Tag Archive for Southern California

At least 83 people killed riding bikes in SoCal last year, no more “car oopsies,” and Sartre and Hackman are one of us

Let’s start with a followup to yesterday’s news.

As we noted, 18 people were killed riding bicycles in Los Angeles last year, a 20% jump over the year before. And ten more than the eight we had counted.

That news confirmed that running total of bicycling deaths maintained on this site was a dramatic undercount. Because too many tragedies on our streets never make the news, and the LAPD is often too slow in releasing reports of bicycling deaths.

If they ever get around to it at all.

Adding those 10 extra deaths to our totals comes out to 35 bicycling deaths in Los Angeles County last year, which compares to 34 in 2019, and around 30 in 2020, when we saw a similar problem confirming bicycling fatalities.

Orange County showed just seven deaths last year, which again seems like an undercount compared to 15 in 2020, and 13 in 2019.

San Diego County suffered through a horrible year, with 17 bicycling deaths, compared to just seven in 2020 and four in 2019.

The nine deaths in Riverside County fell in line with previous years, with ten in 2020 and eight in 2019.

The same is true for San Bernardino County, where seven people lost their lives riding bikes last year, compared to five in 2020 and eight the year before.

Ventura County showed a significant jump, with eight deaths in 2021, double the total of four for 2020, and six in 2019.

Finally, there appeared to be no bicycling deaths in Imperial County last year or the year before, compared to two in 2019. Although it’s easier to get light out of a black hole than news from Imperial County, so take that with a grain of salt.

But bear in mind these are only rough estimates, based strictly on reports in the press or announced by the police, the coroner or some other credible source.

Each death included here has been confirmed, eliminating any risk of an overcount; if anything, this is more likely to be an undercount. I’ve heard of several bicycling deaths over the past year that I haven’t been able to confirm, and so haven’t included them in these totals.

That leaves us with at least 83 people killed riding bicycles in the seven county Southern California region last year.

Eighty-three mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, friends and loved ones who were not here to greet the new year.

And likely more.

Maybe many more, when we finally see the official government totals in a few years.

Photo by Ted McDonald from Pixabay.

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The older term was more accurate.

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Gene Hackman is one of us.

And boy do I want to be like him when I grow up.

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A soaked Sartre on a foldie.

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Those vintage ice bikes we shared with you yesterday?

They’re still a thing, if somewhat more stable now.

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

No bias here. And apparently, no sense of irony either, as a proposed new Virginia law would would charge people on bicycles twice as much as motor vehicle drivers for rolling a stop sign, despite the people in the big, dangerous machines posing a much great risk to others. And just try impounding people’s cars for a simple traffic violation.

https://twitter.com/yitgordon/status/1480610900444778496

At least they’re honest about it. The BBC backtracks on an earlier story claiming new bike lanes are responsible for making London the world’s most congested city, correcting it to lay blame on a number of factors; a reporter admits that the “anti-cycling angle ‘gets more readers.'”

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

Reminiscent of the infamous Crimanimalz ride on LA’s Santa Monica Freeway more than a decade ago, over 100 people taking part in a Berkeley ride out took over the right lanes of the I-80 Freeway on Sunday, before they were escorted off by a CHP officer. As someone else pointed out, despite their scofflaw behavior, fewer people are killed by bicycle ride outs than everyday motor vehicle traffic. Thanks to Keith Johnson for the heads-up.

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Local

No news is good news, right?

 

State

Huh? A San Diego letter writer criticizes the Union-Tribune for using the widow of a fallen bicyclist to illustrate the need for safer bikeways, saying that safety was never raised as a reason for bike lanes on 30th Street, because everyone knows it was too dangerous to ride a bike there.

A 20-year old Merced woman is under arrest after she was found with a man’s stolen bicycle, which was taken when the man was smashed in the head with a hard object; her alleged partner in crime is still on the run.

San Francisco Streetsblog says a fix to the formerly unprotected bike lane used by an SUV driver to bypass stalled traffic last year, killing a pedestrian in the process, still wouldn’t stop anyone with its new car-tickler plastic bendie posts. Although that may not be quite the way they phrased it.

 

National

How not to bonk on your next mountain bike ride.

E-pickup maker Rivian has applied for an ebike trademark, suggesting a foray into bikemaking could be in their future.

A Houston paper says the local bike lanes in the auto-centric city are an “absolute joke and incredibly dangerous to any cyclist who decides to risk it and ride in them.So, it’s like most other major cities, then.

A writer for Chicago Streetsblog questions who we should really be building bike lanes for, concluding that they should be for inexperienced bicyclists who’d like to ride more, rather than more confident, experienced riders.

 

International

UK GQ recommends stylish and practical panniers for your bike. I’ll take the bright yellow leather ones, thank you very much. 

That feeling when a drunk Irishman breaks into your home and demands an ebike charger. Probably for the e-scooter he just stole to carry your television out on.

A German sociologist concludes that bicycles are becoming status symbols, since poorer people are more likely to drive to show they can afford it, while bike riders tend to be wealthier and more educated, and more likely to send a message by choosing to ride. Methinks he’s full of scheisse.

Life is cheap in Israel, where a professional soccer player was given early release for good behavior after serving just two years for the hit-and-run death of a 17-year old ebike rider.

Popular Bangladeshi actor Bappy Chowdhury is one of us, taking a spill after losing his balance while filming a scene on a bicycle.

An Indian man learns the hard way that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is, as he orders a $600 bicycle from a discount site for just $155 — and gets a box full of scrap.

No surprise here. A Singapore report shows an average of 560 serious crashes involving bicyclists in each of the past five years, compared to just 90 a year on bike paths and park connectors. Meanwhile, the island city-state requires ebike and e-scooter user to pass an online test and carry a certificate with them when they ride.  And no, I don’t know what a park connector is, either.

Most of Japan’s abandoned and second-hand bicycles end up in Cambodia’s thriving used bike market.

 

Competitive Cycling

A team of Bangladeshi bicyclists set a new Guinness record for a relay team by riding 1,037 miles in just 48 hours.

