, when a 50-year old man riding a bicycle was killed by a hit-and-run driver in South LA’s Hyde Park neighborhood.

Only two sites — Los Angeles Patch and Two Urban Girls — even bothered to post the story online, copied word-for-word from City News Service.

Meanwhile, the silence from the mainstream media was deafening.

According to the story from CNS, the victim was riding east on Vernon Ave at 6th Ave when he was read-ended by the driver, who continued on without stopping.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

At this time, there is no description of the suspect or the vehicle used to kill the victim, and no other information available.

A street view shows one lane in each direction on Vernon, with a parking lane on each side and a left turn bay, along with a complete lack of bicycle infrastructure.

This is at least the 36th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, the eighth that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County, and the fifth in the City of Los Angeles.

That’s just more than half the SoCal total for this time last year, and compares to 21 bicycling deaths in the county at the start of last October.

Either we’re having an exceptionally good year, or there are a lot more crashes that we’re just not hearing about.

I’d put my money on the latter.

This is also at least the 13th fatal hit-and-run involving someone on a bicycle since the first of the year.

Update: The victim has been identified as 51-year old Jacinto Ayala Gurrola. There’s still no word on where he lived, or any description of the suspect vehicle or driver.

My deepest prayers and sympathy for Jacinto Ayala Gurrola and his loved ones. 

Person riding bike killed in a possible South LA hit-and-run Sunday night; few details available

Once again, a bike rider may have been killed in a hit-and-run.

And once again, we know almost nothing.

KTLA-5 reported late last night that someone riding a bicycle appeared to have been struck by a driver at South Central and East Florence Avenues in South LA around 8 pm Sunday.

The victim, described only as a possible minor, died at the scene. The station reports a bicycle was lying on the sidewalk afterwards, next to a tent in the street covering the victim’s body.

Unfortunately, that’s about all we know.

There’s no word on how he may have been killed, or any description of a possible suspect.

Assuming this was a hit-and-run, there is a standing $50,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the driver for any hit-and-run in the City of Los Angeles.

This is at least the 19th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County; four of those have been in the City of Los Angeles.

It’s also the eighth fatal hit-and-run involving a SoCal bike rider this year.

Taking LA Planning to task for “vacuous” self-congratulatory report, and bike rider seriously injured in South LA hit-and-run

Let’s start today with a must read piece from Streetsblog’s Joe Linton.

In it, Linton takes the Los Angeles Planning Department to task — deservedly — for producing what he calls “an astonishingly vacuous report” that’s ostensibly a status report on implementation of the city’s mobility plan.

Yet one that he says ignores all the multimodal facilities included in Planning Department’s own plan.

Almost as if they are, in reality, the LA Lack of Planning Dept.

According to Linton,

In 2015, the city approved the Mobility Plan, with hundreds of miles of new bus and bike lanes, pedestrian improvements, and a Vision Zero policy to end L.A. City traffic deaths by 2035. Safe streets advocates loved it. Reactionaries hated the plan so much they sued to block it.

Then the city largely ignored the plan. Bus speeds slowedBikeway implementation tanked. Approved bus and bike networks, supposedly slated to be completed in around 20 years, languished. Seven years after plan approval, only three percent of planned bus/bike facilities had been implemented

Yet the Planning Department somehow gives itself an undeserved pat on the back, claiming to have accomplished 76% of the mobility plan’s Action Programs.

While that may sound like they’re making real progress, those Action Programs have nothing to do with putting paint on the street. Let alone the long-promised barriers and networks that might actually provide some protection and connections for people on bicycles.

Instead, Linton describes them this way.

“…a sort of obscure plan appendix that lists 173 tasks assigned to various city departments. The Action Plan includes things like: roadway safety outreach, wayfinding, analysis of unpermitted mountain biking in city parks, and periodic updates of LADOT’s Manual of Policies and Procedures.”

He ties their massive success in rearranging the massive pile of papers on their collective desks back to last year’s fiasco with the city council’s non-approval of the Healthy Streets LA initiative — which does nothing more than require the city to live up to its commitments, and build out the mobility plan they already passed when streets in the plan get resurfaced.

That’s it.

But evidently, that’s just a bridge and resurfaced roadway too far for the city.

He describes how the city council, led by now-disgraced racist Council President Nury Martinez, voted to adopt their own ordinance mirroring Healthy Streets LA.

One that wouldn’t contain the requirement to build out the mobility plan, but would, in actuality, leave it up to the council to decide whether or not to actually fulfill their obligations.

And you can probably guess how that would go, if you’ve been paying attention so far.

Last August, the council made it sound like the ordinance would happen right away. Then-president Martinez stated that city staff would “report back on my motion within the next few weeks.” Councilmember Nithya Raman spoke of the council “match[ing] the urgency that I hear from all of you [safe streets advocates] today.”

Then very little happened. The city continued to repave streets, nearly always ignoring the Mobility Plan. Councilmembers continued to block approved bus and bike facilities. More than seven months later, city departments have not shared any draft ordinance.

During that time, city departments, including DCP and Transportation (LADOT), went on the offensive to undermine the Mobility Plan and Healthy Streets L.A., asserting that approved bus lanes and bikeways are not actually a plan, but just “aspirational… guidance.”

Now where have we heard that before?

That’s exactly what the city’s bicycling community heard from an LADOT official within weeks of the 2010 bike plan’s passage, which was later subsumed into the city’s mobility plan.

We were told, while still celebrating our hard-fought victory, that the whole damn thing was merely “aspirational.”

Something the city has more than lived up to by living down to their extremely limited aspirations.

As Linton mentions above, we’re still waiting for that draft ordinance mirroring Healthy Streets LA to come back for a reading, let alone a vote, a full eight months — not weeks — after it was promised.

There was hope after the last election that the city’s new progressive councilmembers would light a fire under our sleepy governing body, and we might actually see some action on our streets.

But it seems just the opposite has happened. And the council has managed to douse whatever fire they might have had.

As I said, it’s a must read. So what are you waiting for?

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Someone riding a bicycle was seriously injured in a hit-and-run near Adams Boulevard and Trinity Street in South Los Angeles early Thursday morning.

No description was available for the suspect or their vehicle. Or for the victim, apparently.

As always, there is a standing $25,000 reward for any hit-and-run resulting in serious injuries in the City of Los Angeles. Although there’s not a lot to go on this time.

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A new survey shows the relationship between California drivers and bicyclists is among the worst in the country, with four out of ten bike riders rating it less than harmonious.

The only real shock is that it’s that low.

But there may be hope, according to The Thousand Oaks Acorn.

The survey found that 75% of drivers empathize with cyclists’ frustrations, such as being overtaken too closely, while 81% of cyclists said they understood the challenges that drivers must deal with while navigating busy local streets.

So there’s that, anyway.

………

Gravel Bike California stops to sniff, if not the roses, the superbloom of flowers brought on by the recent rains on the Carrizo Plain.

Thanks to Zachary Rynew for the heads-up.

………

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

San Francisco Streetsblog says a proposal for bike lanes on a commuter route and tourist attraction between Sausalito and San Francisco is already seeing a bikelash.

After a British bicyclist is understandably outraged and profane when a van driver cuts him off in the country’s left-handed equivalent of a high-speed right hook, the driver threatens a defamation case when he gets review bombed. As if you can somehow be defamed over something you actually did.

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

An Edinburgh columnist applauds anyone who has the courage to ride a bike on the city streets, but begs bike-riding men to cover their butt cracks. Or “bahookie” in the local parlance, apparently.

………

Local 

The LA County Sheriff’s deputies who lost their jobs for fatally shooting 18-year-old Andres Guardado in the back as he ran away have now been charged with abducting a skateboarder, and threatening to dump him in gang territory, then injuring him crashing into a parked car while trying to run down a group of teenage bike riders with their patrol car.

No bias here. A WeHo paper says the city wants to take away your “right” to make a right turn on a red light, while saying the maneuver is a factor in just 1% of crashes. Which means it’s responsible for around 400 deaths every year, which probably matters to the victim’s families, even if it doesn’t matter to them. And I don’t recall right on red being included in the Bill of Rights, but maybe I missed that day. 

The Source says take Metro to Sunday’s CicLAvia, with three train stations within 1.5 miles of the route.

Colorado Boulevard looks forward to next week’s 626 Golden Streets Heart of the Foothills in the San Gabriel Valley.

 

State

Streetsblog says a bill authorizing speed cams is up for a hearing in the state legislature for the umpteenth time; it should have no problem in Laura Friedman’s Transportation Committee, but could face opposition before the Appropriations Committee, where good traffic safety bills go to die.

A San Diego TV station reports city council members responded to a recent hit-and-run by continuing to discuss the city’s Vision Zero Plan “to eliminate but also prevent traffic collisions, bicycle and pedestrian injuries and deaths,” which seems to be the same thing. Although I would be overjoyed just to hear Vision Zero discussed in the Los Angeles council chambers.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole the ghost bike honoring 58-year old Nelson Esteban, who was killed by a driver while riding in Palm Springs last month.

Half Moon Bay has banned ebikes from the city’s section of the Bay Area’s Coastal Trail, citing congestion and speeding. Just wait until someone tells them about the cars on the local streets and highways.

The San Jose Mercury News’ Mr. Roadshow explains why bicyclists don’t pay for the roads the same way drivers do. But then the paper hides it behind a paywall as “premium” content, reflecting a basic misunderstanding of how the internet works. Although you can read it for free if you’re willing to accept their daily emails. 

 

National

Early rock and roll cover artist Pat Boone is one of us, riding his bike, playing tennis and golf, and lifting weights to keep fit at 88 years old.

In a very bizarre case from Reno, a hit-and-run driver in a stolen truck collapsed and died as he tried to flee on foot, after a second crash as the bike rider he hit in the first one was chasing him.

Seventeen-year old junior national-level mountain biker Cayel Holmgren is in the ICU with a severe traumatic brain injury after he was knocked off his bike by hikers illegally using a bike-only Colorado trail; doctors say it will be up to two years before he can get back on a mountain bike.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 91-year old Lewiston, Maine man still rides his bike ten to twenty miles every day.