VeloNews says UCI is disrespecting women’s cycling by banning team kits, while disrespecting women’s cycling themselves by hiding the editorial behind a paywall.

It’s time to head to Austria and get your snow bike racing on.

 

Finally…

That feeling when your toddler arrives in a bike trailer like an aristocrat. Stop your kid’s balance bike by remote control.

And can we have these on every street?

Please?

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

Bike-riding man killed in Harbor Gateway hit-and-run; 18th fatal bicycling hit-and-run in Southern California this year

Once again, a man on a bike has been killed by a Southern California driver, this time in LA’s Harbor Gateway neighborhood.

And once again, a heartless coward fled the scene, leaving his victim to die in the street.

According to KCBS2/KCAL9, and a virtually identical report on My News LA, the victim was riding west on Alondra Blvd at Vermont Ave around 2:40 am Sunday when he was run down by a driver headed north on Vermont.

The 39-year old bike rider, who has not been publicly identified, was pronounced dead at the scene.

His killer apparently fled without stopping. There’s no description of the driver or the suspect vehicle; given the location and early morning hour, there may not have been any witnesses.

There’s also no word on who might have had the right-of-way at the signalized intersection.

Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD South Traffic Division at 323/421-2500 or 323/421-2577. 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 59th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 16th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County. It’s also at least the 7th bicycling death in the City of Los Angeles since the first of the year.

Eighteen of those SoCal deaths have been hit-and-runs.

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

 

 

Hard-hitting look at race in cycling, South LA teen killed in drive-by while riding bike, and a deep dive into SoCal bike deaths

Let’s start with a very hard-hitting essay from self-described Afro-Latino pro cyclist Ama Nsek, newly signed to the Los Angeles-based L39ION of LA cycling team.

It starts out rough, and doesn’t get any easier.

Note: I’m not censoring his language, even though it includes a word I would never use. 

I’ve had several people – even a “teammate” – call me nigger. I’ve had racists shout it from their cars as they pass me on my bike. I sat there as a white man criticized my Mom, who looks white, but is Hispanic, for being with a monkey, my father – a Black man. I had a woman tell me at the Redlands Classic she would never even think about dating a black man because “they’re too much trouble.” A girl I was dating told me she had racist grandparents. This came up only as they were potentially going to be joining us on a trip, a problem I’m sure many Black folks have run into.

After quoting LA’s former national crit champ Rahsaan Bahati saying he feels like a raisin in a bowl of milk in the overwhelmingly white world of pro cycling, he finishes this way.

If you’ve gotten to the end of the article and you haven’t clicked any of the links, shared this message, or taken it upon yourself to educate yourself more, then the problem is lack of self-education in society and dismissal of stories like this. It’s the continued silence and lack of discussion from common people that supports racism and still propagates the idea that silence is safe.

Well, safe for whom? Clearly, not for people like me. If this struck a chord, please share this and begin the talks. It starts at the table with friends and family.

Seriously, take a few minutes and read it.

And if it makes you uncomfortable, that’s the point.

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Tragedy strikes again in South LA, where a 15-year old boy was killed in a drive-by shooting, for no apparent reason.

Carl Jackson, Jr. was an honor student, with no gang affiliations, who was just riding his bike back home.

The shooting helped push Los Angeles over 300 murders this year, a tragic figure the city hasn’t seen since 2009.

Meanwhile, a crowdfunding account to pay for Carl Jackson Jr’s funeral expenses has raised over $3,500 of the $8,000 goal.

More proof that cars aren’t the only reason the streets aren’t safe for everyone.

And equity remains a pipe dream for many people of color.

Excuse my language, but there’s no fucking justification for this crap. Ever.

Period.

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The Southern California News Group’s Steve Scauzillo takes a deep dive into SoCal bicycling deaths during the pandemic, and why lighter traffic has made the roads even more dangerous.

And yes, he has the excellent taste to quote c’est moi, as well as several leading SoCal advocates.

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Good question.

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This pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?

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A pair of researchers at San Jose State University are want your help with a survey to gauge attitudes towards mandatory bike helmet laws, and how they affect rider behavior.

Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

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Santa Monica has replaced the painted bike lanes on Ocean Ave with new parking protected bike lanes.

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This classic comic pretty much nails it.

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Yes, there was a time not the long ago when kids in Los Angeles actually rode bikes.

Even if it feels like ancient history now.

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This is what governments do when they’re actually concerned about safety.

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Yes, please. We should have this on every residential street.

Or maybe just every street.

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The latest video from GCN explains the difference between ‘cross and gravel bikes.

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

Oxford, England bike riders recount their complaints about motorists, including one rider who was knocked off their bike by a driver who then demanded money for the damage to his car.

This is why people keep dying on the streets. A Spanish woman faces a maximum of just four years behind bars — and could walk free — despite killing three bike riders and maiming two others while driving high on coke and at four times the legal alcohol limit in a 2017 crash.

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

Police in New York are looking for a bike-riding gunman who robbed and groped a woman outside her Bronx apartment.

It takes a real schmuck to mug a woman while she’s holding a baby, like this English bike rider and his walking partner.

Mountain bikers are blamed for causing irreparable damage to an ancient woodland in the UK. Seriously, don’t do that.

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Local

LA’s Slow Streets program is criticized for serving mostly wealthy communities on the Westside, where residents have the luxury of working from home.

Long Beach is moving forward with a Complete Streets remake of dangerous, car-choked Artesia Blvd, including bike paths, better sidewalks and improved traffic signals.

Usually when a bike rider is involved in a collision with a motor vehicle, it’s the person on the bicycle who bears the brunt of the crash; this time, it was a Danville motorcyclist who was tragically killed when a bike rider somehow fell into the traffic lane and the victim crashed into the bicycle lying in the roadway.

 

State

This is who we share the road with. Police in Anaheim are looking for the driver who used his car as a weapon by intentionally backing into a pair of people outside the Anaheim Lodge hotel, seriously injuring them as well as a clerk working on the other side of the wall.

The Orange County Bicycle Coalition warns that road work has reduced lanes on already dangerous Santiago Canyon Road, greatly increasing the risk on the popular riding route — as fallen bicyclist Hanna Tran apparently learned the hard way last week. Thanks to Bill Sellin and Victor Bale for the heads-up.

An Encinitas man has published a new book recounting his 5,000-mile cross-country bike ride back in the ’70s, when it was a much rarer achievement.

Santa Barbara officials aren’t happy to learn their newly approved e-bikeshare system will come with three nine-foot tall solar-powered enrollment kiosks that nobody bothered to mention before.

A judge rules a Goleta driver will stand trial for the alleged drunken hit-and-run that took the lives of a married couple as they were walking on an offroad bike path.

A San Francisco writer tries taking an ebike up the city’s steepest hill, and fails. Twice.

 

National

No, wearing a mask does not impair oxygen intake during workouts such as riding a bike.

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss concludes that 20 miles is the ideal length for a bike ride. That used to be when I felt like I was just warming up; these days, I’d be happy just to get that far.

A new study concludes gravel riding makes you feel more tired and hungry because it takes more effort to ride rough surfaces. Which explains why LA bike riders feel worn out and starving after riding the city’s broken streets; as usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you out.

A Maui motorcyclist discovers what it’s like when the hit-and-run driver who wrecked his Harley turns out to be the chief of police.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a trailer from a Minneapolis nonprofit containing 30 bicycles they used to teach children how to ride a bike.

Bighearted coworkers bought a new bike for an Indianapolis man after the bicycle he rode to work to support his three kids was stolen; kindhearted security guards at the courthouse where he works replaced it the first time.

Boston offers a network of new protected bike lanes in the downtown area.

Streetsblog calls on New York to begin building bike boulevards. We were promised those in Los Angeles in the 2010 bike plan. Promises made, promises broken.

‘Tis the season. Florida volunteers pitch in to build bikes to ensure every kid in need can have one.

 

International

For people on a budget, Road.cc lists the best bikes for less than the equivalent of $665 — and starting for just half that.

A Road.cc reader recounts his journey from a self-professed petrolhead to a committed bicyclist.

A writer for Toronto’s Globe and Mail considers how the pandemic is propelling an urban biking and walking revolution, including the shift to a 15-minute city.

Speaking of Toronto, a family of five ditches their SUV and goes carfree, taking to their bikes even in the cold Canadian winter. And wishes they’d known about cargo bikes years ago.

We’re not quite ready to leave Canada’s largest city, where bike riders are demanding that flimsy new Toronto bike racks be removed because they’re too easy to unscrew from the sidewalk, rendering them useless.

Bike thieves will take anything. Even a broken-down bike that was part of Banksy’s latest artwork.

A London woman makes the unusual transition from stage manager to bicycle mechanic to survive the pandemic.

They get it. A leading Scottish newspaper calls bicycling “a life-saving form of transport we must invest in.”

A British study shows that most people support bike lanes, but the public usually overestimates opposition to them. Just LA’s mayor and councilmembers.

The UK’s Sun newspaper recommends gear you need if you want to use your bike to avoid public transit. None of which you actually need.

Former Game of Thrones star Kit Harrington is one of us, as he rides the streets of Dublin on his way to work on the second season of Amazon Prime’s Modern Love.

Who needs an ebike? An Irish company has developed a ped-assist wheel that’s powered mechanically by your own weight. Evidently, the Design Boom website doesn’t think sentences need capital letters, either.

Bikeshare is booming in Zagreb, Croatia, as the system more than triples in size.

A Philippine broadcaster celebrated her 50th birthday by donating 50 bicycles to a program to help people who need a bike to get to work to keep their jobs during the pandemic.

 

Competitive Cycling

USA Cycling introduces the new Olympic Development Academy to help young cyclists develop Gold Medal skills. Thanks to David Huntsman for the tip, who calls it a sea change in their approach to Junior/U23 racer development.

Now you can own the bike Italian great Marco Pantani rode to victory on Mont Ventoux in 2000, beating the previously referenced ex-winner of that year’s Tour de France in the process.

The local newspaper remembers famed cycling coach and longtime Ramona resident Edward “Eddie B” Borysewicz, the man behind the top American cyclists in recent decades. Including one who won the most Tour de France titles ever, until he didn’t.

 

Finally…

This year, Santa rides a bike. You may never be a pro cyclist, but you can pretend with…Monopoly.

And that feeling when a wild boar eats your lunch.

No, literally.

 

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

Last chance to support SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy

Okay, that’s not true.

You’re more than welcome to make a donation to this site anytime.

But it’s the final weekend of the 4th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

The last two days to support SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy during our one and only fundraising campaign of the year.

And the only time we’ll come right out and ask for your support.

Or beg, even.

It’s easy to donate via PayPal, or through Zelle with the banking app that’s already on your phone using the email address you’ll find on this link.

Any amount is truly and deeply appreciated, no matter how large or small, to help keep this site coming your way every day. And ensure the Corgi has a little kibble under her tree Christmas morning.

So what are you waiting for, already?

Thanks to Evan B, Robert H and Karen K for their generous donations to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive

Morning Links: SoCal bike deaths drop, green bike lanes coming to Mar Vista, and cycling won’t make you limp

Sixty-two.

That’s the number of people who died riding their bikes in Southern California last year.

Which is an improvement in some ways, because it represents a significant drop from the 73 people killed in the seven-county area last year. And an even bigger drop from the 86 people killed in 2014.

But it’s still 62 too many.

LA Curbed examines last year’s deaths, including the 26 people who died in Los Angeles County last year, including my fears of what’s behind the decline.

And be forewarned before you venture into the comments there, or on Reddit.

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Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin forwards word that the protected bike lanes that were installed on Venice Blvd as part of the Mar Vista Great Streets project will be getting green paint to make them more obvious to some of the more oblivious drivers and bike riders.

As we’ve noted here before, these bike lanes were installed as a one-year pilot project, with adjustments made as needed when issues arise, or opportunities for improvements become evident.

This sounds like a little of both.

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Relax, guys.

A new study from UC San Francisco says riding a bike does not cause erectile dysfunction or infertility.