Atlanta bike computer and tech company Wahoo Fitness appears to be on the financial ropes, after its credit rating dropped for failing to meet its debt service obligations.

 

International

Cycling Weekly offers eleven reasons to ride a foldie. Must have been a slow news day. 

Tragic news from the UK, where a body was found in the woods that appears to be a man who recently went missing after he was released following six months in prison for killing a 79-year old woman in a bicycling hit-and-run; police say they aren’t treating the death as suspicious, which speaks volumes.

German prosecutors conclude that protestors didn’t cause a bicyclist’s death by delaying paramedics with a road block last Halloween.

Sad news from Italy, where two-time world mountain bike champ Dario Acquaroli died while riding his bike Easter Sunday; he was found unconscious on the ground near Bergamo in northern Italy. He was just 48.

David Hasselhoff is one of us, riding a bike to capture the culture and beauty of Munich. And he’s a train guy, too.

Good question. A Japanese letter writer asks why obey the country’s new mandatory helmet law if there’s no penalty for breaking it?

 

Competitive Cycling

Another good question. Bicycling asks how can we truly support women’s cycling in the face of cancelled racesUnfortunately, this one’s not available on Yahoo or AOL, so you’re on your own if the magazine blocks you.

Cuban sprint sensation Marlies Mejias won the first stage race in her first Redland’s Classic, while Denver Disrupter’s Noah Granigan out-sprinted L39ion of Los Angeles cyclist Robin Carpenter on the men’s side.

The National Cycling League made its debut in Miami last weekend, part of a four stop race series.

 

Finally…

Nothing like a fun round of Governator pothole-filling blame game. How do we love bike commuting, let me count the ways.

And nothing like riding a bicycle 2,000 feet above the ground.

………

Happy Songkran to the Thai American community.

Ramadan Mubarak to all observing the Islamic holy month. 

……….

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

South LA has city’s most dangerous intersections, DTLA worst neighborhood; self-driving cars aren’t out to kill us — yet

No surprise here.

A new study by personal finance site MoneyGeek, straying just a tad outside their lane, confirms what we already knew.

The most dangerous intersections in Los Angeles are in South LA.

LA’s Vision Zero High-Injury Network has already revealed that many of the city’s deadliest corridors were located in South LA.

Now, after examining nearly 14,000 collision reports from 2020 to 2022, MoneyGeek has counted 86 Los Angeles intersections which have had ten or more deaths or serious injuries over the three-year period.

Four of the top five were in South LA — including three on deadly Manchester Blvd.

  1. S. Vermont Avenue and W. Florence Avenue (19 injury crashes)
  2. W. Manchester Avenue and S. Normandie Avenue (18 injury crashes)
  3. Victory Boulevard and Lindley Avenue (18 injury crashes)
  4. W. Manchester Avenue and S. Vermont Avenue (18 injury crashes)
  5. E. Manchester Avenue and Avalon Boulevard (18 injury crashes)

Map courtesy of MoneyGeek

The company also crunched the numbers on the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods, with DTLA coming out on top with over twice the number of intersection crashes of any other neighborhood.

Just more evidence of the failure of LA’s vastly underfunded and unimplemented Vision Zero program, which has just two years left to meet its goal of ending traffic deaths by 2025.

Which seems pretty damn unlikely, given last year’s record fatality count.

………

Bicycling’s Joe Lindsey examines the tech industry’s insistence on beta testing of self-driving cars on American streets, using bike riders and pedestrians as unwitting guinea pigs. Or maybe crash test dummies.

Along with the lack of regulation that puts us all at risk.

An article of faith among proponents of autonomous vehicles is that the vast majority (94 percent is the figure often cited) of traffic crashes are caused by human error. Cyclists make up a relatively small portion of overall road deaths in the United States, but they’re killed at higher rates than vehicle occupants. Aside from a slight dip in 2020 when we drove less early in the pandemic, cyclist fatalities have risen for over a decade, and in 2021 the annual total jumped five percent to an all-time high of nearly 1,000, according to preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

He goes on to look at the death of Elaine Hertzberg, who was walking her bike across a Phoenix street when she was run down by one of Waymo’s autonomous vehicles.

Although blame for the crash was put on the human operator, who was distracted watching videos on her phone, rather than the road ahead.

Zoom out more, and the data tells a similar story. Uber’s ATG test fleet had driven more than two million autonomous miles before Herzberg’s death. Waymo claims that it has surpassed 20 million miles total. Altogether, autonomous vehicles in California drove more than four million miles in 2021. That’s tens of millions of miles driven over years of testing, with one death. That may sound impressive, but the most recent fatality statistic for human driving in the U.S. is 1.33 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. Autonomy literally has a long drive before it can show that it can match, let alone exceed, human safety performance, even such as it is.

And outside of those sporadic data disclosures and California’s reporting system, there are few ways to monitor progress. Without federal regulation, there’s not even a widely accepted benchmark for how safe autonomous vehicles should be to use as a target. “I understand there’s a balance between innovation and regulation, but right now that oversight isn’t happening,” says Homendy, herself a cyclist. “It’s disappointing.”