In fact, the study showed that not only does cycling not affect men’s sexual or urinary health, but that men who rode over 25 miles a day actually had better erectile function.

So you can spend all the time you want in the saddle and still get it up have kids.

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Local

You can’t ride on the 10 Freeway in Santa Monica, but you may be able to ride in a park over it someday.

A West Hollywood study suggests a number of safety improvements that could reduce bicycle and pedestrian crashes on Fountain Ave by 25% to 55%. However, bike lanes don’t appear to be among the recommendations; the street currently has sharrows despite the heavy, often high-speed traffic.

 

State

The bicyclist who posted video of the massive homeless camp along the Santa Ana River Trail now wishes he’d been a little more sensitive.

Ebike maker Haibike is moving to Simi Valley after relocating to Denver just a year ago.

Santa Maria considers a makeover of its downtown to create a bicycle and pedestrian-friendly atmosphere. Although they may discover that a $300,000 grant doesn’t go very far.

Bike Bakersfield has a new executive director.

The mayor of Mountain View is one of us, riding his bike around town and taking his helmet with him into meetings.

An armored truck hit a tree in San Francisco after driving down a separated bike lane instead of the traffic lane.

It’s always polite to fist-bump the cop who manages to chase you down on your bike before busting you for possession.

 

National

Bicycling profiles Ben Serotta as he returns to framebuilding, and examines what fear does to your body when some jerk nearly runs you off the road.

HuffPo considers how bicyclists got screwed out of their measly $20 a month bike commuting benefit in the new GOP tax bill, while drivers got to keep a $255 monthly deduction.

The people who work behind the scenes keeping dockless bikeshare working are getting screwed by the outsourcing gig economy. Or at least the ones working for Ofo.

An Idaho self-help author turns his attention advising drivers on how to coexist with bicyclists, with surprisingly good results.

Talk about a bad business deal. A Montana man is busted after buying an $1,800 stolen bicycle for $600, then pawning it for $200 three days later.

A Minneapolis paper discovers the lack of women working in bike shops — which also leads to a lack of women shopping in them.

A New York advocacy group says congestion pricing is the only way to reach zero traffic fatalities in the city, by getting more cars off the street. Something that hasn’t even been discussed in Los Angeles, where drivers would probably riot if anyone actually tried to pry them out of their cars.

This is how it’s supposed to be done. A DC-area county will build protected bike lanes for bicyclists who won’t be able to use a popular bike path during construction for a light rail line.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a trailer from Florida’s Jack the Bike Man, who gives thousands of refurbished bikes to kids every Christmas.

 

International

If you build it, they will come. After Calgary built out a complete protected bike lane network in the downtown area, the percentage of women riders rose to 25%. Which is still far too low, but at least it’s headed in the right direction.

A Montreal writer pens an ode to orphan bikes, which are forced to spend the winter cold, alone and unloved.

A London art exhibit features miniature landscapes of bike routes the artist has traveled.

A woman in the UK writes about how she fell in love with riding a bike after getting on one for the first time in 40 years.

A Brit writer relates how he failed four basic safety lessons on his first day as an amateur bike rider. Which somehow implies the rest of us are getting paid for it.

British police are looking for a bike rider who pushed a 17-year old girl over as she was walking in a bike lane. Don’t do that. Ever. Period.

After an Aussie cyclist barely avoids getting sucked under a semi, she’s victimized again by abusive online comments.

The “menace” of joyriding Malaysian stunt bicyclists is spreading across the country, despite a crash last year that killed eight teenage riders, and another that killed two others last week.

 

Competitive Cycling

A new French book suggests that Lance was doping his bike as well as his blood.

USA Today looks at the debate over testosterone testing of transgender women, two of whom are hoping to make the US Olympic cycling team, on opposite sides of the debate.

Belgian cyclist Tim Wellens says inhaler use is wrong, despite pulling out of last year’s Tour de France with breathing problems.

Sad news from the UK, where a man who had been battling depression hung himself four days after he failed to finish a 24-hour bike race.

 

Finally…

How to pedal without ever leaving home or having to deal with other humans. Seriously, how big a bike pump will it take to inflate that thing?

And this is why you stop traffic before putting up the finish gate.

Morning Links: Examining 2015 SoCal bicycling fatalities, and San Diego mountain bikes seized by Marines

Seventy-three.

That’s how many people lost their lives while riding a bicycle in Southern California last year.

While far too many, that is a significant improvement over the year before, when 86 riders were killed on SoCal streets, and in 2013, when 89 people died riding their bikes.

Of those,

  • 29 died in Los Angeles County, compared to 31 in 2014
  • 17 died in Orange County, compared to 20 in 2014
  • 12 died in San Diego County, compared to 9 in 2014
  • 10 died in Riverside County, compared to 13 in 2014
  • 3 died in San Bernardino County, compared to 11 in 2014
  • 2 died in Ventura County, compared to 2 in 2014
  • No one was killed either year in Imperial County

Meanwhile, 11 riders were killed in the City of Los Angeles in 2015, which is the same as in 2014.

Of the 52 Southern California cases where there was enough information to reasonably assign blame, it was evenly divided, with cyclists at fault in 26 of the fatalities, and drivers at fault in the other 26.

A few other key stats from last year,

  • 59 bike riders died in traffic collisions
  • 8 bike riders died in solo falls
  • 3 bike riders died in train collisions
  • 2 bike riders died of natural causes while riding

In addition,

  • 32 of the fatal bicycling collisions occurred at night
  • 23 occurred during the day
  • 7 occurred at dusk
  • 3 occurred at daybreak
  • 12 of the fatal bicycling collisions were hit-and-runs
  • 10 involved drug or alcohol use; in two of those cases, it was the cyclist who was under the influence
  • 2 involved drivers cited for distracted driving
  • No cyclists died as a result of dooring

And in the cases where it was indicated,

  • 16 of the victims weren’t wearing a helmet
  • 9 of the victims were wearing a helmet

It should be noted that these stats are complied primarily through published reports, as well as other confirmed sources. It is likely that one or more fatalities may not have been reported, and therefore, not included in these totals. Not all amounts will add up to total since some factors, such as the time of the incident, are not always reported.

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Seriously, you don’t mess with the Marines.

Roughly 45 San Diego-area mountain bikers learned that the hard way over the weekend when they were stopped by armed Marines, ticketed and had their bikes confiscated for trespassing on military property.

The riders had evidently strayed onto the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, formerly home to the famed Top Gun school before the base was transferred from the Navy to the Marine Corp.

According to a thread on the mtbr forum, riders had received plenty of warnings that the trails were closed to the public, since they were close to areas where live fire drills are conducted. However, many riders complained that they were poorly marked, if at all, even though the Marines indicated notices had been posted on all trails and the San Diego Mountain Biking Association has been warning about the closure for months.

The riders were escorted off the base, and forced to walk back to their cars or have someone pick them up. They can reclaim their bikes once the citations have been adjudicated and any fines paid.

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Local

The Times reviews a sandwich shop just off the LA River bike path in Frogtown, where the dishes are named after public radio hosts.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson issues his recommendations for the governing body for SoCal bike racing.

 

State

A new parking structure in Old Towne Orange will include a bike plaza with bike racks and lockers.

Sad news from Oxnard, where a teenager was killed while walking his bike along a train track.

 

National

Bicycling talks with five cyclists — or maybe six, they can’t seem to decide — about how it feels to get hit by a car, and how it changed the way they ride.

If riding your bike isn’t environmentally-friendly enough, Grist talks eco-friendly bike lube.

Gear Junkie is the latest to discover the all-black company of bike-riding Buffalo Soldiers of the 1890s. Though someone should tell them quite a few non-elite cyclists ride more than 1,900 miles.

Oregon district attorneys want to make it a felony to hit a bicyclist with a car, presumably intentionally.

Boulder CO, a platinum level bike friendly community, is removing a pair of protected bike lanes, in part because of complaints from cyclists.

An Iowa paper looks at how Minneapolis became a bicycling mecca and asks why not us?

Eight years after a legally blind Columbia MO Army vet took up bicycling, he’s gained independence, improved his fitness and competed in his first triathlon.

Chicago tries, and fails, to have all the bike lanes in the city declared recreational zones to avoid liability for failing to maintain them. Under that standard, all the streets would be racetracks.

New York’s mayor agrees to reduce the number of horse drawn carriages in Central Park, while kicking out their pedicab competition. Thanks to Aurelio Jose Barrera for the heads-up.

North Carolina boy scouts offer advice for aspiring cross-county charity cyclists after raising $35,000 in memory of a schoolmate who died of cancer.

 

International

Rio, Brazil opens a beachfront bike path that the BBC calls one of the most beautiful in the world; the city plans to complete 450 kilometers of bikeways — roughly 280 miles — in advance of next year’s Olympics.

A pioneering new stem cell treatment is delivering “miraculous” results, enabling formerly wheelchair-bound patients to walk again; a former triathlete is even able to ride his bike.

Heartbreaking story of a young Toronto cyclist taking a tour through the Deep South looking for the roots of American music. And the half-assed investigation into his death that exonerated a truck driver who claimed he had committed suicide by riding head-first into the truck, while witnesses and evidence indicated the driver actually ran him down from behind.

A British website looks at suits specially made for bicycle commuting.

Denmark will install bike boxes at busy intersections to prevent right turn collisions.

An entrepreneurial Egyptian couple build their own bike-borne sweet potato street food cart for the equivalent of just $255.

The beat goes on, as a South African mountain biker is the latest cyclist busted for doping.

The woman riding through the Southern Hemisphere to collect 1001 stories about climate change pauses to catch her breath in New Zealand.

 

Finally…

It’s one thing to give 110% effort; it’s another to get overwhelming support for bicycling when a whopping 156% of local residents respond. Do you really need a new law to clarify that bike riders have the right-of-way when they have the right of way?

And what good is a cycling superhighway if a driver is going to tailgate you on it?

 

Is California’s new three-foot passing law making a difference?

Things may be looking up for SoCal cyclists.

As noted at the end of last night’s story about the heartbreaking death of a 13-year old bike rider in Boyle Heights, bicycling fatalities are down significantly compared to this time last year.

Through March 11th, just eight bike riders have been killed in the seven-county Southern California region. That compares to 25 in 2014 — over three times as many — in what turned out to be a very bad year, with 85 bike riders losing their lives.

Although I hesitate to use the word “just” when even one death is one too many.

Yet even last year was an improvement over 2013, when 89 people died riding their bikes in Southern California — the highest total since at least 2005.

Which raises the question of whether California’s new three-foot passing law making a difference.

Maybe.

Though it’s too early to tell.

There has been a significant reduction in bicycling fatalities since the law took effect in September of last year.

From September, 2014 through February of this year, 29 bicyclist lost their lives, all as a result of traffic collisions.

In the same period through the fall and winter of 2013-14, 45 bike riders were killed, all but three in crashes with motor vehicles.

However, the reduction wasn’t instant; as the chart below shows, it wasn’t until December that any improvement in bicycling fatalities became apparent.

3-foot-law-deaths

Which suggests that it may have taken a few months for drivers to adjust to the new rules and start passing bikes more safely.

On the other hand, there’s no difference compared to September 2013 through February 2014, with 29 deaths in the same five month period.

So the jury’s still out.

A lot will depend on what happens from here, when spring and summer weather bring more riders, and more less experienced riders, onto the streets.

But it’s looking good so far.

Update: As Serge points out in the comments below — and I should have noted — correlation is not causation. While deaths are down since the implementation of the three-foot law, that does not necessarily mean it is responsible for the decrease.

The three-foot law won’t have any impact on left-cross collisions, for instance, or wrecks due to right-of-way violations. 

The data simply isn’t there yet to tell what, if anything, is responsible for the decrease in fatalities; it may be just a temporary lull, as we’ve seen before.

But it’s a question worth asking, and one we’ll want to keep an eye on.

 

Morning Links: January was a good month for SoCal cyclists, walkability survey and still more bike events

Good news for a change.