One point in favor of autonomous vehicles, though, is the complete and total lack of road raging drivers.

So at least if one of those runs you down, you’ll know they probably weren’t aiming for you.

As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

………

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

This is why people keep dying on the streets. A British driver walked without a single day behind bars for chasing a 16-year old boy with her car, then intentionally knocking him off his bike, all because one of the boy’s friends accidentally clipped the wing mirror on her car.

A driver on the island of Jersey is demanding that charges against her for crashing into a teenage bike rider be dropped, arguing that it will be impossible to get a fair trial because prosecutors failed to turn over evidence in a timely manner.

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

A British teenager could face charges for assaulting a cop who tried to stop him, after leading police on a high speed bicycle chase through the streets of town.

………

Local 

Metro offers an update on Measure M projects, including closing the gaps in the LA River bike path in the Central Cities and San Fernando Valley.

Readers of the Los Angeles Times agree that LA drivers are getting worse, though one letter writer blames the paper for encouraging less enforcement of minor infractions.

 

State

Volunteers look back on five years of maintaining the La Jolla Bike Path. Which the city should do but doesn’t.

Builders in rural San Diego County could soon be required to fund bike lanes, sidewalks and transit as a condition for permitting.

An op-ed from a member of Fresno’s Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee argues that the city can reduce bicycling and pedestrian deaths, and Vision Zero is the way to do it.

Oakland’s Slow Streets program is making a comeback, after it was ended last year for a lack of funds.

Napa will get its first buffered bike lane later this year.

 

National

Amazon’s Woot outlet site is offering a one-day discount on mostly low-end ebikes, although there are a few midrange Schwinns in there, too.

PinkBike considers the relative benefits of buying your next bike from a bike shop versus buying online.

Forbes recommends what they consider essential gear for bike commuting, all of which would be helpful, and none actually essential. The only thing you really need to bike to work is a bike. 

Seattle’s “top-to-bottom” review of the city’s Vision Zero program received a lukewarm reception, as some advocates argued it lacks ambition and is short on details on how to actually fulfill the program’s mission to end traffic deaths.

A bill in the New Mexico legislature would require cities to consider adding space for bike riders when reworking roadways, and includes $5 million in funding for protected bike lanes. Wake me when they require bikeways, rather than just considering it. 

They get it. The Dallas Morning News calls for adopting the Idaho Stop Law in Texas, arguing that it would improve safety for bike riders, as well as drivers.

Texas is nearing completion of a 130-mile bike and pedestrian trail through the northeast section of the state, taking bicyclists within a short ride or a long walk of the Arkansas border.

Singletracks talks with an Arkansas man who uses his mountain bike to conduct outreach to homeless youths.

Christian singer Amy Grant says she leaned into her faith after suffering a significant traumatic brain injury going over her handlebars in a Nashville crash last year.

A Harvard Fulbright scholar sings the praises of foldies following his move to London.

A Saratoga, New York man describes surviving last weekend’s horrific Goodyear, Arizona crash that took the life of his friend; he avoided the crash by just feet as he attempted to reach the lead group.

New York is examining ways to bring peace to the drives in the city’s Central Park, as pedestrians, biker riders, runners and horse carriages compete for space.

The Philadelphia Inquirer says bikeshare ebikes are gaining popularity in Philadelphia’s low income communities of color, saying they’re not just for white guys in Lycra anymore.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana is planning to add 65 miles of bike paths in the coming years, committing to include a bike path with every new roadway project. More proof that places where I’ve lived only get better after I leave.

Tampa, Florida will offer 180 vouchers good for up to two grand off the price of an ebike, with eligible recipients selected through a lottery.

 

International

A writer for the Prince George Post questions whether traffic fines in British Columbia should be tied to the driver’s income, suggesting that a European-style progressive punishment program could be fairer and more effective.

National Geographic recommends eight European cities to discover by bicycle, starting with Stockholm and ending in Helsinki.

The CEO of British foldie maker Brompton says the company is fighting a war of attrition against copycat rivals that mimic its designs.

Vice examines how Dutch bikemaker VanMoof made ebikes cool. Except a) not everyone thinks ebikes are cool, and b) VanMoof is just one of literally hundreds of ebike makers with varying degrees of coolness. 

 

Competitive Cycling

The new Denver Disruptors cycling team participating in the newly formed National Cycling League will make their professional debut in Tucson this weekend.

Netflix has dropped the trailer for its upcoming series focused on the Tour de France. Read this one on Aol if Bicycling blocks you

 

Finally…

Professor by day, cargo bike momma by night. And your next cargo bike could have room for five.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

26.5 years for killer stoned driver in AZ master’s race, a damp last CicLAvia of 2022, and Orange Line bike path closure

It’s the second full week of the 8th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive

I’m often humbled by the support this site receives. And never more than I was on Sunday.

Saturday I was feeling low after we didn’t receive a single donation, leaving the fund drive hundreds of dollars behind last year’s record-setting pace.

Then on Sunday the floodgates opened. Not only did the sudden outpouring of support make up the deficit, it actually left us a little ahead of last year this morning. 

I recognized a lot of the donors, whether from giving in years past, sharing links or comments on here, or from their work on bike advocacy issues. 

Each and every one touched my heart, leaving me overwhelmed with gratitude. But none more than a donation from a loved one of a fallen bicyclist, who remembered the support I gave them in their time of need. 

All of which has me feeling incredibly humbled today.

I hope you’ll join me in offering a sincere thank you to André V, Greg M, Scott G, Penny S, Samuel M, David Matsu, John H, Anthony D, Mark M and Andre C for their very generous support. 

Because they’re the ones who gave from the heart to bring all the best bike news your way today, and every day. 

So don’t wait. Just take a moment right now to join them by donating via PayPal or Zelle.

We’ll wait.

………

There’s justice in Show Low, Arizona, a year and a half after a stoned driver plowed into a master’s bike race, killing one man and seriously injuring eight other people, six critically.

Shawn Michael Chock was sentenced to 26½ years behind bars for the bizarre crime. The 36-year old man received a 16-year sentence for killing 58-year old Jeremy Barrett, and 10-1/2 years for assaulting a police officer, to be served consecutively, with no time off for good behavior for the first 16 years.

A defense attorney claimed Chock was once an accomplished bike racer himself, but suffered from mental health problems. He reportedly relapsed when he received bad family news after three years of sobriety, and blacked out after failing to take his meds and inhaling aerosol fumes, crossing over several lanes of traffic to plow into the racers.

Although that doesn’t fit with earlier reports that Chock was laughing as he steered into the victims, and made a U-turn to come back at them.

Which is kind of hard to do when you’re unconscious.

It’s also worth noting that a history of mental illness and substance abuse somehow wasn’t enough for authorities to keep Chock from getting behind the wheel until it was too late.

He was only arrested after officers shot his truck engine to disable it following a standoff with police behind a hardware store.

………

Sunday marked the last CicLAvia of the year, as the streets of South LA opened to welcome bike riders, walkers, skaters, rollers, cowboys, and yes, even Dodgers, of every description, despite the cool, cloudy and sometimes wet weather.

Of course, it’s always after the event that those warm feelings give way to the typical LA challenge of just getting home in one piece.

………

One of LA’s busiest bikeways shut down without warning, as Streetsblog discovered an unexpected closure on the Orange Line.

And as usual, the detour leaves something to be desired, dumping riders onto surface streets to negotiate their route with impatient drivers.

How long the repairs will take, and how long the closure will last, is anyone’s guess.

………

The next time you complain about the crappy bikeways you have to use, or the lack thereof, remember this.

It could be worse.

https://twitter.com/cyclelicious/status/1599195355949563904

………

A distracted driver calls out the risk posed to safe, law-abiding bike riders from distracted drivers just like him.

https://twitter.com/EntitledCycling/status/1599579717325111296

Click on the tweet if the photo of the rider is obscured.

………

This is who we share the road with.

………

Who needs handlebars?

Or a head tube, fork or front wheel, for that matter?

………

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

No bias here. A Marin paper calls for “compromises” by limiting the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge bike path to weekend use by recreational riders — even though traffic congestion is no worse than before it was installed, and removing it on weekdays would just make traffic worse in other areas. In other words, they want bike commuters and local communities to compromise by surrendering to drivers.

No bias here, either. A Portland hotel manager complains about a parking protected bike lane in front of the hotel, as careless guests nearly collide with bike riders, and a guest’s car door “got hit by a bicyclist.” No, the guest doored the person on the bike, which is against the law.

Vancouver’s parks board is preparing to cave to angry, entitled drivers for whom one lane isn’t enough by ripping out a popular bike lane through the park, and restoring a second traffic lane so drivers can use it as a cut-through route.

A 24-year old Scottish man suffered multiple injuries after he was pushed off his bicycle by a couple men on a moped, for no apparent reason.

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

More proof ebikes are replacing car trips, as a British ebike rider conducted a carless driveby shooting, firing repeatedly into a car after riding up next to it, although he missed all the occupants.

……..

 

………

Local 

Metro is scheduled to start construction on the La Brea Ave bus lanes today, though the rain may have something to say about that.

Long Beach is considering lowering speed limits on 100 sections of city streets, including 23 that could drop to 15 to 20 mph.

Anyone interested in serving on your local Neighborhood Council should make plans to attend an information session hosted by Streets For All this Thursday. We need a lot more support for bikes on local councils to overcome the outsized NIMBY voices. 

Speaking of Streets For All, the transportation PAC is hosting a virtual happy hour with newly elected CD13 Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez on Wednesday, December 14th. Which would be a good opportunity to ask about his plans to improve bike safety and infrastructure in the Hollywood district.

 

State 

San Diego Magazine lists ten bike rides to meet the needs of every kind of rider.

‘Tis the season. Over 300 children in the Coachella Valley have new bikes this week, thanks to the Variety Children’s Charity of the Desert.

A Camarillo letter writer says he agrees with a driver that bike riders belong in the bike lane, if only the city had some.

They get it. The San Francisco Chronicle says instead of getting rid of Slow Streets, the city make them even better, arguing that it’s hard to view the Slow Streets experiment as anything but a wild success.