To the best of my knowledge, only one bike rider was killed anywhere in Southern California last month.

One.

That’s ten less than lost their lives in the seven county region last January. And significantly less than the average of 7.25 deaths in the month of January over the previous four years. In fact, it’s the first time since March of 2012 that only one bicyclist has been killed in any month.

It could be a statistical fluke.

Or it could be that improvements in infrastructure, education and enforcement, as well as the much-touted safety in numbers effect, are finally beginning to pay off.

Lets keep our fingers crossed. And hope this soon leads to a month, or even more, with zero deaths. Something that has never happened since I began tracking SoCal bicycling fatalities in mid-2010.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ve finally turned the corner. And are on our way to safer streets, not just for cyclists, but for everyone.

We can hope.

……….

If you’ve got a few minutes, CSUN sociology master’s student Elizabeth Bogumil could use your help answering a few questions on walkability and livability.

The anonymous survey is designed to examine the relationship between the ability to walk in a community and its quality of life.

Here’s my short answer. If you can’t walk — or bike — safely and enjoyably wherever you are, there’s no point in living there.

Period.

………

Still more upcoming bike events, in addition to Friday’s long list.

The LACBC is hosting a Northeast LA organizing workshop on Wednesday to discuss options, including bike lanes, for a five block stretch of North Figueroa.

Join Multicultural Communities for Mobility and the East LA Community Corporation this Saturday for the extensively named Equity in Motion Bici Tour: A Look at Transit Oriented Development in Boyle Heights.

Bike Talk and the Feminist Library on Wheels invite you to the February 22nd Open Books “Lost Cyclist” ride to three independent book stores, including a talk by bike historian David Herlihy.

Head down to San Diego County on March 7th for the St. Paddy’s Palomor Punishment ride up the area’s favorite hill climb.

Or head north on April 25th for the Wildflower Century through northeastern San Luis Obispo County, sponsored by the San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club.

………

Local

The Times says the 3.5 pound, foldable Foldylock is serious about securing your bike. Then again, lock up your bike like they show in the photo, and you could kiss your wheels goodbye.

Santa Monica police arrest three 20-year old men with a truck load of stolen bikes.

Better Bike says file Beverly Hills’ dangerous Crescent Drive sharrows under C for crap facilities. Then again, that’s my take on most sharrows, anywhere.

The Glendale News-Press says not so fast on those ridiculous pedestrian crossing flags. Next they’ll expect us to wave a flag while we ride down the street.

An Azusa bike rider suffers serious injuries in a solo fall due to mechanical failure while apparently racing another rider. Yet somehow, the press seems to think the most important detail is that he might be a transient.

The Long Beach paper wants to know how the city treats its cyclists.

 

State

Laguna Beach installs five miles of sharrows in an attempt to route riders away from the Coast Highway.

Great idea. A San Diego program gives bikes refurbished by prison inmates to ex-offenders so they have reliable transportation while they transition back into society.

San Francisco’s SAFE Bikes program takes credit for a 20% drop in bike thefts in the city.

 

National

The Verge asks if it’s time for the Feds to mandate software to disable mobile phones while driving. That would be yes. Or maybe hell yes.

The US imported over $1.3 billion worth of bicycles through November of last year, compared to $140 billion worth of motor vehicles; then again, bikes are a lot cheaper.

A Phoenix man pleads not guilty to murdering murdering two bike riding women in the early ‘90s.

A petition calling for a three-foot passing distance in Wyoming gains over 1,000 signatures in just two days; the organization sponsoring it is named for one of the state’s fallen riders.

A Delaware website calls for boycotting the conservative Koch brothers over their opposition to funding active transportation and transit projects. Unfortunately, given the huge size and reach of their holdings, that would be almost impossible; a better tactic would be to pick one Koch company to target.

A US sailor chases her Olympic dreams in Miami, just months after suffering serious injuries while bicycling; thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up.

 

International

Bike riders Tweet about how they got into cycling. My origin story begins with a matinee showing of Breaking Away in a nearly empty theater, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

More people are riding bikes in London than ever before, while the Independent offers tips on how the city can keep the momentum going; actually, it’s good advice anywhere.

Famed Italian automotive designer Pininfarina jumps on the bike bandwagon. Nice try, but it doesn’t even come close to the world’s most beautiful bike, at least not in my humble opinion.

FC Barcelona looks back at the first great Spanish cycling champion, who wore the football (aka soccer) club’s colors when they had a bike team early in the last century.

A young South African cyclist offers bike tours through one of Johannesburg’s oldest townships; after less than five years, his company is now rated as one of the top five activities in the city.

Aussie great Cadel Evans calls it a career, while his countryman discovers attempting to set a new hour record really hurts.

 

Finally…

Here’s how LA can close its budget deficit; an Australian city collects nearly $50,000 in just four months by fining drivers who park in bike lanes. A Canadian cyclist uses his bike to fend off a charging cougar; I’ve used a similar technique to defend against angry drivers.

And a British ad encourages cab drivers to get a dash cam in case they run over a cyclist. Yeah, like that would ever happen.

 

January was a good month, hero San Diego cyclist, Colorado bans bike ban and BMUFL comes to DTLA

Just a few quick notes to start the week.

………

There’s good news on the safety front, as January saw just two bike riders killed in the Southern California region.

While even one fatality is one too many, this is notable because January has been one of the worst months for cyclists over the past few years, with seven cyclists killed in 2012 and nine in 2011.

Maybe it was the unusually cold and wet weather that kept all but the most committed bike riders off the road for much of the month. Or maybe motorists are finally getting used to looking for riders sharing the road with them.

Or perhaps it’s just a fluke. Although it seems to have continued into the first weekend of February, when we were blessed with near perfect riding weather.

And that’s not to say that riders aren’t being injured; I’ve seen multiple reports of riders seriously hurt, both in collisions with vehicles and solo falls throughout the region.

But whatever the reason, let’s hope it continues. After the carnage of the last few years, with over 70 riders losing their lives in the seven county region each year — including unacceptably high fatality rates in Orange and San Diego Counties — we could definitely us a break.

Hopefully a permanent one.