 

National

Bike counters recorded nearly 42,000 bike trips to Colorado’s Maroon Bells, fueled largely by the increasing popularity of ebikes.

‘Tis the season, too. A Boise, Idaho bike drive plans to give away 567 bicycles to kids in need over the holidays.

Sixty-seven-year old Joseph Kennedy reportedly confessed to the deaths of four men who disappeared after setting out on an Oklahoma bike ride, telling a friend he “killed the men and cut them up” because they stole from him.

Brooklyn firefighters rescued a semi-conscious man and two puppies after yet another fire allegedly started by an ebike battery.

A bill in the New Jersey legislature would make it the first state in the nation to mandate bike helmets for adults. Although similar laws have repeatedly been shown to be counterproductive, reducing bicycling rates and the safety in numbers effect, while disproportionately affecting low income riders and people of color. Thanks to Victor Bale for the link. 

Another seemingly sentient SUV, as a Philadelphia TV station reports a bike cop was hit by a Ford Explorer, whose driver apparently had nothing to do with it.

A 31-year old woman with Down’s Syndrome is able to ride a bike for the first time since she was a child, after a kindhearted stranger saw her competing for the title of Virginia’s Miss Amazing Senior Miss Queen, and gave her a new three-wheeled bike through a nonprofit organization.

 

International

A website for a drunk driving interlock ignition system reminds us that other countries have solved the problem of drunk driving, even if the US can’t seem to do it. Sort of like we can’t seem to solve traffic deaths, hit-and-runs, shooting deaths, poverty, universal healthcare…

A Spanish man touring the world by bicycle stops in Mexico’s Yucatán on his way to Argentina, accompanied by a dog he adopted in Spain, and another who adopted him in Mexico.

Mexico City’s Los Chilangos lowrider bike club is combating gang life by promoting a positive bicycle culture as an alternative to the world of drugs and gangs, although facial tatts are still welcome.

A Halifax, Nova Scotia bike shop says business is booming and employees are sticking around longer after they committed to paying a living wage, a full ten dollars above the area’s current minimum.

Over one thousand Londoners turned out for a 14-mile Black Unity Bike Ride across the city.

English police link stolen ebikes to the drug trade, robbery and other crimes, saying they’re being used to pursue criminal activity. Shocking that criminals would use stolen goods to do other crimes, I know.

A pair of British politicians call on their peers to practice what they preach by installing more “secure, accessible and sufficient” bike parking on the Parliament grounds.

A writer in the UK says a 3,427-mile ride around the coast of Britain saved his mental health during the pandemic.

France is marking the 80th anniversary of a successful suicide mission by British marines, who slipped behind German lines to destroy five ships; only two of the men survived the mission and escaped to safety, fleeing 100 miles by foot, bicycle and trains to Gibraltar.

An Islamabad, Pakistan paper makes the case for bringing the concept of carfree cities to the country.

Japan’s bicycle industry was reportedly built on the ironworking skills developed to build burial mounds dating back 1,600 years.

An Aussie designer says he doesn’t care about negative feedback, as he spends his days designing the world’s most outlandish concept bikes.

 

Competitive Cycling

Police have identified a 62-year-old German truck driver as a suspect in the hit-and-run death of Italian ex-pro Davide Rebellin, who died shortly after retiring from a 30-year racing career; police are still searching for the suspect.

 

Finally…

If you’re riding a bike with outstanding warrants — you, that is, not the bike — put a damn light on it already. Playing cumbias from the back a wagon pulled by a bike.

And we might have to deal with bored LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about being attacked by a wild boar while riding a bike.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

 

Election bodes well for bikes, DUI hit-and-run driver on trial in Huntington Beach, and South LA CicLAvia route announced

Let’s start with a quick recap of Tuesday’s election.

The short version is, nobody won.

Yet.

The large number of mail-in ballots received on and dropped off on Election Day means it could be more than a week before we have final results.

However, as things currently stand, Rick Caruso and Karen Bass are in a virtual dead heat for mayor, with Caruso holding a slight lead.

Meanwhile, bike rider and corgi dad Kenneth Mejia holds a seemingly insurmountable lead over termed-out councilmember and career politician Paul Koretz to become city controller and the first person of Filipino ancestry to hold elective office in the City of Angeles.

Bike-friendly Katy Yaroslavsky, daughter-in-law of longtime LA office holder Zev Yaroslavsky, has an 11 point lead to replace Koretz in CD5, which should mark a sea change for active transportation on the Westside.

Tracy Park holds a nearly 11 point lead over bike-friendly Erin Darling to succeed retiring Councilmember Mike Bonin in CD11.

Hugo Soto-Martinez has a tighter five point lead over incumbent Mitch O’Farrell in CD13; if he can hold the lead, it could be a major win for active transportation in the district, where O’Farrell blocked nearly all bike projects, and only came around to support Sunset for All to gain support as he battled for re-election.

Tim McCosker has a seemingly insurmountable 30 point lead over progressive Daniel Sandoval to replace termed-out Joe Buscaino in CD15, following Sandoval’s wage theft scandal that effectively sank her prospects. I don’t have a feel for what McCosker’s expected victory will mean for bike and pedestrian projects in a district that stretches from San Pedro to Watts.