Thanks to Eric Griswold and Ralph Durham for the heads-up.

……..

A San Diego cyclist is being hailed as a hero for rescuing a 14-month old toddler from the collision that killed his nanny.

The anonymous rider was one of the first people on the scene following the fatal collision, and noticed the child dangling from the straps of his stroller underneath the vehicle. So she freed him from the straps and pulled him away from the SUV, where he could get treatment for injuries including multiple fractures and a ruptured spleen.

Of course, it raises questions why police have not taken action yet when they say the driver ran a red light — in fact, she allegedly hit the nanny and child while they were walking with the light in the near crosswalk, pushing them across the intersection to the opposite crosswalk.

And initial reports indicated the driver said she looked up at the last moment and saw them in her path, which is about as close to a confession to distracted driving as you’re likely to see.

The SDPD has a reputation for blaming cyclists for collisions while ignoring violations by drivers. Let’s hope that doesn’t extend to pedestrians in this case.

Yes, there’s reason to show sympathy to the driver, who reportedly had just given birth herself in the previous 24 hours.

But maybe that’s why she shouldn’t have been on the road to begin with.

……..

Good news from Colorado, where courts have ruled that bikes cannot be banned by local governments.

The historic mining town of Black Hawk, which has sold its soul to legalized gambling in recent years, banned bikes from the only street connecting local highways. Effectively preventing riders from passing through the city, and blocking a long-popular riding route that I’ve taken myself many times before gambling was legalized in the area.

The reason the tiny, 100-resident town gave sounded almost reasonable, as they cited the high number of oversized tour buses on the narrow mining-era streets, saying it was in the riders’ best interest to avoid the area.

Even if they had to be forced to do so.

Of course, what that really translates to is that bikes slow down tour buses and make drivers actually pay attention, so let’s get them out of the way so gamblers can lose their money and fill city coffers that much quicker. And don’t even consider limiting the size of buses so they don’t pose as great a risk to humans who happen to be in the vicinity.

Fortunately, rational minds ruled on the state level, as the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that bicycles are a matter of state concern, and that local governments can’t ban bikes from any roadway unless there’s an alternate path available within 450 feet.

……..

Finally, hidden in the middle of that fisheye helmet cam grab blow is a blurry sign reading (Bikes) May Use Full Lane.

No big deal, really. Especially since it’s lost in the construction site at 7th and Figueroa in Downtown LA, where it’s unlikely to be seen by virtually anyone at the intersection.

But it’s the first one I’ve seen in the City of Los Angeles.

And hopefully, far from the last.

Bike May Use Full Lane Sign

Analyzing 2011 SoCal cycling fatalities: Los Angeles — and door zones — may be safer than you think

Earlier this month, we remembered the people behind the statistics, the victims of cycling collisions on Southern California streets.

Now lets take a look at the numbers. And some of the surprising findings those statistics reveal — including some that suggest Los Angeles could be your safest place to ride. And that the door zone may be a hell of a lot safer than we all think.

But first, a couple of big important disclaimers.

These stats are based strictly on the fatalities that I am aware of, whether they have been reported in the press or have come to my attention in other ways. It is entirely possible that there were other bicycling-related deaths that I don’t know about.

These numbers also do not include non-fatal collisions. It’s possible that any given area could have had a high rate of injury collisions while having few or no fatalities. Or that one risk factor may result in a high rate of fatalities but few injuries — or the other way around.

The limited data I have to work with simply doesn’t show that.

Nor does it suggest why one area may appear to be more dangerous than another, even though I may make a guess at it.

And with that, let’s get on with it.

By my count, 71 cyclists were killed in traffic-related collisions in Southern California last year. That does not include another nine riders who were fatally shot — eight in Los Angeles County and one in San Diego.

Those 71 fatalities represent a dramatic increase over most recent years on record, with 55 cyclists killed in both 2008 and 2009. In addition, it’s slightly more than the five-year average from 2005 to 2009, at just over 68 traffic-relating cycling fatalities per year.

It also marks a return to the roadway carnage of 2005 and 2006, when 76 and 89 riders were killed, respectively.

Fatalities by county: 2011       2009*       2006**     Ave. 2005 – 2009

Los Angeles                24           22             24           24.2

Orange                       13           11             21           13

San Diego                   12           8               5             8

Riverside                     11           7              14            10

San Bernardino            6            4              11            7.4

Ventura                       4            2              11            4.6

Santa Barbara***        1            1               3             1.8

Imperial                       0            1               0             .4

As you can see, Los Angeles County has remained remarkably steady despite a dramatic increase in ridership, with an average of two riders killed per month. At the same time, while Orange County has dropped significantly from the horrors of 2006, it continues to reflect an average of more than one cyclist killed every month.

Meanwhile, San Diego, San Bernardino and Ventura Counties all showed a 50% increase over 2009, though both Ventura and San Bernardino were still below their five-year averages.

At first glance, it would appear that Los Angeles County is by far the most dangerous place to ride in Southern California. However, L.A. is also the most populous of the eight counties included in this count.

Ranking the counties in terms of risk of death per capita reveals some surprises, with the eight counties ranked from worst to best:

County                    Population               Rate of death

Riverside                  2,100,516               1 death per 190,956 population

Ventura                   797,740                  1 per 199,435

Orange                    3,010,759               1 per 231,597

San Diego                3,001,072               1 per 250,089

San Bernardino        2,015,355               1 per 335,893

Santa Barbara***    405,396                  1 per 405,396

Los Angeles              9,862,049              1 per 410,919

Imperial                  174,528                   0 per 174,528

Unfortunately, there’s no objective measure of how many people ride bikes in each county. But surprisingly, these stats suggest that heavily congested L.A. County may actually be twice as safe as other heavily populated counties.