Career politician Bob Hertzberg holds a slim 1.5% lead over West Hollywood Councilmember Lindsey Horvath for LA County Supervisor; a Hertzberg victory would represent a significant conservative shift compared outgoing Supervisor Shiela Kuehl.

Retired Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna leads incumbent Alex Villanueva for LA County Sheriff, whose department has long used pretext stops to target bicyclists for riding while Black or brown. Especially brown.

State Measure 30, which would have taxed millionaires to fund e-cars and prevent wildfires, went down to defeat by a 2-1 margin.

The next update isn’t expected until tomorrow. We’ll catch up on some of the smaller cities in LA County as official results are announced.

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels.

………

You’ve got to be kidding.

A Huntington Beach man finally went on trial in the alleged drunken, hit-and-run death of 33-year old Raymond MacDonald as he rode his bike in the city in 2019.

The collision that killed MacDonald was just one of three crashes 28-year old Victor Manuel Romero stands accused of on that March night, after getting drunk and into a fight in a bar parking lot.

Despite assuring police he would call for a ride, he instead got behind the wheel of his BMW and tore out of the parking lot, hitting the bar owner’s Caddy on the way out.

He then slammed into MacDonald, driving so fast an Uber driver waiting at the intersection felt his car rock as Romero blew by; MacDonald was like dead by the time he hit the pavement.

He then hit another car after blowing through a red light, and was arrested back near the bar after fleeing on foot.

Unbelievably, his attorney tried to blame his actions, not on being drunk or merely an asshole, but by claiming he suffered a concussion from repeated blows to the head while on the losing end of the fight, which somehow affected his decision making.

Sure. Let’s go with that.

Granted, even the worst client has a right to a defense. And his attorney can’t be blamed for throwing whatever Hail Mary he can in the face of overwhelming evidence.

But maybe he could come up with something even slightly more credible.

………

In more enjoyable news, CicLAvia announced the route for the year’s last open streets event next month in South LA.

The South LA Expo Park to Watts CicLAvia will roll December 4th, on a route that will take it along Martin Luther King Blvd from Exposition Park to Historic South Central — the birthplace of West Coast Jazz — then along Central Ave to Florence-Firestone and ending on 103rd Street in Watts, the home turf of the East Side Riders.

The late date means the event will be subject to the whims of what passes for winter weather in Los Angeles. However, many people who have attended previous South LA CicLAvias have ranked them among the best events in the 12-year history of CicLAvia.

And it certainly offers some of the best food you’ll find anywhere in Los Angeles.

………

Nothing like getting right hooked on a protected bike lane.

………

San Francisco voted overwhelmingly to keep JFK Drive permanently carfree through Golden Gate Park, while overwhelmingly defeating a measure to reopen JFK and the Great Highway to cars.

State Senator Scott Wiener credits his SB288 with exempting the projects from CEQA review, forcing opponents to take it to a vote of the people, where it was resoundingly rejected,

………

Don’t worry. If a Tesla driver runs you down, they may not be texting.

They might just be on a Zoom call.

Thanks to HowTheWestWS for the heads-up.

………

That feeling when the Twitter bird flees Elon Musk, and takes up residence in your bike wheel.

Which I suppose beats the hell out of a monkey in your spokes.

………

Everesting — climbing the height of Mt. Everest on a bicycle — is hard enough. Imagine doing it when you can’t breathe.

An inspiring new video tells the story of South African cyclist Jason van’t Slot, who broke the record for the fastest successful Everesting attempt by someone with cystic fibrosis.

………

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

No bias here. A San Diego letter writer says “Same road, same rules” cuts both ways, insisting that stops signs and red lights apply to people on bikes, too. Apparently, he’s never watched drivers at red lights and stop signs, either.

No bias here, either. A British Conservative politician responds to a viral clip of an oncoming driver refusing to pause for a five-year old kid on a bike by saying the child shouldn’t be riding on the street in the first place. Because there are so much better places for families to ride where they’re going, evidently. 

This is why people keep dying on the roads. A British driver walked without a single day behind bars for using his car as a weapon to ram into a man on a bike in reverse, after the man slapped his car when the driver yelled for him and another bike rider to get out of the road. Adding insult to injury, he’ll get his damn drivers license back after a lousy six-month suspension, when it should have been revoked for life.

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

Police in Carlsbad are looking for a road-raging bike rider who attacked a car driven by a pair of teens by trying to open their door and punching a window, before smashing the windshield, then allegedly lying in wait for them down the road; the altercation reportedly began when traffic bogged down as the rider was crossing the intersection, which “got him all spun up and (one of the teens) retaliated at him and got upset at him.” I assume that last quote means something, but we may need a teen-to-English translation before it makes any sense. As we’ve said many times before, though, violence is never the right answer, no matter how justified it may seem at the time. 

NYPD officers are looking for an armed “menace” riding a bikeshare bike who repeatedly pointed a gun at pedestrians, for no apparent reason.

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Local

An experimental program developed by a UCLA professor is paying people to bikepool between the Eastside and Downtown; Civic Bicycle Commuting, aka CiBiC, allows participants to earn credits worth up to $300 a month.

A fire at the El Segundo Chevron plant inevitably means Southern California gas prices will be going up. To which bike commuters seem oddly unconcerned.

 

State 

California set a record for greenhouse gas reductions in 2020, which was more than offset by the increase in greenhouse gas emissions last year, as miles driven rebounded to pre-pandemic levels; a full 40% of LA County’s greenhouse gas emissions come from motor vehicle tailpipes.

Santa Barbara county supervisors took the first step necessary to approve a proposed bike path along San Diego’s Modoc Road, helped in part by a large turnout by supporters.

Berkeley took the first step towards banning red turns on right at every intersection in the city.

The San Francisco Examiner explains California’s requirements for bike lights and reflectors. However, the law only applies if you’re riding after sunset or before sunrise, although police have been known to use daytime light checks as an illegal pretext stop.

Sad news from Sacramento, where a woman riding a bike was killed in a hit-and-run Wednesday afternoon.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a custom lowrider frame worth eight grand made by students at a Sacramento high school.

Finishing our Sacramento trifecta, city officials are asking people to pick which crappy plastic bendy bollard they want to offer a false sense of protection on bike lanes.

 

National

Transport for America says education, enforcement and technology — the cornerstones of American Vision Zero programs — don’t make streets safer; what does is better roadway designs.

A piece from the Congress for the New Urbanism calls ebikes essential technology for the 15 minute city.

Your next ebike could come with an automatic transmission; meanwhile, a new regenerative-braking ebike conversion kit promises to turn your existing bike into an ebike in just 30 seconds, you can buy it now on Kickstarter for half the planned $599 retail price.

Men’s Journal offers tips on winter fat tire bike riding, as well as their favorite bikes for the job, while Gear Patrol has advice on how to make your first bikepacking trip a success.

Triathlete offers a temperature-based guide to choosing bikewear.

Giro joins the LED-lighted bike helmet club.

She gets it. An op-ed in The Seattle Times says in order to improve safety for pedestrians, we need to prioritize the people who aren’t in cars. Which goes for protecting bike riders, too.

More bad news from Las Vegas, where a second bike rider has died following a drunken, serial hit-and-run that has now killed two people and injured seven others, while damaging ten vehicles.

Now that’s singletrack. A mountain bike trail stretches 567 continuous miles through the Colorado backcountry from Denver to Durango.

Accused killer Kaitlin Armstrong will go on trial next June for the May murder of gravel cyclist Moriah “Mo” Wilson in Austin, Texas.

Authorities in Chicago have apparently concluded that parking in bike lanes isn’t such a big deal, chopping the fine in half, from $500 to $250. Which is still more than in Los Angeles.

Residents of Provincetown, Rhode Island are just the latest to get ebike rebates before California’s long-delayed program goes into effect, with qualified buyers eligible for up to $1,200.

We could use a lot more people like this. Nearly 30 years after financial problems forced a New Jersey man to drop out of Howard University, he’s raised over $100,000 through an annual bike ride to help other students live out their educational dreams at Historic Black Colleges and Universities, aka HBCUs.

 

International

British bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid marks the 100th anniversary of drivers running pedestrians — and bike riders — off the road, when an engineering journal article by roadbuilder Edward J. Mehren called for a radical redesign of roadways to make them the exclusive domain of motor vehicles.

Road.cc recalls bygone bike tech we’re well rid of. Although if we completely get rid of wing nuts, we’ll have to find another term for all those assorted whack jobs. Oh.

Tragic news from Tijuana, where a longtime bike advocate and scholar was crushed to death by the driver of a cargo truck while riding in the Playas de Tijuana neighborhood.

A Vancouver couple were able to recover their stolen bike, along with five of their neighbors bikes, thanks to an Apple AirTag.

New wildcat posters instruct Toronto drivers to keep parking in bike lanes, with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Nurses at a London hospital are using ebikes to make patient rounds in the neighboring community.

A London TikTok user shares video of a midnight bicycle magical mystery tour through the lights of the city.

Now you, too, can own your very own Irish e-bikemaker, as the country’s High Court has forced Modmo Technologies into liquidation after a recall due to a dangerously defective battery mount crippled its finances.

Add this one to your bike bucket list. Try taking a bike tour along Italy’s 2,300-year old, 373-mile Roman Appian Way.

A new Spanish ebike foldie is made from plant resin, and promises to fold in just one second.

Life is cheap in New Zealand, where an Aukland prison guard walked with community service for killing a 70-year old man riding his bike on a rural road

 

Competitive Cycling

Cyclist goes on the road with Tour de France mechanics.

Pro cyclist Rebecca Fahringer is crossing over to gravel racing, after suffering a series of concussions racing ‘cross.

Four-time Tour de France champ Chris Froome says UCI’s points system needs an overhaul, calling the new relegation system a death sentence for many cycling teams.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could be made with artificial meteorites. When you’re riding your bike with an outstanding felony warrant, maybe try riding with traffic, instead. Artistic cycling could be your next new thing.

And here’s a really nice bike themed song from Los Angeles artist Runner, not to be confused with the ’70s band.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.