Those fatalities occurred in 53 cities and unincorporated areas throughout the region, with eight cities suffering more than one fatality last year:

San Diego   7

Los Angeles  5

Long Beach  4

Garden Grove  2

Redondo Beach  2

Pasadena  2

Riverside  2

Oceanside  2

Again, using the measurement of deaths per population reveals some very surprising results:

City                               Population                 Rate of death

Redondo Beach              66,748                      1 per 33,374

Pasadena                       137,122                    1 per 68,562

Oceanside                      167,086                    1 per 83,543

Garden Grove                 170,883                    1 per 85,441

Long Beach                    462,257                    1 per 115,564

Riverside                        303,871                    1 per 151,936

San Diego                      1,301,617                 1 per 185,945

Los Angeles                    3,792,621                 1 per 758,524

While multiple deaths in smaller cities may raise a red flag, they don’t really tell us much. Two deaths apiece in each in the first four cities could be a statistical fluke; just one more in any of the other 45 cities not listed here, and they could have made this list, as well.

It’s also worth noting that some of these cities, such as Oceanside and Redondo Beach, are destination areas for cyclists, with a level of weekend ridership that can far exceed their relatively small populations as cyclists pass through from other areas.

More interesting is the fact that the City of Angels, with it’s long-held reputation for car culture, bad streets and open hostility to cyclists, has significantly fewer fatalities per capita than Riverside and San Diego. Combined.

And at least in terms of fatalities, Los Angeles is over six times safer than bike-friendly Long Beach.

That could reflect any number of factors, from the possibility of better trauma care and emergency response times in L.A., to more dangerous streets in Long Beach — including Los Coyotes and PCH — that have yet to see the improvements that have made biking safer in other areas of the city.

But it’s shocking to think that you may actually be safer riding your bike in bike-unfriendly L.A. than the streets of the self-proclaimed most bicycle friendly city in America.

Then again, the real shocker is that L.A. could a hell of a lot safer than most of us thought.

Myself included.

Now let’s look at some equally surprising stats on how these collisions occurred.

Again, bear in mind that most of this information has been gleaned from media reports; in some cases, they offer a detailed analysis of the collision, and in others, barely mention anything more than the fact that it occurred.

We’ll start with the question of who was at fault.

  • Driver:  32
  • Cyclist:  28****
  • Unknown or both:  11

This is my own analysis of the collision, based on the limited information I have; it does not necessarily reflect how the police, sheriff’s or CHP may have assigned fault.

Especially since many investigative officers tend to be poorly trained in bike collision analysis and investigation, and often appear to be biased in favor of the motorist.

In the absence of any information to the contrary, I assigned hit-and-runs to the fault of the driver, on the assumption that an innocent person has little motive to flee — while recognizing that is not always true.

I have also assigned fault for solo collisions and riders hit by trains to the cyclist. Even though it’s possible that other factors, such as near misses by motorists or poor road conditions, may have contributed to the death in some way.

These numbers also err on the low side, reflecting only the information I have been able to document; in many cases, there was not enough information to make a determination.

And there may be multiple factors involved in any given collision, so these won’t add up to a total of 71.

So let’s look at some of the other numbers.

  • At least 25 riders were hit from behind — by far the leading cause of cycling fatalities in 2010
  • At least 13 were hit-and-runs
  • At least 12 were hit at intersections or driveways
  • At least 10 involved drugs or alcohol — and not always on the part of the driver
  • At least eight were hit while riding on or leaving a sidewalk
  • At least seven were hit head-on, usually while riding on the wrong side of the street
  • Seven were solo collisions
  • Seven victims were over the age of 70
  • At least six were killed after running stop signs
  • At least six were killed while riding in a marked bike lane or off-road bike path
  • At least six were killed in right hook collisions
  • Six 12 years old or younger
  • Another five were between the ages of 15 and 17
  • At least four weren’t using lights after dark
  • Three were killed by trains
  • Three were killed by out of control vehicles
  • At least two were killed by drivers running red lights or stop signs
  • At least two were killed distracted drivers
  • At least one was killed in a left cross
  • One was killed by a truck backing into a loading bay
  • One was killed, at least in part, due to poorly designed infrastructure
  • And just one was killed as a result of a dooring

Stop and think about that.

For decades, we’ve been taught that the door zone is one of the most dangerous places to ride; vehicular cyclists often refer to it as the death zone.

Yet these stats show just the opposite. You are far more likely to be killed in a hit-from-behind collision or at an intersection than you are by getting doored. And yet, the solution we’re invariably taught is to ride in the traffic lane, directly in front of traffic coming up from behind.

Maybe that’s because so many cyclists are heeding that advice and avoiding the door zone, while placing themselves at greater risk of getting hit from behind. Or maybe because hit-from-behind collisions tend to occur at higher speeds, reducing survivability, while doorings tend to be relatively slow speed collisions that are more likely to result in injury than death — especially if the rider is wearing a helmet to protect from head injuries in a fall.

And that’s not to say that riding in the door zone is safe. But it may be far less deadly than we have been lead to believe.

Of course, that’s not the only conclusion that jumps out from these numbers.

Like far too many drivers are willing to flee the scene, leaving their victims to die in the street. Too many cyclists run stop signs — especially when other vehicles are present.

Sidewalks remain dangerous places for cyclists, particularly where they intersect with streets and driveways.

Riders can lower their risk simply by riding on the right side of the road and using lights after dark. And staying of the roads after drinking or using drugs.

Ditto for stopping for trains; once the warning signals chime and the gates drop, stay the hell off the tracks. And that goes for drivers trying to beat a train, as well.

Bike lanes are no guarantee of safety. Yet there were fewer cyclists killed in bike lanes than on sidewalks and crosswalks, and far fewer than on streets without them. But that may just speak to the scarcity of bike lanes in most of Southern California.

Then there’s the single most glaring conclusion we can make from these fatalities.

Too many people have died, and continue to die, on our streets.

One is one too many; 71 is an obscenity.

And it’s clearly headed in the wrong direction.

Update: in response to one of the comments to this post, I’ve added information on how many of the victims were under 18; six riders were 12 or under when they were killed, while another five were aged 15 to 17. In addition, seven of the victims were over the age of 70.

……..

*Most recent year currently on record

**Worst of the five years on record

***I will drop Santa Barbara County from this count next year, to reflect the 7-county area included in the Southern California Council of Governments (SCAG)

****Includes solo collisions and collisions with trains

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